HL Deb 22 March 1832 vol 11 cc583-648

The Order of the Day for the consideration of the new system of Education in Ireland, was read.

The Earl of Wicklow

said, he should feel that he owed an apology to their Lordships for bringing under their consideration a subject which had been recently much discussed incidentally on the presentation of Petitions, were it not that he was strongly impressed with its importance, not only to the future welfare of the country, but to the immediate tranquillity of Ireland. On one point they were all agreed, that to a sound and moral education of the people, rather than to any other course, which the Legislature could adopt, they were to look forward for the future improvement and future tranquillity of the country. But while they all concurred in this general proposition, they were lamentably at variance as to the best mode in which education could be imparted to the people. Had nothing been done up to the present moment, were the ground a mere waste on which they proposed to construct their edifice, they might well pause before they determined in a matter of so much importance upon any plan of proceeding. But when they found the ground occupied with a system of Scriptural education, and when they found that the hierarchy of the Established Church, that the Protestants of all classes, both Episcopalian and Presbyterian, felt the deepest conviction that no system of education which excluded the reading of the Holy Scriptures, was fit to be adopted by a Christian community, there was surely abundant reason why that plan should not be done away, without the most convincing evidence that it was unfit for its purpose. They were told, that the Roman Catholics considered the reading of the Sacred Scriptures to be repugnant and hostile to their religion, and this contrariety of opinion seemed to present a barrier against the introduction of any general system of education nearly insuperable. In consideration of this unfortunate impediment, it had been suggested that two different systems should be introduced—one for the children of Protestants, and the other for the children of Roman Catholics. But here again there arose a difficulty, for they were met at the outset by a declaration of the Roman Catholic Bishops, and particularly of Dr. Doyle, that the separation of the people for the purpose of education was evidently injudicious, and that such separation was calculated to destroy some of the best principles in the mind of man. But he would ask, why were they called upon now to discuss the merits of a new system of education? What had become of the large grants of money made by Parliament for many years for this beneficial purpose. Had those grants been unproductive? No; he would assert that those grants had been highly advantageous, and, that the Society to which they were intrusted had ably, conscientiously, and successfully discharged its duty. The first parliamentary grant was in the year 1816, and from that time to the year 1825 not a whisper against the Kildare-street Society had been heard. At the latter period, however, a sudden determination sprung up to oppose it by all possible means, principally on the part of the demagogues and agitators in Ireland. From that time to the year 1831 the clamour against the Society increased, and, although it could clearly be shown that the benefits which their system bestowed upon the country had increased in an equal rate with that clamour, the Government had all at once determined to abolish the Society, and supersede the existing system. When they inquired the reasons why the Society was to be dissolved, they were told, first, that it had been partial in its conduct; secondly, that the people took but little interest in its success, inasmuch as the voluntary subscriptions for its support were inconsiderable in proportion to the amount of the grants; and, in the third place, that the system of the Society was objected to on the part of the Roman Catholics. Now, in reply to the first of these allegations, he would say, that all the transactions of the Society were open; that the knowledge of its proceedings was accessible alike to Protestants and to Roman Catholics; that, therefore, had there been any instance of partiality, it could easily have been pointed out; and, that in fact, no such instance had ever been pointed out. The fact undoubtedly was, that half the children educated in the Society's schools were the children of persons of the Protestant persuasion; but this disproportionate number of Protestant children was only a proof that the Protestants were the more civilized part of the community, and thence more anxious than the Roman Catholics for the education of their children, and no proof whatever that the Society acted with partiality. Then the second allegation was, that the subscriptions were small; and no doubt the direct subscriptions to the funds of the Society were so. The object of the institution was to encourage local exertions in the establishment of schools; and there had been no less than from 1,600 to 1,700 schools established in connection with the Society. Their Lordships might then very well conceive that the expenditure of local patrons must have been very large indeed in comparison with the grant. He now came to the third reason alleged for the dissolution of the Society—that its system had incurred the disapprobation of the Roman Catholics. He had already stated, that it was not until 1825—nine years after the system had been in operation—that this disapprobation had been expressed. So far from the Society having been opposed by the Roman Catholics, the fact was, that it had at first been objected to by the High-Church party, as too favourable to the Roman Catholics; and he declared, that, at the time when he put his schools, or, rather he should say, the schools on his estate, in connection with the Society, he thought he did an act favourable to the Roman Catholics, and it was, he knew, so considered by them. Then why was it, he repeated, that the system had been abandoned? He would tell their Lordships the reason, and the only one. It was to please the demagogues and the agitators. The new system was a base submission to the clamour of faction. The noble Lords opposite would deny this, and say, as they had said before, that they had acted in pursuance of the authority of successive Commissions of inquiry. This was the whole argument of his noble and learned friend, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. His noble and learned friend did wisely in taking this ground, for it was only by this means that his Majesty's Government could escape that charge of rashness to which they would have been justly liable, had they, while yet so young in office, ventured upon their own information and authority, to adopt a measure of so much importance. Then what justification of the measure was to be found in the Reports of these successive Commissions? There had been three of these Commissions: the first was that of 1812, at the head of which, stood the name of the Lord Primate of Ireland. This Board did adopt some Resolutions very similar to some parts of the present system. They recommended the use of selections from the Scriptures in lieu of the whole Bible. But they went no further. And the Kildare-street Society adopted the entire spirit of their resolutions; and so satisfied was the Parliament that this was the case, that a Report of a Committee of the House of Commons, in sanctioning the recommendation of the Commissioners, was expressed in almost the same words as the report of the Kildare-place Society. Then there was the report of another education Commission, which expressly said, that there was no reason to object to the system of the Kildare-street Society. The next Board of Commissioners was in 1825. He admitted that it was composed of very able and intelligent men, who promulgated almost the same principles as those in Mr. Stanley's letter. But what did they do? Did they recommend the abolition of the Kildare-street Society? No such thing. But after two years consideration, in 1827 they determined to try the effect of their own system as a separate experiment. And two years after this, they reported, that the experiment had wholly failed, and, that they had determined to desist from its further prosecution. This Report, acknowledging the failure of the system, was signed by every member of the Board. Yet this was the example by which his Majesty's Ministers were led—this, which was a beacon to warn then off, and not a guide to follow. Another Commission sat in 1828, under the Government of the noble Duke below him of which the then Irish Secretary was Chairman. It came to a Resolution recommending that copies of the New Testament should be introduced for the use of the children, under the care of their respective teachers—the Protestant version to the Protestant children, and the Douay edition for the Catholics. He wished to call the attention of the House to the difference between that recommendation and the letter of Mr. Stanley. The one proposed that the Scriptures should be read in a qualified manner, but Mr. Stanley did not say one word about it. He took up various other parts of the Report, but he carefully left out all which appertained to the most important consideration. He might, perhaps, be told, that the new Board did not prohibit religious instruction, inasmuch as two days in the week were appointed for that purpose; but the House would soon see how inefficient such a proposition was, when they considered that the new system was founded in opposition to a Society, which required the use of the Scriptures; and, when Mr. Stanley's letter alleged that the reading of the Scriptures without note or comment, would be objected to by the Roman Catholics, the friends to the new system could triumphantly appeal to the Reports of the various Commissions. But, if he were to grant, for the argument's sake, that these recommendations were entitled to respect, he must, at the same time, appeal from the Reports to the Governments that appointed the Boards, and ask why it was, that the respective Governments did not act upon them? He put that question more particularly in reference to the Government of the noble Duke, and he thought, he might answer for the noble Duke, that he was anxious to make some improvements in the system of education, that he tried various means to effect it, that he looked to the Reports of the Boards with attention, but, that he hesitated before he rashly adopted the recommendations contained in them; and, in short, the caution of the noble Duke was so great, that, up to the last moment of his Administration, there was neither a change made nor any prospect of its being introduced. No sooner, however, did the late Government go out of office, and no sooner was the fresh Administration in possession of it, than the work of havoc began; the axe was laid to the root of all our institutions, revolution, under the name of reform, became the order of the day—reform in finance—reform in foreign and domestic policy—reform in Parliament, in Church and State—lastly, reform in the system of education. Nothing was too great for their Ministerial comprehension, nothing too small for their inquisitorial execution. In their Reform mania the system of education in Ireland, which had rendered so much actual good, was subverted, and a system of theory placed in its room. When he stated, that the Roman Catholics were not averse to the system of the Kildare-street Society, he must admit that a large portion of the priesthood were hostile to it; several of the children were removed, though the parents, in other instances, refused to withdraw them. So far as his own experience went, he did not know an instance of any child being removed in his neighbourhood, but he was in possession of a memorial from several heads of families complaining that attempts were made by the Priests to keep their children away from school. He was aware that he might be asked, did he mean to excite the people against their Priests, and to discharge them from the influence of that body. To that, he could only reply by asking in his turn, if the authority of the Priests, if the influence of the Papist Church, seemed to decline, was it becoming that a Protestant Legislature should labour to revive it? was it right, when the fetters of superstition were worn out, to forge them anew? was it wise, when light was breaking in upon a benighted nation, again wilfully to replunge that nation into darkness? Should it be said, that, when the influence of the Papist Priests in Ireland was beginning to decay, a Whig Government infused new life and vigour into their system. He confessed, however, that he should not desire to see the Roman Catholic people of Ireland pass from under the dominion of Priests to that of demagogues. This would be a change from some religion to none—from some subordination to entire anarchy—from some restraint to the unbounded dominion of lawless passion. But were they utterly to despair of seeing the influence of the Roman Catholic Priesthood in Ireland impaired by the gradual and general influence of education and knowledge? He would not advocate the policy of introducing a system of proselytism under the name and disguise of a system of national education, but neither would he employ the authority of the State to prevent proselytism. What, he would ask, produced the Reformation? What, but the progressive weight and authority of truth? And because the light of truth was burning brighter and brighter each succeeding year, were they to be called upon to extinguish it? If his Majesty's Ministers bad grounds for believing that some change was desirable in the system of education, was this the moment to introduce it? What could be the effect of the general discussion of such a subject in Ireland but to tear open the wounds of civil and religious discord, which, they hoped they had succeeded in closing? The course pursued by his Majesty's Ministers was equally calculated to excite surprise, whether it was considered with reference to the interests of the country, or to its certain effect of shaking their own popularity. He spoke not of the mob and rabble popularity, of the popularity which Ministers enjoyed among the incendiaries of one city, or the window-breakers of another, but of the popularity to which, an honest and able Ministry ought to aspire among the educated and intelligent classes of Society. Could anything tend so much to shake the confidence of these classes as an attempt to break down the principles of religion? This was not a party question exclusively, for the Protestantism of Ireland was part and parcel of the Protestantism of this country. That man was greatly mistaken who supposed that the interests of the Protestant religion could be deserted in Ireland, without giving a fatal blow to the interests of religion in England. He called upon their Lordships, to consider this question, and to weigh it deliberately, if it vitally affected the religion of their own country, which he considered it did. He expected the aid of all those who, although they might believe some change necessary, still thought the change of system now proposed, was a crude and undigested mass. He expected the aid of those who, carrying their Scriptural notions further, perhaps than he did, thought it an indispensable duty to diffuse the Holy Scriptures in every quarter. He relied confidently upon the aid of those orthodox friends of the Church of England, who were anxious to maintain her exalted character, and diffuse her pure and beneficent doctrines. He should now beg leave to move this Resolution:—"That, inasmuch as by the plan of national education established in Ireland, the Bible is practically excluded from schools formed under the sanction of his Majesty's Government; this House cannot view that plan with approbation."

The Duke of Norfolk

rose merely to correct a misconception of the noble Earl as to the doctrine and practice of the Catholic Church with respect to the Scriptures. That Church did not refuse the use of the Holy Scriptures to the laity, as the noble Lord, in common with many others, erroneously supposed. Its denial of the right of private judgment, as inherent in every individual and applicable to all questions, was what distinguished it from many of the Protestant churches, although he believed the right reverend Bench would not altogether disapprove of its reserve in this respect. He had not intended to address their Lordships, and rose merely for the purpose of correcting the misrepresentation of the noble Earl. He begged leave, however, to add, that he approved of the new system of education, because, in his opinion, it was calculated to make good Catholics and good Protestants. He considered it was unfair to impute to the Catholic Church that it denied the Bible to the laity.

The Earl of Wicklow

had not given any opinion of his own upon the point to which the noble Duke referred. He had only said, that they were told the reading of the Scriptures by the laity was objectionable to the Church of Rome; and if the noble Duke wished him to give his authority, he would refer him to Mr. Stanley's letter.

The Duke of Norfolk

was merely anxious to prevent its going forth to the public that the heads of the Catholic Church prohibited the use of the Scriptures to the great body of the laity. On the contrary, it was their uniform practice to enjoin the perusal of the Sacred volume.

The Bishop of Chester

would not have risen but for what had fallen from the noble Duke on the subject of the Scriptures being enjoined by the authorities of the Catholic Church to be read by the laity. He had always hitherto understood that the principle of the Roman Catholic Church was, to withhold the Scriptures from the people at large, and that was wholly different from the Protestant practice, for if there was any principle which their Protestant fathers held more sacred than another, it was that of extending the Holy Scriptures to all men. But the new system of education, if he understood it right, sanctioned the Catholic principle rather than the Protestant principle; and, as a Prelate of the Protestant Church, called on to give his opinion, he could not otherwise characterize that system than as an unhappy compromise of one of the most essential duties of a Protestant Government. However he might differ in opinion from his Majesty's Government, he had no doubt that their intention was good. It must be considered that they were legislating for Ireland, and what was all legislation for that unhappy country but a choice of difficulties? Nevertheless, if their Lordships sanctioned this compromise of Protestant principles, they would commit a most fatal error.

The Duke of Leinster

said, that as one of the members of the Board recently established to promote the new system, he wished to state that it was the desire of the members, one and all, that the children taught in the Schools under their superintendence should have a Scriptural education. It was a foul and unjust reproach to them to say that they were opposed to the diffusion of the Word of God. There was every facility afforded for religious instruction, with an earnest endeavour to avoid bigotry and fanaticism, and to produce harmony among the various sects. To show in some degree the spirit in which the opposition was carried on, he would mention the case of one school in Ireland. He knew an instance of a school which had existed about fourteen years, and which was in a great degree supported by voluntary contributions. The conductors of that establishment applied to the present Board of Education for assistance, which was afforded them; when certain of the subscribers among the high Protestant party immediately withdrew their subscriptions, for no other reason that he could understand but that they were apprehensive their school would be contaminated by receiving assistance from a Board which committed no other offence than being careful to avoid any disrespect to Catholic feeling. He would merely observe that there were already upwards of 200 schools which educated 14,000 children, connected with the new Board, and regulated on its plan.

Lord Suffield

said, that there never was a more miserable shift of any party in opposition to raise an unjust and unfounded outcry against an Administration. It was contrary to the fact to say, that religious education was neglected by the Board. The fact was, that two days in each week, besides the Sabbath, and a part of every other day, were set aside for religious instruction. It had been said, that the use of a book of extracts from the Scriptures, would supersede the reading of the Sacred volume itself, Now, it might as well be said, that to learn the rudiments of any science would prevent the general study of that science. He would ask those who talked so loudly about the neglect of religious instruction in the national schools in Ireland, where were the schools in England in which so much attention was given to religion as in those schools? He had himself sons at the public schools, as had also some of the noble Lords opposite; and he had no objection to join with those Lords in a remonstrance against the total neglect of religious instruction in all the public schools in England; but he must ask them, why did they blame the Government for neglect, at the very time that it was carefully giving to the children in the schools under its direction in Ireland a more religious education, than the sons of the noble Lords themselves were receiving at the public schools? To arraign Ministers for the most excellent regulation which had been made by the Board of Education, was absurd. It was, he repeated, a mean and miserable shift of a factious and rancorous opposition.

The Bishop of London

did not intend to trespass on the House by going at any length into the discussion of the Resolution moved by the noble Earl opposite, because he had already had an opportunity of stating his sentiments on the subject to which it related. He then rose only to say one word in the defence of a much-calumniated body of men—the heads of the public schools in England. He himself had not had the good fortune to receive his education at one of those institutions, but he knew enough of them to be able to say, that Scriptural education was not neglected in them, and that there had been of late a great improvement in that respect. The noble Baron (Lord Suffield) had asked was there any day devoted to religious education in the public schools in England. He (the Bishop of London) answered yes; he had himself a son now receiving his education in one of them, and he would say, that his religious principles were as much attended to as any parent could desire. There were in London two public schools in which religious education was so carefully conducted, that the pupils, at the time of leaving them, were fit to pass an examination for Holy Orders. He did not know where some noble Lords had acquired their experience, but he could only suppose that the course which they described as being followed in the public schools, was that which had been pursued in their own education. At present that was not the question before their Lordships; but what system of education ought to be introduced into the national schools of Ireland? And in affording education to the Irish, it was to be recollected that Parliament had a remedy in their own hands, and that it was for them to devise the most suitable and practical mode of imparting education founded upon Scriptural knowledge. The noble Lord ought to recollect that there already existed in Ireland societies which were the means of affording much valuable instruction; and it was also to be recollected that the Roman Catholics themselves were not altogether averse to the reading the Scriptures. Then why withdraw aid from those Societies which had done, and were doing, so much good? Though the Scriptures were inculcated by the several branches of the Kildare-street Society, it was clear from the Report of the Commissioners, that there was no attempt, on the part of that body, to interfere with the religion of the Catholics, or to pursue any system of proselytism. Under such circumstances he would again say, that he did not see the necessity of withdrawing funds from that Society, or otherwise interfering with it.

Lord Suffield

rose to explain. He did not mean to charge the conductors of the public schools of this country with any neglect of giving Scriptural education. What he meant was, merely to institute a comparison between the system proposed by noble Lords opposite, who called out for the unmutilated Scriptures, and the system pursued at schools in England. He would ask the right reverend Prelate whether boys in England generally upon leaving school had not a better recollection of the heroes of Homer?

Lord Tenterden

said, that the noble Baron was out of order—he had already spoken on the subject before the House.

Lord Suffield

said, that be had a right to explain. In the most strictly Protestant schools in England—in those, for instance, of the British and Foreign Society, and in the national schools, to both which he was a subscriber and a zealous friend—the plan of religious instruction was the same as that which the Resolution would condemn.

The Marquis of Salisbury

rose to order, and said, it was not usual that any noble Lord in the course of any debate, should trespass a second time on their Lordships with a speech which was not strictly in explanation.

Lord Suffield

would save the noble Marquis the trouble of bringing him to order, by assuring him that he had already said every word which he had intended to say.

The Marquis of Clanricarde

said, the right reverend Prelate had entirely misconceived the principle upon which the Kildare-street Society was established. The schools under their superintendance were not co-extensive with the population; in fact they bore no proportion to the wants of the people in those districts in Munster and Connaught where they were most wanted; and it was by experience proved that their system, if extended, which it could not be, would never be palatable to the Catholics. The proposition of the Kildare-street Society was, to commit the education of Catholics to the care of Protestants; and he left it to their Lordships to judge whether that was at all likely to be successful. The present plan was, to give moral and literary instruction indiscriminately to all, allowing the parents and the pastors of each sect to impart their own particular religious opinions. It was not right, therefore, to say that the Scriptures were excluded; for, besides the two days set apart for religious instruction, extracts from the Bible were read during the school days. Neither was it correct to say that the new plan would fail; for already, during a short period of four months, there had been nearly as many applications to the Board as there had been to the Kildare-street Society from its commencement; and he could take upon himself to say, that some of those applications came from clergymen of the Established Church, and clergymen, too, as anxious and sincere in their zeal for Protestantism as any Member of their Lordships' House. In fact the opposition was not made on principle, but it was a question of party; and he would venture to assert, that those who objected to this plan could not themselves propose a better, nor any one more likely to be adopted and afford more Scriptural education.

The Bishop of Exeter

spoke as follows:* My Lords, I can assure the noble Marquis who has just sat down, that I will adhere to the advice which he has been pleased to give to your Lordships, and will confine myself strictly to the question before the * Reprinted from the corrected speech, published by Murray. House. I have, in truth, no temptation to wander from it; for the question itself is far more than sufficient for me to hope to do justice to it; and it is besides far more interesting in itself than any collateral matter could help to make it. My Lords, it is, I can assure your Lordships, felt to be so by thousands out of this House, and by not a few, I trust, within it. It is a question which, as it will be my duty to endeavour to satisfy your Lordships before I conclude, has not only excited, but has also justified, the greatest anxiety and alarm, both in Ireland, and throughout the empire at large.

Before I proceed, my Lords, to enter upon the discussion of this most important subject, I will venture to make one remark in reference to an observation of the right reverend Prelate behind me (the Bishop of Chester), for whom I may be permitted to say I entertain the most sincere respect. That right reverend Prelate has said, that he could not consent, on this occasion, to raise his voice in condemnation of his Majesty's Ministers, although he disapproved of the plan proposed by them. My Lords, I, too, wish to be understood, in the observations which I am about to address to you, as meaning to say nothing unnecessarily disrespectful to his Majesty's Ministers. My remarks will be made against the measure, and not against the men. And yet, my Lords, I shall not be restrained by any apprehension of incurring the censure of a noble Lord who has recently addressed you, of being called factious, or belonging to a faction—an accusation pretty liberally bestowed of late on those who have considered it their duty on public grounds, to oppose a public measure—I say, my Lords, I shall not be restrained by any apprehension of being charged as a member of a faction from speaking as becomes a member of your Lordships' House; and if I shall find it necessary to offer any very strong observations against the measure, I shall not scruple to do so; trusting, that the noble Earl at the head of His Majesty's Government, and his colleagues, will understand that I wish my observations to apply as little as possible to them, but as much as possible to the measure itself. I say this the more readily, because I do not think that there are many among those noble Lords, although officially responsible for the measure, who know what that measure really is.

My Lords, I do not make this charge on slight grounds; for when I hear noble Lords who have spoken in defence of the new plan, particularly the noble and learned Lord (Lord Plunkett) declare, that the principle of it has been sanctioned by all the Commissions and Committees that have hitherto devoted their labours to the consideration of this subject, it is plain to my understanding that they know not what this new plan really is. My Lords, instead of being the same in principle as that which has been recommended by the Reports of previous Commissions and Committees, I affirm, that the present measure not only has not the sanction of those Reports, but is in direct opposition to them all. If, therefore, my Lords, I establish this point to the satisfaction of your Lordships, I think I shall stand excused for saying that I very much doubt or rather I do much more than doubt, whether the noble Lords know what this measure really is.

My Lords, I will now beg leave to refer to the letter addressed to the noble Duke at the head of the New Board of Education, whom I am most happy to see in his place, from the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland, and I will beg leave, from that letter, which is the formal and official exposition of the new plan of national education in Ireland, to show what that plan is. It may be considered as dividing itself into three distinct particulars, as respects—first, the moral and literary instruction which it is proposed to afford to Protestants and to Roman Catholics in common; secondly, the separate religious instruction of Protestants; thirdly, the separate religions instruction of the Roman Catholics. From an examination of these several parts, I will undertake to show, that the real principle of this national plan of education is to exclude Scripture altogether from some of the schools supported by the State; and to lay the least possible stress on Scripture as a part of that education in all. In truth, my Lords, strange as it may seem, this official exposition of the plan, I mean Mr. Stanley's letter, from the point at which it commences the development of his plan, is so constructed, as to avoid the very mention of Scripture at all.

First, as respects the common instruction of Protestants and Catholics, this is the provision:—

'They will require that the schools be kept open for a certain number of hours, on four or five days of the week, at the discretion of the Commissioners, for moral and literary education only. They will exercise the most entire control over all books to be used in the schools; none to be employed in the combined moral and literary instruction, except under the sanction of the Board.'

Now, your Lordships will see here is no mention of any book of Scripture to be introduced; no, not even of a book containing extracts of Scripture. I know it has been a ground of complaint against the plan, that extracts are proposed to be given from the Scriptures, and not the Scriptures themselves. This is matter of complaint which has been frequently adverted to in petitions to this House; and some of your Lordships also have made the same complaint. My Lords, my complaint is of a contrary kind. I complain, not that books of extracts of Scripture are to be used in these schools of moral instruction, but that they are not to be there used. My Lords, if volumes of well-chosen extracts from the Bible were to be used in the schools at the time of common instruction, I should not think it reasonable to complain, that the whole Bible is to be reserved for the times of separate religious instruction. I should think this no more than a fair concession to the peculiar circumstances of the case; but, my Lords, there is absolutely no security whatever, that all books containing extracts from the Scriptures are not to be excluded—rather, there is actual proof that all such books will be excluded—as far as regards the moral instruction of both Protestants and Roman Catholics.

I will take upon myself to show this presently; but, in the meanwhile, let me go on to state what the provisions of this plan are for the religious instruction of Protestants. 'They,' the Commissioners, will exercise the most entire control over all books to be used in the schools; in the separate religious instruction none are to be employed, but with the approbation of those members of the Board who are of the same religious persuasion with the children for whose use they are intended.' Why, then, my Lords, it is clear that there is no other security for the use of the Bible, even in the religious instruction of Protestants, than that derived from the character of the individuals composing that commission, and upon that point I shall speak presently.

I observe that some noble Lords are disposed to think that I am inclined to cavil upon this point, but I think when I come to enter further into the question, I shall prove to them that I have too good ground for the opinion which I have expressed.

With regard to the separate religious instruction of Roman Catholics, the provisions are the same as for the separate religious instruction of the Protestants; neither the Old, nor the New Testament is required—all is to be left to the Commissioners of the two several persuasions.

Such is a general view of this new plan of national education. I proceed to a more particular inquiry into its three several parts.

In respect to the first part, I think I shall make it plain, that the principle of this measure, so far as regards the joint moral and literary instruction of Protestants and Roman Catholics, is completely to exclude the use of the Bible, whether entire, or in extracts. In doing this, I fear that I must pray the indulgence of your Lordships for some trespass on your time, because I feel it necessary to have recourse to documentary evidence; and yet, however tedious that may be—and still more tedious the observations which I may consider it necessary to make on those documents—I venture to be confident that your Lordships will patiently bear with me, not only because I have not trespassed on your attention before, and am not likely often to do so again—but much more in consideration of the great importance of the question now before you.

My Lords, I have said that the Holy Scriptures, whether in the entire volume, or in the form of extracts, are, in fact, excluded from the proposed plan of general education; and I think that this will appear in the clearest possible light, if I show that the exclusion or non-exclusion of them must depend on the good pleasure of the Board, and that there is one person placed upon this Board, who is not only likely, but whose duty it is, to exclude them.

My Lords, it must be borne in mind, that this letter of the right hon. Secretary refers to the acts of a preceding Commission, which took place some years ago—I mean the Commission of 1824–27, at which latter period their labours were concluded. My Lords, the Reports of that Commission furnished ample details of the opinions of the Roman Catholics, with whom they communicated. The Commissioners felt the great importance of the principle, that a literary and moral education should be based on the Scriptures, their formal communication with Dr. Murray, on the subject of common instruction, a minute of which was made at the time, they thus express themselves:—The Commissioners then stated that they could not consider any system of education as deserving the name, which should not seek to lay the foundation of all moral obligation in religious instruction.'—(So little notion had these wise and good men of any system of common instruction which should be moral and literary only.) They, therefore, 'inquired of Dr. Murray whether it would be objected to, on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy, that the more advanced of the Protestant and Roman Catholic children should, at certain times during school-hours, read portions of the Holy Scriptures together, out of their respective versions, subject to proper regulations, and in the presence of their respective Protestant and Roman Catholic teachers?' Dr. Murray answered, that serious difficulties would exist in the way of such an arrangement; but he suggested an expedient—that of introducing collections from the Scripture and books of extracts. Dr. Murray said, no 'objection would be made to a harmony of the gospels being used in the general education, which the children could receive in common, nor to a volume containing extracts from the Psalms, Proverbs, and Book of Ecclesiasticus; nor to a volume containing the history of the creation, of the deluge, of the patriarchs, of Joseph, and of the deliverance of the Israelites, extracted from the Old Testament; and that he was satisfied no difficulties in arranging the details of such works would arise on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy.' Thus it appears that the expedient of having books of extracts and collections from Scripture was first suggested by Dr. Murray; and that he then contemplated giving these extracts from the authorised Protestant version, is plain from what occurred at a subsequent meeting.

My Lords, on the occasion to which I have already referred, Dr. Murray came alone, and made this statement before the Commissioners; but in a few days after- wards he returned, bringing with him the three other titular Roman Catholic Archbishops of Ireland, and he said, 'It appears to be the wish of these gentlemen,'—(not at all implying that it was so much a matter of wish to himself, and certainly implying that it was not a matter of conscience or principle to any of them).—it appears to be the wish of these gentlemen that anything given in the shape of Scripture should be in the Douay version for the Catholic children.' Thus the matter stood on the 8th of January, 1825; yet on the 16th of December of the same year, it will be found that he positively objected, as of conscience and necessity, to anything being read, as Scripture, in the presence of the Roman Catholic children, unless it was in the Douay version; he retracted, in short, all he had said, and objected to the use of any hooks that should give any part of our Lord's own words, unless it was in that version. But he went further, and said that it was contrary to the discipline of the Catholic Church, that any books whatever should be placed in the hands of the Roman Catholic children, in which there was even a quotation from the Bible of the Established Church, where that Bible differed from the Douay version. Thus it became apparent, that no books of extracts from Scripture, as Scripture, no moral instruction based on the Word of God, as such, could be admitted into the schools of common instruction, unless the Bishops of the Protestant Church would consent altogether to forego the use of their own version, the only version, I must be permitted to remind your Lordships, which the Law of the land acknowledges as the Word of God. Not a text, or even a reference to it, would be tolerated by the Roman Catholics, if the reference to it were made as to the Scriptures—so decidedly were they opposed, within the short period of ten months, to their former statement in respect of the facilities which they were willing to afford to one common principle of instruction, and in order to promote the objects which the Commissioners had in view.

And yet, my Lords. I must be permitted to remark, that whenever it may seem necessary, or possibly, expedient for Dr. Murray and his friends to act on a somewhat different principle from that which they have here announced, they find no difficulty in doing so. No doubt your Lordships will all remember that it was made a matter of great triumph, and adduced by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, as a convincing proof of the liberal and Christian spirit of Dr. Murray, that a paper containing the first lesson set forth to be used under the new system, was moved for adoption by Dr. Murray; which lesson is to be suspended in every school, and enforced upon the mind of every scholar—a lesson,—most certainly, of a highly laudable nature,—a lesson of Christian benevolence towards those with whom we differ in religious belief. Now, that very lesson contains citations from the Holy Scriptures in the version of the Church of England, even in texts where that version differs from the Rhemish, (I say Rhemish, because that word, in strictness, refers to the translation of the New Testament, as the Douay version does to the Old, and, as I have said, is to be stuck upon the walls of every school. This, I repeat, was proposed by Dr. Murray, although he had joined before in saying, or, by his silence, had acquiesced in the saying, of his brother Prelates, to the Commissioners of 1825, that it was contrary to the discipline of the Roman Catholic Church that the Roman Catholic children should have any book or extract, with such a reference, placed in their hands. I state this, to show how little confidence can be placed in the sincerity of the Roman Catholic Prelates, in any transactions in which the interests of their Church are concerned.

My Lords, it will be recollected, that the Commission of 1824 abandoned the experiment which they had endeavoured to carry into effect, because they found it impossible to get extracts from the Scriptures to be read in the schools. The consent of the Roman Catholics could not be obtained to the use of our version of the Holy Scriptures, even though they were compelled to admit that their own version was not, strictly speaking, an authorized version; for it never had received any sanction from Rome, and it had been repeatedly altered since its first publication. Our Bishops, on the other hand, could not consent that the Protestant Bible—the only Bible acknowledged by the law of the land—should be abandoned at the demand, or to conciliate the co-operation, of the Roman Catholics. The consequence was, as we very well know, that the Commissioners of 1824 decided that the ex- periment could not go on; for, as a volume, or volumes, of extracts from Scripture were essential, in their judgments, to the proper teaching of morality to Christian children, and as no such volume could be agreed on, nothing remained for them to do but to relinquish an attempt which was thus proved to be hopeless. Now, on this occasion, Dr. Murray said, in a letter addressed to the Commissioners:— I will avail myself of this opportunity to express an opinion which you will not, I am sure, consider at variance with that respect which I sincerely entertain for the Board of Education Inquiry: it is, that the Board has created for itself a very needless difficulty, by requiring, as a matter of necessity, any Scriptural compilation to be used in schools for the purpose of general instruction. It is quite manifest, therefore, that Dr. Murray thinks any such Scriptural volumes unnecessary; and as he has also declared that any Scriptural compilation from the Bible of the Established Church ought not to be used, he will not, and cannot, assent to its introduction into the schools of general instruction. In short, my Lords, he must and will, if he have the power, exclude the Scripture from such schools altogether.

But, my Lords, that he will have the power, I proceed to show to your Lordships—and this not merely from considering the deference which would necessarily be paid to his opinion resting on alleged grounds of religious scruples, but also from a very peculiar circumstance, which will be found to deserve the closest attention of your Lordships. It certainly is most remarkable, that Dr. Murray, or some one in the interest of Dr. Murray, has assumed for him a power which was not intended to be given by Mr. Stanley's letter: no less, in short, than a veto on all books proposed to be used for general instruction; and this object has been effected by foisting in an important word into the regulations of the original.

I am very happy to see in his place this day the noble Duke (the Duke of Leinster) who is at the head of the Board of Irish Education; because I shall be set right in respect of what I call a most unwarrantable and unauthorized alteration of the instructions contained in that letter, if I am incorrect.

My Lords, it will be observed that Mr. Stanley's letter says— It is not designed to exclude from the list of books for the combined instruction such portion of sacred history, or of religious and moral teaching, as may be approved of by the Board. Now, under this regulation, certainly, if the Board at large should think fit that a portion of the Scriptures should be used, any objection on the part of Dr. Murray would be useless.

[The Duke of Leinster.—Hear! hear!]

I am happy to find that the noble Duke acquiesces in this, and calls the attention of your Lordships to it; for I am quite sure that, after I shall have shown what has been done, you will find your attention has not been ill bestowed.

Your Lordships will observe, that a public notice has been given by the Board of Education in Ireland, that they are ready to receive applications for aid on the part of those who may be disposed to establish schools under the direction of the Board.

My Lords, I hold in my hands the public advertisement of the Board to that effect. A noble Lord near me says, in a tone something like that of taunt, that I am quoting from a newspaper. It is very true; but it is the very same document as was cited for a different purpose, without objection from any of your Lordships, some nights ago, by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Plunkett); and I must take leave to say, that an advertisement from a newspaper is as regular a document, and as fit to be cited here, as any other paper which has not been formally laid on your Lordships' Table. I repeat, therefore, that my newspaper is as authorized a document as the noble and learned Lord's sheet, though this latter be of handsomer form, and better type. Now, my Lords, in this advertisement, purporting to be the formal announcement of the Board's new plan of national education, and subscribed by the Secretary to the Board, the rest of the regulation respecting the control of the Board over the books of general instruction is given verbatim according to the terms of Mr. Stanley's letter; but, before the word "Board" is inserted the word "entire," and the effect of the alteration, your Lordships will perceive, is to require the consent of all and every member of the Board to the use of every particular book; thus giving, as I said, a veto to Dr. Murray, and enabling him, even if he stand alone, to exclude all books of extracts of Scripture, or anything else which might displease him, from the list.

Earl Grey

Where is the word? I do not find it here, and this is the paper issued by the Board.

Why, then, my Lords, if the Board has not in its own formal act inserted the word, it is quite plain that there is some power which can effect whatever alteration shall be deemed expedient in the acts of the Board, in spite of the intentions of the Board itself. This advertisement announces to the world the plan of education, and by it the conduct of the public in forming schools will be regulated.

Earl Grey

intimated that he had found the word in his paper.

Oh, then, my Lords, it is in both papers—in the handsome official document, and in the more homely one in my hand, the word is equally to be found; and I cannot be sorry for the doubt which at first existed in the noble Earl's mind on this point, as it must have increased your Lordships' attention to the circumstance, and, at the same time, perhaps, has testified the noble Earl's sense of its importance. I repeat, this word "entire" is something superadded to the instructions of Mr. Stanley—something not in any degree justified by those instructions; and I must take the liberty of saying, further, that it would be satisfactory if the noble Duke, at the head of the Board could inform us how this unauthorized and most improper interpolation was made. I am perfectly satisfied that he was no party to it. I have heard much of the noble Duke's high and honourable character—I am persuaded not too much—and, therefore, I feel myself warranted in affirming, that he never contemplated so important a change in the instructions and powers which the Board received, as is involved in the interpolation of the word "entire."

My Lords, while I am sure it is not the noble Duke's act, I am not sure whose act it was. But this I will say, it is not of English, it is not of Protestant origin—the taint of Jesuit is strong upon it— The offence is rank; it smells to Heaven. Such, my Lords, has been the mode by which power has been given to every single member of the Board—to Dr. Murray, therefore, in particular, who has declared himself bound in conscience to use that power—to exclude all extracts from Scripture, if those extracts be in the version which all Protestants consider—and which alone the law of this land considers —as Scripture, from the schools of common instruction of Protestant and Roman Catholic children.

My Lords, I proceed to the second part of this plan of national education—the separate religious instruction of Protestant children. Here, too, I must remind your Lordships, that we have heard this new plan repeatedly and strongly defended, especially by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, because the several reports of the various Commissioners, and Committees of the House of Commons assert principles in perfect accordance with those upon which the Government plan of education has been founded. Now, I will take the liberty of asserting—and I fearlessly refer your Lordships to the documents themselves, to prove the correctness of my assertion—that, so far from this plan being sanctioned by the previous reports, it is in direct opposition to all of them—in every part of it—and not least in the part to which I am about to invite the attention of your Lordships.

My Lords, the whole control of the religious instruction of the Protestant children of Ireland will be placed, by this plan, in the hands of three Commissioners nominated by the Crown. I need scarcely tell your Lordships, that I entertain for the Protestant portion of the Board the very highest respect; I have already spoken, and shall continue to speak, of the noble Duke at the head of the Board with the most sincere respect; but sure I am your Lordships will agree with me—and I am also sure the noble Duke himself will be perfectly ready to admit—that there is no great probability of his troubling himself much with minutely criticising the religious publications submitted to the Board. The duty of examining them must, then, of necessity, devolve upon the other two Commissioners, namely, the Archbishop of Dublin and Dr. Sadleir. I know both those learned persons, and of both of them I think most highly. Of the Archbishop of Dublin, I will say, that I never knew a man of greater powers, or of a more richly cultivated mind; I never knew a man more strenuous in the pursuit of truth; more fearless in following whithersoever the pursuit may lead him. In short, if ever I knew one man more than another who could be called a strict lover of truth, that man is the Archbishop of Dublin; and, to say of any man that he is a strict lover of truth, amounts to saying that he is one of the best of men. But, having said this, I trust it will not be imagined that I speak invidiously, when I say, that this very ardent love of truth in one, who happens to have erred in the pursuit of it, only makes him the more unsafe as a guide, much more as the absolute arbiter of the opinions of others. In short, my Lords, I must not be afraid of saying, that the known opinions of the Archbishop of Dublin upon an important theological question are opinions which, in a great degree, disqualify him for the situation to which he has been called; that he is disqualified for that situation, not merely because he must be thoroughly ignorant of the state of Ireland—not because he is, therefore, in imminent danger of being duped by the Jesuitism to which I have already adverted—but also because, as I have said, of those opinions.

The opinions of this most reverend Prelate are no secret—they are known, I presume, to most of the noble Lords I have the honour to address. His opinion denying the sacredness of the Sabbath has been put forth to the world, and he is answerable for it to the world. Now, what I say is this, that any man holding such an opinion, and not only holding it, but promulgating it to the world,—is not qualified to have a veto on the books that should be used in the education of Protestant children. Suppose a tract is put into his hand, the theme of which is, "Remember, that thou keep holy the Sabbath day"*—I put it to any man, is he or * What I here said was founded on a note at the end of the fifth Essay in the first edition of the Archbishop's work on "The Difficulties in the Writings of St. Paul." He there denies that the Fourth Commandment is binding upon Christians, and speaks of the observance of the Lord's Day simply as "an observance which has the sanction of the Church," asserting the authority of the Church to make such an appointment. I therefore scrupled not to state this opinion as disqualifying his Grace from being intrusted with the great power, which is given to him by the Commission, over the religious instruction of the children of Ireland. In the course of the debate, I found that the Archbishop had subsequently (in a second edition) guarded his opinion more carefully, and that, while he denies the obligation of the Fourth Commandment, and the divine appointment of the Christian Sabbath, he enforces, on other grounds, "the proper observance of the Lord's Day." I therefore, in my place, retracted the objection, as "having gone too far."—H.E. is he not a person who ought to be intrusted with the power of deciding as to the admissibility of such a tract? My Lords, I perceive, from the demeanour of some noble Lords near me, that they think this language invidious. My Lords, I disclaim any such intention. I mean nothing invidious. I, in common with the great body of the clergy of the Church of England, and with all, I believe, of my right reverend Brethren near me, hold that this opinion is erroneous—I impute error, but nothing more than error; and I lament to think, in these days, that a man must either be supposed insincere himself, or to ascribe insincerity to another, if he gives him credit for conscientiously avowing and maintaining an error.

But, my Lords, the case stops not here. Much worse consequences may flow from the principle on which this Commission is founded. The present Ministers would not, I dare say, advance a man to the Episcopal Bench in Ireland who holds Socinian or Arian opinions. They would not knowingly do so. But there have been instances of such appointments; even in our own times there was an Irish Bishop defamed as a Socinian. I will suppose such a man appointed to the Archiepiscopal See of Dublin, and to a seat at this Board, and then I find a Socinian vested with full power to control the religious sentiments of the rising generation of Ireland.

But, my Lords, the whole of this part of the measure is a flagrant violation of the spirit, and, I believe, even of the letter of the law of the land; it is, too, a gross usurpation upon the rights of the clergy of Ireland.

By the statute law, it is the duty of the Protestant clergy of that country to make provision for the education of the people. The earliest Act to which I think it necessary to refer your Lordships, is an Irish Act of Parliament of the 28th of Henry 8th. This Act, after stating "the importance of a good instruction in the most blessed laws of Almighty God;" and after further stating "his Majesty's disposition and zeal, that a certain direction and order be had, that all of his (Irish) subjects should the better know God, and do that thing which might in time be, and redound to our wealth, quiet, and commodity," proceeds, after other matters, to require an oath to be administered to every clergyman at ordination, and another at institu- tion, that he will keep, or cause to be kept, a school for to learn English, &c. And this is re-enacted by the 7th William 3rd, c. 4, (Irish). These provisions, as I presume, I need not inform your Lordships, impose no obligation upon the beneficed clergy to maintain those schools at their own expense; they merely convey to them a power, and impose on them an obligation, of seeing that these schools be established, and that no higher rate of payment be charged than the customary rate. In truth, this act does little more than add a pecuniary penalty to the sacred obligation which, without any such statute, would have been imposed upon the clergy of attending to the instruction of the young. It is their duty upon much higher grounds than those which any Act of Parliament can impose; for, at their ordination, they receive a power, and at institution they receive the assignment of a particular place in which to execute that power, of preaching the word of God; and, by preaching, as I scarcely need tell your Lordships, is not meant merely the delivery of sermons, but the whole spiritual care of their flocks. But the letter of the Chief Secretary for Ireland not only interferes with the obligation involved in the Ministerial office, so far as concerns this most important particular of the cure of souls—the religious instruction of the children of the poor—but it also puts an end, or professes to put an end, to the obligations which positive Statutes have created;—for it, in effect, takes out of the hands of the parochial clergy that right and duty of superintendence with which several Statutes have invested them. This, i presume, will be considered by most noble Lords as the assumption of something very like a dispensing power. Be this as it may, three Commissioners are nominated by the Crown, who are to possess the absolute power of dictating what shall be the religious instruction given to the children of Ireland; thus taking from the parochial clergy in Ireland that which the laws of God and man had intrusted to their fidelity and discretion.

Now, my Lords, we are told that this plan is perfectly identical with that which was over and over again recommended by different Committees and Commissions. But so far is this from being correct that the Commission of 1824 left this matter wholly and expressly in the hands of the clergy. The first Report of that Commis- sion, at great length, asserts and establishes the right of the clergy, by Statute, to the superintendence of the instruction of the children of Ireland; and the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons in 1828 left the selection of books for the religious instruction of the Protestant children to the Bishops of the Church in general, who might be considered as the fit representatives of the clergy. But this new plan absolutely flies in the face of all that went before; and yet noble Lords, and noble and learned Lords, defend this plan on the ground of its being founded on the very same principles.

But I come to the third part of this new scheme of national education, and I ask, how does it provide for the religious instruction of the Roman Catholic children?

My Lords, I am not prepared to say that it is the duty of the State to insist on all persons learning in the Bible; but this I say, that it is the duty of the State not to aid in any form of education which excludes the Bible; this I say, that all persons should have free access to the Bible, whether they will avail themselves of it or not. We should recollect that the preservation of a free access to the Scriptures is a duty imposed upon us by the law of God, and especially, that every Protestant Legislature, as such, is bound to take care that the people committed to its charge enjoy that privilege in its fullest extent; is bound to see that, neither directly nor indirectly, it makes itself a party to any measure adverse to this prime and fundamental Protestant principle.

In making these statements, however, I am perfectly willing to admit, that, in the present peculiar state of Ireland, it would be at once unwise and cruel not to give more than the Protestant version of the Scriptures. All that I contend for is, the duty of a Protestant Legislature and a Protestant Government to see that a version of the Scriptures, of some kind or other be accessible to all; and that it be actually used in the instruction of all, for whose education the State shall undertake to provide. Yet this the Roman Catholic hierarchy will not now permit. In truth, it cannot have escaped the attention of your Lordships, that the present demands of that hierarchy are of a much more lofty character than those which they urged at a former period; though, to do them justice, their declared principles were then the same as now. In proof of this, I will refer to a petition of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland to the House of Commons, presented in 1824, and published in the first Report of the Commissioners of 1824, page 1. The words are these:— That the religious instruction of youth, in Catholic schools is always conveyed by means of catechetical instruction, daily prayers, and the reading of religious books, wherein the gospel morality is explained and inculcated; that Roman Catholics have ever considered the reading of the sacred Scriptures by children as an inadequate means of imparting to them religious instruction, as an usage whereby the word of God is made liable to irreverence, youth exposed to misunderstand its meaning, and thereby not unfrequently to receive, in early life, impressions which may afterwards prove injurious to their own best interests, as well as to those of the society which they are destined to form. Such were the sentiments of the Roman Catholic Bishops at the period to which I refer, deliberately laid before the other House of Parliament. I shall now request your Lordships' attention to another document, which I think not less interesting than important, for the purpose of illustrating and sustaining the positions which it is my object to enforce. I allude to an encyclical letter from Pope Leo 12th against the use of the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, dated 3rd May, 1824, and published in Ireland with "Pastoral Instructions to all the Faithful," by the Roman Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, and is to the following effect:— We also, venerable brethren, in conformity with our apostolic duty, exhort you to turn away your flock, by all means, from these poisonous pastures (the Scriptures in the vulgar tongue); reprove, beseech, be instant in season, and out of season, in all patience and doctrine, that the faithful intrusted to you (adhering strictly to the rules of our congregation of the Index) be persuaded that if the sacred Scriptures be everywhere indiscriminately published, more evil than advantage will arise thence, on account of the rashness of men. To this passage the Irish Prelates, in their Pastoral Instructions, refer in the following terms:— Our holy father reccommends to the observance of the faithful a rule of the congregation of the Index which prohibits the perusal of the sacred Scriptures in the vulgar tongue, without the sanction of the competent authorities. His holiness wisely remarks, that more evil than good is found to result from the indiscriminate perusal of them, &c. In this sentiment of our head and chief we fully concur. My Lords, you have here before you the solemn judgment of the head of the Roman Catholic Church; you have likewise before you the solemn judgment of the whole Irish Roman Catholic hierarchy. I will next state what an individual of that body—the most influential among them—Dr.Doyle—has said of his own separate sentiments—separate only in the sense, that he speaks in his individual capacity, but in no respect different from the general sentiments of the body. He says,— The Scriptures alone have never saved any one: they are incapable of giving salvation; it is not their object; it is not the end for which they were written. "These are his sentiments, though St. Paul tells us that the Scriptures" are able to make us wise unto salvation." Dr. Doyle goes on to say,— They hold a dignified place amongst the means of the institution which Christ formed for the purpose of saving his elect; but if they never had been written, this end would be obtained, and all who were pre-ordained to eternal life would have been gathered to the Church, and fed with the breath of life."* Such are the notions of Dr. Doyle respecting Scripture, and not of Dr. Doyle only, but of all the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland. They will act in conformity to these notions, and, armed with the authority of this commission, they will expel the Scriptures from the religious instruction of all their schools, even of those which are maintained at the expense of this Protestant State!

But, my Lords, does this accord with the recommendation of the Commissioners of Irish education of 1824? So far from it, that they laid it down as a fundamental, an indispensable principle, that the Testament should be put in the hands of all children, Roman Catholics as well as Protestants. This was a matter which they would not permit to be brought even into question—they insisted upon it as essential (their own word, my Lords), and they required the Roman Catholic Prelates to furnish them with a version of the New Testament for the purpose. They per- * Letters of J. K. L., p. 164. mitted, indeed, that notes should be subjoined, requiring only that these notes should not contain matter of reasonable offence to Protestants. My Lords, I have pleasure in bearing testimony to the fairness and fidelity with which this has been accomplished. I have pleasure in saying, that I have read those notes, and have found in them nothing whatever which can afford fair ground of offence to any reasonable Protestant.

My Lords, the Commissioners of 1824 insisted, I repeat, on this Testament being used in the religious instruction of the Roman Catholics, and on the children reading in it, not only the epistles and gospels of the Sundays, but the epistles and gospels of the whole week, including a large portion of the New Testament.

My Lords, the Committee of the House of Commons of 1828 followed in the same line. They, too, required, that this New Testament should be printed and supplied to the national schools for the religious instruction of the Roman Catholic children:— Resolved, that it is the opinion of the Committee, that copies of the new Testament, &c. should be provided for the use of the children, to be read in school, &c., the established version for the use of the Protestant scholars, and the version published with the approval of the Roman Catholic Bishops for the children of that communion. Such was the resolution of the Committee of 1828; but the new plan abandons the Testament altogether. It does so, even though it professes to carry into effect the Report of that Committee—it does so, even though some special management (I wish not to use the word in an invidious sense, but simply to state the fact, that some management) was necessary to effect the purpose. My Lords, on looking to No. 6 of the Regulations of page 5. of the Report of the Committee, and comparing it with No. 5. of the Regulations in Mr. Stanley's letter, your Lordships will perceive what I mean. In the latter, all mention of supplying "books of religious instruction" (which included Testaments) is studiously omitted, even where that letter is copying the very part of the Report which requires such a supply. Why, my Lords, is this; Why is it, that, in the plan of the present Board of Education which professes to carry into execution the recommendation of that Committee, there is no provision made for the supply of Testaments to any school in Ireland? Because, my Lords, the power which dictates to Government, in all that concerns the interests or the wishes of the Roman Catholic Church, has chosen to demand the sacrifice—has chosen to demand, that the Bible should be altogether excluded from their schools. To this power our Protestant Government has consented to surrender that which never before was permitted even to be asked.

My Lords, I have now gone through the various parts of this new scheme of national Education, and I think its merits may be fairly summed up in this brief abstract. It has divorced morality from the Word of God—it has controlled the Protestant priesthood in the exercise of one of their most essential rights, and in the discharge of one of their most important duties—subjecting them to a tyranny which the laws neither of God nor of man have authorized. It has conspired with the Roman Catholic hierarchy to arrest the progress of the Book of Life—to exclude that blessed book for ever (as vain man fondly deems) from every cabin of every peasant in Ireland—and to consign the unhappy peasant himself to a deeper, deadlier state of darkness and of bondage.

My Lords, I have done—I have said what I had to say, and I thank your Lordships for the patience with which you have heard me. Be assured that I will not often trespass on that patience. My Lords, in the part which I have now taken, I have only endeavoured to discharge some portion of the duty which I owe to the high office in which I am placed. For why is it, my Lords, that we Bishops sit here? Why are men of our spiritual function called to mingle in the counsels of you, the mighty ones of this world, and to bear our part in legislating for the land? Why is this strict union of Church and State?—an union which, for many more centuries than I can number, has been the glory and security of England. Why, I ask, is this? Is it to make the Church political? No, my Lords; in the language of the most venerable man among you—one of whom, as he is now absent, I can more freely express my gratitude and admiration—I mean the noble and learned Earl who for so many years sat on that Woolsack—it is not to make the Church political, but to make the State religious. Therefore my Lords, it is that we sit here. We sit among you mainly and chiefly (not, indeed, solely, but mainly and chiefly) that we may be at all times ready, when occasion shall demand, to instil into your counsels the holy lessons of gospel truth▀×to watch over the best and highest interests of those for whom you legislate—to raise our warning voice against every attempt, from whatever quarter it may proceed, to sever policy from religion, or to sacrifice the smallest particle of that pure faith, for which your forefathers, my Lords, drove a bigot from his throne, and our predecessors were content to be led by his beadles to a gaol! My Lords, I stand before you a Bishop of the united Church of England and of Ireland—the united Church, I say—for never may we forget that it is united—Never! never! never!—least of all, in this dark hour of suffering to the Irish branch, of common trial, of common peril (it may be both) to both. I stand here, and implore your Lordships to give your most serious attention to the high religious interests, aye, and I must be permitted to add, the high religious duties, which are involved in this night's question. I stand here, and conjure you to cast off, for one brief hour, all inferior thoughts, and to remember only that you are Christian legislators.

My Lords, four-and-twenty hours have scarcely passed since we humbled ourselves in the House of God, deploring the sins of a guilty people, and beseeching him to avert the fearful scourges which those sins have merited. We all, then, "humbly acknowledged that, through our neglect of God's ordinances, through our misuse of God's bounties, offences have multiplied in the land." My Lords, of all those ordinances the most sacred is the due and free use of his Holy Word—of all those bounties, the most precious is the gift of that Holy Word. And will you, then, my Lords, on this, the first night of your assembling together after that solemn service—will you join in dereliction of your first duty—in deserting the cause of God's own Word? My Lords, I have no right to speak to you of my own feelings—if I had, I would entreat, I would beseech you—I would not, indeed, imitate the eloquent action of the most eloquent of living men—I would not bend my knee n prayer to you, for I pray not to mortal man—but if reverence did not forbid me to mingle the attitude and the words of prayer with the excitement of this debate, I would humbly pray to Him, whose poor and worthless creatures we all are—aye, my Lords, the highest and the proudest, no less than the lowliest and the meekest—I would pray to Him, that He would bow the hearts of all here as of one man, "to put away the accursed thing from among you"—to disclaim all part in this most unhallowed work, even though the name and the seal of our gracious Sovereign be upon it.

My Lords, that name and that seal, affixed to such a commission—in execution of such purposes—by such instruments—fill the mind with strange musings; awaken affecting recollections; invite, perhaps, to some comparisons. But I forbear—I will not be further stirred by them, than to warn the counsellors of a gracious Prince—all whose thoughts, and wishes, and intentions, are, we know, for the good and happiness of his people—to warn them, ere it be too late—while thrones are tottering, and crowns are falling around us—while they themselves are reminding us, most properly and most wisely—I thank them for it—while they are reminding us, that even now God's judgments are in the earth—to warn them, I say, that He, by whom Kings reign, may be provoked to say again, what He once said to a monarch whom He had Himself placed over His own chosen people—"Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king over Israel."

The Bishop of Chichester thought it must be admitted on all hands that there was a great want of education in Ireland, and that it could be no matter of surprise that the condition of that country in this respect should have so often attracted the attention of so many successive Governments, and thereby led to the appointment of various Commissions, and had also given occasion to so many Committees of the House of' Commons. With reference to such a subject, he felt that he ought, as a minister of religion, to avail himself of the earliest opportunity to declare his sentiments, more especially after certain observations which had just fallen from his right rev. friend on this subject, which he felt it necessary to controvert. It appeared to him that his right rev. friend had altogether kept out of sight the very peculiar nature of this experimental plan; he had looked at this scheme of education as a virtual exclusion of the Bible, and a giving up of Protestant principles. If he (the Bishop of Chichester) thought such would be the effect of the system proposed, he was the last man in that House to give his assent to it; but, he thought that, in so considering it, the right rev. Prelate took a hasty and partial view of the question. No one could deny, that there was a great want of education in Ireland; and that, if this scheme of education was rejected, education could not be extended, for the Catholics would not send their children to school at all. Those who opposed this scheme kept out of sight the peculiar nature of the country for which the plan was designed. It was an experimental plan, for a people of whom the vast majority were Catholic. The question, under these circumstances was, whether a benevolent Government should not devise some plan of education by which, without offending the prejudices of the Catholics, they could induce them to send their children to the public schools for education? This had been their object, and accordingly it was proposed, that the children should be occupied for five days of the week in a moral and miscellaneous education, and during a part of those five days they were also to receive religions education. The other two days of the week were to be exclusively devoted to religious instruction, and the children were to be allowed to read the Bible at home. There was no person who would not say, that this portion of the week for the religious education of children was quite sufficient. He would quote the words of a great writer and a good Protestant—of Locke, who, in his Treatise on Education, said— The reading of the whole Scriptures indifferently is what I think very inconvenient for children, till, after having been made acquainted with the plainest fundamental parts of it, they have got some kind of general view of what they ought principally to believe and practise. With this opinion he entirely concurred, and he could quote others of an equally decided nature, by other men of high attainments, of great talents, and of sound Christian principle. There was the opinion of Mr. Burke, who was another good Protestant, and who came to the same conclusion as Mr. Locke on the subject of putting the Bible into the hands of children. Mr. Burke said— The Scripture is no one summary of doctrine digested in such a manner that no man can mistake his way in reading it—it is a most valuable book, indeed, but of a multifarious description. It treats of cosmogony, of legislation, of ethics; it is divided into different books, written by different authors, in different ages, and for different ends and purposes. It is necessary, in giving it to children, that there should be selected out of it those parts which are to be examined—those which should be used as directions—those which are arguments ad hominem—those which are merely recommendations, and those which impose positive obligations—those which are appropriate to one state of man, and those which are proper for all Christians whatever. Yet that was the book, so described by Mr. Burke, which the Government were blamed for not putting at once and entire into the hands of uneducated plough-boys. It would not be supposed that any man was to spend the whole of his time in the perusal of the Scriptures. That surely was not the argument, neither did he think that any very large portion of the time spent in school should be devoted to Biblical study. He found, as far his limited experience went, that the people of Scotland were well instructed in the principles of the Christian faith, and the humblest among them was well acquainted with, at least, the important and practical portions of the Holy Scriptures. A friend of his, who was much better acquainted with Scotland than he could pretend to be, had told him that the religious education of the children was chiefly effected at home—that in the schools very little time, indeed, was exclusively devoted to religious instruction; that in some of the schools parts of the Bible were selected for reading; but, that the main support of the religious education of the children of Scotland was to be found in the domestic instruction of their parents, and he thought that to be among the best means of affording them religious education. Under these circumstances, he could not conceive that any blame rested with the Government for the plan they had now proposed. Having thus expressed his opinion on the plan itself, he must just refer, for one moment, to what had been said about the Archbishop of Dublin and his opinions, and those observations, he must say, he thought had been somewhat invidiously introduced. He had not the honour of knowing that most rev. Prelate, and, perhaps, he might not have read his books with the attention which the right rev. Prelate had paid to them, but he must express his belief that the Archbishop had not denied the sacredness of the Sabbath. It appeared to him that the Archbishop had not denied the sacredness of the Sabbath, but had only argued to show that the causes of its origin were not entirely what they were supposed to be. The right rev. Prelate had spoken as if the effect of this scheme of education would be, to exclude religious books altogether. That was, however, a mistake. The right rev. Prelate, too, appeared to fear the influence of Dr. Murray too much. Surely if his conduct became unreasonable, there could be no doubt that the noble Duke at the head of the Commission would have firmness enough to make such Representations as would lead to the exclusion of that individual. But he did not fear that such a course would become necessary. Under these circumstances, he should support the plan proposed by the Government, and give his vote against the Resolution moved by the noble Earl opposite.

Lord Montagu

begged to say one word, in consequence of what had fallen from the right rev. Prelate on the subject of education in Scotland, there being no Representatives of the Scotch Church in that House. What he wished to state was, that in Scotland the Bible was considered a most essential book in advancing the education of youth.

The Earl of Radnor

was very glad that he had yielded precedence to the right rev. Prelate who had just addressed them, for the answer he had given to the former right rev. Prelate was most complete and satisfactory. Still, however, he could not reconcile it to his own feelings to remain altogether silent as to the observations of that right rev. Prelate. With respect to the latter part of the speech of the right rev. Prelate which had been evidently worked up with much care and labour, he must express his astonishment, especially as against all who differed from him in opinion he had vented his anathema. To that right rev. Prelate he would say, that he did not yield to any man in his attachment to religion, or in his anxiety to promote its interests; that he had seen with fear and dismay the symptoms of the times, so much so that it sometimes appeared to him that the judgments of God had become visible upon earth; but he denied that he acted in opposition to those judgments when he voted, as he should most cordially and sincerely vote, in opposition to the Motion which had been proposed to their Lordships. The right rev. Prelate had uttered his anathema against those who differed from him. He did not join the right rev. Prelate in that respect, and least of all could he join with him in that with which he had concluded. The right rev. Prelate appeared to even pin his loyalty on this point, and had assumed to himself the voice and the words of the Holy Prophet—words which the Holy Prophet addressed to the Throne—and the right rev. Prelate, using the words addressed to the king of Israel, uttered a warning that they might not again be addressed to a king—"because you have rejected the word of God, he hath rejected you." Their Lordships and the people would determine whether the mode adopted by the right rev. Prelate was the best that could be adopted for the support of the cause of religion and charity. It was often said, that in this world wonders never ceased, and so it really seemed from what had occurred on the discussion of this question. Those who agreed with the right rev. Prelate contributed to the agitation of Ireland by the numbers of the people they collected together, and to whom they talked of the Bible being taken away from them; and these meetings were collected together, and these cries were put forth by those who complained of agitation in that country. The right rev. Prelate had mistaken the words of Mr. Stanley's letter. If the right rev. Prelate had read the letter correctly, he would see that the use of the Scripture without note or comment was there spoken of [hear, hear]. That remark was cheered by noble Lords opposite, as if there was no difference between the use of the Scriptures and the use of the Scriptures without note or comment. Why, twenty-five years had not elapsed since the time when the Bible Societies began their labours, and a great outcry was then made by the orthodox against the distribution of the Bible without note or comment, and without the Prayer-book accompanying it. At that time three-fourths of the Bishops would have deprecated the introduction of the Bible without note or comment. But now, when the tables were turned, and the Roman Catholic made the same objection, then the orthodox became of a different opinion. He thought that the Bible without note or comment should be distributed, and that each sect should employ it in teaching their followers according to their own particular opinions. The right rev. Prelate had attacked Dr. Murray, as if that rev. personage was the only Bishop who had ever changed his opinion. He believed that the right rev. Prelate himself had, on one occasion, changed his opinions, and would probably change them again, if he saw sufficient reason to believe himself mistaken. He thought the constitution of the Board, as now proposed, was the best that could be adopted with a view to the benefit of the Church of England. An appellation had been applied to the Romish Church in Ireland, of a kind of which good taste should have prevented the use; but, if the appellation had any resemblance to the object to which it was applied, it should be remembered that, as they grew old, like other bodies, they lost their charms, and, as men became wiser, they lost the number of their followers. Let them remember this, and supply the education which would hasten the detection of their followers. The right rev. Prelate spoke as if they were about to sap the foundation of religion. He denied it, and he maintained that he and those who were with him were entitled to the belief that they, as honestly and as conscientiously, and with as full an attachment to religion as their opponents, supported the plan which had been proposed by his Majesty's Government.

The Bishop of Exeter

wished to be allowed to say a few words in reply to the remarks of the noble Earl, and hoped their Lordships would extend their courtesy so far as to allow him to defend himself against the insinuations of the noble Earl. The noble Earl had insinuated against him that he had changed his opinions, and was ready to change them again.

The Marquis of Clanricarde

rose to order. It was competent to the right rev. Prelate to explain; but it was inconsistent with their Lordships' practices to allow any Peer to enter upon his defence in a second speech.

The Duke of Wellington

said, it was the established courtesy of that House, though, perhaps, not strictly consonant to order, to allow any Peer, against whom a charge was brought, not only to explain what he had said, but also to make a defence; and, he never knew an instance in which a charge was thus made, and the party thus charged refused a hearing.

Lord Holland

admitted, it was usual to extend such courtesy to a Member of their Lordships' House, as he thought that every man should be allowed to defend himself; and, though he himself might be a little out of order, he must say, that the right rev. Prelate would have done as well by abstaining from making invidious remarks on the character or opinions of another Prelate who was necessarily absent, and who, therefore, could not defend himself.

The Bishop of Exeter

did not mean to trespass long on the indulgence of their Lordships, and he must first return his thanks to the noble Earl who had made the insinuation or charge, as it afforded him an opportunity, by the statement of a few facts, of giving it a plain, but he hoped satisfactory, answer. What he was about to say was then known to one of their Lordships, and one who, if he erred in his statement, could immediately contradict him. He referred to the noble Duke lately at the head of his Majesty's Government, and he entreated that noble Duke, if he in the least erred in his statement, to contradict him. He supposed the noble Earl who made this charge concluded that he (the Bishop of Exeter) had pledged himself with the late Administration to give his unqualified support to the Catholic Question. On that question he had always held decided opinions, and he had always thought that concession should not be granted without being accompanied with strong securities. His opinions upon that subject were well known. The noble Duke, when in office, had done him the honour to communicate with him on the subject, and, having stated his intention to propose a measure for the relief of the Catholics, had condescended to ask his opinion; he (the Bishop of Exeter) told the noble Duke the securities he thought necessary; and, having ascertained through the same channel the determination of the Cabinet, he told the noble Duke that he entirely disapproved of the proposed measure, and in all his communications with the noble Duke he took the liberty of telling him that the proposed securities were inadequate. Having made this short statement, he again put it to the noble Duke, who alone knew of the communications, to contradict him if he had stated what was incorrect.

Lord Stourton

had always avoided taking a part in similar discussions; and, in so doing, he hoped that he was interpreting correctly the feelings of the House, as well as following his own. He certainly dissented entirely from the opinions and the tenets that he had heard often ascribed to persons of his religious belief. But yet he abstained from any expression of his own sentiments, and mingling in discussions that might, in his regard, appear to be somewhat of a personal nature. If he departed from this general rule upon the present occasion, it was singly and solely because the tenet ascribed to Roman Catholics of withholding the Scripture from the people, which had been rebutted by a noble Duke, a friend of his, had been again attributed to the Roman Catholics by the right rev. Prelate, who immediately followed that noble Duke in this debate, and he wished, therefore, to bring before the House the evidence of Dr. Doyle, as taken upon oath before their Lordships' Committee in 1825. And the noble Lord who opened the debate had acknowledged that Dr. Doyle was authority on those points. Dr. Doyle was asked, "In the address of the Roman Catholic Bishops to their clergy, published at the end of last year, and to which your name is affixed, it appears that you object to the possession of the Bible by the Roman Catholic laity: does that apply to the Bible attempted to be circulated by the Bible Society, or does it equally apply to any other version of the Scriptures, such as that called the Rheims or Douay Version?" "It applies to the version sought to be circulated by the Bible Society amongst us, and not to the Rhemish or Douay Version, which is sanctioned by our Prelates. That we have no aversion to the reading of the Bible, and the possession of it by the laity of our churches is best proved by the great many editions it has gone through in Ireland, under our express sanction, and to which edition there is affixed a Rescript of Pius the 6th, directed to a Prelate in Italy, called Martini, who had translated the Bible out of the Vulgate into the Italian language. We prefix this Rescript of Pius the 6th to our editions in English of the Bible, in order to show that not only we, but the head of our Church is joined with us, in exhorting the faithful to read the Word of God. We have not only procured editions of the Bible, I believe three by Coyne, two by O'Reilly, and one by Cross (perhaps it is two); but this very year we have procured a stereotype edition of the Bible, of a small print and low price, to circulate it among all. So that of all things said of us, there is not any thing said of us more opposed to truth, than that we are averse to the circulation of the Word of God." "Have the editions which have been circulated of the Douay or Rheims translations been accompanied with notes?" "They have very short notes." "You think it necessary that notes should accompany the Bible for the purpose of explanation?" "In our country, where religious controversy prevails to such an extent, I do think it necessary that short notes, explanatory of the texts, on which our differences turn, should be prefixed to the Bible." He would say only one word as to Dr. Murray, a person exercising episcopal functions in Dublin, whose name had been brought before the House. Of that right rev. person he must affirm, that he knew no one who, from his great talents and virtues, and amiable, and mild, and conciliatory character, was more calculated to render important and valuable services to a country, in which conciliation and forbearance and charity were the highest requisites, as leading to that tranquillity and concord which was so truly and eminently desirable.

The Earl of Roden

said, it was not his intention to have addressed their Lordships on this occasion, had not particular allusion been made to him for having attended certain meetings of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, who met together for the legal and constitutional purpose of petitioning for a redress of the grievances which they thought they had experienced at the hands of Ministers. He freely confessed that he had attended such meetings, and felt highly honoured in being allowed to unite with so many hundreds of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, in opposition to a system which was levelled directly against their rights and liberties. It was not his intention to occupy much of their Lordships' time on the present occasion, having addressed the House at considerable length on a former evening on the question now under consideration. Nevertheless, he could not refrain from expressing the gratification he felt at hearing the speech which the right reverend Prelate the (Bishop of Exeter) had addressed to their Lordships. It was a speech which did honour to his head and heart, and to the character of the House. That truly Christian Bishop had given utterance to sentiments which must be hailed with joy by the people of this country. Standing in the high and responsible situation which the right reverend Prelate filled, he had expressed opinions which would gain for him the esteem of all good men. It would be necessary for him to bring back the attention of the House to the question before them, which had, in some degree, been lost sight of, by the introduction of circumstances totally unconnected with it. The question was, whether the system of education proposed by Ministers was calculated to prove beneficial to Ireland? and whether the Kildare-street Society had not answered every purpose for which it was constituted, considering the means placed at its disposal? On a former occasion he had proved to their Lordships that the Kildare-street Society, which took the unmutilated Scriptures as the basis of education, had given satisfaction, not only to the Protestant clergy and people of Ireland, but to the Catholic population themselves. He then stated, that the only individuals opposed to scriptural education were Roman Catholic Priests, and Roman Catholic demagogues, and that the Catholic people, when permitted to indulge their own wishes, were continually flocking to the schools established by the Kildare-street Society. He could state as a fact, that the Catholic children were even more anxious than Protestant children to attend these schools. It was an anomaly in this country to behold a Protestant Government uniting with the Roman Catholic clergy to prevent the Roman Catholic people from enjoying the free use of the Scriptures. He begged to remind their Lordships that he had presented many petitions from different parts of the kingdom, against the system of education proposed to be established in Ireland. There were now lying on their Lordships' Table, upwards of fifty petitions against this system, and only two in its favour. It had been said, that these were not to be considered the petitions of the people, but only those of factious persons, who had got them up to serve their own purposes, and in the same way noble Lords who did not approve of the proposed system, had been accused of being actuated by factious motives. He denied those statements. The petitions which he had presented were signed by persons of various sects and classes. The other day he had presented a petition from the county and city of Cork, signed by nine noblemen, and 4,900 other persons, consisting of Reformers and Anti-reformers, Orangemen and Liberals, who all united in one common cause—that of opposition to the system of education proposed by Ministers. He, and those with whom he acted, maintained that this system was impolitic and unchristian. It was in vain to say there were two days in the week set apart for religious instruction. On those two days the Roman Catholic children would be handed over to their priests, who would not allow them to read the Scriptures. He said, therefore, that Ministers, in framing these regulations, had united with the Roman Catholic clergy to prevent the people from enjoying the blessing of Scriptural education. There was one point which had been but little alluded to in this discussion, that was, the appointment of the Board of Superintendence. It appeared to him that the powers given to the Board were alarming. Those powers went to the extent of allowing them to remove the education of children completely from the influence of their parents and natural guardians. This was an authority which ought not to be tolerated in any country. He now begged leave to call their Lordships' attention to a document of considerable importance, which would prove the correctness of his assertion that the Roman Catholic people were not averse to the reading of the Scriptures. He must, however, previously state how this document came into existence. Some years ago, a society was established in Ireland, for the purpose of publishing the Scriptures in the Irish language, it being supposed, that, from the attachment which the Irish had to their native tongue, they would receive such a version of the Bible with the greater joy. That society had silently but effectually marched on its course, and had proved a great blessing to the benighted parts of Ireland. On the 17th of March last, the annual meeting of it took place in Dublin, on which occasion a deputation from 3,221 students and teachers of the Irish language presented the paper which he now held in his hand. It was addressed "To the Committee of the Irish Society for educating the Native Irish through the medium of their own Language," and is as follows;— It having been officially and publicly stated, that his Majesty's present Government are of opinion, 'that the determination of education societies in Ireland to enforce the reading of the Scriptures in their schools had defeated their object as education societies,' and that, on these grounds, parliamentary aid is to be withdrawn from such institutions. We, Roman Catholics, masters, and adult scholars, in the King's-court district, in connexion with the Irish Society, having, through the instrumentality of that society, been taught to read the Scriptures, and thereby to appreciate them as the word of the living God, feel it an imperative duty—a duty which we owe to the Irish Societies, ourselves, our children, and our fellow countrymen, to come forward at this momentous period, when the present mode of education is about to be changed, and the Scriptures removed from our national schools, publicly to express our humble, but most firm, sincere, and heartfelt sentiments on this important subject. In that sacred book, which many of us, at an advanced age, have been taught to read in our beloved tongue—in that sacred book which to us and our fathers had been too long unknown—we are commanded to be subject to the higher powers. In obedience to that divine injunction, and with due respect for rulers, we would beg leave to assure them that the opinion 'that Education Societies in Ireland, by enforcing the reading of the Scriptures in their schools had defeated their objects as Education Societies,' is not founded in truth. In our humble sphere of life, mingling daily among the numerous peasantry, of which we form a part, we have more sure and certain means to know the real sentiments of that peasantry relative to Scriptural education than any Member of his Majesty's Government. We, therefore, most truly and solemnly declare, that the Irish peasantry in general are sincerely and zealously attached to the Scriptures, and, instead of objecting to send their children to Bible schools, the very circumstance of the Bible being read in a school would induce many of them to prefer that school. In proof of this statement, we would refer to the thousands of Roman Catholic youth in the London, Hibernian, Baptist, and Kildare-Place schools: we would refer to the thousands of the adult Catholic population at present in the Scriptural schools of the Irish Society; we would refer to the way-layings, abuse, and murders to which Irish masters and scholars have been often exposed; we would refer to the immense and annually increasing issue of Scriptures from the Hibernian Bible Society; we would refer to the thousands of Irish and English Scriptures, which Irish masters annually circulate amongst their numerous adult scholars. We can assure the Committee of the Irish Society, we can assure his Majesty's Government, that the Irish peasantry are most anxious for Scriptural knowledge for themselves and for their children. There are thousands and tens of thousands of Roman Catholics, whose cry may never reach the ear of the British Senate, and who dare not breathe a word against the tyranny that oppresses them, who, from sincere love for Scriptural education, in defiance of every species of hostility, continue to send their children to Bible schools. Under these circumstances, though conscious that the society with which we are connected is entirely independent of parliamentary aid, and unaffected by recent legislative enactments, still, we trust that a British Parliament never will use its influence to arrest the progress of Scriptural knowledge in Ireland, deprive the Irish peasant of the book of God, which he reveres, or withdraw its usual aid from any society, merely because the Bible was read in its schools. Believing that the Holy Scriptures contain the mind and will of God to his creatures, that they were given for our learning, and are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus, we consider them the only sure and safe basis for the literary education of youth, the only general centre wherein the various religious denominations can meet; and we are convinced, that, pure and entire as they came from the Deity, and were given to man, they are the property, the privilege, and the birth-right of every human being, with which no power on earth has any right to interfere. "This Address was presented to the Irish Society at its annual meeting on Saturday last, 17th March, by a deputation of Irish masters, all Roman Catholics; and it was signed by 3,221 names. Every dependence might be placed on the genuineness of the signatures to which the abode of the party and nearest post town were attached. No individual was allowed to affix his name without being made thoroughly acquainted with the nature and contents of the document. The reverend Mr. Winning of King's-court, who lives in the midst of these people, wrote to him: 'I am confident that if time had permitted, and exertion had been made, that, instead of three, we might have had ten thousand signatures. The same persons would have signed a petition to Parliament to the same purpose; but when those persons in Dublin, who would have wished for a petition to Parliament first heard of the signing this address, there had been already 1,000 signatures attached to it.' And when Mr. Winning and other persons in the county first knew of the feeling and intentions of the people, they were afraid to urge them to sign a petition, lest, from their names getting into the hands of the demagogues, they might be exposed to personal violence. Were it not for this fear of violence, these persons would have petitioned their Lordships; but the consequence of their doing so, would be the destruction of their pro- perty, by burning or otherwise. Intimidation prevailed in Ireland, at the present moment, to an extent absolutely frightful. He spoke the sentiments of the Protestant people of Ireland; and he knew then well. During the last three months, he had mixed with Protestants of every denomination, and, therefore, he might venture to say, that no individual was better acquainted with the Protestant people of Ireland than himself. They thought that the measures of Ministers would lead to the annihilation of Protestantism in Ireland, and, under this impression, they were already taking measures to emigrate from their country. Their Lordships, who lived in this country, in peace and security, could form no idea of the situation of the Protestants of Ireland. The brave, noble, and devoted Protestant people, though surrounded by Catholics, who greatly outnumbered them, and were determined, if they could, to annihilate them, still maintained their ground against superior force. Fas est et ab hoste doceri.—The agitators had set them an example of combining, and they had followed it by forming themselves into various societies, not for revolutionary purposes—not to put down the Government and overthrow the law—but to uphold the Constitution, and to protect themselves and their property. They looked for aid where aid was not to be found—for protection, whence protection was not extended to them; but, on the contrary, they saw every opportunity taken for the manifestation of the partiality which Government felt for their enemies. He held in his hand a declaration, which described, in more forcible language than he could employ, the situation of the Protestants of Ireland. This paper was their address to their Protestant brethren in England. It stated, that the Protestant clergy had been denounced; that some were suffering severe privations, and that others had been assassinated and stoned to death in the face of day; that the Protestant farmers were obliged to barricade their houses to prevent them from being broken into at night and themselves murdered; that, owing to the manufactory of pikes, which had for many years been carried on, the Catholic peasantry of Ireland were become one armed band; that the evils of their situation had broken the ties which bound them to their homes, and had induced no less than 60,000 Protestants to seek an exile on the trans-Atlantic shore since the passing of the Emancipation Bill. It was not enough, too, that the Protestants were injured, they were also insulted, by those who should protect them. It was said, that they opposed the Government, but he must affirm that they had only united, and formed themselves into societies in self-defence, to uphold the law, and, for the protection of their liberties, their properties and their religion. This measure of education, forced upon the people of Ireland, was but a part of all those measures adopted by his Majesty's Ministers towards that country—it was to strike at the foundation of Protestant principles and Protestant influence. They had all the same leaven, whether the Reform Bill, the Jury Bill, or the Education Bill. The partiality of his Majesty's Government towards the agitators of Ireland was too clear not to be seen: he could enumerate many instances, but there was one which came home to the heart of every Protesttant, as an act of the greatest oppression, the greatest injustice, towards one of their body, and that, too, because he was a member of the Protestant party, and because the Roman Catholic demagogues were to be propitiated. He referred to the case of Captain Graham, a Magistrate of the county of Wexford, who, in the execution of his duty, acted in a manner which was creditable to himself, and beneficial to the public interests. To prove that position, that gentleman was indicted by Government for murder, in consequence of some person having been killed by the police under his command, in an affray which occurred about tithes. He was indicted at the last Summer Assizes at Wexford. The Grand Jury ignored the bill preferred against him, but his recognizances were still continued, and he was told that he must appear to take his trial at the next Assizes. A bill of indictment for the same offence was preferred against him at the last Spring Assizes at Wexford. The Grand Jury, which was composed of the most respectable men, some of whom were not unknown to many of their Lordships, and among whom were three Roman Catholics, again ignored the bill. What was the result? Captain Graham had been turned out of the commission of the peace, for no other reason than that he had been acquitted of all improper conduct. The Protestants considered this to be partiality. They looked upon Captain Graham's case as their own. They saw in the conduct of the Ministers towards him the feeling which the Ministers entertained towards them. They knew that their interests were at stake, because Captain Graham suffered for their cause. He held in his hand the charge of a Judge who presided at the trial of an individual named Gilfroy, who was one of Captain Graham's companions in arms on the occasion when the event occurred for which he was indicted. He quested their Lordships' attention to the following extract from this charge. The learned Judge said:— Although Captain Graham is not personally on trial, yet his case is so mixed up with the matter before the Jury, that it is impossible to separate them. I, therefore, feel it my duty to declare my opinion, that the conduct of Captain Graham, as a Magistrate, an officer, a gentleman, and a man of humanity, before, during, and since the tithe affray, is unimpeachable. This was the man whom the Government had thought proper to stigmatize, by depriving him of his Commission as a Magistrate for Carlow, Wexford, and Meath. He left their Lordships to decide upon such an undeserved act. He could not sit down without declaring that the Motion of the noble Earl should receive his warm support.

The Earl of Gosford

said, that the noble Earl who had just addressed their Lordships had asserted, that the Protestants of Ireland were unanimous in their opposition to the measures proposed by Government. No doubt, the noble Earl believed the fact to be as he stated it. But had no attempt been made to excite the passions of the people on this subject? He asserted that the utmost ingenuity had been exercised to pervert the truth, and to attribute false motives, in order to raise a spirit of opposition against the Ministers, who were adopting measures which, if allowed to go on, would, he believed, in his conscience, establish the peace and happiness of the country. He had abundant evidence to support these assertions, as to the means which had been resorted to in order to excite a spirit of opposition to the plan of education proposed by Ministers. Emissaries were sent through the country to inform the people that the object of Government was to take the Bible from them. The noble Earl talked of his knowledge of the Protestant feeling of Ireland. He did not yield to him in this particular, nor would he admit that he felt less love and reverence for Protestant interests than he did. He would always advocate the Protestant cause, and if he thought that Government entertained any design of injuring it, he should consider himself base if he did not rise and declare that he withdrew all confidence from them on that account. He could not, however, but say that it was very hard that loyalty should be claimed as the exclusive possession of one party. Was no man to be considered loyal, religious, or conscientious who did not adopt the extravagant views of a particular party? This was not consistent with the true spirit of Christianity, which inculcated good will to all. When he saw a Government placed in a most arduous situation, and compelled to adopt measures which interfered with prejudices and deeply-rooted animosities, he felt bound to afford them all the support in his power. It was said that, by the new system of education, the Bible was to be excluded from the schools in Ireland. He contended that assertion was not correct. The Bible was, for all practical purposes introduced. The Scriptures might be read every morning and evening, and on two entire days in the week. How, then, could people say, that the Bible was excluded from the schools? How could any man in his sober senses come to that conclusion? The Resolution which had been submitted to the House was totally unfounded in fact. Was it possible their Lordships could agree to a resolution which stated that the Bible was practically excluded from schools. He wished it could be left to a Jury of twelve plain men to decide whether there was the slightest foundation for such a statement. The noble Earl seemed to think that the Superintending Board would possess an arbitrary control over education in Ireland. It was his opinion that this Board would prove of great utility; but if there should be any misconduct on their part, and Government refused to interfere with them, Parliament possessed a remedy in its own hands—it could refuse to grant them any money. He must again declare, that the Protestants of Ireland had been deluded with respect to the Ministerial plan. He had just received a letter from a Protestant clergyman in that country, who was a most zealous supporter of the establishment, and that gentleman said, the people in his neighbourhood could not account for the cry that was raised against the new system. The noble Earl had said, that the Protestants in Ireland were united as one man against it, but there was great reason to doubt the accuracy of the noble Earl's information, for it appeared that the total number of schools applied for under the new system was upwards of 200, out of which grants had been made to sixty-one. The applicants in these sixty one cases were Protestants, Presbyterians, and Catholics, and the average number of children educated in each school was 221. He was convinced, from that fact that the opposition which had been so strenuously got up would gradually disappear, for it was impossible that in a country like Ireland things could continue to be regulated upon an exclusive system, or that it could be governed by opposing one party against another. The spirit and intelligence of the country were wholly against such a plan. He was, therefore, most happy to see symptoms of improvement, and he was determined to support a Government like the present which had originated such measures. He hoped they would persevere in their course, which he was sure, would materially tend to the permanent improvement of Ireland.

The Bishop of Bristol

said, his objections to the proposed plan were, that no system of education from which any part of Scripture was systematically excluded could be good. They were now called upon to sacrifice a principle hitherto acted upon within the Charter schools and the Kildare-street Society's schools, in all of which the entire volume of Scripture had hitherto been allowed without restriction. A right reverend Prelate had quoted a passage from Locke expressive of his approbation of selections from Scripture for the use of schools. That great man, who considered all Scripture as having God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter, might well have recommended selections with a view to the instruction of youth in a manner and degree adapted to their ages and capacities, but this was a very different thing from a compilation of extracts, from which doctrinal points were systematically excluded, as was to be the case with the proposed compilation for the schools of Ireland. The question was of great importance, because the Government plan would gradually absorb all other plans of education, to the great injury of the Protestant religion.

The Bishop of Llandaff

said, he felt called upon to defend the right reverend Prelate, the Archbishop of Dublin, from the imputation of entertaining anything less than the most orthodox opinions with respect to the sacredness of the Sabbath. The whole charge made against him originated in a mistake. The question which he had raised was not as to the extent which Christians were bound by the strict observance of the Sabbath, but whether they ought to observe the same day as Was enjoined to the Jews. Whether it was the first or the last day of the week that was to be observed, he held that Christians were bound to keep the Sabbath holy; and, with respect to the nature and extent of those obligations, he did not differ from the received opinions in the Church of England, for his investigations related to a branch of the subject wholly distinct. With respect to the new system of education he, the Bishop of Llandaff, thought it had been objected to in stronger terms than it deserved. At the same time, as the plan was disapproved of by the great body of the Protestants of Ireland, and as the interest of the country required that the whole Protestant strength should be united, he did not feel justified in giving the proposed plan his support.

The Marquis of Londonderry

knew, from the best sources of information—indeed there was no man who had the slightest acquaintance with Ireland could doubt—that the Protestants in that country looked upon the system established by the Kildare-place Society as one of the best defences of Protestantism, and they felt that the proposed system was the first step to the establishment of the Roman Catholic religion. The next would be, to separate the two countries. So strongly did he feel that the new plan was disastrous, that he almost regretted the vote he gave in favour of the Emancipation of the Catholics, which had so soon been followed by further concessions, and by demands for other concessions.

Lord Plunkett

would briefly explain a few of the grounds upon which he should oppose the Motion. In the first place, he would affirm, and that without fear of contradiction from any impartial man, that all the reasonable portion of the Protestants of Ireland received the plan of Government education with readiness and with gratitude, notwithstanding that many arts had been resorted to, and great skill exerted for the purpose of deluding the Protestant inhabitants of that country. For the purpose of exciting and deluding the Protestant mind of Ireland, there was no act that a perverted ingenuity could devise, or an unscrupulous and factious spirit call into activity, which had not been exerted on the occasion which had now been brought under their Lordships' consideration. He was unwilling to believe that holy names had been introduced into the present discussion to serve a political purpose; neither would he say, that his sentiments on religious subjects were different from those of other men; but this he would say, that the mention of those names, in that place, and upon that occasion, excited feelings in his heart which he hoped never again to experience. But, without troubling the House with any further observations of that nature, he would beg just to state the question which the present Government of this empire had to decide with reference to Ireland. No man in the present day contended that there ought to be separate systems of education established for the people of Ireland—then the question would be, whether a joint system of education should be resorted to? As things stood before the present Board was established, the Catholic population of Ireland did feel the greatest dissatisfaction at the mode in which those public funds had been administered, which were intrusted to the Kildare-street Society. The system of that association dissatisfied them—an opposite system would have given just cause of complaint to the Protestants—a joint system of education was required for the people at large, and what, then, remained for the Government but to adopt that course which had encountered so much condemnation from noble Lords on the opposite side of the House, and from some Members of the right rev. Bench? Now if that censure were well founded, and the arguments upon which it rested just, it followed of necessity that there could be no joint sysstem of education for Ireland—a state of things which the most strenuous supporters of the Kildare-street Association could not desire—at least, did not profess to aim at producing. But, setting aside altogether considerations of that nature, he would bring the matter to this issue. It was alleged that the Roman Catholics held it as one of their principles that no man was to exercise any right of private judgment as to the doctrines of religion. He should not then stop to inquire how far such a principle might be in accordance with the injunctions of the Divine Founder of our religion, but he believed that the principle of the Roman Catholics, had been on that point, over-stated—they only denied the right of private judgment, that when any person brought up in their communion in reading the Scriptures arrived at a conclusion which led him to put a different interpretation upon Scripture in reference to articles of faith from that received by the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, that thence forward he ceased to be a member of that communion. That, he believed, was the principle of the Roman Catholic Church, and he trusted it would not be imputed to him, if he refrained from stating at that moment what were the principles of the Protestants—in truth, he believed no one would attempt to say, that they held in that respect doctrines different from those held by every Christian Church—namely, that, though conceding the right of private judgment, they did not hesitate to inform every one who, in reading the Scriptures, arrived at a different conclusion from that which was orthodox, must cease to be a member of that Church. Now if religion required of the Protestants that they should push their principles to an extreme, nothing was more clear than that there could be no system of national education for the Catholics. It would be in vain that they should offer to the Catholics a system of education clogged with conditions which they could not accept. The system offered by the Kildare-place Society was of that character—it offered that which the Catholics could not conscientiously accept; and when the Irish Government came forward with a system which certainly was anything but a novelty; for it had been recommended by three different sets of Commissioners, they were opposed and calumniated. And what was their great offence? Why, forsooth, that they did not insist upon the Bible being made an ordinary every-day schoolbook. He believed there was no sound Christian who would not be ready to admit, that though a man read the whole Bible, and made it a book of daily study, yet that, nevertheless, he might turn it to the worst account; while, on the other hand, his religious knowledge might be confined to certain portions of the Holy Scriptures, and he might, nevertheless be a true Christian and a religious man. The constitution of the new Board was also attacked, but he felt assured that the way in which that Board was constituted would meet with general approbation. At the head of it was a noble Duke, whose known high character was a sufficient guarantee that he would act under no undue influence. Doctor Sadler was a man of equally eminent character, and of great attainments. Then came the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, and he must express his great regret that a right reverend Prelate should, in the ardour of debate, have been betrayed in to what, by the uncharitable, might be called an invidious attack upon that right reverend Prelate, by insinuating that he could not enforce the fourth Commandment in consequence of an opinion given in his published works. He was much surprised at the accusation which had been made against Government, of intending to withdraw the Scriptures altogether from the public schools. No candid man who read Mr. Stanley's letter could put such a construction upon it, and he felt astonished to hear the right reverend Prelate join in the senseless and vulgar cry which had been raised against it by a certain party for their own purposes. The question, after all resolved itself into this, were they to have a national system of education, or one adapted for a portion of the community only? If it was intended to have a national system, then it followed that as the large majority of the people of Ireland were of the Catholic persuasion, that system must not jar with the religious feelings or prejudices of the Catholics. The priests of that persuasion did not (as had been too often falsely asserted) object to the perusal of the Scriptures, but to their indiscriminate perusal, and in this doctrine he must remark, they were joined by some of the most distinguished men in the Protestant Church. The Government measure was intended as a middle course between extreme opinions, and those who planned it wished to have such a selection of the Scripture as would promote morality and religion, and to which neither Catholic nor Protestant could object. The Government hoped to obtain the support of moderate and rational men of all parties in this attempt to soften down long existing, prejudices.

The Duke of Wellington

felt, that he was called upon to say a few words respecting what had fallen in the course of the debate from the right rev. Prelate, and he was bound in justice to say that not one word had been uttered by him which was not perfectly correct. He had been often surprised at the imputations which had been thrown out, and the injustice which had been done to the right rev. Prelate respecting circumstances which could not have been known to the public, nor indeed to any other person but themselves? For his own part, he could say that ever since the correspondence took place, he had never mentioned it to any one, and he believed the right rev. Prelate had observed a similar reserve. As to the subject before their Lordships, he thought a different plan to that proposed by Government ought to have been adopted. He was fully convinced a separate system of education might be safely acted upon, and that such a plan would be more advantageous, and was better calculated to the circumstances of Ireland than the arrangement about to be pursued by Government. It was quite clear, that the Protestants of that country were greatly alarmed by the measures of Ministers, and were becoming daily less disposed to place confidence in the Government of this country. This he thought a great evil, for he had always felt, that the strength of the Government greatly depended upon the union and support of the Protestants of Ireland. They were the holders of five-sixths of the property of the soil, they were the best educated and most enlightened part of the community, and it was on them consequently that the Government ought to rely. There could be no doubt that it was by them that the connection between the two countries was mainly preserved. But it was said, that the Protestants of Ireland did not feel so great an anxiety upon the subject. That appeared to him very strange; for, if they did not they would be most extraordinary people. He was convinced, however, that their feelings had been outraged by the plan proposed, and, sorry was he to find that so important a body had been not only disregarded, but actually injured, in some of their most cherished sentiments. The scheme of national education proposed went to subvert a system which had been carried on for upwards of twenty years, and had continued to flourish and increase. At the moment that his Majesty's Government interfered with it there were 600,000 persons receiving an education of a moral and religious nature founded on the Holy Scriptures, at a very trifling comparative expense. The number so educated was a larger proportion as compared with the number of inhabitants educated at the charge of the State in any other country. This plan was pursued for several years, and was not objected to by any party; and it was not until within the last five years that any opposition was raised to it, and then only by the Roman Catholic clergy. A charge of proselytism was brought against the Kildare-place Society, and a Commission was sent to Ireland, one of the duties of which was, to inquire into the truth of the charge: it was inquired into, and the charge was proved to be unfounded. The system which his Majesty's Government had recommended in substitution of that pursued by the Kildare-place Society was a bad one. The plan had been tried before and failed. It was recommended by the Irish Government, at the head of which was a relative of his (the Duke of Wellington). The Commission, in obedience to the desire of the Irish Government, did attempt to carry it into execution, but they found it impossible to do so. He regretted very much that sufficient attention had not been paid to the wishes and interests of the Protestants of Ireland, who were not even adverted to in the proposed measure. He, however, hoped that his Majesty's Government would abandon this plan, and substitute for it one that would give peace and tranquillity to that country.

Earl Grey

thought, after what had been said on that side of the House, more especially by a right rev. Prelate, by a noble Earl near him (the Earl of Radnor), and his noble and learned friend (Lord Plunkett), that much would not be required from him. He could not, however, altogether pass over in silence some of the statements of the noble Duke, who lamented that persons favourable to the plan should have been deceived. Now, the inaccuracy was in the statements on which the noble Duke himself relied. He bitterly lamented that such a discussion should have sprung up on this question. Religious animosity and party spirit had thrust themselves into the consideration of a measure, and threatened to mar it, the object of which was, to promote peace and good-will, and to put an end to those conflicts of opinion by which Ireland was so unhappily convulsed. The plan of national education to which noble Lords were so hostile was, be it understood, but the complement of the great measure of national reconciliation which it had been the good fortune of the noble Duke to carry into effect. He did hope that that great measure would have ere this realized some of those beneficial results which he and the other advocates of it had predicted as among its first consequences; but he never did suppose that it could realize all the benefits expected from it, unless followed by other measures. He had ever expressed an opinion that Catholic emancipation could never possibly be a panacea for all the ills of Ireland; and he had ever looked forward to a measure like the present as essential to effecting that national regeneration to which the settlement of the Catholic question was but as a means to an end. He did not feel it necessary, after the able statements of his noble friends near him, to enter into a minute examination of the objections that had been alleged against the present system of education in Ireland, and should therefore, confine himself to one or two remarks on the strange course pursued by the noble Duke with respect to that system. That noble Duke told them, that the system was calculated to alienate the Protestants of Ireland from the Government, and had dwelt with some emphasis on the impolicy of estranging a body of so much importance, on account of their wealth, and intelligence, and historical associations. Now, the noble Duke could not entertain a stronger desire to conciliate the Protestants of Ireland than he did; nor could the noble Duke entertain a more profound conviction of the important relation which that body bore to the British connexion with Ireland. But what, he would ask was there in the present scheme incompatible with that desire and conviction? Surely bigotry was not religion. Was it not his duty, if he saw the adoption of a measure was likely to promote the peace and internal improvement of Ireland, to do all in his power to carry that measure into effect, without being intimidated by those obstructions which ill-directed zeal, party spirit, intolerance, or religious rancour might place in his way? Had not this been the conduct of the noble Duke himself on another important question? Indeed, when he recollected that conduct of the noble Duke, he was astonished to hear him use the same arguments against the present plan of education, and reiterate the same assertions as those, the absurdity of which the noble Duke himself had so often and so efficiently exposed. When the measure of Catholic emancipation was in its progress through that House, the noble Duke was nightly assailed by assertions and appeals, in spirit and in letter, as senseless as those which the noble Duke now condescended to advance against the plan of national education which Ministers thought it their duty to introduce into Ireland. The very persons who were now denouncing that system, as destructive of the Protestant interests in Ireland, were loud in their denunciations of the noble Duke's policy, as fraught with ruin to the Protestant establishments of that country. On those occasions, more than once, he had defended the noble Duke. He particularly referred to the first day of the Session of 1830, when Lord Farnham attacked the noble Duke as the author of a measure which must subvert Protestant interests in Ireland, on which occasion the noble Duke properly observed, that he had a right to expect more beneficial effects from Catholic emancipation than had followed from it, and was convinced that those effects would have followed but for the opposition which party and religious feelings had raised against it. "It was not his duty," said the noble Duke, "and it was far from his inclination to cast imputations upon any man, but, still he was bound in fairness to say, that if his Majesty's Government had been properly supported upon that question—if it had been supported as vehemently as it had been opposed, in its efforts to heal the division of Ireland—if it had not been thwarted—that country would now have been in a very different state."* He would now repeat the noble Duke's language on that occasion, in answer to the noble Duke's present observations, and would tell the noble Duke he was convinced that all that the present plan of education in Ireland wanted was, fair play and a just spirit of tolerance. So far as he himself was concerned, his best energies should be devoted to securing it a fair trial, undismayed and undeterred by the taunts and insinuations of right * Hansard's Debates (third series), vol. i. p. 51. rev. Prelates and noble Lords, who would fain persuade themselves that they had a monopoly of religious faith. He would tell them that no noble Lord nor right rev. Prelate in that House was actuated by a more earnest belief in the great truths of Christianity, nor by a more warm anxiety for the prosperity of the Protestant church, than he was; but he had yet to learn that obstinate adherence to a system which had led to no good results, in a national point of view, in Ireland, but which, on the contrary, had tended to alienate the feelings of a large majority of its inhabitants, was the best mode of proving that belief and that anxiety. He had been educated in a different school, where it was taught that it was the duty of a Legislature to inquire into grievances when their existence was a matter of certainty, and not to wait too long in providing a remedy, lest the delay should impart the character of an extorted concession to what would, if granted in time, have been gratefully received as a boon. This, he feared, had been the case with the Catholic question, and was, he thought, the source of many of the ills which distracted that unhappy country. The noble Duke had not acted with his usual candour in his statement of the effects of the Kildare-street Society. The noble Duke had told them that Society had educated not less than 600,000 persons gratuitously in Ireland.

The Duke of Wellington

I said no such thing. I meant that there were 600,000 persons receiving education gratuitously in Ireland, in establishments which the new system would injure.

Earl Grey

Then the argument was good for nothing, for all the Government proposed to do was, to withdraw the grant from the Kildare-street Society, and place it at the disposal of a Board for the education of persons of all religious persuasions, leaving everything else as it was before. The Kildare-street Society was originally supported by private contributions, and he had no doubt it would continue to receive such support; but, all the other schools remained as they were originally constituted. Taking together all the children who had been educated at all the different schools of Ireland, both Protestant and Catholic, the amount of the whole was 560,000. Of these, the number educated by the Kildare-street Society amounted to 57,000 only. [The Duke of Wellington: 147,000.] He would give the noble Duke credit for 147,000, but, at the same time, he must say, he believed that number to be a very exaggerated estimate; however, giving him that amount, there still remained upwards of 400,000 untouched. That the Kildare-street Society's system worked well, he much questioned, for, upon reference to the Ninth Report of the Commissioners, it would be found that, in 1827, the number of children educated by that Society was, in the whole, 58,000; and he doubted much whether the numbers had increased proportionably since that period. Indeed, all the information which he had been able to obtain, led him to think, that the number had diminished. In other respects, also, he felt, that the Kildare-street Society's system was not operating beneficially, when considered as one meant to apply to national education. In the first place, as had been stated by a noble Marquis, the chief portion of the persons educated were those of the North of Ireland—in the province of Ulster; in Munster and Connaught, the numbers were comparatively very few. This fact alone showed, that the Catholics, generally, did not profit by it to the extent that was asserted, and that it did not effect the desired object of a general system of national education; because, if by a "national system" anything was really meant, it was, that it should afford the means of education to the Catholic as well as the Protestant population of Ireland. At the same time, it could not be denied that the attempt to gain over pupils to the schools of the Society had caused a great contention between the Protestant landlords and the Roman Catholic clergy, and the Roman Catholic children, in consequence of this, were prevented in a great measure, from frequenting these schools. Looking, therefore, to the state of Ireland, with a view to the suppression of that religious animosity, which unhappily so long prevailed in that country, it became necessary to adopt a system of common education. And to effect that object, Ministers had taken for their guides the Reports of two Commissions appointed by the Crown, and two Committees of Parliament authorized to inquire into the state of education in Ireland. Their Reports had the sanction of persons whose attachment to the Protestant Church it was impossible to doubt; and though Ministers had not adopted the suggestions contained in their Reports al- together, yet they had proceeded upon the general principle on which they were founded. The result was, the plan for a national system of education, which had been the subject of so much animadversion; and which while holding out equal advantages to the children of both persuasions, did not require from the Roman Catholics, as a condition of their admission to the schools to be instituted according to this plan, anything that was inconsistent with the tenets of their Church. But, in acting on this principle, which was essential to any scheme of national education, they were, at the same time, careful that no injury should be done to the best interests of the Protestant religion, or of the Established Church. The question was, were they to have a system of national education or not? A system of education—as applied to Ireland—to be national, must not exclude the Catholics, who formed the great majority of the population. The intention, then, ex vi termini, must be that Catholics should be admitted. But they could not be admitted if conditions were imposed upon them contrary to their religious faith. The indiscriminate use of the Bible, without note or comment was objected to by them. It was proposed, therefore, that, for four days in the week, the education should be moral and literary, not excluding such selections from the Bible as might be agreed upon; and that, during the remaining two days, and even before and after school hours, on the other four, the children might receive the instruction of their respective Churches, in addition to the regular attendance at Divine Worship on the Sabbath. Could it be said with truth, that, in doing this, the use of the Bible was excluded, or, that they were introducing a plan subversive of the Protestant Church? That attending for four days in the week to the moral and literary instruction of the pupils of these schools, accompanying these lessons with selections from the Holy Scriptures, inculcating the great principles of charity and truth, was a departure from the principles of the established religion. They abstained undoubtedly, from introducing controverted matters, which would have the effect, if insisted on, of disgusting four-fifths of the population, whom it was their object to reclaim to habits of morality, order, and obedience to the laws, by the diffusion of education generally. The Board was now employed in making such selections from Scripture as might be mutually agreed upon. Their work had successfully commenced by the adoption of the lesson which had been referred to in this and in a former day. It was proposed by Dr. Whateley, having been framed by the reverend Prelate—of whom he would say nothing more than that everything that had happened since his elevation to the See of Dublin, had amply confirmed the opinion which he had formed of him—not without inquiry—and which had induced him to recommend him to his Majesty for promotion; and it was indeed, a satisfaction to him, greater than he could express, to have had it in his power to contribute to his being placed in a situation where his services might be eminently useful both to the Church and to the country. The reflection that had been made upon this eminent person appeared to him neither charitable nor just: he heard it with great pain; but as it had been already successfully refuted, and as the right reverend Prelate himself, from whom it fell, had since retracted, and expressed his sorrow for having gone too far, he would not say anything more upon it. By the most reverend Prelate, then, a lesson had been framed and adopted upon the proposal of the titular Archbishop of Dublin, for daily use in the new schools. But this lesson, the right reverend Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter), said, had been extracted from the Rhemish version of the Bible. So much the better for his argument. It showed a spirit of mutual liberality and agreement, which might lead to the happiest consequences; it was the guarantee of a well-founded hope that by the same mutual agreement, a more general selection from the Holy Scriptures—a work now in progress—might be effected, for the ordinary course of general, moral, and literary instruction, which the pupils were to receive together during their four days in the week. Surely an attempt of that kind, the obvious tendency of which was to prevent animosities and to produce agreement, could not be inconsistent with a course of Christian education, or detrimental to the course of religion and of truth. But then, they were told, that to make selections was to mutilate the Word of God. Was it not the practice of every family to use selections from the Holy Scriptures in the instruction and education of their children? For what purpose were all the excellent books that were published of this description, but to abstract what was recommended in the quotation so aptly introduced by the right reverend Prelate from the works of Mr. Locke (than whom a more sincere friend to religion never existed), which stated the inexpediency of committing to the uninstructed minds of youth the examination of that sacred volume without some guide to direct them? The opinion of Mr. Burke, another authority, which he thought would not be disputed, was the same—that the multifarious character of the Bible was such, that it ought to be reserved for riper years, the mind having been previously disciplined by wholesome instruction, and prepared for the better investigation of the whole of these writings, which, it was the boast of the English Church to open to all its adherents. But, he had another authority to quote, which he was sure would never be stated as one of light weight in any matter, in which the interests of the Church was concerned. He held in his hand an extract from the evidence of Dr. Magee, the late Archbishop of Dublin, before the Irish Committee. Being asked— Is not the principle assumed by the Bible Society, namely, the circulation of the Scriptures in themselves, without either the explanation of the Church or any written commentary accompanying it, rather the principle of the foreign Protestant Churches than of the Churches of England and Ireland. The Archbishop answers—"Certainly." Did not your Grace conceive that the admission of so broad a principle as that struck at the root of the Established Church itself, and might lead to schism, and a latitude of opinion almost approaching to that of the Independents?—Undoubtedly. The system of circulating the Bible, without note or comment, unaccompanied by the Book of Common Prayer had been objected to by many reverend Prelates on the original institution of the Bible Societies; and was it, then, to be said, that, under the present plan, which allowed four days in the week to general education, and two days (exclusive of the Sabbath instruction) to religious education, the Ministers mutilated the Word of God in the selections that were to be used on the first four, or that they excluded the Bible, when the teachers of the respective Churches in the three last days, of the week, were granted liberty to make what use they please of it. Could any one, who re- garded truth, give his assent to the words of the Resolution proposed, that the Bible was practically excluded? Such a proposition was altogether untenable and contrary to fact. It arose from one of those misrepresentations which had been disseminated in a spirit of hostility to his Majesty's Government. At an early period of the debate, an allusion had been made to the state of religious education in our public schools. A right reverend Prelate took fire at the imputation attempted to be cast on those institutions, which he stated to be now conducted with the utmost care of the spiritual interests of their scholars, and he had instanced the two great seminaries which came more immediately under his observation, as exemplary in that respect. He was glad to hear that. Great improvement, he had no doubt, had taken place; he was himself educated at one of the greatest public schools in the kingdom. He passed there nine years of his early life. He looked back at that period with grateful recollection; but he must say that if the two days set apart for the purpose of religious instruction in the new schools exclusive of Sundays, were faithfully applied, the youth would receive much more spiritual instruction than was afforded, in his time, to the scholars in the public schools of the Established Church. He regretted the feelings of animosity which unhappily existed on this subject, for he had hoped, that party feelings would have been silent upon a subject, connected as it was with the peace of Ireland, and flowing as a sort of natural consequence from the great measure intended to ensure the happiness of that country. He was sorry that he had to express his deep regret at being disappointed in that hope, for he felt certain that this plan would be eminently useful. Its beginning was the guarantee of its future efficiency, and it would have been still more prosperous, if parties, instead of inflaming the minds of the people, had cultivated among them that charitable disposition by which they ought to be united. He trusted, therefore, that the House would not withhold the support necessary to give the plan a trial. He claimed credit for the whole of the King's Ministers, for himself, and emphatically for his right hon. friend, the Secretary for Ireland, who introduced this plan, as bearing as true affection for the Church, as feeling as deeply for the interests of their religion, as any of those who heard him. The question, he repeated it once more, was, whether they were to have a system of national religion or not? The necessity of it had been admitted by all parties, and for the last ten years he had never heard but one opinion upon it. How, then, was this object to be attained? It could only be by a system established on principles which would not be revolting to the religious feelings of the Catholics. It was with this view that the new plan had been introduced, and it was for their Lordships to decide whether, for the sake of throwing on his Majesty's Ministers the stigma of having proposed a measure inconsistent with the duty which they owed to the Church and to the State; they would, by this Resolution, founded on a false assertion, defeat at the outset an endeavour to diffuse the blessings of peace, good-will, and charity amongst the people of Ireland—and thus to give the most effectual support to the Protestant Church, which, founded in truth, and resting on these principles, would be secure, but which could not be safe, as long as it excited the animosity, and was exposed to the hatred of the great body of the people.

The Earl of Wicklow

, in leaving his Motion to the discretion of their Lordships said, he could not regret having brought it forward when it produced the powerful and eloquent speech they had heard from the right reverend Bishop of Exeter. That speech was one of the most eloquent and argumentative appeals to which he had ever listened. Delighted and gratified as he was at it, and much as he approved of all its sentiments, he was not aware of the full force of it until he heard the attack of the noble Earl, and the indecent cheers which accompanied it, in excellent keeping with the indecent attacks made at other times on the right reverend Prelate's episcopal character in that House. The speech of the right reverend Prelate was, indeed, unanswerable, and, compared with others, was magnificent—like the ruins of Palmyra, which appeared the grander, by the nakedness of the land with which they were surrounded. He must again contend, and was prepared to show from documents, that the Kildare-street Society had always proved itself competent to the education of the people. The noble Earl at the head of the Government treated his defence of the Society as a mere ebullition of party. He denied that it proceeded from such motives; but it was not sur- prising that the noble Earl disliked the name of party. Forty years of the pains and bitterness of exclusion from office had taught the noble Earl the miseries of party, and now that he had obtained the object of all his ambition, he wished to forget the name of party, and to see discord abandon the earth, and Astræea resume her reign. The declaration made against the system proposed by the Government, which was signed by two Archbishops and thirteen Bishops, was quite conclusive as to the system. It was not possible for any Government to contend on such a question against an opposition which included among its ranks all the most eminent heads of the Established Church.

The House divided, and the numbers were: Content 60; Proxies 27–87; Not content 59; Proxies 66–125—Majority against the Motion 38.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex Plunkett
Norfolk Dover
Somerset Brougham
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St. Alban's
Queensberry Howden
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EARLS Stourton
Mulgrave Hill
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Albemarle Clements (Earl of Leitrim)
Charlemont Oakley
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Denbigh Saye-and-Sele
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St. Vincent
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Devonshire Alvanley
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Westminster Yarborough
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Spencer Dunally
Buckinghamshire De Clifford
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Nelson Ducie
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Fortescue Gardner
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Minto Glenlyon
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Falkland Templemore
BARONS Lyttelton
Granard (Earl of Granard)
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His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester Jersey
DUKE Selkirk
Wellington Bradford
Bute Digby
Thomond Westmorland
Abercorn Chichester
Cholmondeley St. Germain's
Salisbury Verulam
Wicklow Beresford
Vane (Marquis of Londonderry) Lorton
Gordon (Earl of Aberdeen)
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Kenyon Bath and Wells
Saltoun Exeter
Carrington Bristol
Redesdale Bangor
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Ellenborough Lichfield
Tenterden Carlise
Maryborough London
Harris Lincoln
DUKE Exmouth
Northumberland Doneraile
Ailesbury Stowell
Exeter Bagot
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EARLS Lauderdale (Earl of Lauderdale)
Chersterfield Churchill
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Norwich (Duke of Gorden)
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Mayo Gray
Clancarty BISHOPS
Hereford Clogher