was understood to say, that he wished to address a few observations to the House on the subject of something that had passed the day before yesterday, when a right reverend Prelate had done him the honour to refer to a speech of his. Their Lordships need not be apprehensive that he should enter into any discussion or argument on this point, which might occupy much of their time. It would indicate a want of taste, sense, or propriety, if he were now to go into a debate, or to occupy much of their attention on the subject. The matter he intended to allude to was merely personal. His object was to set himself right in the opinion of the right reverend Prelate. He had no knowledge of what had fallen from the right reverend Prelate except from the public newspapers. Observations had been made in his absence, 641 and at a time when he had no reason to suppose that any thing that fell from him would become the subject of remark. The amount of those observations was this: the right reverend Prelate was represented as first quoting some words of his speech delivered many years ago, in which he had expressed certain opinions respecting Church-property, to have said that he regretted his (Lord Plunkett's) absence; whether the right reverend Prelate, meant to cast censure on him on account of his absence, or meant to throw ridicule on him, he was not aware.
The Bishop of Exeter
said, that what he had said was, that he regretted that the noble and learned Lord had left the House, for that, had he been in the House, he would have corrected an erroneous opinion then put forward.
had apprehended that it would be imagined from the observation of the right reverend Prelate that he had left the House on purpose. The right reverend Prelate had said, that he supposed him (Lord Plunkett) to be an enemy to the appropriation of Church property to any other purposes than those of the Church Establishment or purposes purely Ecclesiastical. Having represented those as his sentiments, the right reverend Prelate had done him the honour to regret his absence from the House, as he might have supported the opinion which the right reverend Prelate attributed to him. If he took these words aright, he must say that it was quite an unmerited obligation to confer on him, to ask for his assistance to vindicate the opinions entertained by the right reverend Prelate. He (Lord Plunkett) had no right to look for such a compliment; they had not been in the habit of fighting under the same colours—they had not been fellow-soldiers—there was not such coincidence of opinion between them as to justify the expectation that he should lend the right reverend Prelate his assistance in maintaining the right reverend Prelate's opinions. If it was a compliment it was a most unexpected compliment, and it was rather an irregular way of making him incur the obligation of one considering that he was not the mover nor the seconder of, nor a speaker upon, the subject under discussion. In his opinion the impression that the quotation was calculated to produce on their Lordships' mind was, that he did not now entertain the opinions he had formerly expressed ["no"] 642 —that he was guilty of inconsistency ["no"].The right reverend Prelate spoke of being anxious for his assistance. To what other inference could his wish lead? There was nothing ironical in it. There remained nothing more for him to do than to undeceive the right reverend Prelate as to the opinion which he supposed him (Lord Plunkett) to entertain. He should not go into the discussion of Church property, or of the application of it to any particular purposes; nor should he endeavour to show that the opinions he now entertained were not inconsistent with those he formerly expressed. Whenever that subject properly came before their Lordships, he should be ready to state his opinion upon it, and to vindicate his original sentiments. It seemed to him that his opinion had unnecessarily been brought before the public. The opinion of such an humble individual was not, perhaps, worthy of consideration, but having been brought forward, he felt it to be proper to set himself right with their Lordships. He stated distinctly that in the first place, with respect to the Church of Ireland—the Church of Ireland so called—the spiritual Church of Ireland, he was of opinion that that Church was to be maintained as the Established Church of the country. He had not heard any person maintain a different opinion; it was consolidated with the Church of England; and in the first place, being of opinion that an Established Church is necessary, he was of opinion that the Protestant Church was the Established Church for England and Ireland. In all sincerity was he attached to that Church. There was another question with regard to the Temporalities of that Church—that was a matter of quite a different kind. The two questions stood on perfectly distinct foundations. He should not say anything upon the question of maintaining the Temporalities of that Church. He was quite convinced that the maintenance of that Church was essential to the well-being of the two countries, and to the continuance of the connexion between them; and that whatever might be the power of the State with regard to the Church, it was a power that ought not to be rashly employed. With respect to the question, whether the property of the Church was or was not private property, he denied that he had ever said that it 643 must be considered as private property. If he had used the words "private property," he had committed an error, for he did not consider it private properly, but corporate property of a more sacred nature than corporate property generally, but still corporate property. That the rights of all the individuals who were Members of that Church should be sustained he was not there to deny. That rights already existing should be respected he was equally ready to affirm; but he did not scruple to say that if there should be a surplus after providing for all the legal sources of the Church, that surplus was applicable to purposes at the will of the State, connected with the education of the subjects of the country. When he spoke of the country, he spoke not of one sect alone in it, not of the education of Protestants or Catholics, but of both; for their education was a public object—an object for which these funds were originally intended, and to which they ought to be applied. Whenever that question came before their Lordships he should enter on the grounds of his opinion, and state the arguments in justification of it, and should then endeavour to sustain the consistency of his opinions.
The Bishop of Exeter
said, that he trusted their Lordships would allow him to address to them a few observations, to show that the noble and learned Lord had entirely misapprehended what had been said the other day. Not one word had then been said as to the appropriation of any surplus. A noble Marquess, on presenting a petition, had spoken of the Church property as property applicable by the State, without reference to any surplus whatever. Not having heard any other noble Lord nor any right reverend Prelate remark upon that opinion, and considering it pregnant with mischief, unfounded in itself, and dangerous to religious and even to temporal security, he had thought fit to make some observations upon it. He rose, therefore, in his place, and calmly, and not uncourteously, expressed his difference of opinion from the noble Marquess; and he did also state his regret, that the noble and learned Lord who had been present at the beginning of the sitting, had left his place before those observations of the noble Marquess were made, because he believed, that, had the noble and learned Lord been present, he would have repelled, in language more powerful 644 than he (the Bishop of Exeter) could use, opinions so at variance with what he had before expressed. There was not the slightest allusion to the Question now under consideration in another place, till the noble and learned Lord made that allusion to-night. He regretted that the noble and learned Lord should have thus taken up a statement in the newspapers; he himself did not know how it had been represented in all of them, but certainly, the Reports in those that fell in his way had not alluded, in the slightest degree, to what was now under discussion in another place.
had complained that the right reverend Prelate should have availed himself of his (Lord Plunkett's) absence from the House to quote opinions formerly attributed to him.
The Bishop of Exeter
The noble and learned Lord had charged him with irregularity, in doing that which, in fact, was not done. He certainly had quoted observations of the noble and learned Lord, but those observations he had a right to quote, for they had passed into history; and he had as much right to quote what the noble and learned Lord said in 1824, as he should have had to quote what Lord Somers or any other noble and learned Lord had said in any former period. He had a right to quote and to remark on such observations. The noble Marquess had then said, that if such was the opinion of the noble and learned Lord in 1824, they lived in times when great changes of opinion took place, and when, perhaps, the noble and learned Lord had changed his opinion too.
The Bishop of Exeter
thanked the noble Marquess for his confirmation. All questions of irregularity being thus disposed of [Lord Plunkett signified his dissent]—in his opinion it had, or if it had not, then he contended for the principle, that words uttered in another Parliament might, without irregularity, be quoted now. He should now refer to another point. He should have abstained from making any reference to the question now under discussion in another place, had not the noble and learned Lord himself introduced it. The noble and learned Lord had thought it necessary for his own justification to state his opinion on that subject. 645 He was of course the best judge of what was necessary for the explanation, or the confirmation, or the justification, of his opinion. For himself, he had only, on the former night, quoted the opinion of the noble and learned Lord, in 1824. He had quoted it from recollection, and his surprise was, that he should have recollected it so well; but it had made a deep impression on him at the time. It was not, however, under old lights that the noble and learned Lord had held these opinions; he had held them not more than a year and a half ago, when he repeated, in nearly the same words, in July 1833, the opinions he had expressed in March, 1824. It was, on recollecting these opinions of the noble and learned Lord, that he thought the Church had lost a great champion by the accidental absence of the noble and learned Lord; and he imagined that had the noble and learned Lord been present, he would have risen in his place to repel the opinions that were put forth the other night by the noble Marquess, in presenting the petition. He should now refer to the later expressed sentiments of the noble and learned Lord. He quoted from "Hansard's Debates" of July 1833; but he had looked into the Mirror of Parliament, and he found the same sentiments reported, in the same way, almost to the very letter, with the difference only of one being in the third, the other in the first person. Indeed, the extreme coincidents of the words was such, as almost to make every one suppose that it was the same reporter who had furnished both accounts:—"He still held the property of the Church to be a sacred deposit. Nothing was more idle than to ask whether the property of the Church was or was not, under the control of Parliament? All property was under the control of Parliament; but when he said that, he felt it was a grave thing to meddle with that property, unless in case of necessity. He admitted that, in a certain sense, the property of the Church was private property; it was, however, like other corporate property: it was private property in the same sense as corporate property, and might be applied to the purposes of the corporation, and it was within the power of Parliament so to apply it. So, in the present case, the property of the Church of Ireland, every part of it, was to be applied to purposes strictly and purely Eccle- 646 siastical."* Those were the words of the noble and learned Lord, in July, 1833, and he intreated their Lordships to consider whether a change had not come over the spirit of the noble and learned Lord, when he said, as he did now, that the surplus property of the Church might be taken by the State; and for what purpose? for that of general education. On what principle was that general education founded? What was the principle embodied in the system of education of which the noble and learned Lord had been, if not the most eloquent, at least one of the most eloquent and ardent supporters? What, he asked, was the fundamental principle of the system of general education in Ireland? It was, that it should not be conducted according to the principles of the Established Church. That was notoriously its avowed principle. Now, let that be applied to the speech of the noble and learned Lord, that the property of the Church of Ireland was not applicable except to purposes "strictly and purely Ecclesiastical." This opinion was of vast moment at a time like the present. They had heard of noble Lords—he need not repeat the names—who had spoken of the absolute necessity of preserving, as a sacred deposit, the property of the Irish Church for purposes purely Ecclesiastical; and yet the purposes now recommended for its employment, might be in their nature totally at variance with those mentioned by such noble Lords only a year and a half ago. He did not wish to continue the discussion—he had not the other night the least wish to charge the noble and learned Lord with not entertaining opinions different from those he had formerly professed. On the contrary, he had thought that the noble and learned Lord would have supported his view of the matter, and it was with the deepest and most unfeigned gratification he felt himself able to refer to the speech of such an eminent lawyer and orator as the noble and learned Lord in favour of the Protestant population of Ireland, in this the time of their distress; and he was most grieved now to find that the words of the noble and learned Lord did not mean what he had supposed.
said, the right reverend Prelate had misapprehended the ground* Hansard, (third series) vol., xix. P. 863.647 of complaint brought forward by his noble and learned Friend. His noble and learned Friend did not state that there was any irregularity in alluding to what had occurred in a debate in 1834. The irregularity his noble and learned Friend complained of was this—that when a noble Marquess had made a speech in presenting a Petition to their Lordships, an allusion was made by the right reverend Prelate to his noble and learned Friend, who was not then in the House. The right reverend Prelate, in answering the noble Marquess, began to quote—not the speech of any individual who was present—not any former speech of the noble Marquess whose observations he was then answering—no, the right reverend Prelate appealed to a former speech of his noble and learned Friend, who was not in his place, and appealed to it for the purpose of making an invidious comparison ["No, no."] Well, then, it looked very like an invidious comparison between his noble and learned Friend who was absent, and the noble Marquess ["No, no."]
The Duke of Cumberland
said, the right reverend Prelate had acted under a mistake. He was not aware of the absence of the noble and learned Lord.
Oh, not aware! Why the right reverend Prelate began by saying, that he regretted the absence of the noble and learned Lord. The defence set up by the illustrious Duke was most extraordinary. In such a case well might the right reverend Prelate exclaim, "Save me from my friends." Aided by such friends, very feeble enemies were often enabled to overcome the strongest. To show that there was no mistake it was only necessary that the words of the right reverend Prelate should be quoted. Why, the right reverend Prelate expressly said, that he regretted the absence of the noble and learned Lord, at the moment when he called their Lordships' attention to the noble and learned Lord's speech. Where, then, was the mistake? Why it was evident that the right reverend Prelate's intention was to place the noble and learned Lord against the noble Marquess—to place the absent against the present But laying that point on one side, he could not see that great change of opinion, that wonderful inconsistency of conduct, which the right reverend Prelate seemed to have discovered in his noble and learned Friend. But what surprised 648 him greatly was, that any complaint should come from the other side of the House with reference to change of opinion. Why, the noble Lord opposite had recently boasted much that they had got new lights and adopted more liberal opinions, but now, the declaration of the right reverend Prelate put to flight all those hopes which he had so lately entertained of seeing a new era of liberality. The cup which he had been for some time swilling n expectation—that cup of hope which he supposed that he should have received from the right reverend Prelate's Friends, including among its ingredients the state of the Marriage-law—including relief for the Dissenters—including Corporation reform—including several other healing measures—that cup he now found to be dashed with the most bitter drug of disappointment, since he had that evening discovered that nothing gave a greater zest to the enjoyments of the right reverend Prelate and his Friends, than an opportunity of showing their affection for the old system. Why, the right reverend Prelate had twitted his noble and learned Friend with the new lights that he had acquired since 1834. [The Bishop of Exeter "1833."] Oh! then his noble and learned Friend had a longer time, by a year, for acquiring new lights. Now, if he were to compare some noble Lords' recent speeches, and their professions of expected liberality, with what the same noble Lords had said and done in 1833, when they were at that (the Opposition) side of the House, and he and his Friends were at the other (the Ministerial) side of the House, he fancied that he should not hear so much chuckling, if he might use the phrase, from those noble Lords, on the subject of consistency. He, perhaps, should not have risen on this occasion, but that some misrepresentation of his sentiments on the subject of Church property had gone abroad, which had originated with certain very respectable individuals elsewhere. He had been represented as an enemy—as a direct foe to the doctrine of the universal appropriation—to the education of all classes, of any surplus funds which the Church might possess, after all its wants were properly supplied. Now, with respect to the diffusion of education, he made no distinction; and if it were stated that he had done so, he would say, that it was an entire misunderstanding of his opinion. On that 649 point he had expressed his sentiments very strongly. He had adverted to the inexpediency—he would say nothing of the illegality of taking the Church property, and out of those revenues endowing the Catholic establishment. On that point he had stated his opinion strongly. But if it were supposed that he wished to confine educational endowments to one class, he was very much misunderstood. But suppose he were told that he had become a good deal more liberal in the course of time, why then he should only say, that he had made the change in very choice company. If he were accused of having seen and followed new lights (supposing such to be the fact), he would not defend himself from the charge, but would only say with the noble Lords opposite, that he had only followed change of circumstances and of times. He would however contend that he had not done so, and he was ready to defend the consistency of his opinions in that House or elsewhere. If any individual in the other House of Parliament chose to impugn any part of his public conduct, either with reference to what he had said or to what he had done, he was perfectly willing, taking advantage of the privilege which the House of Commons allowed, to appear at the Bar of that House, or within the Bar of that House, and there, in the presence of his old Friends and ancient opponents, to defend himself, and to advocate those principles which he had always supported. That would be according to the strict rule of Parliamentary precedent, and he should be found not to be the person who would refuse to go thither, who would refuse to appear at the Bar of the other House at any period that he might be called upon. He begged now to say that he had been intrusted from a number of the Society of Friends with a statement of the manner in which they were aggrieved by the present mode of leasing tithes in Ireland, the tithes being combined with the rent. He had been instructed to put it into the hands of the Ministers in the other House of Parliament; but unless one House could pass what it pleased into a law, he thought that he should best execute his commission by putting the statement into the hands of his Majesty's Ministers in that House, than into the hands of his Majesty's Ministers in the Other House, where they were always in a 650 majority, and could carry what measure they pleased.
The Lord Chancellor
rose and said, that there was no question before the House. The noble and learned Lord with whom the conversation originated had said, that he did not mean to enter into a general discussion, but that he only wished to explain a matter of a personal nature.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, he did not mean to trespass on the House; and certainly he would never think of doing that indirectly which he could not do directly. He, however, regretted that the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack had not thought it necessary to rise when the noble and learned Lord who had last spoken, and who was evidently out of order, was addressing their Lordships.
§ Subject dropped.