presented a Petition from the inhabitants of Bandon and its neighbourhood, in favour of protection to the Irish Church. The Church of Ireland had never had fair play before the period of the Legislative Union. Till then it was a political matter, not a matter of religion. The cathedral houses instead of being occupied by the clergy, who, by their conduct and character, might shed a lustre over the country, were hired out to tenants who would occupy them. That was not the case now. The clergy at present were as pious, as excellent, and as well conducted a body of men as could be met with anywhere. When he first went to reside in the county with which he was particularly connected, that was about forty years ago, there was a district where there were sixteen parishes, nine churches, and but three resident clergymen, now there were in that same district sixteen churches, and fifteen resident clergymen, and the sixteenth was incapable of residing, on account of ill health. It was of no use to have clergymen without giving them churches. Forty years ago there were but a few parish churches, and then of course the Protestant clergy laboured under great disadvantages. Since churches had been built for them or repaired, and they had had places in which to perform their duty, they had performed that duty with advantage to the people and honour to themselves. Who was it that visited the bed of the sick man, and administered religious consolation to him, who but the 664 Protestant clergyman? It was to him, that the Roman Catholic peasant most looked for kindness and support, and consolation, and now that there was a resident clergy in Ireland, he looked to it to produce the happiest effects.
§ Petition laid on the Table.
The Bishop of Exeter
begged to move for a paper, to the production of which he believed there would be no objection. The noble Marquess, the President of the Council, had made a similar Motion on a previous occasion; and he had copied the form of that Motion, and inserted in it the papers he now wished to be produced. The noble Marquess's Motion was for a Return of the incomes of the parochial clergy of Ireland. His Motion was to have a Return of the same sort, but to confine the return to one diocese. The paper now before their Lordships was not useful, because it extended over too wide a space. He wanted specimens, from which they might see the nature of the incomes of the Irish clergy: he had, therefore, chosen the parishes in the small dioceses of Clonfert and Clogher. He moved for a Return of a calculation of the incomes of the clergy of those two dioceses before the Church Temporalities' Bill, after the Church Temporalities' Bill, and the probable amount of those incomes under the Bill now proposed.
§ Viscount Duncannon
said, that there was no objection to the Return, if it could be obtained, but he doubted much, whether it could; and he begged also to observe, that the paper moved for by the noble Marquess, were those which were already on the Table of the other House of Parliament, which could be presented at once; but even if those now moved for could be obtained at all, it was quite clear, that they could not be obtained in time for the discussion of this Bill.
The Bishop of Exeter
said, that it was necessary that these papers should be obtained, and he must be excused if he persisted in his Motion.
§ Lord Hatherton
said, that reference had been made to certain papers now on the Table of the House of Commons. He knew the way in which those Returns had been made, and perhaps he might be permitted to state it, in order to show the difficulty that would exist as to complying with the Motion of the right reverend 665 Prelate. Those Returns had been made for the use of the Chief Secretary of Ireland; and having them in his possession, he thought that they might be useful in the House of Commons, and had, therefore, moved that they should be laid upon the Table, and then produced them himself. They were not Returns prepared by any known public officer, to whom the orders of this House could be directed, and therefore he suggested to the right reverend Prelate the propriety of not pressing the Motion, as he did not know the quarter to whom the order of the House could be issued to make a similar Return.
The Bishop of Exeter
had not sufficient confidence in the predictions of the noble Baron as to the difficulty of preparing the Returns to induce him to withdraw the Motion. He did not know what authority the noble Baron possessed to stop a Motion for papers when any Member of that House thought fit to make it. He thought, that it was rather premature of the noble Baron to foretel what could and what could not be done in the office of which he was not now a member. The proper officer to whom this order would be directed would know how to make the proper Return to it: and if the order could not be complied with, he should be the last man in that House to press any proceeding against the officer. But till such a Return was made, he must repeat, that it was premature in the noble Baron to attempt to stop the Motion in this way.
§ Lord Hatherton
said, that he hardly thought the right reverend Prelate was justified in using the harsh tone and manner he had assumed on this occasion. He had never pretended to have any authority on the subject, nor had he interposed as if with authority to stop any Motion. He had merely mentioned from his own knowledge, a circumstance to show how difficult it would be to get such a Return as the right reverend Prelate wished for, and to say, that even if it could be obtained at all, he doubted whether it could be obtained in time for the approaching discussion. He repeated that doubt now, and begged to add, that the paper asked for, would require not a few days, but several weeks, to prepare it. He really had only meant to give the right reverend Prelate some useful information, and he begged again to offer it for the right reverend Prelate's consideration.
§ Viscount Duncannon
had said, not that he objected to the production of the paper 666 required, but that he believed the paper could not be produced, if produced at all, without much delay. It was true, that a similar paper—not the same—had been laid on the Table of the other House of Parliament; but then the way in which it happened to get there, had been satisfactorily explained by his noble Friend.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
said, that he must beg to suggest to the right rever-and Prelate the insurmountable difficulty already alluded to by his noble Friend. Where no office existed, bound to furnish any particular kind of document, it was impossible to make an order for the production of such documents. He really could not see how the order could be issued, or to whom it could be directed.
§ Return ordered.
The Duke of Cumberland
presented a Petition signed by seventy-three of the senior and junior fellows and scholars of the University of Dublin, for protection to the Established Church of Ireland. The petitioners expressed their hope that their Lordships would see, as they did, the danger with which that Church was threatened in that Bill which had now come from the other House of Parliament, and which they were to take into consideration to-morrow. He moved, that the petition be read. It was read, and he then added, that he concurred most completely in the prayer of it.
thought it necessary to make a few observations upon this petition. Their Lordships might perhaps be aware, that the governing body of Trinity College, Dublin, was limited to a small number of persons, and that to them alone appertained the right of affixing to any document the corporate seal of the University, The seven Senior Fellows, Provost, and Under-Provost, formed the governing body of the University. He had reason to know, that an attempt had been made—a most injudicious attempt, as he thought—to procure from the Senior Fellows and the governing body a petition similar to that which had now been presented. The persons, however, who presided over the University, had the prudence and the good sense to decline becoming parties to any such proceeding. The majority of the Senior Fellows, too, had been averse to the proceeding. It was true, that this was a Protestant University; but it was 667 also true, that it was part of a system of national education; and one of the great advantages derived from this latter circumstance bad been, that till a very late period the Roman Catholics of the country educated at the College had lived in harmony with the Protestants, and that those quarrels which unhappily had disturbed the peace of the country at large had not intruded themselves within the walls of the University. He considered it deeply to be regretted, that any change should have taken place in that matter. He could not omit taking advantage of this opportunity to bear his testimony to the good sense of the governing part of the College, and to express his regret that an appeal, as it were, had been established from them to the Junior Fellows, amongst whom, he was sorry to say, there had been latterly manifested a spirit, which, until now, had not been known to belong to them. He was sorry to say, that lately politics had been introduced among them, not to the advantage of literature; and a bigoted feeling was admitted, and secret associations, Orange lodges, had been introduced, productive of almost as much mischief as the same things had produced in Other parts of the country.
The Duke of Cumberland
had never before heard one word of the attempt alluded to; at the same time he must be permitted to say, that he should be extremely surprised if any Members of the University, feeling, as they ought to do, the danger with which the property of the Church was now threatened, had not manfully come forward in support of that religion which they were bound to defend. In so far, therefore, he differed from the noble and learned Lord. He did not mean to say, that there should be anything to create quarrels and feuds in the University; but when a great question like this arose, in which the Protestant religion was interested, and the property of the Protestant Church was to be taken away, so that the Protestant religion was not to e propagated in the way it had been, he must Say it was the bounden duty of every Protestant to come forward. With respect to Orange Lodges, he knew not whether there were any in the University. He could most positively say, that he had never countenanced Orange Lodges in the University of Dublin. He knew, that he had often been attacked for that, but he cared not for these attacks, for he declared positively, that he had never countenanced 668 any Orange Lodges in any place where orders had been given by the proper authorities, that they should not be held. He stated this openly, and he cared not what was said about it.
The Earl of Wicklow
had been much surprised to hear a Protestant Lord Chancellor, in a Protestant country, under a Protestant King, declare his regret that a Protestant University should petition this House in favour of the Protestant Church. The noble and learned Lord had said, that recently there had been a want of unanimity in the University; that might be the case, but he had omitted to state from what period it was that these disagreements had arisen. Had it been from the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill—had that been the cause of them? If that had not been the cause, had they arisen from the coming in of the present Ministers, who in all their measures had declared that their object was to promote the unanimity of all classes in the country? He feared that this want of unanimity and these disagreements had arisen from the mal-administration with which the Government was carried on, and that that had sown these seeds of dissension, and it was rather extraordinary that an individual who was a supporter of the Government, who had aided in these measures, should be the person to state that these disagreements were of recent occurrence. He had several petitions to present similar to that which had just been presented by the illustrious Duke, all praying for protection to the Church, and expressing a hope that their Lordships would not consent to adopt two enactments in the Bill, one for the sequestration of livings, and the other for the transfer, to secular purposes, of any part of the ecclesiastical revenues. Some few came from his own county, and contained, besides, a prayer that was in some measure connected with the same matter—namely, that the qualification of persons entitled to vote for Members of Parliament might be raised, for it was now so low that the electors were often a class of men who were not sensible of the obligations of an oath, and who returned persons to Parliament who did not represent the wishes of the country, and who ought not to find an entrance into the House of Commons.
§ Petition laid on the Table.