The Bishop of Exeter
presented a Petition from the reverend James Page, praying for protection to the Established Church in Ireland, which was now in difficulty and in danger, and praying, also, that their Lordships would secure liberty of conscience for his Majesty's Protestant subjects in Ireland. In presenting this petition, he wished to take the opportunity it afforded him of asking the noble Viscount, whether he had received a letter which had been published in the papers, and which was signed "George Murray," and which purported to come from a gentleman who was now one of the Commissioners of Public Education in Ireland?
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that he had received such a letter, having for its object to call his attention to some statements which had been made respecting the writer's opinions.
The Bishop of Exeter
thanked the noble Viscount for the frank manner in which he had answered his question as to the letter of Dr. Murray, so far as he was concerned. It would now be his (the Bishop of Exeter's) duty to make some remarks upon it. Considering that letter as proceeding from a person holding a very high office under the Crown—for of all the offices under the Crown there were few requiring more trust and confidence than that which a Commissioner of National Education in Ireland demanded—considering, he said the letter in that light, the course he could have wished to adopt would be to move that a copy of the letter should be laid on the table of their Lordships' House. But there was something in the letter itself which prevented him from adopting such 604 a course; there was something in it which related to what had taken place in that House, and would, therefore, be liable to e considered as a breach of the privileges f that House. For that reason he resolved to adopt another course, and to give the noble Viscount notice, as he had done, that he should this day ask, whether such a letter had been received y him. In making some observations upon that letter, he was sensible that he should have to defend himself from a most grave charge—that of having committed an injury upon a most important public functionary, by stating that that public functionary entertained opinions which were incompatible with the faithful and efficient discharge of the duties of his office. Recollecting this, and recollecting the garb he wore, and that the attack thus made was directed against an individual who, though not a bishop of the Established Church, was as much a bishop as he himself was; he could assure their Lordships that he approached the consideration of that charge with a full sense of its importance. Dr. Murray said, "an attempt has been made to injure, through me, an institution of great value—I mean the Commission which his Majesty's Government has so wisely established for the purpose of promoting in Ireland a system of national education;" but he could assure their Lordships that he had no such purpose in view. Whatever was his opinion of that Board—whatever was its conduct, whether good or bad, whether he could praise it or not, he did think that, in the present instance, the conduct and the declared opinions of Dr. Murray, which were all that he had to do with, made that Prelate an improper person to be a member of the Board. Dr. Murray had referred to a statement supposed to be made by him in that House, and said, that that statement, "from whatever quarter it came, was wholly devoid of any foundation in fact." He had looked into one of the reports of his observations, and was ready to admit, from what appeared there to have fallen from him—for, of course, he did not recollect the exact expressions he had used—that he had said fully enough to warrant Dr. Murray in taking the course of denying the statements made, if he could correctly do so. Dr. Murray observed, "What was really said on that occasion I have no means of knowing, and, perhaps, have no right to 605 inquire; but I distinctly aver, that those imputations, from whatever quarter they may have found their way into the newspapers, are wholly devoid of any foundation in fact. I do not entertain the doctrines thus attributed to me, my solemn oath attests the contrary." He did not find by the report that he had said anything of Dr. Murray holding the doctrines he had caused to be sent forth, and as he had said nothing of that sort, on that occasion, he should say nothing now. He should, however, declare frankly, that, if he was right, and if he rightly understood what Dr. Murray said, whether Dr. Murray really held the doctrines professed in this book or whether he did not, he was equally unfit for the situation he now filled. If he did hold them, he was unfit for it, because he conscientiously held principles which disqualified him for his office; if he did not hold them, it was still worse, for then he professed principles, or appeared to profess them, by sending forth a book containing them, when, in fact, they were foreign to his real sentiments; Dr. Murray said, "I did not direct the work of Dens to be published." He (the Bishop of Exeter) was not aware that he had said that Dr. Murray had directed the publication; but he had said that he had no doubt that that work was sent forth upon the authority of Dr. Murray, and that that was the fact he should now endeavour to show, and he thought he should satisfy their Lordships that he had not made the statement without good authority. He had in his hand a work put forth by authority —"illustrissimi et reverendissimi Archiepiscopi Dubliniensis"—it was written for the express purpose of directing the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland in the daily proceedings which they were to observe in performing the divine office. It went largely into directions upon this subject, and included, also, the subject of conferences in the province of Leinster, and it was followed by an advertisement of the bookseller, staling that Dens' "Complete Body of Theology" had been unanimously declared, at a meeting of Roman Catholics, held at Dublin in 1808, to be the best work which could be published. That was the statement put forth in "The Priest's Daily Directory," and bound up along with this book by Mr. Coyne, whom Dr. Murray termed, and justly termed, a respectable bookseller; and who further sets 606 forth the assembled prelates' sanction for Dens' work—"As containing the most sure guidance for such Ecclesiastics as may, by reason of the peculiar circumstances of this country be deprived of the opportunity of referring to public libraries, or consulting those who may be placed in authority over them. In consequence, an edition of this work was ordered to be printed by the present publisher, to the number of 3,000. It, therefore, appeared, that "Dens' Theology" was to stand in lieu of all other books to the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland. The publisher then went on to say, that "Inasmuch as the work is very rare, and scarcely to be met with—and, as inasmuch as his Grace Dr. Murray, Dr. Doyle, Dr. Keating, and Dr. Kinchela, have made it the conference-book for the clergy of the province of Leinster, the publisher, as well to obviate the difficulty experienced by them, as also to advance the cause of religion and morality in the other parts of the Irish Church, is induced to reprint a limited number of copies." That limited number extended to 3,000. Their Lordships would thus perceive, that this book of Dens was originally ordered by the Roman Catholic prelates to be republished in 1808; and when that edition was exhausted, another edition became necessary, for which Dr. Murray had ensured a sale, by appointing it to be the conference-book for the clergy of the province of Leinster. That fact, then, was sufficient to justify him in asserting that "Dens' Theology" was published with the authority of Dr. Murray. But the proof of his having sent forth the book did not rest on these statements alone, for the publisher announced that the new edition was made more valuable than before by the addition of a supplement, a volume of theology containing the Rules, Constitutions, &c. of Benedict XIV., and it was stated that the supplementary matter had been added by the sanction and approbation of the most rev. Dr. Murray. After that it was impossible to doubt that the work had been sent forth by the authority of Dr. Murray. Though it appeared by the advertisement that the work was calculated to advance the cause of religion and morality, that would not appear if some other parts besides the advertisement were examined. They were told that the book was specially designed for the edification of 607 the clergy, and that it would be their best and most secure guide, and would, through them, advance the cause of religion and morality in Ireland. The clergy, who desired to be possessed of it, were told that they were required to send their names early to the bookseller. The eighth volume, which contained the supplementary book on theology, and which was avowedly sent forth by Dr. Murray, contained matter against which not merely Protestants, but foreign Roman Catholics, had strong objections, for in it were bulls which the Government of Portugal had thought necessary to prohibit throughout its dominions. That fact was one of some importance, as it showed what even Roman Catholics in foreign countries thought of the book thus sent forth under the authority of Dr. Murray. Dr. Murray said, that the character of the book was altogether mistaken, and he added, "I did not make it the text-book for our theological conferences, for on such occasions we have no such book, if by that expression we are to understand the work of any writer whose opinions (when not already defined by the Church as articles of faith) the clergy are required or in any way expected to maintain." That was not the meaning which he gave to the expression "text-book." He considered a text-book not so much an authority in itself as a book which told the readers where they might find the authorities that were to guide them. In that sense only had he used the expresson "text-book," when he said that Dens' Theology had been made the text-book for the conferences. Notwithstanding what was said as to the by-gone opinions of Dens, that book was not regarded in Ireland quite so lightly as it seemed to be supposed. He had seen a letter in a Dublin newspaper, written by a Mr. Nolan, a gentleman who had not long ago conformed to the Church of England, and it was a strong evidence of the sincerity of the conversion that he had chosen this peculiar time for declaring that conversion. In February last Mr. Nolan retracted the errors of the Church of Rome, and enrolled himself among the followers of the true Protestant faith. Mr. Nolan said, that he had refused pecuniary assistance, that he knew he was abandoning a rich and pampered Church, that of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, but that he did it on the grounds of 608 conscientious belief, that he was surrendering himself to the service of the Church now insulted and persecuted there. Unfortunately, that expression had too much truth in it. A Roman Catholic Priest named Macquire, had challenged any man to contradict his assertions on the subject of Dens' Theology, and had said that the Roman Catholic religion was as much dependant on the authority of Dens, as it was on the authority of Johanna Southcote. Mr. Nolan answered him by asking "Pray when, and under what influence, did you write this dreadful fabrication? Did you imagine your assertions would pass unnoticed? Pray, Sir, let me ask you, is not Dens' Theology one of the reference books of Maynooth College, where you and I have studied, though not as contemporaries? Is not that book left in the public library for the perusal of all the students? Again, have you or I ever heard of its perusal being prohibited? Had you not often made its contents your answers for class? And with all these questions, which must be answered in the affirmative, will you still assert that your religion no more rests upon the authority of Peter Dens than upon the authority of Johanna Southcote? Many students had copies of it in my time for their own use, and were never prevented from reading it. When I officiated as a Roman Catholic clergyman, many of the priests' conferences in Ireland were regulated by questions and answers from Dens' Theology. To these circumstances must be added the fact, that Dens' opinions are as much respected in Maynooth as Blackstone's Commentaries in the Protestant Universities of England." From this valuable testimony their Lordships would see that the book was not of that trifling authority which it was now attempted to be represented. That Dr. Murray should wish such an opinion to be entertained was not surprising; for this book contained matter of a most horrid tendency, as he should presently trouble their Lordships by showing. Meanwhile he must, in passing, remark on an artifice employed to escape from the embarrassment in which the discovery of this book had involved them. He need not say that the Roman Catholic clergy generally write very good Latin in their official composition; yet in their anxiety to get rid of the authority of Dens in the present instance, they had had recourse to a very 609 extraordinary mode of translation, in order to explain away a passage in The Priest's Directory, distinctly affirming that authority. The original Latin is Dominum Dens auctorem sequentes, which the Catholic clergy declared to mean simply "following the course of Mr. Den's book." He was sure that none of their Lordships would be of opinion that Dominum Dens auctorem sequentes, can only mean the following Dens' Book as authority. With reference to this book as a conference book it was necessary for him to state what was the nature of the conferences at which it was ordered to be used as a text-book. In Ireland, and in Roman Catholic countries, the conferences of the bishops with their clergy, are different from the ordinary meetings of the clergy in Protestant countries. They are held for the purpose of instructing the Roman Catholic clergy in the use of powers of a nature and character widely different from those claimed by the Protestant clergy. The Roman Catholic clergy insisted upon having authority and dominion over the consciences and conduct of the people; and this authority was to be exercised by them in the confessional. Accordingly, one of the most important particulars in regulating the Roman Catholic clergy, was to instruct them properly in the business of confession. To illustrate this matter he would read a short extract from an authoritative book, the Roman Catechism, set forth by the authority of the Council of Trent, which the Roman Catholic prelates, when examined before the Committees of both Houses of Parliament, in 1825, admitted to be a decisive authority from which no Roman Catholic could appeal. He would read one or two short extracts from it, for the purpose of shewing the nature of the authority. The right rev. Prelate here read some extracts. The first said, "First, the faithful must be taught how great the nobility and excellency of the sacrament is, 'For seeing the Bishops and Priests are, as it were, the interpreters and ambassadors of God, who, in God's name, teach men the divine law and the rules, and 'personate God himself in the earth,' 'they are worthily called not only angels but Gods also, because they hold the power and the name of the immortal God among us." The Roman Catholic Bishops were described in that Catechism as persons "who, in 610 God's name, taught men the knowledge of God, and who personated God himself;" they were worthy to be called not only angels but gods, because they taught the only true knowledge of God, and also because they came in the name of God. Their Lordships were not to suppose that these were mere words in the book, words which were without any authority, for he asserted that the confessional of Ireland was directed by them. There was in the book a marginal reference in this very passage. It was in these terms, "Let the priest look to this." But more than that—upon an inquiry in another place, on a Roman Catholic clergyman being examined he distinctly (and he deserved honour for thus distinctly expressing himself) he distinctly said, "that in the confession, the priest was as it were God." So far their Lordships might see that the direction that the catechism should be observed was faithfully fulfilled by the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. To return to that point. It might be said that the Roman Catholic clergy did not hold it to be an authority, but they belonged to a religion which they must believe to be true, and they must consider as authority that which the books of their religion taught, and which their Church enjoined; and therefore where their conferences directed the observance of any particular practices those practices became the authorized observances of the Church. He was not quite prepared to concede another point that had been demanded of him. So entirely aware were foreign Roman Catholic countries of the danger of the people reading and being instructed in any books but such as they should choose, and that the Government should point out, that the Roman Catholic States of Europe declared positively and peremptorily that the Roman Catholic priests should only give instructions from books approved of by the Government. He said this upon the authority of a Report of a Committee of the House of Commons in 1817, which Report together with, the Appendix, was communicated to their Lordships at the time. At page 17, their Lordships would find, "Tuscany has taken care to order that the regular clergy shall study theology from books permitted by the Sovereign." It was not so in this country, where, thank God, we had not an absolute Government which could direct what books should, and what should not 611 form the subject of our studies; but he mentioned the fact to show how Roman Catholic Governments interfered in these matters, and made the Romish Church in their Governments obey the directions of the State, and how much these Governments thought themselves called on to provide against the dangers of the Roman Catholic Church. In these conferences he could not understand for what honest purpose questions like the following could be deemed necessary to be discussed—Anne licitum est ritûs infidelium tolerare? Anne cogendi infideles gremio fidelium sese adjungere? Quæ pœnæ contra labe ista infectos latæ? "Was it lawful to tolerate the rites of unbelievers and heretics?" To which they found an answer in Dens, "that they were not in themselves to be tolerated, because they were so bad that no truth or utility can from thence be derived to the good of the Church; except, however, that some greater evils might accrue from some other source, or some greater good prevented." Again, "Unless there be some prudential reasons which may induce us to tolerate it." The answer of Dens on this subject was remarkable; he said that the Roman Catholic was not at liberty to tolerate it as the worship of heretics at all, unless to prevent some great inconvenience to the Church; but that whenever there was the power, with that power came also the duty not to tolerate. There was another question in the same book, whether heretics were to be compelled to come over to the true Church. The answer was, "Yes they were to be compelled." The next was, what punishment had been appointed for those who had been affected with the contagion of heresy? Such were the questions mooted in this book for the instruction of the priests. Dr. Murray then said that he did not direct the publication of Dens' work, but that it was undertaken by a respectable bookseller, and that it contained a mass of valuable matter, though there were also in it opinions which were not to be defended. Mr. Murray spoke of some of the opinions as obsolete If so, why were they discussed, except that it was intended they should no longer be obsolete? The publication had followed speedily after the unfortunate event of 1829. These were now dealt with as obsolete opinions, though they were directed to be discussed at the conferences by the priests who were to be instructed by them 612 how to govern the people. But as to obsolete opinions, he was sorry to say that some of the worst opinions which were ever held were not obsolete in Ireland, whatever they might be in other countries. He must remark upon one circumstance. About 100 years ago a new office was created in the breviary for the satisfaction of Gregory 6th, under the title of St. Hildebrand. Gregory 6th was a perfect firebrand—he was a religious maniac urged by his religious fury to the Commission of Acts which none but a madman would have committed. An office, however, was appointed to be used to celebrate his memory. Every Roman Catholic State, as it knew of the appointment of this new office, for all did not know of it at once, interposed to get the order for the office recalled. All the States refused to recognise as in a state of beatitude St. Hildebrand, and to address him in prayer, and to implore God that by his example his Church might be governed. The same thing occurred in every one state of the Continent as soon as the office was found out. In Ireland that was not the case; in Ireland the Saint still kept his ground, and in the breviary, in the Irish prayer, the edifying example of St. Hildebrand was pointed out to the pious—and one of the acts of his life, for which he is represented to be canonized, is that of having deposed the Emperor Henry 4th, and of having absolved his subjects from their allegiance. He himself had not seen the lesson, but he understood such to be the fact. Some part of the lesson had been altered, but it could not be so altered as not to make him an example to the faithful. That, however, was not the only instance in which Ireland was distinguised above all Roman Catholic countries for its adherence to matters rejected elsewhere. The Bull, In cœnâ Domini, was still held in esteem in that country, though rejected elsewhere. That was not the only proof that opinions obsolete in other countries were still received in Ireland. The Bible which was sent forth in 1816 under the authority of Dr. Murray's predecessor, to whom he believed Dr. Murray then acted as coadjutor, the Douay Bible of 1816, was put forth with notes of the Rheimish translation, and among them was the following:—Deut. xvii. 12.—"He that will be proud and refuse to obey the commandment of the priest—that man shall die." Another note was "Here we see 613 what authority God was pleased to give to the Church guides of the Old Testamen in deciding, without appeal, all controversies relating to the law, promising that they should not err therein (and punishing with death such as proudly refused to obey their decisions): and surely he has not done less for Church guides of the New Testament. The good must tolerate the evil, when it is so strong that it cannot be redressed without danger and disturbance of the whole Church; and commit the matter to God's judgement in the latter day. Otherwise, where ill men (be they heretics or other malefactors) may be punished or suppressed without disturbance and hazard of the good, they may and ought, by public authority, either spiritual or temporal, to be chastised or executed." He should refer only to one more note. Speaking of Pilate's expression—Matt. xxvii. 24., "I am innocent of the blood of this just man," the note said, "Though Pilate was much more innocent than the Jews, &c, yet he is damned for being the Minister of the people's wicked will against his own conscience. Even as all officers are, and especially the judges and juries, which execute laws of temporal princes against Catholic men; for all such are guilty of innocent blood, and are nothing excused by that they execute the laws which are unjust, for they should rather suffer death themselves than put an innocent man to death." That was the more important to be considered, as one of the questions to be discussed was as to the duty of the judge and jury. Certainly the statements he had then read, were not made on the authority of the Bible. He did mean to state that this had not been at all reformed, for it had; but it had been published with the express permission of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. After having gone forth for twelve months, in an expensive large quarto volume, published, however, in numbers, that the people might be able to purchase it, it was discovered and reviewed in The British Critic, the attention of the people of England was drawn to it, and then one universal burst of indignation arose. On that occasion Dr. Troy sent for the printer and asked him how he could think of publishing the Bible as with his authority, when that authority had not been given, and that the thing had produced prodigious mischief, not that it was wrong, but that being received in this way it had pro- 614 duced mischief. The bookseller asked him if he had not authorized a Mr. Macnamara to publish a Bible, and if a Mr. Walsh had not been appointed by him to revise the notes to it? He admitted such to be the fact. Then, said the bookseller, that is the very Bible published under their direction. Mr. O'Connell, much to his honour, had taken up a part of the notes at the Catholic Board, and had required that a vote should be passed, disclaiming, as a part of the Roman Catholic doctrines, something which was there said. Mr. O'Connell said, "If I thought it essential to the Roman Catholic Church to hold the doctrine contained in the notes to the Bible which justify the murder of heretics as such, and the breaking oaths with heretics as such, I would no longer belong to that Church"—he did not say compatible with, but essential to—the difference was material. But how was the Motion met. Other Members said that those were not matters for them to discuss, and the utmost that was done was to appoint a Committee to consider of the matter. When the day arrived for their making a Report, none was made, the thing was delayed; it was again delayed, and again, till at length, after the interval of a month, the Roman Catholic Board ceased to exist, and by that notable contrivance saved the Roman Catholic laity from the duty of disclaiming this book. Dr. Murray referred to "the opinions of Dens respecting the rights of temporal states to compel their subjects to embrace religions which their consciences did not approve," as if it was not beyond the right of political states to compel their subjects to embrace religious doctrines contrary to their consciences. He was sorry to be obliged to say that in his opinion Dr. Murray would find it difficult to relieve himself from the charge of actually and knowingly making a misstatement of the matter. That it was so he should prove by reading three lines from Dens. After having stated, on the authority of the Council, that those who disbelieved might be exiled, imprisoned, and put to death, and proved the right to such power by citing the proper authorities, he came to the question. What are the punishments inflicted on those who were not the baptized servants of the Church? The answer was, those who were not baptized did not incur the penalty, for they were not the subjects of the Church. That was a distinct proof 615 that these punishments were for offences towards the political state. Dr. Murray had expressed such opinions with respect to the Protestant religion as he could not dare to prove. He contended, then, that by (Dr. Murray's) holding such opinions, and enforcing such a system of instruction for the Clergy of Ireland he was rendered of very questionable fitness for the situation which he held in that country—namely, one of his Majesty's Commissioners for national education in Ireland. He thought that Dr. Murray had taken the best possible course in addressing his letter to his Majesty's Prime Minister, as one whose duty it was, to decide whether or not he would advise his Majesty—although no determination on the question might have been conveyed by a vote of Parliament, and he (the Bishop of Exeter) would at once say, that he did not mean to call for a vote of their Lordships with reference to this subject or to take any steps with reference to the continuance of Dr. Murray in his situation. It was, he repeated, certainly a very proper course for Dr. Murray to address his defence on this very charge to the Prime Minister of the Crown, who had an opportunity of deciding on his fitness or unfitness for the high post and trust of confidence which Dr. Murray held under his Majesty's Government. He applauded Dr. Murray for the manliness of his conduct in this respect. He had thus stated the grounds on which he thought himself justified in making the charge which he had brought against Dr. Murray; and it appeared to him that he had, at all events, established a prima facie case against him. Dr. Murray would have similar opportunities to those which he had before availed himself of, to rebut anything which he had then stated. He assured their Lordships that if he were shown to be wrong in any statement which he had submitted, he should be as ready to retract it as he had then been in making it. He would go further, and say that he should feel infinitely less reluctance in making the retraction than he had felt in making the charge. Having said thus much in allusion to Dens' Theology and Dr. Murray, he would conclude by moving simply, "that the petition of which he had spoken do lie on their Lordships' table." It was the petition of a clergyman belonging to the united Churches of England and Ire- 616 land, who had been driven from Ireland by illness, and who now lived within three miles of London. He stated facts, and expressed views which were the result of personal experience, as well as of accurate information. He would, therefore, add to his former Motion, that not only should the petition lie on the Table, but that it be read aloud by the clerk. He would, just before he sat down, state two facts which had come to his knowledge, and which he felt assured would be most gratifying to their Lordships. One was, that since the presentation of the petition of the reverend Mr. Nangle, which related to outrages which had been committed on Protestant children and adults, by Roman Catholics in Achil, these outrages had ceased, and one of those who took a most active part in them had recently become a convert to the Protestant religion, and joined the congregation of Mr. Nangle. There was also another fact of a very gratifying nature, which he would state on the authority of one of the inspectors of the schools of the Kildare-street Society, and which related to a man more distinguished for talent than any man of his day, of whom, as he was dead, it was agreeable to have to say nothing but what was pleasing: he alluded to Dr. Doyle, who, he believed, had changed his mind before his death on many points of conduct, if not of religion. The authority for what he was about to inform their Lordships was one of the inspectors of the schools of the Kildare-street Society, who had visited Carlow, and who there found Dr. Doyle, who, shortly before his death, notwithstanding all the violent opposition which he had previously felt it his duty to give these schools in Ireland, visited the infant school of the Society, which at first he viewed with apparent grief; but after having made inquiries as to the orphan asylum under the direction of the same Society, he said (alluding to his desperate state of health, and speaking as a dying man), "I am now going, and I leave my blessing with you." The right reverend Prelate concluded by moving that the petition be read, which having been done, Viscount Melbourne spoke as follows:—I am sure your Lordships will give me credit for not entertaining the least wish to protract this discussion. I think, my Lords, that such a discussion as that which has been entered on by the right reverend Prelate, and the tone and temper 617 and spirit in which it has been introduced—although the manner and the terms in which it has been conducted are sufficiently courteous and unobjectionable—yet I repeat, it must be felt that the temper and spirit of it can tend to nothing but the creation of every species of altercation, and every kind of provocation—to the revival of ancient recollections, which should, by all possible means, be avoided, and to the production, in every shape, of animosity and discord. Most of the arguments which the right reverend Prelate has now advanced, were used by a right reverend Brother of his, in a debate which took place in this House during the last Session of Parliament. Here is a story, my Lords, refering to ancient times, in which it is related that a prelate was taken prisoner at the head of a body of troops, by some temporal sovereign; and he was then demanded by the Pope, as being under his jurisdiction. The temporal sovereign is said to have sent back, in reply to the request of the Pope, the coat of mail of the Bishop, accompanied with this question "Is this thy son's coat?" I beg leave, then, to ask the right reverend Prelate at the head of the Church, whether he thinks that the speech which your Lordships have just heard, is a speech becoming a Bishop, even were the tone, temper, and spirit of it those which he is desirous of seeing adopted by any one of his suffragans? My Lords, it is not for me to enter into, or attempt to rebut, all the controversial matter which has been introduced to your notice in the speech of the right reverend Prelate. I shall address myself to the only part of the question which can relate to myself or my colleagues, in the whole of the speech which the right reverend Prelate has delivered; and that is, with respect to the conduct of Dr. Murray in sanctioning, or recommending, or using, or employing the work of one Peter Dens; of whom, I dare say, your Lordships have never heard until he was mentioned in certain public disputations which have lately taken place in this city; but who, I believe, was a professor of theology in the University of Louvain about the middle of the last century. Now in answer to the appeal which has been made to me by the right reverend Prelate, I do not hesitate to say that I am extremely sorry that Dr. Murray is a Roman Catholic Bishop: I am deeply sorry that the Roman Catholic 618 religion prevails in Ireland at all; I regret sincerely that the principles and tenets of the Roman Catholic religion have not been got rid of in that country; but I must beg leave so say, that the imputation which the right reverend Prelate has attempted to attach, or has attached to Dr. Murray, of having adopted the work of Dens, is not, in my opinion, and so far as I can judge from the way in which the work has been characterized, a sufficient ground to disqualify him for the situation which he now holds in Ireland. Let it not for one moment be supposed that I enter into any defence of this work; it is, I dare say, sufficiently objectionable, and it contains, I apprehend, the same objectionable doctrines which are to be found in all the Roman Catholic works of that period. I am perfectly willing to admit that the members of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland are not remarkable for their tolerance; but I say that if you allow to Roman Catholics the possession of civil rights, and an equal participation of them with Protestants, you are not justified in preventing them from holding those tenets and principles, and recommending those works which undoubtedly have the sanction of the authority of their Church. The right reverend Prelate has also on very slender grounds, in my mind, made a charge of misrepresentation against Dr. Murray, and in very strong terms, though at the same time perfectly consistent with your Lordships' orders, accused that Bishop of asserting what was unfounded and untrue. The whole ground for this accusation was, that Dr. Murray had spoken of the opinions of Dens respecting the right of temporal states to compel their subjects by confiscation and other punishments to embrace religious doctrines of which their conscience did not approve, instead of stating that these punishments were inflicted by the authority of the Church. To say, then, that Dr. Murray was guilty of gross misrepresentation simply because he interpreted this work of Dens in a manner which I have described, does certainly appear to me to be a most unfair and unfounded charge preferred by the right reverend Prelate. If I understood the speech of the right reverend Prelate, the whole tenour of it went to prove that the Roman Catholic religion is of a much more bigotted and superstitious, of a far more virulent and violent character in 619 Ireland, than as it exists in the other Roman States of Europe. The right reverend Prelate alluded to these States as possessing inhabitants who, though they professed the Catholic religion, were nevertheless under a greater degree of control by the State than the Roman Catholics of Ireland. The right reverend Prelate also accounted for the difference between persons of the same religion, though residing in different countries, by saying that this difference arose from the way in which the Roman Catholic religion was preached in Ireland, being a departure from or a variance with the mode established in other Catholic States. I do think, however, that there are other reasons which may more satisfactorily and justly account for this difference in the habits and feelings of those belonging to the same religious persuasion. One cause of the difference is, I think, that in other European States every disposition is manifested to confer and communicate with the members of the Roman Catholic Church, and by that means that a salutary and efficient control has been exercised over their faith and its doctrines is beyond a doubt. In discussing this question, my Lords, I am most anxious to forget the disputes, and the discords, and the bloodshed of former times. My Lords, I don't wish to go back to them. But when, my Lords, it is said that it has been the precept of the Roman Catholic religion to extirpate heretics, your Lordships must forgive me if I remind you that extirpation was also the principle and practice of Protestant Governments. When I say that, do not, my Lords, at all suppose that I mean to sanction those opinions which are generally promulgated, that Ireland has undergone centuries of misrule by acts of misgovernment because if you look into her history, you will find it very difficult to lay your finger on chapters where any difference in the policy of the Government is related to have been adopted. But certain it is, my Lords, that up to the last sixty years the policy of the Government of that country was the extirpation of the Roman Catholic Religion. This design was first carried into effect by the confiscation of the province of Ulster, in the time of James 1st, and bestowing it on Protestant subjects. Then Lord Strafford attempted to protestantize Connaught: but was diverted from his purpose by being called, home to quell disorders in his own 620 country. Again Cromwell deluged a great part of the country with blood, and exterminated the inhabitants with fire and sword, for the express and avowed purpose of extirpating the Catholic religion; and, lastly, my Lords, the withering, desolating, and destructive system of Penal-laws was established, with the view of extirpating the Roman Catholic religion, by subjecting those who professed it to every loss, and inflicting on them every insult. These, my Lords, were a few of the means taken to extirpate the Catholic religion in Ireland. Let these, my Lords, be weighed against the extirpation of heretics, dwelt upon in a page of Dens, one of the professors of theology in the University of Louvain.
The Marquess of Westmeath
could inform their Lordships that efforts were made by the Popish Priests to spirit up the peasantry against the resident gentry, and infuse into them the poison of religious and political hostility against all who stood up for the principles of good government, the security of property, and the maintenance of the Protestant religion. After the Catholic Relief Bill passed, there was generally a kind feeling on the part of the Roman Catholics to the landlords, and the Protestant Government and Protestant population generally. That measure would have had all the good effects anticipated from it by its warmest advocates (and as an Irish landlord, conversant with the feelings and habits of the people, he spoke from experience) were it not for the wanton and pernicious interference of a set of men, whose gain was disturbance. These disturbers of the national tranquillity and vitiators of the public mind, actuated and directed by a master-spirit—went about teaching the credulous multitude that Emancipation was but the commencement of a series of innovations, which they misnamed improvements. These incendiaries were they who unsettled the public mind. The people were naturally kind, amiable and peaceful. This every one who mixed with and knew them could attest. And if they committed atrocities, and outraged the laws, and showed an enmity to the Protestant institutions of the country, they were stimulated to these acts by the factious and selfish agitators who worked upon them. It was said that the country was divided into two classes—that the Protestants held aloof from the Catholics. 621 But whose fault was that? Not the fault of the Protestants, who had raised the Catholics to an equality of privileges with themselves. It was the fault of those disturbers who would goad on the Catholics to avail themselves of the advantage ground, and strike down the Protestants, in place of courting them as friends, or cherishing them as benefactors. This conduct alarmed the Protestants, and put them on their guard. If they, then, stood on their defence, it was no reproach to them. In fact, it was their duty to stand up for their liberties, property, and lives. He regretted to say that the Catholic Priests were prime agents in the present work of mischief going on in Ireland. He did not speak of the Priests in their clerical capacity, but in their political. It was as political agents he complained of them. Their conduct not only tended to the disseverment of all the social ties between man and man in Ireland—it was not only causing the emigration of the affrighted Protestants—but was positively producing already the confiscation of their property. Protestant property was not safe at present in Ireland; it was held at the beck of these ruthless and unprincipled incendiaries, lay and clerical. The noble Viscount opposite (Melbourne) dwelt on the confiscations of Irish property by the English Government, as if those acts could be any justification of the present system of confiscation and robbery pursued by the Catholics in Ireland against the Protestants. He (Lord Westmeath) would not follow the noble Lord through his catalogue, though he could find but little difficulty in refuting him; he would however, refer to the case of Cromwell's conduct, which was made a constant and a presumedly strong case. Now, it was notorious—it was undeniable history—that Cromwell's edict of confiscation was not issued till it was rendered necessary by the conduct of the Catholics themselves—till a meeting of the Priests was held in Westmeath, which enjoined, as a necessary and a wholesome act, not merely of State policy but of religion, the murder of the Protestants, and the confiscation of their property. He was quite willing, however, that every thing of that sort should be forgotten; but he did think, after the course which had been adopted on the other side, that Protestants were justified in taking hold of Dens' Book as recom- 622 mended by Dr. Murray, in order to show that Roman Catholicism had not changed. He could not approve of the new concessions which were about to be given to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and he was most grateful to the right rev. Prelate for having in so able a manner introduced this subject to the attention of their Lordships.
§ The Duke of Wellington
was of opinion that the discussion of this question could lead to no desirable result; but their Lordships should not forget what the origin of it was. The right reverend Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter) had presented a petition to the House on the subject of persecution, said to have been practised on a Protestant clergyman, and people of a certain parish in Ireland, and out of this had grown what since followed. The right rev. Prelate had a perfect right to make those observations which he had just addressed to their Lordships with respect to that petition. Now, my Lords, with respect to the question which has arisen in the course of this debate, I do say that the Protestant people and clergy of Ireland have great reason to complain of the want of protection to their rights and properties on the part of the Government of this country; and this is the cause of those disputes and those circumstances which the noble Lord opposite (Lord Melbourne) had complained of, in the few words which he had addressed to the House on the subject. Far be it from me to wish for any renewal of dissensions in Ireland, and God knows I would go any length, or do anything to put them down, so far as they now exist; but we are mistaken, if we suppose that they can be put down by oppressing one party, or allowing one party to oppress another, or by extinguishing—what for the last three or four years you have attempted, and are now about to complete—that description of property in Ireland allotted to the payment of the clergy. This is the circumstance which occasions the present dissensions in Ireland, and which has induced the present discussion in this House. The noble Lord opposite cannot lament the cause of such discussions more than I do; but if he be determined to do his duty, let him give the protection of his Majesty's Government to the Protestant clergy and people of Ireland, as he does not hesitate to do in the case of other 623 classes in that country; and the evils which he so much deplores will soon cease to exist.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
should not have said a word in the present discussion, if he had not been so directly appealed to by the noble Lord at the head of his Majesty's Government. He must say, in answer to that appeal, that in instituting a comparison between the Bishop who had been taken prisoner and his right reverend Friend, he did his right reverend Friend a great injustice. He heard nothing bordering on incendiary language held by his right reverend Friend. All that, he had said was a fair comment on a letter which certainly was not such as he expected to have seen proceed from the head of the Romish Church, in answer to the accusation made against that Church. He should have expected something more distinct in the shape of a denial—something more explanatory; and he could not feel any surprise that his right reverend Friend should have felt himself called on to come forward when such an answer was returned to a grave accusation against the manner in which the Church of Rome was now conducted in Ireland. It had been always his rule of conduct in that House to abstain from giving personal offence to any one if he could possibly avoid it. He had been particularly careful in the observance of this rule with regard to the conduct of the Romish Ecclesiastics in Ireland. There certainly had frequently been enough in their conduct in some respects to provoke his indignation, in others to excite his sorrow, and he would say that the last was the feeling strongest in his mind. With regard to the Romish Church, it was in many respects like our own; it held most of our orthodox doctrines; though it corrupted many Christian truths, and its temporal policy had been conducted by means detestable in the highest degree. It was true that on the Continent it was controlled by despotic power, which would not permit the existence of a religion which interfered with it; but in Ireland no such control was exercised, and it still retained all its original bad principles. What he prayed for most heartily—wishing to see peace and concord amongst all denominations, and wishing to see peace restored to a country which had been long unhappily distracted by religious dissensions—was, that such conduct should be exhibited 624 on the part of the Romish Hierarchy as he thought was demanded by the spirit of the Catholic religion, and to which they advanced an exclusive title. The gravest accusation was preferred against them. This accusation, it appeared, was justified; for the work which gave rise to it was published under their authority. This book might contain much useful matter; but one would have supposed that if it were republished by the authority of the Hierarchy, it would have been reformed under that authority. There were parts of the work of which every man had a right to complain—both the Sovereign and his subjects—and the proper course would have been to expunge the exceptionable parts before it was suffered to be reprinted under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. That it was reprinted under that authority, he took for granted from the title of the book, in which the fact was stated. It was beside inserted in the Roman Catholic Directory, and in controversial discussions was regularly acknowledged. Now, if any of their Lordships were placed in the situation of any of the Hierarchy of the Church—if it had been stated that an objectionable work had been published in his name, would he not have felt bound, if he did not approve of it, to disclaim the authorship? He found that one edition of this work was published in 1806, another in 1816, and another edition (of 3,000) was now published, as it was stated, by authority. This statement, if it were not published on their authority, was a libel on the Roman Catholic Bishops, which they certainly ought to have long since attempted to repel. But under all these circumstances, what he thought would have the effect of pacifying Ireland, so far as religion is really concerned in the dissensions, would be that the Romish Bishops should come forward in the true spirit of the religion they profess—that they should take under their consideration these accusations which have been preferred against them, and distinctly disclaim them; and take such measures as that they should never again be brought against them. There was another point which weighed much on his mind. He alluded to the acts said to be committed by the Romish Priests, when they denounced Protestants from their chapels, and thus committed the desecration of a most sacred place, not only for political, but for the most detestable pur- 625 poses. He did think it strange that in the Romish Church, the discipline of which was said to be so strict, that the Prelates should come forward, and if they had not the power of dismissing such Priests as had acted in such a manner, at all events stigmatize such proceeding by such marked censure as would prevent their repetition. The persecution now carried on against the Protestants in Ireland was very much of the same nature as that which was pursued by the Pagans against the primitive Christians. Of all the atrocities perpetrated against the Christians, by far the smallest part was inflicted by the Governments under which they lived. No; they proceeded from the connivance of the Governors at the tumultuary proceedings of that part of the people which was animated with a spirit of persecution. He did not say—God forbid he should—that there was any want of power in the laws to suppress the present disturbances in Ireland. It was the refusal, or at least the backwardness, of the Roman Catholic Bishops to bring their Priests into proper order, and prevent acts which were disgraceful to the Roman Catholic religion of which he complained. That conduct tended more than anything to keep up exasperated feelings in Ireland—to set Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Catholic—and which, unless some measures were adopted to put it down, would continue to have the same effects for many successive generations. Whilst we retained the principles of our own Church, we were ready to give those who had the control over the Catholic Church all the credit which they could fairly deserve if they came forward and acted in a fair and Christian spirit. He was quite unprepared to take any part in the discussion which had taken place; but he felt called on to say as much as he had done. He wished most heartily that his advice could be heard and acted on by those for whom it was intended.
The Earl of Limerick
was of opinion, that much mischief would arise from the Minister of the Crown going into a detail of the history of Ireland, in order to prove that the policy of this country had been to extirpate Catholicism in Ireland. The noble Lord had alluded to the forfeiture of Ulster; but he omitted to mention that in 1688 in that province Protestants were massacred, their properties confiscated, and between 3,000 and. 4,000 noblemen 626 and gentlemen proscribed by an Act of Parliament, which was procured with that facility with which all Acts of a similar description were at that time passed. He came to a later period—the rebellion of 1798. He was, perhaps, the only one of their Lordships who had witnessed that rebellion, and there saw banded against Protestants 26,000 men, principally headed by the Priesthood. He there saw Protestants massacred; and he heard from a witness to the fact that there were 280 burned in one barn. Much was expected from the large concessions which had been made to the people of that country, and from all classes being, as it was said, placed on an equality. But equality did not consist in allowing one party to plunder another. That was not the mode to pacify Ireland. He was willing to forget and forgive; but he hoped no system would be sanctioned which allowed of the Protestants being robbed and massacred.
§ Viscount Duncannon
wished to say a word with respect to what had fallen from a noble Duke (the Duke of Wellington) in the course of the debate. The noble Duke had said that his Majesty's present Government had not afforded any protection to the property of the clergy of Ireland. Why the noble Duke had held office for six months, and he begged to ask what protection had the Government of which the noble Duke was the head, and who was six months in power, given to that property? The noble Duke accused us of spoliating the Church.
§ The Duke of Wellington
I said nothing about spoliation: and I beg to add that I was not in office six months.
§ Viscount Duncannon
It must surely be in the recollection of the noble Duke that a measure was brought forward during the time that he was at the head of the Government, by his colleagues in another place, which was all but exactly similar to the Bill of the previous Session, which the noble Lord declared in that House would, if it were passed into a law have the effect of destroying the Church. Thus the noble Duke gave a protection to their property in the case of his own Bill, which he refused to give to the measure introduced in the previous Session. Would the noble Duke withdraw his assent to the protection afforded to this property, in the Bill which had been introduced into the other House of Parliament? The right hon. Gentleman who had introduced 627 the first Bill on the subject of tithes in the present Session of Parliament, declared that the tithes could not be collected without the aid of the military, and that he was unwilling to call for their interference. Did the noble Duke now dissent from that opinion, and did he think that the collection was to be enforced by military law. In answer to what had been said by the noble Duke as to the introduction of this question, he could only say that it was first introduced by the right reverend Prelate (the Bishop of Exeter). He had certainly felt it his duty to rebut some accusations which were made by the right reverend Prelate, relative to some gentlemen who were appointed by the Government in Ireland for important purposes. It was certainly not his (Lord Duncannon's) fault if the right reverend Prelate had thought fit to introduce a question, the discussion of which would neither tend to diminish the influence of the Catholic religion in Ireland, nor produce feelings of conciliation amongst the inhabitants of that country.
§ The Duke of Wellington
could not understand why that occasion should have been selected to institute a comparison between a Bill which had been introduced into the other House of Parliament by a right hon. Friend of his, and a Bill which had been lately submitted to Parliament by the present Government. When the proper time came for explaining his views, as to the difference between the two measures, he should be ready to do so. He had been charged with having been in office six months. He had only been in office during two months, while the Parliament was sitting; and during that time a measure on the subject of tithes certainly had been proposed by the Administration, of which he formed a part, for the purpose of putting an end to the discussions and the questions which were excited by the Government to which the noble Viscount belonged. He would tell the noble Lord opposite, at the fit time, in what way it was his intention to give protection to this description of property. His opinions on the question had remained unchanged. What he called upon the Government to do was to remedy the evils which had grown up in Ireland, in consequence of the measures lately adopted in reference to that country—to put an end both to those evils and the discussions upon them in that House—to give protection to the 628 Protestant clergymen in the performance of their duties—to give protection to their property, and to bring it back again into existence.
§ Viscount Duncannon
would only ask the noble Duke what had been the protection which he had given during the time that he had been in office?
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, that during that period a measure had been introduced into Parliament, which would, if passed into a law, have put an end to the evils in question.
§ Viscount Duncannon
then observed, that there was now in the other House of Parliament a measure which had been proposed with the same intention.
§ Lord Ashburton
said, it was not his intention to have taken any part in the discussion that had arisen on the present occasion on the unfortunate state of the Protestants of Ireland, but it was almost impossible that any one sitting in a deliberative and Legislative Assembly could entirely abstain from taking part in such a debate. When the noble Lord opposite said that nothing was done by the present Government in opposition to the Protestant Church which was not intended by the late Government, which was only in office for a very short time, he would please to recollect that with respect to the Bill now introduced, although they might not strictly have a right there to speak to it, as it had not yet been before them, yet it was very well known to the country that by that Bill it was proposed to withdraw the Protestant Church from 800 parishes in Ireland; and much as he regretted theological discussions, which almost invariably, whenever they took place, became more or less angry, he would say with respect to the right reverend Bishops of this country, whatever might have been their disposition to meddle with Christians of this description, the members of the Church of England, in England and in Ireland, would have thought those Bishops had strangely neglected their duty if, under circumstances of the immense importance he had adverted to, they had sat still without making any remonstrance, or without resisting an attempt fraught with such danger. He really thought, from the tone adopted by the noble Viscount opposite, it was not for him to complain of any particular tone on the part of right reverend Prelates in discussing this question; because, if the 629 measure contemplated, and which was likely soon to be brought into that House was to be carried into effect, and the result was to be that the Protestant Church in Ireland was to be withdrawn from 800 parishes, and those parishes were to be entirely abandoned, or left to the spiritual care of Roman Catholics, was it not of the last importance that their Lordships should know what the nature of the Roman Catholic religion was? Avoiding as much as possible angry discussion on the subject, when it was proposed for the first time to withdraw the Protestant Church from so large a portion of Ireland, would the inhabitants of this country not require that their Lordships should have explained and understood what was the nature of that spiritual assistance which was to be substituted? For mankind spiritual aid was as necessary as bread was for our temporal support. It became the duty then of the Protestants of this country, and more especially of the right reverend Prelate's to inquire what spiritual aid, and through what hands that aid was to be administered to the population in Ireland which was thus to be deprived of the Protestant Church. When the noble Lord said that the present Government was doing nothing but what the last Government had proposed, he would inform that noble Lord that the late Government had never meditated the mischief now contemplated, of removing the Protestant Church from so large a portion of Ireland. He would say further, that nine-tenths of the difficulties which had arisen with reference to the collection of tithes in Ireland had resulted from the unfortunate conduct of what he might call the present Government, because that Government was very much the same as that which had preceded the late Government, which had existed for so short a period. The unfortunate manner in which that Government at once proclaimed the entire extinction of tithes was the ground of all the difficulties which had since been so much complained of. Practically there was no difficulty in the collection of tithes before that time. He did not mean to say, that before that period the collection of tithes did not produce irritation in certain parts, but undoubtedly nine-tenths of the irritation that subsequently followed was occasioned by the precipitate manner in which property of that description was denounced 630 in Parliament. From the statements made by his Majesty's Ministers it came upon the people's minds by a sort of surprise that could hardly be reconciled, that the Crown and its Ministers were turned against the Protestant Church in Ireland, and the continuation of the collection of that which was its due. Happy should he be if, when the measure now proposed for Ireland came up to that House, it was found that his Majesty's Ministers contemplated nothing but what the preceding Government had, and then the assertion of the noble Lord opposite would be fair. Not having read that Bill as regarded the subject of the collection of tithes, he would take for granted, from what had been stated, that it did not differ from what was contemplated by the late Government; but if a bill was brought forward with a condition tacked to it for the extinction of a third of the Protestant; Church in Ireland, with respect to which no such annexation was thought of before, it would be impossible, at any future period, to pass a Bill for the collection of tithes. So far from having thought it at all unbecoming on the part of the right reverend Prelate to introduce this subject, he should have said, if they had so far lost sight of the great crisis in which the church was now involved which they were called upon to protect, and had not come forward to its aid, they would have abandoned one of their most essential duties.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
said, he had no wish to add to the mischievous effect of a debate of this sort by prolonging it, commencing as it had upon a theological work which none of their Lordships had read, and ending as it had in a discussion upon a Bill not then before the House, and which they did not appear at present to comprehend. If there was one point which his noble Friend, if he would allow him so to call him, who had just sat down, had made clear, it was, that he had not read the Bill, for if he had read it he would not have committed the error he had done of confounding the number of benefices to be legislated upon with the number of Protestant Ministers to be affected by the Bill. If the noble Duke opposite meant to impute want of vigilance on the part of his Majesty's present Government in Ireland in upholding the interests of his Majesty's Protestant subjects there, no man could consider that as a deeper censure on his Majesty's Govern- 631 ment in Ireland than himself (the noble Marquess); nor would he be less willing to meet the great authority of the noble Duke, or any peer who might bring forward a case against the legal protection—and who would ask for more than legal protection?—that had been withheld from the Protestants of Ireland. If there had been any such conduct, it must have been a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Government of that country, and ought to be visited with the severest censure of that House. If the noble Duke intended his observations to apply rather to the general course of policy pursued by the Government in regard to tithes than to any specific case in which the protection of the law had been withheld, let him (the Marquess of Lansdowne) remind the noble Duke, when he told their Lordships that a Bill had been introduced by the late Government, which, if passed, would have settled the question—that it was not at Easter of the present year, but at the Midsummer of last year, that such a measure had been brought forward, which would have had that effect. He understood the noble Duke to assent to what he had stated. [The Duke of Wellington: No, no.] The noble Duke said "No." I was interrupted by the noble Duke. [The Duke of Wellington: No, not a bit. The noble Lord called on me to say, whether I assented to what he had stated, and I intimated to him that I did not.] He must, then, repeat that, in the summer of last year, a measure had been introduced—had been carried through the other House of Parliament—had been approved of in Ireland, and had been brought into their Lordships' House, which, if it had been passed by their Lordships, would, he pledged himself, have secured the property of the Irish Church, inasmuch as it would have tended to do away with the prejudices, hostility, and odium, which not existed merely now, but which for a series of years had been accumulating, and which might have been removed by associating with the enactments which had so frequently been brought forward upon the subject of the collection of tithes, such remedies of existing evils as might have reconciled the minds of the Irish people to those enactments. His noble Friend opposite had said, that the chief difficulty in the way of the collection of tithes had originated from the declarations made by his Majesty's Ministers at 632 the time when Earl Grey and Lord Stanley were members of the Government. If his noble Friend had read the proceedings of the other House at that time (he being a member of it), he would have found that the declaration to which he especially referred, as the origin of all evil, was not the declaration of his Majesty's Government, but a declaration contained in the Report of a Committee—which Report, doubtless, like the Bill now proposed by his Majesty's Government, the noble Lord had not read, to which, therefore, he begged to refer him. That Report contained the expression that it was desirable that tithes should be extinguished; it had been unanimously agreed to by the Committee from whom it emanated—a Committee composed of Members taken from both sides of the House—it had been the subject of discussion in their Lordships' House afterwards, and had been adopted unanimously by their Lordships on both sides of the House. Let him, then, not be told that it was from that expression, "extinction of tithes," now dragged forth, that the misfortunes attaching to that property had arisen; rather let their Lordships look back to that series of unhappy circumstances which had been brought about by the peculiar and anomalous relations of society in that country, and the feelings which had too long prevailed throughout the different classes of its population. These feelings it was the duty of every Government to endeavour to mitigate and assuage; but their endeavours to that end, let him observe, might be frustrated by that unfortunate recurrence to crimination and recrimination, and that habit of dragging forward the most irritating points of theological controversy of which they were destined to be the daily witnesses. He trusted this debate would now close, and that it would not be revived again till the great question came properly and fully before the House in all its bearings, so that they might be enabled fully to discuss it, and when noble Lords might rest assured their sanction to no bill would be required that would not have the effect of more effectually securing by law the best interests of the Irish population.
thought it was perfectly competent for that House to consider theological opinions upon any questions, so far as those religious opinions bore upon the civil state and affairs of society. It was his wish to tolerate every religion 633 which was not hostile to the religion of the State; when it became so hostile, he thought it the duty of the Legislature to take cognizance of it. He believed that the noble Viscount's former Bill, as originally introduced, would have met with the concurrence of their Lordships; but, subsequently, a sacrifice of its original principle being made, and their Lordships not agreeing to it then, surely it was not fair to throw odium upon his noble Friend and others who objected to it in its altered state. He thought the whole conduct of his Majesty's Government justified the Protestants of Ireland in complaining that their interests were not equally protected with those of others. He had been informed that, not only with regard to their property, but in other respects, justice was not equally administered to them. He might have been misinformed, but he had been informed that, on one occasion, when several Protestants and Catholics had been convicted of riots, the former having been sentenced by Chief Baron Joy to three and the latter to six months' imprisonment; the prerogative of the Crown in Ireland was exercised in favour of the Catholic prisoners, so far as setting them at liberty at the expiration of three months, at which period the Protestants were liberated, notwithstanding their offence upon the trial had been considered as much more aggravated than that of the Protestants. If that was with the concurrence and upon the recommendation of the learned judge, he could have nothing to say against it; but if not, it was a partial, undue, and unfair exercise of the prerogative of the Crown. He did not recollect the name of the case, but the liberation took place about three weeks ago. He regretted that these complaints on the part of Protestants should excite such warm feelings on the part of the noble Viscount opposite, but they were entitled to complain, unless it was to be declared they were not to expect that protection which his Majesty's other subjects considered themselves entitled to.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.