§ Viscount Melbourne
rose and addressed the House to the following effect:—My Lords, in rising to submit to the House the motion of which I have given notice, I need not urge at any length on your Lordships the propriety of appointing a Select Committee which is its object. In proposing the appointment of a Select Committee to take into its consideration the plan of educa- 1106 tion which has now for some years been established in Ireland, to inquire into the whole subject of its expenditure, into the whole mode and course of its proceedings, and into the effects which are expected to result from it. I apprehend it will not be necessary that I should go into any great length of detail or extent of argument, and I shall carefully abstain from all those topics of irritation, from all those litigated questions, from all those matters of eager and animated discussion which were introduced on a former occasion, and which indeed, constituted the greater part of the debates on this subject, both in this and in the other House of Parliament. As I trust that we are about to enter into a full, a fair, a calm, and dispassionate inquiry as to the operation of this system, I think it will be better on the present occasion to avoid anything likely to excite an eager debate, or to influence those passions which we have seen to be usually called forth on this question. As your Lordships are so well acquainted with the progress of this subject up to the present period, it is not necessary for me to go into any explanatory details. You are aware that in the commencement of the present century the attention of Parliament was called to the state of Ireland in general, and more particularly to the great expediency and desirableness, the absolute necessity, of extending to Ireland the benefits of education—of education, the source of all morality, all religion, all good order and peace, and the diffusion of which has produced much beneficial and blessed effects in the other parts of his Majesty's dominions. Your Lordships are also aware that a Committee- sat to inquire into the subject, who strongly recommended what I am happy to find recommended in the petition just presented by the noble Earl opposite—a system of united education. You are aware, too, that in pursuance of the recommendation of that Committee the then existing Government, whether they were right or wrong in so doing I will not now determine, instituted the Kildare-street Society. You are acquainted with the progress of that society, the number of schools it established, and the number of children who attended these schools. You are also aware of the great discontent which grew out of that system; and I shall not, therefore, go into any detail upon the subject. It is sufficient for me to say that the state in which those schools were 1107 found and the discontent which prevailed in the public mind in reference to them, induced his Majesty's Ministers, very shortly after their accession to office, to propose to Parliament the system of education in Ireland which is now to form the subject for your inquiry and consideration. That system was proposed to Parliament in September 1831, and was acceded to; a board of commissioners was appointed, and proceeded to carry the system into effect under the letter of directions addressed to them by a noble Lord, a member of the other House, at that time Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. In the month of March following, the noble Earl opposite brought the whole subject under the consideration of the House, by moving a resolution inculpatory and condemnatory of the system, but the resolution was not acceded to by your Lordships. The system, however, continued to be made a frequent subject of discussion, both in this and in the other House, on the presentation of petitions connected with it; but no direct motion was made on the subject till last year, when the right rev. Prelate who has this evening presented several petitions against the system (the Bishop of Exeter) moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the subject; at the same time, however, stating, that it was not his intention to overthrow or destroy the system which was established; and that if this motion were objected to by the Government he would not proceed with it; and the motion was accordingly withdrawn. My Lords, considering that the time during which the system has been in operation now exceeds five years, and considering the progress it has made, I think it must be prudent and wise3 on many accounts, for us to institute inquiries into the manner in which the system has actually worked! There are many reasons for this; and though I do not mean in the slightest degree to countenance any of the attacks which have been made upon the Commissioners and upon the system itself, or to pronounce any opinion upon the subject on the present occasion, yet I certainly think that the differences of opinion which still prevail on the subject, and the various complaints made against the system, considering the quarters whence these emanate, do require an attentive and serious consideration. Your Lordships will remember, I believe, that in the course of the last Session, when the right rev. Pre- 1108 late threatened to renew his motion on the subject this Session, I ventured to request of him that before he did renew his motion he would give us some previous notice of his intention, in order that we might be the better prepared with specific answers to his charges, and better explain the points on which he might declare his doubts. The noble Duke opposite objected—that my request was improper and un parliamentary, and that it amounted to a breach of the freedom of Parliamentary discussion—to a breach of the privileges of the House—to introduce a precedent of asking any noble Lord to state beforehand what statements it was he meant to bring forward; and unquestionably the noble Duke was right in his Parliamentary view of the point. My Lords, it has appeared to me that, considering what are the charges against the system, their minute nature and local character, and the difficulties of investigating them, it will be far better that the inquiry into them should be referred to a Select Committee, than be conducted in any debates in this or the other House, a course which would lead to no satisfactory result, and which would only end in confident assertions on either side, and in bringing forward conflicting and entirely opposing authorities. My Lords, the Commissioners have made three reports, which reports are on the table of your Lordships' House, in which they have stated the progress they have made, the number of schools they have established, and the number of schools to which they have given assistance, the course which they intend to pursue in future, and, above all, the extension which in their opinion it is desirable to give to the system. I do not pledge myself to act upon the recommendations of the Commissioners. I will give no opinion on the subject on the present occasion, but supposing the system to work well for the country, and that it is proper to extend it by a further grant, it is essential that such extension should be preceded by a full investigation into the subject by the Select Committee, for which I now move. These are the grounds upon which I form my motion for inquiry. There is one other point, however, which I hardly need mention to your Lordships, or which it is necessary to press on your attention, namely, the great and paramount importance of the question and particularly to that part of the country to which it refers, as well as the great difficulty which at- 1109 tends dealing with this question in a country situated as that is. The great and high object to be obtained in the first place is the extending a plan of education to the inhabitants of that country, and that care shall be taken that the education so to be communicated is an education that would prove beneficial, wholesome, and salutary to the people. The noble Lord concluded by moving that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the system of national education in Ireland.
The Bishop of Exeter
said, that he was unwilling at any time to trespass at length on their Lordships, and under ordinary circumstances he would not have done so at that time but in consequence of the peculiar situation in which he stood, he felt called upon to enter into the subject more fully than he otherwise should. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said, that he moved for the appointment of the Committee inconsequence of the discussion which had originated last year, and it would seem from the statement of the noble Lord as if their Lordships, without any discussion, might at once go into the inquiry. At present the question was by no means so simple in its nature as it was when he moved for the Committee last year; much had happened since in connexion with this subject which deeply affected him as an individual, and the most serious charges had been brought against him; therefore, as an injured man, he wished to throw himself upon the indulgence of the House, while he defended himself not only with reference to the statements he had made with respect to this question of education, but also while he vindicated himself from charges which a noble and learned Lord had thought proper to bring against him. As an attack had been made on his honour and character, that he was sure would be a sufficient reason to allow him to justify himself. It would be in the recollection of the House that on the third report of the Commissioners of Education being laid on the table he said that he should, at the early part of this Session, take an opportunity of calling the attention of their Lordships to it, and that he would then prove the truth of the statements he had made on the subject of education, which had been questioned in the Report. On that occasion, instead of letting the notice of motion go off in the customary manner, the noble and learned Lord bad the con- 1110 fidence to say, "that notwithstanding the notice the rev. Prelate had given, he would not come forward with his motion." The noble and learned Lord went farther even than that. Forgetting those judicial habits which were familiar to him on the other side of the water—forgetting that he was a Lord Chancellor, and that he ought to possess full and complete evidence before he pronounced judgment, the noble and learned Lord thought it right to say, "that he never knew a case to which so complete an answer was given as the case which he (the Bishop of Exeter) had advanced against the Education Commissioners." The noble and learned Lord had said all this, and now he rose for the purpose of showing the noble and learned Lord, that he meant to keep his word; and he felt it to be his duty besides, to endeavour to prove to the noble and learned Lord, that he had perhaps mistaken the strength of the case to which he had alluded, and the weakness of the answer that had been given to it. He could assure their Lordships, that he meant to be as brief as he possibly could in stating this case, but certainly not so brief as to neglect what seemed to him to be necessary for his own defence and justification. He would go farther, and state, that he should not regret, if, in vindicating himself, he at the same time showed to the House and the public what the real character of that system was into which the Select Committee would have to inquire. He should now proceed to read the words of the Report which referred to him. Speaking of the school masters to be formed under this system, the Commissioners said:—It is only through such persons we can hope to render the national schools successful in improving the general condition of the people. It is not, however, merely through the schools committed to their charge that the beneficial influence of their conduct would be felt. Living in friendly habits with the people, not greatly elevated above them, but so provided for as to be able to maintain a respectable station; trained to good habits, identified in interest with the State, and therefore anxious to promote a spirit of obedience to lawful authority, we are confident that they would prove a body of the utmost value and importance in promoting civilization and peace.They then proceed to complain, that the notice which was taken of this passage, in a speech delivered by him in that House, contained a great perversion of 1111 the original, because those words "trained to good habits" were left out. The Commissioners observed in their Report—The original sentence, it will be observed, contains the words 'trained to good habits;' whereas, as quoted in the pamphlet, these words are left out, and the reader has the impression conveyed to him that we depend for the conduct of the teachers, not on a virtuous training, but on interest only.Now, it did appear to him, that these words were mere surplus age; and he would tell their Lordships why—because there was not a single syllable in the Report which he had referred to that had for its object the enforcement of that "virtuous training" of which the Commissioners spoke. And if the system were carried to its full extent, it would, in fact, exclude the possibility of any such "virtuous training." For, be it observed, it was proposed to introduce 5,000 different schools, with 5,000 masters, which masters were to be trained for two years in model schools, at a distance from their ordinary places of residence. Those parties were to be taken from their homes, they were to be removed from parental control, they were to be banished from the neighborhood of their pastors, and to be left, without any responsible protector, to their own guidance for a considerable length of time. Yes, he repeated, under this system many thousands of young men of the lowest order would be taken away from their friends, and exposed to all the temptations which were inseparable from a residence in Dublin or any other large city or town. This, he conceived, was one of the most frightful evils that could be inflicted on youth. Was there, he would ask, any college for the reception of these young persons? Was there any place within the walls of which they might, as the Report said, be kept in "a course of virtuous training?" There was no such thing; there was no provision for the moral superintendence of those classes who were in training for the occupation of schoolmasters. In the first year the Commissioners proposed that there should be 500 teachers educated in the training school at Dublin; in the second year 1,500, to meet the increasing demand; in the third year 2,000, and so on; thus to proceed for several years, and to begin declining in number at the 6th year. But how weakly was this reasoned. Did it follow that those who received the 1112 necessary education would consent for a comparative trifle to officiate as school masters? If a young man turned out well, would he not take to a more lucrative and profitable employment? Did their Lordships, or did the Commissioners, think it possible that young men receiving such an education as was contemplated would be content with a miserable stipend? They were to be instructed in composition, English literature, history, geography, and political economy; natural history in all its branches; mathematics and mathematical science; and mental philosophy including the elements of logic and rhetoric. Now, he asked, would a young man thus liberally instructed sit down, "passing rich, on 40l. a year," in some obscure village, or retired hamlet, and devote his life to the education of the peasantry? It was perfectly impossible that any such idea could be realised. Young men thus qualified would be abstracted by merchants and other wealthy individuals, who would be very glad to avail themselves of their services. Was it not to be supposed, under such a system as this, that young men, originally influenced by virtuous habits, would speedily lose them? In the model school they were not compelled to receive religious instruction; it was not provided for them. And would those young men, coming from all parts of the country, call on the clergy of the parish where they were located to give them religious and moral instruction? It was not, he would observe, compulsory on the clergyman of the parish, to give such instruction; and, he would add, that it was impossible for him, in some instances, to afford it. Let them look to the model-school of Dublin, for instance. For some years the model school was in St. Peter's parish. In that parish there were a rector and two curates, who were opposed to this system. The most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Dublin) very properly called on them to administer religious instruction. One of them, Mr. Weldon, undertook the task, but declared, that in a case of such deep importance, if he did not perceive a willingness on the part of those who presided over the school, to further the spread of religious instruction, that he would advise those who had children at the school to remove them. That parish consisted, he believed, of near 20,000 inhabitants, and though the duty was difficult, this gentle- 1113 man contrived to give religious instruction for an hour or three quarters of an hour each day. There were at least 400 persons attending the model-school in Dublin. And how many of these who were meant to be schoolmasters attended to receive that religious instruction? It appeared, that only two, three, or four persons thought it worth their while to attend. He was not therefore incorrect in saying, that the religious instruction of the teachers was, to say the least of it, exceedingly defective. The Commissioners in answer to this said,What is our practice in the national model school of Dublin? It is this—the Ten Commandments are constantly hung up in it, so is the Christian lesson which our rules enjoin. A portion of the word of God is daily read from our Scripture extracts; and, at stated times, the Protestant and Roman Catholic parochial clergy attend and give religious instruction.Now, he believed that the system pursued was not calculated to impart religious instruction, but led to great difference, which was embarrassing to young minds, and excited also hatred and ill-feeling. The Commissioners further observed, that in their Report it was set forth thatLocal patrons and committees of schools are expected to select suitable teachers and to superintend them; but the Commissioners will require to be satisfied of the fitness of the teachers, both in regard to moral character and to literary qualifications by testimonials, and also, if they see fit, by training in a model school and examination;and they complained that this was omitted in the speech or pamphlet. Now he would show, that some of those who were selected to preside over these schools were persons guilty of great moral depravity; and, with their Lordships' permission, he would cite an instance or two. He had been accused of getting up trumpery cases, and that the authority on which he rested was void of foundation. He should now proceed to point out some of the places at which circumstances to which he had adverted on a former occasion actually occurred. The first case to which he would allude occurred in a parish in the county of Londonderry, in the diocese of Armagh. His authority was a most respectable clergyman, the brother to a noble Lord. This gentleman stated that, when the census was to take place in 1831, under the Population Act, he was extremely anxious to ascertain the num- 1114 ber of persons of different religions in his parish. In consequence of this he was brought in contact with the master of the national school in the parish, who he found, was avowedly an infidel. In consequence of this that gentleman did what was highly becoming of him; and above all, considering the situation which he held, he made a report of the circumstance to the inspector, and he thought that this person must have reported the case to the Commissioners, as he had expressed his astonishment and disapprobation. This reverend gentleman then thought that there was an end to the matter. After some time, however, this schoolmaster appeared at church, and therefore he presumed that this person had been admonished by the Commissioners. After some time this man wished to attend at the communion table, and the clergyman did what was the duty of every clergyman before he admitted any one to the sacrament, namely, to examine him as to his fitness. He did so with respect to this individual, and he found that his conduct was so immoral that he felt that he was bound to repel him from the altar. He now came to a case which he could not mention or allude to without a feeling of disgust. He held in his hand some papers relative to the conduct of a schoolmaster in another parish in Londonderry, the name of the clergyman of which was the Rev. Mr. Townsend. This gentleman went into the national school-room, and on going up to the desk of the schoolmaster he found that it had no lock. On looking into it he found that there were some papers, although not many, of such an indecent and disgusting character that he would not presume to describe them. It had been asserted by the master, that he saw these papers in the hands of some of his boys, and that he took them away and flogged the boys; but still they were left in an open desk in the school-room. He had also received that day some copy-bocks, which were written by the boys. They were regularly written from the top to the bottom of the page, and if the most rev. Prelate before him was anxious to satisfy himself, he would put these books on the table. Many of these copies are of a highly improper and indecent tendency, and they appeared to have been written in this school as a matter of course. He now came to the case of a school near Dublin. This 1115 school had been built by the board of schools. Now this was not at such a distance from the board that they could not have something like a good superintendence over it. This school had been established only two months, but still the master had made himself most notorious by his conduct. He had received a letter from a gentleman who lived in its vicinity, who informed him that dancing was the only art or science taught in this school, and this was practised for some hours each day, and the lessons were attended by all the blackguards in the neighbour hood. He informs me that "the master of the Rushes National School had summoned a man named William Norton for a sum of money alleged to be due for the tuition of his children. The defendant proved that the school was a public nuisance, and that dancing was the only art or science taught in the school. He proved that two hours each day, before the school business terminated, all the idle and disorderly vagabonds in the neighbour hood congregated at the school, and that when dancing commenced, a scene of confusion and riot frequently followed. The schoolmaster, Thomas Lalor, acknowledged, on his oath, the fact of his being a fiddler, and that dancing was taught in the school during the hours of business; but he as erred that he acted in conformity with the instructions of Priest Hickey, the only visitor, and that his salary was paid by the National Board." He now came to another case of great importance: he alluded to the conduct of the master of the national school at Carlow. This place, he believed, was within a comparatively (hurt distance of Dublin. It was a most notorious place, and whatever occurred there was sure to find its way into the newspapers. The schoolmaster of this place was one of the most remarkable agitators in the country, and was the agent and friend of the well-known priest, Father Maher. At the recent election in Carlow he acted as poll-clerk, but was turned out for his partiality; he abandoned the duties of his school to attend to the election. This schoolmaster, in the autumn of the year 1825, was proved to have joined with the priest Maher in one of the foulest conspiracies that had ever been concocted. It related to certain charges that had been brought against some soldiers who were accused of drinking party toasts. In consequence of this, a military investi- 1116 gation into the matter was ordered, but Priest Maher did not approve of this mode of proceeding. Upon this, the Lord-Lieutenant, in the exercise of his discretion, chose to direct an investigation of another kind, and Colonel Ward and Mr. Mahony were ordered to inquire into the particulars of the case. The inquiry continued for thirteen days, and it appeared that during the whole of this time the schoolmaster left his school and attended to drilling the witnesses and teaching them what they were to swear. He (the Bishop of Exeter) was using strong language, but he was only using language which he should be able to prove. Every one of the witnesses examined admitted that he had been asked to attend by Priest Maher and Gorman the schoolmaster. One of the witnesses of the name of Patrick Nolan, of Carlow, after giving his evidence, was asked by M. Mahony, one of the gentlemen, "At whose instigation did you come here?—Father Maher sent for us, and ordered me to attend the court to prove against the military. Did any person tell you what you had to swear to?—They read out of a paper what he had to swear to. Can you read?—No. Who read the paper containing what you had to swear to?—(after great hesitation he replied) He could not tell; he did not know him. On your oath was it not Gorman, the chapel or national schoolmaster? After considerable hesitation, he said that it was Gorman. So Gorman read for you what you should swear to, and sent you here?—He did." He was sorry to trespass on their Lordships, but it was necessary that the next point to which he should advert, should be an attack which had been made upon himself. The fact was, that the report of the speech which he had delivered in that House upon this subject last year had since been published in the form of a pamphlet. The attention of the Board had evidently been directed to the pamphlet, for the report of the commissioners (the third report which had proceeded from them) was an answer in effect to the charges which that pamphlet contained, In the sixth page of that report the commissioners stated, that he had charged the board with positive falsehood, and in support of that statement they made the following quotation:—"They state, in particular, that no fewer than 140 clergymen of the established Church have been among the applicants 1117 for their aid in the establishment of the new schools. Now I have taken the trouble to investigate this matter, and I find by the returns which have been laid before the House, that with respect to the 140 persons described as clergymen of the established Church, who have given in their adhesion to the plan of the commissioners, there are, in fact only eighty." Upon this the report stated, that the author here first misrepresented the report, and then, on his own misrepresentation, grounded a charge of positive falsehood against the commissioners. The report proceeded to say,—" We neither stated, nor professed to state, in the report, the number of clergymen who had applied to us for aid. What we did was this: having given a list of our schools, and having stated opposite to each the number of signatures to the application for it, we had the whole added up, and we noticed the fact in the body of the report thus:—" Of the signatures to the application made to us for aid, 140 are those of clergymen of the established Church," Now, it was true, that in the passage of the second report to which reference was here made by the commissioners, it was not alleged that there were 140 "persons" who were applicants. But in another part of that report, which gives an abstract of the several persons, clerical and lay, who had applied to the board for aid, it was stated, under the head of "Clergymen of the established Church" that there were 117, and twenty-three persons of that communion who had applied, thus making the 140, and the commissioners there distinctly said, that there were 140 persons who had made application to the Board for aid. He should have been much more disposed to forgive these gentlemen if they had said that they had made a mistake in this respect, than he was now, when they came there and endeavoured to make it appear that he had gone the length of misrepresenting their statements. He should have been ready to say that it might have been a clerical error, or to have attributed it to any excusable motive, but the course which they had now taken did not leave him so confident as he could have wished to be, that the error originated in any mistake at all. In the third report, where the commissioners gave an abstract of the applications for aid, they took care to correct this error, and the head given was,—"The number of signatures of persons, 1118 clerical and lay," &c. Now, he complained of this, because it had the effect of deceiving persons. It did not deceive him (the Bishop of Exeter), but it did deceive the noble Marquis (Lansdowne), who, in his speech of last year, observed, that if the noble Earl, the Earl of Roden, would look at the report, he would find that in the province of Ulster, the most Protestant portion of Ireland, applications for the establishment of new schools had been signed by 260 Protestant clergymen, and that this showed that the system had been beneficial. He had moved for a return which would have rendered the matter tolerably clear, but the production of it had been continually delayed. It was laid on the table on the 8th of July, and he had moved for its production at the commencement of the Session. Now, all the information contained in it was contained in the report, and that had been signed and presented early in June, and therefore there could have been no difficulty in furnishing it at an earlier period. He must, therefore, say, that it was not good tact on the part of those who had the concoction of the report. The report gave the names of 116 clergymen of the Established Church who had signed a declaration in favour of this system, but it appeared that some of the names put down were gross forgeries. One of these clergymen, residing at Holly wood, Tipperary, had been for the last ten years absolutely incapable of performing any act whatever, and his wife said she did not believe he could have signed the application. How ever he would suppose that this clergyman did sign the document, for it seemed to correspond with that unfortunate Gentleman's signature. But this poor Gentleman was in a state of absolute fatuity, and had been so for many years; it involved, therefore, in his opinion, the moral guilt of perjury in putting down his name as one of the applicants for these schools. The most reverend prelate was most especially charged by him of having been guilty of the most extraordinary inattention to a case which he should have thought would have fallen peculiarly under the notice of the most reverend prelate. It was stated, that to the application for a school in Dublin the name of a Rev. J. G. Robertson was subscribed. He had made some inquiry respecting this gentleman of a friend very high in the Church in Dublin; and the answer was, that he could not find any 1119 such person. He ventured to state this in the speech he made last year. Upon this point the board said, "The author states that Mr. Robertson, who signed one of the Dublin applications, was not resident within the parish from which it came; neither did we state that he was." But he (the Bishop of Exeter) did more; he stated that no such clergyman could be found to have existed in Dublin at all. The board did not find it convenient to deal with that part of the charge. "It frequently happens that a school is attended by children of different parishes, and we should consider any clergyman residing in the immediate neighbour hood as a resident clergyman within the meaning of our rules." Now, if a clergyman were said to be living in a town, while he really resided in one of the small neighbouring villages, the expression would be less out of place; but let that pass. The report went on to say, "Mr. Robertson, we understand, died about two years ago, at his residence in Queen street." It was admitted on all hands to be a very difficult thing to prove the nonentity of a person, that difficulty being, in the language of our northern fellow subjects, to "condescend" upon time and place; but here the commissioners had been liberal enough to give their Lordships both. However, he thought he should be able to prove to their complete satisfaction not only that Mr. Robertson never died, but that he was never in esse. He found that Mr. Robertson's existence was unknown to the schoolmistress of the very school for which he was said to have applied for aid. The teacher of the school never heard of him, never saw him; there was no trace of him in any of the school books; and, in fine, no one connected with the school had the least knowledge of him. But the case did not rest there. The schoolmaster and parish-clerk in the street in which he was said to have resided, knew nothing about him. The clergyman of the parish in which Queen-street was, had never heard of him; the three churchwardens had never heard of him; the vestry-clerk knew nothing about him, and even the tax-gatherer was not aware of his existence. Now, if this did not prove nonentity, he did not know what would. The commissioners said, that Mr. Robertson died two years ago in Queen-street. His (the Bishop of Exeter's) informants had taken the trouble—a trouble which he should never have thought of imposing on 1120 them—to inspect the registers of St. Paul's parish, and all the other registers of the City of Dublin, and it turned out that he was neither born, married, nor buried in the parish of St. Paul, or anywhere else. There was only one source of information into which inspection was not made, and that was the diocesan books of the diocese of Dublin. He should suppose that the most reverend prelate (the Archbishop of Dublin) would, of course, have looked into his diocesan books. The commissioners indeed had not said so in the report, but doubtless, the most reverend prelate would tell their Lordships so now. There was a remarkable circumstance mentioned in his speech, to which he had not heard any contradiction given,—he meant that part of it in which he showed that there was a much larger proportion than there appeared of Roman Catholics receiving aid than of Protestants. That was answered in this way—that when any effective application was made by Protestants, the Protestants had a larger sum given to them. That statement he believed, as he really thought that the board would encourage Protestant applications, especially when they proceeded from Protestant clergymen; but, unfortunately, whoever it was who concocted that report, he did what very crafty men are sometimes apt to do—he proved too much, and he clearly proved that the number of Protestant clergymen of the Established Church corresponding with the board was extremely small. Thus, in the province of Leinster, including the metropolis, there was only one Protestant clergyman who corresponded with the board; in Connaught, also, only one; in Munster, but five; and in the province of Ulster, of the Established Church, twenty three; making in all, thirty. On the other hand, the number of Roman Catholic clergymen who were correspondents of the board amounted to three hundred and seventeen, the Protestant clergy not being so much as one-twelfth part of the whole body which was to have any control over these schools. He need not say that this was a subject of great, of vast importance to the character of the society, in considering how far it was likely to promote peace and harmony among the members of different religious establishments. He considered that if these schools were under the immediate control of the Catholic priests, they were not likely to add to the 1121 peace of Ireland, or increase morality, or indeed confer any of those blessings for which the system was established. He had looked into the lists of persons who corresponded with the board, and he had also taken the trouble of inspecting those records which they had in the reports of the other House of Parliament. He had been particularly struck with the evidence given on the subject of bribery and intimidation. It appeared that there were several individuals who had there exhibited their disposition to break the peace of society, to carry discord into families, and even to urge others to the commission of murder, who were among the correspondents of the board. He would trouble their Lordships with one instance of the conduct of one of these priests. He alluded to Father Tyrell, of the County of Carlow. He was a correspondent from the school of Timriddon (as we understood it). Father Tyrell attended Mr. O'Connell on that celebrated occasion, when Mr. O'Connell made a speech that would not easily be forgotten by any who heard it, or who heard of it. He would not have trespassed on their Lordships' attention with any words of Mr. O'Connell if they had not been connected with the conduct of the Roman Catholic priesthood intrusted with the management of the national education. What he was going to read was a speech by Mr. O'Connell, when this Father Tyrell was by his side as his great aider and supporter. Father Tyrell, therefore, was morally responsible for all which Mr. O'Connell said on that occasion. The words of Mr. O'Connell were:—Boys, the names I call your enemies do you call every friend of theirs you meet in the streets. Girls and women, when you meet the Bruenites spit on them, spit in their faces, particularly if they are Catholic Conservatives. Write traitor on their doors with chalk, and tell your friends at home to do the same. You who are wives of the Catholic electors, if your husbands do not vote for their religion, bless yourselves, and then swear on your prayer-books to separate from your husbands if they don't obey your commands; you who are their daughters, I tell you, if your fathers vote against you spit in their faces! and call them the names I taught the boys to call them.But it did not rest there. He would read to their Lordships a speech which the priest Tyrell himself made on a more recent occasion. His informant heard the speech, and was ready to prove it on 1122 oath in any court of justice; he assured their Lordships that his informant was a gentleman of high character. The speech was made during the contest at the late election for the county of Carlow. After much prefatory matter, Father Tyrell proceeded at great length to show that the Catholic priests did not want ascendancy. "No, they want justice and equity, and they shall have both!" in other words, the Established Church in Ireland must fall. Father Tyrell then proceeded to say:—You persist in your votes. Your landlords have no more right to them than they would have to your wives and daughters. The landlords used to do so formerly, when you Catholics were in gaol, and I tell you they used to do so by laws of their own creation. Will you send to Parliament men who fasten these chains and renew the penal laws? Tell your landlords, that before you are exterminated you will make them feel your power. Let those who would re-enact the penal laws be hurled from the place of power; and don't forget we are eight millions.So much for the schools in Ireland being under the auspices of the priests. The next thing he would observe upon was the answer contained in the report to what he had said relative to the schools in connexion with nunneries and monasteries. The Commissioners said,Upon this point we had a consultation with Lord Stanley, and he thought it desirable, as we did, that such schools should be brought under our superintendence, and therefore we granted aid to them.Whether Lord Stanley's opinion was right or not he would not state; but there was one clause in the sentence of the report which showed that the conduct of the Commissioners by no means rested upon that noble Lord's opinion. It appeared that the noble Lord wished these schools to be placed under the superintendence of the board. Was that the case? The inspection of these and other schools was, on an average, once a year. Did their Lordships think it possible that an annual inspection of these schools, which, from the very nature of the case, must be constantly under the direction of persons who were bound by their religion to act in violation of those rules required by the board, could be effective? The difficulties which were thrown in the way of those who went to visit these schools were enormous. A clergyman, who had a right to inspect them, went within the gate of a 1123 convent, and the porter told him he must go bark, but the clergyman insisted on his right, and the man gave way. In consequence of what he then saw, he went shortly after again with his rector, but this time the porter positively refused to open the gate for them, and they were obliged to leave the school uninspected, in spite of the regulations of the board, that clergymen should he at liberty to inspect these schools. With respect to this description of schools, he would give their Lordships one sample of what they were. The name of the school was the Convent-school of Carrick-on-Suir, the national female school, A clergyman, than whom a more respectable man was not to be found, had written to him an account of what he had seen and heard there, which he would read to their Lordships. The writer of the letter visited the school on the 23rd of January last, and he wrote:—The school is altogether Popish, un either entire dominion of the nuns, who are represented, in all their correspondence with the Commissioner, by the Rev.—O'Connor, Roman Catholic Curata. There is no schoolmistress, the nuns being the only teachers. Books were supplied gratuitously. There is no local subscription, and no payments by the scholars. Twenty pounds is received annually as a salary for the mistress, which, of course, goes to the support of the convent. In the registry of the school I found an order of business, of which the following are particulars:—9 o'clock—Morning prayer.9½ o'clock—Catechisms, lessons, and work.2½ o'clock—Catechism.3 o'clock—Lecture, and prayer.The children are required to be very punctual in their attendance at the opening of school, and one of the nuns concludes the day's business with a spiritual lecture and prayer. Religious instruction is the particular object of every day. Friday is nominally set apart for the purpose, being the only day on which the Scripture lessons are read.At one o'clock each day twelve of the nuns enter the school, and take their respective classes.One is always on duty two hours at a time keeping the required order in the room. The nun, my informant, told me also that twice in the year there is a very interesting spectacle exhibited in the school. The children appear in their best clothes, and the priests are present. An examination is held, and tickets are given to those who shall be admitted to confession and communion. On these occasions one of the priests erects an altar in the school room. The confessions of the children are heard, Mass is celebrated, and they who are pronounced fit admitted to the Eucharist.1124Mr.—had inspected [I think] on the 11th of November. I inquired whether he had examined the children, and the nun replied, 'That he was not very particular or curious—that he was a very nice person, and apologised for asking even the few questions that he did, on the ground that he was liable to be questioned himself. At the same time,' she said,' she was not the sister who attended him.'During this conversation nuns went and came from the interior of the convent through a large door in the school-room, opening into the house. The convent joins the chapel, into which there is a passage for the nuns.''He was really very reluctant, the Right Rev. Prelate continued, to trouble the House, but there was another case to which he was bound to call their Lordships' attention. It was the case of a school it Esker, in which he had last year stated that mass had been performed; and he was able to say now, as he did then, that a person had actually been present when some religious service was performed. Probably that person might be mistaken as to the nature of the service; but still, from the words of the report itself, it was admitted that Roman Catholic religious service had been performed every day for a considerable period of time, and that there had been an altar there, with the permission of the board. Upon that subject he had made strong remarks, and the board had been pleased in their strictures upon him to find fault with the source of his information, and to complain that he had no acquaintance with the Rector of the parish, but went to the Curate. Now the difference in the value of their testimony must greatly depend upon the extent to which each was worthy of confidence; and with respect to the character of the Rector, he did not wish to make any observations; but this he would say, that the Curate was a man of the very highest respectability, of an eminent family, the nephew of a gentleman of nearly the highest consideration in the parish; whilst, on the other hand, he thought it would be almost impossible to find an individual less qualified to afford information on the subject in question than the Rector. He had never but once entered the school; he performed none of the religious duties connected with the parish; they were wholly discharged by the curate. But the board said that they knew the rector. He was sorry that he must doubt the ex- 1125 tent of their knowledge; he thought, if it had been extensive, they would not have boasted of it. This, however, was not all; they said that it was the duty of the curate to inform the rector of all the circumstances connected with the transaction. Why, so he did—that was the very first step which he took; but the rector took no notice. If then, they said, the rector refused to interfere, he ought to have applied to the diocesan or to them. He did apply to his diocesan; and he (the Bishop of Exeter) was sure that that rev. Prelate could not be the author of this report; for, had he been, the curate of this parish would not have been told, that he ought to have made an application to his rector or diocesan; but ought not to have appealed to a stranger in England. Now if the direction contained in that report was intended to represent as a violation of duty an application by any one to a Member of Parliament, in respect of an alleged grievance, he felt bound to say, that he did think that the Commissioners had not a notion of what that duty was, and that they were regardless of their own duty as Commissioners under the Crown in putting forth such a statement, for he would say that nothing could be in more direct defiance of the Constitution than to say, that a person, thinking himself aggrieved by a certain Board of Commissioners, ought not to go to any Member of Parliament for the purpose of having his statement laid before the Legislature; to make any such declaration was in his opinion little short of treason to the Constitution. The curate of the parish in question had gone to a Member of that House, who, however unworthy of that attention, would never shrink from the task of taking up the just cause of any injured person; and would never desert his duty in attempting to obtain the redress of any one of the grievances of that unfortunate and most persecuted class, the clergy of Ireland. The next case to which he would refer was the irruption of Dr. M'Hale into the parish of A chill. Upon one occasion, their Lordships would remember at a meeting there held, one of the Roman Catholic preachers, among other violent things, had said—" The Protestant religion began in hell, and would end in hell." Dr. M'Hale rose up towards the termination of the proceedings, and expressed his approbation of all that had been said that day by the Roman Catholic Ministers of religion from 1126 their pulpits. With respect to this case, however, their Lordships were already possessed of a great body of evidence. He wished to call their Lordships' attention to some observations upon a clergyman with whose worth and excellence he (the Bishop of Exeter) was well acquainted, the Rev. Mr. Nangle. That rev. Gentleman had been exhibited in that report in language most unjust and prejudicial. (The right rev. Prelate then read an extract from the report, which in substance stated, that the clergyman before alluded to was Mr. Nangle, and that upon a certain occasion he had been in attendance at a police office.) Now, the natural construction of these words was disadvantageous to the character of that gentleman. They conveyed an intimation that his character had at least been called in question. What was the fact? That Mr. Nangle had to complain of a grievous outrage which had been committed upon him, which he proved in a court of law, and in reference to which the Lord-Lieutenant had been compelled to interfere. Such were the real circumstances of the case; but, notwithstanding that, the ordinary construction of the words used exhibited Mr. Nangle in an invidious and unfair light. The report further observed that—"He was neither the rector nor curate of the parish, nor ever connected with the district, except as being engaged on a mission to convert the Catholics." Now that, he confessed, did seem to him like a sneer upon the occupation in which the rev. Gentleman was engaged. And here, again, it was evident to him that the most rev. Prelate near him did not draw up this report, for he was not a man who would speak lightly of an individual who, being neither the rector nor the curate of an island, deserted and desolate, having no other means of spiritual instruction, went to show them the pure love of God: and, with a zeal which greatly exceeded that of almost any other man, with a zeal almost apostolic, devoted himself in the discharge of that office to the unceasing persecution of an excited priesthood. Let him do justice to that gentleman in these respects. He went to these islands several years ago, in a state of great indisposition and weakness, hoping that the mildness of the air might tend to his recovery. There he found that, whatever the famine of bread might be, the famine of the word of God was most disastrous, and was producing the most fear- 1127 ful effects; and it pleased God to put into his heart the thought of effecting a reformation. He built there a little settlement; and, with the support and assistance of his diocesan, the Archbishop of Tuam, he had gone on in his good work, which it had pleased God to prosper; and there were now in that district many souls which, through God's blessing, he had been the means of preserving. To such a missionary he looked with feelings of the most unfeigned respect; and he would say that any one might be proud to hold as high a station as this despised missionary. There was another point in this case to which he must allude. It seemed, in his statement last year, he said that Mr. Nangle had stated to the board that one of the schoolmasters had been formerly dismissed from the coast service for using seditious language. What course had the board pursued with respect to that statement? Why actuated by a very ungracious feeling, it had directed legal proceedings to be instituted against the publisher of that report. After they had published their report Mr. Nangle sent letters to several individuals of the board upon the subject. A letter was sent in July last to the officer in the coast service, and in August that gentleman, Lieutenant Irwood, replied that he did recollect that a man of the name of O'Connell had been dismissed from the coast guard for using seditious language. The statement, then, which he had made in that House had almost been proved to be true—at least that statement, and the publication of it, had been entirely justified by facts within the knowledge of the Board. They were aware of the statement of the inspecting officer; there could be no doubt as to the identity of the man, for he himself admitted he had been dismissed, though he denied the cause. Under those circumstances, should the Board have persisted in such an action, supplying the prosecutor with funds, for the purposes of vexing and harassing a man who had published a speech which had been delivered in that House? Should they have told him to adopt such a course when no blame could be attached either to the individual who made, or the person who published, that speech? But they did direct him to adopt that course—they insisted upon its adoption—and they must have done that which, in a worthy cause, he would have applauded—they must have supplied him with money to defray the costs; for in the 1128 most expensive court his Majesty's Attorney-General had been directed to apply for a criminal information against the publisher of the speech, and the schoolmaster had stated upon oath that the charge against him was false. The inspecting officer had declared positively that he did dismiss him for that which the man himself not only said that he did not do, but that he was not dismissed for doing. If Lieutenant Irwood had said that which was true how could that man be screened from the charge of perjury? But there was another party who were seriously implicated in this transaction—he meant the Board of Commissioners; for if that man had taken a false oath he had done so being' urged and compelled to the act by the Commissioners, they at the time knowing it to be false. "My Lords," continued the rev. Prelate, "I declare that I would not have the responsibility which attaches to this act of the Commissioners for any consideration in the world." The next case respected the school with which the noble Marquess (Lansdowne) had been in some degree concerned. The noble Marquess had said on a former occasion that an investigation had taken place into that school in the Queen's county; that he had received an account from his agent, and that there was found to be little foundation for his (the Bishop of Exeter's) statement. Now he would frankly say, that the attestation of the noble Marquess weighed with him more than the reports of the Commissioners; and he, therefore, did at first imagine that he must have been misinformed. He had, however, since prosecuted his inquiries into the matter, and was now in a condition to summon the best testimony in his own favour. It was at least testimony with which the noble Marquess would not quarrel, being that of his own agent, and the curate of the parish; and he pledged himself to prove virtually and substantially in Committee, by the evidence of these Gentlemen, the Rev. Mr. Perrin and Mr. Price, the truth of that which he had said. Let it be understood that he said "substantially." There were other cases also which he would not now enter into but reserve them, together with the proofs he should bring forward to show that the Scripture extracts contained corruptions, tending to favour the peculiar doctrines of the Church of Rome, for the consideration of the Committee. He had said last 1129 year that there were books used in the schools during the religious instruction of Roman Catholics, and "recommended by the Commissioners," which contained matter offensive to Protestants. There was a work called The Catholic Christian Instructor; and at page 90 would be found words which he thought their Lord ships would deem offensive to Protestantism. The words were "God rejects the worship of an heretical or a schismatic congregation as sacrilegious and impious." At page 150 he found the following passage, "What a melancholy case it must be, that so many thousands of well-meaning souls (meaning Protestants) should be wretchedly deluded with the pretence of God's Holy Word, when, instead of this they have nothing put into their hands but corrupted translations, which present them with poison instead of the food of life." Now, the Commissioners flatly denied that they had recommended this book; that, in fact, it never had been recommended by them. Never "recommended" was the word: well, that might be true—they might not have employed the word "recommended," but they had employed another word, or perhaps words. About the 11th of July, 1832, they had published two lists of books; one of books and tracts, which were to be generally employed; the other, which was published with "the sanction and approbation" of the board, for the particular use of the Roman Catholics, and from the latter of these lists the work he had quoted was taken. So that it did appear that they had not "recommended" the book. Oh, no; they had merely "sanctioned and approved of it;" and he wished them joy most heartily of this refined distinction. For his own part, he had thought that sanction and approval were more weighty than recommendation merely; perhaps he was wrong; at all events, they had sanctioned the use of this book, and they had approved of its use. He had said that the part of the first chapter of St. Luke which the Commissioners had left out was one of the most important, if not the most important, passage in the gospel of that Evangelist; and that it was so in the estimation of the Established Church, because it gave more fully than elsewhere was given the account of the incarnation of our Lord. Now, it had been declared that this edition of the Gospel was a whole, it was shown as a whole, and yet 1130 this important passage was left out. They seemed to think that if the sense were given, no harm was done; why then say it was the whole Gospel? He complained of the want of the pure Word of God; he complained that that pure word should be castigated and chastened down to meet the taste of any body. The variations with which they supplied the original were beyond the question. Had they said it contained the whole? and did it contain it? The Commissioners had had the assistance of the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Dublin) certainly: but he could not readily believe that the most rev. Prelate had approved of this. He did not see how a new preface to the second edition could alter the case; he could not see that what was mutilated remained a whole; the distinction was one at which he could not guess. This, however, was not all; the Commissioners actually commenced their work of transmutation; and they said "an examination of the original verses will, we think, at once explain to any person accustomed to prepare Scriptural instruction for youth why we thought it best to give a summary of them in a work intended for school lessons." This he was sure did not come from the most rev. Prelate, who, he was certain, would not put the Gospel into an index expurgatorius to meet the pure eyes of youth. Did it, then, come from the Roman Catholic Prelates. That was more incredible, more marvelous still. If their Lordships had had the misfortune ever to have looked into the Roman Catholic tracts on confession, they would indeed consider it the most impious hypocrisy to demand the purifaction of the Gospel of St. Luke, and to publish the foul enormities of the "preparations for confession." He still adhered to the opinion that any version of the Scriptures was better than none, and that the Douayversion without notes was preferable to mere extracts; and he could not understand how individuals would not consent to require the use of the Scriptures, even in a Douayversion, and yet could consent to require that the observance of the Roman Catholic religion should be kept up one day in every week of the year. He could not understand why the mere Bible should be repudiated, and yet the whole Roman Catholic system let in. A few years ago he had been of opinion that no extracts would be used; he had thought it impossible, because he 1131 had relied on the sworn testimony of Dr. Murray in the years 1824 to 1826. Dr. Murray had said, that to the mere exhibition of the extracts he should not object, but to exhibitions of them as extracts from Scripture he should object, unless they were taken from the Douayversion. He found himself wrong, but he would not be wrong on that subject again, for he would not believe a Roman Catholic Bishop on oath in matters in which religion was concerned. If Dr. Murray had not so sworn he had grossly injured him; if he had a doubt on the subject, he should by such a declaration have been guilty of a calumny on him; if he had no doubt on the subject he might have been guilty of rashness; but now, after a lapse of time, and on the fullest and closest inspection, he re-affirmed the charge. Dr. Murray did swear what the report, not he, charged him with having sworn. He called on the most rev. Prelate to say, after having read the report, whether Dr. Murray had so sworn or no. He had made some extracts, and having introduced them for the purpose of proving his charge had been accused of unfair quotation. It was true that the extract given by him as a single answer to a single question, was made up of one answer and a part of a second. Now, at the request of the reporters, he had sent them his extract, marking by a line where the one answer ended, and the fragment of the other began. This line had escaped their attention, and the fault was attributed to him. But it booted very little to the question, whether or no the one sentence was appended to the other. Dr. Murray, it appeared, was favourable to a compilation from the Scriptures, into which the forms of the verses of neither version were admitted; but it must be borne in mind, that he had said that they could propose nothing to their own children as Scripture which was not from their own version. They had indeed been asked, why, as they admitted that the Douay and Protestant versions of Scripture were very much alike, they would not allow Catholic children to be taught from the pure Protestant version. To that Dr. Murray objected. There was, however, another letter, by Dr. Murray, subsequently to this, which removed every particle of doubt as to the meaning of the former letter. The right rev. Prelate proceeded to read as follows:— 1132All the Prelates fully agree in the propriety of the objection urged by the Roman Catholic Archbishops, against putting into the hands of Catholic children as Scripture, any book which is not conformed to their own authorised translation.To this principle, which seems to be common to Roman Catholics and Protestants, we feel it our reluctant duty to declare, that the work, &c, cannot, unless the plan on which it is constructed be wholly changed, obtain our sanction as a book of general instruction, to be used in schools wherein Catholic children receive their education. It purports to present to Catholic children the inspired Word of God, and yet it differs from the translation which those children are taught to consider authentic.A work, however abstracted substantially from the Scripture, but not purporting to be the words of Holy Writ, would not be liable to the same objection.He thought he had now fully made out the case. In the remarks which he had made, he had only been actuated by a sense of duty; from the discharge of which, he trusted he should never be withheld by any fear of his conduct being misinterpreted. He had remarked that these circumstances had made him distrust the oath of a Roman Catholic Prelate in Ireland, when his religion was concerned; he did not shrink from the full responsibility of that declaration, and he would take the liberty of alluding to one or two recent instances which were in some, though a slight degree, connected with the subject then under their Lordships' consideration. In the month of December last, the Committee of the Female National Schools, in Drogheda, thought fit to give a public dinner to Mr. O'Connell and the person whom they call the Primate of Ireland; and they gave that dinner in their character of the Committee of the Female National Schools. He regretted that it was necessary for his purpose to quote the words of Mr. O'Connell; but at that dinner, given to him and the Primate, he said:—I want to bring back the prosperity which will make Poor-laws unnecessary, and, if by no other means, by a domestic Legislature. But I am making an experiment to obtain justice from England without that alternative; and till it is fully worked out, I cannot think of falling back upon my favourite measure of relief. Let this experiment be one of five years duration, as well as the other. Two are already passed; and when the others have terminated, if we see that England does not 1133 give us justice, we must take it for ourselves. I make the experiment fairly and honestly, and without any shade of chicanery. I will take the fullest means, and use my best efforts to make it successful; and if we get justice, it is all we seek; but if we fail in the experiment, then shall we demand the power of legislating for ourselves.To their Lordships he need not say, what justice meant in Mr. O'Connell's vocabulary.I call upon the people to support the King's Ministers, who have promised us justice. We should be untiring in our efforts to enable them to fulfill that promise, or the fault of the failure will be ours. Lay aside your wishes for repeal, but do not lay aside your efforts for justice. Let the good men of England see that while you have assisted them, and all who sought justice, to obtain it, you will not consent to be deprived of it yourselves. Why do I—whose life has been spent as a disciple of peace, preaching that no alteration in Government can be good if brought about by force, and that one drop of human blood would be too dear a purchase for any victory—talk of physical power? Irishmen, because we have been insulted. I would rather see your river again red with Irish blood, than, that we should be degraded and insulted. We might submit to the destruction of our property, and the danger of our lives—10 the ferocity of the ruffian soldier, and the heartless camp-follower. In all these, and a thousand other shapes, injury was heaped upon us, and we bore it, and perhaps would again; but we will never consent to submit to insult. In this industrious and intelligent town it will be seen what is the opinion of the contumely thrown on our country. Ireland will rejoice in your sentiments, and the press will tell the whole British empire that it is not safe for England to be a party to the insult. Chains of adamant, and the force of the Russian empire, would not be sufficient to bind us under insult. It must, then, be wiped off; or else—'Here the learned individual appeared to have paused, as if the sequitur were too dreadful for istterance. He repeated that he had not quoted these words on account of the individual by whom they were uttered, but on account of what followed. The chairman, at this dinner at Drogheda, stated that he had next to propose the health of the Primate of Ireland, the most Rev. Dr. Crolly, the friend of civil and religious liberty. Dr. Crolly, in returning thanks, said:—Liberty, civil and religious, is the birthright of all bearing the image of the Creator, as well the black as the white; and no man should assume the right of the Deity, to force the opinions of his fellow man, and men who 1134 venture to do so, have reason to fear that they will suffer for it here or hereafter. I am glad and exceedingly happy, that among you the principle is cherished. There was a period when Belfast stood pre-eminent as the friend of liberty, but that spirit is now nearly extinct—a dark cloud has passed over its horizon, and obscured the beauty in which it shone. But let this be a lesson to you, and as you rise in wealth and commerce, raise the flag of civil and religious liberty; and that you may bless and prosper under it will be the foremost wish of my heart. I feel complimented by the kindness and attention with which you have listened to me, particularly in the presence of the individual who has done more for the cause I spoke of, than any other person in ancient or modern times.Such was the language used by Dr. Crolly at Drogneda, and having quoted it, he would leave their Lordships to form their own opinions, and to draw their own conclusions from it. But before he sat down, he would just quote a few more lines from one of the speeches made at a dinner lately given at Carlow to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and at which, Mr. O'Connell was reported to have said:—My friend, the Chairman, in alluding to the Conservative festival in this town on yesterday, talked of respectability. Respectability! What does my valued Friend mean by respectability? They may have the respectability of the hogget or the ox, that fatten on the land—they are as stupid as they are malignant, and as ugly as they are contemptible. Are they respectable for their virtues or acquirements? Are they respectable for those qualities which make man truly respectable—patriotism and humanity, or in a word, love of country, and of their fellow men? No; they are cruel, unrelenting, perfidious tyrants; their consolation is the widow's tear, shed amidst the ruin of desolated villages, and their music is the scream of the orphan, and the groans of the expiring victim, who dies beneath the withering blast of that oppression which forced him from his humble home, from the green fields where his fathers dwelt, and suffers him to perish by the wayside, a houseless and heartbroken wanderer Like the ghoule of the Eastern tale, they live and delight to live upon sucking out the warm heart's blood while life is still in vigour, and reducing their victims to the grave, before the chill of years, or the course of natural events carry them away. They love the wail of famishing children, and the agony of ruined and agonised parents. Poor old Kavanagh.Mr. O'Connell continued:—Alas! poor Kavanagh. If he had not made the fatal alliances he did, one would he glad that he would sink into his grave in the 1135 peaceful obscurity in which, for his own sake, he ought to have remained, and not to have the dead cats and dogs of the neighbour hood thrown into it along with him.—After 'Lord Morpeth,' three times three and loud cheers. 'The right Rev. Dr. Nolan and the Catholic clergy of his diocese.'He would now give them the language which was adopted on the same occasion by a Roman Catholic bishop, Dr. Nolan, who, after hearing the language which had been adopted by Mr. O'Connell on his own health having been proposed, said,I beg leave to return my best thanks for the manner in which my name has been received. Mr. O'Connell has truly stated the reason why I thus appear in a political assembly, and I think the same feelings which actuate me belong to the rest of the clergy of Ireland. Mr. O'Connell has not, however, stated the reasons fully. We are compelled by the necessity of the times to appear amongst the people, and seek for justice for our own beloved country.He (the Bishop of Exeter) would here state, that in the cry of "justice for Ireland" was meant the destruction of the Established Church in Ireland, and of all those institutions which we loved.We, however, attend on this particular occasion as much to give a hearty welcome to the man to whom we owe so much, as to testify our approbation of the principles upon which are based justice to Ireland and universal happiness to mankind. Mr. O'Connell, in speaking of himself, said, he was but a feather thrown up, which merely showed the way the wind blew; but I will venture to say that he is a man raised up by God to work out the regeneration of our country. It is for the people that he is working. We pray God to direct him, and bless his efforts, and continue that vigour of body and mind which are necessary to him in that arduous contest in which he is engaged. It is with great pleasure I appear amongst you this evening, to acknowledge that I am united with the people in the cause of Ireland, and to proclaim, that with the blessing of the Most High, we cannot be separated from the people.Another toast given was—"The total abolition of tithes." The Rev. Mr. Cullen, another correspondent of the Board, and manager of its schools, being loudly called for, spoke to this toast in a very eloquent manner. This was the language used by a Roman Catholic Bishop in the presence of a large assemblage of the Roman Catholic clergy—those very clergy being in correspondence with the Board of Commissioners of Education. These Roman Catholic 1136 clergy, too, be it recollected, held the most unqualified domination over their flocks, and had the religious and moral instruction of the rising generation of youth. Those, then, who looked closely at the working of this system, would see that it was utterly impossible that any modification of it could be introduced; and he, for one, would now declare, lest hereafter he should be considered as giving to it any degree of even modified sanction, that he never could concur in a system so fraught with temporal and spiritual evil.
The Archbishop of Dublin
trusted that their Lordships would bear with him for a short time, and for a short time only, because it was his determination not to enter into discussions upon matters which were out of place, and would be premature, as they would be much better reserved for other occasions. He would not enter into criminations or recriminations against any individual. If any one were to bring a complaint to impeach him for high treason, he, as an individual, was ready to appear in a court of justice and to suffer punishment. As for the vague slanders and the multiplied rum ours which had gone abroad, he would not notice them. Then with reference to the complaints which had been made against the Commissioners of the Board of Education in Ireland, against them as public officers, and their mode of discharging their duties, it appeared to him, and he believed that feeling extended to their Lordships generally, that, when the Committee should be appointed, that Committee was the place where the questions at issue might be calmly and satisfactorily investigated, where witnesses would be called to prove and verify facts, where distorted accounts were set right, and before which tribunal nothing was brought which was not strictly examined into and proved. He rose, then, not for the purpose of prematurely entering into a discussion which ought to be reserved for the Committee. He would say nothing of the Board of Education, or of the body of Commissioners; but with respect to the charges which had been made against himself, although he thought their Lordships were called upon to give him a hearing in his own vindication, yet he felt he should better consult propriety in not detaining their Lordships with matters relating to 1137 individuals, as that was a legislative and a judicial assembly. The rules which had been established in the schools of education would be examined day after day before a Committee; and he trusted that on all points time would bring the truth to light. If some men's minds were so constituted as not to receive truth, he was sorry for it, and they were not the persons whose esteem he had any wish or anxiety to cultivate. Various measures had been suggested for the extension and improvement of the system of education, and, of course, they would require that the reasons for and against their adoption should be well and maturely considered; and this could be done in the committee alone. Supposing the system, in the main, were to be continued, it would be for the Committee to consider what modifications they would adopt to put it on an extensive footing, and bring it into greater operation. The committee was wished for by the Commissioners, with a view to save their Lord, ships' House from being involved in fruitless and unsatisfactory debates, and the public mind from being poisoned by vague irregular complaints which were brought forward, and which could not be stopped until a satisfactory inquiry was made. From time to time various complaints were brought forward, and if the Commissioners were present on these occasions it would be well; but they were not always present, and it was quite impossible that those who were connected with the system could carry all the particulars in their memories, seeing that there were 1,500 schools. If anything were complained of in these schools in this country or in Ireland, the Board immediately instituted an inquiry into those complaints. But these things were generally brought forward without first consulting the Commissioners as to the alleged misconduct of their servants. One complaint had been, that some little schoolboy had scribbled this or that in his copybook. Oh! nothing was too small or too great to be debated with the most eloquent declamation night after night. In many of these cases flying rum ours came round to the board that some one had heard such and such a matter had taken place; and in all these instances he knew there was very great exaggeration, distortion, or even fabrication of facts; but still he supposed there were many persons who, being ignorant in many cases of the circumstances, did believe what they stated. 1138 But there were many who came down to the court, and by their conduct raised some suspicion, if not of their veracity, certainly of the purity of their zeal. Their Lordships would never credit them when he said that they were too nugatory to be brought before the commissioners, but not so before the House of Lords. These facts oftentimes reminded him of the circumstance which he had read of in a favorite old comedy, where a newly-elected Member of Parliament, returning from some distant part (Sir Francis Wrong-head), elated with his success, was run against by a rude carter, and his carriage was damaged. In great indignation the son suggested to his father, "Oh, father, bring him before the Parliament-house." Now, it seemed more honest to bring these matters before the legislature than before the court. If they sent to Ireland, an inquiry was made by the inspector, when the statement was found to be generally partly fabricated, and there was some distortion of facts in all these cases. He knew that when a week or ten days had expired, and when the attention of the House and the public had been directed to something else, and after erroneous statements had gone forth, no regret was ever expressed; not one word of apology was given; never anything like repentance was evinced by those who had originated the calumnies; no repentance was shown by those who accused the Commissioners of having struck out all about repentance from the gospel of St. Luke. No; but it appeared as if the supporters of St. Luke had struck out repentance from their own hearts, and thus the time of the House and of the public was taken up, and prejudices were raised, which a calm consideration of facts before the Committee must verify, and thus put an end to such irregular proceedings at once. In respect to this subject, there were two classes of questions which were very distinct, which ought to be kept apart, but which were perpetually confounded with each other; he meant the question relating to the system as originally laid down, and the question relating to the conduct of the Commissioners. He would appeal to their Lordships whether they were not mixed up together continually, not to say anything of speeches made at Conservative, Radical, and Repeal meetings. At one time they had a debate in reference to the various versions of the 1139 Scriptures, to the different force of their Hebrew particles, and various manuscripts of the Old and New Testament. Those considerations were mixed up with the general reading of the copy-books of the schoolmaster. Then there were the questions raised whether the reading in these schools should be compulsory or voluntary; whether people should be permitted or forced to read; whether the school houses were erected on the best sites, or whether they were not often too near the chapel-yard. Then they were appealed to in respect of the Douay version of the Bible. Again, it had been made a matter of complaint to the Board that some schoolmaster had done something some years before his appointment. Thus they had to contend with this mixture of questions; and he would say, let them all be thoroughly examined into. The Committee to whom these matters would be referred would be very different from any other that ever was, if it did not classify the various heads of the subject, and leave the House, to deliberate dispassionately upon it. Now, as to the system of education in Ireland, the Commissioners were not responsible for it, except so far that they conscientiously acted upon it. If the Commissioners, however, and those who were the parties to work the plan, had conducted themselves unwisely, let them be examined before the committee, and if the system were hopeless let it be abandoned; if it were necessary to make an alteration, let the means of education be increased. If the Commissioners had been false to their duty, if they had harbored improper servants for the public service, let the system be tried under the direction of other parties. But let not this mixture of the questions be resorted to, seeing that they were much more easily confused in an animated debate than they would be in a calm discussion before the Committee. He would give one or two specimens of the sort of accusations, which, he supposed, in nine out of ten cases of charge, would be made. He was not speaking of this in reference to individuals, but with respect to the conduct of the Commissioners, and the merits or demerits of the system. Supposing a witness examined with reference to the model school at Dublin, he would be asked,—is it attended by Roman Catholics and Protestants? and if so, in what proportion? He would answer go and so. 1140 He would then be asked, Can you account for the proportions being such as they are; or do you apprehend that they are different in other cases? The answer would be, Certainly. Because, in the model school of Dublin, almost every parish had its school; the Protestant children were fed and partly clothed. The schools were under the guidance of Protestant clergymen. Then the witness would be asked, Do they receive instruction from their respective ministers on the same day? Now how came it that they received so little instruction? Why, most of them went to their own parish. Some come many miles to attend the model school every day, and when the instruction was not going on there they went to the respective schools of their parish, some of which were Presbyterians. Thus their Lordships would see how very different a turn the case might take under the investigation of a Committee, to that which it assumed in a debate in that House, conducted perhaps with all the skill, the eloquence, and powers of a practised debater. Then again, before a Committee, no one would be allowed to substitute premises, without foundation, for facts, by saying that he had been told on good authority so and so. The authority must be produced. It happened in most instances that these authorities were not known to him and to illustrate it, he would give another specimen of the sort of cases which occurred. A Mr. Perrin, in company with Mr. Price, visited the school where it was said a treasonable sentence was set as a copy by the master of the school. Mr. Perrin, it happened, had a living in his diocese, and he turned the character of the transaction entirely; and the report which had been spread, according to this Gentleman's account, was totally false. He had told him (the Archbishop of Dublin), moreover, that seeing the false statement had appeared in The Standard newspaper, he thought it proper to put the matter right, and he accordingly assured the parties that they were mistaken. The notice which was taken of this communication was to the following effect:—"We have received a letter stating some inaccuracies, &c. We have not time to insert this letter, but shall do so some time hence." This had occurred half a year ago; but the parties were still waiting for a convenient opportunity to bring this letter forward. He had told their Lordships that in some 1141 instances he knew these statements were believed by persons whom they could not conceive would put them forward. A complaint had been very properly brought before him by the court, of a person in the neighbour hood of a small town in Ireland, who declared that the Protestant children could not in conscience attend the school, because there was no way to it but by going in at the gate of the Roman Catholic chapel-yard. Now he had said, that in some instances the schools bad been erected on objectionable sites, but they were prevented in a variety of cases from selecting better sites. He therefore said he would see in this instance how far the site was really objectionable, and that he would go and see the place himself. With this view he accompanied the curate of the parish to the spot. They passed along the street, and saw a board up with the words "National School." He asked the Curate whether that were not the entrance to the school, but he assured him no, it was not, and that they must go through the chapel yard. They went accordingly through the yard—went to the back of it, where there was no entrance—and went to the entrance from the street, which had been the entrance for many years. But the parties, nevertheless, who had made the complaint in the first instance, no doubt believed it, or they would have sent the case up for the consideration of the English Legislature; they would never have appealed to him who was on the spot. He immediately found that the grievance complained of was totally without foundation. The school in question had been under the management of the Board for two years; and he mentioned this circumstance as a specimen of the reports which were circulated. At the same time he was not going to enter into details, or into the justification of any one. The Commissioners were ready to defend the system of education in Ireland, though they were not there to undertake this task, but to refer its defence not to the present Government, but to the three or four last Governments. When the conduct, however, of the Commissioners was implicated, they were ready to defend it. In a Committee they would be enabled to ascertain distinctly, matters of fact connected with many cases, for the satisfaction of those who wished for the truth, and who were desirous of submitting the case to a Committee, and not to the beat and ardour of debate. Their Lord- 1142 ships had heard of one petition which had been presented that evening from the clergy of the diocese of Derry and Raphoe. He had heard it read, and a petition from the clergy of another diocese and some laymen. The petition was virtually for the withdrawal of the grant for the united system of education, and in some instances it argued against the division of the grant amongst Roman Catholics, and the schools which were exclusive they proposed should have it all. The petition of the Bishop of Raphoe was informal, but that petition contained suggestions for several important alterations, which might be introduced with advantage. [The Earl of Wicklow: The resolutions upon which the petition was founded.] He begged pardon—the resolutions. He had answered the Bishop as an individual, that the Commissioners would be glad to receive any suggestions calculated to improve the system, upon the foundation that they themselves had laid down, that there should be no restriction and no coercion; and anything against that principle they would not consent to. Of anything like coercion he could not approve. As to the petitions which were presented on the opposite side, there were many things often stated which appeared to him to be very right from the premises; but those premises were not founded on facts. He knew it was strongly urged that these schools had failed for the purposes of united education; and this was equally strongly set forth as a ground for abandoning it. Persons of some importance in the North of Ireland had stated this as a reason for the division of the grant. One gentleman had assured him that in his own quarter no Protestant attended these schools; but he could assert to the contrary. These facts, however, must all come out before the Committee. He had ascertained, by examination, that in these schools, extending to between 300 and 400, in which it was said there were no Protestant, that about 22,000 Roman Catholic children, and 16,000 Protestants had been educated, and all these facts occurred under the eyes of the very person who made the statement, that there were no Protestant children in these schools. But the blindness of those who would not see, and the deafness of those who would not hear, was beyond all belief. There was another point on which he would not detain their Lordships long. It had been set 1143 forth, he could not say whether as a point of conviction or experience, that the Roman Catholics would be glad to accept the condition of using the authorised version of the Scriptures. When some persons were asked on what grounds they held this view, he was told that their meaning was, that the Roman Catholics would be glad to make use of the Scriptures, if it were not for the influence of the Roman Catholic priests. He certainly thought this rather a rash position, but he was not prepared to deny it. But how, he would ask, was this influence to be destroyed? By searching the Scriptures. That is, whenever the dominion of the priests is to be destroyed, it was to be done by reading the Scriptures; and when reading the Scriptures is the point, that could not be done, because of the influence of the priests: this was indeed a most encouraging prospect. On similar premises he could solve the great problem of squaring the circle; give him but a triangle of half the area, and he would construct the square; and if they wished to obtain that triangle, why it was half the area of the square. This was not a sort of argument that was satisfactory to the Commissioners; neither, he would tell their Lordships, would it be to the British Legislature. He would briefly advert to one other point, which many well-meaning persons argued on rather unreasonably. It was unfortunate that this point was often urged in the heat of debate, and by arguments that were equally destructive to the views that themselves brought forward. It had been set forth with every form of expression that could add difficulty to the subject. He referred to the different versions of the Scriptures that were in use. It was stated that great and essential alterations had been made in them. But of these how could the unlearned judge? He meant those who were not Hebrew or Greek scholars. How could they compare the various translations with the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures? You tell them of mistranslations; they say you may be right, but we will take the word of our clergy as you do. The Roman Catholics employed the same argument that others did; they say there is danger in the principle of dissent. Their Lordships must know, that all who were not themselves scholars must depend for the meaning of words upon others, and how could one more than any there fell that he was not deceived? 1144 Amidst these contradictory directions, they would either abide by their own religion, or the result of these conflicting doctrines might bring religion itself into danger, and the people might conclude that there was no revelation at all. Who would deny the fact, that amid all the differences, there were the same great leading doctrines;—that all agreed in the main points, and that each, in its chief features, was the revelation contained in the Bible. There were many persons who had not been at Rome, or who, perhaps, had not seen the sea; but they depended on the relations and descriptions of others: for although those relations and descriptions might differ in some particulars, the difference was not so great as to impeach their general veracity—so they believed. It was the same with matters of religion. Nothing could be more pregnant with danger than to circulate among the people exaggerated notions of the differences between several versions of the Scriptures. Before he sat down, he begged to observe, that when he talked of the efforts which had been made to poison the public mind on this subject, and of the vague and irregular manner in which the various charges and imputations connected with it had been thrown out, he was by no means making any complaint on the part of the Commissioners. He was not authorised to do so. The Commissioners had undertaken a most laborious task, in the discharge of which they had undergone every form of vituperation and obloquy. Of all this they never complained, but went on doing what they conceived to be their duty. They were anxious, however, that the system itself should be properly appreciated. They were not at all anxious about their own characters; for, however deeply they might for a time suffer, they felt it could not be in a better cause than in endeavouring to enlighten the people of Ireland; and they knew that, in the long run, the slander which had been uttered against them would be mischievous only to their opponents. But they were anxious that the public mind should be disabused on this important subject, that a proper estimate should be formed respecting it, and that no petty bickerings should stand in the way of the general good. The House of Lords was a deliberative assembly, not a criminal court, and the Commissioners had no complaint to make in it. They had been abused by false reports of their conduct. They looked 1145 with satisfaction to the appointment of the Committee proposed by the noble Viscount. If the result of the investigations of that Committee should be an opinion that the Commissioners had not fulfilled the duties intrusted to them, they would readily and cheerfully resign their offices to others; and, in so doing, would lose nothing, but would have a great deal of trouble and vexation. If their successors should improve upon their system, they would be the first to rejoice at the event. But the great question to be determined was, whether the people of Ireland, who could not be coerced into the adoption of any religion, should be left in darkness, or worse than darkness, or whether an attempt should be made by conciliatory means, to enlighten and improve them. Of this he was perfectly sure, that without some measure of that kind, all other measures, however important they might seem, for tranquillising and benefiting Ireland would utterly fail.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, that under existing circumstances, he was surprised that the most rev. Prelate had perceived no grounds for the statements they had that evening heard from the most rev. Prelate opposite. The most rev. Prelate seemed to forget the peculiar circumstances under which the right rev. Prelate had addressed their Lordships. The right rev. Prelate had brought forward similar statements on a former occasion, when he had proposed a Committee such as the present; and the most rev. Prelate would remember that it was then refused; he had then made use of every argument to induce the Government to comply with his proposition, and, notwithstanding his plain and convincing statement, the right rev. Prelate was not able to prevail. But what did the most rev. Prelate, who had last spoken, then do? He thought proper, as the head of the National Board of Education, to publish an answer to the speech of the right rev. Prelate, in the shape of a report of that body, filled with the most vituperative attacks. That report, a public document which was to be circulated through the country, was filled with accusations, and the most unfounded attacks. Not content with this, the most rev. Prelate cast imputations on the author of the speech, which, under all circumstances, he did not think was fair to the right rev. Prelate. Neither did he look on it as 1146 just, to accuse the right rev. Prelate of introducing irrelevant matter into his speech, and details not at all connected with the matter at issue. With respect to the report on their Lordships' table, he considered it a very discreditable document to those who framed it, and that it was beneath the dignity of the Commissioners to condescend to dedicate the whole of their report to a speech that had been made in their Lordships' House. He must, however, in some degree exonerate them, as he understood that it was in compliance with the directions of his Excellency the Lord-Lieutenant, that they had answered the speech of the right rev. Prelate. It appeared that this was done by his order, and not by the Commissioners own desire. He was in Ireland when the report was issued; but he had read it within the last two days, and he had found one paragraph to which he would call their Lordships' attention:—"The pamphlet," said the report, "objects to our giving aid to schools in connexion with monasteries, nunneries, and other religious establishments. Now, on this point we had a communication with Lord Stanley, and he thought it advisable that schools of this description should be brought under our direction, as well as all others." This stated, that they agreed with Lord Stanley, that aid should be granted to schools connected with nunneries and other religious establishments. He would venture to say, that Lord Stanley had sanctioned no such measure, and he would show that it was in violation of the rules laid down by him. One of those rules ran thus:—" It is the intention of the Government, that no aid shall be given to any schools, unless the Board shall be entitled to exercise a complete control over them." Could any one believe that this complete control could be exercised in nunneries? How was it possible that Lord Stanley should act in such injudicious and complete violation of his own rules? He had strenuously opposed the measure when it was first introduced, for he thought it would do incalculable harm. He had at the same time stated, that he should not object to see some system introduced better calculated to obtain the same ends. But how did the case now stand? The Kildare street Society was totally ineffective as a system of general education since the withdrawal of the Parliamentary grant, while the present system had been in operation for some years. For this reason, he thought 1147 it impossible now to recede, and his chief anxiety now was, to make the system available for useful purposes, and to conciliate, as much as possible, the people of all denominations. He had presented a petition to that effect from the clergy of the diocese of Deny and Rap hoe; and he believed that if the suggestions of that petition were adopted, all the difficulties that stood in the way of the general utility of the measure would be obviated. The Roman Catholics objected to the use of Bibles in schools, and the Protestants objected to schools in which it was prohibited. The suggestion of the petition was conceived in the true spirit of peace; it said, "Let there be no coercion, no rejection." It was competent for the parents to say if their children were to use the Scriptures in those schools, and surely there could be no objection to this on the part of the Roman Catholics. He felt the greatest satisfaction in knowing, that the right rev. Prelate thought well of that system, and he hoped, that when the Protestant clergy saw, that no other plan could be adopted, with any prospect of success, and when they considered the great evils of the absence of a system of universal education, they would give this system a calm and dispassionate consideration, and that the suggestions of the petition would be eventually adopted by them; for it was totally impossible to prevent the abuses of any system, if the Protestant clergy did not lend their aid. The Committee was the fittest place for the investigation, and he hoped the petition he had presented would meet, in the Committee, with calm consideration.
said, that the philosophical, liberal, and enlightened speech of the most rev. Prelate had given the debate a complexion totally different from that which it had previously worn. In that most rev. Prelate's observations he entirely concurred. The sentiments of the most rev. Prelate were such as ought to belong to every Protestant and Christian divine; they were imbued with charitable feeling, and were calculated to do great good, and to remove exasperation in the minds of the Catholics, and of a great portion of the Protestants of Ireland. He would not run the risk of weakening the effect of the most rev. Prelate's enlightened remarks by any detailed observations; but he could not help strongly recommending to all who were anxious to 1148 promote Christianity and harmony to dwell more on the points in which Catholics and Protestants agreed than on the points in which they differed. That was the true way to promote Christianity. Had the right rev. Prelate acted consistently with his argument, he ought to have concluded by voting against the committee; for he declared that he was in possession of facts which had enabled him to make up his mind to the necessity of a total departure from the present system. In the same breath the right rev. Prelate had accused him of having departed from his duty as a Member of that House, by prejudging the question before them. He had not prejudged the question. The right rev. Prelate having brought a charge against the Board of Commissioners, which charge they had refuted, he, as a kind of grand juror, had ignored the Bill which the right rev. Prelate had preferred. He was satisfied that there was no ground for the right reverend Prelate's charges. Let their Lordships look at the charge, and let them look at the answer in the Commissioners' third report, a report highly creditable to them, and which, notwithstanding the opinion of the noble Ear], he thought they were compelled to make in deference to their own character; and he was persuaded they would agree with him that the defence was satisfactory and complete in. all points. But the defence of the Commissioners did not rest on their own statements. The present was a great experiment; the Commissioners had shown how far it had been successful. This was no hasty matter. The subject had been four or five-and-twenty years under consideration. Commissions had been appointed in 1812 and in 1822, from both of which several reports had been presented; those from the latter perfectly agreeing with those from the former. Those reports went the whole length of declaring that scripture extracts were proper, not (as the right rev. Prelate still maintained with extraordinary obstinacy) to supersede the Bible, but to steer clear of the difficulties attendant upon requiring the reading of the Bible. Well, after these two Commissions had made their report, a select committee of the House of Commons was appointed, which, after due consideration, recommended the present system of education, and one Parliament granted a sum of money for carrying it 1149 into effect. After all this had been done, and after a Board of Commissioners was appointed on the recommendation of the legislature, he thought no person—and, above all, no legislator'—had a right to show any bitterness, or any feelings of anger, that the board had prosecuted the plan intrusted to their management. He was, indeed, quite at a loss to discover the cause of the right rev. Prelate's violent indignation, or account, in any possible Way, why he should denounce the system in the extraordinary manner he had done. That board was composed almost entirely of Members belonging to the right rev. Prelate's own church. The Acts they were carrying into effect were the Acts of the legislature; and what, he would ask, could be in their proceedings, or in the regulations which they had adopted, to kindle such a degree of excitement in his mind? The language of the right rev. Prelate was, that the present system of education was calculated to disturb the peace of the community, to produce immorality, to put an end to all religious feeling among the people, and cause dissensions between the teachers and pupils in these institutions. He was utterly at a loss to see any ground for such results as the right rev. Prelate thought the system calculated to produce. Could it be the lessons recommended by the board that were calculated to bring about a total absence of religious feeling? What were these lessons? The first lesson inculcated the duty of "living peaceably with all men, even with those who differed from them in religious persuasion." Another lesson was to the following effect—"Our Saviour Christ commanded his disciples to love one another—to bless those that cursed them, and to pray for their persecutors. He called on them to adhere to the truth, but not to act harshly towards those who were in error and believed not in the truth. He prohibited his disciples from fighting in his behalf, and commanded them not to return evil for evil, but to do unto others as they wished to be done unto, and show to all that they were followers of Christ, who, when reviled, reviled not again." Now, he would ask whether a right rev. Prelate or any other Christian ought, in the spirit of the Gospel, to make such charges against any class of Christians, and call the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland a rabid priesthood? 1150 It was natural that Catholics should take offence at such violent statements made against their clergy, and it was natural that such charges against the Commissioners would tend to mar the effect of their labours. He was utterly at a loss to account for the conclusion to which the right rev. Prelate had come. He came to a conclusion directly the reverse; and so far from thinking that the system would produce a total want of religion and gross immorality, he was fully convinced that it was well calculated to prevent both. He had a published speech before him in the shape of a pamphlet. It purported to be the speech of the right rev. the Bishop of Exeter, but he did not know whether the statements were made by him, or whether it had been published under his authority; on examining the pamphlet, he found it was not exactly the speech spoken by the right rev. Prelate: he must say there had been some cookery, some dressing up, but the substance of it was the same. This pamphlet had an anonymous preface beginning in these words: "It has been deemed necessary (he did not know by whom) to publish the speech in a separate form, in consequence of a bill having passed since the speech was delivered to grant 50,000l. for the religious instruction of all classes, without distinction of religion." The pamphlet was published by Mr. Murray, a most respectable publisher; and as the right rev. Prelate had not put his name to it, he must treat it as anonymous. But assuming it to be the speech of the right rev. Prelate, he did not think the right rev. Prelate had followed a proper course in leading another person to answer for what would more properly have been answered by himself. He took up the pamphlet—he could not say written in a Christian spirit—to mark the passages which were incorrect, but he found it needless to do so, for in every page there were passages, not only incorrect, but totally unfounded. It was a pious vituperation from beginning to end. He would call their Lordships' attention to some of these passages. He should have expected that when the right rev. Prelate made statements and founded charges on them, that he would have taken pains to inform himself of the grounds on which he made them. The right rev. Prelate had stated nothing on his own knowledge—he did 1151 not know the truth of the statements on which his own arguments were founded—and he therefore should have expected that the right rev. Prelate, under such circumstances, would have come with great reluctance to the conclusion that the system was incapable of succeeding, and that the hopes of the empire were to be disappointed. Before the right rev. Prelate made such strong assertions, would it not have been proper to have taken steps for ascertaining the truth or falsehood of the statements? Should he not have called the attention of the Commissioners to the subject, or employed some persons on the spot to ascertain how the system worked? and if there were such gross abuses, should he not have endeavoured, along with the assistance of the board to remedy them? If that had failed, then it was his duty to have addressed his complaints to the legislature for the purpose of providing a remedy. But if the object which the right rev. Prelate had in view was a remedy of the evil, the course which he had pursued was most inconsistent. The right rev. Prelate had censured him for a charge made against the right rev. Prelate on a former occasion. The charge was, that the right rev. Prelate said the system adopted by the Commissioners sanctioned the mutilation of the Bible (he understood that assertion had been avowed), and he then proceeded to justify himself. The right rev. Prelate admitted, that he did not consider it a mutilation of the Bible to use extracts; but he was satisfied such extracts as would be acceptable to all persons never would be agreed on. Now, what were the grounds on which the right rev. Prelate came to such a conclusion? He had availed himself of the evidence given by a Roman Catholic Bishop, who, he insinuated, had asserted that such extracts never could be agreed on: he stated these words had been given on oath before a Committee of the House, by Dr. Murray, that he had been led into error by evidence given on oath by a Roman Catholic bishop, but would never fall into such an error again; and would never give credit even to statements made on oath, of Dr. Murray or any Roman Catholic bishop. Now, such language never was used by Dr. Murray. He had explicitly denied it; and after this explicit and distinct denial had been made, the right rev. Prelate said Dr. Murray had given a different interpre- 1152 tation to his words, and that therefore no Roman Catholic bishop was to be believed on his oath. Why was there ever such an unjustifiable, disgusting proposition to come, not only from a Christian bishop, but from any person of gentlemanly feelings? There was no charity in such an assertion; and the logic (as a noble Friend hinted to him) of the right rev. Prelate was merely palmed on the charity. The fact was, the words never were uttered. A conclusion had been drawn on the assumption that they had been uttered; and the right rev. Prelate considered himself justified, on such premises, to say that he would not believe a Roman Catholic bishop on his oath. He would ask if any charge could be made more galling, more inflaming, or more insulting, or any stronger language adopted for maligning the entire body of the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland? But the right rev. Prelate, not content with maligning the hierarchy attacked the inferior clergy. At a speech made by Mr. O'Connell at Drogheda it appeared Dr. Crolly was present, and because that gentleman was present he is to be made answerable for whatever Mr. O'Connell said. He could not admit such a principle, but at the same time he did not think, even if it were admitted, any blame could be incurred, for it was one of the best speeches Mr. O'Connell ever uttered. Respecting the repeal of the Union his opinions were well known. He had his own opinion, but he was not to be answerable for the opinions of others who might advocate such a measure. But what did Mr. O'Connell say? He said he did not want the repeal of the Union, but he wanted justice to Ireland. He did not see any great delinquency in a Roman Catholic priest being present at such a speech, or why he should on that account be involved in the sweeping anathema pronounced against the whole Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. But it would be a waste of words to dwell on such a subject. The charge against another Catholic priest was of a similar nature, though the speech made by Mr. O'Connell might not have been so free from censure. It was said—he did not know whether the story was got up—that Mr. O'Connell had used some expression implying that cats and dogs had been thrown into the grave of Mr. Kavanagh, and that Mr. Nolan was present on the occasion. The right rev. Prelate then alluded to M. Guizot, and quoted an ab- 1153 stract from his works, which he considered unfavourable to the Irish system of education. But it ought to be remembered that M. Guizot merely stated an abstract notion, and the case he put was very different from that under consideration—the system of education in Ireland, which contained plain and important truths, calculated, whether looking at natural or revealed religion, to produce the best moral effects The right rev. Prelate said the report contained a falsehood (he did not say error)—it contained a falsehood respecting the number of clergymen who had made application for grants of money to establish schools in their districts. But he said more; and though he did not charge the bishops, he charged some others with having recourse to such a miserable artifice to deceive the public. But that subject had been already explained. The Commissioners had stated, that the applications from Protestants, Dissenters, and Roman Catholics, were all put down in the same way; that a return of the signatures was at first made, and afterwards the names; and the result was, that by the amended return it appeared there had been more applications from Protestants than were at first stated. He did not charge the right rev. Prelate with disingenuity, but it did appear to him extraordinary that before the right rev. Prelate complained to their Lordships of the conduct of the Commissioners, he had not taken more care to make himself acquainted with the real state of the case. Again, the right rev. Prelate had taken upon himself to charge the Commissioners with forging the names of several clergymen, and had instanced those of Messrs. Morrison and Cockburn; but the charge had been shown to be utterly without foundation, for both the parties named on being shown their signatures by the Commissioners fully acknowledged them. So much for the charge of forgery, and he trusted the House would fully appreciate the injustice, the gross impropriety of the right rev. Prelate coming forward with these vague, random charges, and endeavouring to create an impression on the public mind on the strength of allegations which, on the slightest investigation, turned out to be utterly devoid of foundation. While, however clearly these allegations were disproved, no sort of acknowledgment was made to the maligned parties, but, on the contrary, they were very strongly reprehended for their presumption 1154 in vindicating themselves. As to the case of Mr. Robertson, the charge here was, not that his name was used without his authority, but that there was no such person as Mr. Robertson. And the Archbishop of Dublin was vituperated for not having looked over his books for the purpose of ascertaining Mr. Robertson's identity in his diocese. Now, in the first place, it was not stated that Mr. Robertson was in the diocese of Dublin; and if it had been so stated, it was no part of the duty or business of the Archbishop to look over his books for the name unless representations had been made that such a person was erroneously stated as being within his diocese. There was one remark on this point which he (Lord Plunkett) could not avoid making. The right rev. Prelate had not chosen to apply to his brother in Christ to learn from him what the real state of the case was. No, the right rev. Prelate stated, that the information that no such clergyman as Mr. Robertson was in the diocese of the Archbishop of Dublin came to him from the Archdeacon of Dublin. How came that about? He knew and highly respected the Archdeacon in question, and he was perfectly clear that he would never have written to the right rev. Prelate on the subject had he not done so in answer to an application to that effect from the right rev. Prelate. [The Bishop of Exeter: I admit having wrote to him.] Now, he would put it to their Lordships, whether such a proceeding on the part of the right rev. Prelate was worthy or becoming?—whether it was right or proper on the part of that right rev. Prelate to write to an Archdeacon for the purpose of endeavouring to extract out of him something on which to found an allegation against his Archbishop? This proceeding, however, was only of a piece with Mr. Cleaver's letter on which the Morrison portion of the right rev. Prelate's case was made out. Did the right rev. Prelate mean to say that Mr. Cleaver or any person on his behalf would have written to him on the subject had he not been written to by the right rev. Prelate? No; the right rev. Prelate had been furnishing his armoury with accusations by pumping the inferior dignitaries of Ireland; and he would again put it seriously to the House whether such a mode of proceeding was worthy or proper? It was monstrous that any Member of their Lordships' House should found upon rum ours and assumptions of 1155 this sort such heavy charges against persons who could not possibly be there to answer him. He would not delay the House by adverting at any length to the distribution of the funds in the hands of the Commissioners. It appeared by the report that while the Roman Catholics of Ireland constituted seven-eighths of the whole population, the proportion in which the money was distributed was, that the Protestant correspondents received 2,190l. per annum, and the Roman Catholic correspondents 8,721l. As to Mr. Nangle while he concurred with the right rev. Prelate in applauding the object of that gentleman in his mission to Achill—for doubtless it was a most disinterested one which could prompt him to go to that wretched part of the country in the desire of converting the Roman Catholics to Protestantism—he was not prepared to say that he admired that gentleman's discretion, or considered that he proceeded on his mission in a way at all calculated to promote peace in that part of the country. He denied, however, that the Commissioners had meant to throw any imputation on Mr. Nangle or to involve him in any way in a charge of creating a breach of the peace. No such thing: but here was another glaring instance of the manner in which all sorts of charges were made, without the slightest foundation, for the purpose of exciting the passions. The right rev. Prelate was wrong-in another portion of his statement, Mr. Nangle's complaint on the subject of Mr. O'Donnel's attending a procession. He would add a few observations on the subject and the other charge, which the report alluded to as disproved in the following words:—The statement, however, now publicly made, 'that he had been dismissed from another employment for using treasonable, or at least, seditious language to the coast guards,' imposes upon him the duty of clearing his character by a proceeding at law against the author or publisher of the pamphlet; we have caused this to be intimated to him, and upon the issue will depend the course which we shall deem it our duty to pursue respecting him.The whole case of O'Donnel, was about to be investigated by a jury in consequence of the action now pending against persons circulating the calumny, if calumny it were. An application had been made to the Court of King's Bench for a criminal information; but it was refused in consequence of its not being made within the limited 1156 time required by the law after the offence was committed. The right rev. Prelate now asked that House to anticipate the verdict of a jury. The right rev. Prelate said, that the Commissioners must have furnished the individual with the means of taking the steps he had. He (Lord Plunkett) did not know whether that was the case, but he knew that the man ought to have been supplied with means. Was a man in his circumstances to submit to a gross slander, to lose his situation, and to have no remedy, but to be told "Go to law?" You might as well say to him ''Go to the moon," or any other impossible place. The next branch of the right rev. Prelate's attack referred to the alleged falsification of the passage in St. Luke. Now what the Commissioners staled was perfectly clear and true, that any person looking at the extract from St. Luke, and the passage alluded to in the authorised version, would say there were reasons why that passage should not be given out to be read by young persons—by young; females; that however proper the passage undoubtedly was in its place in the Scriptures, it was not one which the father of a family, the director of a school, would wish to present to the eyes of young girls. Indeed he was altogether astonished at the right rev. Prelate adopting- such a course in reference to this passage. The Protestant Bishops and clergy of Ireland, when applied for in 1826, by the Commissioners then appointed, to furnish extracts from the Scriptures, in furnishing extracts from St. Luke carefully left out the passage which the present Commissioners, the heretical Commissioners, were so vituperated for omitting. There was another fact; the society for the discountenancing of vice a peculiarly Protestant Society, in making extracts from the Scriptures invariably left out this passage. And it was equally left out in the majority of instances by the regular officiating ministers of the Established Church. He had only one remark to address to their Lordships on the subject of the actual working of the system. It appeared from the returns that the number of Protestants: in attendance upon these schools was 17,874 and the number of Catholics 96,514. This certainly was a greater proportion of Protestants than the proportions of the population warranted. And was it not satisfactory to the right rev. Prelate to see 17,800 Protestants living amicably with 1157 their Catholic neighbours. It must be gratifying to every just mind to witness this state of things. Could it possibly be a disappointment to any one who wished well to the country? And under what circumstances had this state of things been brought about? Why under circumstances that, were the proportion of Protestants less by one-half, such a result could be easily explained. Noble Lords had heard of the resolution of the Grand Orange Lodge, which discountenanced the whole system, and the resolution that no Clergyman should be heard by his flock in the North of Ireland who should accede to the system. It was impossible to say to what an extent these resolutions had had the effect of depriving persons of the benefit of the system. It had also given him very sincere regret to see that the Bishops of the Established Church in Ireland and the Protestant Clergy—and no one more respected them, more commiserated them, or was more ready to protect them in the enforcement of their rights than he—he deeply regretted that the Protestant Clergy should have allowed themselves to be influenced to discountenance the system. He regretted very much to see the Protestant Clergy put forward to bear the brunt of the battle. When the Kildare place institution was first started, the protestant clergy denounced it, because it professed liberal principles; but as soon as they found that the Catholics were adverse to, because they suspected it of proselytism, then the Protestant clergy were violent in its favour. Another question was, what means were applicable to Protestant education in Ireland and relieved Protestants from the necessity of having recourse to the schools under the board? There was Wilson's charity, with funds to the amount of 8,000l. a year, Erasmus Smith's schools with 5,000l. a-year the Blue-coat school 5,000l. a-year, Morgan's charity, 3,000l., the endowed schools, 25,000l. the Hibernian school, 2,000l. and the Marine school 1,200l. These various institutions relieved Protestants from the necessity of availing themselves of the benefit of this Board; but the Catholics depended upon the voluntary contributions of their impoverished friends. The right rev. Prelate seemed to consider himself entitled to take an ample range beyond the limits of the present discussion for the purpose of making an attack. As all were agreed upon the propriety of 1158 forming this Committee, he could not help thinking that a part of that speech was directed to the object of swelling the nopopery cry which was raised in the country. Now, in order to supply an antidote, he (Lord Plunkett) would take the liberty of referring to what was not exactly out of the range of the debate—namely, a charge addressed by the right rev. Prelate to the clergy of the diocese of Exeter. He must take the liberty of saying that so unwarrantable a proceeding—such unwarrantable language—such unwarrantable sentiments as were embodied in that charge, he had never met with in any composition, lay or clerical, or so unconstitutional a proceeding as that of the right rev. Prelate. In the first place the right rev. Prelate assumed that the measures contemplated by the Government tended to the overthrow of Protestantism, and without the slightest mitigation, he fastened upon the Government a charge of evil intention in proposing those measures. Now what right had the right, rev. Prelate, because he, no doubt, entertained the conscientious opinion that certain measures were calculated to overthrow the Protestant religion, to say, that those who did not coincide in opinion with him, were guilty of perjury and violation of their oaths? If he (Lord Plunkett)were in any other assembly but that which he had the honour of addressing, he should be tempted to say, that it was the most audacious in any individual, because he happened to be of opinion that particular measures were calculated to do mischief, to say that every one who adopted these measures must be willfully violating his conscience. He hoped he was as zealous an adherent to the Protestant faith, as the right rev. Prelate, and it was his firm and conscientious opinion, that these measures were calculated to support the Church, and were the only ones which would give it security. Then the right rev. Prelate made a charge against those Catholics of Ireland, who had been admitted into Parliament, that they had been guilty of a base perjury, because they had given their opinion upon certain questions. This was an imputation not only upon the Catholics, but it was a gross and unfounded imputation upon those Protestants who stood by and supported them; because, if the former had committed perjury, the latter, of course, were guilty of subornation of perjury, in availing 1159 themselves of their assistance. Had the right rev. Prelate thrown overboard the charge of mutilation of the Scriptures? He had, however, seen him march out of that House with a majority who had raised that cry, and persons who availed themselves of the instrumentality of others, were as guilty as the more open actors. He said it was grossly unconstitutional—it was a gross violation of all propriety, for any man to take upon himself to say, that the Commons of England—not nearly the Government of the country—were guilty of perjury, or subornation of perjury. It was an impeachable offence. He did not wish to involve the tight rev. Prelate in any more unpleasant consequences than the pamphlet to which he alluded, had brought upon him; but he must repeat, that it was an impeachable offence to say, that the Commons of England were guilty of perjury. But to say that a Bishop, in the discharge of the holiest duty which the Church imposed upon him—in addressing his clergy, and explaining what were the duties incumbent upon them, to think that in the discharge of these episcopal functions, the right reverend Prelate should make an attack upon the Commons of England, was quite out of character. What business had the right rev. Prelate to introduce politics at all on such an occasion? It was desecrating the sacred office which God had intrusted to him to charge the Government of the country, and the majority of the. House of Commons, in an aggravated form, and unqualified language, with the basest perjury, because they had sanctioned and proposed certain measures. It was unexampled. There was no in stance in the history of this country, of such a flagrant act being done by a Member of the Church of Christ. However, the right rev. Prelate had made some amends to the Catholic clergy whom he had attacked. He was impartial, for he had shown no great favour to members of his own Church. He had trespassed upon their Lordships' attention longer than he had intended. He would only say, in conclusion, that he entirely agreed in the opinions expressed by the most rev., the Archbishop of Dublin, and considered them calculated to allay those angry feelings which the acrimonious sarcasms of the right rev. Prelate might have produced.
The Earl of Fingall
could not allow the phrase of the right rev. Prelate, as applied to the Roman Catholic clergy, that they were a "rabid priesthood," notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers with which they were surrounded, to pass without condemnation. The right rev. Prelate also asserted, that he did not believe the right rev. Dr. Murray had stated the facts on his oath. But that Prelate was known to be a man who had been respected in every situation he had occupied. There was another allusion made by the right rev. Prelate, which he set down to the account of the oath. He should be glad to know, was there ever to be an end to that charge. It was unfortunate that he and his friends, who for so long a period had been kept out of Parliament, when the Legislature had passed an Act, enabling them to take their seats, were accused of perjury for only doing their duty. He had not long been a Member of this House, though, unfortunately, he was not a young man, but he might have been many years ago a Member of the other House, if he could have taken the oath then necessary, which, however, he was prevented from doing by his conscientious scruples. With respect to the question immediately under consideration, having tried penal law in vain, they were now endeavouring to conciliate Ireland by the adoption of a different system. They had already advanced a considerable way, and this he would take on himself to assert, nothing had gone so far to conciliate the peasantry of Ireland as this very system of education. The right rev. Prelate had contended, that the Model Schools should not have been established in Dublin. What more proper place, however, than the metropolis of Ireland was there for the establishment of model schools? And the objection of the right rev. Prelate was, that the system was not founded on the principle of union—that it did not unite the Catholics and Protestants. He admitted that in his part of the country it did not; the Protestants would not go into the schools; but that was not the fault of the system; it was the fault rather of the recusants. He approved of the appointment of the Committee—the truth, he was persuaded, upon investigation, would come out, and if it were necessary to alter the system in some degree, it might then be easily effected.
§ Motion agreed to, and Committee appointed.