§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
said: In moving your Lordships to agree to the second reading of the Bill to enable Her Majesty to endow certain Colleges in Ireland, it is hardly necessary to remind your Lordships of the gracious speech delivered by Her Majesty from the Throne, in which She recommended to Parliament to provide for the improvement and extension of academical education in Ireland. In obedience to that recommendation, Her Majesty's Government submitted to Parliament a Bill for that object, which has undergone very minute and lengthened consideration in the other House of Parliament, and it passed all its stages there, though not with unanimity, undoubtedly with very large majorities. My Lords, I should only waste time if I were to go into any argument to prove the advantage of extending to all classes in Ireland the benefits of the best education, and of the duty of Government to advance the public interest by lending its aid to promote such education throughout the realm. But in the expenditure which has been made by Parliament and the country for the purposes of education, and amidst the commendable anxiety which has been generally evinced of late on the subject, I cannot but think that there has been one great omission. Whilst liberal provision has been made for the education of the higher orders, and while the Legislature has shown its wisdom and liberality in encouraging the education of the lower orders, while these two extremes have absorbed attention, the middle classes have been neglected in the great scheme of mental improvement; whereas, if there is one class which, more than any other, should obtain the advantage of a liberal and sound education, it is the middle class—and by "middle class," I mean the class below the highest and above the lowest; 730 and this is the class which your Lordships are now called on to legislate for. Your Lordships cannot fail to recollect, that from the circumstances of the country, many (I will not say most) of the large landed proprietors of Ireland, men therefore of the most powerful and beneficial influence, do not exercise the influence they have upon the society of Ireland, being habitually residents in other countries. I say not this in condemnation of those individuals; it is one of the unfortunate consequences of the peculiar situation in which Ireland is placed. But the effect is to give a much larger influence over society to the class immediately below the highest—the inferior gentry and tradesmen, than is properly their due. Your Lordships will also bear in mind that by the extraordinary munificence of Parliament the lower orders are at this moment to a great extent in the receipt of a liberal and extensive education; I hope it will become a religious and moral education, but it is certainly an intellectual education; and, in this state of things, whilst the lowest classes are having their intellects sharpened, their powers cultivated, and their minds refined, it is most material the class immediately above them should have provision made for their improvement, since the provision for the education of that class is more deficient in Ireland than elsewhere. How stands the case? Ireland does not stand on the same footing in respect to education with any other part of the Empire. In this country, besides our ancient Universities, many of the great towns, by their own exertions, had established collegiate institutions. What is the case in Ireland? With the exception of the Institution at Belfast, you have one College, and only one, the single establishment of Trinity College, Dublin. Now, Trinity College, Dublin, is open not only to the highest classes of the community, but also to those who do not belong to that class; and the system of education in Trinity College is, in respect to religious distinctions, of a very liberal character; I believe there about 100 Roman Catholics receiving education within its walls. Not only Roman Catholics, but Dissenters from the Established Church, are admitted into Trinity College, Dublin, and receive the benefits of education there; they may compete, too, for honours; but when you come to the emoluments, the Roman Ca- 731 tholics and Dissenters, though admitted to the benefits of education, are excluded from the emoluments. Is this the course that should be pursued? I have heard the petition which has been presented to-night by the noble Earl near me (the Earl of Eldon), not from the University of Oxford, but from certain Members of that University; and if we were legislating for a country in which there were no religious differences; if we were all members of the same church, followers of the same creed, and acknowledged the same spiritual head, I can readily conceive the advantage of making science in all cases the handmaid of religion, and binding both together in indissoluble bonds. But is it so in Ireland? Recollect that we have to deal practically with the case of Ireland; a case where the established religion is the religion of a small minority; with the case of a country which is separated into various religious creeds, and subdivisions of those creeds. Then what are you to do? Are you, for the purpose of extending the advantages of academical education in Ireland, to cling to the system of Oxford and Cambridge, to require that tests shall be taken, if not by the students, at least by all the professors? Are you, in establishing academical education for a people mainly Roman Catholic, to insist that all the institutions shall be built upon the basis of the Church of England? And if not, what will you do? Will you, if I may coin a word, unprotestantize Trinity College, Dublin? Will you open the emoluments and the endowments—will you deal with the revenues and the statutes of that College, and throw it open with, if you please, increased endowments to all classes of the population, without religious distinction? Her Majesty's Government do not think it would be expedient, wise, or just, to take such a course. They consider that Trinity College is, and always has been, a Protestant establishment endowed for Protestant purposes, supported by Protestant funds, and intended as a nursery for the formation of clerical members of the Protestant Church as established in Ireland. And here I must be permitted to do justice to a Gentleman from whom I widely differ on some points, in admitting the liberality of a sentiment which he expressed in giving his evidence before your Lordships in 1825. Mr. O'Connell, to whom I refer, deprecated on that occasion, as an act of injustice, the diver- 732 sion of any portion of the revenues of Trinity College, for the purpose of conferring scholarships or advantages of that description on persons not professing the religion of the State. I think, my Lords, that such an interference with Trinity College would unnecessarily and dangerously excite the Protestant feeling of the country, raise against you Protestant prejudices, and create Protestant animosity, without at at the same time tending to the harmony or advantage of the institution itself. What then? Will you establish in Dublin itself three or four rival colleges, each dedicated to the support and maintenance of a particular creed, with professors belonging to that creed, endowed by the State? I think that such a proposition would not be likely even if the Protestant population of this country were willing to concede it, to tend to the harmony of the city of Dublin. I think that the inevitable consequence of having three or four such rival institutions within the precincts of the metropolis would be, that their rivalry would lead to controversial disputes and discussions, which, in a short period, would generate bitter hostility. You have now to deal with a case in which it is necessary to provide for the moral education of a large portion of people who differ from you in their religious creed. I think it would be most unfortunate that you should deprive Trinity College, Dublin, itself, of the advantages of educating within its walls a considerable number of Roman Catholics. I think it is a matter of infinite importance that you should not discourage—I would say that you should rather endeavour, by all the means in your power, to encourage the combined instruction, as far as it can be combined, of the young men of Ireland of different religious persuasions. I am satisfied that the fact of being educated in the same College, of being brought up under the same teachers, of being competitors for the same honours, of being admitted impartially to those honours, of mixing together in familiar society at a period of life when the affections are warm, and the heart open and ready to receive impressions, not only of a lively, but permanent nature—I am satisfied that such a course tends more than any other that could be devised to soften those asperities which may arise in after life, and lead both parties to judge more calmly, and make greater allowances for their different religious feelings, how- 733 ever great and fundamental may be the points upon which those differences rest. Would that object be likely to be effected by different Colleges being established in the city of Dublin? I think, my Lords, it is quite clear that the infallible consequence of establishing within the limits of the city of Dublin a Protestant College, a Presbyterian College, a Roman Catholic College, and a Unitarian College, would be that Roman Catholic parents would send their children to the Roman Catholic College, Presbyterians theirs to the Presbyterian College, members of the Church of England theirs to the Protestant College, and the Unitarians theirs to the Unitarian College, thus breaking up that union which now subsists, and most advantageously subsists, within the walls of Trinity College, and reducing the College itself to a merely exclusive institution. Thanks to the abolition of the penal laws, the Roman Catholics of the country are rapidly rising in station and amount of property. There may be those who regret to see their Roman Catholic fellow countrymen thus rapidly ascending in the scale of society; but for my part, my Lords, I cordially rejoice at it. But, at all events, rejoice at or regret it as we may, it is a fact, my Lords, with which you must deal; and if you are to educate the middle classes of the people, you must necessarily educate the Roman Catholics of Ireland. What, then, will you do? I reject the alternative of opening Trinity College, and doing away with the existing application of its revenues and its existing distinctions; I deprecate the establishing of rival Colleges in the Irish metropolis; and I have, therefore, only to entreat your Lordships favourably to consider the only other alternative—at least the only one that presents itself to my mind—namely, the establishment of different Colleges in different provinces in Ireland—Colleges that shall be placed in such a position that while they disclaim and disavow, and steadily repudiate all sectarian principles, all proselytism, and all religious sects, yet shall be able to teach somewhat of the prevailing opinion and creed of the people in the district in which they were established. You may ask, why not establish a Presbyterian College in Belfast, an exclusively Roman Catholic institution in Cork, Limerick, and Galway, and an exclusively Protestant one in Dublin? My answer is, that I set too much value upon the advantages 734 to be derived from a united education to assent to any such proposition. I think, that as you have given your sanction to an exclusive system in Trinity College, Dublin, for the purpose of supplying clergymen of the Established Church, and as you have connected theological professors of the Presbyterian creed with the Presbyterian institution at Belfast, so do I think that you have wisely and Liberally agreed to contribute to the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood, by endowing the College of Maynooth. All these, however, are theological endowments: when dealing with the laity of these three persuasions, I do entreat of your Lordships to throw, if possible, one drop of sweetness into that amount of bitterness which too unhappily prevails throughout Ireland, and permit the youth of that country to be educated in common, and under the same teachers, in all those branches of learning which do not, and cannot, affect their religious opinions. The plan which Her Majesty's Government are anxious to lay before your Lordships, and which has already obtained the sanction of the House of Commons, goes to establish in the four provinces of Ireland academical collegiate institutions, of which the basis and fundamental principle shall be this—that there shall be no religious test required; that no theological examination shall be deemed necessary as a part of the College discipline; and that there shall be no attempt whatever to interfere by the College authorities with the religious opinions of the students. But, my Lords, I repudiate altogether that stigma, for so I consider it, which is sought to be fixed upon this scheme, by designating it, as it has been designated in another place, as a "gigantic scheme of godless education." That designation, if justly applicable to the plan now propounded by Her Majesty's Government, applies with equal, if not greater force, to the University of London, in which the absence of tests, of theological examinations, and of divinity lectures, is a fundamental rule of the institution itself. The Scotch are anything but an irreligious people, and yet I believe it is a principle of all Scotch Universities without exception, that with regard to the pupils, there shall be no religious tests, no compulsory attendance upon public worship or upon divinity lectures, and no theological examination. These are not merely not compelled to be 735 observed, but they formed no part of the course of study adopted by the Colleges. And yet I have never heard of those Universities designated as being based upon a system of "godless education." The success of this Bill rests, I admit, entirely on the same principle; for unless your Lordships are prepared to sanction that principle—the principle of entire religious equality and the exclusion of religious endowment by the State—I must call upon you to reject the Bill, as otherwise tending to evil rather than to good. But if your Lordships do not mean to adopt that principle, what will you do? Do you mean to endow one theological professor and one only, and is he to be of the Established Church? Do you mean, that in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Belfast, there shall be endowed by she State one theological professor of the Established Chnrch, and that all the other denominations are to depend upon their own efforts and resources? Do you mean to apply that principle to those three out of the four Colleges, the great bulk of the students of which are sure to be Dissenters from the doctrine of the Established Church? If not, do you mean to have four professors to suit the different denominations of Protestant, Presbyterian, Unitarian, and Roman Catholic, and by the authority of the same State, and the same Government, to endow those four persons for the purpose of teaching to the young men of the several Colleges the various and conflicting doctrines of their respective creeds? When the education scheme was first broached, in 1831, one of the conditions first insisted upon was, that all persons should, under the authority of the Board, be compelled to attend the service of their respective churches every Sunday; but it was subsequently struck out, because members of the Church of England and of the Presbyterian body said that, in their judgment, it would be a sin to which they could not be a party to compel attendance upon a Roman Catholic place of worship. Then I ask you, my Lords, are the same class of persons now to turn round upon us and recommend, objecting to our Bill for not containing it, that in these Colleges you shall endow a Roman Catholic professor for the purpose of teaching exclusively the tenets of that religion? I ask, you would such a course—the appointment of four theological professors—lessen or do away with 736 the danger of proselytism, or the inconvenience of theological controversy, or tend to the harmony and good feeling of persons of different religious persuasions? And, if you are to endow those professors, have you considered who is to appoint them? I speak with all respect of the memorial of the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland; and I agree with the noble Lord in thinking, that, as a Government, we are bound to consider not only the authority of, but also the weight of argument in that memorial, and to meet the objections it urges where we deem them reasonable. But I do not think we are bound to yield to such an objection as this—that the faith of the Roman Catholic student is in imminent danger, if he be called upon to attend lectures upon anatomy, by any but Roman Catholic professors. I think it is essential that the Crown should have the power, in the first instance, of appointing the president, vice-president, and professors. I do not see the slightest danger that the Crown will abstain from appointing in Cork and Belfast those who are best qualified to discharge the duties of their respective professorships, because they happened to belong to the creed of the great majority. I see no danger in leaving to the Crown the appointment of the civil professors; but I do see danger in leaving to them the appointment of theological professors. While, however, I say this—while I say that it would be highly injudicious to establish a religious distinction within the walls of these institutions, or endow religious professors, or insist upon theological examinations, I freely admit it to be our bounden duty to give every possible facility for the inculcating of religious knowledge. We adopt the professorial, as contradistinguished from the tutorial system. To that system I have heard it objected that the young men are exposed to all the temptations incident to Colleges in the midst of large and profligate towns; that they are taken from under the eye of their parents, and they withdraw themselves from the influence of the professors. Now, as tending to morality, I think it is not wise to bring up young men in a sort of monastic institution from the age of sixteen to twenty, in strict seclusion, if such could be maintained within the walls of a College, and then throw them loose upon the temptations of the world. Oxford and Cambridge, Edinburgh and Glasgow, London, Bel- 737 fast and Dublin, are all profligate towns. But, according to my recollection, I do not think there was such absolute security to the morals of the students under the system of collegiate seclusion adopted at Oxford as should make it a model which we ought to follow in preference to the system adopted at Edinburgh and Glasgow. If placed within reach of a great town—and the convenience of having a College so placed is very great—I cannot see, whether the pupils live within the walls of the College, or in houses in the town, that any more control can be exercised over them in one case than the other. In Ireland the advantage of placing the Colleges in large towns is still greater than in this country; for a very large portion of those who will send their children to them will be actual residents within those towns; so that in those cases they can secure for their children the benefits of an academical education, and at the same time those of parental superintendence and protection. Then we propose by this Bill that no young men shall be permitted to be members of those institutions unless they are living within their parents' houses, or in houses licensed for that purpose by the governing body, who have the power of withdrawing those licenses if a proper control be not exercised; and recollect, that none except the Principal is to reside within the College; what is, then, more certain than that the professors, taking houses in the town in which they are to deliver lectures, will themselves open boarding-houses for the pupils who come from a distant part of the country, and who will thus be placed under the immediate superintendence of a professor, Protestant or Roman Catholic, according to the feelings or wishes of the parent, and have secured to him at the same time the advantages of a domestic supervision? But we go further; for if parents should prefer the tutorial system, we will give every facility for the establishment of halls, the rules and regulations of which may be laid down by the party endowing them, provided they do not violate the religious faith of others, and subject to the veto of the governing body. I have thus briefly stated the principle of the measure. I will not enter into the details. I entreat your Lordships, in dealing with a country in which the education of the middle classes is most strongly felt, and in which you cannot 738 deal with a class belonging only to one religion, that you will take the only course by which you can fairly confer upon them the advantages of a liberal and academical education. I am convinced that if you reject this measure, it will be attended with the most serious consequences; on the other hand it is impossible to overrate the good which may be derived to generations yet unborn, from introducing into Ireland, by the unanimous consent of Queen, Lords, and Commons, and a liberal endowment from the national fund, an establishment for the diffusion of an enlightened system of education, under professors qualified to give instruction to the rising generation throughout all Ireland, by which a literary, scientific, and moral education may be conveyed to all the middle classes, and which cannot fail in the result to confer the unquestionable benefit of religious instruction also upon the people.
The Earl of Shrewsbury
My Lords, willing as I am to give the Government every credit for the best possible intentions in this measure, still I cannot but lament that it has not been presented to us in a form more suitable to the wants and wishes of those for whose benefit chiefly it is proposed; nor have I heard anything from the noble Lord who introduced it, to induce me to alter that opinion.
My Lords, this measure has been declared to be "dangerous to the faith and morals of the people," by the unanimous voice of the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, because the requirements of religion are not incorporated with the scheme. Nor will I believe there is one noble Lord in this House who does not feel that education without religion is a moral evil; and that even the so-called superstitions of Rome, area fair substitute for infidelity. That admitted, how comes it that you are about to establish for a very large and intelligent portion of the community over which you rule, a system of public instruction, which has been so truly and emphatically described; and which, notwithstanding the few modifications since introduced into it, is still, (as I think, at least) to be so truly described as "a gigantic scheme of godless education"? My Lords, is not the reason to be found in this—that you are fearful of another conflict with the fanatical prejudices of the country? For is not this an analogous case to the 739 payment of the Catholic clergy? on which the noble President of the Council not long since thus expressed himself:—That as to himself, he had long since expressed his opinion on that point. He had, when in the Commons, voted for the measure proposed by Lord Francis Egerton. But he would fairly state, that, until he could see that the people of England would be favourable to such a measure, he did not think it would be prudent in any Government to propose it. He did look forward with hope to a time when a change would take place; but there were now so many difficulties in the way, that he did not know how any one could conceive that the Government had any intention of proposing such a measure. It would be for the Government to watch the feelings of the country on the subject; and in the mean time they proposed this measure (the Maynooth Bill), as one which was important in itself, and as an earnest to the people of Ireland, that it was their wish to do all that lay in their power to conciliate them.Now, my Lords, I will not stop here to inquire how far this avowal may be consistent with the principles of the Constitution under which we live: whether it be not merging both your Lordships' privileges, and the rights of the Lower House, in a power which the Constitution only recognises as represented, not representing. But, considering this present measure as analogous to that to which these observations of the noble Lord refer, the enigma is at once solved; nor can I see any other solution of it. Yes, my Lords, though you have been victorious once, and would undoubtedly be victorious again, yet, by some strange fatality, do you dread another conflict with the fanaticism which assailed you under the Maynooth Bill.
My Lords, the people of Ireland ask you, why it is that they who are Christians are to be educated like heathens without the knowledge of God? and you answer them—because you are the vassals of Protestant England, which deems your creed superstitious, and your worship idolatrous. My Lords, is this a wise or a safe answer to give to the cry for Repeal? And are these the people whom you are so studious to conciliate? You did not argue thus under the Maynooth Bill; or rather, you crushed that argument under the weight of your authority. Why listen to it now? Had you listened to it then, you knew that you had lost for ever the whole moral force of every effort you might make against Repeal; for that was 740 a measure founded upon the strongest claims of right, justice, and expediency—supported by the strongest Government which the country has seen for years—carried eventually by large majorities in both Houses of Parliament, in spite of an opposition, though numerically small, yet bold and uncompromising—but a measure which, had you yielded to the influence which now appears to arrest you, had been thrust aside by the wild clamour of a mere section—as I am sure it is—of the people of England and of Scotland; a section, however, which you are now elevating to the highest pinnacle of power, by openly avowing yourselves subservient to it! My Lords, I do think that the inference is just; for between the principle of the two measures there is no difference, nor yet between them and the payment of the Catholic clergy; but for which latter (whether it might be for good or for evil, religiously speaking, is another question, and not now to the purpose)—but for which, presuming it to be politically advantageous, as it is asserted to be, we are now to wait for the good pleasure of the fanatical party in England—we must watch the feelings of the country on the subject. My Lords, had such been your policy only a few weeks since, you never after could have told the people of Ireland that they were represented in the Parliament of England; yet, such is your policy now, admitting as you must—and no man doubts or denies it—that religion ought to form the basis, the strength, and the handmaid of every wise system of education.
It is a mere mockery, my Lords, (at least so it appears to me,) to tell the Catholics of Ireland that they may provide this for themselves; for, divested as they have been of the whole of their own ecclesiastical property—taxed for the support of two Churches—continually exhausted by their own heroic efforts, as I may justly call them, to supply their own miserable deficiencies in suitable places of religious worship, by the erection, in many instances, of splendid structures in the true, old, ecclesiastical style; and in which, to the credit of their Protestant landlords be it said, they are often generously assisted by them—thus circumstanced, it is not possible to suppose that they either can or will provide those very large resources necessary to carry out the task you have imposed upon them. Why, my 741 Lords, before they are in a condition to do this—if ever your measure come into operation, which I very much doubt—one generation after another must have grown up under the miserably defective system which you now offer them, till perhaps, till probably, there are none who care any thing about the matter. While, on the other hand, every requisite will be speedily growing up around the small Protestant minority, under their own superior wealth, and the fostering influence of the most richly-endowed Church in the world.
You have provided a sufficiently religious education for early youth: is it the less requisite for early manhood? when the passions are contending for the mastery; when impressions for good and evil are the more deep and permanent; when the reason is developing its powers, and demanding a clear and definite foundation for what it had hitherto been content to receive on trust, on the mere dictum of authority?—a period in which faith may readily yield to scepticism, when backed by the influence of the passions, and perhaps by the known indifferentism of the Government professors.
Again, my Lords, will not this scheme of yours vividly contrast in the minds of those for whom it is, or ought to be, principally intended, the great Catholic majority—will it not vividly contrast in their minds, not only with the state of their more fortunate Protestant fellow countrymen, but also with what they fancy at least would be their own condition under a domestic Legislature? Will they not picture to themselves the college, the common hall, the refectory, the cloister, the chapel, (the library they are to have,) the strict Catholic collegiate discipline, every requisite for a good moral education, every thing that in former times they enjoyed in so superlative a degree, every thing, in fine, that they know to exist in Protestant England—but from which they are debarred because their lot is cast in Catholic Ireland? My Lords, till you make up your minds to govern Ireland as a Catholic country, as in fact, it is, so long will she be your difficulty, and you never will succeed in what I believe the Government sincerely to desire, to conciliate her people, and make them your strength instead of your weakness.
My Lords, it has been said that this measure has been devised to Protestantize Ireland. My Lords, I do not believe it: 742 however this result may be contemplated by some, I do not believe it to have entered into the scope of the original framers if the Bill. It would be a device altogether unworthy of any honest man, still less creditable to an Administration which professes to be guided, and I am willing to believe it is, by high and liberal principles in the government of the country. To what, then, are we to ascribe it, but to that same apprehension so candidly avowed by the noble President of the Council, in reference to another, though in my mind, a perfectly similar question—we must watch the feelings of the country on the subject. But is it not the duty of the Government rather to create and guide, than to follow, and be subservient to the feelings of the country? And in reference to this present measure, as applicable to this present case, what are those feelings, and what proportion do they bear to the sterling sense and virtue of the country? Why, my Lords, these are the very feelings that, but just now, you so wisely disregarded and so signally defeated. And is it in the flush of victory that you hold this language—that whatever Government may think of the beneficial character of a measure, however just in itself, however advantageous not only to Ireland, but to the whole Empire—till the people of England, that is, the clamorous, ignorant, uneducated sections of the people, who believe that all Catholics are Jesuits, and Jesuits the very children of Satan; who have been taught to cant upon the enormities of Rome, that Babylon of the earth, and mother of iniquity; upon the superstition and idolatry of her system, her sanguinary propensities against her enemies, her disloyalty to the State, her infidelity to man, and her treasons against God—matters upon which they know nothing, and, if possible, understand less—till this single section of the people be renewed in spirit and in truth, till they be remodelled and enlightened, and the veil of prejudice be removed from before their eyes—till then, the progress of good government in Ireland, which had so happily set in, is to be arrested? My Lords, if this be the case, new generations must arise, for the present, I fear, are irreclaimable, before that consummation so devoutly to be wished, but otherwise so impossible to be accomplished, can be effected, and the course of good government be again allowed to pro- 743 gress. My Lords, if this be an evil, as undoubtedly it is, instead of leaving it to cautious and distant observation, is it not our duty to grapple with it, and overcome it, as you have so lately done? But if, on the other hand, these feelings are to go unchecked and unrestrained, governing the very Government itself; if having conquered we are now to yield; if they are to become a recognised principle in the Commonwealth, exercising dominion over the most important destinies of the country; it behoves us at the very least to examine them more closely, to sift the means by which they have obtained so fatal an ascendancy, and to see whether it be not possible to counteract them by some other method.
My Lords, they who represent these feelings in Parliament, and they who constitute them out of doors, tell us, one and all, that they have their origin and their force in the doctrinal errors, and tainted morality—the superstition and idolatry of Rome. Let us begin with those without. But in dealing with this subject, do not fear that I shall detain you long, or weary you with an argument on every point; I shall select one only as a sample, and for that even I crave your indulgence, though I think I have a right to it—for remember, that we are continually accused of high crimes and misdemeanor before God and man, and if it were only to rescue ourselves from dishonour, putting all consideration of the well-being of the country out of the question, I do think that I have a right to demand your attention for a few moments.
My Lords, I will bring but one witness to the means by which these feelings are created and sustained throughout the country: it is a Sermon, and a pretty one it is, with this title, "Popery our Giant Foe: a Sermon preached in the Church of St. Matthew the Evangelist, Rugby, on Sunday evening, the 18th May, 1845, being the evening previous to the Third Reading of the Maynooth Endowment Bill, by the Rev. C. R. Alford, M.A., incumbent."
After a deal of fanatical trash, page 5, the rev. incumbent is pleased to say, (but I should first observe that the congregation were so delighted with it that they requested it might be printed for the benefit of the world at large, thinking it a pity that so much knowledge should be 744 confined to themselves alone;) well, page 5, the rev. incumbent says—We have to contemplate the foe whom we are compelled to dread. That foe is Popery—a system of religious belief and practice which, in every age of its existence, has proved itself to be a master-piece of evil, exquisitely adapted to the unrenewed heart of man, and for the destruction of the soul.The system is idolatry in religion; inasmuch as it inculcates the payment of Divine honours to other beings than God;—augels, men, and women, the Virgin Mary in particular, are the objects of its adoration, &c.The system is treason in politics, inasmuch as it teaches that kings have no dominion over their subjects, if the Pope be pleased to declare the said kings deposed or excommunicate; and also, that the oath of allegiance to any sovereign not thus deposed, is not binding, if the cause and interests of Romanism can be served by breaking it, &c.The system is vice in morals, inasmuch as it teaches that it is not murder to kill men who oppose the system; that it is not perjury to break any oath or promise, if, when you made it, you did not intend to abide by it, &c.Once more, the system is absurdity in general, &c., &c.Such, brethren, is Popery; idolatrous, treasonable, vicious, and absurd, &c., however fostered by our rulers, and likely to obtain ascendancy in this country!Again, p. 10—In the second place, we distinctly charge the sin of gross idolatry upon the Church of Rome. … Through each of these (the saints) is the Divine Majesty to be approached, and prayers are to be addressed to them. To them, did I say?—nay, to their images and pictures! And this surely is idolatry, beneath its grossest form.Now let us see his proofs for this last point:—The Creed of Pope Pius IV.," says he, "thus states this doctrine;—'I believe that the saints who reign with Christ are to be worshipped and prayed to.'—'I most firmly assert that the images of Christ, and of the Mother of God, who was always a Virgin, are to be had and retained; and that due honour and worship is to be given to them.' The Council of Trent declares, that 'it is lawful to represent God and the Holy Trinity by images,' in defiance of the Second Commandment, and that 'the images and relics of Christ and the saints are to be duly honoured, worshipped, and venerated; and that in this veneration and worship those are venerated who are represented by them.Now, my Lords, will you believe it?—that this minister of justice, charity, and truth, while he vouches for the accuracy of 745 his statement—he may have taken it from another, but that is no excuse, for he vouches for its truth—will you believe it, that he has had the audacity to interpolate these three passages, each placed between inverted commas, to show them to be real and true quotations—he has had the audacity to interpolate every one of them with the word, and the only word upon which his whole argument turns, his whole accusation reposes—the word worship; without that, he knew that his accusation could not stand, for that the real doctrines of the Church were precisely the contrary to that which he represented them; but he was determined to carry his point, and he carried it by the most unblushing forgery!
My Lords, this is a sample, and only a sample, of the many blasphemous—as some of them are—and disgraceful falsehoods contained in this blind, strange effort of bigotry. I wish it were as solitary as it is strange, and yet has the rev. incumbent the effrontery to put his name to it, as a further guarantee for its truth!
Are you then surprised, my Lords, that a petition numerously signed should have come up from Rugby against Maynooth, or that with such appliances as these, your Table should have been loaded with them? To be sure, the rev. incumbent does say in the next paragraph, that—The later writers (that is, subsequent to the Council of Trent, meaning there were none such previously) of the Romish communion have endeavoured to meet the charge of idolatry, by making a distinction between the worship that is paid to God, and that which is offered to the saints. But this is a mere equivocation, and it is brought forward, not to caution the Romanist against idolatry, but merely to silence the Protestant opponent," &c.Here, my Lords, are two fresh falsehoods, two new calumnies, in one short sentence, against his Catholic fellow countrymen! Now let us just see how these passages really stand. The passage cited from the Creed of Pius IV. stands thus in the original:—I constantly hold, that the saints reigning together with Christ are to be honoured and invocated, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated. I most firmly assert, that the images of Christ, and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, and also of the other saints, are to be had and re- 746 tained; and that due honour and veneration are to be given them.Now for the Council of Trent. The Synod decrees—That images of Christ, of the blessed Virgin, and of other saints, are to be exposed and retained, particularly in churches, and that due honour and veneration are to be shown to them; not as believing that any divinity or virtue is in them, for which they should be honoured, or that any thing is to be asked of them or any trust placed in them, as the Gentiles once did in their idols, but because the honour given to pictures is referred to the prototypes, which they represent; so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we may learn to adore Christ, and venerate his saints."—Sess. xxv. De Invoc. S. S.Now let us see how this doctrine is explained in the catechism drawn up by order of the Council. Amongst other things, in explaining the lawful use of images, the pastor is enjoined to—Inform the unlettered, and those who may be ignorant of the proper use of images, that they are intended to instruct in the history of the Old and New Testaments, and to revive the recollection of the events which they record; that thus excited to the contemplation of heavenly things, we may be the more ardently inflamed to adore and love God. He will, also, inform the faithful that the images of the saints are placed in churches, not only to be honoured, but that, also, admonished by their example, we may imitate their lives and emulate their virtues."—Pages 361, 2.And again, in explaining the different manner of addressing prayers to the Almighty and to the saints, they say—In the performance of this duty, it is strictly incumbent on all not to transfer to creatures the right which belongs exclusively to God; and when, kneeling before the image of a saint, we repeat the Lord's Prayer, we are also to recollect, that we beg of the saint to pray with us, and to obtain for us those favours which we ask of God in the petitions of the Lord's Prayer; in fine, that he become our interpreter and intercessor with God. That this is an office which the saints discharge, we read in the Apocalypse of John the Apostle."—Page 467.Now, my Lords, I will ask what warranty is there in all this for the accusation of the rev. incumbent? And I will also ask what warranty is there for the reiterated assertion of the noble Duke upon the cross benches (Newcastle), that Catholics are idolaters, because they put up images in their churches to worship 747 them—an assertion which was cheered when he made it, and which the noble Duke said he would persist in making, in presence of the Catholic Members of this House as well as in their absence, before their faces as behind their backs. But I must tell the noble Duke that as long as he persists in making it, so long must I persist in contradicting it; but I beg of your Lordships to observe the difference between us—that the noble Duke asserts without his proofs, I contradict with my authority by my side. And why will not that authority convince him, and those who think with him? It is as accessible to him as it is to me. Am I yet to tell him, before he will disbelieve it, am I yet to tell him that there are 150 millions of Christians now in existence ready to swear that his assertion is false? Am I yet to tell him that he may in vain ransack the whole history of the Christian Church for one single authority—for one single authority in favour of picture or image worship, from the first rude efforts of the pencil in the catacombs of Rome, to the matchless wonders of Michael Angelo and Raphael, in St. Peter's and the Vatican—from the day on which St. Augustine, the apostle of England, advanced in procession to King Ethelbert, as the envoy from Rome, with the cross, the emblem of redemption, carried before him, to that on which his venerated shrine was pillaged and made desolate by the rapacious hands of the Iconoclasts of the sixteenth century?—and, my Lords, I have ever fancied that the weight of gold and jewels which encased them, was far more precious in the sight of the profaners of these relics, than the principle for which they contended. Am I yet to tell the noble Duke, that also from that time to this, do I defy him to bring one single atom of evidence in support of his assertion, more worthy of credit than the interpolations of the rev. incumbent of the church of St. Matthew the Evangelist at Rugby? My Lords, I defy the noble Duke to show that the Church Catholic, from the first day of her existence to the present hour, occupying, as she ever has done, the most civilized portions of the globe; exposed to the gaze and scrutiny of all; the nurse and mistress of the arts and sciences, both sacred and profane; whether filling the world with her learning, and illustrating her doctrines by her virtues; or in less happy times, too many of her members disgracing their pro 748 fession by their vices—still do I defy the noble Duke to show, that, under any change of circumstances or condition, did she ever once inculcate or connive at the heinous crime of idolatry, that is, the payment of divine honours—as idolatry is very justly defined by the rev. incumbent at Rugby—the payment of divine honours to any other than to the one, only true, and living God!
My Lords, in approaching the next portion of this question, I mean the declaration so long made by the Legislature against the so-called superstition and idolatry of Rome, and which, though abandoned as a test, save in one solitary instance, is still so prominently brought forward, I will at least promise not to detain you long. But that declaration having been very recently appealed to by noble Lords and right rev. Prelates, in a solemn protest on our Journals, not only as a warning to your Lordships, and for the purpose of influencing the policy of the country, but also as a proof of the truth of what it asserts, it seems necessary, besides what I have said already, to consider under what circumstances that declaration was first framed and accepted by the Legislature, and what right it has acquired thereby to exercise the control which, used as it is, I believe it does, over the feelings and delusions of the people.
Your Lordships are too well versed in the history of those times, for me to do more than just to remind you that that declaration was the immediate consequence of Oates's plot, commonly called the Popish Plot.
Here the noble Earl was interrupted by Lord Brougham, who declared that there must be limits to the debates in that House; the noble Earl was going into questions which had nothing whatever to do with the subject before the House—he was introducing a theological controversy for which there was no occasion.
The Earl of Shrewsbury
I am sure that theological questions have not been introduced by me: I am only on the defensive. I had always understood it to be conformable with the usage of the House to enter upon the state of the country, and the influences under which measures were passing through the House. A Minister of the Crown had told them that a particular measure had not been introduced in deference to the feelings of the country—a measure analogous to that now before 749 them—and he thought it necessary to discuss the nature and cause of those feelings. Would the noble and learned Lord promise not to introduce theological questions himself?—would he promise to desist from indulging in his invectives against the Catholic religion—against the religion of the Catholic Members of this House?
would pledge himself on the present occasion to avoid going into what the noble Earl tempted him to go into, by his most gratuitous defence of the Catholic religion, and what had not been brought into question.
The Earl of Shrewsbury
continued:—My Lords, I was saying that the declaration in question was the immediate consequence of Oates's plot—a plot hatched and supported on those very same popular delusions, those very same charges against Catholics, and their religion, which noble Lords and right rev. Prelates brought forward on the Maynooth Bill; a plot which characterizes the most disgraceful period of our history, which was eagerly seized by the unprincipled leaders of the factious Opposition of the day for their own unprincipled ends, chiefly to support the credit of the party which they represented, (the fanatical or country party.) to maintain the belief throughout the kingdom in the truth of these very charges, and thereby to raise themselves to power; a plot, the incidents of which were so improbable, nay so impossible, that Mr. Fox declared they could not have been believed even from the mouth of Cato, but which were nevertheless, though secretly discredited by the leaders, eagerly received as so much gospel by the credulity of the unreflecting multitude; a plot which speedily immolated no less than seventeen innocent individuals, one of them seventy, another eighty years of age, (for the plot itself was a pure, pure fiction,) and which, condemning seventeen others to death, some of whom died in prison, and subjecting the whole Catholic population of the kingdom to the extreme of misery and vexation during two whole years, at length terminated—no, it did not terminate with Lord Stafford, for there was still another victim to its thirst for blood in the venerable Archbishop Plunket, the Primate of Ireland—but requiring at that particular juncture a higher and more distinguished victim, lest its credit should slacken and depart, Lord Stafford was selected for the purpose. Sprung from the best blood in 750 England, venerable for his years, remarkable only for the quiet innocence of his life, his only crime that he was a Catholie, his only offence that he was a man of unpretending talent. For this, was Lord Stafford selected from the five Catholic Peers who were imprisoned, and selected to stamp the judicial proceedings of that unhappy period with eternal infamy! But why, my Lords, do I dwell upon this scene? Why! but to show the character, the iniquity of the men who proposed, and the ferocity of the times that accepted that declaration; and from which noble Lords and right rev. Prelates still seem to draw the inference, that because it was accepted by the Legislature, therfore was it true. My Lords, it was not likely that men who were imbruing their hands in the blood of so many innocent victims should stop to inquire into the truth or falsehood of anything that they found so adapted to their purpose, the exclusion of Catholics and the destruction of their religion, to gratify the fanatics—Parliament too largely and too fatally participating in the crime, to gratify the fanatics through whom they aimed at power and place. For this was the plot devised and prosecuted; and when Shaftesbury, the principal leader in those iniquitous transactions, was taxed by a friend with the improbability of its incidents, what did he answer? "The more nonsensical the better; unless we can make them swallow worse nonsense than that, we never shall do any good with them." Such, my Lords, was the man, and such the Parliament, that proposed and accepted that declaration, and which now carries such weight with it because it was accepted by the whole Legislature of England! My Lords, from the Parliament—and remember that one House was the prosecutor, and the other the judge of Lord Stafford, both involved in one common guilt; and remember, too, that thes things were done not in the green wood, but in the dry, when the new principles had enjoyed 150 years of fair play to purify the faith and improve the morals of the country!—from the Parliament, let us ascend to the Sovereign, the third estate of the realm. My Lords, the Sovereign who gave his unwilling assent to that declaration, sealed his disbelief of it by dying a Catholic!
But why do I still dwell upon those times? Why, but because these very 751 same charges of noble Lords and right rev. Prelates were then, as now, ever foremost on the scene;—because they then, as now, governed the feelings and regulated the legislation of the country—because I verily believe them to be even now the cause of the defective character of this very measure now before us—because upon them the whole framework of Oates's plot was built—because they were thrust forward at the opening of the prosecution against Lord Stafford, to prejudice the minds of your Lordships' House, then trying that innocent man, and which consequently—consequently, as is well attested, for the evidence itself was not fit to hang a dog—which consequently condemned him by a verdict at which posterity will never cease to shudder.
Do not fancy, my Lords, that these charges were not contradicted and disproved then, as they are contradicted and disproved now; Lord Stafford himself appealed for their contradiction to a work then recently published, and universally considered to be, as it has been ever since, a true, correct and faithful exposition of the real doctrines of Catholics on those points. It is entitled, "Roman Catholic Principles in reference to God and the King." It passed through no less than twelve editions during the first six years, has been printed and reprinted ever since, has frequently been distributed gratuitously through the country, but yet has it never proved any sufficient antidote to the poison, for the charges themselves are as rife as ever.
There is one passage in the Preface so exceedingly apposite to our present purpose, that I trust your Lordships will allow me to read it to you, and I have done.You tell me," says he—he is writing to a friend—"and you are in the right, that the thing which hath rendered credible the testimony of otherwise incredible witnesses against us, and which hath invalidated all contrary evidence given in our behalf, is a persuasion many Protestants have, that the Catholic religion is made up of traitorous principles, destructive of peace and government. You say you have been informed by common report, by printed books, nay, by some ministers in their very pulpits, that Catholics hold it an article of faith to believe that the Pope can depose kings, absolve their subjects from allegiance, and dispose of their kingdoms to whom he pleases. That to murder Protestants and destroy the nation by fire and sword for the propagation of the Catholic faith, are works of piety, and meritorious of heaven. And is it not strange, and severe," continues 752 he, "that principles—and those pretended, of faith too, should be imposed upon men, which they themselves renounce and detest? If the Turk's Alcoran should in like manner be urged upon us, and we be hanged up for Mahometans, all we could do or say in such a case, would be, patiently to die with protestations of our own innocence. And this is the posture of our present condition.My Lords, he speaks feelingly in this matter; for he was a Benedictine monk, and one of those tried for Oates's plot, but fortunately acquitted.We abhor, we renounce, we abominate such principles; we protest against them, and seal our protestations with our dying breaths. What shall we say?—what can we do more? To accuse men as guilty in matters of faith which they never owned, is the same thing as to condemn them for matters of fact which they never did.The author then proceeds to give a true and candid explanation of his belief in the main points of faith and loyalty, controverted between Catholics and Protestants, as they severally relate to God and the king; and, in conclusion, says—These are the principles, these the treasons, these the idolatries and superstitions which, though no other than what we have received from our forefathers, and what the greatest part of the Christian world now professeth; yet have drawn upon us poor Catholics in England such dreadful punishments. Sweet Jesus, bless our sovereign! pardon our enemies; grant us patience, and establish peace and charity in our nation! This is the daily prayer of, Sir, your faithful though distressed friend.Now, my Lords, as I said, I have done; but I trust that an impartial survey of the history of those times—and a careful re-perusal of it will amply repay the trouble—it is beautifully given in Lingard—I trust that it would serve as a caution to every man of station and influence not to eucourage, nor yet to yield to these popular delusions, now seemingly become hereditary in the country, though resting only upon so many traditionary falsehoods.
My Lords, if I have mistaken the true import of what fell from the noble President of the Council, or if I have overstrained my inferences—though I do not think that I have done; for I have a very strong additional argument in favour of my opinion, in a declaration made only the other day in another place, that you do not mean to relax the penal laws against the Regulars; for upon what conceivable principle is it that you should 753 continue to proscribe such men as Father Mathew in Ireland, unless it were upon the principle of concession to the fanatics in England?—but if I have overstrained my inferences, the noble Lord ought to be obliged to me for giving him this opportunity of explaining. But let but the Government disown all pernicious control from the Ultra-Protestant party—let them openly declare their determination to pursue their promised legislation for Ireland in the same spirit, and with the same magnanimity, as they displayed upon the Maynooth Bill—through good report and evil report—neither declining to the right hand nor to the left—equally regardless of the clamour of the fanatics in England, as they are of the cry of the Repealers in Ireland—weighing only the intrinsic virtue, merit, and wisdom of their measures, and their adaptation to the declared purposes for which they are intended—not acting with the vacillations of a party seeking to retain power and place at the expense of principle and consistency, but as a real, effective Government in the country, capable of controlling the bad, and of encouraging the good—busy in closing our lamentable divisions, and remedying the evils of the miserably diseased state of our population—thus professing, and thus acting, I trust that the blessing of Heaven would be upon their labours, and that they would ever receive that support from Parliament and the country which they would then so deservedly have earned. As a proof of their sincerity, I wish they would withdraw this measure for a season—for if they persevere in it, it will be but a fresh source of discord, instead of a boon of conciliation, in that unfortunate country for which it is destined—unfortunate only because you do not govern it with justice—I wish they would withdraw it for a time, and return with it in a fashion more suited to the wants and wishes of those for whom principally it is intended.
My Lords, I trust I have not said that which should reasonably offend any one—nothing was further from me; but I have deemed it right thus openly to express the deep convictions of my mind: more especially do I trust I have not said that which should hurt the feelings of the noble Marquess near me (the Marquess of Breadalbane)—I thought he had been still in the House—for I have ever admired the honesty of purpose which he has displayed, 754 though I cannot but lament the delusions under which I believe him to be on these matters, and the countenance and support he thereby gives to a multitude of others less honest, and far more deluded than himself.
begged to correct a misapprehension into which the noble Earl who had just spoken appeared to have fallen. He had meant nothing disrespectful by the interruption he had offered, either to the noble Earl himself, or the religion to which he belonged; but he wished to avoid an interminable controversy, quite wide of the subject before them. There was nothing so vexatious, unbearable, and harassing, as a speech of great ability, in which the talents and abilities of the excellent speaker only winged him away from the question at issue. In such a case, when the speaker turned his back upon the subject, and at every step he took receded farther and farther away, the suffering caused to the hearer was acute beyond conception. Returning to the question now before the House, he regarded this as a most judicious, wise, and liberal measure; judicious in its foundation, and in its superstructure answering to the excellence of its groundwork, for the establishment of four Colleges in Ireland, in which should be educated all Her Majesty's subjects, without distinction of party or sect, by the exclusion of all sectarian differences and theological education. What earthly connexion with the question, with any view men's wisdom could take of it, or any arguments men's faculties could raise upon it, could there be in a discussion of the historical merits of the Catholic religion? It seemed as if the noble Earl thought there was to be a professor hostile, in his teaching, to the Roman Catholic religion, appointed in each of these Colleges; but instead of that, there was to be no professor of theology either Catholic or Protestant. And for this simple reason, that if you were to teach theology, you could not make it a truly catholic College; that was to say, a College at which all sects of religion could be equally taught. The noble Earl had passed a splendid panegyric on the religion to which he belonged, as the nurse of arts, the patroness of science, enshrined in virtue, adorned by humanity, and founded in eternal truth. That might be true, or the reverse of true, but it was a question utterly foreign to the present 755 discussion. If there was any one subject which ought not to be discussed in Parliament, it was the faith and creed of their Members, for which each individual was responsible only to his Maker. With respect to what the noble Earl said as to the sermon of the rev. incumbent of St. Matthew's, Rugby, in which he had discovered absurdity, fanaticism, disgraceful and notorious falsehood, he presumed the noble Earl had been actuated by a wish to show that all the abuse was not confined to one side of the controversy. He (Lord Brougham) had given his support to the Maynooth Bill, not because he had lowered his approval of Protestantism, or his disapproval of the Roman Catholic system, which he held to be as perfectly false in a theological sense as the noble Earl believed it to be perfectly true. Nor was there any inconsistency in his supporting that Bill, and maintaining his Protestantism, which he had as much right to do, as the noble Earl had to repudiate the present Bill, and uphold his Catholicism. He rejected the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, not only for its theological tendencies, but for its political mischiefs, and should do so until a more subtle doctor, and more powerful reasoner—one who could stick to the question, and argue upon it, and would not fly from it—than the noble Earl appeared. To come now to the measure before the House:—he held this to be one of the greatest measures, in its beneficial tendencies, as well as in the truly catholic (he did not mean Roman Catholic) and liberal principles on which it was constructed, that ever had been brought before the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was of no more use to tell him that the whole Roman Catholic hierarchy were against this measure, than it would be to say that the whole Protestant hierarchy were against it. If the whole clergy and laity, Protestant and Roman Catholic, were against it, he should still maintain the soundness of the views on which it was founded, and the excellent machinery by which they were carried out. He had, infinitely, rather see the Catholic clergy approve of it; but he could not in any event, withhold his hearty gratitude to the Government for having brought it forward. He had never yet heard of any class of priests who were prone to approve of a measure that tended to sap their influence over their flocks. Whether the present measure had that 756 tendency he would not stop to inquire; but it was enough for them to think that it had such a tendency, in order to be alarmed at the prospect, and irritated to opposition. The principle on which the measure proceeded was, that whatever ought to be the case in England, it was most desirable and beneficial in Ireland, that all the youth of that country should unitedly participate in the benefit of education to be conferred by the new Colleges. It was on the ground of excluding all sectarian religious instruction, that the London University had been erected, in establishing which he had aided. He was not, however, one of those who hailed the present measure as the triumph of this principle; because the circumstances of the two countries were so different, that a man who was against it in England, might yet support its application to Ireland. While the proportions of the adherents of the established and dissenting Churches remained as they now were in Ireland, if you were to have any teaching at all, you must keep religious instruction apart. This was denounced as "a gigantic scheme of godless education," equally by the Repealers in Ireland, and their greatest enemies the high-church party, with a harmony more astonishing than edifying. The noble Earl argued that they would thus suffer their youth to grow up without religious education, which was far more important than any secular learning. He utterly denied that statement. Would they exclude religion by teaching the classics, mathematics, and natural philosophy, at certain hours, within the walls of the Colleges, while religious instruction was left to be given at home by the parents of the pupils, or the pastors of their several persuasions? Was it to be said that this system of giving religious instruction was not as good as that pursued at Oxford and Cambridge? If the advocates of the present Bill cared nothing about religion, then they might consistently say that Roman Catholics and Protestants, and Mahomedans and Hindoos, and all the sects of Protestant Dissenters—Baptists, Unitarians and Presbyterians—might all be taught the general principles of religion together, and make use of a common ritual among them. But they said "no" to that doctrine. They said, they could not allow religious principles to be compromised in any such manner, and it was 757 on that account that they deemed it absolutely impossible to teach any system of religion within the walls of these Colleges. They acted according to the common consent of mankind in such matters. Where, he would ask, was it supposed necessary to combine religious education under the instruction given by a French master, or an Italian master, or a dancing master, or a professor of drawing? Were these branches of education deemed to be essentially connected with religion? Most decidedly not. He was at perfect liberty to procure a French master, or an Italian mistress, or a music or singing master, to teach his daughters, without at the same time thinking it necessary that these individuals should give religious instruction also; and had he not the same right to send his sons to learn Greek or mathematics, or anatomy, or chemistry, without connecting any of these branches of education with religious instruction? What possible difference, he would ask, could apply to one case, which would not be applicable with equal force to the other? Why, in one instance, should the system be thought perfectly safe, and in the other be characterized as a godless system of education. But then there was a wide distinction to be drawn between the Colleges proposed to be founded under this Bill, and some of the Universities of this country. A young man going to Oxford was entirely removed from the eye of his parents and pastors, and he was, therefore, in a very different position from children living under their fathers' or guardians' roof, and going daily to study at the College. That distinction ought to be always borne in mind in considering this question. In the case of Oxford or Cambridge, it was quite right and necessary that religious instruction should be combined with secular learning; but in University College and King's College, and, above all, in those four Irish Colleges, where the pupils were not to live within the walls of the institution—in those establishments which were, in fact, to be only day schools on a large scale—the case was very different. Such, then, being the fact, the total absurdity was obvious of the attempt to charge these Colleges with being of an irreligious tendency, to talk of their institution as a 'godless' system of education. Why such a charge should be made, he was really at a loss to find out; unless, indeed, it was because 758 the system was one of 'priestless' education. The term 'godless' education, in fact, meant nothing except 'priestless' education, and the not instilling the youthful mind with such description of study as might be designated properly by the term, at the same time with secular education. The priests would much rather have the entire control of the education of all children in their own hands. They would much rather that no person should teach anything except themselves, they being perfectly well aware that if it were so, religious instruction would form nine parts out of ten of all the education they would impart, and that even the tenth would be strongly tinged with their religious opinions. Why was it that he made this remark? Because he had heard it openly avowed that it was dangerous to Catholicism and to the Romish faith, for Roman Catholic children to be taught any branch of learning—even anatomy, it had been said—if religion did not find its way, at the same time, into the youthful mind, through the person who used the dissecting knife, or who lectured on the uses and relative position of the bones. No instruction in the science was to be given without a sprinkling being at the same time imparted of Roman Catholic truth, as they called it, but Roman Catholic error, as it was termed in that House. There was another class of objectors to the measure, who were represented by the noble Lord opposite (Lord Eldon), who had introduced a petition to their notice in opening the debate from a hundred and odd Members of the University of Oxford. He had understood that noble Lord to say that these petitioners objected to any education which was not grounded on the religious 'system' of the Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Now, he marvelled greatly that so profound an ignorance should have obscured the learning of those distinguished individuals, as that they should speak of the 'system' of Oxford and Cambridge in the singular number; because, as regarded the question of religious instruction, no two systems could be more unlike—nay, more opposite to one another—than the systems followed by these bodies. In Oxford one could not matriculate without subscribing the Thirty-nine Articles, and consequently no person who was not a member of the Church of England—for it excluded Protestant Dissenters as well as 759 Roman Catholics—could enter any of the Colleges. At Cambridge there was no such subscription. The student might go through the whole curriculum without having any inquiries made respecting his form of faith, and it was only when he came to take his degree that he first heard of subscription. Therefore, instead of one system, they had two; and the system propounded by Her Majesty's Government for Ireland was precisely the Cambridge system, as opposed to that of Oxford. Therefore, if they had not the authority of the two great English Universities in favour of the present Bill, they had, at least, the authority of one of them, namely, Cambridge, in support of it. The University of Cambridge allowed all persons to study in it. The Mahomedan, the Hindoo, the Roman Catholic, and the Jew, could, as well as all the varieties of Protestant Dissenters, pursue their studies there; and as his noble Friend near him (Lord Monteagle) just reminded him, they might even pass their examination and take honours, though they could not acquire a degree of Bachelor of Arts, without subscription. With the exception of the post of Fellow, and the nominal, though he admitted highly respectable, titles of Master of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Doctor of Divinity, and Bachelor of Divinity, there was no one part of the academical curriculum which persons of any religion might not go through. A man may be senior wrangler though a Roman Catholic or Jew; and in point of fact he knew one of the most eminent wranglers in Cambridge—he might, indeed, say two—who were Jews, and who ranked among the best mathematicians of the day. In the same manner some members of the Society of Friends had acquired eminence in that University, though they were obliged to stop short of taking a degree. One word more, and he would conclude. He confessed that he was one of those who, in the late controversy on the Maynooth question, could see no reason whatever for the line of argument which was now revived with regard to the present Bill, of confounding those questions with the principle of endowing the Catholic clergy. He never saw any connexion between the two measures, or never could perceive why a person who voted for one, might not take an opposite course with regard to the other. He thought the two lines of argument and of conduct perfectly 760 consistent; but he should go a step further, and state as his opinion that the prospect of danger held out had nothing formidable in it. He had always thought, and the experience of every day of his life strengthened him in the belief—every reflection of his mind rooted the conviction more strongly within him—that it was a matter deeply to be regretted that they did not at the Union carry the Catholic question. The country ought ever to lament that fact; but having omitted it then, it was to be regretted that when they did carry that question in 1829, they did not accompany it with a wise, a liberal, and a wholesome measure for endowing the Roman Catholic clergy. And if ever he lamented this omission more than at another time—if ever he felt really vexed at it beyond what he had language to describe, it was when he reflected that without any more opposition than the Maynooth grant had met with—that without any more ferment in the country than existed on that occasion—that without any disagreement or dissension among political friends and co-religious fellow believers, than had been roused by the comparatively unimportant questions of the Maynooth grant and of the present Colleges—they might have carried that great measure, which every hour he lived made him think the more strongly was the only really effectual and ample cure for that unhappy part of the United Kingdom. He was told that if that question were brought forward, the Roman Catholic clergy would not thank them for the offer; that they had already repeatedly refused to have any thing to do with a state endowment; and that they would persist in resisting it. Credat Judæus! He had on a former occasion told them of a conversation which had taken place on this subject in Ireland, in which a noble Earl and a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church were concerned. He had stated that the opposition would be very great and very searching—that it would run through the whole Catholic hierarchy, but that it would have a limit in point of time, though it would have none in point of space. That it would be very strenuous—that it might be even very sincere, he would not deny; but that it would, notwithstanding all this, be limited as to time—of this he felt satisfied. But what was the moment when all this opposition to it would cease? It was the very instant when the Bill was 761 carried, and provision actually made for the Roman Catholic clergy. To use the picturesque expression characteristic of their Irish neighbours, which he had before mentioned as having fallen from a prelate of that Church, no sooner would the State provision be offered to the lowest bidder, but the clergy of the Roman Catholic persuasion would be seen filling the Castle-yard like a flock of rooks. That was not his language; but it was the language of a right reverend prolocutor of their body. He must again express his regret, first, that no provision had been made for the Catholic clergy at the time his noble Friend, the noble Duke opposite, had added to his illustrious military name by the great act of statesmanship with which he was connected, and to which he (Lord Brougham) had before alluded. He regretted that at the time when that measure—which was the basis of all conciliation in Ireland—without which no measure of improvement could be worth anything whatever—which of itself was not everything, no more than the air is everything to life; but as without air life becomes extinct, so without the great measure of 1829 no other measure of conciliation could be applied, or have any hope of success—he regretted deeply that at that time, the measure of relief was not accompanied with a provision for the payment of the Roman Catholic clergy by the State. But he lamented still more that the Bill for the endowment of the College of Maynooth had not been accompanied with a provision for the Roman Catholic hierarchy. He begged to remind their Lordships that this was not the first occasion when the question of endowing the Catholic Church in Ireland had been brought forward. In the year 1825, Lord Francis Egerton, in the other House of Parliament, proposed to grant 250,000l. a year for the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, and he (Lord Brougham) voted for it. The proposition of that noble Lord was to pay 1,500l. and 1,200l. a year each to the archbishops; from 800l. to 1,000l. a year to the bishops; from 400l. to 500l., or rather he believed 300l. a year to thirty or forty deans or cathedral appointments; and from 150l. to 250l., and 300l. a year to parish priests. When he heard it objected to his right hon. Friend (Sir R. Peel) in the other House, at the present day, that he was inconsistent in bringing forward the Maynooth 762 grant and this other measure, for the founding of Colleges in Ireland, after his former opposition to the Catholic claims, he could not forget that his right hon. Friend, on the occasion of Lord Francis Egerton's Motion, had stated in answer to a question raised by him (Lord Brougham), that his objection to the measure was twofold—first, that he did not know whether the Roman Catholic hierarchy would be pleased with it; but yet that he did not rely on that objection so much as on the second, which was the main objection, and but for which he would have given his support to the Motion; and that was, that the Catholic question had not been yet carried. "If," said he, "the Catholic question had been carried, the case would have been wholly different. We are beginning at the wrong end. Let the Catholic question be carried, and then the Roman Catholic hierarchy may be pensioned." Some two months ago, when he heard the clamour which had been raised against his right hon. Friend, he had resort, in order to satisfy himself on the point, to the debates for the period. He had compared two different accounts together, and the result was the statement which he had just made. It was a very great mistake to suppose that by such a Bill they would weaken the foundation of their Protestantism. On the contrary, his entire and full persuasion was, that the established religion would become more secure by such a step. He well remembered having been told by a noble Friend of his, who was now present, that the late Lord Castlereagh, than whom no man was more consistently anxious for the Catholic question, had always treated the repeal of the penal code, and the necessity for endowing the Roman Catholic clergy, as one and the same measure; that he could not conceive the one without the other. He had this statement from his noble Friend, who—connected as he had been with that noble Lord by marriage—had a full opportunity of knowing his sentiments on the subject, and he had seen it since stated also by the Knight of Kerry in a pamphlet. That noble Lord had been a high authority on the subject; for no man could be more attached to the Establishment, or to the necessity of continuing Protestant ascendancy in the country; and no man could be better acquainted with the priests, as well as the laity of Ireland. When he found such an 763 authority, supported as it was by all who had most profoundly consulted the national interests of the Irish Church and of the Irish people, he thought as if he had found a rock whereon to rest his case. The noble Lord then coutinued:—"I can cite the venerable authority of the dead, as well as the great names of the living, on this point. It gives me pain, but at the same time a melancholy satisfaction, that I am to-night bound to enrol among that illustrious class who have departed from amongst us one who for so many years was one of the greatest ornaments of this and of the other House of Parliament. And if among the clouds of political controversy, and the still denser mists of religious differences, I may be permitted to pass for an instant to another subject, and to cast my eye to that illustrious name that has just departed from amongst us,* I trust my feelings will be pardoned for taking this first opportunity that has offered of saying that, although I have seen many men of powerful mind—many men of high, unsullied honour—many men of pure and amiable feelings and disposition—yet it has never happened to me to know of these three excellencies being found in such combination as in the person of my illustrious Friend who has now paid the debt of nature, and who, from that happy combination, lived only to be admired, and venerated, and beloved. He, of all men, held this opinion most strongly, most consistently, and for it made the greatest sacrifices. To give liberty to Ireland., by emancipating the Catholics—to give equal rights to our fellow subjects, by making one law serve for the poor as for the rich too—and to adopt all other courses consequent on these great improvements which would make that country no longer the scene of civil faction and religious feud, but the abode of peace, and of that national prosperity to which her natural resources and the talents and the virtues of her people entitle her; and as subservient to that end, to take the mischief from the hands of the mischief maker, by paying the clergy by a State endowment—liberally to endow the Catholic Church—judiciously, but liberally, was one of the most favourite objects of the life of the statesman whose loss we now deplore. It has been said—Ut ma* Earl Grey died on the 17th of July.764 lignos cessare faciam, otiosos reddam. To make them no longer agitators by leaving them no longer a grievance about which to agitate—this was the doctrine which he held through life, and to which no man of any party ever made greater sacrifices.
The Earl of Carnarvon
Having given, on a very recent occasion, my uncompromising support to ray noble Friends on the Treasury Bench on a great question of religious policy, and being a decided advocate for the adoption of large and liberal measures towards Ireland, I find myself, with pain, compelled to oppose the Bill which Her Majesty's Ministers have just introduced into the House. I quite concur in the temperate address of those temperate and enlightened, calm thinking, and considerate men, whose petition from the University of Oxford has been presented by my noble Friend who has just sat down (the Earl of Eldon). Like them I come forward in reluctant but decided opposition to the present measure. I quite concur with them in thinking, that interests the most sacred are endangered by this Bill; they feel, indeed, that, with this conviction on their minds, silence would be servility; and that, when weighed in the balance, their natural desire to support the Ministers of the Crown must not be put even in momentary competition with what they conceive to be their duty to their country and their God. And I am sure, my Lords, that, proceeding from men influenced by such feelings, and so well qualified to form a sound judgment on a question of academical instruction, I am sure that, whether or not your Lordships may respond to the prayer of their petition, you will at least give it all the weight and consideration it deserves. In the observations which may fall from me on this Bill, my noble Friends on the Treasury Bench must be well aware that I am not actuated by any feeling of general hostility towards their Irish policy. Much of that policy I approve, but with reference to the measure before us, Her Majesty's Ministers take one view of the subject; and I, in common with your Oxford petitioners, take, most distinctly, another. In the universal ferment of the public mind for and against Maynooth, this Bill did not at first attract very general attention; at first it slept under the shadow of Maynooth, but it is, in my humble opinion, a question of far mightier moment. From the absence of those elements of success which usually give practical effect to 765 legislative measures, from the undisguised aversion in which it is held by parties the most dissimilar in Ireland, it may indeed fail in the results contemplated by its projectors, and be alike powerless for good or for evil; but if this measure be attended by what my noble Friend on the Treasury Bench calls success, if it attract a great concourse of scholars, I shall then regard it as one of the most important measures of domestic policy which has been for many years submitted to Parliament; and when I reflect on the probable consequences resulting from the determination of Government to exclude religious instruction as a regular part of their system; when I think of the direct evil of positive religious ignorance which may be anticipated from this mode of leaving religious instruction to adjust itself as it may, and on the indirect mischief produced by that discredit into which religious instruction may fall in the minds of people from seeing it severed, by a deliberate act of the Government, from secular instruction, the one required the other barely tolerated; when I remember that this is a system to operate upon the middling classes, upon the rising generation and future strength of Ireland, and which, if sanctioned on the present occasion, may hereafter be introduced into our old collegiate bodies, perhaps into that very University of Oxford which has to-night sent up its prayer against this Bill; why, then, my Lords, when I ponder on all these considerations, I feel that this indeed is one of the most important measures we have ever had to consider; and I greatly fear that if your Lordships permit this Bill to pass into law in its present form, you will have dealt the heaviest blow that has ever yet been struck against the interests of religion by a British Parliament. In a religious point of view, I believe, my Lords, that those noble Lords who, from conscientious feelings, were opposed to the Maynooth endowment, and those who were friendly to it, sought the same end, though by widely different means. Noble Lords who were opposed to that measure resisted it as calculated, in their opinion, to impede the advance of true religious knowledge; we, on the contrary, who voted for it, felt that we were advancing truths, intermixed with error, but still great Christian truths, in the only way in which they could be practicably introduced among a Roman Catholic population. They in their opposition to, we in our advocacy of the measure, sincerely felt that we were fighting for the 766 cause of religious instruction; but in the Bill before us, we disclaim religious instruction of any kind, as a necessary part of the educational course; we utterly abandon that field of instruction which we have been accustomed from our cradles to regard as the most essential to the welfare of man in his position here, and with reference to his views hereafter. Let us consider, my Lords, a little, the tendencies and provisions of this Bill. At what age will youths be admitted into these Colleges? At the age of fifteen, or sixteen, or seventeen, at latest, I suppose; for my noble Friends have given us no very exact information on this point. Well, my Lords, from this early period of existence, as far as the fundamental laws of the Colleges prescribe, religious instruction may be to them a sealed page; habits of attendance on divine worship which, if not embraced in early life, are seldom taken up in the business and multiplied avocations of after years, are either entirely dispensed with, or left to the option of the youth himself, at a time of life when he generally consults the inclination of the hour, and is incapable of deciding with judgment on moral points. I cannot call this a Christian measure of education. You cannot, indeed, force a man to be a Christian; but you are bound to instruct him in the Christian faith at that tender age, when you are commanded to "train him in the way in which he should go." Religion disowned, or, at least, unhonoured by the State, will be too often utterly neglected by the scholar; and he will leave these Colleges stored, perhaps, with every species of knowledge, but that which teaches a man how to live, and how to die. An accurate knowledge of the Scriptures—an accurate knowledge of the external and internal evidences on which our faith depends, cannot be really obtained without much labour and investigation; and is it likely that in the race for those secular honours which you are about to establish, in the struggle for pre-eminence between youthful competitors, which, if the Colleges grow into importance, will become keener and keener; is it likely, that in the midst of the stringent examinations you have announced your intention to institute; is it likely, I say, that under all these circumstances the student will pause long on that species of instruction, which you permit indeed but do not exact; which does not forward him one jot in the eager race he is running; which conduces to no imme- 767 diate results; which leads to no immediate distinction; and which, however valuable, has not that kind of value which youth readily appreciates. If religious and secular instruction be thus dissevered, the advance of the one must necessarily be injurious to the progress of the other. By the plan now proposed, we afford every possible incitement for the acquisition of secular knowledge; we hold out no one inducement to the attainment of that which is religious. This is a false position for any Government to take up, or for any educational institution to occupy in a Christian country. My noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, has adverted to Oxford. Far different is the case at that University. Religious knowledge is there essential to the attainment of a degree; and, therefore, in the course of study pursued by the undergraduate, religious and secular instruction advance pari passu, and work harmoniously for the general good of the scholar. My noble Friend has stated that every facility will be afforded by the Government, and has argued as if religious endowments instituted by individuals must necessarily take place. Years, however, may elapse, before these endowments are made, and I do not feel secure that they may be ever made at all; but granting that there is a prospect—granting even that a high probability exists that such endowments will be founded, can it be right to leave so grave a matter, so great an interest, to the hazard of the die? I shall consider it, my Lords, a deep reproach to this House, if a single year roll over our heads, and religion be untaught in any academical institution founded by the State. Facilities have existed for establishing private endowments at Maynooth for fifty years; but I believe this power has never been exercised, with the solitary exception of the Dunboyne appointment. What then has taken place at Maynooth, may well again occur at these new institutions. I cannot think that a measure which assures no religious discipline, which leaves attendance on divine worship contingent on the enactment of by-laws, and even the opportunity of acquiring religious instruction on the charity of individuals, can be right in an institution founded by the State. I think, that if a Government actually interferes with the education of the country, it should stand, as far as it can possibly do so, not only loco parentis, but in the place of the most judicious and solicitous parent; and what solicitous parent 768 would leave the religious education of his child a matter of conjecture and of hope, and not, as far as he could assure it, of moral certainty? We are told that religious instruction is conferred on our children at public schools, not by divinity lectures, but by placing them under some religious man as a tutor, and are asked why may not a similar course be pursued in these institutions? My Lords, there is no analogy whatever in the two cases. Almost every tutor at our great public schools, at least at those with which I am acquainted, is a clergyman of the Established Church; and now that the public eye is so much directed to our public seminaries, the tutors are generally chosen from men not only of considerable attainments but of known piety, and whose attention has often been for years directed to religious subjects. But in the Colleges proposed, where the tutors will be chosen without any reference to religious qualifications, what certainty can a parent have, that a single professor may be found, to whom he can entrust the religious education of his child with any degree of certainty that it will be really and earnestly inculcated? At Oxford—with Cambridge I am less acquainted—but at Oxford certainly, at Eton under Dr. Hawtrey, and at Winchester under Dr. Barter and Dr. Moberly—religious instruction has greatly improved within the last few years; but there, the ministers of the Established Church fill the different posts of instruction. At Eton there are seventeen tutors, men not only learned, but enlightened up to the general knowledge of the day, and, in my humble opinion, to the incalculable advantage of the youth committed to their charge, ministers of the Established Church. Where such is the prevailing system, a religious spirit becomes necessarily mixed up, to a certain extent, with the studies, and still more with the intercourse, which takes place between the tutor and pupil; and thus, religious impressions, which are quite as efficacious in determining the future bent of mind as religious knowledge itself, become habitually and almost unconsciously picked up by the pupil. But where religious opinion is no qualification for the post of instruction, and no security is given that the professors be not completely latitudinarian, mere scientific worldly knowledge is just as often opposed, as it is favourable, to the growth of a religious spirit. Let it not, however, be supposed, from what I have just observed, that reli- 769 gion at Eton is only indirectly taught. I have a son at that flourishing establishment, and he regularly attends his tutor's* religious examinations. The most objectionable feature of this Bill with respect to the education of our youth in the new Colleges, has reference to the mode in which it totally dissevers them from the established clergy of the country. To the superintendence of that clergy over the youth of the country, and to the discipline carried on under their auspices, do I attribute, in a great measure, that steady principle, and tempered manliness of thought and character, which are so frequently perceptible in men brought up at our public schools and Universities, and which presents so strong a contrast to that exaggeration of opinion and of conduct which marks so large a portion of the foreign collegiate youth. But, my Lords, this influence, this salutary influence of the clergy, has no place under this Bill; no Prelate or ecclesiastical superior will be called upon to exercise a judgment, or even to have a voice in the nomination or removal of the professors. ["No!"] A noble Friend near me dissents; but I say there is no such provision in the Bill; and, consequently, there exists not a shadow of reason for supposing that their opinions will be called for with reference to those appointments; nor will there be any chaplains to instruct the mind of youth in the Holy Word; nor any discipline to enforce attendance upon public worship, and to train up the young student in virtuous and regular habits; nor any theological professor to lead the mind into a course of serious investigation; nor any examinations to ascertain, that religious instruction, if indeed any religious doctrines, by any fortunate chance, be ever broached within those walls, is duly acquired. My Lords, that close connexion between the clergy and the education of the youth of this country which has made our gentry the first gentlemen in the world, because they are the first in principle, and has gone far in rendering the people of this kingdom not only great but good, is proscribed by the Bill before us; and the influence of the Church of England, and the spirit of religion, will be alike extinct—nay not extinct—for it will never have even a momentary existence in these Irish Colleges about to be established by the Ministers of the Crown. I am not insensible to the difficulties which* Rev. E. Coleridge.770 surround the Government with reference to this question; but I regret, deeply regret the mode in which they have abruptly cut, and not attempted to unravel the Gordian knot. I agree with my noble Friends on the Treasury Bench, that if religious instruction is to be administered within these Colleges to members of the Established Church, it must also be administered to others not of that faith; but this principle has been acted upon over and over again: and I think it is rather strange to contend at this time of day, when we have admitted Roman Catholic chaplains into our gaols and workhouses, concurrently with Protestant ministers, and without experiencing any inconvenient results—it seems strange to contend that we should refuse to admit any chaplains at all for the instruction of their youth and of ours, in places of education, where I should have thought their services would have been required. ["Oh, oh."] My noble Friend near me need not be alarmed. I am not about to enter upon the delicate question of concurrent endowments; such a proposition would, I know, be very displeasing to many of your Lordships, and, if adopted at the present moment, might involve the Government in difficulties which no friend would wish to impose upon them. But might no middle course be steered, which would deliver the Government and the Legislature from an embarrassment of this kind, and would yet relieve the measure from the odium under which it now labours, and justly labours, of being opposed to the religious feelings of every party in the country. Why should not my noble Friends consent to the enactment of a clause which should prevent the reception of scholars in these Colleges, till private endowments have been instituted, sufficient to assure the public mind that religious and secular instruction shall not be dissociated in these Irish Colleges? This proviso would not disturb or disarrange the machinery of your Bill; and if you really are of opinion, as you say you are, that private benefactions will ultimately take place under this system, would not such a determination, adopted by you the Ministers of the Crown, act as a stimulus, and hasten the period of these endowments? If enlightened men attach the importance which you say they do to the industrial and scientific knowledge to be communicated at these Colleges, will they not combine, independently even of religious considerations, and subscribe that amount of funds 771 which may be required to establish the religious foundations, as the only means of bringing the Colleges themselves into early operation? I shall submit no cut and dried plan to your Lordships, because I know well, that at this late period of the Session at which this Bill has been brought up to us, at this the eleventh hour of the measure, and in the present state of the House, and temper of men's minds, no prospect would exist of carrying such an extensive modification; but what is impossible for an individual is easy to a Government. I know I may be asked a thousand questions: with what amount of private benefactions I would be satisfied; where would I draw my line; what classes of sectarians would I admit. I will not enter upon such a fruitful field of controversy, if there is no hope that any proposition of the nature to which I have adverted will be entertained; but this I will say, that, to the fair and manly eye of common sense, a reasonable line of demarcation would appear—by no means removing all inconveniences, not unattended by difficulties either in principle or in practice—but which yet would satisfy the minds of just thinking and considerate men, that, in a somewhat difficult position, Her Majesty's Ministers had done their best to obviate the scruples and meet the wishes of earnest minded men, and to efface from this measure that which, say what you please, will be considered a blot, an irreparable and deadly blot, alike by the Protestants of England, and the Roman Catholics of Ireland. If it be argued that my proposition would indefinitely postpone the opening of the Colleges, why then, I say, that if, under the influence of such a stimulus, private endowments are not instituted to the desired extent, we have the gravest reason to apprehend that, without any such impelling motive, the benefactions will be small indeed, or none at all; and then we are brought at once to that frightful admission, that education is likely to be conducted in the Irish Colleges without any admixture of religion. Education, my Lords, ill regulated, is like the giant made by man in the fairy tale—fatal to those who have called it into existence; but by impregnating it with the heavenly spark, with that which purifies all it lights upon, nil tangit quod non ornat, you make the monster not only harmless but beneficial, and as available for good as for great purposes. I doubt whether my proposition would entail any delay; but if such were 772 the result, I do not think that a little delay would prejudice the cause; a little delay in your proceedings may possibly assuage the angry feeling prevalent among Irishmen, and will at least show that you respect their honest, even if you consider them, which I do not, mistaken views. If, in addition to these arrangements, your Lordships would decide that the authorities of their own respective faiths should have power to require the attendance of their youth at their respective places of worship; if a certificate to show that every pupil had made due progress in his religious studies under his own religious instructor were considered essential to the attainment of honours at an examination, I and to the conferring of a degree, I believe the suspicions of all parties would be disarmed; I believe the Bill would be then approved of by good and considerate men; I believe it would be no longer a measure of irritation and well-founded distrust, but, on the contrary, of love, conciliation, and peace. I am not insensible to the argument raised by some high-minded men against the propriety of taking any step which may have the effect of appearing to sanction different, and to some extent contradictory, systems of faith; still, my Lords, I feel that within certain limits a Christian should bend to circumstances for he general good of the Christian cause; and where vital truth is to be found, even if it be encrusted with error, it is our duty, if we have no power to substitute a better system—it is our duty to encourage, not to withhold, the religion which may save, because it may be in our opinion tempered with some or even with much of alloy. My noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies has endeavoured to impress upon your Lordships, that the establishment of professors of different persuasions must necessarily engender interminable strife and confusion. I am not going, my Lords, to argue on the present occasion in favour of concurrent endowments. This, I have already observed, but I must pause to ask, whether these assertions of my noble Friend can be borne out by experience? I have heard that in Vienna, a capital situated in the midst of a Roman Catholic population, devotedly attached to the Roman Catholic faith, there is a Protestant theological chair; and yet that Austrian institution is harassed by no religious dissensions; in Bohn and other towns in Germany, the professors of different persuasions inculcate their different faiths without any inconve- 773 nient results. Is my noble Friend, who was so long Chief Secretary in Ireland, prepared to declare that Ireland is the only country in which the professors of the different religions cannot live in peace? But facts, my Lords, and not analogy alone, disprove the reasoning of my noble Friend. Why, at this moment, if I mistake not greatly, there are two sets of professors in the Belfast Institution maintaining different creeds, and both are salaried by the Government, and yet the institution is not disturbed by their feuds. My noble Friends do not contradict me. I am, therefore, correct in my statement. The positions of my noble Friend on this point are utterly untenable. Again, when my noble Friend dilates upon the dissatisfaction and endless strife which would result from the establishment of professors of different faiths in the same institution, does he forget that if the expectations of the Government be realized, if professors of different faiths be placed by private endowments in the different chairs, as they maintain will be the case, does he forget that the controversial spirit he dreads so much, and which would be necessarily engendered in his opinion by conflicting religious endowments, would be the natural and certain result of the Ministerial scheme itself, of which he is one of the authors and promoters. Or will he maintain that greater harmony is likely to prevail among professors of differing creeds established by private benefactions, than among men appointed by the Government, and grateful for that appointment. What, then, is the value of this argument of my noble Friend, with reference to the danger of controversy? an argument which has been used to-night to justify our placing religion under a positive ban and sentence of excommunication. My noble Friend casts his own arguments to the winds. He has argued to-night on the policy of establishing institutions in which the education of Roman Catholic and Protestant may be conjointly carried on. Separate institutions, we are told, would prevent the growth of that happy intercourse between Roman Catholic and Protestant, which, formed in the golden days of early life, so greatly tend to eradicate the prejudices resulting from difference of religious belief. There is, unquestionably, weight in this argument, and I for one do not believe that these advantages need be foregone; in my humble judgment, a blending of the youth is not incompatible with good religious instruction 774 for both; but if it really be incompatible, as you maintain, why then separate institutions, which would enable both parties to carry their own religious views into complete effect, are surely preferable to the abandonment of all religious instruction by the State; are surely preferable, even without reference to those higher considerations which should have weight with your Lordships are preferable, even in a hard dry-politic point of view, to that storm of Irish unpopularity which has already burst upon these institutions yet in embryo—institutions whose only hope of success depends on their cordial reception by the people among whom they are planted. Separate institutions do not involve unjust ascendancy, and it is this which galls the Irish mind, and of this you should eradicate every vestige in your legislation. But when my noble Friend expatiates on the harmony which is likely to arise from this measure, what credit can we give to his anticipations? Are the signs of the times in accordance with his prophecy? The clergy of this country are generally opposed to the Bill. The Representatives of the University of Oxford have voted against it. Is it probable that the clergy of the Established Church in Ireland, which dislikes the National Board because it only gives extracts from Scripture, will regard with favour a system which teaches no Scripture at all. Mr. O'Connell, the leader of the Roman Catholic masses, is utterly hostile to it; the most influential of the Irish Members have denounced it, and the Roman Catholic prelates have declared it injurious to the faith and morals of their youth. Do you think, my Lords, that the priesthood of Ireland, whose influence you have yourselves admitted to be essential to the pacification of Ireland, whose opinion is literally law with millions, do you think they will regard with satisfaction a measure condemned by those with whom they are in the habit of acting, and to whom they look up with reverence and affection? and can you believe that without their co-operation these institutions are likely to take root among the Roman Catholic population of that country? By the measure of Maynooth you conciliated, by this Bill you may alienate, the power that influences millions. By this Bill we shall probably neutralize the good effects of our recent policy, and undo with our left hand what we have just done with our right. For what conceivable object shall we force reluctant parties in Ireland to accept, 775 at a great cost that which you may call a boon, but which they stigmatize as a curse upon their country. I believe this measure will either prove an utter failure, or another bitter source of discord in that sufficiently distracted country. When you see men of such different parties concurring in one common denunciation of the measure; when you see on the Protestant side of the question such names as those of the Members of the University of Oxford, and those appended to the petition which my noble Friend has to-night presented to the House; and on the Roman Catholic side of the question such names as some of those who appear adverse to the Bill among the Roman Catholic hierarchy; men who last year stood manfully by Her Majesty's Ministers, and braved much obloquy in their behalf in endeavouring to carry out the provisions of that excellent measure the Charitable Bequests Bill; when you see this, all this, my Lords, have you not some suspicion that opposition from such varied and honourable sources would not have arisen, unless this Bill had been utterly distasteful to the feelings of religious men of every party, and pregnant with danger to the interests of all religion? My noble Friend has adverted in terms of unnecessary censure to a memorial recently issued by the Roman Catholic Prelates of Ireland. They may be mistaken on one or two points; but are they so very wrong in all their positions? Are they so very wrong in believing that on many subjects the professors of one persuasion cannot safely instruct the youth of another? Take, for instance, the department of history? Would not the religious faith of the professor, in nineteen instances out of twenty, affect his general course of instruction—give even, sometimes, an undue colouring to facts, and trench pretty strongly, at particular periods, on the confines of that very religious instruction which you so deeply deprecate? Is it likely that the most influential event in modern history—the mighty movement of the Reformation—with all its important chain of consequences, would be viewed in the same light, or treated in the same spirit, by the Roman Catholic and the Protestant professor? The very supposition appears to me to be founded on a belief that the instructor of youth shall be devoid of all religious impressions—which God forbid in any institution foudned by the State. Again, on subjects of moral philosophy the Roman Catholics differ, in some 776 respects, materially from us. I concur, however, with my noble Friend in thinking, that the chairs of anatomy and geology may be safely occupied by Roman Catholic or Protestant professors; but I think it of immense importance that those chairs should be filled by men of Christian views, because there are no sciences, particularly that of geology, which, if treated in an artful and unfriendly spirit, can be made more easily subservient to the purpose of shaking the faith of inexperienced youth; and when it is triumphantly contended that some doubting geological allusion can scarcely shake a man's well-founded faith, your Lordships must remember, that you are subjecting to this ordeal youths in the first dawn of manhood, of whom by far the greater number will never have applied their minds for five minutes together to any consecutive train of thought, on any serious or speculative subjects, during the whole course of their previous lives. My noble Friend has asked us whether we will cling to the system of Oxford and Cambridge in compelling the adoption of tests? He has specifically alluded to tests as applied to professors, and tests as applied to students. I admit that it is of more importance to ascertain that the student, during his residence in the College, has become grounded in the great truths of his faith, than to make him state at his matriculation what he exactly believes to be true; but with reference to professors, the test has this undoubted advantage, that it prevents a man from openly teaching that which is in opposition to his test—in short, from endeavouring to subvert the doctrine he has sworn to observe. But my noble Friends have felt it incumbent upon them to refuse that test, little stringent as it was, which was proposed in another place as an amendment on this Bill, and which simply required the professors to declare the Holy Scriptures to contain, in their opinion, the revealed Word of God. It has been to-night asserted, that the power of appointing the professors and removing them by the authority of the Crown, obviates the danger of improper nominations, and renders the imposition of tests unnecessary. Now, my Lords, I believe that my noble Friends will endeavour to select as professors men of moral and religious character; and I trust they will pursue this course, not only because the eye of the country is upon them, but from better and higher motives. Still, I cannot look upon this part of the question, with any reference to my noble Friends on 777 this side, or with any reference to my noble Friends on that side of the House. In a matter of this magnitude, I must look to the principle itself, I must look to the case of governments yet unborn; and when we remember the extent to which Governments are pressed on the subject of patronage and appointment, and the temptation under which they naturally labour rather to favour those who support them politically, than to listen to the claims of abstract merit; when we remember how little time a Minister, absorbed by the pressing duties of the moment, can devote to ascertain those distinctions and niceties of character upon which so much of educational success depends—I cannot bring myself to believe, that the power of nomination and removal by the Crown, without the recommendation or sanction of any ecclesiastical board, affords any permanent security whatever against improper doctrines being taught, or, what is far more difficult to guard against, being insinuated with fatal effect from those chairs—a very possible evil, an evil which has prevailed to a great extent in the Foreign Universities, and to which my noble Friends did not seem altogether insensible, when they contended not a week ago, against the abrogation of the Scotch tests. My noble and learned Friend, who spoke third in the debate, adverted in considerable detail to the London University. He observed, that the principle about to be adopted in the Irish Colleges, is that which prevails in the London University; and from this circumstance he argues success. As it is not essential to the matter before us, I will not enter into a question so delicate as that of the success or failure of this University in a religious point of view; but I must remind my noble and learned Friend that, although University College may enjoy the same glorious exemption from religious thraldom as that which is to be conferred on these Irish institutions, still in my humble opinion the parallel does not hold; because University College was founded on the principle, that, after the labours of the day, the pupils would return to their families there to receive religious instruction. But in the Irish Colleges the pupils will by no means invariably come from the towns in which the Colleges are situated, but often from a considerable distance; and therefore cannot return in the evening to receive the benefit of parental instruction. But I carry the matter further 778 than my noble and learned Friend; further than many of your Lordships; and further, much further, than the Ministers of the Crown. I think that if a Government founds an educational institution, it entails upon itself by that very act, responsibilities of the gravest kind, and duties which it cannot delegate. I cannot acquiesce in the principle which has been laid down, and almost admitted, that when the parents of the pupils are living in the towns where the Colleges are situated, it is unnecessary to afford that portion of the youth religious instruction within the walls of the institution. I wholly dissent from this view; parents may be irreligious or indifferent; or, absorbed by various avocations, may refrain from giving up sufficient time to the religious instruction of their children. Many too naturally well-disposed may be utterly disqualified by their own early education and habits of mind, from administering religious instruction on any thing like a sound and definite basis. I think, my Lords, that when a Government founds an educational institution, it engages, as far as human imperfection can engage for the future, to remedy to the best of its ability all those irregularities of circumstance and position which bear hardly on the individual members of that common family of children which it admits to the benefits of a common education; and as it gives the best secular instruction to the child who cannot obtain it under the paternal roof, so it should make up to the offspring of incapable or irreligious parents that which is not his own fault, but the misfortune of his birth. I think a Government is bound to act upon these principles in founding great educational institutions—for such these are. These are not merely lecture rooms which you are about to establish, but a system affecting the whole of the sister island, involving examinations, honours, ultimately degrees, and all the incidents of a University system; and yet you deliberately propose to exclude religion—that which in a Christian country should be the moving principle, the sun and centre of your system. These institutions are, I suppose, intended for the public good; and we cannot more effectually promote the public weal, than by training up our population in habits of religious discipline and faith, or more prejudicially affect it, than by neglecting such precautions. Let me turn your attention, my Lords, for a moment from domestic matters. Let me 779 direct your attention for an instant to the state of the University in France. I do not mean to say that any close parallel can be instituted between the state of society in Ireland and in France. On the contrary the circumstances of the two people are in many respects widely dissimilar; still the actual condition of the French University has a direct bearing on the present question, because it shows the fearful consequences which may be induced by the existence of academical institutions from which religion is practically banished by the State. Here you have, indeed, a glorious example of institutions and authorities utterly divested of religious prepossessions and restrictions. However prejudicial this state of things in the French University, it was in harmony with public feeling, while France was slumbering in the night of utter infidelity; but within the last year, and most especially within the last two years, a prodigious reaction has taken place in the public mind; in the provincial towns churches are now crowded, which were deserted a few years ago; even at Paris at Notre Dame, on Easter Day alone, 3,000 communicants gathered round the altar; two or three years ago the number on such occasions was inconsiderable indeed. And this returning spirit of religion in France has engaged the Church in a struggle, inevitable on their part, with the University; a struggle which will probably involve the Government, at no distant day, in difficulties of a very serious kind. The religious party in France, fast growing in numbers and importance, complain, and with truth, that no young man can pass through the University without imminent danger of losing every principle of Christian faith which he may have imbibed at home. The irreligious state of the University retards the revival of temperate and practical religion in France; and perhaps, on the other hand, favours the progress of those Ultramontane principles which your Lordships dread so much, because religious men, compelled to choose between positive infidelity and perhaps too much belief, range themselves in a strengthening phalanx for the Jesuits, against a University which systematically corrupts their youth, and a Government which, however mild in its general policy, in this respect grievously oppresses their consciences. Look, my Lords, at the astounding spectacle of no less than fifty Bishops of the Gallican Church, men many of them of high and spotless character, appointed not by the Pope, but by the King, yet now arrayed in open opposition to his 780 Government, supported by their clergy, and by an increasing number of the laity, all protesting solemnly against that place of education as pregnant with utter ruin to the youth entrusted to their charge; that University founded on the very same principles on which we are preparing to establish the Irish Colleges. Shall we commit the same fault with such a warning example before our eyes? shall we, with this experience staring us in the face, build up institutions on similar principles—institutions calculated to poison the stream of knowledge at the fountain-head, and to make, or at least run an imminent risk of making, the rising generation and future manhood of the country insensible to those great truths which have made our people not only the most powerful, but the most respected in the world. My noble Friend has observed that the state of religious opinion and religious parties in Ireland renders it impossible to introduce into that country the same system of religious instruction which may be expedient in the older Universities of England; but if it be true that great differences in the social condition of the two countries prevent the adoption of the same system, was it therefore necessary to reject, in the concoction of this scheme, every principle of a religious tendency, and to oppose every amendment that might have invested the Bill before us with a really religious character. Propositions have been made in another place, which would have greatly mitigated my objections to this Bill, had they received the assent of His Majesty's Ministers. Had the Government sanctioned the proposition brought forward by my noble Friend (Lord Mahon), with his usual ability, that the theological chairs should be supported by lecture fees, without calling on the State for payment; if the Government would have agreed to an amendment made by an eminent individual, that the halls for religious instruction should be built out of the public money; had it also been determined that chaplains should be appointed, and that the list of visitors should include the names of the ecclesiastical authorities of the district—this Bill would have been, in my humble opinion, divested of many of its gravest objections. My noble Friend has tauntingly adverted to the system pursued at the University of Oxford in our younger days, and has asked whether indeed it worked so well that we should give it an undoubted preference over that pursued at Edinburgh, where, I believe, no religious 781 instruction is enforced at all. Unquestionably at the time to which he adverts, religious instruction at Oxford was practically in a very defective state, although an efficient remedy has been since applied to the evil; and yet an inference seems to be drawn, that because the system was defective at that time, there can be no great harm in now omitting altogether religious instruction in the new Colleges. My Lords, this is the most extraordinary position it has ever been my lot to hear laid down. If I adopted this strain of argument with respect to secular instruction, what would you say?—if I reminded your Lordships that in the time of Gibbon, young men lounged all the livelong day up and down High-street, never opened a book, or called into useful exercise a single faculty which God had given them; if I reminded your Lordships of this undoubted state of things, and then observed, this was the state of secular instruction at that time; our fathers grew up under that system, and why should it not suit as well the generation of the present day in the Irish Colleges? if I said this, would not your Lordships ask me in what visionary train of thought I had been indulging—whether I really conceived that the world had stood still since that time, that I could imagine it possible to engraft the comparative ignorance, or rather the indifference to the acquisition of knowledge which then prevailed on the light, and science, and information of the present busy age? I ask ray noble Friends a similar question. There has sprung up in men's minds within the last few years as great a difference of feeling in matters of religious as of secular import. Shall secular instruction, then, be pushed to its utmost verge, and religious education be alone neglected?—that instruction which can alone give real value to secular knowledge—that which is the keystone to the arch—that without which you may stimulate the intellect, but cannot regulate it; that without which you may make clever, but cannot make good citizens;—shall this be altogether stationary when every other species of instruction is rapidly progressive. The complaint is, that, some years ago, religious discipline and instruction were not sufficiently enforced at Oxford; but in this Bill, religion has not an authorized habitation or a name. The defective state of religious education at Oxford, some years ago, was not so much attributable to inherent faults in the system, as to that general deadness to religious matters, pro 782 duced by many causes connected with the history and social state of the country; causes which weighed down the public mind during the greater part of the last century, but which the nation has at length, to a great extent, shaken off. The regulations which required attendance on religious worship—which established divinity lectures—which enjoined religious examinations—which, in short, connected religion directly with the instruction of youth, were, even then, in existence at Oxford, though feebly enforced; a state of things, resulting from that universal relaxation of opinion on religious matters, which pervaded the entire nation, and also the Universities; for bodies of men, however distinguished, are still but men, and acted upon, more or less, by the feelings which sway the rest of the community. Still, my Lords, the foundation of all that was originally right and good, remained—the framework was in existence—the machinery was entire; it only required an external impulse—it only required the revival of a more religious feeling in the country to set that machinery again in action, and bring forth the happiest results; but here we have no authorized system of religious polity to work upon and improve. At present, my Lords, attendance on religious worship is strictly enforced at Oxford; undergraduates, from the period of their matriculation, uniformly attend their tutor's divinity lectures, whether intended for holy orders or not. They are examined in the Thirty-nine Articles—in the Four Gospels—in the Acts also—and in the internal and external Evidences of our Faith, without which no man's religious education can be tolerably complete; as he who cannot assign a reason for the faith that is in him, may have his best hopes destroyed by any specious train of argument. Will any noble Lord maintain, that requirements such as these, are too great for the education of our Protestant youth, in an educational Institution founded by the State? Can we conscientiously consent to forego, for the Protestant youth of the sister country, that amount of religious instruction which we think essential to the education, of the Protestant youth of England? The Roman Catholic prelates have declared, that such a system is absolutely insufficient for the religious instruction of their youth. I ask my right rev. Friends, whether we can conscientiously adopt a lower standard for ours? Can we, in these days of advanced knowledge and experi- 783 ence, conscientiously assist in building up Institutions framed, not on the model of those elder Universities, which have been successful to so great an extent in our own country, but on that of the French University, which propagates the worst of religious errors, the absence of all religious opinion; and which is producing cousequences which may, at no distant period, convulse society in every part of the kingdom? I do not impute to the Ministers of the Crown any hostility to religion. No one will suspect my noble Friend, the noble Duke, who has devoted a long and glorious life to the service of his country, in the field and in the Cabinet, of harbouring any feeling against the religion of his country. My noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies has never been considered indifferent to religious considerations; still of this I am convinced, that if this measure pass into law, the public will not easily believe, that either the Government or the Parliament are animated by a real wish to protect religion; and as far as any legislative enactment can have that effect, this measure will tend to discourage that anxious wish to extend religious instruction, which has now for some years past been prevalent, not only among those circles in which your Lordships move, but among the middling classes—an anxiety which has been gradually superseding the coldness of the departed age—which has been slowly but surely gathering strength from one end of the country to the other—and which, I trust in God, may not receive a fatal check from the vote to which, I fear, your Lordships are about to come to-night. Deeply impressed with the evils of the course which we are pursuing, I feel it my bounden, though painful, duty to move, that the Bill before us be read this day six months.
§ The Marquess of Lansdowne
would confine his observations to a statement of what parts of the Bill he approved of, and in what respects he disapproved of it. The Bill must be considered as containing three distinct principles. The first was one which had long been recognised by their Lordships, namely, the necessity for bestowing an education upon the people at large. The second principle was a necessary result of the first, namely, the necessity for proportioning the education provided for the people at large, so as to suit it to the condition of all the classes of the people. The third principle involved 784 in the Bill was, the establishment of such a system of education as should render it acceptable to persons of every different form of religion in the land where it was to be founded, and likewise such a system as should remove the snares and stumbling-blocks which would prevent conscientious persons from taking advantage of the benefits of instruction which the Bill might offer to them. Their Lordships had long since adopted the principle of giving an education to the people at large; and the Bill before the House proposed for the first time to adapt that education to the wants of persons of the middle station of life, who previously had been totally overlooked in the educution schemes of the Government; the whole attention of the Board of Education of Ireland having been directed towards the humbler working classes in Ireland. There was a demand for means of education being afforded to the middle classes of persons there, which demand was not made by the laity alone, but in which the clergy joined to a very considerable extent. These two classes united in calling upon the Government to make some provision for the better educasion of persons in the middle ranks of life, by the foundation of scholarships, and the establishment of Colleges or institutions where instruction in the higher branches of learning could be offered at a moderate cost, and of a superior quality. The object which the Bill was expressly devised to achieve, was that which he had just described. But he would beg to ask the noble Earl who had just sat down, whether he thought the measure would prove of any benefit whatever to Ireland, if it were to be confined exclusively to persons of one form of religious belief? Would any person professing other religious belief, apply for instruction or admission to the Colleges which should be instituted under the Bill, if they found that their form of faith was discountenanced at those Colleges? The Bill, as originally framed, made no provision whatever for religious instruction in the Collegiate Establishments which were to be formed under it. But, in consequence of what had occurred during its progress in another place, an alteration had been agreed to, and provision made in it for halls and lecture rooms, where theological lectures might be given to those students who were disposed to attend to such a course of instruction. There were, he admitted, some difficulties 785 in the way of the measure—the principal of which was the appointment of the professors being vested in the Crown. He thought that if this power continued to be so vested, it would at no very distant period become a mere appendage to the patronage of a Minister, and consequently the professorships would degenerate into mere sinecure places, filled, not by competent persons, but by men who had claims on the Minister of the day; and the consequence would be that the College would fall into discredit and be abandoned. He did not object to the Crown having the power of making the first nominations under the Bill; because he thought that power would be carefully and judiciously exercised. He saw, however, with pleasure that this power was limited to a period of short duration; and he trusted, when that period had elapsed, the Government would see the propriety of confiding the appointments to the professorships to some competent and responsible body—to the Board of Education in Ireland, for instance, which being composed of mixed Roman Catholic and Protestant prelates, and of Presbyterian clergymen, was well calculated to act impartially in the matter. There was another fault in the Bill which showed him that it was in an incomplete state, and one which required, and he did not doubt would have, future alteration: he meant the want of some connexion between the four Colleges which were to be established, by which they would constitute and form of themselves an University. The strong religious opinions in the various parts of Ireland, which differed so widely from each other in the north and in the south, would have a corresponding effect upon the Colleges which should be established in those various districts, and lead ultimately to rivalry, and to dissension, hurtful to the whole establishment, and which could only be obviated by collecting all the Colleges under one form of discipline, and subjecting them to the rule of a University. He was fully aware of the difficulty of establishing an Alma Mater which should gather all the newly created Colleges under her authority. He knew, also, the difficulty of making Trinity College, Dublin, such a University, and of endowing it proportionately to the claim of the new Colleges; but if those difficulties were, upon examination, found to be insuperable, he saw no objection to the creation of a central 786 University out of Dublin, and of giving that University the power of conferring degrees; placing all the Colleges under an uniform system of discipline, to be established and enforced by such University. It would not be a College of itself; but would merely constitute a focus, or become the representative of the four Colleges; and he thought such an addition would be a most salutary change in the Bill. Having thus expressed his sentiments, and shown in what parts he approved of the measure, and wherein he disapproved of it, he should conclude by expressing his intention of voting for the second reading.
said, that had he had the good fortune to have attracted their Lordships' attention, as he wished, three hours previously, he should only have expressed those sentiments respecting the measure before the House, which the noble Marquess who had just spoken had uttered with so much dignity and propriety of expression; and to which he gave an authority as great as that which they would have derived from any other Peer in their Lordships' House. He begged also to thank the noble Lord (Stanley) for the mode in which he had brought the Bill forward; and he should, upon the noble Lord's own showing, have felt disposed to acquiesce in it, even had he not been corroborated in his views by the speech of the noble Marquess. The artful representations which had been so sedulously and so perseveringly spread throughout Ireland, that the people and Government of England were filled with hostile feelings towards the people of Ireland, were wholly and totally false. He pronounced them to be false from his own observation of what the true sentiments of the English nation were; and the people of Ireland had taken a far wiser and better course by looking up to the Government and to the English people for justice and equal rights, than they would have done had they turned to those who took upon themselves to be their counsellors and guides, He put it to the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon) whether, after the suggestions which had been thrown out, he thought it would tend to the public interest, and to the pacification of Ireland, to persist in the Amendment, that the Bill be read that day three months?
§ Lord Beaumont
said: I shall not trespass for any length of time on your Lord- 787 ships' indulgence, as I neither intend to imitate the example of the noble Earl, who introduced a long polemical discussion into his speech, nor wish to follow my noble and learned Friend in his argument on the policy of an endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland; for I confess I could see no connexion between the subject now before the House, and the religious topics dwelt on at such length by the noble Earl, unless the noble Earl intended to prove, by practically showing in his own person the inconvenience which arises from giving way to sectarian zeal and indulging in religious controversy, the wisdom and sound policy of the Government, in excluding from their plan of education all theological professorships. I must likewise own, that the question of an endowment for the Catholic clergy, introduced by the noble and learned Lord, seems to me to be equally foreign to the Bill now before your Lordships, as the polemical discourse of the noble Earl who preceded him. I am relieved, also, from any necessity of dwelling on those details of the Bill which seem to require some further consideration; as the observations made by the noble Marquess who spoke last but one embody, in a more forcible and effective manner than I should express myself, the opinion I entertain of the necessity of affiliating these three Colleges to one University; but although the subject has been nearly exhausted by noble Lords who have preceded me, I am not content to remain altogether silent, but am anxious to express in words, as well as by my vote, my unqualified approval of the measure. My approval is not founded merely on what I may call the narrow ground taken by the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) in the early portion of the speech with which he introduced the measure, namely, its peculiar appropriateness to the present state of Ireland, but on the broad principle it contains, which is alike sound and true in England and Scotland, as in Ireland—I mean the abandonment of all religious tests, and the removal, by mixed education, of those sectarian distinctions and differences which must be fostered by separate establishments for each denomination. I blame not the noble Lord for taking this narrow ground; for I am aware that the connexion of the noble Lord with the Government, and the recent conduct of the Government in respect to Scotch Universities, preclude 788 him from taking a larger view of this question; but I must remind the noble Lord, that the arguments he used were as applicable to England as to Ireland; and if he founds his justification of the present measure on the great diversity of religious opinions and persuasions in Ireland, he will soon find the selfsame argument applied with greater force, and more reason, to the case of England and Scotland. It is true, as the noble Lord stated, that in Ireland there are four distinct denominations, namely, the Presbyterian, the Unitarian, the Roman Catholic, and the Church of England; but in England there are not only these four leading denominations, but an infinite number of other less numerous, but equally distinct sects. The same remark is applicable to all the free States of Europe; the time has gone by when exclusive education can be maintained in any of the great countries which are desirous of encouraging learning and science. I will go so far as to say, that when the establishments for purposes of education are maintained out of the public funds, to which all denominations alike contribute, the Government has no moral right to impose a religious test on its subjects who wish to profit by them. I say you have no right to close the door of your Colleges against the youth who seeks to enter, till you have forced from him a confession of his faith; nor to stop the student who is ascending the steps that lead to the temple of science, and say to him, "Sir, what is your religion? Are you a Trinitarian, or a Unitarian—are you a Catholic, or a Protestant?" The gates of the College should be open to all; as all contribute to support it. My noble Friend near me seemed to mistake the subject altogether, when he supposed the question merely affected the Catholics, and considered it as one on which the Catholic bishops alone ought to be consulted: the question is of general education, and one which concerns the laity, and not the priesthood. It is for the benefit of the former that the measure is introduced; and noble Lords are mistaken if they imagine that the opposition of the Catholic hierarchy is caused by the omission of theological professorships in the intended Colleges; the purport of their memorial was not to have chairs of theology established in the Colleges, but to preserve in their own hands a control over the teaching and professors of all 789 the sciences; they wish to maintain their monopoly of learning, and condemn lay professors, or professors appointed by laymen. Their objection is a very different one from that taken by my noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon). My noble Friend is contented to leave astronomy, anatomy, geology, &c., in the hands of lay professors, but complains of the want of a chair for religious teaching, and alludes to the German Universities as examples to be followed upon that head. Let us consider what really is the proposition of the noble Earl, when he wishes to establish a chair for teaching religion. The duty of such a professor would be not to preach particular doctrines, or inculcate one particular creed, but he would have to discuss the polity of each form of faith, enter into the mechanism (if I may so call it) of different religions, lead the mind to investigate, perhaps to doubt; his lectures might be instructive, but would scarcely effect the object the noble Earl seems to have at heart. Let me ask my noble Friend if he is aware what are the discourses which proceed from the chairs of theology in German Universities, and who are the professors who have filled them? Is he ready to recommend teachers, such as Strauss, and other deep but sceptical scholars, who have filled chairs in German Universities, but whose works are at variance with the opinions which I am sure my noble Friend most religiously entertains? Great as is the opposition to the measure on the part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, it would have been still greater, had the Government followed the suggestion of the noble Earl, and proposed chairs of religion on the principle of the German Universities. There are many other points to which, at an earlier hour of the evening, I would have alluded; but, at the present advanced period of the night, I will be content with repeating my unqualified approbation of the measure.
The Bishop of Norwich
could not allow this great question to pass with merely a silent vote on his part. He had come to the House that evening with considerable hesitation as to the manner in which he should give his vote; and had the Bill remained in the state in which it was some weeks ago, he should have considered himself bound to oppose it. But after what he had heard that evening, and after the changes which had taken place, and the strong arguments used by the noble 790 Lord who introduced the measure, he could frankly say that all his scruples were gone; and he felt it his duty, holding the situation which he did in the Church, to give this question of education his unqualified support. He believed that the noble Lords at the head of the Government had done everything they possibly could to introduce all the means which could be well introduced into the Bill for the purpose of religious instruction; and that if they had done more, instead of providing the means of conciliation, they would have excluded the people of Ireland from the advantages of this system of education; and would have failed to bring the Roman Catholic and Protestant population into those bonds of amity which it was the duty of every Christian to establish. He returned his thanks to the Government for introducing this Bill, which, if carried out in the way in which he trusted it would be carried out, would introduce into Ireland that spirit of Catholic Christianity which ought to reign in that country.
§ Lord Lyttelton
wished to ask a question with respect to the 14th Clause. With regard to that clause concerning the attendance of students to receive religious instruction, it simply provided that religious instruction should be afforded to such students who were desirous to receive it. One would infer from this, that the students need not attend if they did not think proper. But there was another provision of the Bill which stated, that the pupils should not be obliged to attend any religious instruction which was not approved of by their parents or guardians. From this it might be inferred, that where the parents or guardians did approve of the pupils' attendance, that then they might be compelled to attend. He wished to ask the noble Lord, whether the authorities of the Colleges would have the power to compel such attendance?
apprehended, that there was no power laid down in the Bill enabling the College authorities to compel the attendance of any individual to receive religious instruction; at the same time, it was provided that every facility should be afforded to enable them to do so.
The Duke of Newcastle
rose merely to signify how thoroughly he disapproved of the Bill altogether; and he deeply regretted that the Government of this country should have introduced such a measure.
§ On Question, that the word "now" stand part of the Question? Resolved in the Affirmative: Bill read 2a accordingly.
§ Their Lordships adjourned at a quarter past twelve o'clock.