§ Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the Amendment read. Debate resumed accordingly.
Earl of Clancarty
My Lords, in rising to resume the debate, already much protracted, upon the Maynooth Endowment Bill, I feel that I owe some apology to the House for having pressed for a second 7 adjournment of the discussion. I trust, however, that your Lordships will not think that I was unreasonable in so doing, when I remind you that, whereas six noble Lords on last evening addressed the House in favour of the measure, only two were permitted to address your Lordships against it; and that not one of those who spoke on either side, was at all connected with that part of the United Kingdom that could be principally affected by the measure. My Lords, as an Irishman and a Protestant, I felt desirous to address you upon it. As an Irishman, in behalf of my fellow countrymen; as a Protestant, in defence of our Protestant Constitution, which this measure cannot fail of compromising. But my best apology, perhaps, for having adjourned the debate is, that I felt it really important that your Lordships, before coming to any decision, should be enabled maturely to consider the important statements contained in the very valuable speech of the right rev. Prelate who addressed the House last but one, and the equally important admissions contained in the eloquent address of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Brougham) who spoke last. The admissions I allude to, are the noble Lord's confirmation of all the statements of my noble Friend (Lord Roden), and of the right rev. Prelate, with respect to the class books taught at Maynooth College; his admission of the intolerant and objectionable nature of the doctrines of the Church of Rome, and his objection to academical institutions of an exclusive kind, but especially to such institutions exclusively ecclesiastical. The arguments of the noble and learned Lord's speech I claim in behalf of my noble Friend's Amendment; his vote, I regret, is to be given with strange inconsistency against it. My Lords, like the noble Earl who spoke first last night, I feel that I have need to pray your indulgence as for one little habituated to address you; like the same noble Earl I may assure your Lordships, that I should not address you at all, but for the very important principle involved in the Bill before you. Further than this, I cannot go another step with the noble Earl. When the noble Earl advocated a measure for the dissemination of doctrines which he at the same time told you he abhorred, he did what I never could bring myself to do; but when he suggested the endowment of a Church—of which he 8 again professed his abhorrence—out of the funds that were to go the support of a Church towards which he professed the warmest attachment, I own I felt a degree of astonishment, which could only have been exceeded by what I since felt at learning that the noble Earl, with such opinions, holds a high office in Her Majesty's Household. My Lords, when opinions such as these come from within the walls of Buckingham Palace, I feel that it is necessary to demand from Her Majesty's Government an explicit statement as to their further intentions, with reference to religious endowments in Ireland. As, however, the noble Earl stated, as the reason of his suggested transfer of the funds of the Protestant Church, his belief that there were in Ireland 151 livings, in which not a single Protestant resided, I trust, that as it is in my power to show from the Paper I hold in my hand that he is greatly misinformed, he will, with his corrected knowledge of facts, reconsider his views somewhat hastily taken up. The following is the statement I wish to lay before the House. In the Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction (not favourable to Protestants), 1834, and the Appendix, it will be seen that there are forty-one benefices, with no member of the Establishment (not 151). There are eighty-two with ten or less: of these, thirty-nine clergymen have other duties to perform—generally they are curates of adjoining parishes; the income of these thirty-nine is 4,134l. Six are in the hands of Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Twenty-four, no provision for clergymen. The remaining thirteen clergymen are non-resident, having no residence or glebe; their income on the whole is 1,169l. The support of the noble Earl who spoke next in advocacy of the measure is perfectly intelligible; the eulogium he pronounced, in the course of his very able speech, upon the Church of Rome, its saving truths, its near approximation to the Anglican Church, will fully justify the vote he purposes giving, for the more extended dissemination of such doctrines. I cannot, however, concur with him either in the opinions he has expressed of Roman Catholic doctrines, or in the preference he declared for the Church of Rome over that form of Protestant worship that is established in Scotland. Were I, a member of the Anglican Church, to visit Scotland, I should not hesitate to repair to the Scottish Kirk, 9 there to worship as with those of the same household of faith as myself; but were I in a Roman Catholic country, I could not, with Roman Catholics, bow the knee before an image, or address a prayer to the Virgin Mary: differing with the noble Earl, therefore, in his premises, I necessarily arrive at a different conclusion—I could not give my support to the Maynooth Bill. The noble Earl's support of it is both consistent and intelligible. With my noble Friend (Lord Winchilsea) who followed in the debate, I join in all those truly Protestant sentiments to which he gave such eloquent expression: it is not, however, inconsistent with the sincerest attachment to our Protestant faith to say that I cannot concur with my noble Friend in regretting that an equality of civil rights has been extended to our Roman Catholic fellow subjects. The noble and learned Lord (Brougham), referring to the history of past times, has, in very marked terms, justified the enactment of the penal code; but those times are now gone by; the penal code has ceased to exist, and I am of opinion that the time had come, ere the Relief Bill of 1829, when Roman Catholics ought to have been readmitted to an equality of civil privileges. I do not think that the admission of Roman Catholics to seats in Parliament has endangered the Protestant Establishment: every measure injurious to the Church has originated with Protestants; and I must say that with honourable and educated men coming into Parliament, the oath imposed by the Relief Act affords quite as well-grounded a security for the Protestant establishment as do the oaths taken by Protestants. My acquaintance with the Roman Catholic laity of Ireland, and the deservedly high consideration enjoyed by the noble Baron opposite (Lord Beaumont), as a Member of your Lordships' House, leave me no other ground of regret at the removal of Roman Catholic disabilities, than that it did not take place at an earlier period. I will now advert for a few moments to the speech of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Normanby), who rose next in the debate. I listened with the utmost astonishment to the attack which the noble Marquess made against the character of a right rev. and most respectable Prelate (Bishop of Cashel); but whatever of pain I felt at the circumstance was, I confess, most fully compensated by the gratification with 10 which, in common with your Lordships, I witnessed the triumphant refutation which the right rev. Prelate has this evening given to a most calumnious charge. The noble Marquess is now happily convinced that his informant had deceived him. It turns out, somewhat curiously, that his informant was a Roman Catholic priest. I will, however, hope that this priest was himself deceived in making the communication to the noble Marquess, and that the falsehood of the charge had some other origin. I cannot, however, forbear from expressing my regret, that the noble Marquess appeared so reluctant to do justice to the right rev. Prelate, and to desist from attacking him. I am sure that the noble Marquess had no other motive in making the charge he did last night, than that of affording, as he said, the right rev. Prelate the opportunity of refuting it; but it was an omission, and not a very excusable one, that no notice whatever was given of his intention. I cannot leave this subject, my Lords, without noticing the striking contrast exhibited between the handsome and generous testimony borne by the noble and gallant Duke this evening, after a perusal of the whole of the right rev. Prelate's charge, to its unexceptionable and useful contents; and the course which a noble and learned Lord (Lord Campbell) immediately after thought proper to adopt, of reading to the House a garbled extract from that charge, with a view of reviving this most unfair attack upon the right rev. Prelate. But to return to the noble Marquess's speech. I understood him in the course of it to have made a kind of appeal to me whether he had not, while in Ireland, taken pains to inform himself upon Irish matters? I would beg to assure the noble Marquess, that although I thought there was much in his administration to prevent my evincing that respect for his government which ought to be paid generally to the viceregal government of Ireland, I yet do believe that the noble Marquess takes a sincere interest in the welfare of Ireland; and it is most due to the noble Marquess to state, and I do it with gratitude, as a member of the Protestant Church, that the Church appointments made by the noble Marquess were most creditable. Dr. Sandys, the late Bishop of Cashel, fully deserved the eulogium that has been expressed; and I need only add, that the present Bishop of Killaloe 11 was likewise appointed by the noble Marquess, to show that the selections made by him were free from any political considerations, and governed by the highest and purest motives. Next in yesterday's debate came the most rev. Prelate connected with Ireland. His argument in favour of the Bill proceeded upon the supposition, that favour and endowment, or persecution and intolerance, were the only alternatives for the Government to choose between with reference to the Roman Catholic religion. He stated that he was not unmindful of his vow to "use all faithful diligence to banish and drive away all strange doctrine contrary to God's Word." "There were different ways," said the most rev. Prelate, "of banishing such doctrines. How was he to drive them out? By secular coercion? by penal laws? by the bayonet? Was he to propagate and uphold what he thought to be truth by drawing the sword in its defence? Sooner than do that, he would renounce his high station, and retire into some humble situation of life." My Lords, there was no question about persecution. The most rev. Prelate overlooked the real question at issue, which is, whether error should be tolerated or cherished. Toleration, as opposed to persecution, I hold to be perfectly consistent with the duty undertaken by a Protestant clergyman at his ordination; and I regret to feel myself called upon to remind one in the most rev. Prelate's position, that the weapon of a Christian's warfare—the only weapon which it becomes a Christian minister to wield for the purpose of banishing error and upholding truth—is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." I must also remind the most rev. Prelate, that he has left his explanation of the vow he made at his consecration very incomplete. He only explained his sense of the first part of it, the duty he undertook of banishing all erroneous doctrine, &c.; he forgot to add that he had likewise vowed "openly and privately to call upon and encourage others to the same." In the absence of any explanation of this from the most rev. Prelate, the House, I think, will be inclined to adopt that which was afforded by the right rev. Prelate who addressed your Lordships on the first night of this debate. I now turn, my Lords, to the case made out by the noble Duke for the introduction of this Bill, and the grounds of the noble Earl's (Lord St. Germans) 12 resistance to the Motion of my noble Friend. The noble Duke rested the case upon the number of the Roman Catholics in Ireland—the existence of Maynooth College—and that he considered it objectionable that the Roman Catholic priests should be educated upon the Continent, where such differences of opinion now prevailed upon religious subjects. The strong claims of my Roman Catholic fellow countrymen upon the sympathies and consideration of the Government, I should be the last person to deny. The existence of Maynooth College is also a fact that must be looked to by the Government; but I wholly deny that the interest or welfare of the Irish people will be at all consulted by the maintenance of that College under the present system of discipline and instruction pursued there. If the College must be continued, still more if it is to be perpetuated, it is of the last importance that the Committee moved for by my noble Friend should be granted, that such modifications may be made in it as may really render it an institution conducive to the interests of the Irish people. But I cannot for one moment admit the soundness of the noble Duke's objection to continental education for the priests. The freedom of opinion that at present prevails upon the Continent upon religious subjects is, I think, the very thing that should render it desirable that the Roman Catholic priests should be educated there. Nor can I think it at all consistent with the duty of a British Government to lend itself to maintain the immutability of the Church of Rome, or to shut out from the Irish Roman Catholics the same freedom of religious opinion as is enjoyed in other countries. It certainly does surprise me that the noble Duke, who must be aware of the variety of opinions prevailing in this Protestant land, and of the value that Englishmen in general attach to the right of private judgment, should have argued, as he did, for the maintenance of the College of Maynooth. My noble Friend the late Secretary for Ireland took upon himself to deny that sufficient grounds had been laid for the Committee. Truly, I cannot conceive what stronger grounds could have been made for any Motion than those which were urged by my noble Friend. He adverted to the discipline of the College; he stated most explicitly the nature and character of the class books of instruction; 13 and he showed you what had been the effect of that instruction upon the Maynooth students; and all that he stated he was prepared to prove by the most competent witnesses. What stronger case could have been made? I should have thought none; but the noble Lord (Lord St. Germans) showed that the case could be yet stronger, and unconsciously he made it so. My noble Friend, in order to show how little of real gratitude was felt by the Roman Catholic priests for this proposed endowment of Maynooth, quoted, among other things, the letter of Dr. Higgins (the titular Bishop of Ardagh), and the noble Earl thought he had a great triumph over my noble Friend, when he stated that this Dr. Higgins was not a pupil of Maynooth College. Why, my noble Friend never said he was; but the noble Earl was probably not aware that this Dr. Higgins, though not a pupil, had been a professor and teacher at the College; and the fact that he had from thence been promoted to a bishopric in the Roman Catholic Church, shows, I think, the kind of professor that the ecclesiastical authorities deem most deserving of favour and reward. I do not think my noble Friend could have had his Motion more ably seconded, than by the speech which the noble Earl has made for the purpose of opposing it. In the course of this debate, much has been said respecting the obligation of oaths. My Lords, I as a Member of this House cannot forget that I am bound by certain oaths; that in common with most of your Lordships I have declared, "that no Foreign Prince, person, Prelate, State, or Potentate, hath, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God." Now, my Lords, it does appear to me, that the obligation of this oath would be violated, were I to give my assent to any measure founded as this is, upon the principle of upholding the Roman Catholic religion; and by a necessary consequence, the authority of the Pope as head of that Church, within this kingdom. And this opinion is certainly not weakened by the fact, that when I upon a late occasion expressed it in this House, and challenged correction if I was considered in error, no noble Lord was prepared to give a satisfactory solution of the difficulty. I repeat it, no noble Lord did afford—I apprehend 14 that no noble Lord was capable of affording—an explanation of the oath different from what I had given. I regretted the circumstance the more, as although interesting to myself, the sought-for explanation would have been of the greatest importance to a large proportion of the public—under present circumstances not a little excited upon the subject. The question, in fact, being whether the oaths taken by Members of Parliament, involve any obligation beyond that of allegiance to the Sovereign; and if so, what further obligations are implied. They have, by myself and others, been heretofore commonly viewed as likewise binding the Legislature to certain principles in legislation, on matters appertaining to religion, favourable to the Protestant Establishment, and opposed alike to Roman Catholic doctrine, and to any recognition of papal authority within this realm. And, no doubt could have arisen upon the subject, but for the opposite line of policy that has of late years been pursued, and which, particularly in the discussions upon this Bill, has found so many advocates within the walls of Parliament. I do not advert to this question, my Lords, with any desire of preventing your giving a fair consideration to this Bill. But, impressed as I am—and I am sure your Lordships are all equally so—with the paramount duty of a strict and faithful adherence to every sworn obligation, and being of opinion that the question of the obligation of the Oath of Supremacy is necessarily raised by the nature of the measure under consideration, I have felt it right again to draw your Lordships' attention to the subject; and I anxiously pray that this House, to which the country looks up with so much confidence, as the most faithful guardian of the principles of the British Constitution, and as a sure defence against any encroachment, by hasty legislation or otherwise, upon the civil and religious liberty which that Constitution at present secures to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, will not allow this Bill to pass without its having been clearly shown that it is strictly in accordance both with the principles of the Constitution, and with the obligations of Members of Parliament respecting it. One mode of interpreting the oath has, indeed, been privately suggested to me, and I believe it is that which is in general adopted by those who deny its more stringent operation; it is 15 that the oath only implies on the part of the person taking it a repudiation of any personal subjection to papal authority. To this view of it, my Lords, I can by no means subscribe. Clearer and less equivocal language might and would have been chosen for the purpose, had it been intended thus to limit its application. But looking at the history of the oath, the circumstances under which it was originally framed, and at the express object for which it was enacted, as set forth in the 1st Eliz. c. 1, viz., for the better observation and maintenance of that Act; i.e. of a certain policy expressed in a series of enactments, excluding the Pope from every exercise of ecclesiastical or spiritual authority within the realm, and transferring all such authority to the Crown; and coupling these with the plain grammatical and most obvious import and meaning of the form of words in which the oath, as since amended, is now required to be taken by Members of Parliament—it certainly does appear to me, that it is incapable of being restricted to the mere personal feelings and acknowledgments of the person taking it; that as a qualification for office, or for a seat in Parliament, it could never have been intended to be so utterly inoperative and nugatory, and that if of any force or obligation whatever, it must have a bearing upon such a question as that now submitted to Parliament, which is practically whether Parliament will bind this country by a perpetual Statute to maintain out of the public funds a College for the education of Roman Catholic priests, and in direct connexion with the Church of Rome, and in absolute subjection to papal authority; thus depriving the Sovereign of her rightful supremacy and due power of control over an ecclesiastical Establishment within this realm. The noble Duke and others who have advocated this measure, have referred to the Act of 1795 as confirming the principle of it; and great reliance has been placed upon the fact that Maynooth College has been supported through half a century by successive Parliaments and the most distinguished statesmen that have adorned the page of history; and that in this number are to be classed the name of Pitt, as the Minister under whom it originated, and that of Perceval, by whom it was subsequently continued. I cannot, my Lords, admit that any weight of human authority can justify an act incapable 16 of being vindicated upon its own merits. If the original institution of Maynooth was a violation of principle, as the measure before you most certainly is, it was not the less so because Pitt recommended it, nor because Mr. Perceval afterwards acquiesced in it; but the truth is, that although the original Act of instituting that College has proved in its effects upon Ireland to have been most impolitic, in principle it bears no analogy to the measure you are now called upon to sanction. From the provisions of the Act of 1795, it would appear not that it was a College intended, as represented by the noble Lord (St. Germans), for the instruction of the Roman Catholic priesthood, but that it was little more than an Act of Toleration, enabling Roman Catholics to endow, at their own expense, an institution for the education of persons of their own communion. It was deemed at the time of importance, that such persons should not be obliged, as before, to resort to French and other continental seminaries, where infidelity and Jacobinism had poisoned all the streams of education; and as the Roman Catholics of Ireland readily lent themselves to what appeared to be for the general interest, it was an act of grace, not ill merited, that the Irish Parliament, in the year '95, and the three following years, made grants for completing the buildings. These grants ceased in 1799; but in 1800, the last Appropriation Act of the Irish Parliament, having included a sum towards defraying the charges of the Establishment for one year, this by the Seventh (the financial) Article of the Act of Union, became necessarily an annual charge upon the United Kingdom for the next twenty years. If the Executive has failed of looking to the proper application of this annual grant, or of exercising a proper control over the College, and if in consequence of such neglect the institution has become as objectionable as all agree, though from various causes, in representing it to be; yet the power of State control still existed, and Parliament might and ought, since the year 1820, to have insisted upon the College being placed under proper regulation, or to have abolished the institution altogether. But it cannot be said with truth, that those who acquiesced in the support of an institution wholly under the power of the State control, laid down any precedent for an Act 17 by which such control is wholly surrendered into the hands of Roman Catholic ecclesiastics. It is also stated in justification of this Bill by the noble Earl behind me (Lord Hardwicke), that it is a necessary consequence of another Act already upon the Statute Book, I mean the Charitable Bequests Act of last Session, by which the titles, orders, and pastoral functions of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland have been legally recognised, and a corporate character conferred upon them, for holding in perpetual succession the endowments bequeathed to them. I do not, my Lords, feel myself called on to undertake the defence of that Act, which has undoubtedly laid the foundation of an ecclesiastical establishment in Ireland, not of a mission, as stated by the noble Duke, but of a Church, subject to no other authority than that of the Pope; and so fully impressed am I with the belief that it belies what is affirmed in the Oath of Supremacy, viz., that no Foreign State or Prelate hath jurisdiction ecclesiastical within this realm, that, feeling the impossibility under these circumstances of taking the oath, I was lately compelled to forego the privilege and pleasure of voting for my noble Friend, the last elected Representative of the Irish Peerage. It is for those to vindicate the Bequests Act who brought it in, and would now found upon it a still more flagrant violation of principle. I was not in the House last Session to take any part in the debates upon the Bill; otherwise—although as a relaxation of the Statute of Mortmain, it contained many excellent and salutary enactments—I should have felt it my duty to have voted against it, on account of the principle involved in it. The Act, nevertheless, so far differs from the present measure, that by many it might be viewed—and by Parliament I believe it has been viewed — only as an Act of more extended toleration; whereas the present Bill is one of direct favour and encouragement to the propagation of Roman Catholic doctrines. It may be perfectly true, in the restricted sense of the oath, to deny any personal subjection to papal authority; but further to declare, on oath, that no such authority ought to exist within the realm, surely implies, if words can do so, an obligation to resist the enactment of any laws calculated to uphold or extend such authority. No noble Lord will, I am sure, deny that the object of this Bill is to give 18 encouragement to the spread of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, and that the increased number of young men for whose education at Maynooth this Bill provides, are to be trained in absolute subjection to the discipline of the Church of Rome; and that the object of their education is, that they should afterwards go forth as the authorized teachers of the population to disseminate through the length and breadth of the land, those principles in which they themselves have been educated; and, among others, the doctrine of the Pope's rightful supremacy over Her Majesty's realm. [The Earl of Mornington: No, no.] Yes, I say, that such is the Ultramontane doctrine, as taught at present at Maynooth College; and if the House does not grant the Committee of Inquiry asked for by my noble Friend (the Earl of Roden), the course of education must remain the same as now. No one surely will stand up and say that it is consistent to vote for such a measure, and yet to call God to witness your solemn declaration that this ought not to be. The expediency of the measure—if indeed any sound principle of expediency can be urged in favour of it, cannot in my opinion outweigh the religious obligation that opposes it. Let the oaths, or at least the Oath of Supremacy, be repealed, and a new Parliament summoned to carry out, if the nation be so disposed, the recently announced policy of Her Majesty's Government; but let Parliament be henceforth unembarrassed by tests and obligations of no practical value, originally designed to maintain a policy which has long ceased to be the policy of the country; and affirmative of a principle of Protestant ascendancy which every Act for the last fifteen years has belied, and which Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department has upon a late occasion, and in reference to this Bill, declared must be henceforth wholly at an end. While oaths continue to be taken as at present, they will be considered by many as involving corresponding obligations, the disregard of any of which (though perhaps but apparent and capable of explanation), will not fail to impair the confidence and respect with which it is so desirable that every Act of the Legislature should be viewed. Entertaining the opinions I have expressed of my obligation as a Member of Parliament, and not unmindful of what is due to my Roman 19 Catholic countrymen, I shall give my cordial support to the Amendment of my noble Friend. No objection has been or can be urged against it, nor any justification put forward for your Lordships' entering further upon such a course of policy as this Bill unfolds, without the most careful inquiry into its nature and tendency. Nor is it right that you should any longer uphold the institution of Maynooth College, unless you are well satisfied that it is for the interests of the Irish people, and at the same time agreeable to the principles of the British Constitution. The principle involved in the Bill as now submitted is twofold. First, to uphold and encourage the teaching of doctrines which condemned as heretical and damnable the religion of the State—that religion which, by law, the Sovereign of this realm must profess; and, secondly, to sanction the surrender into the hands of Roman Catholic ecclesiastics, of one of the highest, if not the most important, of the functions of the State—namely, the superintendence and control of public instruction. To neither of these principles can I ever give my assent; and I trust, that neither of them is essential or even consistent with a law for the better education of any class of Her Majesty's subjects. I am quite sure that neither of them can tend to promote the social welfare of Ireland. I concur with the advocates of the Bill, that to continue Maynooth College in its present state is a course not to be defended; but the insufficiency of its funds, although an evil, is the least of those that attach to the institution. The institution in its present state is chiefly objectionable from the nature of the education given within its walls, the evil of which is apparent in the dispositions of those who have been trained there, as the tree is known by its fruits. It is unnecessary that I should enter particularly into a consideration of the charges that have been brought against the institution. The statements which have been made in the course of this debate are quite sufficient to show the importance of the Committee moved for by my noble Friend. The fact so much relied on, that an inquiry was made several years ago, and a body of evidence collected, is to be considered in connexion with another fact, namely, that the evidence reported led to no proposal for enlarging or otherwise dealing with the College of Maynooth. 20 And this shows either of two things, either that the inquiry did not go far enough, or that nothing was elicited to warrant the friends of the institution in claiming for it any additional support. The Government of the day may have lacked the boldness or inclination to act upon the evidence, but no argument can thence be drawn for increased endowment, still less for placing the institution beyond the reach of Parliamentary control. If the evidence was sufficient to warrant the introduction of the present Bill, why has it not been reprinted, and placed in the hands of Members, so that they may acquaint themselves with all the circumstances of the institution? The fact I believe to be, that, so far from justifying such a measure as the present, the evidence appealed to, but not produced, but which might be with great advantage considered before a Committee, would probably confirm an opinion very generally entertained, that the institution should be either altogether abolished, or so remodelled as to harmonize with the fundamental institutions of the country. In the absence of other evidence, I beg to read to your Lordships the opinion of a most competent witness respecting Maynooth College; it is to be found in a Paper upon Irish policy addressed by the late Lord Chancellor Redesdale to the Duke of Portland's Cabinet in 1807:—The Chancellor and chief Judges are, with some Roman Catholic clergy and noblemen, nominally visitors; but their visitatorial power, by the terms of the Statute under which they act, is a mere farce. They are bound, once in every three years, to exhibit themselves as a spectacle at Maynooth, in a state of ridiculous nullity. They can do nothing but view a set of young men, trained up in a system of obedience more degrading, perhaps, than was ever practised in a College of Jesuits in South America; and it is impossible to avoid remarking in the countenances of those young men the degradation in which they are kept, and the stern enthusiasm for the Catholic cause planted in their minds. Not one of those young men dare lift up a complaint to the visitors, whatever injuries they may suffer, however improperly they may be treated. They are generally the sons of the lowest description of peasants; they have no friend, no protector; and are compelled to submit to the most absolute despotism. No College of Jesuits was ever half so dangerous to any Catholic kingdom, or so completely in the power of their masters. Their education is said to be very imperfect; much worse than in the foreign colleges: and the friends of some youths having 21 taken them from the College to give them a better education abroad, the resentment of the College, and of the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, has been severely felt. What may be the consequences of this institution to the peace of Ireland, it is difficult to foretell in their full extent. It is easy to perceive that it must ever be the greatest obstacle to the extension of the Protestant religion, and to the quiet settlement of the country.The question, my Lords, before the House should not be considered as one of pounds, shillings, and pence; the greater or the less amount of your annual grant makes no essential difference in the principle of your support of Maynooth College; for a good institution funds would not be wanting. They would, I am sure, be voted with cheerfulness and unanimity; for if I have derived any satisfaction from the debates that have taken place upon this Bill, it has arisen from my conviction that Parliament, although not well advised in the matter, is actuated by an anxious interest for the welfare of Ireland, and with a kind sympathy for the Irish people. The thing is, to ascertain whether the institution is really calculated for their benefit. Connected as I am with Ireland, not alone by birth, property, and residence, but yet more by the ties of the most friendly intercourse with all classes of its inhabitants, I may say from my own knowledge of them, that my countrymen are not undeserving of your best sympathies. If Ireland has presented, and still presents, difficulties in the eyes of Ministers; if your Lordships have heard of outrages, bloodshed, and agrarian disturbance—these, my Lords, are to be looked upon as the effects of misgovernment; of misgovernment the less excusable, because upon the face of the earth there does not exist a people who more eminently possess the qualities that are congenial to good government. None more than they combine love of country with devoted loyalty to their Sovereign; none are more disposed to yield respect where respect is due, or are more alive to the principles of justice, uprightness, and consistency; but on the other hand, none have a keener sense of injustice or oppression—a more ready discernment of a weak and timeserving policy, or more profound contempt for inconsistency and tergiversation, whether political or religious. Such a people, I contend, are the easiest in the world to be governed; for it is only necessary to hold in view with them, as suggested by 22 the right rev. Prelate, (the Bishop of London) the principles of strict rectitude. Too long, my Lords, has it been the practice of successive Governments to overlook the interests of Ireland, while courting the support of the Roman Catholic priests by weak and unavailing concessions, injurious to the institutions of the country. This is said to be the beginning of a new policy. My Lords, it is no such thing; the first and most fatal step was the concessions made upon national education; the removal, in deference to the wishes of the Roman Catholic clergy, of the best and surest foundation of religious liberty, the most necessary ingredient of Christian education—I mean the instruction of youth in the Holy Scriptures, which was the recognised basis of the national system of education up to the year 1831, and which, but for the intolerance of the Roman Catholic priests, and the sanction which their opposition received at the hands of the English Government of that day—and still more since, I regret to say, from Her Majesty's present Ministers — would have been ere this in full and beneficial operation; and productive—as in every place it has been found to be—where it has met with due countenance and support, of social happiness, civilization, and general improvement. The next step in the course of conciliation was the undue favour shown to Roman Catholic priests in the scale of remuneration allowed to them as chaplains of workhouses, over Protestant clergymen—a step important, however, only from the principle it affirmed; that numbers, not truth, should, henceforth give a preference to one form of religion over another. I have already adverted to the Bequests Act of last Session; and have only, therefore, to wish Her Majesty's Ministers joy of the degree of grateful acknowledgment it has elicited from the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy for whom it was intended as a boon; and now you are called upon to pass an Act for the perpetual endowment of Maynooth College, constituting for ever the Church of Rome the uncontrolled instructor of those whom you have recognised as the spiritual guides and pastors of 6,000,000 of Her Majesty's subjects. But not even thus will the British Government purchase any lasting support from the Roman Catholic clergy; the priests of Rome will be, as they always have been, faithful to 23 their Lord the Pope; and it is no more than due to them to say, that vain will be the endeavour to bribe them to become the friends of any Government not in avowed as well as practical subjection to the See of Rome. The obligations accepted by a Roman Catholic bishop at his consecration might be a warning to the Government of this fact; while the persecuting spirit of the head of that Church, against all who dare to separate from it, must justify the strongest opposition to this, or to any other measure of the like tendency, by the Protestants of the Empire. What has been stated of the occurrences at Achill and Dingle, particularly the impotency of the Government to afford to the converts at the latter place that protection from persecution which they prayed at the hands of the Lord Lieutenant, should, I think, make your Lordships pause before you assent to a measure calculated so much to strengthen the hands of a Church so intolerant—so beyond the power of the Government to control. You are desirous to ameliorate the state of Ireland, to improve the social condition of the people, and to act towards them in the spirit of the utmost liberality: once more let me entreat your Lordships to examine well whether the measure before you is really a boon to Ireland — whether it is not rather a surrender to Rome. Many circumstances might account for the intense anxiety of Her Majesty's Ministers to press this Bill through Parliament, which might be the very things to render it important that your Lordships should not hastily assent to it. I quite admit that the present great prosperity of the Empire, which is so much owing to the ability, vigour, and foresight of the Government, is a strong claim upon your confidence; and most desirous am I, whenever it is possible, to find myself among their supporters; but no such ability or foresight can be said to have characterized their administration of affairs in Ireland; neither does the past afford any such grounds of confidence in their wisdom and consistency in dealing with what may be called "Catholic questions," as to justify a blind acquiescence in their measures, or any hope, founded upon their mere assurance, that good can result from the policy they now recommend. It behoves you, my Lords, not only to examine carefully into its nature and tendency, but also to consider 24 well the circumstances under which this Bill is introduced. An avowal of weakness had been made by Sir R. Peel; before his acceptance of office he had foretold that Ireland would be his difficulty. Such was his prophecy; and the declaration tended, along with other things, to produce its own fulfilment. Nevertheless, when he came into office, he found the state of Ireland comparatively tranquil, and its condition improving. The noble Marquess opposite appears to think that I am paying a compliment to his Government. He is mistaken; I attribute the favourable state of things at that time to the fact that all parties in Ireland had been for some time looking forward to the accession to office of Her Majesty's present Ministers, with those feelings of confidence which their conduct, while in Opposition, so well justified. Soon, however, confidence began to be shaken; the Conservatives began to doubt the sincerity of Ministers; and the weakness and incapacity of the Home Office did not escape the notice of the quicksighted leader of the Repeal movement. Presently commenced the systematic agitation for the Repeal of the Union; and for several months, while the Government—notwithstanding repeated warnings and remonstrances—looked on in apparent unconcern, or rather in a state of mute astonishment, the lives and properties of the well disposed were periled by a succession of monster meetings of tens of thousands in a state of unexampled excitement, ready to act at the bidding of one man, and only by that one man restrained from acts of violence and open rebellion. I should, however, remark, that the noble Duke, as Commander in Chief, well performed his duty; for he took the necessary steps to preserve a military occupation of the country. At last, the Government was aroused—the meeting that was to have taken place at Clontarf was put a stop to by Proclamation—and it is but justice to the Repeal leaders to say, that they did all in their power to secure obedience to the Proclamation, and to prevent the bloodshed that must otherwise have ensued. It then became apparent that one timely act of vigour might have prevented these meetings from taking place at all; for all were of the same character, alike objectionable. The mischief, however, had been done; the people had been organized—their discipline in respect 25 of obedience to leaders was perfect—they knew themselves to be individually brave—they had been taught to believe themselves collectively irresistible, and to despise the Government of the country. Then followed that State prosecution, with the results of which your Lordships are well acquainted. I give the Government full credit for their motives in having instituted it; they were anxious to vindicate and uphold the common law of the country. I regret that the reverse was the effect of it; in its result it has been injurious to the common law, and done much to impair respect for the Judges in Ireland, the Judges in England, and for the law authorities in this House.
§ The Duke of Wellington
My Lords, I rise to order. We have now been debating two nights on the question before the House, which is a Bill for the establishment of a College at Maynooth; and I do not know that the monster meetings, or the conduct of the Government in respect to those monster meetings, or the prosecutions, have any relation to the Motion before the House. I must submit to the noble Earl that he should attend a little to the question which is under the consideration of the House. The conduct of the Government on the monster meetings, and on the prosecution, or any subject of that description, is a very proper subject for discussion, but not on the question of the establishment of Maynooth.
The Earl of Clancarty
My Lords, I do not consider that I was at all out of order, or wandering from the question before the House, when the noble Duke rose to interrupt me. I think it is important that the House should not only understand the nature and tendency of the Bill, but likewise the circumstances under which it was introduced; therefore, however disposed in general to bow to the opinion of the noble Duke, I shall proceed with the statement of those circumstances. I had, in fact, nearly arrived at the conclusion, when the noble Duke interfered. It is now authoritatively declared that the law is no longer capable of putting down the agitation of the country. It is true that the law is for that purpose inoperative, and this is the occasion for announcing the policy of conciliation; but while the law is thus impotent, no one can fail to have been struck with the ready obedience yielded by the Roman Catholic 26 clergy to a papal rescript communicated to them through the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland. From that moment, both prelates and clergy ceased to take, openly, that lead in the Repeal agitation in which they had been before so conspicuous; then it was that this measure for the permanent and unconditional endowment of Maynooth was submitted to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church; and we are authoritatively informed, that ere it had been announced to Parliament, they had been consulted with, and had approved of it. My Lords, I cannot help remarking that the circumstances and coincidences of the case would almost force upon me the conviction that the Act your Lordships are now called upon to ratify, is the actual reward of service — the earnest of future gratitude for similar assistance. It is, my Lords, the personal character alone of the individuals connected with the Government that forbids the belief that papal authority has been subsidized to aid in the Government of Ireland. A strong feeling of this kind, I believe, prevails out of doors. Protestants of Ireland begin to doubt the capability of the English Government to afford protection, or to maintain in that country the principles of the British Constitution. It is impossible not to be struck with the very altered views of Her Majesty's Ministers since 1840. Then we were told by Sir Robert Peel that the system of instruction at Maynooth was a legitimate subject of consideration for Parliament, and that it would be an abandonment of duty to allow doctrines to be inculcated which might be injurious to the supremacy of the law, or destructive to the established Government. Now Parliament is required not merely to surrender all such power of control, but to make an increased and perpetual grant without any inquiry whatever. My Lords, I will not dwell upon these inconsistencies, which have so shaken all confidence in public men; but I cannot forbear from contrasting the facility with which the Government abandoned a Bill two years ago for providing a religious education in the principles of the Established Church for the thousands of poor unprovided factory children, in consequence of a few petitions from dissenting bodies, with the determination they now show, notwithstanding that ten times the uumber of petitions have been presented against it, to carry a measure for the propagation of the Roman 27 Catholic religion. The interests of the Established Church, or the poor, are thrown away with little or no hesitation—those of the Church of Rome must be supported at all hazards. I trust, however, that your Lordships will not be so insensible to the Protestant feelings of the nation. Objection has been made to the language of some of these petitioners—the language, my Lords, is, no doubt, strong, but it is not stronger than the case warranted, nor than the language of the Constitution. Your Lordships' own declarations in Parliament have been couched in language quite as strong. Having presented many of these petitions, I must say that those who signed them had good warrant for believing that their prayer would be favourably heard. In addressing your Lordships, they knew that you had witnessed the solemn declaration made by Her Majesty at her Coronation—they had therefore good reason to hope that you would readily abstain from advising her to put her hand to an Act for the encouragement of a form of worship, of which she had testified her belief openly before God and man, that it was superstitious and idolatrous. And the fact, that a great majority of your Lordships—all who held seats in Parliament up to the year 1829—have made and subscribed, and, of course, in so doing, have sincerely assented to the declaration prescribed by the 30th Charles II., s. 2., than which no language can be more strongly condemnatory of Roman Catholic doctrine, might well have justified their belief, that acting upon your own opinions so solemnly expressed, you would have concurred with them in opposing the measure. I must add another strong ground of confidence that your petitioners must have had in approaching your Lordships' House. They knew that this measure would be debated in the presence of that right rev. Bench, whose peculiar obligations have been already more than once referred to. It is with the most profound respect that I now address myself to them. My Lords, the country looks with confidence to your decision upon this measure as Bishops. You sit in this House as Bishops. You have accepted the solemn obligation of opposing yourselves to the dissemination of doctrines contrary to God's Word. Do you believe that the Roman Catholic doctrines taught at Maynooth College are in accordance with God's Word? If you do, you will give a 28 consistent support to this Bill; if, on the contrary, you believe that those doctrines are contrary to God's Word, it is impossible to doubt that you will give the Bill your decided opposition. Let it not, my Lords, be supposed that I would convey to the House an opinion that legislation should be stopped by petitions—far from it—but I do certainly think that where the public mind is so strongly declared as it has been with respect to this Bill, that it is due to the petitioners carefully to examine into the grounds of their opposition; to act otherwise is to outrage public opinion, and practically to annul the privilege of petition. Measures are undoubtedly necessary for Ireland, and none more desirable than those which may tend to improve the social condition of the people; but of all imaginable measures for such a purpose, to have entered into the minds of Englishmen, who once rejoiced in their emancipation from the Romish yoke, this scheme of fastening and perpetuating upon Ireland the infliction of Maynooth College — this policy of strengthening the papal authority over the Irish population, is the very last that could have been expected from a British Parliament, an English Government, or a Protestant Sovereign.
§ The Duke of Cleveland
was anxious to vindicate his consistency in the course which he was about to pursue in respect of the Bill now before the House; for if value were attached to the consistency of the public conduct of a Minister in office, or a Statesman who aspired to an official station, it was in a minor degree important to every Member of the Legislature, however humble might be his position. He regretted that in this instance he differed from several of those with whom he generally concurred in political questions; but he trusted to be able to prove to them that in supporting this Bill, which he felt it his duty to do, he was only acting in strict conformity with the policy which he had always pursued and had steadily recommended with respect to Ireland, from his first entrance into public life. The debate for the last two nights had assumed the character of a theological discussion; but as the noble Duke, in introducing the measure, had stated that he considered the question before them, not a religious, but solely a political one, so it was in the latter point of view that he wished to consider it in the few observations 29 which he was about to make. In the first place he would observe, that he had supported from first to last the relief measure of 1829. Indeed, from the year 1812 up to the year in which the Catholic Relief Bill was brought forward—a period of seventeen years—he was in the constant habit of acting in conjunction with the Whig party of the day. He supported them upon every question which they brought forward, except that of Parliamentary Reform. When the Reform Bill was passed he quitted the party. During the whole of this period the grant to Maynooth had been continued without interruption—in fact, so far as he was aware, it had been continued up to the year 1830, nearly without opposition. From that year to the year 1842, when he left the House of Commons, it certainly was opposed on more occasions than one; but when it was so opposed he had always heartily supported it. Having carefully examined the measure now brought forward by Her Majesty's Government, he could not, he confessed, see that it did in itself recognise any new principle on which they had not acted before. There was certainly this difference, that it rendered that permanent which was before but an annual grant. But could they suppose that, should it be continued as an annual grant, instead of being made perpetual, it was probable that they could ever withdraw it? He should be acting most inconsistently, if he were to withdraw his support from the grant now, merely because it was brought before them in the shape of an increased grant. He looked upon this Bill merely as a Bill by itself, and wished to consider it as such without reference to any other measure whatsoever. Some might think that, as a measure, it was dangerous, because it had a tendency to lead to other and further measures. What might be the intentions of Her Majesty's Government in this respect, of course, he knew not, and could not, therefore, say. But he could not help remarking that if it were put forward merely as a measure for ascertaining the state of public feeling, and, having ascertained that, that the Government might be able to learn whether it would be wise or prudent to introduce measures of a stronger and very different character, as encouragement for the Government so to proceed—judging from the nature and the number of the petitions laid upon their 30 Lordships' Table, this measure had proved a complete failure. The complaint was made that public feeling had, in this instance been disregarded; and he believed that the disregard of public feeling might be pushed to an extent to which no wise and prudent Minister would desire to push it. A noble Earl who had spoken last night (the Earl of Hardwicke) had expressed himself in favour of endowing the Roman Catholic priesthood. He hoped he should never live to see the adoption of such a course by the Legislature. If an Act should ever be brought in for endowing that priesthood, the only source from which the means of so doing could be drawn would be that from which this increased grant to Maynooth was sought to be taken, namely, the Consolidated Fund. The noble Earl intimated that the funds for such endowment should be taken from the Protestant and Established Church in Ireland. The noble Earl had forgotten that it was on that very point that Mr. Stanley and Sir James Graham had formerly quitted office, and that Sir Robert Peel left office in 1835. He did not mean to say that the noble Earl, who was a Lord of the Bedchamber, was an authority as to the opinions of the Government; but they all knew that when a Member of the Legislature accepted office in the Household, he lost his Parliamentary independence. He considered this measure in itself, treated it on its own merits, and looked upon it as brought before them without any reference to what might follow, and he could see nothing in it to which he did not most cordially assent. He did not entertain those apprehensions of danger as resulting from this measure which were shared in by many of his noble Friends, and would therefore, as he had already stated, give it his support. He had always contended for a liberal course of policy towards Ireland. Every just and real grievance of which the Irish had to complain should be redressed, and that, too, without making any difference or creating any exceptions arising from religious opinions. He also thought that toleration should, as regarded Ireland, be carried to the greatest extent to which it could be carried with safety, and likewise that conciliation should be effected, if it could be effected within any just and reasonable limits. The conduct of Her Majesty's Government had been most praiseworthy in endeavouring 31 to do that, by acts of favour and grace, which could only otherwise be effected by main force, and which main force must, as they all knew, be resorted to, if all other means should fail. If they could obtain and secure the peace, the repose, and the happiness of Ireland, by conciliation, at so small a cost as that which was proposed under the present Bill, he thought that it was, at all events, well worth their while to make the experiment.
§ The Earl of Hardwicke
rose to explain, and he would endeavour to repeat what he had said, and he thought the repetition would answer as his explanation. He had last night asked the question, whether there were in Ireland 151 Protestant livings that had no congregations whatever attached to them? He had said that if such existed, it was a monstrous state of things. He had then gone on to say, in speaking of the prospects which many of their Lordships considered must exist, of seeing the Roman Catholic Church endowed at some future day in Ireland, that he did not at the same time know from what source such endowment was to come. It was after he had so said, that he asked the question with regard to the livings. What was then in his mind was this, and he thought he had so expressed himself, that, if there were such a monstrous state of things existing as having Protestant churches without a single soul to go into them, with a large Roman Catholic community in their immediate neighbourhood, it was to the Catholic religion they should be applied, which they might be, in his opinion, with great propriety, and with great security to the Protestant Church. With regard to the other observations which his noble Friend who had just sat down thought fit to make, he would only add that the opinion he had just expressed was his own, and that he was entirely and solely responsible for them.
spoke as follows: My Lords, I hope your Lordships will permit me to address you, for a short time, upon this important subject; and, in the hope that this protracted debate will conclude to-night, I promise that my remarks will be brief, and as pertinent to the subject as I can make them. It is not because I indulge the expectation that anything that I can say will throw any new light upon the subject; it is not because I think that I can adduce any new 32 arguments in reference to this question, that I rise at the present moment; but it is because I think it but fair to Her Majesty's Government, and fair also to those with whom I have acted all my life, and with whom I hope and trust I ever shall act to its close, that the burst of unpopularity and clamour with which this measure has been assailed should be shared by every one whose name has ever been before the public, if he now agrees with Her Majesty's Government. That being my view of the matter, I do feel a desire that my opinion should be publicly expressed, though I need not tell your Lordships that I am very unwilling to trouble you. With respect to the speech of the noble Duke who has just taken his seat, I certainly can testify that in his vote on this occasion there will be nothing inconsistent with the votes which he constantly gave when in the other House of Parliament. I recollect very well that my noble Friend and myself always voted together on the question of Catholic Emancipation; and although I was extremely sorry to find that he afterwards differed from me on other measures, I can testify that there will be nothing inconsistent with the course then taken by my noble Friend, in the vote which he has announced it as his intention to give on the present occasion. With respect to the attack made by the noble Duke upon the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Hardwicke), I think, trusting to my own recollection, that the noble Earl announced more strongly last night than he has done this evening, that the opinions which he then delivered were his own opinions, that he had no communication with any parties respecting them, and that he gave them as his opinions, for which he was solely responsible. I did not feel any peculiar satisfaction because those opinions were expressed by a noble Earl holding a place in the Household; but I did feel a satisfaction at hearing them, proceed from a noble Lord whose opinions are entitled to much weight for the honest consistency of his conduct. I certainly do look upon this measure, not as an isolated measure, but as one leading to further measures, to the effects of which further measures I look for the benefit of Ireland; nor could I attach much importance to this measure if it stood alone. After what the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) has said in the course of this debate, I feel it is due to myself to say—and I hope your 33 Lordships will permit me to speak so far of myself—that no man is more sincerely attached to the Protestant Church of this country than I am. It is my opinion that as it is one of the great duties of a State to look to the temporal prosperity, the happiness, the welfare, and the comfort of the people; so it is, in a still higher sense, the duty of the State to provide for the religious instruction of the people; and therefore, my Lords, I am a friend to a Church Establishment in this country. I am that after due and full consideration. During the first night of this debate, I was surprised to hear right rev. Prelates speak of the Roman Catholic Church as being so peculiarly antagonist to the Protestant Church. My right rev. Friend who first made that statement (the Bishop of London) gave no reason in support of it. The right rev. Prelate who came from Ireland (the Bishop of Cashel) did give a reason for the statement, for he was one of those who made it. That reason certainly appeared to me to be a most extraordinary one. The right rev. Prelate said that the Roman Catholic Church was the most antagonistic Church to the Protestant Church of England, because the Church of England had come out of the Church of Rome. I do not see why it is, that because the one Church came out of the other, therefore the one is to be supposed to be the most antagonistic Church existing in reference to the other. I was the more surprised to hear this statement, from knowing that many of the Protestant clergy of this country—ay, and many of the Protestant laity too, and I believe as to the clergy I may say the majority of them—believe that there is some mysterious sanctity in their ordination, because it has descended through a succession of Roman Catholic bishops—bishops who flourished, be it remembered, during the most corrupted epochs of the Church of Rome. I also happen to know that ordination by a Roman Catholic bishop is regarded as good for orders in the Protestant Church of England; if a clergyman has been ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop, and then renounces his faith and declares his conformity to the Church of England, no further examination is deemed necessary as to what may be his opinions on religion, or as to what may be his learning or competency—his ordination is deemed sufficient, and he is freely admitted into 34 the bosom of the Protestant Church. Under these circumstances, it does seem to me very extraordinary that any of the heads of the Church of England should call that Church, the validity of whose ordination they thus admit, the most antagonist Church to their own Church. I certainly do feel very strong objections indeed to many Roman Catholic doctrines. My opinion as to what is the proper, the true, and the Christian religion is that no doctrine is essential which is not contained in the Holy Scriptures, or fairly deducible therefrom. As that is not the principle of the Roman Catholic religion—as the Roman Catholics take other grounds of faith, I certainly am most decidedly opposed, in doctrine, to the Church of Rome; but I cannot but see that, whether or not I am opposed, in many points, in doctrine to the Roman Catholics, they are believers in the same Saviour that I am a believer in, that they teach the same morality, that they recommend the same piety, and that such is the effect produced upon the mind and deportment of a good and sincere Roman Catholic by what he is taught, that he is rendered as estimable a man in all the relations of life as is any Protestant in the land. Then, my Lords, as I have already said, I believe it to be the duty of the State to provide for the religious and moral instruction of its subjects. I perceive that a very large proportion of the subjects of this country are Roman Catholics. I see also, though I differ in many points from the Roman Catholic religion, that that system of faith does impart religious and moral instruction to the people, and therefore I cannot see how it is contrary to any religious feeling that the State should come forward and render assistance to that faith. Thus much, my Lords, I have thought it necessary to say, in order to show that I do not feel that my voting for this Bill is at all contrary to my religious principles. Looking at the question in a political point of view, I find that the objections urged against the measure are of two kinds. One objection is founded on passages taken from the scholastic writers upon the Roman Catholic religion, inculcating extreme and most violent doctrines—doctrines certainly inconsistent with social order or civil society, and which have been long since proscribed. Those doctrines were put forward by ambitious Pontiffs in barbarous times; but they have been given 35 up long since by Roman Catholics in every part of Europe. We find them now good subjects and obedient, whether to Protestant or Catholic monarchs. But it may be said, and it is constantly said, "The Roman Catholic religion is not changed, and if this was true doctrine of that Church once, it is so still." I would ask, do those noble Lords who use that argument really believe the assertion? Do they believe that the Roman Catholics have never changed? Undoubtedly, an appeal may be made to the Roman Catholic himself, and his answer will be that he has not changed; and therefore I admit that they have a fair argumentum ad hominem against the Roman Catholic. But of all arguments for the purpose of coming at truth, argumenta ad hominem are the worst. They may be very good for a debate, they may do very well to throw in the teeth of an adversary: but for the elucidation of truth they are the worst that can be resorted to. But I will ask those who use that as a reason against any concession to the Roman Catholics, whether they believe it? Undoubtedly, it may be true in words: and the Roman Catholics, so far as I am acquainted with their doctrine, have never changed, because they adhere to certain passages in the Scripture, and say that their religion is under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. But, my Lords, look at the course of the Roman Catholic religion. In ancient times, undoubtedly, claims of a very violent kind were put forward; but for more than a century those claims have never been advanced. In this, as in everything else, the progress of religion and knowledge has entirely overcome the error that existed in that respect; and when noble Lords quote the old text writers upon the Roman Catholic religion, I cannot say that they make any very great impression upon my mind. There is another objection which would have more weight with me if I thought it well founded. Quotations have been made, and arguments used, to show that the dissatisfaction and discontent which prevail amongst the Roman Catholics in Ireland are derived from the College of Maynooth; and to prove this, the quotations to which I have referred, are brought forward. One noble Duke went through a great part of the calendars of the assizes to prove that a connexion existed between the doctrines taught to the students at Maynooth and the crimes 36 which appear in the calendars. That is one of the reasons which are urged why a great proportion of the population should be left without education. My Lords, what is the treatment which the Roman Catholics of Ireland have received? You first endeavoured to extirpate them. You failed in that, and then you degraded them, by penal laws which were a disgrace to a civilized country. You disgraced them and made them bad subjects. You could not continue that—the country would not bear such a barbarous code; you relaxed the penal laws — but under what circumstances? You asked them to assist you in effecting the measure of the Union—you promised, or at least it was indirectly implied so as to be distinctly understood, an equality of civil rights — you carried the Act of Union by their assistance. My Lords, you have broken your promise. It is true, that after eight or nine-and-twenty years, the promise was fulfilled. But upon what ground? According to the avowal of the Government of the day it was not on the grounds of justice—not because we had no right, because men differed from us in religious opinions, to deprive them of their civil rights—but because it was impossible to resist. This being the case, my Lords, you need not look to text writers or to the theses of Maynooth, to account for the dissatisfaction of the Roman Catholics. My Lords, I hope this is not an isolated measure. I hope and trust that you are prepared to pursue a different policy towards Ireland; and if you do so, I trust you will not only confirm the Union with Ireland, but render that country, by a proper and steady system of conciliation and liberality, the strength, instead of the weakness, of the Empire. The noble Earl who moved the Amendment, stated that the Protestant Church in Ireland had not had fair play. I was surprised to hear that statement from the noble Earl; but I entirely agree with him, and think that Protestantism has not had fair play. You have placed the Roman Catholics in an inferior position—you have irritated and degraded them—they have a recollection of your severe penal code and persecution; and when you have done all this, you present them with Protestantism. If anything is more likely than another to prevent the adoption of a religious system, it is such a course as this. My Lords, I, as a Protestant, see that it would be hopeless 37 to attempt to convert the Roman Catholics of Ireland. I see a very large proportion of the population discontented and dissatisfied in consequence of religious distinctions, which must necessarily tend to create anarchy and confusion in Ireland. My Lords, Presbyterian Scotland was in a state of anarchy and confusion. You gave them a form of church government, and prosperity and tranquillity followed. My Lords, Catholic Ireland is in the same state of confusion; you must do something at least for the Roman Catholic religion, if you want to produce similar results. Taking this measure as a first step in that direction, I shall give it my cordial support.
The Bishop of Norwich
rose, not for the purpose of making any apology for the support he was about to give to the important, and as he conceived beneficial measure before their Lordships' House, as he considered it quite unnecessary that any apology was required for opinions honestly and conscientiously entertained after the most matured deliberation he could devote to the subject; but he was at the same time anxious to express his reasons for voting cordially and sincerely in its favour, well knowing—and their Lordships could be little aware of the extent of the obloquy—the misrepresentations and misconstructions of motives to which those would be exposed, more especially if of his profession, who came forward in a spirit of toleration and kindness towards those who differed from them in religious faith. It was with great pain that he heard yesterday from a noble Earl (Winchilsea) some harsh expressions towards those who, as ecclesiastics, were about to vote in favour of this measure. The noble Earl insinuated something against the right rev. Bench as being faithless shepherds, as an abandonment of their posts, if they voted in favour of this Bill. This language was, however, weak compared with other language that had been uttered against them. He had lately received a pamphlet written, he was sorry to say, by a clergyman, addressed to the bishops who intended voting in favour of the grant, in which it was insinuated that they were not only dealing in falsehood, but that they were infidels and traitors to the cause of religion. Another rev. gentleman—for the sake of the Church of England he hoped he was not a minister of the Establishment—had gone still further; and before a very large audience proved, apparently 38 to the satisfaction of his hearers, though he hoped not of their Lordships, that the right hon. Baronet who had introduced this measure into the other House was the very Antichrist that was revealed in the Scriptures. Could intolerance, absence of good feeling, or fanaticism, do more, or go further than this? He would yield to no man in attachment to the Protestant Church, and in opposition to the Romish Church. He was averse to Popery in whatever shape or form it appeared; he was more especially averse to that Popery which was creeping into his own Church. The fact was this—if they inquired and examined into the question, they would find that every religious denomination as it acquired power was anxious to claim for itself the maximum of toleration, and to yield to others who differed from them the minimum of the same. With respect to the petitions which had been presented against this measure, he admitted they were numerous beyond all precedent; but that they represented the opinions of the people of England he was inclined, from close investigation of the subject, rather to deny. He had taken some pains to analyze these petitions, and he believed that they did not emanate from the spontaneous feelings of the country. They were generally couched in the same language and in the same words; and he had good reason for believing that they had been all prepared in the same office in London, from whence they were disseminated over the entire country, and sent to every place for the purpose of collecting subscribers. He granted that in large and populous towns the signatures were numerous; but in the country places he denied that this was the case. He had taken pains to collect together the petitions from twenty-four parishes, containing a population of 19,000. The number of subscribers to these petitions, however, amounted only to 1,200. Again there was a town in Cheshire composed of 9,000 inhabitants, from whence emanated ten petitions, the number of subscribers to which only amounted to 200. With respect to his own profession, he had reason to believe that a majority was either indifferent or favourable to this measure. Out of eleven pamphlets he had had before him on this subject, there were six of them written by Protestant clergymen in favour of it; three by clergymen against it; and two by laymen against it. The Dissenters had undoubtedly sent in a great many petitions against this grant; but there was an under current 39 there which their Lordships were not perhaps aware of. He would show this, not from his own opinions, but from their own words. He would read to their Lordships an Address which had been presented to the Roman Catholics of Ireland from a conference of Protestant Dissenters in the course of the last month, abounding in protestations of respect and good will, in which they point out the main evil of Ireland:—We have ever held the opinion, of all the grievances under which your country has laboured, that there is one which is most unprofitable and oppressive.Their Lordships would, no doubt, suppose that this grievance, which was thus alluded to, related to Maynooth or the doctrines of the Roman Catholics. Not so; the Address said—Of all the grievances under which your country has laboured, the establishment of the Anglican Church is in Ireland most unjustifiable and oppressive, and we will never cease to direct our efforts to remove from your shoulders this intolerable burden.He was then persuaded that the reasons which had induced so many Dissenters to come forward with their petitions against this measure was not for the purpose of condemning Maynooth, for of the Roman Catholics they spoke most highly, as to their "going on in their majestic course," or of alluding to their idolatries and filthy abominations, but with a view of carrying out their principle of objecting to all endowments.
The Bishop of Norwich
From the Conference of Protestant Dissenters which was held in Crosby Hall, London. It was no doubt their duty to combat error wherever they found it, and to banish erroneous doctrines as far as they were able; but error was a delicate field for them to venture on. Every one of them might, more or less, be countenancing error. He believed that the Church of England was the purest Church in Christendom; he believed that it contained the ingredients of more excellence than any Church that was ever formed by the wisdom of man. But was their Church pure as we described, and, as we wished it to be, altogether destitute of error? He dared not say so, for he felt that he should be contradicted by general experience. Could there be a doubt that within the limits of their own Church there were oscillations—fearful 40 oscillations from the confines of Calvinism on the one side, to the very depths of Popery on the other. Could there then be an equal truth throughout? There must be error in the inferior or lower state, and it was their duty to combat it, and to remove it by the best means within their reach. The only question was how to do it most effectually. There were three modes here of opposing error: the one was by imposing pains and penalties, which had been already tried, and which remained a blot upon the Protestant religion as to their conduct towards their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects—that system was tried with a severity which had been properly described as unparalleled in the history of civilized nations. Another mode was, by treating them with severity—by oppposing their doctrines with harshness and with unchristian-like conduct. This mode had been also followed — had it succeeded? No: both systems had altogether failed, although in Ireland they had a Church possessed of the most powerful machinery, protected by the State, and wealthy in proportion, far beyond the Church in this country, or probably elsewhere. He would venture to give their Lordships some intelligible idea of its power and influence; but he would first remind them that a century ago, while they were endeavouring to proselytize Ireland, there were three Roman Catholics to one Protestant. The number now had increased to seven Roman Catholics to one member of the Church of England. The population of Ireland consisted of 6,500,000 Roman Catholics. There were about 1,500,000 Protestants, of which number there were only a little more than half that number of persons belonging to the Church of England. About ten years ago, before the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had subdivided and diminished the different Sees, the diocese of Norwich—with the exception of from eleven to sixteen benefices—with one bishop, who was paid between 4,000l. or 5,000l. a year, had under his superintendence and guidance the same number of communicants as was in the whole of Ireland, with the exception of those benefices to which he had alluded; yet Ireland was superintended over by, he believed, eighteen bishops and four archbishops. It might be said that there were consolidations, or unions, as they were called in Ireland, but that argument would apply equally to his own diocese, and when they spoke of unions and consolidations, he thought the less that was said on that subject 41 the better. But then they were immediately answered that the Irish Roman Catholics were worse than any other Roman Catholics on the face of the earth—that they were more unmanageable, more intractable, than any others. But why were they so? For the sake of argument, but not because it was his own opinion—for the sake of argument he would allow that they were more unmanageable and intractable. But why was it so? Because they the Protestants, had made them so. It was said that in Canada they upheld the Roman Catholic religion, because Canada was a conquered country. But Ireland was also a conquered country. It was conquered by Henry II., and had been treated as a conquered province from that time to the present. That was the truth, and could not be denied. Could they be surprised when it was known how they had been treated, that they should regard the established religion, beautiful and mild as its doctrines were, "as through a glass darkly," and that they viewed such religion with suspicion, or something worse? Another argument that had been used was, that their religion was unchanged and immutable; but although in the letter and in theory they were unchanged, in practice it was not so. He would state one fact to show their Lordships how differently Roman Catholics acted on the Continent. In the Grand Duchy of Baden, where there was a large Lutheran and Episcopalian congregation, and also a large congregation of the member of the Church of Rome, what did the bishop of the Roman Catholic Church do? Did he crush the Lutherans, or oppress the Church of England congregation? No such thing. He sent for the chief rector of the town and commanded him to open his church, and at eight o'clock in the morning the mass and service of the Church of Rome was performed; the Lutherans then performed their service; and twice in the day that same church was opened for the morning and evening service of the members of the Church of England. He was not prepared to say or admit that such a thing would be either practicable or even desirable, considering the habits, manners and feelings of this country; but to the principle on which the Roman Catholic bishop acted, he thought there might be some approximation. He would use one more argument bearing on the subject, namely, supposing Ireland to be under a Roman Catholic 42 Government—that the members of the Established Church were in the minority, and that the Roman Catholic Government had, in a moment of kindness and benevolence, proposed such a measure as that before their Lordships, and that the six and a half millions of Roman Catholics opposed it, what would they say? Why, they would denounce them, and most properly, as bigoted, intolerant, and deficient in Christian charity. There would be a cry against such intolerance and justly so; and he (the Bishop of Norwich) would be the first to lead in it. He would not trespass longer on their Lordships' time—it was his intention to vote for the measure, first, because he considered it a religious question, inasmuch as it was associated with justice, with equity. He would vote for it, because he considered it an act of Christian duty, inasmuch as it was in accordance with the practice of that noble and prominent feature of our Saviour's doctrine to "do unto others as we would be done by." He would vote for it because he thought it an experiment in the right direction. He was in favour of education under any form he might say, but more especially under any form where religion was inculcated, as it must elicit truth; and as truth was elicited—he trusted the noble Lords who were members of the Roman Catholic religion would pardon him, but he spoke with sincerity as a Protestant—as education advanced truth was elicited, and in proportion as truth was elicited the laity of the Roman Catholic persuasion would rise as one man—hand to hand, and heart to heart, to overcome the thraldom of the priesthood, under which they were at present groaning. The measure was one which for a time, under existing prejudices and passions, might not be duly appreciated; but he trusted the time would soon come when it would be estimated in its true light, and that it would be hailed as a blessing by future generations, by their children's children, as one of the most wise and benevolent, expedient and useful, that was ever propounded in the 19th century. He cordially thanked the Government for bringing forward a measure which the nation had long wished for, and a measure of justice for which Ireland would be grateful.
§ The Earl of Mornington
said, he was of opinion that no measure could be better adapted to conciliate the great Conservative Catholic body than the Bill which was now before them. It was a measure 43 which, without wounding Protestant feeling, would advance the great principle of policy which they had already recognised in their legislation with respect to their Catholic fellow subjects, and was well calculated to add to the grandeur and stability of this great Empire. Amongst the many arguments which had been used against this measure, was the old one that had reference to the view which the Catholics held of their oath, and the influence of the Pope over their civil duties; but that question was settled many years ago by Mr. Pitt, who proposed several questions to the Colleges of the Sorbonne, Louvain, and Salamanca, with a view to ascertain the charges which were then made against the Catholics, on the subject of the power of the Pope over the civil duties or allegiance of Roman Catholics. The first question was, whether the Pope, or Cardinals, or any body or individuals of the Church of Rome, had any civil authority, or power, or jurisdiction, or preeminence whatever, in the realm of England? The next question was, whether the Pope, or Cardinals, or any body, or individuals in the Church of Rome, could absolve or dispense any of His Majesty's subjects from their oath of allegiance under any pretext whatever? And the third was, whether there was any principle or tenet in the Roman Catholic faith by which Roman Catholics were justified in not keeping faith with heretics, or other persons who differed from them in religious opinions, or whether the Pope or Cardinals claimed any authority in this country? The answer to those questions was in the negative, they abandoning the idea of the Pope's supremacy; and if that were so clearly settled in the time of Mr. Pitt, why was the charge renewed at the present day? Mr. Pitt at that time entertained the idea of proposing the emancipation of the Catholics; but he was obliged to postpone it in consequence of the political events of the time. However, although he postponed the emancipation of the Catholics in consequence of these events, yet he settled the question regarding the obligations of an oath on the Roman Catholics, and the alleged belief by them of the Pope's supremacy in this country. He was rejoiced to find the Government bringing forward a measure like this, which was founded in sound policy, for surely it was good policy to carry out fully the principles on which the 44 Emancipation Act of 1829 was agreed to. This was part of a great cause, and as they had already agreed to the Act of Catholic Emancipation, they were now, in his opinion, bound to carry out the principles of that Act by such a measure as this. Looking at it, therefore, as a beneficial measure, and as part of a wise and just system, he would give it his support. He had attentively listened to the debates in their Lordships' House for the last two nights; and he would remark, with respect to those who opposed the Bill, that they by that opposition expressed their desire to exclude the Roman Catholics from political power; for what other tendency could refusing them education have than to exclude them from power? The real objection to the Roman Catholic, he understood was, that it was a bad faith; but when the Roman Catholic religion was impressed on the minds of men of education, it was a very sublime religion; and the members of the Anglican Church, who, being well educated, did not respect the Catholic faith, were not wise as regarded the Anglican religion. He thought the fear which existed in the minds of some persons, as to giving the Pope influence in this country, was totally unfounded; and he would remind their Lordships, that in the countries with which there was a concordat, the Pope had less influence than the Archbishop of Canterbury had in England, independent of the Crown. He would remind those who had that fear of the Pope's influence, that the Pope was anxious to put down the agitation on the subject of the Repeal of the Union, and desirous that the Irish Charitable Bequests Act (which had been so much opposed by the Roman Catholics in Ireland) should pass. He repeated that he looked upon this as an excellent measure, and one well calculated to preserve the tranquillity of Ireland. If they took a large and comprehensive view of this important subject, they would perceive that it was merely following out a wise and just course of policy which they had already commenced; and if all parties could get rid of their prejudices, and looked at with an impartial judgment, he was satisfied it would meet with general support. The right rev. Prelate who spoke last had alluded in terms of just commendation to the liberality which characterized the conduct of the Catholic bishop at Baden; but he had not dwelt on that 45 circumstance with sufficient force; for there was not a single town in Germany in which a similar state of good feeling amongst Lutherans, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics, did not exist. The persons of different persuasions in Germany lived together in brotherly love, and were remarkable at the same time for the attention with which each observed the duties of his own persuasion. It was most desirable that such a system of liberality in religious feeling should be encouraged; and he, looking on this as a measure calculated to carry out a sound and liberal policy, felt bound to support it.
§ Lord Colchester
said, that as four Peers had followed each other in speaking in favour of the Bill, he might urge a claim to be heard on the other side; for he felt it his duty to oppose the second reading of the Bill. He would occupy their Lordships' attention for a short period, while he expressed his strong feeling of objection to the measure; but he felt it to be his duty not to let the Bill pass without expressing that objection, and stating the grounds on which it was based. He wished he could induce their Lordships to pause before they agreed to that measure; but he should not enter at large into the question of policy, which had been argued by a noble Lord and a right rev. Prelate on the previous evening, but confine himself in the observations he had to make to the simple question of the present state of Maynooth, and the probable benefits and evils that might result from the measure. He did not shrink from saying, that, beyond agreeing in what had been stated with regard to the political disadvantages of the measure, he coincided with many of those who had sent their petitions up to their Lordships' House objecting, on religious principles, to endowing the clergy of an antagonistic Church to the Church to which he belonged. He called the Roman Catholic Church antagonistic to the Church of England, because the latter rested on the Scriptures alone, on the simple Word of God, while the former introduced other authorities, and rested on the traditions of men. He believed, with a noble Duke who had spoken from the cross benches, that the numerous petitions which had been presented to their Lordships' House were not merely the effect of a clamour raised for a moment, but that they expressed the real feeling of a large portion of the people of England and Scotland. He believed that 46 the petitioners were not exclusively Dissenters, though he had no doubt that the Protestant Dissenters of this country had expressed themselves loudly and generally against the Bill; and he must remind noble Lords opposite that he had seen the times when they treated the petitions of Dissenters with a great deal more respect, and attached much more weight to them than they did on the present occasion. But petitions had been sent up from the clergy of the Establishment, and from the Church of Scotland, as well as from the two Universities. [Lord Monteagle: Neither.] There had been petitions to the House of Commons.
No, certainly not; a great number of members of the University of Cambridge had signed a memorial in favour of the Bill.
§ Lord Colchester
At any rate, the petitions from various parts of the country, and from Dissenters, as well as members of the Established Church, against the Bill, were sufficient to show how general the feeling of opposition to it was. He contended that it never was intended by the Irish Parliament that Maynooth College should be endowed by the State. There was nothing in the debates of the day to indicate such an intention. Moreover, the Commissioners were empowered to receive donations and subscriptions from charitable persons for the support of the College, which would hardly have been the case, if it was to be maintained by the State. Then, again, in the 10th Section of the original Act for granting 9,000l., it was declared to be to "establish" the College, not a grant to be made from year to year for its maintenance. Again, the Statute of George IV., reciting the former Act, said—"Whereas a seminary has been established;" not endowed. In 1799, the grant was not made, being thrown out by the Irish House of Lords; and in 1808, the Protestant feeling was so strong against it that it was proposed to take it away, but Mr. Perceval did not accede to the proposition. These circumstances proved that an endowment of Maynooth had never been intended. The whole argument of the noble Duke (Wellington) and the noble Earl the late Secretary for Ireland, seemed to rest on the intention of the Government to provide for a sufficient number of priests for the whole Roman Catholic population of that country out of the public funds; and it 47 was stated, with regard to the present Bill, that the present number of priests was not sufficient; as if those who framed the Bill considered that they were bound to supply the whole number that might be wanted at any time. This was, indeed, carrying the argument in favour even of endowment to the extreme. But the character of the institution was monastic, the students being confined for five days out of the seven, being allowed to go out under superintendence on two days in the week only, and on some occasions they were not permitted to converse with each other. It was, therefore, an institution not deserving of the support of this Protestant and free country. The students were selected by the Roman Catholic bishops, and placed in that College under its restrictions for seven years; after which they returned to the place whence they came. Therefore they had not the means of obtaining that knowledge of the world and of human life which was calculated to make them efficient teachers of their flocks. It was stated that the College did not possess adequate accommodation and comfort for the students. That was to be attributed in a great measure to the Roman Catholics themselves; for why had they not, in the spirit of the Act by which that College was established, come forward with their subscriptions and donations to support it? It was clear that the Roman Catholics of Ireland did not consider such an institution as one for the maintenance of which they should give their money. If Roman Catholics cried out so much for the education of their clergy, why did they not set the example? Or, if they did not choose to support their own College for that purpose, why should they call upon this Protestant country to do it? But while complaints were made of the poverty of the students, the Roman Catholic authorities had gone so far towards assisting them as to divide one small allowance between two students. The Roman Catholic prelates, it appeared, were now objecting to the students being taught logic, moral philosophy, and history, except by Roman Catholic professors in other institutions which were contemplated. Did not this show that they wished to give a certain tinge to the instruction, and to divert logic, moral philosophy, and history from their pure and legitimate purpose? With respect to the Bill before the House, it certainly would give larger salaries to the 48 professors, and increase those benefits to the students, for which the Roman Catholic gentry did not think it worth while to give their money. He thought that not only should the Roman Catholic gentry support it, but that those Protestant landlords who were so much in favour of this measure should also lend it their assistance. He did not see that any advantage would be derived from the alteration with regard to the visitors; nor did he believe that the student would receive any better education than formerly; nor that anything was improved, except the salaries of the professors and the comforts of the scholars. Though the sum had been voted for many years, it was never too late to object to that which was wrong. An annual grant, too, was a very different thing from a gift in perpetuity, as the Government would soon find, if they attempted to make the Navy and Army Estimates permanent, instead of annual. As to this being a healing measure, it would produce greater dissatisfaction in the country than ever. But it was asked, what was to be done with 6,000,000 of Roman Catholics? He would say, educate them, but not at Maynooth. He greatly approved of the principle of the Irish Colleges Bill, and wished to see a grant for educating the laity of Ireland; he could say that he was most anxious to see that country great and flourishing.
§ Lord Monteagle
My Lords, I rejoice to have given way to the noble Lord who has just sat down (Lord Colchester), more especially as the claim which he advanced for being heard is to the friends of the Bill a very cheering one; namely, the preponderance in numbers of the speakers in favour of the Bill; an important admission to be made by one of its strongest opponents. I venture to submit to your Lordships, whether the preponderance in argument has not hitherto been, at the least, as great as the numerical preponderance? This singular complaint of the want of earnestness and of numbers among our opponents, and made, too, by themselves, will I trust, lead to good consequences in Ireland, and will prove to a people who have been unfortunately impressed with a contrary belief, that both in your Lordships' House and elsewhere, a great majority of their fellow subjects are sincerely desirous to do their duty towards Ireland, and to promote in every way the well-being of that country and of its inhabitants. I find another and a most important illustration of the same truth in 49 the fact, that the Bill has hitherto been supported by a greater relative number of English Peers, than of Peers connected by birth or property with Ireland. If this measure is considered important in Ireland—and it cannot be otherwise considered—if it is regarded as an act of justice, of wise policy, and of favour and generosity, extended not only to the people of Ireland, but to the religious faith and to the clergy of the great majority of that people; it should be for ever remembered, that the British advocates of the Bill have been the most numerous, and that in zeal and earnestness they have not been surpassed by any Irish supporter of this excellent and liberal proposition. This fact should be most gratifying and most welcome to all friends of the Union between the two countries; it is a conclusive proof that there is not in Parliament, as there ought not to be, any severance of feeling between British and Irish Members; that there is not, among either, any slackness in the endeavour to perform their public duty; but on the contrary, that there exists amongst all an equal desire to advance the real interests, to secure the permanent welfare, to respect the feelings, and I may be permitted to add, even, to consult the honest prejudices of the people of Ireland. This is neither confined to race nor to party. It is to be found among the English and among the Scotch, among the Whigs, the Tories, the Conservatives and the Radicals. However we may differ about the means, there is no difference between us in our desire of serving Ireland. I therefore beg most respectfully to tender my humble acknowledgments, as an Irishman, to the Peers of England and of Scotland who have supported this Bill; I thank them, not only for their advocacy of a measure right in itself, but for the additional strength which they have thereby given to the Legislative Union. I beg more particularly to thank my noble Friend (Earl of Carnarvon), whose eloquent and impressive speech, delivered last night, brought the whole subject before the House, in a manner which cannot easily be forgotten by those who had the good fortune to hear him—a speech which I trust may be long and affectionately remembered by the people of Ireland. It has been urged by those who oppose the Bill, that the original founders of the College never contemplated its permanent endowment by the State. A greater mistake cannot well be committed. We know the importance attached 50 to the foundation of Maynooth by Mr. Grattan, Mr. Burke, and Lord Fitzwilliam. But if those great men are to be objected to by our opponents as incompetent witnesses, the evidence of the Earl Camden on this subject must be admitted to be conclusive. His prejudices were not likely to have run very strongly in favour of a College proposed to be established by his predecessor. And yet the words selected by the Earl Camden, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to express his sense of the important step which had been taken in establishing Maynooth, were the most precise and emphatic that could have been used on such an occasion. "I congratulate you," said Lord Camden to the Irish Parliament, in his speech from the Throne in 1795, "I congratulate you, that a wise foundation has been laid for the education of the Roman Catholic clergy at home." Observe the force and appropriateness of the word "foundation." A word more full of meaning could not have been selected; and it could not have been employed on any occasion, or by any speaker, more peculiarly calculated to enhance its real import and signification. No term in the English language could have conveyed a more distinct pledge of the intentions of the Government of Mr. Pitt. I dwell on this, because the original views of the British and the Irish Governments, in the year 1795, are most material to be carefully borne in mind; nor should the names and characters of the real founders of Maynooth, nor the general scope of their declared policy, be forgotten. On the present occasion they are not only authorities to which we may appeal, but they are guides we ought to follow. On this part of the subject, namely, on the origin of Maynooth, I beg leave very respectfully to differ from the noble Duke (the Duke of Wellington) who has introduced this Bill; though I do not differ with him as to the conclusions to which he has arrived. In differing from him, I admit, however, the policy of his argument as bearing upon a class of persons whose support he is desirous of obtaining. But I cannot adopt his views respecting the origin of Maynooth: the facts he states are entirely true, and they ought to be borne in mind in discussing the question; but there are other facts still more important, which the noble Duke has omitted, and which I must be allowed to point out, desirous as I am that this measure should produce its full effect upon the people of both countries, and that it should be generously 51 conceded here, and gratefully accepted in Ireland. This can hardly be expected unless the history of the foundation of Maynooth be remembered. The noble Duke has stated that this measure was originally supported in Ireland by Lord Chancellor Clare, by the Beresfords, by Lords Kilwarden and Avonmore. Great officers of State in Ireland, it is true, gave an honourable support to the measure, and recommended it to Parliament. But some of these names are not qualified to increase its popularity in one country, or add to its weight in the other. I do not wish this measure to rest on the authority of any local politicians, however eminent their talents, and even assuming their support to have been independent and disinterested. It rests on the far higher authority of the greatest and wisest philosopher of his time, and on the authority of the most powerful statesman who ever influenced the counsels of a British Parliament. It is not to be considered as the Bill of Lord Chancellor Clare, however respectable his authority; it is not to be considered as the Bill of Chief Justice Yelverton, or Mr. Wolfe;—no—it is more truly to be regarded as the Bill of Edmund Burke, as the Bill of William Pitt; and as sanctioned by a name more powerful than both in the country for whose benefit it was intended—as the Bill of Henry Grattan. The importance attached to this measure by Burke, and the share he took in its foundation, are no longer matters of doubt or speculation. From the published correspondence of Mr. Burke—for which the world are greatly indebted to two distinguished friends of Ireland, the Earl Fitzwilliam and Lieutenant General Sir Richard Bourke—it is clear that from September, 1794, to the autumn of 1795, this subject engrossed the attention of Burke, the eager anxiety of Grattan, and the best exertions of that excellent and pious man, Bishop Hussey, the first president of the College. In September, 1794, Mr. Grattan wrote to Mr. Burke—I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Hussey. He mentioned the subject of the College as having interested your attention. On that or any subject, I shall be happy to receive your instructions, which I shall always reverence.He resumes the subject again in October, 1794:—The point that has occurred to you," he observes, "is certainly of great moment. It is absolutely necessary to allow the Catholic clergy a Catholic education at home. If they cannot have a Catholic education at home, 52 they can have none at all, or none that is not dangerous. I don't think any time should be lost; too much time has been lost already, both with regard to their education and to Irish education in general.I am unwilling to trouble your Lordships with many extracts from this most interesting correspondence; but there still are a few more to which I must be permitted to call your particular attention. Your Lordships are well aware of the history of that period—of the appointment of Lord Fitzwilliam, of the liberal intentions with which he entered on the functions of Lord Lieutenant—of his most unfortunate recall when he had hardly been more than ostentatus terris, and when the love borne towards him was proved by the bitterness of a nation's regret and disappointment. This unhappy change brought to a severe test the principle on which Maynooth rested. It had been proposed by Lord Fitzwilliam, with the good will and hearty concurrence of his colleagues and of the British Cabinet. It was received in Ireland, as was Lord Fitzwilliam himself, with the most cordial and grateful feelings. But on the recall of the Lord Lieutenant, whilst many of his plans were rejected by his successor in office, the College of Maynooth, so far from, being included in that number, was vigorously supported and carried into effect under Lord Camden by his Secretary, Mr. Pelham. Bishop Hussey writes to Mr. Burke, February 26, 1795—The disastrous news, my dear Sir, of Earl Fitzwilliam's recall is come; and Ireland is now on the brink of a civil war. * * * I wrote half a dozen lines this day to the Duke of Portland confining myself to two questions:—first, whether the Education Bill is to be effected? secondly, whether it is his wish that I should remain for the purpose?On the 10th March, the same prelate communicates the results of this inquiry. He states—I received a letter two days ago from the Duke of Portland desiring me to remain for the establishment of a Catholic College; and promising to have a Bill passed for it in this Session of Parliament. Knowing the good effects such an intention would produce towards quieting the present irritated state of the public mind, I made every prudent use of his Grace's letter, and have succeeded.It was several months after the removal of Lord Fitzwilliam that Burke finally addressed Bishop Hussey on the subject of Maynooth, in a leter dated July, 1795. Mr. Burke's words were as follow:—I am in the highest degree interested in 53 anything with which you are concerned, and most particularly in the object which detains you in Ireland. If that business is completed as it ought to be, and as it will be, if the hands of the jobbers are kept out of it, I expect more good to come of it than from anything else that has happened in our days.Well and truly did Mr. Burke express himself in this letter. And, nearly echoing Mr. Burke's words on the present occasion, I will say that I consider the present Bill the most important measure that has passed, if not since the Union, at least since the Relief Bill of 1829. In some respects, indeed, I consider it to be more important than the Relief Bill itself. In its practical effects on the religious feelings of the Roman Catholic people of Ireland it is all important. If your Lordships will throw your eyes back upon the history of Ireland, stained and disfigured as that history is by bloodshed and crime—perplexed and confused as it has been by perpetual civil commotion—you will still find, that for the last three centuries, all these contentions have resolved themselves into one great severance—not a severance of nation from nation, or of race from race, but a severance still more fatal—a severance on the score of religion; by which the Protestants were placed at one side of a line, cruelly and unjustly drawn by the Legislature, and the Roman Catholics on the other. The favours of the State were lavished on the first—a most unfortunate gift; and for the second, were reserved pains and penalties, as little calculated to render them good Protestants, as to make them good subjects. This wicked policy was preeminently displayed in the mode in which Parliament dealt with two questions of incalculable importance—the religion and the education of the people. These two great national objects of interest were sacrificed by the bigots who governed Ireland: these two great national duties were not merely disregarded and neglected, but were wickedly counteracted by the Ministers who ruled after the Revolution. The priest and the schoolmaster were alike made objects of penalty and of persecution. When my noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) stated on a former night, that the Church of England had not been a persecuting Church, I cheered that statement, believing it to be a perfectly true one. It was the State rather than the Church which was the persecutor in Ireland. The Church in that country, as in this, maintained on the whole its true character as the most liberal, as well as the purest and most enlightened 54 of our various religious denominations. But though the Church in Ireland was not intolerant, the State, or rather the small but governing minority in Ireland, were intolerant and persecuting to a degree of ingenious wickedness, which in the annals of the world have never been surpassed, and to which the legislation of all mankind can afford no parallel. The Roman Catholic religion was proscribed; its sacred functions were prohibited; its priests were hunted down and banished. And how had the so much praised and regretted Parliament of Ireland dealt with the question of education? I ask your Lordships to examine your Statute Book. I agree with my noble Friend (Lord Roden) that the days of William the Deliverer were the birth time of British liberty; but in Ireland they were the days of injustice, oppression, and violated faith. With most malignant ingenuity, Acts were passed making it criminal for Catholics to obtain education at home, and rendering it penal for Catholics to seek education abroad. The same party which thus proscribed knowledge had the audacity to reproach the Irish with ignorance. They drove my countrymen to foreign countries, and then reproached them with their subjection to foreign influences; they taunted us with faults and defects of which their own wicked legislation had been the primary cause. I thank God those evil days have passed away. Those atrocious laws have been, for the most part, repealed. But it should be remembered that our improved and more impartial legislation has chiefly proceeded on political grounds. We have vindicated civil liberty, it is true; but the cause of religious equality, and of Christian charity, has not yet been triumphant. Till the enactment of the Charitable Bequests Act of the last Session, and the introduction of the present Bill, we seem to have been afraid of avowing either respect or sympathy for the religion of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, or for the ministers of that religion. It is not surprising, therefore, that religious irritation and jealousy should exist. I consider the present measures to be almost the first which strike at the root of the disease. They are right in principle, though still incomplete and inadequate. But yet, though we may not effect all that we desire, Parliament is at length endeavouring to apply an appropriate and healing remedy to the festering and sore part of our system; we are at length abandoning that vicious course of legislation which severed the people of England from 55 the religion and the spiritual instructors of the great majority of the people of Ireland, dealing with the latter as enemies or as insincere friends. We are, for the first time, saying to the latter, "Not only do we now cast aside all jealousy and suspicion on account of your religious faith—not only do we abandon and disclaim any desire of subjecting you, as Roman Catholics, to civil disabilities or penal enactments, but we at last mark our respect and sympathy for the religion you profess—we are, at last, disposed to support and countenance it; not dealing with it, indeed, as a religion which we, as Protestants, prefer, but as the religion which is preferred by the great bulk of the people of Ireland." The question which you, my Lords, are called upon to decide by your votes this night, is not whether you adopt the College of Maynooth as a perfect system, nor yet, whether the opinions of the Roman Catholic Church are conformable with our own views of religious truth; but whether it is not wise to acknowledge the Catholic clergy, as the religious instructors of the Irish people, and as such, the instruments through which we are permitted to effect the greatest amount of good to Ireland, both moral and spiritual. I believe most sincerely that this is the case. But we are to be met, it seems, by a preliminary objection, which, if it be well founded, I must admit is conclusive against the Bill; but if it is well founded, it is equally fatal to our past, as to our present legislation. The Roman Catholic religion, we are told, is not only an erroneous one, but it contains most fatal and deadly errors of faith and doctrine. By this Bill we provide for its professors and its priests. We are thus disseminating as well as countenancing error. And this is charged against us as a national sin; and all the authors and supporters of this measure are stigmatized as men equally forgetful of our duty towards God and towards our country. Now, those who make use of such an argument, must be either ignorant or wilfully forgetful of the course pursued by England in all quarters of the world, not only at present, but in former times; not only under the auspices of the present Government, but under Cabinets of the most unquestioned orthodoxy, or else they must admit that we have been for years most unscrupulous offenders. As conclusive evidence on this subject, I beg leave to refer to Returns which I moved for, and 56 which are now on your Lordships' Table. As these Returns have not yet been before the public for a sufficient time to familiarize the House with the important facts which they contain, and the truths they illustrate, I must take leave to notice some of their most important contents. I shall do this for the purpose of demonstrating how truly absurd and fallacious, how contrary to historical fact, is the assertion that Parliament, in passing this Bill, is adopting any novel or unjustifiable principle. I shall do this for the purpose of silencing those ignorant clamourers, who proclaim so loudly, that by providing for the instruction of Catholics in their religion, we are unprotestantizing England—that we are unchristianizing the Empire. I do this to prove that these noisy advocates of intolerance know nothing of the subjects which they presume to discuss, that they are utterly ignorant of the whole course of our legislation, and of our Government, foreign, domestic, and, more especially, colonial. I reason on the assumption of their ignorance, in preference to the adoption of the less flattering supposition of a willing, and therefore a culpable, misrepresentation. The Returns which are now before me exhibit the mode in which the Government and the Imperial as well as the Colonial Legislatures have dealt with questions relating to religion and to education. They illustrate the principle on which England, as an Empire, has acted in the promotion of religious instruction in our Colonies, in the endowment, not of one, but of many religions in our wide-spread dependencies. My Lords, I feel a national pride as a British subject in referring to these authentic documents. In foreign countries it has been so often asserted, that it is at length believed, that we consider our Colonies as forming only the basis of our political and commercial power, and as giving us the means of acquiring and accumulating wealth. These official Returns prove, on the contrary, that England is swayed and influenced by higher thoughts, and that she performs nobler duties. This Return proves that we have not been insensible to those more exalted functions of a Government, and of a mother State—the duty of providing for the moral and religious wants of our Colonial fellow subjects. These duties we endeavour to discharge, and God forbid we should ever undervalue or neglect them! But the principle which guides us in performing these functions is shown on the face of these Returns. Is it intolerant? 57 Is it exclusive? Does it assume that as a State we possess a capacity for pronouncing authoritatively upon what we consider religious truth; and that within that circle of religious truth our active interposition should be strictly confined? Does it exclude the Roman Catholics and their religious teachers from the bounty and support of the State, on the supposition that they are disseminators of error? No such thing. From the language used by those who are hostile to Maynooth, it might be supposed that any encouragement given to the Roman Catholic religion by the State is a novel as well as an indefensible proceeding, and that the present Government and those who support them are responsible for this dangerous innovation. From the Paper which is before me, it appears that the population of the thirty-eight Colonial possessions of England amounts to 4,695,000, and that liberal sums are voted or appropriated for the purposes of religious instruction and general education. Now, if the supreme power of a State possessed, or could justly claim, a capacity for the discovery of religious truth; if that truth is but one; and if it therefore becomes our duty, in our national and corporate capacity, to withhold and discountenance the propagation of all opinions inconsistent with that single and selected truth—there surely is no portion of the Empire so well adapted for the application of this principle as are some of our Colonies. In those newly formed communities we had, as it were, a tabula rasa, on which it was competent to us, at our free will, to trace any inscription. In the Return to which I refer, so far from our adoption of any single and exclusive principle, there are exhibited the most signal instances of our preference of a principle more comprehensive. In that Return is contained ample evidence that in our Colonies we support those several modifications of Christianity which, appearing to prevail the most in each particular place, are the most likely to meet the wants, and to promote the spiritual well-being of the colonists and inhabitants. I find, that in the single year 1842, 163,144l. was voted by the Home and the Colonial Legislatures for purposes connected with the Established Church; that during the same period 29,692l. has been voted for the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in the Colonies; for the Wesleyans and Protestant Dissenters 4,634l.; and for the Church of Rome 26,079l., including not only a payment for Roman Catholic priests, but in several instances 58 payments for Roman Catholic bishops also; thus making altogether a sum of 223,549l., of which 46,912l. was paid by the British Treasury, and 176,637l. was paid out of the Colonial funds. In addition to this, 171,162l. was voted for schools in connexion with various denominations of Christians. I am not called on to explain or defend the proportions in which this public aid is allotted. I am dealing with the principle only; and this is not varied by the question of more or less, as exemplified in the appropriation of these sums. What I engaged to prove, and what I have proved, is, that the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church is not a principle first adopted in the present day, first sanctioned by the measure of the noble Duke (Wellington) or by the Colonial administration of my noble Friend (Lord Stanley); but that it was recognised by his predecessors in office, many years back, and by Parliamentary votes given in what were called good Protestant times. Nor were these principles adopted or applied in secret, and in the dark. Parliament, and the Committees of Parliament, were not left in ignorance of what was going on in all quarters of the globe under our Government. Attention was repeatedly drawn to these permanent endowments as well as to the annual grants which were made or sanctioned; yet, I am not aware, during more than a quarter of a century of Parliamentary experience, that the intolerant objections now raised against the increased vote for Maynooth have ever been urged against these Colonial grants. I scarcely know any denomination of Christian men for whose benefit, at one time or another, some public aid does not appear to have been given. In Canada, we support Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and other Dissenters. We have abandoned the enactments of our earlier Statute Law, and this in the present reign, for the purpose of including Roman Catholics in an appropriation of ecclesiastical estates expressly intended for other religious denominations. This was done in 1840. In the Mauritius, there is a joint endowment for the Church of England and that of Rome. In Newfoundland, we not only endow a Roman Catholic bishop, but we build a Roman Catholic cathedral. In Jamaica, grants for the Church, for Protestant Dissenters and the Roman Catholics are eulogized by a late excellent Governor (Lord Metcalfe) as "honourable to the Legislature, and attended with benefit to the community." 59 In our Spanish, French, and Dutch Colonies, the religious feelings and interests of the various Churches are respected and are provided for. But the case to which I should wish more especially to call your Lordships' attention, is that of one of our latest Colonies, where it cannot be suggested that we are acting in pursuance of any obligations either of compact or of Treaty; but where, if there ever was a case where we were free to act according to our own sense of duty, we were at perfect liberty to do so. I allude to the important and improving Colony of Australia. There, it will be seen that the most perfect system of religious freedom, and I may add of religous equality and justice, has been adopted. This is done effectually; but not by adopting that which is commonly called the voluntary principle, and leaving all religions to shift for themselves; a principle, if, indeed, a principle it can be called, to which I should object as strongly as any one of your Lordships. On the contrary, the Legislature has acted on the very opposite principle, and has laid down as its fundamental doctrine that it was as clearly the bounden duty of the Government to provide for the religious and moral interests of the people, as for their civil government, their military protection, and their material wants. The Legislature did not realize this truth by providing for one Church only—still less did they feel themselves justified in leaving all Churches unprovided for. They wisely and charitably made provision for all. The Colonial Church Temporalities Act of 1836, constitutes one of the many causes of gratitude and respect which rendered the administration of my excellent friend Sir Richard Bourke memorable in Australia, and a model of imitation to all succeeding governors. In New South Wales, under this wise and impartial law, the Church of England received 17,000l. per annum: the Church of Scotland 7,000l.; the Wesleyans and other Dissenters 3,400l., and the Roman Catholics 10,097l. Nor can I overlook the effects which this truly catholic principle of endowments has practically produced on the interests of the Church of England. Has it led to its dishonour or to its decay? On the contrary, I appeal to the right rev. Bench, and ask those prelates who take the deepest interest in missionary proceedings connected with the Church, and to whom the Colonial correspondence on this subject is officially referred, whether they can point out any other part of the Colonial dominions 60 of the Crown in which the Church of England has been more prosperous, where her doctrines have taken a firmer root, or have extended more rapidly, than in New South Wales, under the influence of Sir Richard Bourke's most wise and liberal legislation? The inferences which are deducible from this great and successful experiment would carry me much further than would be justifiable on the present occasion. I have raised a question, however, which I hope may claim some portion of your Lordships' attention hereafter. I need not carry it further, for the purposes of my present argument. I scarcely anticipate that any noble Lord will feel inclined to reject the precedents which I have cited, on the ground that they are exclusively drawn from our Colonial administration. Beware, my Lords, of so dangerous, I might say, of so fatal an argument. Are your Lordships disposed to say to the people of Ireland, "We will not assist in the education of your Irish priesthood, for this would be the endowment of error, and, therefore, would be unworthy of men who boast that they are the exclusive supporters of truth; but while we maintain this doctrine inviolably in Ireland, we entertain an utter disregard of its authority in every other part of the world? The religious feelings and interests of the French Canadians, of the Spaniards at Trinidad, of the Dutch at the Cape, and in Demerara, are taken into just account by Great Britain; for them we sympathize; but towards Ireland and the Irish people we adopt and act upon a different theory." Nay, you who oppose this Bill are bound to go much further. You are driven to the admission that you are ready to do more, and that you hold yourself morally justified in doing more for the convicts of Van Diemen's Land and Norfolk Island, than you will sanction or tolerate for the people of that which is an integral part of your European Empire. You endow the priests of Australia without any conscientious scruple—you refuse to support Maynooth, on the suggestion that it is sinful to do so. I have dealt with the argument as it would stand if we were now for the first time called upon to found a Roman Catholic College in Ireland. I really can hardly condescend to consider the objection as applicable merely to an increase of a grant admitted by all to be inadequate. Such an objection is childish—is absurd. The argument, if good at all, applies to the whole grant, and not to its augmentation. The real objection felt, 61 though there may be some reluctance in expressing it, is the bearing of the question on Ireland, and on Irish interests. This the petitioners from Exeter Hall shrink from avowing. They are afraid to say, "We willingly endow the Catholicism of Rome, wherever in the most distant lands the flag of the Empire waves; but when we turn to our neighbours in Ireland, to those who ought to be our fast friends, we find that the Secunda Secundæ of Aquinas stands between us and the fulfilment of those duties which we discharge so scrupulously elsewhere." Will the people of Ireland be contented, think you, at being told that, because their professors of polemics keep on their shelves a copy of Maldonatus, or even the commentaries of Menochius, you mark your dislike to their religion and your distrust of its professors, in a mode which you do not venture to adopt at the antipodes? A right rev. Prelate (Bishop of London) has informed us that he is most desirous that the Roman Catholics should be educated, provided only that they are not educated in erroneous doctrine; that is, he objects to a course of Roman Catholic instruction, because it comprehends Roman Catholic theology; he, too, is alarmed at a College in the library of which the Secunda Secundæ is to be found. This book seems to have created in the minds of many speakers a holy alarm, as if it contained the substance of all evil; yet it has been described by a late authority in our own Church, "as a work which has been in all ages especially admired, and by many is still admired, as an unrivalled exposition of Christian morality." But the argument which rejects the works of Aquinas, as an unfit subject of study in an ecclesiastical College, and then proposes to teach Roman Catholic students upon the very practicable and reasonable conditions, that they shall not study their own divinity, appears to me unrivalled, as combining at once an unfounded assumption, and an illogical conclusion. I have not yet exhausted my argument on this branch of the subject. It is against the sin of teaching Popery, that the religious world, and the congregations of Exeter Hall, send forth their petitions, by their thousands and their ten thousands. Yet this, I have proved to you, is done by us all over the world, and has been done in Ireland since 1796. And much more than this is done in our possessions in India. Not only have you there provided for Churchmen, for Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics, 62 in your last Charter Act of 1833, but you have not neglected the faith and religion of the Mahomedan and of the Hindoo. You support at Calcutta, you support at Benares, establishments for the cultivation of Sanscrit and Mahomedan law and learning; and with the law, the religion of Oriental countries is necessarily intermixed. The Mahomedan College was established on the requisition of certain eminent persons of that faith, in 1795, the very year of the foundation of Maynooth. Money has been repeatedly appropriated for its support. Reports are periodically made to the Indian Government showing its condition. In this institution there are courses of lectures, as in the Colleges of this country—lectures in theology, and I pray your Lordships to recollect the nature of that theology—in logic, in pure mathematics, in physics, and other branches of academical instruction; and the salaries of the professors are fixed, and duly paid. At Benares, as I have already stated, a Hindoo College has been forwarded by the Government. The object of this institution is stated to be the preservation of the ancient language, the literature, and the laws of Hindostan; and, above all, the learning connected with the religion of the people. Are you disposed, my Lords, to adhere to your objection to the present Bill, after a review of these facts? Will you allow even an echo of your arguments to be returned to Ireland? Will you proclaim to the most excitable of your fellow countrymen, that you willingly found and willingly support a College for the Hindoo and the Mahomedan—that you respect the religion and the law of the natives of the East, but that in respect to the Irish, who are, or who ought to be, as dear to you as the inhabitants of Middlesex or Surrey, you set aside the petitions of their bishops, you disregard the recommendations of your own Government; because, forsooth, you are pleased to consider the education of Christian priests, of the Roman Catholic persuasion, to be a sinful propagation of error. For the sacred city of Benares you are ready to provide instruction in a law and religion wholly differing from our own—in Ireland you feel, or affect to feel, scruples in promoting the education of what you cannot deny to be a Christian priesthood. Prove to me that any and every form of Christian faith is not divine truth, when compared with the mythology of the Hindoo, and the spurious 63 revelations of the Koran, and there may then be some consistency, though not a sound policy, in your proceedings; but to me, who believe that the religion of the Gospel, under any modification, is still in its essence divine, the course of conduct which you call upon Parliament to pursue in rejecting this Bill is beyond all comprehension. I do not pretend to claim for this country any peculiar merit in acting towards its Colonial possessions on the principles I have described. Cast a glance across the channel, and observe the conduct of the French Legislature. There the Protestant pastor is protected by the laws, and is endowed by the State. I entreat you, my Lords, to consider whether you are reading to the Irish people a safe lesson, when you teach them that in foreign countries, where the Roman Catholic is the religion of the State, more attention and deference is shown to Protestants than you are disposed to extend to the Irish Roman Catholics. Will this render the Government of Her Majesty more easy, or the power of the Imperial Parliament more effective? Will this make the Union more popular, or contribute to silence the cry for Repeal? One strange particularity has from first to last characterized the arguments of the opponents of this Bill. They object to the proposition of the Government—they condemn the present condition of Maynooth; but they shrink from the suggestion of any alternative whatever. They do not venture to make any proposition of their own. The noble Lord (the Earl of Roden) who moved for a Committee, might indeed have suggested that his Amendment was this alternative; but this supposition is negatived by his frank admission that his real object was not to inquire but to defeat the Bill. At the same time, the noble Lord condemned Maynooth as it is now governed and constituted. We must agree to the proposition of the Government for the improvement of this College, we must leave matters as they are, or we must withdraw the Parliamentary grant altogether. No one on either side has proposed that matters should rest as they are; that, of all propositions, seems the least defensible. As to the refusal of the grant, and the repeal of the laws founding the College, I ask, is any one ready to make, or defend such a proposition? The suggestion was, it is true, hazarded in the House of Commons; but I believe that no one had the rashness to follow it up. Therefore, it appears to me, that the improvement of 64 the College as proposed by the Government is the only practical question which is before us. It is true that some Peers have expressed, or at least implied, a preference for a foreign education. But was this quite candid on their part? Supposing that, at this moment, the priests of Ireland were educated in Foreign States, in Belgium, in Spain, Portugal, or Italy, would not the very persons to whom I allude be the loudest in their protests against foreign influence and Ultramontane doctrine? Should we not be reminded, and reminded with historical truth, that Douay was founded by Cardinal Allen, at a time when the Low Countries were part of Spain, and when Spanish influence was the most opposed to Protestantism? Should we not be referred to Father Parsons, the Jesuit, as the founder of St. Omer? Would not the politics and the fanaticism of the clergy of the Peninsula, and the influence of the regular orders on the Continent, be held up to us as being conclusive arguments against foreign education? If the objection of the noble Duke (the Duke of Manchester) was of any real force as against a priesthood brought up under the control of our own laws, and our own magistrates, the cry against the Ultramontane doctrines of the priests and their anti-constitutional principles would be tenfold greater when that priesthood derived its influences from abroad. On this point, I may refer to the very laborious work of Mr. Lord, which has been most industriously circulated by the opponents of Maynooth. This gentleman, who, I believe, is a member of the learned profession of the law, asks, what can be expected from an education at Rome, but the most bitter bigotry, and a hatred against this country and its institutions? Would not a foreign education be therefore considered by those who now oppose this Bill more objectionable than Maynooth itself? It is therefore, in the highest degree, uncandid to suggest a foreign education as a preferable alternative. Even Mr. Leslie Foster himself declared, on the 13th of July, 1807, that "of the establishment of Maynooth as a substitution for St. Omer's, he entirely approved;" and yet statesmen of the school of Leslie Foster would have us believe that they are willing to revert to that system so loudly, so generally, and so justly condemned. The noble Earl who moved the Amendment has referred to the authority of a great and excellent man, ever entitled to be named with grateful reverence both within and without 65 these walls. The name of Wilberforce—clarum et venerabile nomen—could not but have the greatest weight with all, and more especially with some of those classes who are the most opposed to this Bill. From the use made by the noble Lord of that respected name, it might be inferred that Wilberforce had been opposed, not only to a grant to Maynooth, but even to the claims of the Irish Roman Catholics. This was not the case. The subject of debate on the 5th of May, 1808, the period to which I believe the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) alludes, was not whether the ordinary Vote for Maynooth should be withdrawn, but whether the Vote, as increased by the Whig Government of 1807, should or should not be continued. In the discussion of this question, the principle of some public endowment for Maynooth was conceded even by Mr. Perceval's Government; and Wilberforce himself appealed to that endowment in proof that England, in this respect, went far beyond the mere principle of toleration in her Irish policy. "As far as an establishment was supported at the public expense for the purpose of instructing a particular class differing in sentiment from the established religion of the country, we went beyond the bounds of toleration; and instead of acting on the principles of bigotry or intolerance, we exercised a degree of liberality unknown in any other country." This, unquestionably, is not the language of an enemy to the Vote. Though Wilberforce, at that period of his life, did entertain some alarm and jealousy in respect to the opinions of the Roman Catholics, it is notorious that, at a later period, he became one of their most honourable and most effectual supporters. It was in the full maturity of his genius that he uttered those memorable words, "As an Englishman, I feel that I owe an atonement to Ireland for the wrongs of centuries." Not one word of objection was uttered by Mr. Wilberforce against the principle of the Maynooth grant during the many discussions on the subject which took place; and he was, on the contrary, an acquiescing party to the annual votes from the Union to the period of his lamented death. I must, therefore, protest against the supposition that the authority of Wilberforce can be justly turned against us. If I wanted any further evidence to prove that on the occasion referred to the principle of the Maynooth vote was not brought into controversy, I might refer to the speech of the noble 66 Duke, then Sir Arthur Wellesley, and Secretary for Ireland. On the 29th of April, 1808, the objection which he raised to the increased vote was, that "The number of priests educated at Maynooth, when added to those educated in other parts of Ireland, was fully adequate for the purpose for which they were required." To me it therefore seems but a natural, and, indeed, an unavoidable inference, that if, by the progress of population since 1808, the number of priests educated at Maynooth is inadequate for the discharge of their duties in 1845, so far from being inconsistent in his conduct, the noble Duke is now carrying out, to its legitimate conclusion, the very principle which, thirty-seven years back, he affirmed as Secretary for Ireland. How stand the facts? The population of Ireland has increased nearly 4,000,000 in the last half century; and is it possible for any men acquainted with the laborious duties of the parish priests of Ireland, to contend that those duties can now be performed without an increase of the former ecclesiastical establishment? Another name had been referred to by the same noble Earl in support of his views; a name which could not fail to have great influence with your Lordships and with the public. To my infinite astonishment, I heard Mr. Alexander Knox referred to as an opponent of Maynooth. My Lords, a more excellent and pious man did not exist, or one more entitled to respect from his high principles, his earnest piety, his rare literary endowments, and his love for Ireland. He was the affectionate friend, worthy guide, associate, and fellow labourer of the good Bishop Jebb, into whose intimacy I feel proud to have been admitted. But so far was Mr. Alexander Knox from being opposed to Maynooth, that for more than twenty years of his life, he fulfilled the duties and received the emoluments of agent to the College.
The Earl of Roden
said, that he had referred to that gentleman as being opposed to the proceedings carried on at Maynooth, and not to the original grant, but quite the contrary.
§ Lord Monteagle
My Lords, I undertake to prove to your Lordships that the opinions of Mr. Alexander Knox had not undergone any change in any respect. If they had, is it to be believed that he would have continued his connexion with Maynooth to the very last moment of his life? Would he have lent the sanction of his high name to an institution which he condemned, more 67 especially if he condemned it on religious grounds? The supposition would be inconsistent with personal honour, with moral principle, and would therefore be irreconcilable with the character of Alexander Knox. Your Lordships will recollect that this gentleman had been the private secretary to Lord Castlereagh at the time of the Union. He was appointed agent to Maynooth by that Minister in 1800. In that official capacity, he was the medium of all communications between the College and the Government. He was examined on the subject of Maynooth in 1826, before the Royal Commissioners. Is it to be suggested or believed, that if his opinions were unfavourable to the College, he would, when examined on oath, have suppressed or withheld those unfavourable opinions? But not one word dropped from him which bears or suggests any such inference. Quite the contrary. It is true he admits that his official duties were, to a considerable extent, nominal. But he refers with satisfaction to a service he had rendered to Maynooth by applying to the Government on behalf of the trustees for an addition to the grant. This, I think, he obtained. Mr. Knox states this act to have been the last service he had it in his power to render to Maynooth. I submit to your Lordships, that this language, so employed by Mr. Knox, and in evidence given on oath, and after twenty-six years of service as a salaried officer, negatives most abundantly the supposition that he was adverse to the Maynooth establishment. I think I have thus made out clearly, that neither Wilberforce nor Knox are authorities against this Bill. It was important that this should be borne in mind, and that noble Lords should not be induced to believe that, in supporting the Government this night, they were doing that which Knox or Wilberforce would have condemned. My noble Friend (Lord Roden) has endeavoured to produce a strong impression on your Lordships' minds by a relation of some proceedings which are stated to have taken place at Dingle in the county of Kerry, exhibiting the persecution of certain converts from the Roman Catholic faith. I am not here to justify any such proceedings, come from what quarter they may; or to palliate any interference whatever with liberty of conscience. But we are not to take everything for granted which has been communicated to my noble Friend, because we know that there has been given too often a high colouring to such transactions. Besides, 68 the conduct of both sides in periods of great religious excitement is frequently such as to require allowances to be made for the irritated feelings of parties engaged in such transactions. There were some important inferences which might, however, be deduced from this part of the statement of the noble Earl, and which are material as illustrating the more general question now at issue. We have heard much of the supposed disinclination of the Roman Catholics to respect the sanctity of an oath, where the interests of their Church or their religion are involved. But this Dingle case was one in which the religious passions and prejudices of the two opposed sects were the most directly and immediately brought in question. It was a case in which it would appear that the Roman Catholic priests were arrayed on the one side, and the Protestant missionaries and converts on the other. The jury empannelled to try the case was composed of persons of both persuasions. Was there any difficulty found, let me ask—was any disinclination shown by the Roman Catholic jurors to do full justice? No, my Lords. On the contrary, in conformity with the law of the land, they found a verdict which must have been contrary to many of the feelings and prejudices of the Roman Catholics of that remote district. But, as I have ventured to suggest, many of the statements respecting the conduct of the people towards missionaries and converts, require to be considered with more than ordinary closeness of attention. Of this I shall proceed to give you some evidence. Your Lordships will doubtless remember having heard of the missionary proceedings at Achill. We were formerly told as much of the persecution endured by the Protestant converts residing at Achill as we have more recently heard respecting the converts at Dingle. Now, I have learned the following particulars as connected with the former proceedings, and have learned them on the authority of a gentleman, a member of the Irish bar, a relation of my own, who was an eye-witness of the transaction. The case was this. The missionaries had been proceeding in their labours of proselytism, when an individual high in the Roman Catholic Church, whose name is well known, crossed over from the mainland to the island, with the desire of arresting their progress; he landed, attended by his clergy, with all the pomp and ceremonial of his Church. He held a confirmation, and the sacrifice of the Mass was offered 69 up by the priests. The islanders are described to me to have been assembled at this ceremonial; the ecclesiastical pomp is stated to have been most striking. The Roman Catholics were earnest and devout, when a missionary came forward in the midst of the most sacred solemnities of religion, and held up in the eyes of the people what he told them was a consecrated wafer, asking whether that was the God they worshipped? Under these circumstances, a rush forward was made by the whole multitude; and in what country would not a similar event have taken place? The rush was directed against the missionary who had acted so indiscreetly—to use the mildest language; but whose conduct, in my judgment, deserves to be designated as most bigoted and most intolerant. Violence was threatened by the people; but the Roman Catholic clergy surrounded and defended the missionary. They protected him against the excited multitude, and by their exertions peace was restored and preserved. Now, when proceedings like these could take place as connected with missionary proceedings and establishments, can your Lordships feel surprised that religious violence should be excited on the other side, and that the passions of the people should be dangerously influenced? I venture to assert that the Roman Catholic would be less, and not more than man, if religious excitement did not prevail where such insulting provocation was given.* Noble Lords who argued against this Bill, were pleased to assume that the Protestant feeling of Ireland had pronounced decidedly against it. This I venture most respectfully but firmly to deny. There is a class who claim for themselves exclusively the title of Irish Protestants, and who are* In a letter from Lord Monteagle to the Rev. Mr. Nangle, which appeared in the public prints, the following explanation has been subsequently given of this occurrence. "The time at which these proceedings took place was in the summer of 1837. The persons engaged in this most indiscreet, and, as I conceive, most irreverent proceeding, were two missionary scripture readers from Achill. The place was, I find, Clare Island. Whilst these missionary scripture readers were in the island, where they had been engaged in the labour of proselytism, Dr. M'Hale came over from the mainland to hold a confirmation. The confirmation was held — sermons preached — masses celebrated by the priests in their full sacerdotal robes before the whole population of the island—a simple set of people, long unused to the presence of their superior clergy—and70 opposed to it, I admit. I do not wish to speak of that class with disrespect; but I must say that these exclusive Protestants are usurpers of that title, as they have been of all authority and power at former times of Irish history. In no other instance has their usurpation been more manifest and more indefensible, than in this claim to monopolize for themselves the designation of the Protestants of Ireland. That they are entitled to weight I do not deny; nor do I deny their personal respectability; but I will not recognise them as the legitimate organs or true exponents of the feeling of the majority of Protestants. But, even including this class, your Lordships will find that the petitions from Ireland are far from being numerous. They are, in fact, but few in number, taking all circumstances into the account. Much excitement has been produced which cannot fail to have a certain effect. Even in the present debate, your Lordships have been assured by the noble Earl (Lord Roden) that the Irish Church has been "hardly dealt with." Was this complaint of hard treatment made in reference to the Parliamentary grants for the Irish Church made since the Union? If so, in one sense, I do not controvert the assertion; for there has been a dangerous and lavish profusion in the sums appropriated by Parliament for Irish ecclesiastical purposes, which has increased the dangers of the Protestant Establishment. Are your Lordships aware that since the Union, independently of the charge of vestry cess, probably exceeding half a million, there has been voted a further sum of 595,382l. in aid of the Established Church in Ireland? This surely should be remembered when we are told to hesitate before we sanction this small increased grant for Maynooth. Less than 1,000,000l. sterling, including localwound up to the highest pitch of religious enthusiasm. During the celebration of the mass the two missionary readers came among them with their hats on, and endeavoured to turn the whole religious ceremony into open and undisguised ridicule. This was more than the poor people could bear. They rose like one mass from their knees, and rushed on the scoffers to revenge what they looked on as an insult to their priests and their God; but the officiating priests instantly sprang into the crowd, in their gorgeous dresses, and partly by persuasion, and partly by actual force, rescued the intruders; exhorting the people to leave to God the punishment of their impiety. My informant adds, I was an eye-witness of these facts, so was my servant, and we are both ready to vouch for the truth of this statement.71 and general taxation, cannot have been expended by the Imperial Parliament in the purchase, the building, and repairs of churches, glebes, and glebe houses. Even for the purchase of a palace for a former Archbishop of Dublin, 6,400l. has been voted; and taking into account other votes connected with the Established Church, such as the Charter Schools, Foundling Hospital, the schools of Kildare-place, and the Association for discountenancing Vice, the sums appropriated since the Union exceed 3,000,000l.! This, perhaps, is part of the hard treatment of the Protestant Church of which my noble Friend complains! But, in other respects, I fully admit that we have dealt most hardly with that Church. We have neglected a timely reformation of its abuses. Even now we tolerate the existence of abuses, which, when exposed, it is impossible to defend. I am as much attached to Protestantism as any noble Lord now present; but I assert that you do not give me fair play as a Protestant; on the contrary, I agree with the noble Earl, that you treat me hardly, when you require me to defend large church revenues existing in parishes where there are few or no Protestant parishioners to be instructed. You do not give me fair play, when in other parts of Ireland, where Protestant congregations do exist, you leave the Church inadequately provided for, where there is at once a deficiency of clerical means, and a great demand for clerical instruction. You do not give me or the Protestant Church fair play, whilst all endowments are lavished on the richer class of Christians, and all aid from the State is denied to the poorer. This injustice and inequality is, indeed, our danger. And so long as these abuses and this injustice is continued, we are not giving fair play to the Establishment. But, whilst I am on this subject, I must be permitted to say, in reference to what has fallen from a noble Earl (Lord Hardwicke), one of the household of Her Majesty, in a speech otherwise most able and most excellent, that I, for one, am not disposed to consent to the mode of Roman Catholic endowment which my noble Friend recommends. I would most humbly, but most earnestly, endeavour to impress upon your Lordships' consideration, that, under no probable circumstances, will it be wise, just, or indeed practicable, to endow the Roman Catholic Church, or any Roman Catholic institution on the face of the earth, out of the revenues of the Protestant Church. 72 Such is my deliberate conviction. In making this declaration, I abandon no opinion I have ever stated, or on which I have ever acted. I am willing again, as in 1835 to 1836, to retrench the revenues of the Church, where they are in excess. I am ready to correct all existing ecclesiastical abuses; and there is still much to be done. I am still ready to appropriate any surplus income which may be found to exist, after making adequate provision for the real necessities of the Protestants of Ireland, to purposes in which the Protestants, in common with all their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects, have an equal interest. This was the principle of the celebrated Appropriation Clause. But to leave the church revenues to be contended for between the clergy of the two persuasions; to suggest to the one that nothing can be gained by them but what is wrested from the other, would be the introduction of a new and undying element of civil discord. I, therefore, entreat your Lordships, as you value the safety of your country, as you value the security of property, as you value Christian charity and domestic peace, never to countenance or consent to the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church out of the property of the Protestant Establishment. This, however, is too large a proposition to be lightly disposed of. I have barely and slightly touched upon it. But having heard the speech of my noble Friend, and knowing well the weight that speech must carry with it—being aware, likewise, that similar opinions are entertained by persons for whom I feel the most sincere respect; but, at the same time, considering these opinions to be unwise, dangerous, and impracticable, I cannot refrain from expressing concisely but forcibly, my deep and deliberate convictions on the subject. I have already stated that no practical proposition has been suggested to us by our opponents. The right rev. Prelate, the Bishop of London, who spoke early in the debate, has frankly admitted that he knows not how Ireland is to be governed. This admission was almost rendered unnecessary by the learned Prelate's speech. That speech abundantly proved his self-knowledge in this respect. Indeed, that right rev. Prelate, in construing the oath of ordination of our clergy "to banish and drive away all false doctrine," as placing them in a necessary position of antagonism with the Roman Catholic priesthood and hierarchy, has greatly aggravated the perils of the Irish Church Establishment. If 73 this is to be the principle avowed and acted upon, either by the civil or ecclesiastical authorities of Ireland, then is our condition in that country hopeless. The adoption of such doctrines, I freely confess, will not furnish the means of governing Ireland, but will rather ensure and perpetuate its future misgovernment. On the other hand, however, and in strong contrast to the right rev. Prelate, the noble Duke who moved this Bill (the Duke of Wellington) has opened to us better prospects. He has truly told us that we should remember the great and all-important fact, too often and too long forgotten, that "there are six millions and a half of Roman Catholics in Ireland, and that we cannot avoid their being Roman Catholics." In this admission there is contained a saving and practical truth, which shows us the principle we ought to take as our guide, and steadily hold by. It is the very opposite principle on which in former times Ireland has been governed. In the time of Swift, the Roman Catholics were termed "hewers of wood and drawers of water," and as no more important than "so many women and children." In 1758, it was proclaimed from the Bench of Justice, "that the law did not presume a Papist to exist within the realm; nor could a Papist breathe without the concurrence of the Government." Such were the wicked and absurd delusions on which the Irish Government had been conducted in former times. These are the very antagonist principles to that now laid down truly and wisely by the noble Duke. But it is not enough that we should recognise the existence of the Irish Catholics; we must be ready to do them full and entire justice. This principle, honestly avowed, must be persevered in, and must be carried out to its legitimate consequences, by the present and by all future Governments. But it seems that we are called upon to reject this Bill on the ground of certain doctrines alleged to be taught at Maynooth in some of the text books of Roman Catholic theology. We are told that there is something in these doctrines which interferes with the allegiance of the Roman Catholics to their Sovereigns. My Lords, it was with amazement that I witnessed the reproduction of these threadbare and often refuted arguments. If they have any real force, they were conclusive against Emancipation in 1829. If you cannot trust to the allegiance of the Roman Catholics, their exclusion from political power 74 was wise and just; their admission to political privilege has been a grievous error. But you disregarded the assertion in 1829, and it cannot influence your Lordships on the present occasion. But I will not rest my argument on this reference to the principles adopted by the Legislature, however conclusive that reference may be. I will go farther: I deny absolutely that there is anything taught at Maynooth that warrants an inference, or even a suggestion, militating against the full, undivided, and affectionate allegiance of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. I am unwilling to weary and to perplex your Lordships by lengthened reference to the evidence taken on this subject in 1826, when the whole Maynooth system was made the subject of the most minute and searching inquiry. In the great Blue Book which is now before me, that evidence is recorded. The president, the vice-president, former and existing professors, Roman Catholic priests, and converts to the Established Church, were examined, and many questions were put in no very friendly or candid spirit. I would, however, most fearlessly appeal to any political opponent, prejudiced as he might be, requesting him to go through this evidence as a juror, conscientiously, and then to declare, not whether he approved or disapproved the doctrines of Maynooth—for I assume that, on religious grounds, he would still condemn them—but whether he could bring himself to believe that there was anything in those doctrines inconsistent with the principles of allegiance. I would ask him further, whether he saw the slightest reason to suspect that Ultramontane doctrines were either professed or taught? Indeed, so far back as February 1817, Sir John Hippesley—no incompetent judge—declared in the House of Commons, after examining the Papers respecting Maynooth moved for by Mr. Ryder, seven years previously, that—Nothing could be more opposed to Transalpine doctrines. The course of education was precisely conformable to the principles of the Gallican Church, and the course of the Sorbonne, where Dr. Delahogue had been himself a Professor. Under the visitatorial powers maintained at Maynooth, it was scarcely possible that the exploded Transalpine doctrines should be suffered to be taught.The same conclusion is adopted by the Royal Commission in 1826; of which Board, it should be remembered, Mr. Leslie Foster was a member:— 75The doctrines in Dr. Delahogue's book are stated to be in accordance with those of the Sorbonne; and the instruction given in the divinity class generally at Maynooth, we are assured, does not differ materially from that given in the University of Paris.Dr. Crotty, the President, stated on oath that—The distinction between temporal and spiritual things was recognised, and the supremacy of the State in the latter was admitted."—"I do not recollect any Professor," deposes Dr. Montagu, the present head of Maynooth, "who ever taught Ultramontane doctrines. There is not the smallest difference of opinion on this subject.The Professor of Ethics goes still further:The Pope has not any temporal power in this country," he observes. "We hold it quite certain that he has no such authority,Dr. Anglade, Professor of Moral Theology, who had abandoned all preferment in France rather than take the French revolutionary oath, and who was yet examined by one of the Commissioners as if an oath could not bind his conscience, asserts thatIt would be contrary to the law of God and nature to release subjects from their allegiance, and neither the Church nor any other authority has a power to pronounce anything contrary to God and to nature.The Prefect of the Senior Divinity Class is equally explicit:—If the Pope were to claim a right to interfere indirectly in civil or temporal affairs, I should reject such a decree, and despise such excommunication, and continue in faithful allegiance to my Sovereign; and these sentiments I entertain in common with all intelligent Roman Catholics throughout the world.If noble Lords will take the trouble of looking through the whole of this most important evidence they will find it in strict consonance with the extracts I have made. They will find that the charges formerly advanced against Maynooth, and now again most recklessly hazarded, were disclaimed in 1826 by every Roman Catholic competent witness who was examined on his oath Every student entering Maynooth is required to swear that he believes no Foreign Prince, Power, or Potentate, to have any civil authority within this realm; or that any ecclesiastical or other authority can dispense from the Oath of Allegiance. The declaration of the Roman Catholic bishops, made in January 1826, renounced all temporal power by the Pope, as interfering with their allegiance; it renounced all dispensing power as releasing from allegiance; it renounced the doctrine that faith was 76 not to be kept with heretics, or that an act immoral in itself would be justified by the commands of the Church. Are any noble Lords prepared to say that Roman Catholics are not to be believed in this, their sworn testimony? What an insult to our Constitution! What a reflection would such a statement cast on the whole of our laws! Does not every page of our Statute Book disprove this calumny as the most groundless and preposterous that ever was advanced? What! when we find King, Lords, and Commons passing laws under which these oaths are administered to Roman Catholics—when we have relied, and still rely, on these oaths as securities against dangers, real or imaginary — are any men bold and daring enough to turn round and to deny that these oaths are considered to be binding on the consciences of those whom we require to take them? I need not refer to any reasoning on this subject: it is decided by the simple fact. Was there ever more conclusive evidence given of a conscientious regard for the obligations of an oath than that given by the Roman Catholics of the Empire, who by an oath, and by an oath alone, were excluded from this and the other House of Parliament, from political office, and from the most valuable civil rights? Never was the veneration felt for an oath more strongly proved — never was it attended with greater sacrifices. I should hold myself greatly to blame, more especially after the very extraordinary speech of a noble Duke (Duke of Manchester), who attributed the crimes and disturbances of Ireland to the Roman Catholic clergy, if I did not, in the most unqualified terms, express my entire difference from him, bearing my willing and unqualified testimony to the character and conduct of a most exemplary and deserving class of men. I can speak of the character of the Roman Catholic priests in many parts of the South of Ireland from my own personal experience. I can speak as one who has lived much in those districts; as one who has not been inactive as a magistrate, and who has known Ireland when tranquil, as well as when unfortunately in a state of disturbance. I speak as one who has had many communications on this subject with my brother magistrates, some of whom are present in your Lordships' House on the present occasion; one of whom, indeed, (Earl of Clare,) is beside me, and to whom I freely appeal in confirmation of my statement. In the 77 whole course of an experience of more than thirty years as a magistrate, in no one case that has ever come under my observation, have I known or had the slightest reason to suspect a priest of being connected with an instigator, or an approver of any popular outbreak. I do not confine my evidence to the older priests, nor to those who have had a continental education. It equally applies to the younger priests; to those brought up at Maynooth; to priests politically excited, and to priests—I lament to say there are such—who strongly support Repeal. However I differ from the latter class in their political sentiments—and I have never concealed from them this difference—I am ready to affirm that they are ready and anxious to inculcate an obedience to the laws, and as ready to maintain the tranquillity of the country. And, my Lords, this is not always to be done by the Roman Catholic clergy without risk and sacrifice. They risk their popularity, they risk their incomes, they risk their influence, they risk, and I have known them ready to sacrifice their lives. You hear many complaints of denunciations made by the priests from the altars. But those who are the loudest in these complaints, omit to inform you how often the ill-disposed and turbulent who endeavour to introduce illegal oaths and combinations into peaceable parishes, and to seduce the unthinking into violations of the law, have been so denounced. In my own county, I remember the case of a meritorious clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Mulqueny, who having met a body of the disturbers of the peace at night, addressed them in reprobation of their conduct. The consequence was, that he was shot dead on the spot. In discussing the character of the Roman Catholic priesthood, services like these are too seldom remembered. The magistrates of the county of Limerick met, after the frightful assassination I have described, they recognised in their resolution the merits and services of the murdered priest, and they raised a large subscription for aiding in the apprehension and punishment of the guilty. In the county of Clare, in 1832, many of the priests were equally useful and active in repressing those insurgents who were known under the denomination of Terry Alt. In several instances their chapel doors were nailed up by members of their own congregation; and they were refused access to their own altars by parishioners whom they had endeavoured to restrain from crime, 78 and thus to save from punishment. But, in saying all this, and thus doing justice to the deserving, I am far from denying that very many of the priests are highly excited on political matters. Many are vehement advocates of Repeal; I admit the fact, and I grieve to be constrained to do so. This mixture of religion and politics is alike prejudicial to both. But such excitement is produced not by a Maynooth education, but by the general circumstances of the country. The priests are taken from the mass of the people, and whilst that people continue in a state of excitement, is it possible that the clergy chosen from among them should have feelings and tendencies differing from the class to which they belonged? Pacify Ireland, and you pacify the priests; and do not lightly conclude that the priests are not as often the unwilling instruments as the active causes of agitation. I think I may, without much danger to my cause, concede to the noble Lords opposite, that foolish and indiscreet songs may have been sung at Maynooth on St. Patrick's Day. I do not think this will prove very much. For will any one assert that indiscretion may not have taken place at times in our own less social English Universities? We assume to maintain a strict University discipline; there is clearly no Repeal enthusiasm prevailing at Oxford or Cambridge; and yet I should regret to be held responsible for all that may have been either said or sung during my undergraduate life at Trinity College, Cambridge. When I find that one of the arguments used against passing this great and useful measure, is founded on an allegation that, on a certain occasion, a single pupil sung an indiscreet song after dinner in the hall at Maynooth, it does seem to me abundantly manifest, that the charges which can be preferred against the principles taught, or the discipline enforced in that institution, cannot be very numerous or very important. We have been told that the opposition to this Bill throughout Great Britain is formidable. The real question is, whether that opposition is just. But even with respect to its extent, I consider that much misapprehension prevails. Many of the petitions on your Lordships' Table supply no test whatever of the feelings of the country on the immediate question itself. Their opposition is connected with other and collateral questions, which are now forced into an unnatural prominence by transitory causes. A great bulk of these petitions come from Dissenters, advocates of the Voluntary 79 principle; the men who do not so much object to Maynooth as they object to any establishment at all. Will the right rev. Prelates or the noble Lords who oppose this Bill in this House accept this class of petitioners as allies and associates? Have they any one conceivable principle in common with them, whether an opinion political or religious? My Lords, I grieve to think that the Protestant Dissenters of England should, under any circumstances, have entered into this ill-assorted alliance, or have signed these ill-considered petitions. But I should grieve still more, if they had done so on grounds which savoured of bigotry or intolerance. This would have been most inconsistent and unwise towards the Roman Catholics of Ireland; allow me to add, it would have been most ungrateful likewise. When my noble Friend Lord John Russell introduced and carried his Bill for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts of this country, the Irish Roman Catholics and the Irish Members of Parliament were among its most decided and strenuous supporters. Without their aid this great act of justice and toleration could hardly have been carried. Their aid was the more generous, as they had themselves as Irishmen no local interest in the question; the Test and Corporation Acts of Ireland having been many years before repealed. I therefore grieve that any Protestant Dissenter, in forgetfulness of these services, should, on this occasion, have come forward in contravention of the principles of freedom of conscience which they had ever professed. But so far as the petitioners merely affirm the voluntary principle, I reject them as foreign to our present discussion. There is another class of petitioners which I reject likewise, though on different grounds. I mean the numerous class of Churchmen alarmed at the doctrines not of Maynooth but of Oxford, who dread the Tracts for the Times as much as the "Tractatus de Ecclesiâ" of Delahogue, or the Secunda Secundæ of Aquinas. They feel alarmed at Anglo-Catholicism, and they show their fears by resisting what they consider the more open approaches of Romanism in Ireland. My Lords, I give my most hearty and unqualified support to this Bill, and I return my warmest thanks to Her Majesty's Government for its introduction, and for the firmness and true patriotism with which they have supported it. I shall not allow my recollections of the past to disturb the earnestness and the sincerity of this support. The course taken by the Government 80 entitles them to the deepest gratitude on the part of every Irishman; and as a native of that country, and one deeply interested in its welfare, as one who in the last year advocated this very measure, I offer them my heartfelt acknowledgments, and I do so in the most unqualified manner. It is true, that the course taken by those who were opposed to the Governments of Lords Grey and Melbourne has made the discussion of Irish affairs particularly difficult, and their settlement arduous and critical. National prejudices were then unfortunately engendered which it is difficult to repress and subdue, and which are scarcely compatible with just and impartial legislation. But I quit this which I feel a painful and somewhat invidious line of argument. I prefer the more grateful task of offering acknowledgments where acknowledgments are justly due.Sic Doris amara suam non intermisceat undam.A better or a more conciliating measure than the present could scarcely have been introduced as a pledge of a generous line of policy. It cannot be traced or even attributed to any motive, but to a wise, generous, and disinterested one on the part of the Government. They could not fail to have anticipated the difficulties to which it would expose them, the disunion it would necessarily produce among their own friends, the personal attacks to which it would render them liable. All this they must have known and disregarded. I therefore repeat my thanks for what they have done, and for the mode in which they have done it. My Lords, this debate and the majority with which it will, I trust, conclude, must tell usefully not only on Maynooth but on the question of Repeal. It will afford a triumphant reply and refutation to any who have argued, that from the Imperial Parliament no measures of justice, of kindness, or generosity towards Ireland are to be expected. The contrary, I believe to be the undeniable fact; but of that fact, this liberal and tolerant Bill furnishes new and most unquestionable evidence. It is a further advance in the path of sound and comprehensive legislation. Whilst the Irish Parliament refused even to the eloquence and patriotism of Grattan all inquiry into the question of tithe, the Parliament of the United Kingdom have wholly freed our occupying peasantry from that odious burden, and have reduced its pressure on all. The Irish Parliament imposed the hateful and 81 oppressive hearth money and window tax; by the Imperial Parliament those taxes, and all direct taxation, have been absolutely repealed. By Acts of our domestic Legislature, our commerce was shackled by injudicious restraints, miscalled protections; and our agricultural produce was rendered subject to oppressive burdens in the British markets; we now enjoy an unfettered freedom of commerce with the richest markets of the world, and we are admitted to equal rights in all our Colonial possessions. The Irish Parliament passed the Penal Laws against the Catholics, and repealed them slowly, reluctantly, and imperfectly. This Legislature passed the Act of Emancipation, placing all the Queen's subjects upon the same level. Exclusive and Protestant vestries were the work of the Parliament of Ireland; the repeal of church rates, that of the Government of Lord Grey. In the room of jobbing and bigoted corporations, we now see popular municipalities; in place of the charter schools and foundling hospitals, we now profit by the national system of education; the Charitable Bequest Bill of the last year, and the Act for the permanent and enlarged endowment of Maynooth, add to the number of liberal measures passed by the Imperial Parliament for the benefit of Ireland. I entreat your Lordships to increase the glory of this Act by passing it with an overwhelming majority. I call on you to consider well the signs of the times, to act wisely and justly by the people of Ireland, and to prove to them by the readiness with which you not only pass this Bill, but stamp with your approval the great principle it contains, that whatever may be asserted to the contrary, the interests, the rights, the feelings, and the religion of Ireland will be as much respected and regarded by the Imperial Legislature as they had ever been by the Irish Parliament.
The Bishop of St. David's
My Lords, I should regret more than I do that I did not offer myself to your Lordships' attention at an earlier hour of the evening, if it were not for one circumstance, which is, that I can answer for myself better than for any one else, and I am conscious that it is my intention to detain your Lordships for as short a time as possible, consistently with a due regard to perspicuity. It is not simply either the importance of this question, or its peculiar nature as connected with the interests of religion, that makes me anxious to address your Lordships. Neither is it because there is not that unanimity which might be desired 82 among the Members of that Bench on which I have the honour to occupy a seat; but there is another consideration much more forcible, and that is, that there never was a question which has come under your Lordships' deliberation, on which it was more difficult or less possible to infer the exact nature of any man's opinions from the vote which he may give. Nor can I be indifferent to the opposition which has been offered from without to this measure. I feel that the nature of that opposition—the ground which it has taken—is such as absolutely prevents me from giving a silent vote on this question. I do not say that in every respect I feel a great respect for that opposition. I do not approve of the manner in which it has been conducted, and I may say, organized. I believe that unfair means have been taken to bias public opinion; and, moreover, although that opposition, as it is represented by the petitions on your Lordships' Table, appears to present a very compact and united front, it is impossible that your Lordships can conceal from yourselves the fact, that this front covers as great a difference of opinion as ever existed with reference to any measure. And this observation applies equally to those who contend for the voluntary principle, as it is called; for that involves, not one, but two principles, namely, the religious voluntary principle, and the political voluntary principle; and those who contend for the one and the other are as wide apart as the poles. Still I am not indifferent to this opposition, because I believe that the petitions which have been presented to your Lordships express the conscientious convictions of a large portion of our fellow countrymen; and I find it impossible to meet those religious convictions with a silent vote. And when I recollect the appeal which was made in such solemn, earnest and energetic language by a noble Earl (Earl Winchilsea) to the Members of this Bench, appealing to their consciences, to their sense of duty, and their most solemn engagements—I say I cannot be content to return, as I am on the point of doing, to live among a people who certainly yield to no part of Her Majesty's subjects in attachment to the Protestant religion and in antipathy to Popery, without endeavouring to meet that appeal, by showing to that noble Earl that the principles on which I am prepared to give my support to this measure, if they are not such as to 83 convince him—which I fear they may fail in doing—are such as I do not shrink from stating in the face of Parliament and of the country. One of the peculiarities of this question is, that it has been, and still seems to be, a matter of doubt whether any principle is involved in this measure. Permit me to say that I am not very anxious to press that point. I do not desire to extenuate the importance of those features in which this measure may be found to differ from that which has already, and for half a century, received the sanction of the Legislature. It is true I cannot consider the circumstances in which the present grant differs from the former—neither its increased amount nor its permanence, nor the connexion in which the institution is placed with the Government—as constituting anything which involves principle. I can understand that those who objected to the annual grant may object still more strongly to the permanent one. I can conceive, that those who assented to the annual grant may not be satisfied with the policy and wisdom of the present measure; but I cannot conceive how they can dissent from it upon anything that can be called principle. But, nevertheless, I should be sorry if an impression were to go forth to the country, that Parliament has passed this measure because it felt itself bound by anything that had taken place before. I believe there is now presented to your Lordships a fair occasion for reconsidering the principles of that measure; and if it shall appear, on discussion, that you have sufficient reason for changing your policy with regard to it, you are at liberty and are bound to do so. My principal object in offering myself to your Lordships' attention is, to state the principles upon which I support this measure; but I cannot do so until I have cleared the way by removing some of those objections which appear most strongly to have influenced the public mind, or rather by showing why they do not affect my opinions, and why they are not sufficient to prevent me or any of your Lordships from entertaining the present question. There is one objection of a general nature to which I will advert very briefly. It has been frequently assumed that this measure is essentially a sacrifice of principle to expediency, and we have been asked—is it right to do evil that good may come? There can be no question as to 84 that; certainly it is not right to do evil that good may come; but I would wish your Lordships to remember, as often as you see or hear that maxim, that however true it may be in itself, it is totally inapplicable to the present case. It is one that, unfortunately, in this world of ours, is applicable to a very small number of cases indeed; for the cases to which it may be properly applied are only those in which there is unmixed good or unmixed evil, unmixed truth or unmixed error. But if you would make the maxim applicable to the present measure, you must express it in different terms. The question is not, will you do evil that good may come, but will you do no good unless you can do pure and unmixed good? — will you convey no truth, if it be a truth adulterated with the slightest admixture of error. And this is an observation very important to bear in mind, because it applies to almost all the objections that have been raised against this measure; and I believe your Lordships may be able to detect every fallacy that has been urged upon it, when you hear an objection raised, if you ask yourselves whether anything has been proposed as a substitute for that to which the objection is directed. If not, it is the part of wisdom to do what good you can when you are not able to do all the good you could wish. I pass from this general objection to one of a more special nature, which embraces several considerations; but I shall confine myself to some which appear to me of the greatest importance. This measure has been described as a measure that sanctions idolatry and superstition; and more particularly this objection has been raised to it with reference to the terms of that Declaration which is made by the Sovereign of these realms on the occasion of his or her Coronation. On this subject we have been told by a noble Earl (Earl Carnarvon), to whose speech we listened with delight and admiration last night, that idolatry and superstition are very hard terms. But I would beg leave to remind your Lordships that they are not only very hard terms, but also very loose terms—very vague and indefinite terms. They convey a general idea of some kind of religious error, while they suggest certain feelings of contempt and aversion; but they perform the latter portion of their office much more forcibly than the former. In order to convey to your Lordships an 85 idea of the latitude, the vagueness, and the generality of these terms, I would ask you to call to your recollection the state of religion among the most savage, the most degraded, and the most uncivilized races of men in ancient or modern times. Think of the Fetish worshippers of Africa; of the votaries of Juggernaut; of the islanders of the South Seas. If you wished to describe their forms of worship, could you select any terms more forcible and appropriate than the epithets "idolatrous and superstitious?" And then I would ask your Lordships, if we had now for the first time to frame the Declaration to which I have been alluding, might it not admit of a fair and reasonable doubt whether it would be necessary or expedient, if we wished to put words into the mouth of the Sovereign of these realms testifying his adherence to the Protestant faith, that those words should be such as describe the religion of many millions of his subjects as idolatrous and superstitious? Still I am not objecting to the continuance of these expressions in that Declaration, provided they are taken at their just value; but if they are to be made the foundation of such an extraordinary proposal as we heard at the very opening of this discussion from the noble Duke on the cross benches (the Duke of Newcastle), I must say that it might be time even to reconsider the propriety of retaining such expressions. And in general I conceive, that in public official documents it would be better to avoid language, which, while it conveys no particular, clear, distinct, and intelligible idea, may excite great animosity and bad feeling. I may here observe, that there is a solemnity in our own Church—a yearly commemoration of a great deliverance from, no doubt, a tremendous calamity—which I sincerely hope is never perverted from its proper intention of testifying pious gratitude; but I must say, that as it certainly may be, I am afraid it too often is, abused to other purposes, namely, those of exhibiting and kindling religious animosity. And I consider it as matter of congratulation—and I believe many of your Lordships will concur in the opinion—that we happen to be discussing this question on the 4th of June, and not on the eve of the 5th of November. As I have alluded to the Declaration, allow me to add one word with reference to the Coronation Oath, as to which some scruples have likewise been 86 expressed. My view of the subject is simply this:—I conceive it absurd to suppose that by that oath it could ever have been intended that the Sovereign of these realms should be bound to set himself in opposition to his constitutional advisers, or to the deliberate and unanimous will of the people whom he governs. So far I have been speaking of what superstition and idolatry are; but we are told that this is a measure by which we shall sanction idolatry and superstition. Now we may give such sanction in two ways. We may do so by recognising and acknowledging as truth that which is superstitious and idolatrous, and therefore error. I frankly admit that nothing could justify such a course. In this sense, if it were true that the present measure sanctioned—I will not say idolatry and superstition, but any error whatever, it could not be justified by any considerations of expediency or policy. But I will appeal to your Lordships whether it is possible to conceive that, by making such a grant as this, you are in the slightest degree recognising that to be truth which, on other occasions, you have affirmed to be error? Is it possible to draw such an inference from such a fact? Let me illustrate this by one or two familiar instances. We know that in Ireland it is a very common case for a Protestant landlord to grant a piece of land for the erection of a church for his Roman Catholic tenants. It may be also within your Lordships' knowledge, that in the Protestant kingdom of Saxony, in which the Protestant population forms such an immense majority, the States granted 20,000 dollars to relieve the necessities of the Roman Catholic congregations. Now, would any man in his senses interpret these acts as a recognition of the truth of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic faith? If this supposition be so absurd that it needs only to be stated, it only remains to ask, Do you sanction the Roman Catholic religion in any other way? You may, no doubt, sanction religious error by actually promoting it—by increasing the number of its adherents—by perpetuating it. But this is a question of calculation; it is a question of political foresight; it is a question of contingencies, on which there may be, innocently, a great variety of opinions. It is my own belief and conviction that this measure does not sanction religious error, or a particular form of religious error, in 87 this way. What I mean to say is, that as by this grant you are not expressing any opinion whatever as to the truth of the Roman Catholic religion, so you are not tending either to strengthen or to extend it. I am now coming to a point still more special, and which your Lordships must all acknowledge to be of the very essence of the question, that is, whether there is any sufficient ground for the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl (Earl Roden) for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the doctrines taught in the College of Maynooth. I must observe, in the first place, that the inquiry proposed by the noble Earl either goes too far, or it does not go far enough. I perfectly agree with my noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) and the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Cashel), both of whom declared their conviction that this inquiry was unnecessary. But, admitting for a moment that the inquiry was necessary, then, I say, it is not sufficient; if it is to be of any avail, it ought to take a much wider range. If you are to inquire into the teaching at Maynooth with a view to any practical inference, you must ascertain not only what that teaching is at the present moment, but what it was at that period when the professors at this College were notoriously and confessedly loyal to anti-Jacobinism in their principles. But even this would not be sufficient. You must also inquire what are the standard and class books and the whole system of instruction adopted at other Roman Catholic Colleges both in Ireland and in England. And still this will not be enough; but, before you can draw any practical conclusion from such an inquiry, you must ascertain what are the books used in the Roman Catholic Colleges abroad—at Rome, at Lisbon, at Palermo, and any other places to which the Roman Catholic priesthood would resort for education, if you were to abolish the College of Maynooth. But, as I stated, I hold the inquiry to be unnecessary. The right rev. Prelate declared that he does not want a Committee of Inquiry for his own satisfaction; and my noble and learned Friend, with his usual acuteness, proved that it could answer no useful purpose. We are ready to admit all the facts that have been urged on this head against the College; that is to say, we fully admit that the passages which have been collected and quoted from the 88 books used in that institution are to be found in those works; though it must at the same time be remembered, that those passages have been selected, after the most anxious and jealous scrutiny, by persons whose object was to find in those books whatever might tell most strongly against the system of education pursued at the College. But when you have these admissions, how does the case stand? I will not weary your Lordships by entering into any details on this subject; but I do think that flagrant injustice has been done, both to the College and to the Roman Catholic religion in general. From representations we have heard and read on this subject, you would believe it was one part of the system of education pursued at Maynooth, to teach doctrines which have for their direct effect and consequence that of poisoning the very source of domestic morals—of destroying, or at least relaxing, the obligation of an oath—of inculcating fanatical, persecuting, antisocial, antimonarchical, unconstitutional, Ultramontane principles. With regard to the influence of these doctrines on domestic morality, it has been studiously kept out of sight that there is really no difference whatever between the teaching of any books used at Maynooth on this subject and that of the most approved treatises ever produced by any Protestant writer on ethics. I make this statement advisedly, because I know what are the principles inculcated by the Roman Catholic authors who have written on that subject. I know that they will bear the most severe scrutiny; and I have in my hand an extract from a book of the highest authority, a French work, containing directions to confessors, from which I may be allowed to read one sentence, which will enable you to judge how far the principles there inculcated are dangerous to morality. I have only the original before me, but I pledge myself to the substantial accuracy of the version I am about to give; it is:—"It would be impossible to use too much reserve in interrogations relating to the subject of purity;" that is, to subjects connected with a breach of the seventh commandment: "especially when there is danger of losing greater benefit than the material completeness of confession;" upon which, as your Lordships are well aware, the greatest stress is laid, according to the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. "Now," this writer proceeds, "not to teach evil to those who are ignorant of it, 89 and not to excite passions where they are dormant, is a far greater good than the material completeness of confession." I think that is a very important passage, as proving what I apprehend to be the real principles of the Roman Catholic Church upon this subject; and then, wherein lies the difference between what Roman Catholic writers and Protestant writers might say upon it? Why, simply in the details of the application of these principles; and as to that, no doubt there might be a great difference between one writer and another, even among Protestants, as to what is discreet and judicious, or inexpedient and unsafe; but that is no question of principle. But let your Lordships apply a practical test to these doctrines. How do they work in practice? It has been entirely kept out of view, that if there is one fact connected with this subject more certain than another, it is that whether these doctrines are good or bad in themselves, they are, as far as we can judge from the state of the morals of those who would be affected by them, practically innocent, at least, if not salutary; because with regard to purity, I apprehend the morals of the Roman Catholics of the lower orders in Ireland will bear a comparison with those of any other part of the United Kingdom. I will only detain your Lordships with one sentence as to the supposed danger of the doctrines taught at Maynooth, with regard to the sanctity and obligation of an oath. Upon that subject, although it must be admitted that there are propositions extracted from Roman Catholic writers that are very offensive, not only to Protestant ears, but, in my belief, to the ears and understanding of any man of sound judgment; yet, if you inquire what has been the occasion and origin of them, you will find there is not any disagreement in principle between those Roman Catholic writers and any Protestant moralist, but simply that there has been on the part of the Roman Catholic doctors an overstrained anxiety to provide certain definite rules for every particular case that could occur; and wherever such a thing is attempted, I believe it will always be found that it has led the writer into a variety of erroneous and dangerous doctrines. But when applied to practice, I would ask, what has been the influence of such works upon the state of morals in this respect? Do any of your Lordships believe that the Roman Catholic is less sensible than a Protestant of the sanctity 90 of an oath? He may believe that there exists a dispensing power, while we believe that no such power exists; but if he is a man of honour, will he appeal to that power of dispensation? It is of that we ought to have had evidence, which is totally wanting. There is still one other point to which I wish briefly to advert with regard to this part of the subject. The chief accusation raised against the works used for instruction at Maynooth has been, that they inculcate dangerous political principles in this respect; that they admit the extravagant Ultramontane doctrines with regard to the spiritual supremacy of the Pope; that they exalt the spiritual beyond the civil power in an extravagant degree. I admit that such principles are asserted in these works, and I am not prepared to say that we have had any evidence to prove that such principles have not been taught at Maynooth. It appears to me a questionable point whether it is the Ultramontane or the Gallican doctrine upon this head that has been inculcated there; but I will suppose, for argument's sake, that they are Ultramontane, most extravagant doctrines, that have been taught with regard to the Papal supremacy; and when that is urged as a ground of alarm, I would say that it is one of the most chimerical and visionary that was ever presented to the human mind. It has been observed, with regard to the Papal power, that the state of things in the world has undergone a very great change; but I do not think it has yet been sufficiently noticed what the particular nature of that change has been in regard to the present subject and to the state of Ireland. I will venture to assert, that, so far from their being any reason to apprehend danger from the existence of the Papal power, supposing it were strengthened by the writings to which I have alluded, we have, in a political point of view, every reason to wish that the Pope had far greater influence in Ireland than he really has. There was a time, not very distant, when the state of things was very different; when we had great reason to dread the Papal influence in that country, because the Pope at that time might be considered as the head of a conspiracy formed by the despotic Governments of Europe against the liberties of this country. But the state of things has changed in that respect. I admit that the maxims of the Papacy remain precisely the same. I do not believe that the Pope has ever recalled 91 one of the most extravagant pretensions put forth by any of his predecessors in regard to his authority in spiritual matters. But be it observed, that the Pope is not merely the head of the Roman Catholic Church, but he is also a temporal Sovereign; that he rules a State, which, by its constitution, is subject to despotic authority, that he is surrounded by political enemies assailing his throne on democratical principles. The Pope is the natural ally of every despotic and absolute Government: he is not the ally of Espartero, but of Don Carlos; he has no sympathy with Louis Philippe, but with the exiled Bourbons; he was not the ally of the Sovereign of this country, but of the exiled Pretender; and upon precisely the same grounds. Therefore, I say, that so far from there being any real sympathy or alliance between the Pope and the Irish agitators, there is, and always must be, the widest variance, and the greatest jealousy and distrust between them. The Pope is well aware that this Irish agitation proceeds from parties who entertain precisely the same principles as those entertained by the democratical parties from whom he dreads the greatest danger to his temporal authority at home. There never can be, therefore, any cordial alliance between them; and I will never believe, however he may be obliged to profess a feeling of attachment toward those who are the adherents of his religion, that he can really wish well to the cause of Repeal in Ireland. But with regard to this whole subject, I will dismiss it with one general remark: you ought not to judge of the doctrines taught at Maynooth by the books that are used there. You never can safely draw such inferences from such premises. The doctrines taught do not depend on the words or propositions contained in the books, but on the spirit and disposition of the teachers; and upon what will that spirit and disposition depend? Upon the feeling that generally prevails amongst the great body of Roman Catholics in that country. And upon what will the feeling of that body depend? Surely not upon the character of the doctrines contained in the books; but upon the state of the country, and upon the reason they may have to be satisfied with their condition. Whenever you have brought about such a state of things as will render the Irish people happy and contented, I will venture to say that you will hear nothing more of agitation among the Roman Catholic priests; 92 for I believe, by the natural and necessary tendency of his religion, there is no minister of any creed so much disposed to preserve order, quiet, and submission to authority, as the Roman Catholic priest. I believe that is a proposition which will be borne out by the testimony of all history. I will say no more upon this head; what I have stated is, I think, sufficient at least to clear away the principal objections urged with a view to prevent us from entertaining this measure without previous inquiry; and I will now proceed to assign the reasons upon which I give my assent to this measure. Let me, however, be allowed to premise one remark. Attempts have been made to alarm your Lordships and the country by the suggestion, that in passing this measure you will be committing a great national sin, and incurring a great national danger. But those who have raised that objection have betrayed a great want of sensibility, a marvellous apathy or forgetfulness, with regard to another kind of national sin and national danger, which we should feel to be a much greater burden on our conscience; I mean, the guilt, the deep guilt, which has been contracted, and which cannot be immediately effaced, of that iniquitous and oppressive government by which, for so many centuries, we ruled the Irish people. That, I say, is the sin that ought to weigh upon our national conscience; and the danger is, that for such sin and such guilt we may expect the punishment of a retributive Providence, unless we show signs of repentance, and give proofs of a sincere resolution of amendment. I will now succinctly state the reasons upon which I support this measure. In the first place, I say that, in its avowed object, its notorious origin, and it sevident intention, it is, as it was described by the illustrious Prince (the Duke of Cambridge) whose connexion with the Throne of England gives a peculiar weight and importance to his sentiments on this question, a conciliatory—a most conciliatory measure. That is a fact so clear that no power of sophistry can disguise it. It is conciliatory, because it cannot be pretended that it was either extorted by fear, or was the effect of any selfish, interested view; and if your Lordships want any proof of that proposition, you have it lying on your Table, in the memorial by which that which you are now desired to grant is solicited by the Trustees of Maynooth as a boon, necessary not only for comfort, but 93 for the existence of the establishment as an institution. If, after having received that memorial, the Government had turned a deaf ear to that prayer, and had shown itself unmoved by those statements; or if it had said to the Trustees—"Depart in peace; be ye warmed and filled," but had done none of those things which were necessary to that end—such conduct might, perhaps, have been consistent with the letter of toleration; but, as the noble Duke (Duke of Wellington) said, it would have betrayed the spirit of persecution. In the next place, I regard this measure with approbation, not only as conciliatory in itself, but because I look upon it as part of a system—of a large and liberal course of policy, which I believe to be absolutely necessary to the tranquillity and safety of this country. That system and course of policy I consider as the only basis on which such an Empire as ours can stand. If you take any narrower basis for such an Empire, you would be contending against the laws of nature and the decrees of Providence, and would be engaging in an impotent, and, as I must consider it, an impious struggle. But not only would you engage in such a struggle; but if you refuse to adopt this course of policy, you cannot rest where you are, but must undo what you have already done. You are now invited to place the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland on the same footing on which you have placed the Roman Catholic clergy already in your foreign dependencies. If you think adherence to principle prevents your agreeing to the present grant, you cannot consistently retain the course you now adopt with regard to the Colonies. Still, I shall be told that, after all, this is merely a consideration of expediency; that it may be true that, to our limited foresight, this course does appear to be politic; but that you are to regulate your conduct, not by expediency, but by principle. That I willingly admit; and this brings me to the third ground on which I give my support to this measure, namely, that I consider it as the fulfilment of a great and solemn duty. It is the fulfilment of an obligation which I conceive we contracted when we assumed the dominion of Ireland, namely, that we would give to that country the same amount of benefit as it would have received from an independent domestic Legislature really representing the wants, the feelings, and the wishes of the Irish people, with the single exception and qualification 94 of excluding anything which would tend to the disruption of the Union and the dismemberment of the Empire. That is a proposition which I believe will bear the closest examination; it is true, no such contract appears in any written records; but it is registered in a higher tribunal, and is one which we may break, but which we cannot rescind. I have said that this measure, considered in itself and as part of a system of policy, is a conciliatory measure; but I am aware it has been asked this evening and on other occasions, where are the signs of the conciliation which it is intended to produce? If it is conciliatory, why has it not conciliated? It may be true, I admit, that the measure has hitherto operated but imperfectly to that end; but what are the reasons that it has not been more effectual? One is, because the bitter and sad effects of centuries of misrule cannot be immediately and instantaneously erased; because we are now paying the penalty of our past offences. There, is, however, another cause, for which neither your Lordships nor your ancestors, but those who have opposed the present measure, have to answer; it is this, that they, by their opposition, have to a great degree neutralized the effect of this measure, and prevented it from yielding its natural fruits; and then, when they have done that, they turn round upon us, and use the results of their own conduct as an argument against the measure. Now, my Lords, I deeply regret that opposition and its effects; but still it does admit of a remedy. But if your Lordships should be persuaded to add the weight and stamp of your legislative wisdom and authority to that opposition, then, I say, the consequences would probably be irremediably fatal. At any rate, your Lordships must beware of measuring the exasperation which would arise from a rejection of this grant, by the amount of conciliation that the offer of it has produced. I have now only to draw your Lordships' attention to one other part of the subject—to the consequences of the measure. There are some which have been represented by its opponents as grounds of alarm, and others which I consider as highly desirable. Much opposition has been founded on the anticipation of the ulterior consequences of the measure. Apprehensions have been expressed that it will lead to other measures of a similar kind — in a word, to the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy; and it has been said, that if it 95 is meant to be final, it must be futile. Now, that is a question into which I do not feel called upon to enter any further than to say, that we are not at all certain that such an endowment, if offered, will be accepted by the Roman Catholic clergy; but whatever I may think of the propriety of such an endowment, and even however much I might deprecate it, I should regard it as a most auspicious omen for the tranquillity of Ireland, if I were sure that the Roman Catholic clergy and people of that country were willing to accept it, if it were offered to them. I am aware that the endowment of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland has been denounced by two right rev. Prelates in strong terms. One, whom I regret not to see in his place (the Bishop of London), considered such an endowment as nearly equivalent to the rejection of the only principle which justified the endowment of any Church. Another right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Cashel) went still further. He expressed himself to the effect, that such an endowment could only be the offspring of infidelity. I must own I think it would not have been superfluous to have offered some proof in support of that assertion, which to me appears to be directly opposed both to reason and experience. I cannot admit that a statesman is liable to the charge of infidelity, indifferentism, or latitudinarianism, or by whatever other bad name it may be called, on the ground, that after solemnly considering the matter, he has come, upon deliberate reflection, to the conclusion that it would be better for the interests of the State, that the ministers of any particular religion should have a fixed subsistence given them by the State, rather than be left dependent on the humours of their congregations, according to the voluntary system. I consider that as a question in which religion has no concern at all. My Lords, there was one passage in the speech of the right rev. Prelate who addressed you on the first night of this debate (the Bishop of Cashel) which I heard with much pleasure; it was that in which he quoted from the writings of a person whose memory I, in common, I am persuaded, with most of your Lordships, hold in the highest esteem, and reverence, I mean the late Dr. Arnold. The right rev. Prelate read an extract from a letter of Dr. Arnold, in which he spoke in terms of strong disgust of practices which he had witnessed in Roman Catholic countries. I heard that 96 with pleasure, because it proved that the right rev. Prelate has already formed some acquaintance with the works of that excellent man, and because it induces me to hope, that he will make himself still more conversant with them. And, by way of encouraging the right rev. Prelate in the prosecution of his studies, I am tempted to read an extract from another letter of Dr. Arnold, which relates more immediately to the present subject. Dr. Arnold writes:—The good Protestants and bad Christians have talked nonsense, and worse than nonsense, so long about Popery, and the Beast, and Antichrist, that the simple, just, Christian measure of establishing the Roman Catholic Church in three-fifths of Ireland seems renounced by common consent. The Christian people of Ireland, i.e. in my sense of the word, the Church of Ireland, have a right to have the full benefit of their church property, which now they cannot have, because Protestant clergymen they will not listen to. I think, then, it ought to furnish them with Catholic clergymen and the general local separation of the Catholic and Protestant districts would render this as easy to effect in Ireland as it was in Switzerland.Now, my Lords, I quote these words only to show that a man so truly Christian as Dr. Arnold, one to whom the right rev. Prelate himself has appealed as an authority for his own purpose, held that very doctrine which the right rev. Prelate has denounced as inconsistent with religious principle. I am aware, however, that it may be said, that though Dr. Arnold is a high authority, still he is no example. My Lords, to what example shall I refer? Will your Lordships remember the name of the eminent statesman who is now at the head of the French Government? Will you think of that illustrious individual who has just quitted our shores after having accomplished a most important and laborious mission, tending, I hope, to establish a permanent friendly relation between France and this country? Will your Lordships recollect the name and character of another eminent individual, the representative of a great German sovereign in this country, a person whom I myself have the great honour and happiness of being able to call my friend, and whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for a long series of years? I remind you of these three distinguished statesmen, simply in order to ask your Lordships whether there is any one of them who can be suspected of a leaning to infidelity?—whether it be not notorious 97 with regard to all three, that they are as zealously attached to their respective creeds as any person in this House? — whether that is not a fact which is notorious to all Europe, as well as among those who have the honour and happiness of their personal acquaintance? And, my Lords, I would ask you whether there are any statesmen who are more attached to that very system which has been denounced as irreligious, and as bordering on infidelity, by the right rev. Prelate? Having thus adverted to the consequences which have been apprehended as likely to ensue from this measure, I turn to others of an opposite nature, to which I look forward with hope; to the benefits which may be expected to flow from it. Now, among these desirable consequences there are some which I regard as direct, immediate, and indisputable. I am not disposed to exaggerate the importance of these consequences. I do indeed apprehend that it will be the inevitable result of this grant, that the manners of the students in the College of Maynooth will be, to a considerable degree, improved; that their tone will be raised; that their minds will be cultivated and enlarged; and that they will be familiarized with the comforts and decencies of life; and these, no doubt, are no inconsiderable advantages. But, my Lords, there are other consequences, of a different kind and of much higher importance, which I anticipate from this measure. A right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) observed, that even one of the most distinguished advocates of this measure in another place disclaimed the idea of its producing any benefit as regards the Protestant religion in Ireland. I am aware that such language was used. The right hon. Gentleman to whom this allusion was made did certainly say, that it was an argument nothing short of ridiculous, to contend that such a measure as this would operate to strengthen the Protestant religion in Ireland. But, my Lords, I suspect that that right hon. Gentleman's opinion is misrepresented, when it is alleged that he admitted that no benefit at all was likely to result to the Protestant religion from this measure. I understand him only to have denied that its direct and immediate effect would be to produce benefit to that religion, and on that point I myself am certainly with him. But I do at the same time conceive, and I am not at all sure that he would not agree with me, that in another point of view, it is highly 98 probable, nay, I might almost say, absolutely certain, that benefit to the cause of the Protestant religion will flow from this measure. I say, my Lords, that just in proportion as this measure tends to sooth, pacify and conciliate the Irish people, will it produce a great, though possibly a remote benefit to the Protestant religion in that country. It will tend to remove one of the great barriers which now obstruct the physical prosperity of Ireland, to promote the general diffusion of knowledge in that country, and to mitigate the intensity of religious rancour and animosity; and if it produce these effects, there is another which cannot fail to ensue, namely, that it will prepare the way for the reception of a purer form of religion. And therefore, my Lords, I say it is no ridiculous or extravagant proposition to hold, that in adopting this measure, you are consulting both the temporal and the spiritual interests of Ireland, and promoting the real welfare of the Protestant religion; and it is in the name of that religion, as well as for the sake of the safety and tranquillity of the State, that I entreat your Lordships to give your assent to this measure. Your main object is to establish a real and solid union between the two countries; and if you keep that object steadily in view, you will, I believe, most effectually provide for the interests of religion also. But beware, my Lords, that you do not begin at the wrong end, and, while you are grasping at something which is not attainable, lose that which is within your reach. Many eyes, my Lords, are fixed on the unexampled greatness of this country with feelings of jealousy and envy, and there are many who are eagerly watching the state of Ireland, in the hope that through that country the prosperity and safety of this may receive some fatal blow. I trust that such hopes will never be realized. I cannot contemplate the possibility of their realization, either as a citizen or as a Christian, with anything but the most serious apprehension. But still, if such a catastrophe should ensue, either from external force or from intestine discord, it might be accompanied with the consolation of thinking that we ourselves had not produced it, but that it was owing to causes which it was not in the power of the Legislature to provide against or remove. Far different would be the case if we were to sacrifice the safety of this great Empire to sectarian animosity. The catastrophe would then be at once tragical and 99 ignominious, and would leave us without anything to console us under the stroke. I cannot conclude without expressing my gratitude to your Lordships for the attention with which you have indulged me; and I feel that I ought to apologize for the length at which I have detained you. But, my Lords, highly as I value the privilege of addressing you, if this were the last act of my public life, I should perform it with the conviction, that no occasion could ever arise on which I could take a course more conducive to the public good, more consistent with my duty in every relation in which I am placed, and more satisfactory to the dictates of my conscience.
§ The Earl of Charleville
said, he rose to address their Lordships under a deep sense of the solemn and awful nature of the duty which was imposed upon him. Deeply ungrateful should he be, connected with a numerous Roman Catholic community, surrounded by a large body of Roman Catholic friends and relations, if in the discharge of this painful and solemn duty, he were guilty of going further than was absolutely necessary. The right rev. Prelate had spoken of the respect paid to oaths by laymen of the Roman Catholic Church. That was a subject to which he could have wished to avoid alluding; but, as the right rev. Prelate had himself introduced the topic, he would read to their Lordships the oath put to the former Lord Mayor of Dublin, and then appeal to them whether a Protestant, taking it without mental reservation, would have adopted the course afterwards pursued by the learned individual to whom he had referred. The oath was—I do hereby, disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to subvert the Protestant Church Establishment as settled by law within this realm; and I do solemnly protest, testify, and declare, that I make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever, so help me God.That was the oath taken by Mr. O'Connell when he became Lord Mayor of Dublin on the 31st of October, 1841. On the 7th of April, 1842, at a meeting of the Repeal Association, Mr. O'Connell proposed a resolution commencing as follows:—Resolved—That the leading practical objects of the Loyal National Repeal Association during the currant year are declared to be, and shall be—first, the total abolition of the 100 tithe-rent charge, subject only to vested interests, but to be totally abrogated from the Statute Book, as being a badge of the servitude and a token of the slavery of the Irish people.He believed the explanation given was, that money was not religion—that money was not the Church. [Laughter.] Noble Lords might laugh, but he could assure them that such was the explanation given by the learned Gentleman himself; and he would leave them to say how far it agreed with the oath taken by him. For himself, he looked upon tithes as a part of the Church established by law. With respect to the principle of this Bill, it was contended that the preamble of the Act of 1795 stated that it was for the institution, maintenance, and endowment of the College by the State. Now, the preamble distinctly stated the object of the Act passed to be, to remove disabilities, pains, and penalties affecting the Roman Catholics. The next portion of the preamble related to the appointment of trustees; and, lastly, it proceeded to say, that they should be enabled to establish, maintain, and endow the College of Maynooth; but it was evidently intended that this should be done by the Roman Catholics themselves. But, by an unfortunate omission they were not enabled to do so. Had that not been the case, their Lordships would now have been spared the painful necessity of discussing the present measure. He could assure their Lordships it was with extreme pain he performed the duty now imposed on him. They had heard a great deal as to the doctrines taught at Maynooth. The noble Baron opposite (Lord Beaumont) had expressed a strong and decided opinion that the doctrines said to be inculcated in that College were not taught there; and if they were, they were opposed to his opinions. He thought that a ground for calling for inquiry. In order that the noble Lord's mind should be satisfied, he ought to be the first and most anxious to call for a Committee to establish that point. The noble Baron said that the Opposition, as he was pleased to call his section of the House, could not be serious in moving for a Committee of Inquiry. He thought that many of the speeches which they had heard proved the necessity of a Committee, in order to adduce further information on this subject. He thought the objects of that Committee were very much simplified by the speech of the noble and 101 learned Lord who spoke last night (Lord Brougham). That noble Lord admitted the correctness of many quotations from Maldonatus and others; but he said such doctrines were now a dead letter, and that such writings of reverend fathers were like the expurgated editions of the classics taught at our schools. The question was, were those doctrines inculcated at the present day, or did the class books of Maynooth teach a different system? The latest published authority was the canon law, published by order of the Pope, in 1839, in which it was said—Oaths of allegiance taken by ecclesiastics are illicit and void. Ecclesiastics not having temporalities from laics are not bound to take oaths of allegiance to them. Certainly laics strive to usurp too much on the divine right, when they compel ecclesiastics to take oaths of allegiance. But since, according to the Apostle, every one stands or falls to his own master, we prohibit such ecclesiastic from any such violence. We declare that you are not bound by your oath of allegiance to your Prince, but that you may resist freely even your Prince himself in defence of the rights and honours of the Church, and even of your own private advantage. The kingly power is not superior to the pontifical, but is subject to it, and is bound to obey it. We declare, affirm, and define that submission to the Roman Pontiff is necessary to salvation."—Decretal, Gregory IX, lib. 11, tit. xxiv., cap. 30, p. 350.This, he apprehended, was sufficient evidence that the Ultramontane doctrines were entertained at Maynooth, that seminary being under the control of Jesuits. The noble Lord seemed to rely on the evidence of Dr. Kenny. Now, it was well known that Dr. Kenny was examined as to the doctrines taught at Maynooth. He was first asked whether the Ultramontane or the Gallican doctrines were taught at Maynooth. After some difficulty in arriving at a direct answer, he said the principles taught at Maynooth were those taught at the college at which he was educated. Being asked where that was, he replied Palermo, which he admitted was a Jesuit College, and that he was himself a Jesuit—in fact, that he was the superior of the order of Jesuits in Ireland. This was the gentleman made Vice President of Maynooth by Dr. Murray, who expressed the extreme satisfaction he felt at being able to procure so able and accomplished a gentleman (as no doubt, most Jesuits were) to superintend the education at Maynooth. Dr. Kenny left Maynooth 102 to be made head of the Jesuit College of Clongowes, but he occasionally assisted at the rituals in Maynooth. Dr. Kenny acknowledged that he admitted, while at Maynooth, 200 pupils into the "Sodality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus," which was the first step to becoming Jesuits. He would refer them to the speech of the noble Duke, delivered on the 2nd of April, 1829, upon the subject of the policy of Monastic Institutions. He then said—Large monastic establishments have been regularly formed, not only in Ireland but also in this country. The measure which I now propose for your Lordships' adoption will prevent the increase of such establishments, and, without oppression to any individuals, without injury to any body of men, will gradually put an end to those which have already been formed. There is no man more convinced than I am of the absolute necessity of carrying into execution that part of the present measure which has for its object the extinction of monastic orders in this country. I entertain no doubt whatever that if that part of the measure be not carried into execution, your Lordships will very soon see this country and Ireland inundated by Jesuits and regular monastic clergy."*A difficulty arose in his mind how—while the Act of 1829 remained unrepealed—the Government could persist in refusing a Committee to inquire into whether those persons who were students at Maynooth had been admitted into the "Sodality of the Sacred Heart"—the first step in the order of Jesuistry. Now he would be allowed to call the attention of the House to the law as it stood relating to Jesuits. By the Emancipation Act it was provided that—In case any person shall, after the commencement of this Act, within any part of this United Kingdom, be admitted or become a Jesuit, or brother or member of any such religious order, community, or society as aforesaid, such person shall be deemed and taken to be guilty of a misdemeanor; and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be sentenced and ordered to be banished from the United Kingdom for the term of his natural life.If, then, he could prove that the pupils at Maynooth had been so admitted to the Order of Jesuits, he did put it to them how the Government could refuse to grant them a Committee, when the persons receiving these benefits were liable to the punishment of transportation for having taken the vows, and having been admitted* Hansard's Debates (New Series), Vol. xxi, p. 56.103 into the Sodality of the Sacred Heart? Under these circumstances he could not but oppose the Bill; and the more so, as he did not believe that the Roman Catholics of Ireland attached any great importance to it. The noble Lord the late Secretary for Ireland had stated that great benefits would probably result from the system of College inspection; but he did not think that that inspection would be productive of any good results so long as it was not proposed to interfere with the doctrines or discipline of the Catholic Church. His noble Friend behind him had said that the Church of Rome in Ireland should be raised to a level with the Protestant Church; but there was, he thought, great difficulty in accomplishing that object. If they attempted to do it by endowment, did they suppose they would be successful—did they imagine they would give contentment to the people, or reconcile the clergy of the Church of Rome to the Government of this country? Or did they suppose the Government would derive any additional aid from their support? Dr. Soherer, a French Protestant minister of the Reformed Church in France, in speaking of the present state of the Reformed Church in France, said, in reference to the effects of the connexion of the State with religion, both as respected the Protestant and the Roman Catholic Churches—Our legal constitution, by overthrowing the substance of our organization, has not ruined institutions only, but the doctrine of our Reformed Church. Unhappily this is not all—the bearing of this fact is not limited to the ruin of a religious society, but extends to the ecclesiastical forms of French Protestantism in the most general sense; and even to the destinies of Christianity amongst us. The equality of rights granted to error and to truth by the salary, becomes from the very nature of things a decisive privilege accorded to error. Yes, the legal salary, when it is, as with us, independent of every dogmatical guarantee, of all religious control, establishes an absolute equality of the rights of truth and of error for religious instruction; and this equality is at bottom a true inequality to the profit of error.He thought it was hopeless therefore to contemplate such a measure as that now before them as a measure of peace; and considering that there was no benefit to be hoped for from it, and nothing but injury to religion and increased animosity, they had a right to know what really were the intentions of the Government, and 104 whether they intended to make any further proposals, founded on the same principle, beyond the present measure? He wished to refer to a speech made by the noble Duke who had moved the second reading of this Bill, at the period of the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Bill. On the 2nd of April, 1829, the noble Duke said—There is no doubt, that, after this measure shall be adopted, the Roman Catholics can have no separate interest, as a separate sect. * * * For my own part, I will state, that if I am disappointed in the hopes which I entertain, that tranquillity will result from this measure, I shall have no scruple in coming down and laying before Parliament the state of the case, and calling upon Parliament to enable Government to meet whatever danger may arise."*He wished the noble Duke, before proposing this measure, had shown that tranquillity had been established in Ireland; but so far from that, he had admitted that within a day or two of the passing of that Act, a fresh topic of excitement had arisen, which had continued with some intermission up to the present time. He regretted that the noble Duke had not thought it necessary to direct their attention to what was stated in the Irish papers, received on Monday, to have occurred last week only. He had received two letters from Dublin, describing the state of that city on Friday last. One of these was from an Orangeman; the other from a person who had been once favourable to emancipation, but circumstances had since changed his opinion. These letters described an army of 30,000 men marching through the city, all the ships bearing their flags, and every appearance indicative of a national jubilee. One of the writers said, it reminded him of the marshalling of the popular forces in the Champ de Mars, previous to the horrors of the French Revolution. The papers that arrived from Dublin that day, and the Nation, proclaimed this extraordinary scene. It was wonderful that the Members of the Cabinet should not have thought it worth their while to have looked at this matter. It excited in his mind the greatest suprise. Let them look to the oath that had been taken at the Conciliation, and then say if they could, that Repeal was at an end. From his* Hansard's Debates (New Series), Vol. xxi, pp. 57, 58.105 knowledge of Ireland, he affirmed that any one who said so, would be under a great mistake.
§ The Earl of Charleville
here read a statement, in which it was declared that the undersigned solemnly pledged themselves never to desist in seeking for a Repeal of the Union, by all peaceable, moral, and constitutional means. He thought that the Government ought, and that the Government would have taken other steps tending to secure the peace and tranquillity of Ireland. He knew that it must be a matter of indifference to the Government to lose his confidence and support. It was to them but the loss of one vote. It was but one among the many; and he was sure that their opponents would give to the Government a victory over those who assisted in placing them in office. He regretted this for the sake of the peace and tranquillity of Ireland.
Whatever regret he or other Members of the Government might feel—and he could assure the noble Earl who had last spoken that that regret would be most sincere—at losing his confidence and support, yet the prospect of losing the support of the noble Earl, or of others of those by whom, as he had reminded them, they had been called to power, would not so far weigh on their minds as to induce them to give the greatest proof that they were unworthy of the confidence once reposed in them, by sacrificing even to the respect and deference which they (the Government) owed to their opinion, the still higher duty which they owed in their responsibility to their country and their God, as the Ministers of this great country, for discharging these functions with which they had been entrusted in that manner, which conscientiously they believed to be the best and the most likely to tend to the welfare and prosperity of this great Empire. He knew not what were the measures to which the noble Earl referred, which he supposed the Government should have interrupted in Ireland. The noble Earl had gratuitously supposed that the Department of the Government to which the peace of the country was more especially entrusted, had not the earliest intimation of what had taken place—had not the earliest intimation of what was likely to take place in Dublin— 106 had not taken such precautions as were necessary for preserving the public peace, or was not careful to watch whether there were or were not in these proceedings any violation of the law of the land. The proceedings to which the noble Earl referred had taken place; and if the result was that on an occasion when, to celebrate the anniversary of a conviction that was subsequently set aside by the judgment of this House on technical points of law, and to testify their opinion of the merits of Mr. O'Connell, a very large portion of the population of Dublin went to pay their respects to him, and express their opinion of his merits; and if a much larger proportion of the population of Dublin, as the noble Earl had stated, decked their boats and ships with flags, and proceeded to make holiday, and to see the show and the procession—if all this took place, and if yet there was no interruption of the public peace, no violation of the law of the land—if in the opinion of the officers of the law there was nothing of the proceedings of that day which made any man amenable to the law, or subjected him to the penalties of the law—he humbly thought that in such a case it was a sufficient discharge of the duty of the Government to have watched that there was no such interruption of the public peace, and that they had not failed in their duly, if on such an occasion they had refrained from coming forward to the Legislature and asking for that which should be the last and ultimate resort—namely, the application of power beyond the law and above the law. He could not say that the greater part of the noble Earl's speech was peculiarly applicable to the subject in hand, nor did he understand what connexion the noble Earl established in his own mind between the proceedings which took place the other day in Dublin, and the introduction of this Bill for the purpose of placing on a more satisfactory footing the provision which Parliament had now for fifty years made for the endowment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. Before the noble Earl rose, he (Lord Stanley) certainly thought, in common with other noble Lords, that noble Lords were not very serious in proposing or supporting the Amendment; and he must confess, if he thought so before, the noble Earl's reasons for supporting the Amendment had not satisfied him that he was mistaken. The noble Earl who commenced 107 the discussion on the Amendment, stated distinctly, that in bringing it forward, he did not move for an inquiry into the doctrines taught at the College of Maynooth, with the smallest idea that the result of that inquiry would in one way or other affect his own vote or decision. He frankly avowed that his object in proposing that Amendment was not inquiry—that his object was, in fact, to stop the measure, and, if possible, to defeat it. What was the reason that was produced by the noble Earl who had just sat down for supporting the Amendment of his noble Friend? The noble Earl said he would vote for the Amendment—that he would vote for an inquiry into the character of the College of Maynooth—for an inquiry into its conduct, its doctrine, and its discipline. Why? Because he was able to prove that, since the passing of the Relief Act of 1829, certain young men connected with Maynooth had been admitted into the society of the Jesuits. Now, the Committee moved for, to inquire into the character of the College, would, in the first place, never touch that question—upon the proof of which the noble Earl had based his support of the Amendment. The noble Earl was prepared, and ready, as he said, to prove it. If such a thing had happened—if in violation of the provisions of the Relief Act any young men connected with that College had been introduced into the society of the Jesuits, the law was open; such an introduction was a misdemeanor under the law, and parties were amenable under the law, and liable, not as the noble Earl stated, to the penalty of transportation, but to the penalty of banishment; they were open to prosecution for misdemeanor; and he humbly conceived that if the noble Earl was cognizant of this, and was desirous to proceed, the course of proceeding was in the Courts of law, against those who had violated the law, and not by a fishing inquiry in their Lordships' House to obtain matter to criminate individuals, under the pretence of an inquiry into the doctrines and discipline of the College, and with the real and avowed intention of defeating this measure. He anticipated, as he had said, that the Amendment proposed was not intended as a substantial Amendment, and that the real question was, would their Lordships accept or reject this measure? He had conceived it was so, because, 108 in the first place, the inquiry would be utterly useless. It would be useless on this account, if on no other—that in the sense in which some noble Lords looked upon it, no possible result of that inquiry would alter the votes they were about to give. They might prove that doctrines, more or less hostile, were taught there; that they were doctrines of an antagonistic Church, for he adopted the expression of a right rev. Prelate. They knew them as the doctrines of a Church antagonist to their own; and the Government avowed and declared that this endowment was granted to Maynooth for the purpose of instructing, in doctrines from which they differed, the priesthood of a population whose creed was not that which they themselves professed. If the inquiry were useless, it would not be merely useless. If they entered upon that inquiry—if, in prosecuting it, they called before them the various officers of the College, and the evidence which noble Lords were prepared to produce, for the purpose of proving that this or that objectionable passage was to be found in the text books used at Maynooth, or that this or that doctrine or principle was there inculcated—the only result of such inquiry would be an incessant, constant, and daily increasing acerbity, and an exaggeration of all the religious rancour and animosities which remained between different portions of the community. But in regard to the question, whether it was right or wrong to continue the endowment to Maynooth, in his opinion such an inquiry would be useless. They had the right to be satisfied that the principles of Maynooth were not at variance with the civil rights and duties which were owing to the country, and the allegiance that was owing to the Crown. But was there any noble Lord, who would say that he knew and believed that Maynooth did not uphold and maintain the doctrine of allegiance to the Crown? No one asserted so. The opinions of a Roman Catholic who had abandoned his faith, and who had joined the Protestant Church, had been quoted to show what was the state of things when he himself entered the College of Maynooth, and who said that he was extremely surprised, in common with others who entered with him, that the first thing the professors did on their entry was to administer to them the Oath of Allegiance. The same authority stated that some of 109 them did not kiss the book, and that there were other equivocations which ignorant people sometimes resorted to, imagining that they thereby released themselves in some degree from the obligation of the Oath. But was that to be charged upon the College into which, for the first time, these students entered? On the contrary, the statement of the witness was, that to each of them the Oath was tendered, and that it was taken by all. Do not let them take on this point any suspicious testimony which might slander away the character of men who deserved no such stain, no such reproach. Let them rather judge these men by their own recorded declarations and acts. What was the language of the statutes of the College of Maynooth with regard to allegiance to the Crown, and to the power of dispensing with that allegiance? The rule as to allegiance was laid down in the statutes. If either the noble Earl or the right rev. Prelate had composed a declaration of allegiance to the Crown, to be prescribed as an oath to be taken by students on their entrance to the College of Maynooth, he asked whether they could possibly have devised a more stringent declaration, or one more calculated to ensure loyalty, than that which was now administered? He thought, therefore, that further inquiry would answer no good purpose. As to the number of petitions against the measure, he was desirous to attach the utmost weight to bona fide petitions; but he conceived that many of those presented against the Bill originated in the apprehension that it would tend to injure the Protestant Church. If he thought that such would be its tendency, he should be the very first to condemn and denounce the measure as impolitic and unjust. He would never consent to anything that could have that effect; but he had no apprehension that this Bill would have any such tendency. The petitions against the Bill emanated principally from Protestant Dissenters; and while he entertained the highest respect for the members of those persuasions, he thought their petitions were founded upon erroneous views of the effects of the Bill. The principle of the Bill was not new, since there had been an annual grant to Maynooth for many years; and if the amount was not a ground of insuperable objection, he saw no reason why the grant should not be made permanent. He did not see that the endowment 110 of the Roman Catholic priesthood would necessarily follow the endowment of the College of Maynooth. He saw great difficulties in the way of the former endowment; but he candidly avowed that they were not of a religious character. The evident and strong objection of the people of England to an endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood would form a difficulty in the way of such a proposition, which necessarily required great consideration. It was said that this College was not only an exclusively Catholic College, but that it was still more — that it was an exclusively clerical Roman Catholic College; and the right reverend Prelate who directed himself to that question last night, made that a serious complaint against it. Was the noble Earl aware that in the first instance Maynooth had a lay College attached to it, and that the separation was caused by the Government of the day? But that question was not of such importance as this question. Did they expect—did any one expect, who supported this Bill, that there would be one Roman Catholic or Protestant less, or one Roman Catholic or Protestant more in Ireland, in consequence of its passing. There might, he admitted, be some who indulged in the dream that at some future period, and by some unexplained process of undefined legislation, the whole Roman Catholic population of Ireland would be brought within the pale of the Protestant Church. No man, he was satisfied, could value more than he (Lord Stanley) would the future possibility of the realisation of such a vision; but when he looked back to his own experience, and when he looked forward to future possibility, he was obliged to look upon that vision as altogether Utopian; and he was obliged to say that it would be ridiculous to make it the basis of any proceedings in Parliament. No one who held that opinion—who entertained that vision—could suppose that the conversion of persons to the Roman Catholic religion would be impeded by this measure; for its object was not to make more Catholics, but to make better Roman Catholics in Ireland. He was strongly convinced that the Roman Catholic religion contained grievous errors, that there were many failings in the Catholic Church; he was strongly and sincerely convinced of the superiority and purity of his own Church; but if circumstances were such as to place the choice 111 before him, that the being whom he regarded best in this world—that his own child should be brought up in the profession of the Roman Catholic religion, or left destitute of religious instruction, a prey to ignorance and to the vice consequent upon that ignorance—painful as the choice might be to him to have his child brought up in the profession of what he believed an erroneous faith, he would sooner have that child brought up in the Catholic faith, than left a prey to ignorance. That, however, was not the question now. They had now to deal with a case in which a population were Roman Catholics, and would be Roman Catholics; and they had to consider whether they should be instructed Roman Catholics or ignorant Roman Catholics; whether they would have those Roman Catholics educated by priests well instructed and well affected to the Government which took them by the hand, or not. Let them look at it in either way, and he would say that, as Christians as well as politicians, they were obliged to consider it, and in that light he looked on it as wise, and just, and prudent, to give their Roman Catholic fellow subjects the best religious education they could afford them, according to the forms of worship which they observed, and which their creed would permit them to receive at the hands of the Government or the Legislature, A right rev. Prelate, who opposed this Bill on the previous evening, stated that he looked upon this as an endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood; and that, in consequence of that, it was so objectionable that, rather than have such a double endowment, he would have no endowment of any Church at all, and would be for the withdrawal of all State endowment of religion. He would not, in answer to that, go into the ground which had been taken by the noble Lord connected with the county of Limerick, and enter on the subject of the general Colonial policy of the country with regard to the support of different religions; but he would remark that in Canada and Malta, and other dependencies of the Crown, held under treaties, different forms of religion were supported and maintained from the State funds. So much, then, for what had been said as to the introduction of a new principle by this Bill. If noble Lords meant to say that this Bill was intended to promulgate error, and that they would not consent 112 to promulgate any error, however it might be connected with much truth which could not be promulgated unless mixed with it, he might think that those noble Lords were affected by an obliquity of vision; but with regard to any conscientious objection to such a promulgation, he could not give any answer. If those noble Lords said that it went against their consciences, he could not object to that statement; but he could not allow their consciences to regulate his. If they were not to do anything, on the principle that they were not to promulgate error, they ought not to stop at this Bill on this occasion, for they had been propagating error for the last fifty years by annual votes; and they had fifty years ago declared their intention of promulgating error by the endowment of a College at Maynooth, at which were taught doctrines which they considered erroneous; and that intention had been evinced every year since by an annual vote for the purpose. A right rev. Prelate last night stated that the College was not originally endowed by the Government in 1795, but that it merely permitted the endowment of the College. If their Lordships, however, looked to the Statutes of 1795, and, subsequently, of 1800, they would find that the Acts were to endow, maintain, and establish the College: and these words were used by the Protestant Legislature of Ireland. Not only did the original Act endow the College, but it gave a sum of 8,000l. to it; and that endured ever since without alteration, unless in the amount of the sum, which was at one time raised to 13,000l., and at another reduced to 9,250l. Irish currency. They would find that endowment in the 10th Clause of the Bill. It was not a private institution—it was an institution established by the Government originally, and which was overlooked by official trustees appointed by the Government; nay, the President of the College could not be appointed but subject to the approbation of the Lord Lieutenant; and all the by-laws not affecting doctrine, but for the regulation of the College, were to have the tacit approval of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. To say, with all the facts before them, that this institution was unconnected with the State, was perfectly absurd. A right rev. Prelate, last night, spoke of the vast difference he said there was between the education of the Catholic priests in Ireland, 113 and that of the Catholic priests in England; whereas, in point of fact, in England young men intended for the priesthood, as soon as they commenced their theological studies, were as effectually severed from the society of other young men as at Maynooth, so that the monastic seclusion spoken of was not peculiar to the latter establishment. The noble Lord then pointed out the improved condition, physically, in which the proposed Bill would place the students of Maynooth, and contended that the effect of this improvement would be highly beneficial to them in every point of view, and, among other results, tend altogether to alter the feelings which the past niggardly conduct of the Government, in reference to the establishment, not unnaturally generated in their minds. They asked whether this measure was to stand alone? He replied, that this was to be taken by itself; but at the same time to be taken as an indication of the future conduct of Government. The Government desired that this measure should be considered in the eyes of the people of Ireland as a manifestation that the Government resolved to treat them with conciliation, and in a spirit as honourable to their Roman Catholic subjects as to any other portion of Her Majesty's subjects. This was not to be treated as the harbinger of future measures, but, as an indication of what would be the conduct of the Government towards Ireland. He believed that it would be so received in Ireland. It had been held out that no gratitude was to be expected, as it had been extorted from the Government. He entertained the opinion that it would not be regarded in that spirit. The noble Earl had said that the proceedings of the Government, in adopting the legal proceedings which they did, had produced tranquillity in Ireland. He admitted that to a considerable extent this was the case; but in the same year that Her Majesty's Ministers adopted this course, they took into their consideration what measures could be adopted for the relief of the people of Ireland. In this spirit they, last year, had passed the Charitable Bequests Act, which, he believed, notwithstanding the outery and agitation, had given satisfaction in that country. And in the same spirit they had brought forward the measure now before the House. It had not been brought forward in consequence of any indication of a 114 cloud in the far west, which had been referred to by his right hon. Friend in another place, for it had been prepared and determined on when there was no apprehension of a foreign war. It was last year that they decided on adopting a measure of this kind, and they then consulted the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland on the principle, though not on the details of the measure now before the House. The whole of the measure had been decided on upwards of six months before it had been introduced in another place. His right hon. Friend, indeed, did not say that it had been brought forward with any reference to the cloud in the west; but that he was glad that he had been able to propose a measure which he believed would prove satisfactory to the people of England, and this at a time when circumstances had led to the necessity of a strong expression of opinion in this country with reference to foreign matters. He denied the statement of Bishop Higgins that this measure would be regarded with indifference by the Irish people, as it was a paltry concession, and one not asked for. On this point he would refer to the Memorial of the Catholic bishops, presented the year before last, requesting an additional grant to Maynooth [the noble Lord here read the Memorial in question]. But if this measure had not been asked for, he should still regard it as a desirable measure; and he believed that it would be received with feelings of gratitude by the Irish people; who, whatever other faults might be charged to them, never were ungrateful for a kindness bestowed upon them. It was impossible to suppose that this or any other measure which could be proposed would satisfy the fanatical firebrands who were to be met with in Ireland, or those agitators, who, for their own mercenary motives, excited the people of that country, and who would do everything in their power to prevent anything like a union of feeling between the two countries; for they knew that their pecuniary, their personal position, and their popularity, depended upon the continuance of it. But if they should meet with disappointment, he still should feel satisfied that they should regard the measure as a most useful one; and if agitation after this and other measures should still continue in a violent degree, he would suggest that wise maxim from a holy source, "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome 115 evil with good. Regard not railing, or be turned from thy course by it." They might depend upon it that ultimately ingratitude and suspicion must be overcome by constant kindness. They now proposed to give a higher instruction to the Irish priesthood for the sake of the Irish people, whom they had already educated highly—for a highly educated people must have a highly educated priesthood. And here let him express his satisfaction at the success of the measures for the education of the Irish people which he had formerly introduced; and he trusted that this and the measures before the other House of Parliament would be attended with equal success. He rejoiced to hear from his noble Friend opposite (Lord Monteagle) that he was not prepared to draw any portion of the funds of the Protestant Church in Ireland, to endow the clergy of the Roman Catholics. It might be that efforts, more or less successful, would be made to look on the very existence of that Church as a grievance. If that were so, he called on them not to be deterred from doing justice, by the fear of being met with ingratitude. If they could not do otherwise, they should affirm that they would maintain the Established Church, that they would adhere to and uphold that Church in its rights, its temporalities, its privileges, and in its distribution throughout the length and breadth of the land. But in doing so, they should add that they were ready to take by the hand of kindness the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church, and to promote not only the moral and the intellectual instruction of the people, but also the religious instruction and education in the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church; that even though that faith differed from their own, still that object was one which the Government had at heart, and which the Government of this country, Protestant though it was, admitted to be right and just to give the best attention to. The decision rested with their Lordships. He could not place too highly before them the responsibility that would be incurred by a rejection of this measure, a responsibility far greater than if the measure had never been introduced. But he had no such fear. He knew their Lordships would look to this question as statesmen, as Christians, and as men desirous of securing by the firmest hold the union, not the legislative union, but the real 116 and substantial union between all classes of the people of this Empire, divided as they might be in religious faith. And while he could not express the alarm and dismay which the rejection of this measure would occasion in his mind, he had too high a sense of the wisdom, justice, and patriotism of the illustrious assemblage which he addressed—to dread that they would involve the country in the fearful consequences which he apprehended.
§ The Question was again put, viz.:—"That the words proposed to be left out, stand part of the said Motion." House divided: — Contents 155; Non-Contents 59: Majority 106.118
|List of the CONTENTS—Present.|
|Lyndhurst||Talbot of Malahide|
|Bolton||Monteagle of Brandon|
|List of the NOT-CONTENTS—Present.|
|Charleville||Willoughby de Broke|
§ Rsolved in the Affirmative.
§ Then the original Motion was again put, viz.:—"That the said Bill be now read 2a;" objected to; and on Question, House divided:—Contents Present, 144; Proxies 82: Majority 226. Non-Contents Present 55; Proxies 14, 69: Majority 157.119
§ Resolved in the Affirmative. Bill read 2a.
§ House adjourned.
§ "DISSENTIENT 1. Because I have always viewed the establishment of the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth as a measure bad in principle, and not productive of any of those advantages which (as an experiment and a mere measure of political expediency) might possibly have, on those grounds, justified its original adoption.
§ "2. Because I have always entertained the strongest conviction, that the annual grant to the College of Maynooth was a measure to which, as a Protestant, I could not assent; as educating, for the spiritual instruction of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, an inferior class of persons, taken, in most instances from the lower orders of the people; and therefore not likely to use, for the general advantage of the country, the immense power which they must possess as the spiritual guides of a naturally intelligent, sensitive and easily excited people.
§ "3. Because my sentiments as to the character of the education adopted in the College of Maynooth have been fully corroborated by the evidence taken before the Commissioners of Irish Education in their Eighth Report; and the admissions of the Professors of that Institution prove to my complete satisfaction, that the authorized class books of Maynooth (which every student is obliged to purchase), and the standards to which they are referred, contain doctrines the inoculation of which upon the youth who are to be the spiritual guides and directors of the great body of the Irish people, must be fraught with the greatest danger to the peace and well-being of the United Empire.
§ "4. Because, objecting so strongly to the annual grant to the College of Maynooth, those objections are infinitely increased, when it is proposed to give to that institution a permanent endowment, unaccompanied by any check or control on the part of the Legislature.
§ "5. Because, it is my firm conviction that the effect of the present measure for the permanent endowment of Maynooth will be to increase the number of the Roman Catholic priesthood, without improving the quality of that body.
§ 6. Because considering this measure to be bad in itself, and dangerous in its consequences, I cannot but view it as the precursor of other measures which, in the march of 120 events, it must carry with it—involving (perhaps at no distant period) the destruction of our Protestant Established Church.