The Bishop of Cashel
My Lords, a noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Normanby) last night brought a heavy charge against me—a charge of 2 having used, upon a late occasion, very intemperate and very improper language. The noble Marquess alluded to a charge delivered by me at Lismore. I said last evening that I hoped I should be able to lay before the noble Marquess a copy of this charge. I was not then sure that I could procure a copy in London. However, I have been able to obtain two copies; one of these I have thought it to be my duty to send to the noble Duke (the Duke of Wellington); and the other I desire, after offering it to the inspection of your Lordships, to put into the hands of the noble Marquess. But I beg leave to say, that whilst I was perfectly sure that I never used any language at all similar to that read by the noble Marquess, yet, on looking more particularly over the charge, I feel myself authorized in stating this, that what the noble Marquess represented as part of my charge, is not a mere perversion of what I said, but is an original, wilful, fabrication of falsehoods, declaring that I said things to which there is not a tittle of similitude to 3 be found in the real version of the charge, which I now lay before your Lordships. And I would ask the noble Marquess to give me a copy of that which he brought before the House as a portion of that charge; for, as I am about to republish the latter—seeing that it has been so much spoken of—in the hope of thus putting my own defence in the hands of the noble Marquess, and of this House — in doing so, I would certainly wish to append to the true version that which the noble Marquess read last night to the House. I will not say one word as to the propriety or impropriety of the course taken by the noble Marquess. In fact, I would not trust myself upon the subject. All I can say is, that I will not further allude to it; I will not return evil for evil. There is, however, one question which I will ask. As I am sure the noble Marquess could not have made a statement of this nature, involving so gross and heavy a charge against an individual, without having what he considered sufficient authority for it, I think I may ask him to give up his authority for that which he read as a portion of my charge, and which is as foreign from that charge as any one thing which can be said is from another. Last night, the noble Marquess threw out a doubt as to whether the printed charge was a perfectly correct version of that delivered at Lismore. I can only say that a nephew—who is now in this town—heard me deliver that charge; I gave the manuscript into his hands—he copied it out for the press; and what he copied was first printed in the Christian Examiner in Dublin, and afterwards reprinted; so that the charge in its present form is as really my charge as any version of a charge or speech published by the person making it, possibly can be that charge or speech. I trust, therefore, that the noble Marquess will have no objection to state the authority upon which he gave the version which he read to the House last night of my charge; for in these stormy times, when no man's character is safe from violent attacks—of which I have certainly had my share—it is well to know those from whom they come, as such knowledge may give us some security and peace. At all events, I feel that I have a certain security against any future attacks from the noble Marquess. To any attack from that quarter, I feel that I am quite invulnerable; for I have 4 only to keep that charge and the version of it which the noble Marquess has brought forward, as a defence against any future attack from the same source. At all events, I have a right to know the names of the persons who gave the paragraph which the noble Marquess read as the correct version of a portion of the charge which I now lay upon the Table.
The Marquess of Normanby
I am perfectly ready to make the exchange to which the right rev. Prelate alludes; indeed I have been expecting, as he was good enough to promise that he would have transmitted it to me, a correct version of his charge; and had he done so, I should have felt it to be my duty very carefully to peruse it, before coming down to the House. I now, however, hold in my hand, what I have brought here for the purpose of transferring to the hands of the right rev. Prelate for his perusal, and for the purpose of his taking a copy of it if he pleases—the letter which contains the statements, extracts of which I last night read to the House. I think the production of this document is due to myself, as well as to the right rev. Prelate, as, in the first part of his defence, he charged me with having kept by me for some time the accusation of some anonymous assailant The letter, on the authority of which I made the statement of last night, I now hold in my hand; and the person who writes this letter desires that it may not be supposed that he wishes to shrink from the responsibility of the communication. The signature to the letter is that of the very rev. Dr. Fogarty, the vicar general and parish priest of Lismore—a gentleman, I believe, as incapable of stating what he believes not to be true as any one of your Lordships. The communication he has made was given, he says, upon the authority of several persons who were present upon the occasion of the delivery of the charge, and who are ready, as I understand, to come forward and verify what they have stated. Upon perusing the letter, the right rev. Prelate will see that Dr. Fogarty distinctly states that he did endeavour to procure an authentic version of the charge, that he was unable to do so, and that he was not aware that such a document or publication was in existence. I therefore cannot but think it is much to be regretted, that if the right rev. Prelate printed his charge, it was not somehow disseminated in the district where the erroneous 5 impression as to its purpose and nature prevailed. I do not know that I need say more. No man can regret more than I do having made an accusation which is found to be groundless. This much I am ready to state to the right rev. Prelate; but will he allow me to ask him one question, whether the charge was delivered extempore?
The Marquess of Normanby
I am most anxious to dismiss this matter from my mind and from that of your Lordships as completely as possible; and as the right rev. Prelate last night stated that he would not answer for every word of the printed charge, and as this avowal naturally raised the impression upon my mind that the charge was an extempore one, I put the question to which we have just heard the reply. But when the right rev. Prelate goes on and says that this error as to the nature of his charge, resting on the authority which I have mentioned, is to protect him in future from any attacks which I, as a Member of Parliament, may think it right to direct against his conduct as another Member of Parliament, he stretches the effect of the denial which he has been able to give to a specific charge much further than I think any of your Lordships will be willing to allow it to be pushed. I beg to say that I still entertain the opinion, and, from what I have lately heard from the lips of the right rev. Prelate, I am still more strongly induced to entertain the opinion which I have ever held, and to stand by any expression of that opinion to which I have ever given utterance—as to the discretion of the Government in the appointment of that right rev. Prelate. I do not wish to say this offensively; but I am bound to state it in justice to my own sense of duty as a Member of Parliament, and to state also that this circumstance, dismissed as it will be from my mind, will never produce the slightest effect upon me, whenever I may deem it my public duty to reflect upon the conduct and arguments of the right rev. Prelate.
§ The Duke of Wellington
The right rev. Prelate having done me the honour to give me a copy of the charge, I have perused it, and I must say that it does not contain one word in support of the version to which the noble Marquess has 6 referred this evening, and which he particularly mentioned last night. It appears to me to be a regular ecclesiastical charge—a charge such as that which a person in the situation of the right rev. Prelate ought to deliver. It does not contain a word calculated to be injurious to anybody, and I am convinced nobody can read it without the greatest satisfaction, and without the greatest respect for the right rev. Prelate who delivered it.
The right rev. Prelate has confessedly cleared himself from the imputation of having used the language attributed to him; but at the same time I must say, having just cast my eye over the published version of the charge, that it contains expressions which might not unnaturally have led to the misapprehension complained of. Perhaps your Lordships will permit me to read a sentence. Here is one of the sentences:—I feel that I need not enter into any particulars in warning you against this new or lately revived heresy, as I have no reason to conclude that the clergy of this diocese are infected with its poison. We live so much in the midst of genuine Popery, that we are in the less danger of being tainted by a kindred corruption. It has been said by a shrewd and pious man, that Popery was the masterpiece of Satan, and that he would never bring into the world another scheme equal in cunning and mischief. This is not, however, a new scheme, but a modification of Popish virus, founded on those principles so congenial to human nature, and turning towards the original source from whence they spring.I think, under the circumstances, my noble Friend behind me might reasonably stand excused for falling into the mistake of supposing that the right rev. Prelate had declared that Popery was the masterpiece of Satan.
The Bishop of Cashel
I used the words, certainly; but I said distinctly, that some one else had so said; and what I said was—to speak it out—against the Tractarian doctrines of the present day.