HL Deb 29 July 1851 vol 118 cc1637-76

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


moved that the Bill be now read 3a.


My Lords, having already occupied a considerable portion of your Lordships' time on a former stage of this measure, I certainly have no desire to claim your attention on the present occasion for more than a few minutes. But I cannot refrain from availing myself of this the last opportunity afforded me by the forms of the House to protest against the passing of this ill-omened measure. And, my Lords, the discussion which has already taken place, has certainly not removed the apprehensions which I entertain of its mischievous consequences, nor shaken my deep conviction of its radical injustice and intolerance. My Lords, during a long political life, I have never affected singularity of sentiment, nor am I conscious of having ever been deficient in deference and respect for the opinions of others. If, therefore, I find myself now almost alone in opposition to the sentiments of the House, at least your Lordships must believe that it is in consequence of the most deliberate and dispassionate consideration of what is due to right and to justice. My Lords, I make no complaint and no accusation; but something tells me that many of the noble Lords opposite are not strangers to the feelings which I have expressed at a former sitting. My Lords, what is the situation of this Bill at the present moment? Nothing could be more singular than the opinions entertained of this measure. Carried as it has been hitherto by overwhelming majorities, every Amendment strenuously and successfully resisted, nevertheless no single individual has professed an entire approbation of its provisions. Neither in this House, nor I believe in the other House of Parliament, has any one professed an entire satisfaction with it. Even the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Lansdowne) has declared that he wishes parts of it had been otherwise. With some it does too much; with others too little; but none are satisfied with it as it stands; and the only thing in which the supporters of this measure agree, is in the opinion that something must be done. Now, my Lords, I think that this is a most unsatisfactory and irrational proceeding. The notion of doing "a something" is sure to lead to legislation from passion and prejudice, and not from a calm or an intelligent conviction of the real necessity of the case. My Lords, the noble Baron on the cross-bench (Lord Monteagle) who the other night moved for the omission of Ireland from this Bill, I thought made out the strongest case for the Motion he submitted—a case, indeed, triumphant in argument; but I was compelled not to accede to his proposition in order to avoid mischiefs of a still greater magnitude than those which the noble Lord wishes to avert. In fact, the noble Lord's argument, however strong it was against including Ireland in this Bill, appeared to me to afford still stronger reasons against any legislation whatever on this subject; for it is the effect, the necessary effect, which will be produced in Ireland by this measure, that in my mind furnishes the most cogent argument against all legislation, without a much stronger necessity than any that has yet been alleged for this Bill. My Lords, when we hold out the effect that may possibly he produced from the sudden introduction of such a penal statute as this into Ireland, it has been insinuated, if not asserted, that this course tends to encourage resistance in that country to the law, and to promote a spirit of disobedience, which it ought to be the sincere desire of all of us to check. But, my Lords, what are we to do? Here is a Bill proposed by Her Majesty's Government, which some of your Lordships think pregnant with mischief of every description, and calculated to lead to the most disastrous consequences. Is it not our right—is it not our duty—our imperative duty—to denounce a measure of this character, and to point out, in so far as we are able, the evils which we think are likely to result from it? If we are only to accept a Ministerial proposition, unquestioned, as law, then I am quite sure, in that case, that we had better leave our seats in this House, and make way for others who are more compliant and more docile. But I must say, that until this measure shall have been placed upon the Statute-book, we are perfectly free to deal with it according to our deliberate judgment and consciences, and to denounce what we think the evils of it in any way that may seem fit to us. Now, I admit that when once it becomes law, and has been inserted in the Statute-book, then, although unquestionably that which I think so bad will never change its character by becoming law, yet still the tone in which I shall speak of it will necessarily be modified. I do not say that I shall not be glad at any time to see a constitutional mode adopted for repealing such a law; but, undoubtedly, while it exists, it should be received with the respect and obedience due to all other laws. My Lords, I remember many years ago, a learned friend of mine, well known to the noble Marquess opposite, brought to me the manuscript of a work, and he said—"Now, find as many faults as you can in it before publication, and as few as you can after." That is something of the way in which we ought to treat proposals of law brought forward for our consideration. It is our business to criticise and expose such faults as we think belong to them; and when we have done so, if we fail to make any amendment in the measure, when, not having yet become law, it is still open to be canvassed by your Lordships as freely as on its first introduction, then the decision of your Lordships, as finally pronounced, is entitled to obedience and respect. My Lords, having already alluded to the effects which may be produced by this Bill, I will not enter into a repetition of arguments or of statements to show the evils which must flow from it; but I shall only call the attention of the noble Marquess to a single other point. The noble Marquess very emphatically declared the other night that nothing should have induced him to consent to the second clause of this Bill had it stood as it was originally proposed, and without the security of the consent of the Attorney General being necessary to the filing of any information by the common informer. [Lord BEAUMONT here made a remark.] The noble Lord reminds me that the clause was not originally proposed by the Government, but by those persons who had undertaken to amend the Government Bill. The noble Marquess said, he would not consent to a clause which gave power to a common informer to sue. Now, my Lords, I can only say that, according to the best of my judgment, an indictment may be filed under the first clause of this Bill without the consent of the Attorney General, and liable to be enforced against not only the assumption of titles, but against any exercise of "jurisdiction, authority, and pre-eminence," spiritual or otherwise. My Lords, that is my belief, from the opinions I have received. The noble Marquess must admit that at least this is doubtful, and if doubtful, what a prospect does it open up to your Lordships of consequence, that must ensue? If this be correct, is it possible to exaggerate the mischief you incur by the revival of these ancient statutes—for the first section of this Bill is a declaration of the law? If by the revival of these ancient laws you permit the possibility of an indictment being laid against any act of "jurisdiction, authority, and pre-eminence," struck at by those obsolete enactments, I say then you open up a scene of difficulty, and danger, and wrong, which I shudder to contemplate. Therefore it seems to me that our legislation is likely to lead to dangerous results—for the persons of ability and experience to whom I refer would not have entertained and declared such an opinion, if the question at least did not admit of doubt. With all the respect which I owe to the opinion of the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack, this, it must be remembered, is a question which will go before the Courts of Common Law, and will have to be decided by a jury. I refer to this alone as a reason for anticipating, especially in Ireland, the evils to which I have alluded. I take it for granted, however, that as all amendments have been rejected hitherto, so, even to remove a doubt on this subject, an amendment will be impossible. I take it for granted that, as all the amendments which have yet been proposed on this Bill have been negatived by great majorities, any amendment which I might propose on the first clause would be negatived likewise. My Lords, I have now only to say that I shall avail myself of what I consider to be one of the most valuable privileges which your Lordships possess, that of recording on the Journals of the House your reasons for dissenting from any measure which you may think inexpedient. It will be for those who come afterwards to decide whether the reasons for the dissent which I intend to enter upon the Journals are consistent with good policy and good government; whether the apprehensions which I have expressed are well-founded, or whether they are only vain and imaginary. My Lords, I shall say, "Not content" to the third reading.


said, there were circumstances—and those not unknown to many of their Lordships—which rendered it very painful for him to approach this subject; and he therefore hoped that their Lordships would give their kindest attention to an individual so circumstanced. If he had not the fullest belief that if he gave a silent vote on this subject, it would lead to the misconstruction or misconception of his motives, he would have been well content to remain silent; but there were high grounds on which it was incumbent that he, as possessing a prominent office in the Church of England, should come forward on this occasion, and explain the reasons why he gave his full, heart, and rational assent to the second reading of this Bill. It had been argued in the course of the debate, with great skill and singular ability, that this Bill was a civil and political measure, and that it did not touch at all upon matters of religion. If it were meant to say that this Bill only alluded to civil and political considerations, he had no hesitation in declaring that on such considerations he could not and would not give his assent to it. But he believed that the Bill affected the religious character of the country, and on that ground he should certainly give his vote in its favour. He did not mean to say thereby that it was the province of their Lordships to establish by legislation religious truth. He thought that it was not so. But to him it appeared that there were two entirely different lines of duty belonging to the right rev. Bench of Bishops and to their Lordships and the Legislature of the country on such points. "As we are," said the right rev. Prelate, "the authorities of the Church in this land, to whom has been committed by the law of the land and the people of the land the spiritual superintendence of the education of the poor, we are bound, on two distinct grounds, to protest against this aggression of the Bishop of Rome: first, because it is an introduction of false and fallacious religious doctrine into the land; and, secondly, because it is a systematic intrusion of a rival Church into the ground already occupied by the Protestant Church of England as by law established. We have a right to protest, and the clergy of one diocess of the country in synod assembled has already protested, and I will justify its proceedings in all its details—we have a right to protest against the aggression of the Bishop of Rome. I do not think, my Lords, that this is so much your duty, for you cannot hold the scales in which are to he weighed the differences in doctrine between the Church of England and the Church of Rome." Since their Lordships had given to the Roman Catholics seats in both branches of the Legislature, they had placed themselves in a position in which they were not competent to interfere between the Church of England and the Church of Rome. He had, therefore, never argued against the tenets of the Church of Rome in that House, because it was not fitting to introduce controversial arguments into it after they had given to the Roman Catholic Peers a status within it. He therefore did not vote for this Bill on any grounds of sect; still less did he vote for it on the grounds that we were entitled to enter on a course of persecution against our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. Such a course was as futile in practice as it was improper, unwise, and unchristian in principle, and therefore he would never lend himself to aid anything which favoured of persecution for religious opinions. It was only in virtue of our being a Christian people that we could protest against this Rescript of the See of Rome as an aggression. They had heard this Bill described as a repulsion of that aggression, and of the insult cast upon the Crown and sovereignty and nationality of England, the insult being the appointment of bishops within this realm. Now, how could their Lordships distinguish that act of the Bishop of Rome from certain acts which had been done of old time, when all Christian authority emanated from Jerusalem as a common centre? Churches were founded at Antioch, at Laodicea, and certain other places, of which we did not catch the names, and to the superintendents of those Churches apostolical authority was given from Jerusalem. Now, if this act of the Bishop of Rome—quoad nationality—was an act of aggression upon us, so too were the acts to which he had just alluded; and it was as much an aggression against the nationality of the countries in which the sees of Antioch, &c, were situated, to set up bishoprics there, as it was for the Bishop of Rome to set up bishoprics here. This, however, was the difference between the two cases. This country was a Christian country—a point which he hoped that it was not necessary for him to prove, and, as it was a Christian country, with a Christian Church Government, hence the aggression; for the whole pith of the Rescript of the Bishop of Rome was couched in the declaration that we were not a Christian country, but that we had lapsed into an unchristian state. It was therefore legitimate and right for all the Christian sects of every denomination in this land to say that this language was an insult—that it was a denial of our being Christians—that it was an assertion that our forefathers and ourselves, in casting off the shackles imposed by the See of Rome on all who believed in it, had all lapsed into downright infidelity. We were therefore only claiming our own indisputable international rights, as part of the great Christian community, in denouncing the conduct of the Bishop of Rome as an unwarrantable insult and aggression. Not to have so repelled his conduct would have been an act of unprecedented baseness on our part. We had a right, an unquestioned right, to tell the Bishop of Rome to his teeth—"We and our forefathers before us have shaken off all allegiance to your see, and we repel with the utmost scorn, indignation, and disgust any attempt on your part to usurp jurisdiction over us—an usurpation which neither the laws of God nor of nations entitle you to assume; no, not for an hour." As we had a Church of a certain character, that Church had a right to assist in repelling the aggression. We were only doing what our fathers did at the Reformation, when they separated from the Church of Rome. We declared, at the Reformation, that we belonged to the Church of Christ, and that that Church maintained certain rites and tenets of the Church of Rome, and rejected others. To this day the Church then founded, is part of your national Church and of your constitution. Why else was it that, on the solemn day of the Sovereign's coronation, the Sovereign was surrounded not only by his lay nobility, but also by their reverences the bishops? Why else was it that the diadem which now graced the fair brow of Her Majesty was placed there, not by the most ancient and dignified of Her nobles, but by the hand of the archbishop, Primate of all England? Why, but because you looked on Her Majesty as the head of your Church, and therefore surrounded Her by the chief dignitaries of the Church? Why, but because it was a national acknowledgment that the Protestant faith was entwined with the most cherished of our ceremonies and the most sacred of our institutions. Again, another reason for this protest and for this measure was, that the Bishop of Rome did not confine himself to sending persons into this realm merely for the purpose of attending to the spiritual wants of persons belonging to his communion. If he had, this Bill would not have been introduced, and he (the Bishop of Oxford) would not have supported it. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) had said, that nobody was satisfied with the Bill. He (the Bishop of Oxford) admitted that it was not everything he could have wished it to be; but when he could not get what was the best measure in his opinion, he must take that which was next to it. That suggestion led him to another, namely, that we must take men on their own grounds and their own professions. Now, what were the grounds and professions of the Bishop of Rome? His Rescript had not only sent to this country new bishops, but had also abolished all the ancient bishops' sees which it contained. Now if, after you have established a scheme of Church government, founded, as you believe, on the truth, a foreigner sends in his agents to abolish it, and establishes a new scheme of Church government in its stead, and you do not repel his pretensions, you are admitting an interference of a foreigner with your institutions, which must speedily terminate in their subversion and destruction. Look at what might be the consequences of such a Rescript. Suppose—which may God avert!—that a Roman Catholic revolution were to take place in England, and that the Roman Catholic hierarchy were to take possession of our cathedrals and churches. What process must the Bishop of Rome have followed before that Rescript was published? He must have recognised our sees—he must, therefore, have recognised our bishops. He would, therefore, have had to summon them for heresy into his courts. He would then have had to find them guilty of heresy, and would have had to put them out of their sees before he could appoint other ecclesiastics to fill them. But what would he the process now that this Rescript was published? If to-morrow a pro-Roman Catholic revolution should take place, the Bishop of Rome would find all the ancient sees of England swept away—he would have no need to try the existing bishops for heresy—his new bishops would be in full power, and his work would be done to his hands. Thus the Bishop of Rome has interfered with our institutions, and particularly with those religious institutions which England has established for the instruction of her people. He would give his support to the Bill, because it resisted an invasion of the rights of a Christian people—because it protested against the unjust assumption of a foreign ruler to interfere in the concerns of a Christian Church—and because, upon religious grounds, Parliament, as a Christian assembly, and as the professors and supporters of the Established Church, was bound to interfere. Well, then, they came from the discussion of the principle of interference in itself, to the particular form of interference which ought to be resorted to. Without any great liking for this particular measure, he must say he did not at all agree in the reasoning and conclusion of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Aberdeen). He did not think the noble Earl was justified in saying that their Lordships gave an irrational and im- politic consent to this Bill. In all legislation, men must be often governed in their choice, not by aiming at the obtainment of a perfect measure, but in selecting the least objectionable, for the choice was a choice of difficulties—they must adopt that which, under all the circumstances, it was wisest and most expedient to adopt. The question was not whether the measure was the best that could be devised, but whether it was the best under the circumstances. He must, in the first instance, express his regret that the Bill had been delayed so long—that it was so late a period of the Session before it reached their Lordships' House; it certainly betokened feebleness somewhere. If something ought to be clone, and that this measure was the only thing that could be done, though it was net the best, if it were not in itself unlawful, he felt bound to support it. He said unlawful, for if it could be shown that the Bill would deprive the Roman Catholics of the means of practising their faith, he would deem it unlawful, and would not give to it his support. But the arguments used on this point had, he must say, failed to carry conviction to his mind. All experience went against the argument; for the religious wants of the Roman Catholic population of England had heretofore for a very long period been abundantly satisfied by vicars-apostolic—by bishops, in fact, holding nominal sees in distant countries. It was a mistake to designate them as merely vicars-apostolic and no more—they were quite as much bishops as any others of their Church. It had been urged that the reason why Roman Catholic Episcopacy had not sooner been established in England, was a certain jealousy on the part of the regular clergy, and certain differences amongst the Roman Catholic body. But he believed the cause was really a very different one; for the Pope himself had hitherto been the person who most resisted the desire of having diocesan bishops in England; for up to this moment, as he was informed, and he had every reason to believe correctly informed, the Pope did not wish to come to an absolute breach with the people of this country. He believed he could show undoubted evidence, that in past times the appointment of diocesan bishops was held to be so offensive to the people of England, that Popes were not prepared to take this step. He believed the argument of the unlawfulness of the Bill, founded on the supposition that Roman Catholics would not be able fully to practice their faith, to be wholly groundless and futile, and that bishops could not do more in the administration of the requisite spirituality of the Church, than vicars-apostolic had been able to perform. He believed the real desire for the creation of a Romish hierarchy in this country, was not for the administration of spiritual affairs, but to increase and encourage conversions; those conversions which had saddened and made mournful the face of the Church of England. The creation of an hierarchy, such as that contemplated, would set up before the eyes of those wavering members of the Church of England a visible and immediate communication with the See of Rome; it would be an outward manifestation of its power, and it would facilitate aggressions upon the faith and doctrines of those who did not belong to the Bishop of Rome—so that there was ground for the national movement, ground for the interference of the Legislature, and ground for their sanctioning a measure which, though not the best in the abstract that could be devised, was much better than to leave everything undone, He would again say, that by passing this Bill they were not acting irrationally, nor upon passion, nor influenced by any lower motive; but they were acting rightly and wisely, and as prudent men, not mere optimists, ought to act. But having said this much in justification of the course which he, in common with the majority of their Lordships, would pursue by supporting this Bill, he felt bound to say that neither the mode of proceeding, nor the Bill itself, were what they ought to have been. That it was not the best mode of proceeding, he would attempt to prove. For a long period after the Reformation, attempts had been made by penal laws to enforce the truth and to extirpate error. They trusted more or less to persecution. That was one conceivable mode of dealing with the question. He thought it an irrational, unfaithful, unchristian, but a distinctly appreciable mode. The next course was to ignore the existence of the Bishop of Rome. The oath of supremacy was constructed upon that idea. They affected not to know any Roman Catholic clergymen; they affected not to know, as a fact, that bulls, briefs, and rescripts, were received from the Pope. They ignored the creed, they shut their eyes, they winked and connived at the facts which they well knew in every capacity but as legislators. That, too, was an intelligible, though he must say he did not think it was a good mode of proceeding—for it was not good for nations any more than for individuals to lend their sanction to an untruth. But, lastly, the time arrived when their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects were allowed to take seats in Parliament—when an acknowledged status was given to their bishops and archbishops, and, in short, when it was no, longer possible to ignore the existence of a creed whose privileges and pretensions were continually forced upon their notice. But as it was no longer possible to persecute nor proper to ignore the existence of the Romish Church, he yet thought there was another line of procedure which might have been adopted by the Government, and which he regretted had not been adopted. He thought the Government might have attempted through Parliament to regulate intercourse with that Church whose existence could no longer be denied. He did not mean to regulate it by anything in the nature of a concordat, or by any other step which would involve any participation in, or national recognition of, the doctrines of the Romish Church, nor by taking any step which would make the State in any way a party in enforcing the dogmas or the authority of the Bishop of Rome, or conferring upon him any special jurisdiction; but he meant a course by which the highest possible penalties would be imposed upon any person bringing into this country any brief, bull, or rescript which contained anything hostile to the institutions of this land, unless it had first been subjected to the supervision of the Government. Had such a law been in existence recently, the Pope would never have made such an attempt, and all this agitation and strife would have been avoided—all this perplexity and delay and confusion have been prevented. He thought we ought closely to examine into the relations of this country with the Bishop of Rome—we ought to allow that Church such privileges as were necessary to her for the exercise and practice of her faith; but anything which was not so necessary—which was merely meant to confer undue authority and power for its propagation, and to which they could show no just right, he would altogether withhold. That was a line of demarcation upon which the Government could firmly stand; but upon the ground occupied by this Bill, it was impossible to stand. There was the fact—a most lamentable fact, doubtless, but still a fact— that among us there were persons who I believed that, for their souls' safety, they must have direct intercourse with the Bishop of Rome. To these persons it might be well to say, "You shall, then, have intercourse with the Bishop of Rome for your souls' safety, but for nothing else. We will not seek to dictate how that spiritual intercourse shall be regulated; we will make no narrow bargain in the matter, but we say, and the nation re-echoes, that the only terms on which such a communication can be recognised is, that it shall not in the least militate against that which, as its own inherent right as a member of the free commonwealth of Christian nations, this Protestant realm of England vindicates for itself." I think the whole provisions of this Bill are doubtful. There were two parties—one said it went too far, and another that it did not go far enough. Now, he would say that it went too far, and yet that it did not go far enough. If the Bill was capable of effecting good, it did not go far enough. He owned that had the noble Duke pressed his Amendment, he would have given to it his support, for he did not think it was ever meant to enforce those money fines. The Amendment of the noble Duke would have made the measure self-executing. An Amendment had also been proposed elsewhere, which he considered ought to have been adopted, in order to render the Bill a thoroughly honest and self-consistent and effective measure: the provision, namely, which declared that the Sovereign of England being the sole fountain of honour within her dominions, any Ministers of the Crown who should, without the express sign-manual, assign rank and precedence to any Roman Catholic prelate within the dominions of the Crown, in respect of titles merely derived from the Bishop of Rome, should be deemed guilty of a grave penal offence. It implied a contradiction in terms of the most absurd and mischievous kind, that while there was all this excitement in Great Britain and Ireland against the pretensions of the prelates of the Church of Rome, those prelates should, in our colonial possessions, have, under the direct sanction and authority of Her Majesty's Ministers, all honour, rank, and precedence assigned them. Let their Lordships suppose the instance of a disputed succession to the Throne, a Pretender, who created nobility as well as the lawful Monarch—would not the assumption of titles under such an appointment, be held a mis- demeanour—and those titles be null and void, and utterly worthless. But, suppose this Pretender had conferred titles upon other persons in our colonies—an integral portion of our empire—what would be said to a Government which recognised those titles there? He need not tell their Lordships. Such conduct would not be tolerated. It would be considered too absurd and ridiculous to be for a moment entertained. But this was the case of the Bishop of Rome; for no sound reason could be shown why his nominees on whom he had conferred titles in our dependencies, should not be treated exactly in the same way there as here. He looked upon the Bill as unsatisfactory in another respect, namely, that it left Roman Catholic religious houses unvisited. He did not affect to have any fears for the result of the division to which their Lordships were this night about to come. He knew they were going to pass the Bill; but he would venture most respectfully to entreat of their Lordships not to consider this question as settled by the passing of this measure. Let not your Lordships (continued the right rev. Prelate) be satisfied with the transfer of this Act to the Statute-hook, nor suppose that the Protestant feeling of this country will be satisfied by this step. I have heard many sentiments drop in this debate which have given me pain. It was here stated that it is not the intention of the Government to enforce this law, and that it is meant simply as a declaration of Parliament. With old and obsolete statutes, passed in times very different from the present, and with an entirely altered state of circumstances, I grant it may not be wise to carry out the penal provisions of those old statutes. Everything changes but the eternal principle of truth. But I would say that it is useless and mischievous to pass a measure which you do not intend to enforce. I know there must be much difficulty in putting into operation the provisions of an Act such as this, and I know you will have much to contend with. But do not. I conjure you, lay the unction to your souls that the mere passing of this Bill, as a sort of protest, will be sufficient. To pass it and not to enforce it, would be an insult to those by whose strength it was carried, and a direct encourgement to renewed acts of aggression. The Bishop of Rome said, "You talk, but I act; you go on passing Resolutions, but I go on founding sees; you go on getting a law passed, I proceed with the ordination of my bishops," What can be more weak, more unworthy of a great nation, than to carry a Bill, and yet, when carried, to shrink from its enforcement. What can so effectually throw ridicule upon your proceedings? You obtain machinery to work out the wish of the Legislature, and the will of the nation, but you decline putting that machinery into operation. Take care, my Lords, of such a course. The mere passing of this Bill may produce calm and quiet; but it may be a deceitful calm, and we may repose in fancied security till all is lost. I cannot look upon this as a light or trivial matter. I believe that, with the maintenance of our faith, the interests of humanity are at stake. I believe the dearest rights of the human race are involved in the reformed faith of the Church of England. I believe that Church is the battle-field upon which the conflict has been and must be fought. Do not pride yourselves too much on your strength. I warn you of your danger. You have a subtle enemy and powerful foe to contend against—a Church which has existed for 1,300 years, through forty generations, of men—a Church which is wary and incessantly watchful—most able in carrying on this struggle—a Church full of the tradition of her victories, and of the successes of her councils—which has had in her communion many of the noblest and ablest men—a Church which spares no pains in the training of her priests to fit them not only for her ministry, but for the making of converts. I know that we have little human strength, little human ability, to compete with this great depositary of accumulated experience and traditional learning; and knowing these things, I tremble lest you might be betrayed into inactivity. Your foe is sleepless at this moment. The Church of Rome understands the value of our Church, and the resistance of our people to her pretensions. She fears our Church, because she knows it is the true and apostolic Church; and it is because she entertains those ideas that she is incessant in her endeavours to supplant or overthrow the Church of England—that some of the dearest ties of domestic life have been most mercilessly sacrificed. Knowing as I do it is for this she has sent out a new order of friars to preach a holy crusade against the Church of England—that she has newly instituted and sent out praetorians to harangue, and Jesuits to intrigue; and, being aware of all this, I say that if you pass a measure which is to leave us weaker in the conflict, because it is to be a measure promising much and performing little, you will have done evil service to the reformed faith of this land. On these grounds I venture to say that, without being able wholly to approve of that which is proposed to you, I act rationally and wisely in supporting the third reading of the Bill.


said, the measure before their Lordships appeared to him so utterly at variance with the principles of civil and religious liberty that he felt constrained to express his dissent from it. In the opinion of the most able professional men in both England and Ireland, that Bill involved no less than a prohibition of any legal form of episcopal Church government in the Roman Catholic Church. When the Roman Catholics sought for the superintendence of a spiritual hierarchy, they were met by imputations of designs upon the property of the Church of England. He would ask where was the policy, the consistency, or honesty in refusing to the Roman Catholics those institutions which they deemed so great a blessing when enjoyed by themselves? That was his answer to the right rev. Prelate who had just sat down. He said, that as members of a Christian Church they were bound by that great rule, "Do unto others as you would be done by them." By that rule they could not support that Bill. But he would ask them how were they to deal with the Church in Ireland? The right rev. Prelate, in the course of his speech, had made no allusion to that country. Was Ireland, however, to suffer for the aggression alleged to have been committed in England upon the Royal supremacy, by substituting a Roman Catholic hierarchy in place of vicars-apostolic? But who could seriously believe that that Rescript could possibly affect the episcopacy of England, or indeed, any Church whatever, but the Roman Catholic body? It was evident that there must be some temporal head of every Church; and what more natural or proper than that when this country became Protestant, that headship should be vested by Roman Catholics in the Pope? In fact, for more than 300 years the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland had been governed by archbishops and bishops, appointed under the authority of Papal Bulls and Rescripts; yet they were now called upon to cut off all communication between the Roman Catholic Church and its spiritual head. Their Lordships could not well understand what the effect of that measure would be in Ireland. The Roman Catholics would have the alternative of obeying their Church or the law, and it was easy to see that the Church would succeed in obtaining the obedience of the people; and that recourse would be had to every species of political agitation, to procure the repeal of that obnoxious Bill, which subjected them to such cruel oppression. They would have Catholic associations, as they already had, on the one hand; and Orange lodges, Protestant societies, and Brunswick clubs on the other, until the entire of Ireland was reduced to that state of anarchy and confusion from which it had been rescued by the passing of the enactment of 1829. There were some who doubted whether this country had derived any advantage from the Emancipation Act. But he thought the events of the year 1848 would show the wisdom of the Legislature in passing that Act. Their Lordships might think that the insurrectionary movement of that period in Ireland had been put down by the military and naval force engaged; but any one who had been in that country at the time could tell them that, excellent as had been the conduct of the forces employed, it was less to their exertions than to those of the Roman Catholic priesthood the empire was indebted for having escaped the waste of an unknown amount of blood and treasure. Was it wise, then, to alienate from them that priesthood, or prevent them from doing the same thing again under similar circumstances? They could only meet the increased spiritual action of the Roman Catholic Church by increased spiritual action on the part of their own Church; but they never could expect to put it down by a temporal Bill of pains and penalties, like that then before their Lordships. It was chiefly because he believed the Bill would be extremely injurious in Ireland that he should say "Not content" to the Motion for the third reading.


wished to explain some remarks of his which had been misunderstood, and commented on by the Bishop of Oxford. He considered that the Church of England, being an establishment and a national institution, any insult to it by a foreign Power was a legitimate ground for legislation by the Imperial Parliament; and though not a member of that Church, he would be always willing to vindicate her claims against foreign aggression of any kind. He did not at all agree with the right rev. Prelate that this Bill would be useless if its penalties were not enforced; for the declaration of Parliament by a solemn Act, that those titles could be no longer assumed with impunity was itself a most valuable national declaration, and it would no longer by possible to argue that these sees had been recognised by the silence of the law. The right rev. Prelate had dwelt at much length on the many dangers from which the 100l. penalty clause would save the Church of England. On the probable efficacy of that part of the Bill, the right rev. Prelate had spoken most feelingly. Well, if such was his real feeling, the right rev. Prelate ought, as soon as this Bill should receive the Royal assent, to wait upon the Attorney General, and instruct him to commence a prosecution against the new Roman Catholic bishops. Some objection was taken the other evening to the language which he (the Duke of Argyll) had used, in referring to the protest of the bishop and clergy of the diocese of Oxford, against the creation of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country. He had undoubtedly described that protest to be as offensive to large bodies of Christians in this country, as was the pastoral of Cardinal Wiseman, inasmuch as that both documents claimed undivided sway over all baptised persons within the respective districts of Oxford and Westminster. This doctrine he considered utterly fallacious, and he would always protest against it; but in making use of the word "offensive," he did not wish to be understood as applying it personally. The right rev. Prelate had described the Church of England as the great bulwark of the Protestant faith. It might be so; that it had been so, he fully admitted, and he trusted in God that it might long continue to be so; all he could say was this, that it was an indiputable fact that, at this moment, the Church of England was the only Church, as far as he knew, in the Protestant world, which was sending forth day after day perverts to the Roman Catholic faith.


rend extracts from the protest of himself and his clergy, for the purpose of showing that they did not, as was alleged by the Duke of Argyll, claim jurisdiction over all baptised Christians within the diocese of Oxford, as did Cardinal Wiseman with respect to his pretended arch-diocese of Westminster. The protest simply claimed jurisdiction over "all Christian people committed to their charge."


having been prevented from taking part in former discus- sions on this Bill, was anxious, especially after which had fallen from the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen), to express his cordial approval of it. He approved of it alike for what it did, and what it left undone; for whilst it went directly to repress the aggression which had been made under the authority of the Pope on the prerogative of the Crown and the rights of the Church of England, it left to the Roman Catholics the fullest enjoyment of their civil rights, the most entire freedom in their religious worship. One of his first votes in Parliament had been given forty-five years ago, for a Motion made by the late Mr. Fox, in favour of the Catholic claims; and from that time to this he had constantly supported every Motion for the extension of religious liberty. But the grant of that liberty to other Churches, must not allow them to insult or invade our own. His noble Friend (Lord Stuart) had expressed his fears, that the good feeling and tranquillity produced in Ireland by the Catholic Emancipation Act, would be destroyed by this measure. Now, he (Earl Fortescue) had cordially supported the Emancipation Act, as a great act of justice and policy; but he could not altogether agree with his noble Friend as to the good feeling and tranquillity which had resulted from it, though he was glad to hear from him, as a contrary impression had gone forth, that the Roman Catholic clergy had generally done their best to discourage and prevent the disturbances of 1848. In the the present instance, he did not believe that the hostility of the Irish bishops and priests would be shared to any extent by the great body of the people. He had been told more than once in the course of these debates, that this measure would become a dead letter on the Statute-book. He seriously hoped it might be so, from the necessity that after it became law, all parties would feel of obeying it. But if the contrary should be the case, and attempts should be made to evade or defy it, he was sure that whatever party might be in power, the indignant voice of the British nation, would force upon them the adoption of more stringent measures, and that none would be more earnest in calling for such measures than the old and tried friends of religious liberty.


said, the noble Lord (Lord Stuart de Decies) had given the Romish priests credit for putting down the insurrection of 1848, but he had forgotten to give them credit for getting it up; the fact being this—they, at least many of them, had supported it, but when they found the fight at Ballingarry a failure, then they exerted themselves gallantly to prevent the populace turning out. If a Select Committee was appointed, the truth would come out. Mr. Smith O'Brien had stated in Dublin, previous to his going to the south, that unless he knew he had the support of the priests, he never would be insane enough to attempt an insurrection. The trials at Clonmel proved that the Government did all they could to suppress the part which the priests had enacted. Again, one great proof was Lord Clarendon's letter, detailing their astounding conduct, the whole of which was capable of proof before a Select Committee. Regarding the extension of the Bill to Ireland, after the conduct of the Romish bishops at the Synod of Thurles, was it surprising the Bill was extended to Ireland? Had they not denounced the foundation of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, agreed to by the Crown, the Government, and the Imperial Legislature? Had this occurred in a Romanist State on the Continent, probably the Romanist bishops would have been escorted over the frontier by gendarmes. Again, the Synod had put themselves at the head of the tenant league—the fixiture of tenure system—the confiscation of the lands of Ireland—the ruling of the transactions between landlord and tenant. Regarding the population, quoad the relative numbers of Protestants and Catholics, two noble Lords had stated the Catholics were overwhelming. The fact was the contrary. In 1821, the Protestants numbered 1,900,000, in a population of 8,000,000; now, in 1851, the Romanists have decreased 1,700,000, consequently, with this reduction, it remains that on the basis of the population, being now 6,500,000, the Protestants are in a greatly diminished minority. The Protestants did not die of famine and disease, and but few have emigrated. The conversions to Protestantism have been numerous; and this huge fallacy of the numerical majority of the Romanists in Ireland will soon evaporate when the real truth becomes known to the English public. Romanism is on the decrease in Ireland, although among a particular class in England it may have made some converts.


My Lords, I have not yet had the opportunity of giving my reasons for a determined opposition to this Bill. The insult and aggression is twofold—one unmistakeable, determined, and intentional against the Church of England; the other—for the sake of my argument, I will allow—as strong as you like, against the Crown. No one can be more energetically opposed to the insult to our Church than myself; it was a determined declaration of war against her, sweeping away, as far as Rome could, her bishops—taking a stronger step than had ever yet been taken for unchurching us altogether. As far, too, as there has been any insult to the Crown, I should be the first to desire to resist it, and do consider that the course taken by Rome is likely to be fraught with danger, and to be made a means of political aggrandisement, which is especially dangerous at a time when Rome is at the mercy of any foreign Power that may volunteer to support her temporal sovereignty. We have heard much of the great steps which this Bill takes against this aggression, but we have had but little proof of it. The Church question it absolutely ignores—the real danger likely to ensue to the State from any political aggressions of Rome it passes by—and while it leaves untouched and unguarded the great danger to be feared, it deals by pains and penalties with the question of the assumption of titles, which has never been contended in itself to have any special danger, and is only looked on in the light of an insult, and could have been equally met by a solemn protest, expressing our determination to oppose all attempts at the assumption of any political power; and though, my Lords, in cases where the spirituals of religious bodies can be shown to endanger the temporal of the Crown, penal measures may be justified, any wanton interference in spirituals must be looked on as a gross breach of the principles of civil and religious liberty. I say wanton, because I am convinced that a protest would have been stronger than the present Bill, while it would have avoided all the dangers and animosities which must be excited. In the first place, my Lords, what does this Bill do? It denies, under penalties, the assumption of titles, but it does not thereby stop synodical action, as some have talked, or prevent the introduction of the canon law. The bishops have been consecrated, and no temporal law can annul their consecration in the eyes of those who never were bound to them but in conscience. They will be still looked on as possessing all the powers of territorial bishops; and what risk do you run? If you do not carry out the Bill, it will be a triumph to Rome. If you dare to do so, they either oppose or succumb. If they oppose, you run the risk of irritation on the one hand, sympathy for the persecuted on the other, and encourage a taste for persecutions with a third party. If they succumb, you send them again in the background, ignore their existence, and allow them to work away unheeded, but as effectually as before, thus destroying the only advantage of the aggression—the exposure it occasions of the vast strides which Rome has made. How, then, should this aggression really be met? The Church receives her own punishment—bishops are appointed in places which she ought to have occupied, and would have occupied, if not hindered by the State. Is she therefore to go back to penal measures? If she did, she must on the same grounds pray for measures against the Mormonites and others that oppose her. But has the cause of religion prospered by penal laws? No, my Lords. If you fear an increase of Rome's episcopate, increase your own. If you fear Rome's synodical action, allow your own, and counteract it. And, as regards the State question, only one statesmanlike view has been proposed—a solemn protest witnessing to our determination to resist all attempt at political aggression, which, without irritating, would have given a warning to Rome, followed by a Committee of Inquiry, which would, I doubt not, have devised effectual measures for checking political aggression, whilst it secured religious liberty more fully than this crude, inefficient, ex post facto legislation. But, it has been asked, why not accept this Bill as a protest? Because I believe it a disgrace to our Statute-book, when a protest gives all the security we require, that we should wantonly irritate by persecution, with the avowed object of satisfying the injured feelings of the people. When I heard this defence from the Lord Chancellor, I was, my Lords, surprised. I had long, as a matter of faith, believed that in these latter days we might be actually subjected to bodily persecutions again for religion, with such a Bill and such a defence for it. I see it no longer by faith, but close at hand. Yes, Rome may persecute, gaining power among the masses. My Lords, I believe the spirit of the meetings of December has blinded your eyes with righteous indignation. They protested against any transgression of religious liberty, but belied their protest by their language and their burning bonfires. They showed a spirit of the worst intoleration, which, under the cry of toleration, tolerates all that does tolerate—persecutes all fixed forms of faith, as transgressing their supposed principles of freedom. I fear some such spirit has led you blindly on to vote for a Bill which leaves the real danger untouched, and will create fifty new ones, rendering effectual legislation well nigh impossible. I have a great suspicion about this Bill. It has come from a suspicious source—from the hands of that great Protestant champion, in thanks to whom many may have voted for this Bill—that man who, if report says true, one short week before his letter, refused to interfere, then put forth his letter to remove indignation from his own shoulders-—sent a firebrand into our Church to create disunion, when she required all her strength, and in the first Bill legislated against all episcopacy—shackling the Scottish episcopate, though a bulwark against Rome, and unoffending. Your; Bill is full of inconsistencies; it professes to meet the special case, but goes beyond it, while it leaves untouched the real danger; and through all the conflicting arguments put forth in its favour, none have been so strong as the truism that this Bill will sound the death knell of the present Ministry.


(who was totally inaudible), entered his protest against the Bill, which was founded on popular clamour, and would like to know if the Government were prepared to see the whole of the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland included in one monster indictment?


said, that he deeply regretted the absence of his noble Friend the Earl of Derby, who, as the representative of a great body, would have been the most fitting exponent of the opinions of a great number of their Lordships. At the commencement of the Session, when some measure was promised in the Speech from the Throne, his noble Friend expressed his doubts of the policy of proceeding in this manner, but said he would give his fair consideration to any measure that might be proposed by the Government; and if it was not likely to be a dead letter, and was framed so as to protect Her Majesty's prerogative in every part of the kingdom, such measure would meet with his approbation. The course pursued by his noble Friend on a subsequent occasion—that of recommending an inquiry into the condition of the Roman Catholic clergy and the Roman body, to ascertain if any legislation was necessary—appeared to him (Lord Redesdale) a most reasonable and prudent mode of proceeding; but still he was in a position which enabled him, if he saw no particular objection to the measure, to assent to it. It was said by some of those who thought a protest on the part of the Legislature sufficient, that this was only a spiritual aggression; but, if it were a spiritual aggression merely, what was there to protest against? Those who were ready to enter a protest must admit that there was something more to protest against, than a mere spiritual aggression. This aggression was not a movement on the part of the laity of the Roman Catholic faith, but had been directed solely and exclusively by the Ultramontane party, whose object had been to gain the sanction of the respectable laity of that persuasion to their proceedings; but he trusted they would not be drawn into the trap that had been laid for them. There had recently been established a "Catholic Defence Association," which, however, had nothing against which to make a defence, and was aggressive rather than defensive. He believed that the hierarchy had originated where this association had originated, in Ireland—where an Italian monk had recently been appointed Primate by the Pope, in violation of the accustomed order of election, in consequence of the efforts of the Ultramontane party. He considered that the Government had acted wisely in acceding to the advice given them at the commencement of the Session, to insist on including Ireland in the measure, especially considering the manner in which the priests and prelates of the Roman Catholic Church in that country assailed the Established Church, and spoke against its abuses, and used their influence at elections. This Bill would become law, and, he hoped, would be obeyed. He was aware that the organs of the Roman Catholic community urged that there was a spiritual allegiance owing to the Pope superior and paramount to that which was due to a temporal sovereign; but he did not doubt that the majority of the laity of that Church knew how to draw a just distinction herein, and would not be led away by such a doctrine. He was persuaded that Ultramontane opinions could not be countenanced with safety, and that those, too many of whom had, he feared, during the recent agitation, been irritated into an adoption of those principles, would be so led away as altogether to lose that distinction. He was convinced that Ultramontane opinions were incompatible with civil government; and he warned those who were inclined to form such principles to beware how they increased that irritation which he hoped the measure now under consideration was calculated to allay among their Protestant fellow-countrymen.


said, he was sorry he had been unable to address their Lordships on the second reading, when he would have wished to explain his vote against the Bill. He would then have shown them, by a review of what had passed with respect to Roman Catholics in this country since 1829, that the heads of that community in England (with whom he was persuaded the creation of the hierarchy had really originated, as Dr. Wiseman had himself admitted, and that the Pope had no more to do with it than giving his formal assent to what they petitioned for) had no ground for supposing that the hierarchy would he opposed by the Government; and, on the contrary, had every reason for supposing that the boon which had been conceded to their Church in Ireland and in the Colonies would be extended to them in this country, and that they might establish that regular Church government which they had long desired. He believed that this was really the case, and that they had been deceived, and had no idea of their conduct being considered an "aggression" or an "insult." It was most natural, seeing what had been conceded to them unsolicited in Ireland and the Colonies, that, giving credit to the Crown, to the Government, and to the people of this country for charity, and for sincerity, and for common sense, they should suppose the same concession would be made in this country. Upon the contrary, however, an anti-Popery agitation had been got up, and a measure carried through Parliament: to prevent the spread of Popery? No such thing—for everything that could conduce to that end had been excluded from the Bill—but simply to prevent Roman Catholic priests from signing their names in a certain manner. This was all it would do, and all that it was calculated to do. It was quite the farce of Much Ado about Nothing. He believed, however, that there had been a real Papal aggression, and that the object of this Bill was to merge the substance in the shadow, and draw off the attention of the people from it. The noble and learned Lord on the woolsack had congratulated their Lordships upon the fact that no one had proposed to make the measure more stringent; but he (Viscount Gage) believed this the reverse of complimentary or creditable to their Lordships, and regretted that no one had arisen to propose legislation in respect to the establishment of convents and monasteries in the country. The increase of convents and monasteries was the real Papal aggression; and, if their Lordships were in earnest, and wished to check the mischievous advances of that Church, why did they ignore the real insult and the real danger? Popery laughed at their Ecclesiastical Titles Bill while Parliament left its convents and monasteries untouched. The case was different in the United States of America. The people there cared not one cent for the appointment of an Archbishop of New York or New Orleans, although they would not present them to the President under those titles; but they were keenly alive to the danger of permitting monasteries and convents to inherit property, or to sanction the unlimited absorption of wealth by such religious bodies. In France, too, this danger was perceived and guarded against. It was because he thought that the Government were withdrawing attention from realities to fix it upon trifles, that his name appeared in the minority upon the second reading. The present Bill would offend many and would please none, and he should be glad to see the Government abandon a Bill, and boldly meet the real danger to which he had adverted. He was not intolerant; but things had happened in these establishments which might very well happen again, and which, if the Government permitted such establishments to exist, they were bound to guard against, so far as they could.


begged to make an observation or two upon an allusion in the speech of the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Oxford. The right rev. Prelat, in pointing out the defects by which the Bill was characterised, had stated the course which he would have recommended, and, amongst other things, had said that no rank or title ought to be given to any Roman Catholic prelates, without some distinct and formal instrument on the subject. The right rev. Prelate had referred especially to instructions which had been transmitted by him (Earl Grey), about four years ago, to the Governors of the Colonies, to the effect that they should give titles of honour to the Roman Catholic prelates, and the precedence consequent thereon. Here he would observe that in the majority of the Colonies the Roman Catholic Church stood upon a footing of equality with the Protestant Church. In Australia, where this question was first raised, the Church of Rome was the sharer of the endowments on precisely the same principles as our own Church there. In some other colonies the case was still stronger for the Roman Catholic Church, because these colonies having been acquired by cession from Roman Catholic countries, had been originally Roman Catholic. Under these circumstances it had been represented to the Government, by the Roman Catholic prelates, that they ought not to be denied the social distinctions accorded to our own prelates; and the request had seemed so reasonable that Government could not deny it, and consequently instructions had been been given that the Roman Catholic prelates should receive the same social distinctions, such as "My Lord," and "Your Grace," in the Colonies which were given to the Prelates of the Protestant Church. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford) had said this ought to have been done, if done at all, by some formal instrument. He must, however, remind the right rev. Prelate, that there had been no formal instrument used in conferring the titles bestowed on the English colonial bishops—that they had been conferred in the case of the Catholic bishops and in that of the Protestant bishops in precisely the same manner. He had no hesitation in saying that in some cases it was a misfortune rather than otherwise to the prelates both of the Protestant and the Roman Catholic Churches in the Colonies to possess titles at all; and had he (Earl Grey) the power to go back, he should establish equality not by giving titles to both, but by taking them altogether away. It was an anomaly that parties should possess titles while their income was scarcely sufficient to maintain them decently; and this was the case with respect to many of the colonial bishops of both Churches. He believed, however, that whatever social privileges or rank in the Colonies were given to the prelates of the one Church, could not injustice or fairness be withheld from the other. It appeared curiously enough that in the correspondence on this subject, he had—without being able to foresee the extraordinary storm that had arisen—observed precisely that distinction the adhesion to which by the Roman Catholic hierarchy would have prevented all the commotion which had taken place. If their Lordships had read the papers which had been laid on the table, they would have found that he (Earl Grey) had distinctly refused to recognise territorial titles, as belonging to the Roman Catholic prelates in the Colonies. He had said that all the Government could recognise was their rank as Roman Catholic prelates within a certain district. He had agreed, for instance, that Archbishop Halden should be designated as "Roman Catholic Archbishop in Sidney," and not "Archbishop of Sidney," and that Bishop Wilson should be called "Roman Catholic Bishop in Hobart's Town," and not "Bishop of Hobart's Town." Before he sat down he had to remark, in reference to an observation made the other night by the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle), that he (Earl Grey) remained a determined supporter of the principles of religious equality. He was strongly of opinion that the policy of this country towards Roman Catholic Ireland had not been what it ought to have been; but at the same time he thought that the law should be maintained against any denomination, and that the authority of the Crown and Parliament of this country should be strictly and firmly supported.

On Question, Resolved in Affirmative; Bill read 3a accordingly.


said, he rose to propose a clause, a conclusive argument in favour of which had been afforded by the speech of the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies (Earl Grey)—a clause which he proposed as a last effort to relieve their Lordships, the Government, the Legislature, and the country, from what he believed to be an imminent danger; a clause to permit the use of the very ecclesiastical titles which the noble Earl had alluded to as being wholly unobjectionable—"Roman Catholic Archbishop in such a district." He proposed to free from all civil penalties, and all criminal proceedings, prelates who limited themselves to these titles. He attached peculiar importance to this exemption from indictment. It had been argued, and not denied, that as the Bill declared bulls, &c., to be unlawful and void, and then imposed a penalty for the violation of the provisions of the clause, the effect was to impose the penalty as a cumulative punishment; because, as the act prohibited was also de- clared to be unlawful as well as penal, the doing of the unlawful act would subject the perpetrator to an indictment for misdemeanour, as well as to the penalty of 100l. Over the criminal proceedings, the Bill gave the Attorney General no controlling check. This argument had not been at all answered. Opinions had since been obtained (of which he had seen three) from eminent counsel at the English common-law Bar, which were all in conformity with this view. Counsel had been asked, first, what would be the effect of Section 1; and, in particular, whether an indictment could be framed upon it? The answer was, that, considering the section as declaratory of the law, an indictment upon it for a misdemeanour would be maintainable. Counsel were asked, secondly, whether a prosecution could be commenced upon such an indictment without the assent of the Attorney General? The answer was in the affirmative. They were asked, thirdly, whether the words of the Bill, "jurisdiction, authority," &c., would include spiritual jurisdiction or authority? The answer was again in the affirmative—that the words, being general, would include and render void and unlawful every jurisdiction or authority. They were asked, fourthly, whether an indictment would be sustainable for an act of spiritual jurisdiction or authority, even without the use of the prohibited title? The answer was, that this would raise a question of fact for the jury, whether the act were done in pursuance of the illegal authority, and if found that it was so done, this would sustain the indictment. Such were the opinions of three eminent counsel of the English Bar; and one of them added that, if three or more persons were concerned or connected together in concoction or committing this act, they might be indicted for a conspiracy, and, if convicted, subject to the punishment affixed by law to that offence. Now surely, if there was any doubt as to whether the Act would bear such a construction, if their Lordships did not remove that doubt (as they easily could) by explaining their meaning, they would be responsible for the very serious evils that must ensue. Another and an absurd incident of the measure was, the inequality of its operation. The reason given for its extension to Ireland was, that it was necessary that the two countries should be treated on an equality. Nothing, however, could be more fallacious than the supposition that this equality was attained. The Bill would act in a totally different manner in different districts of Ireland. It would also act differently in England and in Ireland. To make the whole still more absurd and unjust, the measure would operate more severely on the unoffending bishops of Ireland who were in possession of ancient sees, and no way connected with the present movement, than on the new bishops of England newly appointed under this bull of Cardinal Wiseman. Surely this was not a state of the law which could be defended. It should be at least made clear and intelligible. The object of the Bill was said to be to prevent the assumption of territorial titles by Roman Catholic bishops without the sanction of the Crown. In many instances, but in none more strikingly than the speech of the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies, and in the correspondence of the Committee on Education, it had been admitted that if these titles had been taken in a mode which did not imply this territorial aggression, as it was called, the proceeding would not have been considered by the Government as objectionable, neither would it have excited any popular opposition. It was not the assumption of the title of bishop that was objected to—it was his assumption of power as connected with a diocese that constituted the offence. The value of the words "in" and "of" were held to make all the difference. If, instead of calling themselves bishops "of" so and so, they had styled themselves bishops exercising spiritual functions "in" such and such a place, no objection would have been taken. It had been also thought a matter of offence, to advance a claim to universal dominion, which, under a construction that might be given to the Papal Rescript, would lead persons to imagine that dominion was sought to be exercised over all the Queen's subjects. He objected to such pretensions; and just with the same earnestness that the Roman Catholic would reject the supremacy of the Queen over them, or the jurisdiction of our bishops, did he (Lord Monteagle), as a member of the Protestant Church, deny that the Pope of Rome, or any Cardinal or Bishop had or ought to have, any claim over his conscience or his actions. He did not deny the right of the Roman Catholic prelates to bear episcopal titles; but he did deny the assumption of superiority over all Christians asserted by the Roman Catholic Church. That also was the opinion of the most enlightened and rational of Roman Catholics, Then, if he (Lord Monteagle) could suggest to their Lordships titles which would imply all that was fitting and just, giving to the Roman Catholic his title of bishop or archbishop, his power of fixing that title in reference to a special district, and only asserting that the authority claimed was over his own flock and people, there could be no positive objection taken to the use of such titles. In fact, all that he could urge upon the subject was to adopt the principle already laid down in the Charitable Bequests Act. Sir Robert Peel's Government had drawn up that Act with a studious care, attended with entire success, to give to the Roman Catholic hierarchy everything that could be required in the fullest and most respectful recognition of their position, without conceding any one thing of which the Protestant could complain. His suggestion therefore was, that the Roman Catholics should adopt the titles set forth in that Act, to which he never heard an objection on the part of a Roman Catholic; that the bishops should take the designations used in the Bequests Act, and be thereby protected from all the penalties imposed by the present Bill. What he proposed ought not to give the least offence to the most sensitive mind. Their Lordships should not forget that they were dealing with a class which, of all others, had the most wide dominion—a class of all others upon any portion of which a slight or an attack would be felt as an injury by the whole body. He offered the House the means of avoiding the mischief and danger he anticipated; he suggested a mode of averting a renewal of that religious agitation in Ireland which had always been the curse of that country. He could not help again objecting to the extension of this Bill to Ireland, as being likely to raise up the worst passions of the people of that country. It was asserted as a general principle that the legislation for one part of the country should be extended to the other; but he would ask whether, if this unfortunate rescript had issued for England only, and before the Union, any Government would have recommended the Irish Parliament to adopt such a Bill as the present, because of the Pope's aggression in England? Certainly not; or, if it had been so recommended, he asked whether Lord Cornwallis or Lord Castle-reagh would have returned the Bill, as one incapable of being carried, or, if carried, of being, executed; and the Irish Parliament would have laughed to scorn the English Government for presuming to recommend such legislation. Therefore, he felt justified in stating that the present Bill would never have been brought forward except for the existence of the Union. Would this recommend the Union to the Irish people? Then, again, suppose there had been at present in existence, any powerful Irish leader, such as O'Connell; if Ireland were now, as it had been, in a state of agitation, would it be believed that any statesman living could have been rash enough to propose a measure like the present? No one would hate ventured—he had almost said, dared—to do it. No one would have been insane enough to do so. Then, was it to be said that the absence of political excitement—that the tranquillity which now existed in Ireland—had brought upon the people the visitation of the present measure? These were most dangerous arguments to suggest to the Irish people; You force them to deplore the Union and to regret agitation. Was this wise? There had latterly been most severe afflictions felt in Ireland, hundreds of thousands of the people bad been swept from the face of the earth; whole classes had been swept away; but these calamities had been attended with one countervailing blessing—during the last three Or four years there had fortunately been an almost total cessation of religious animosity and.political agitation. The adoption of this Bill would at once revive agitation, religious and political, and would reproduce those evils from which we were so thankful that we had been relieved. If they wanted a proof of what this measure would do, let them look to the late Limerick election. At Limerick, a noble Friend of his (the Earl of Arundel and Surrey), whose name he could never mention without paying a tribute to his amiable and pure character, was opposed, in an election contest, by an excellent gentleman, locally Connected and much respected. What were the characteristics of the election? On one side the election committee was organised by the Roman Catholic clergy, and the excellent and pious Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick, who had hitherto abstained front mixing in political matters, had been the first to sign the requisition. The Roman Catholic priests and Roman Catholic laity had viewed the contest as one to protect the Roman Catholic faith; while their opponents had been driven to raise the irrational party cry of "Ireland for the Irish." He did not ask the Government to adopt any new principle by his Amendment. He only asked them to do the same by England and Ireland as it was admitted they did by the Colonies, and, by adopting his clause, enable the Roman Catholic bishops to extricate themselves from the penalties imposed on them by this Bill; to extricate the Legislature and the Government from a fearful responsibility; to extricate Ireland from civil and religious contention, and the empire from incalculable dangers. This could be done by adopting the proposed clause, and enabling the prelates to assume such titles as, while they would satisfy their own claims, had been admitted not to be open to the slightest objection. The noble Lord concluded by proposing the following Clause:— And be it further enacted, that neither this Act nor the hereinbefore recited enactment of the tenth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Fourth, shall apply or be held to apply, or in any way to affect any act done by any archbishop, bishop, or dean, by virtue of his appointment by the See of Rome, or to create any penalty, disability, or offence by reason of an instrument of appointment, or the assumption or use of an ecclesiastical title conferred, or purporting to be conferred, by the authority of the See of Rome; provided that the ecclesiastical name, style, designation, or title assumed, used by any such archbishop, bishop, or dean in the holy orders of the Roman Catholic Church, shall be the style or title of Roman Catholic archbishop, Roman Catholic bishop, or Roman Catholic dean, as the case may be, officiating or having episcopal functions within the diocese or district in which he is authorised to officiate, in respect to all persons and congregations of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion within the said diocese or district.


I did not expect to have had to trouble your Lordships twice in the course of this debate; nor should I have done so had it not been for the Amendment, or rather the addition, to the Bill which has been proposed by my noble Friend, and which I felt it my duty to oppose. This addition is, I think, suggested by the anticipation of dangers of the same nature as those which were anticipated by the noble Earl who commenced this discussion (the Earl of Aberdeen), and who said he saw reason to apprehend that indictments might be instituted under this Bill, the effect of which might be to debar Roman Catholics from the exercise of their religion, under that protection from the law to which I admit they are entitled, and of which this Bill is not intended to, nor does it, in point of fact, deprive them. He coupled with this the argument, that the best course to adopt under this aggression would have been to abstain from any legislation at all; but I differ in that respect from the noble Earl; and if he had been in a situation to advise Her Majesty at the time these acts—which he himself condemns as most improper—had been committed by a foreign Power, I think he would not have advised that acquiescence in them by silence, which he now says was the safest course that Her Majesty's Ministers could have adopted. He would then have found that the public feeling and indignation which has been excited by these acts, would have been still further excited by the abstinence that he recommends, and would have assumed a form which must have commanded attention. If a course had been adopted of making no protest against such a proceeding, and making no provision against these acts of violence, by means of which the Papal power, advancing step by step, sometimes by an act, and sometimes by a word, making the word tell upon the act—would not that have had the effect of encouraging these acts? Before six months had passed, I am satisfied, we should have seen other acts committed of this objectionable character, calculated to produce an impression upon the people of this country, and upon the other nations of Europe, that there was no act and no aggression which the Pope could make which must not be submitted to by the people and the Governments; and by such abstinence, we should, in fact, have rendered the Protestant religion of this country incapable of opposing that resistance to these encroachments which the public voice has demanded, and which Her Majesty's Ministers have found it to be their duty to recommend. This question is undoubtedly one of great difficulty, involving nice distinctions between the spiritual and the temporal power. Charles X., at one period, Louis XIV. at another, the Emperor Napoleon, and the greatest sovereigns and legislators, were, for years, unable satisfactorily to adjust this very question of the encroachments of spiritual upon temporal power; and I am not prepared to say that the way we have proposed is the only way to settle the difficulty. But the course Her Majesty's Ministers have proposed is plain, intelligible, and capable of execution; it is more capable of execution than that which my right rev. Friend (the Bishop of Oxford) has suggested with a view to the same object by placing greater re strictions upon the introuduction of bulls into this country. There would be great danger in not striking home to resist any attempt to introduce into this country the system which this Papal bull was intended to introduce. I need not again state that there is a portion of this Bill which I would rather see omitted—I mean the clause relating to the common informer. For as such persons are commonly actuated by motives and objects which are not likely to actuate Government, and as the power from its very nature requires to be exercised with discretion, that is a sufficient reason why the interposition of informers should not have been recognised; but as in order to check abuse we have introduced the most effectual remedy we can, by requiring the consent of the law officers of the Crown before any proceedings can be taken; and if the law officers exercise their authority and do their duty, I have no great apprehension as to the result of this portion of the Bill. The arguments I use are founded on legal opinions, and I only state my own opinion as far as it is corroborated by the highest legal authorities, with respect to the operation of this portion of the Bill. The intention of the Bill is that it should apply only to such cases as would have been objectionable as the law before stood; and a jury will have to determine the nature of the jurisdiction which the party prosecuted under it has attempted to exercise. If that jurisdiction be shown to be of a spiritual nature only, I am sure that no illegality will be permitted to attach to it. I listened with satisfaction to the speech of my noble Friend who introduced the Amendment, not only because I was sure that my noble Friend in moving that Amendment was actuated by a sincere desire to relieve the operation of the Act from any mischief with which it might be supposed to be attended, but also because I found that the noble Lord, in detailing and explaining the grounds of his Amendment, clearly showed how all the proceedings which were complained of might have been taken by the Pope in an unobjectionable manner, if he had chosen to have had recourse to it. For I will say at once and without hesitation, that if the Pope had desired to secure, as it was a lawful object for him to secure, the benefit of episcopal administration to the Roman Catholic subjects of the Queen; if he had informed the Government that such was his intention, and if he had confined himself, both in his Brief, and in the mandate announcing the Brief, to the designations which were contained in my noble Friend's Amendment, there would not have been the least objection to his proceeding. I will go further and say, that even now, although the Pope has not taken that course, there is not one of the spiritual functions of the Roman Catholic Church which, stripped of all connexion with the assumption of territorial titles, cannot be sufficiently exercised under the Bill as it now stands without the addition proposed by my noble Friend. But look to what these assumptions are, as stated in the Amendment, and see if they clash with the prohibition contained in the Bill. The terms of my noble Friend's Amendment are— That the ecclesiastical name, style, designation, or title assumed, used by any such archbishop, bishop, or dean in the holy orders of the Roman Catholic Church, shall be the style or title of Roman Catholic archbishop, Roman Catholic bishop, or Roman Catholic dean, as the case may be, officiating or having episcopal functions within the diocese or district in which he is authorised to officiate, in respect to all persons and congregations of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion within the said diocese or district. I agree with my noble Friend as to the great importance of the change of a monosyllable. There may be the greatest difference between "in" and "of." But this Amendment includes the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops officiating within the diocese or district in which they are authorised to officiate, and with respect to all persons professing the Roman Catholic religion within the same diocese. This neither assumes a territorial power derived from the possession of a see, diocese, or district; nor does it assume any power over the inhabitants of that see, diocese, or district. It admits a power over certain Roman Catholic inhabitants of the diocese, but confines it to them alone, proclaiming that it is a spiritual jurisdiction only, and not claimed by virtue of any territorial power or authority. I think this Bill can be adapted with the greatest security to those persons who are described in the Amendment, which is drawn up in terms to which the Legislature has already given its sanction in the Charitable Trusts Bill. There is, therefore, no necessity for this Amendment. I have stated my opinion in the presence of some of the greatest legal authorities; but I shall be surprised if it is disputed. The ancient law is not altered by this Bill. The Roman Catholics are in no way prevented from doing that which it ought to be the object of the Legislature to encourage them in doing; and it affords them that protection which it is the object of the Legislature to afford to all religions, especially to one that is professed by so large a portion of Her Majesty's subjects. On these grounds, I think it my duty to oppose the addition to the Bill proposed by my noble Friend.


thought the noble Marquess had made a conclusive speech in favour of the Amendment which had been moved by his noble Friend. It had been distinctly stated the other evening by a noble and learned Lord (Lord Cranworth), that after the passing of this Act, the assumption of the title of even Roman Catholic bishop in any district would expose the party assuming such title to a penalty, and that every act of jurisdiction performed by a Roman Catholic bishop would make him liable to a penalty. So that, unless the present Amendment was adopted, it would be impossible for any Roman Catholic bishop in Ireland to appoint priests, or collate to any benefice, or perform any other act of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He claimed the support of the noble Marquess for the Amendment of his noble Friend, not only on the ground stated by the noble Marquess himself, that it was unobjectionable, but also on the ground that his noble Friend had only adopted words for the description of Roman Catholic bishops which the noble Marquess had used himself for that purpose. In the correspondence between the Committee of Privy Council on Education and the Hon. Mr. Langdale, in 1850, a letter written by the noble Marquess stated that, with regard to the appointment of the committees of management for Roman Catholic schools, a certain mode of selection should be practised, "until the Roman Catholic bishop of the district or other ecclesiastical division shall signify "—not in such district, he would beg their Lordships to remark. This, he apprehended, was a stronger recognition of the status of the Roman Catholic bishops on the part of the noble Marquess himself, than that contained in this Amendment, which copied exactly the words of the Charitable Bequests Act. Yet the language of that letter of the noble Marquess applied even to the vicars-apostolic in England, who were merely bishops in partibus; and how much more did, it apply to the bishops of the ancient sees in Ireland, who had held their episcopal functions in unbroken succession? Their Lordships had often in Committees asked these bishops the question, how long they had been Roman Catholic bishops; and in 1847, when the present Lord Lieutenant went to Dublin Castle, he received an address from the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops of Ireland, who signed themselves "John, Archbishop of Tuam," "John Derry, Bishop of Clonfert," ? and the Lord Lieutenant replied to that address in the most courteous terms, styling them "My Lords," and stating that he should always be glad to consult them on matters affecting the interests of Ireland. Before concluding, he could not help noticing an argument which had been urged more than once by the right rev. Bench, namely, that all the spiritual advantages which the Roman Catholics could desire had been enjoyed under the régime of vicars-apostolic, and that therefore there was no necessity for their having a territorial hierarchy in this country. Now, from the earliest times the practice of the Church was, that a bishop was invariably appointed to a particular portion of territory, which was called his see; and, strictly speaking, these bishops in partibus had a territorial title assigned to them, such as "Bishop of Chalcedon," whose portion of territory was the See of Chalcedon, and it was altogether an accident that they were vicars-apostolic. Again, it was quite undeniable that such a title as vicar-apostolic was never heard of in the early ages of the Church, the first vicar-apostolic ever appointed having been appointed in England in the seventeenth century, by Gregory XV. It was said the Pope had once refused to create a hierarchy in England; but that was because he wished to maintain a system which would leave his own power in this country unimpaired. Under that system the Pope was undoubtedly Roman Catholic Bishop of England, and he appointed his vicars-apostolic, who were removable at his will and pleasure; and the Pope, by the creation of the new hierarchy, had therefore clearly divested himself of a portion of his power. In his opinion the Amendment of his noble Friend would very materially lessen the apprehensions entertained as to the effect of this measure in Ireland. As the Bill stood at present, three eminent lawyers believed an indictment would lie, under the first clause, against any Roman Catholic bishop exorcising episcopal jurisdiction; and therefore he trusted their Lordships would agree to the Amendment, in order to prevent such a result.


said, that the noble Earl had totally misconceived what he had stated the other evening. He had no doubt stated that if a person was prohibited from calling himself Archbishop of Westminster, he would not get out of the prohibition he calling himself Archbishop in Westminster; but he entertained no doubt whatever that there was nothing in this Act to prevent a person calling himself "Roman Catholic archhishop, or Roman Catholic bishop, or Roman Catholic dean, officiating, or having episcopal functions within the diocese or district in which he is authorised to officiate in respect to all persons and congregations of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion within the said diocese or district."


wished also to explain, after what the noble Earl (the Earl of St. Germans) had said regarding his having repeated a false argument. It was perfectly true that the doctrine of the primitive Church was that every bishop must have a diocese; but it was a peculiar doctrine of the Church of Rome that the Pope, in virtue of his universal bishopric, could appoint bishops in partibus, who could perform every function that a local bishop could do, although not in the place of which he bore the title. The noble Earl had himself fallen into an error in stating that the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland were the lineal descendants of the ancient Christian bishops of Ireland. His right rev. Brother (the Bishop of Ossary) had on a former occasion refuted that assertion with great learning, and had shown that almost a century had intervened, during which the line of the so-called Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland had been altogether broken, and that it was the bishops of the United Church of- England and Ireland who were the real lineal descendants of the ancient bishops of Ireland.


, in reply, stated, that as the principle of his clause had been admitted rather than controverted, and as the objection raised against him was solely that the clause was unnecessary, and that the acts which he proposed to legalise were not prohibited under the Bill, he would not expose the public to the erroneous impression that would arise, if the clause he proposed were negatived. He would therefore ask leave to withdraw it; reserving to himself the power of proposing it, in another shape, at a more convenient time.

Amendment, by leave of the House, withdrawn; and

Bill passed.

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