"It is briefed as follows:—
'In the bull Pastoralis Regiminis, tom. i., n. 47, laymen hindering the execution of the mandates, citations, and other provisions of the Court of Rome, are smitten with excommunications reserved to the Roman Pontiff, as also they who afford aid, counsel, or favour to those who hinder matters of this sort. But regulars and ecclesiastical persons incur suspension ipso facto, as well from the exercise of their orders as of their offices, both which censures are reserved to the Roman Pontiff; but notaries or scribes refusing to make public instruments of provisions and executions of this sort at the instance of the party, are deprived of their office of notary, and are declared infamous.'
Here there can be no question on the subject. It is impossible that any instrument could be framed to bring a whole population more directly under the temporal power of the Pope. The bull is evidently not one of a spiritual nature; it does not even affect to be so. It is the political power —the 'Court of Rome is a political expression,' as we learn from the evidence of Dr. M'Hale (No. 17, p. 45); and here the whole body of ecclesiastics, bishops, priests, and monks, seculars and regulars, are at once suspended from their orders and offices, and reserved to the Pope; and the whole body of laymen are smitten with excommunication reserved to the Pope, if they offer the least obstruction to the mandates and provisions of the Court of Rome, or if they afford any counsel or aid or favour to those who do so. Let us just consider in one single practical point how this bull must tell upon this nation. Let us suppose in this case at this moment pending, a bull is issued by the Pope affecting the rights and prerogatives of our Sovereign and the whole empire. Her Majesty's Government bring in a Bill to op-
pose it. But if a single Roman Catholic Member in either House of Parliament, whatever his opinion be, shall dare to oppose it, or to favour or aid the opposition of the Government, he is smitten with excommunication, and reserved to the Pope—so that, unless he is really an unbeliever in the power of the Church to forgive his sins, and in a temporal position to despise her threats, as a noble Lord, a Roman Catholic, has well remarked, he must choose between his duty to the Pope and his Sovereign. Such a bull as this, therefore, enables the Pope directly to wield the whole body of Roman Catholic Members of either House of Parliament who submit to his authority against the rights of our Sovereign and the dearest interests of our country.
Now, in order to exemplify the working of this system, let us suppose that the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government has a measure to bring forward, deeply affecting the interests of this Protestant country; and should it chance that a single Member of Parliament attached to the Romish faith did not, at the bidding of his ecclesiastical superiors, oppose by every means in his power the progress of the measure, he will be immediately smitten with the severest penalties of excommunication. Now, my Lords, if the Roman Catholics of this country must bow to the temporal authority of the Church of Rome, under a law introduced into this country, and, as I before stated, enforced by all the fearful sanctions which Rome can bring to bear upon them, let me ask you what security have the Roman Catholics of this country that their liberties will be maintained, or what assurance have their Protestant fellow-countrymen that their allegiance to the Throne will remain unimpaired? Look at the terror under which at the late elections the priests of Rome drove their congregations to the poll. In order to give your Lordships a specimen of the teaching sometimes delivered to Roman Catholics in this country, I will read the following extract from a sermon delivered by a priest named Mawe, and which was made the subject of comment about the time of the last elections. He says—
If there be a Catholic elector of this borough who will dare to go forward and register his vote for the English enemy, pass him by with scorn and contempt. Do not be seen to walk with him, to talk to, or associate with him. Let him fester in his corruption; be not you contaminated by any contact with a wretch so base and degraded. Despise him. If you meet him on the high road, pass over to the other side. Have no dealing with him. Make him understand that he cannot afford to brave the honest indignation of his fellow-countrymen. Electors of Tralee, you—the honest electors—who have always upheld the independence of your town, assemble in a body to-morrow; go to those unfortunate wretches, and make
them acquainted with the consequences of their guilt. For my part I will confess to you what my feelings are with respect to those wretched and corrupt Catholics. Let me suppose one of those wretches prostrated by sickness. Suppose the hand of death heavy upon him, and that a messenger comes to me to attend him in his dying moments, if there were no other priest in the way I would be bound to go; I dare not refuse to attend him. But I confess to you that I would be sorry from my heart to be called upon to attend the death-bed of such a being. I would go to attend such a wretch with a heavy heart, without much hope, because I would feel that I was going to administer sacraments to one whose conscience was so seared and whose heart was so rotten at the core, that I could not have much expectation of effecting a conversion. Overpowered with the impression that I was about to visit a perjured wretch, who, for a miserable bribe, had betrayed the dearest interests of his country and his religion, and borne down with the harrowing reflection that God in his just anger might leave such a wretch to die in his sins, I would fear that my mission would be fruitless—that I could have no hope of converting a heart so hardened, so lost to every sense of duty and religion, as to vote in support of those who would trample on the Lord of Hosts.
This man, my Lords, is only a sample of the general character of the priesthood, and under such circumstances it is totally absurd for the country to shut its eyes as to what is going on. If such be the spirit inculcated at Maynooth, it was downright folly and madness to allow that institution to exist any longer. We know what Rome is effecting in other countries, and that the constitution of this kingdom is the only barrier to the establishment of Rome's thraldom over all the countries of the world. A Roman Catholic nobleman had lately said, that, friendly as he was to the extension of every privilege of his Church, he was of opinion that it was only under the shelter of the British constitution that the liberties of the rest of Europe could be extended. It is to be remarked, my Lords, that the bulls which have been sent to this country for the purpose of establishing the temporal power of the Pope, are the very same bulls which by name have been excluded from Naples, Spain, Portugal, France, and other Roman Catholic countries. If such doctrines are the result of teaching the canon law, and the canon law is introduced and taught in the college of Maynooth, then it is time that such an institution should be put down. My Lords, in introducing this question, I can assure your Lordships I have done so totally irrespective of party feeling, and without the slightest feeling of hostility to any Member of Her Majesty's Government. My only object is to uphold the Protestant religion
within these realms. The noble Earl at the head of the Government has proposed to substitute a Commission instead of a Committee. I object to a Commission, because it has no power to compel the attendance of witnesses; but if the noble Earl will say that the Commission shall consist of four persons, two of whom should be recommended to Her Majesty by the Government, and the other two by those who entertain views similar to those entertained by myself, I will then withdraw my Motion; but if the noble Earl will not accede to that proposal, I must ask your Lordships to sanction the appointment of the Committee for which I now beg to move. The noble Earl concluded by moving—
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the System of Education pursued at the College of Maynooth, and its Results.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
My Lords, I shall not think it necessary to abuse your Lordships' patience by renewing the discussion on what has been called Papal aggression, which occupied so much of your time two years ago. I confess, I think the debates on that subject cannot be looked back to with any great satisfaction by any noble Lord. My Lords, while I appreciate the feelings with which the noble Earl has introduced the subject, I cannot help saying that the Motion he has made by no means answers the observations with which he prefaced it. Surely, if he thinks the importance of the question so great, and the danger so imminent, as he has described, it is not a Motion for inquiry into the system of education pursued at Maynooth, but which ought to have ended by proposing to your Lordships a proposition for some measure to meet the emergency he has so strongly depicted. To the bare objects of the noble Earl's Motion, I do not intend to offer any opposition. On the contrary, I think it perfectly reasonable and fitting, that over an institution endowed, established, and maintained by the State, Parliament should exercise the right of supervision and inspection, in order to see that the intentions of the Legislature have been fully and honestly carried out. But then it must be according to the intentions of the Legislature that you must inquire. You are not to expect Protestant doctrines in a Roman Catholic college. You are not to inquire, or at least you are not to interfere with or control the doctrines, the religious discipline, and the worship of the Church of Rome. These are what the Legislature 1302 meant to establish and recognise in that College. My Lords, although we say this, and support an institution which has received the sanction of the Legislature for the last sixty years, we are still told that in doing so we are abandoning our duty to our country and our God. Why, my Lords, if the noble Earl looks around he will find that many of his own friends are included in the same terms of reprobation which he would extend to us. But, my Lords, after all, what is the real object of this inquiry? The noble Earl speaks of inquiry into the system of education pursued at Maynooth; but surely that is not the real object contemplated. The object of the noble Earl —he has more than once propounded to your Lordships—is to overthrow the whole establishment at Maynooth; to withdraw the usual grants, and annihilate the system which has been so long established and protected by Parliament. Now, my Lords, I think it is unnecessary to refer to the history of Maynooth. You are perfectly familiar with the subject, upon which we have unfortunately heard too much. But the noble Earl will recollect that the institution was founded by a Sovereign for whom the noble Earl has no doubt respect (George III). Its establishment was advised by Pitt, and supported by Burke. This institution, so founded, we see recognised by various Acts of Parliament, and it received various advantages, until at last came that great, liberal, and wise measure introduced by my late right hon. Friend Sir Robert Peel, and in this House carried by the resistless, the persuasive, eloquence of a noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Derby). The noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea) delivered a speech in opposition to the measure on that occasion, and I have no doubt that he retains the opinions he then expressed on it at this moment. He said, on that occasion, "That from the bottom of his heart and soul, he believed that if their Lordships gave their assent to the measure, they would commit an act of the greatest national suicide ever committed by any civilised country since the world had been called into existence." That, my Lords, was the grave denunciation which the noble Earl passed upon the grant in 1845, which I believe to have been one of the most wise and just of any measures ever adopted in this country since the great Act of Emancipation, which the noble Earl viewed in the same light as he did the grant to Maynooth. Surely it must be the repeal of the grant he requires, and 1303 not a knowledge of the system of education pursued in the College. The noble Earl seems to forget that we have already had a very ample inquiry into the whole System of education pursued at Maynooth. In 1826 an inquiry was instituted under Sir T. Frankland Lewis, and the Commission, which, including the late Mr. Leslie Foster, fully inquired into the whole system pursued at Maynooth. They reported most elaborately, and with great pains went into the whole of the details connected with the institution. In truth, I must admit that there is much that is just in the observation the noble Earl has made relative to that inquiry superseding any that could now be proposed. I am willing to admit the public feeling on this subject; and, not desiring to check the course of any inquiry, or the acquisition of any information that may be considered necessary, I do not oppose myself to the object of the Motion, as I otherwise should be inclined to do, feeling that no urgent case has been made out for any additional inquiry. I hope, too, and believe, that the College of Maynooth has nothing to fear from any such inquiry. I believe that any inquiry will redound to the advantage and the credit of the College if such inquiry takes place; and, also, I am aware that the parties interested do not object to inquiry—they pray for any inquiry that may be thought necessary into the discipline and management of the establishment. But, although I do not oppose an inquiry into the education and discipline of Maynooth, I cannot admit that the inquiry proposed by the Motion of the noble Earl is such as your Lordships should accede to. The noble Earl says he wishes a fair inquiry. I leave your Lordships to judge of the sort of fairness the inquiry would possess, regulated and conducted in the spirit which the noble Earl has infused into his speech. My Lords, just let me remark on the course pursued by the noble Earl on this question. The noble Earl, at the commencement of this Session, put a notice on the Minutes of your Lordships' House—I think, twice in the beginning of the month of December, and on the 2nd of December he placed the following notice on the Minutes:—To move for a Committee to inquire whether the social and moral principles inculcated by the education pursued at Maynooth, are not opposed by those great principles of civil and religious liberty on which the Protestant Government of this country has been based.Now this first Motion of the noble Earl, 1304 according to the common rules of interpretation, asserts, in fact, that those moral and social principles are opposed to the principles of civil and religious liberty. To say that you will inquire whether they are "not" opposed to them, is, in fact, a very near approach to the assertion that they "are" so opposed. However, this notice appeared on the Minutes of the House, day after day, for three mouths—a notice which I think your Lordships will admit to be, in its terms, offensive and insulting to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. At last the noble Earl fell into the hands of more dexterous tacticians, and they told him, no doubt, "This will not do; this Motion you cannot possibly expect to carry. This is too insulting—too offensive. Whatever you may think, or feel, or intend, make your Motion at least a little more decent in its terms;" and accordingly, in the month of March the noble Earl substituted his present Motion, namely, for a Committee to inquire int the system of education pursued at Maynooth, and its results. If that inquiry were entered into, I think it will be a matter which will keep your Lordships engaged for an indefinite period of time, from the vagueness of the terms of the Motion. I think this shows the animus of the noble Earl, and the fairness of the inquiry which the noble Earl has proposed. But, as I have said before, if the inquiry were conducted with perfect fairness, I think it would redound to the credit of the College. The noble Earl has very fully entered into what is called the question of the Papal aggression, and the alleged attempts of the Church of Rome to attain power in various parts of the world; but he has given us no reason for supposing that his apprehensions with regard to this country are at all well founded; and I do not see how the noble Earl has connected such attempts with the system of education taught at Maynooth, except in his reference to the violence and excesses of the conduct of some of the Irish priests during the last election. Well, but how does the noble Earl connect such conduct with Maynooth College? Does the noble Earl know that the priests to whom be referred were educated at the College of Maynooth? Now, I believe that that most wise and just measure of the late Sir Robert Peel, which was so powerfully supported by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby), has already produced the most beneficial results. But this is to be said upon that subject, not only that no priest has been educated at the College of 1305 Maynooth since the grant has been increased—and therefore it is impossible that any such priests could have had anything to do with that election—but no one educated there since that period can have become a priest at all; for, since 1845, the curriculum of the College has been extended from six to eight years; and therefore it may be said that that Act is only now coming into operation. In addition to this new arrangement, the most able and prominent of the students of that institution are placed, for a period of three years longer in residence, on what is called the Dunboyne establishment. Therefore, it is clear, that since that grant was increased, no priests could have been ordained from Maynooth College. Much was expected from the increase of that grant, and I have no doubt that great good will accrue from it, but it has not yet had time to come into full operation. However, it has had already a most beneficial effect. In proof of this assertion, I hope I may take the liberty of reading an extract from a letter from the Lord Chief Baron of Ireland, in which that learned Judge speaks in strong terms of the advantages already derived by this institution from the passing of the late measure:—There is seen in Maynooth a most striking change since the grant has been increased. The number of candidates has been considerably enlarged, and the examinations are much more strict. The successful candidates for vacant places come to the College with minds far better enlightened and more fitted to receive the academical instruction afforded to them there. It is obvious, however, that the results which must necessarily follow from the reception of a better preliminary education and a superior academical course, cannot be fully exhibited until after the lapse of some time. During the calamitous years of 1846, 1847, and 1848, the mortality that then existed amongst the parochial clergy had rendered it necessary to provide a greater number of priests to supply the vacancies that then took place. The operation of the Act of 1845 has shown itself in the education of a superior class of persons for the priesthood, and the results have so far fulfilled the wise and beneficial views of the right hon. Baronet in proposing the measure alluded to.Now, I believe, to a considerable extent, that that statement is perfectly correct, and I do not fear the result of any inquiry which is fairly and impartially conducted.
My Lords, I have said that although I do not object to any fair inquiry into this institution, I do not think, and I doubt if your Lordships can possibly think, it would be desirable that such a subject should occupy the attention of a Committee of this House, I think it would be inevitable that 1306 strong religious animosity, discord, and unseemly discussions must ensue in any inquiry of the kind by a Committee of this House. Now, if your Lordships are desirous of having a fair and impartial inquiry, to be conducted by able and independent men, I think that such will be attained in the way I intend to propose by the Amendment of which I have given notice. I trust—I need not say I hope and believe—that there is no man in this House who doubts that I will endeavour to appoint such Commission as will act according to the utmost degree of impartiality and fitness for the occasion. The noble Earl has referred to the opinion which I have expressed on former occasions in regard to a certain measure which was formerly before this House, and which he has certainly treated with much more disrespect than I did myself. Now, I do believe that none of your Lordships will imagine, whatever may be my opinions of the policy of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, that I am the less inclined to maintain those Protestant principles which I have always professed, or that I have any kind of affection or leaning towards that institution which the noble Earl seems to think I am tender about inquiring into, but into which I admit we have a full right to examine. I utterly reject any such feeling; and in order to remove any such impression, I now propose a course which, in my judgment, is the better one. With the most sincere desire to have a commission constituted in such a way as to give the fullest satisfaction to this House and the country, I make the proposition. Under these circumstances, I trust that your Lordships will see fit to reject the Motion of the noble Earl opposite, and to agree to the Amendment which I have now the honour to submit, namely—That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to issue a Commission to inquire into the management and government of the College of Maynooth, the discipline and the course of studies pursued therein; also into the effects produced by the increased grants conferred by Parliament in 1845,
The EARL of RODEN
said, he had hoped that the noble Earl who had just sat down (the Earl of Aberdeen) would have declared it to be his intention not to oppose the Motion of his noble Friend, particularly when the noble Earl admitted that the country had a right to a full and complete examination into so important a subject as the one now under consideration. 1307 He (the Earl of Roden) could not agree with the noble Earl that the proposition he had made for the appointment of a Commission, the members of which were to be nominated by the Government, was a course which, irrespective of what might be the feelings of the House upon the question, would satisfy the country generally, which had manifested the greatest anxiety upon the matter, or was one which would tend to promote the welfare and happiness of this great country. He would not trouble their Lordships at any great length after the able speech of his noble Friend who proposed the Resolution. He thought that his noble Friend had so fully gone into the matter at issue as to render it unnecessary for him to trouble their Lordships by resorting to any arguments to show the dangers that were to be apprehended from the results of that system of education which was given at Maynooth. But as ho (the Earl of Roden) had for a long time, been a witness to the effects of the education given at that College, being a constant resident in Ireland, he should consider himself as guilty of a breach of his duty if he did not declare it to be his belief that that system was one which struck at the very root of social order and social peace, and if he did not take every opportunity afforded him of saying a word or two on the subject. It would be in the recollection of their Lordships that eight years had gone by since they had a regular discussion upon this subject. It was in 1845 that their Lordships were pleased to pass a measure which gave to the College of Maynooth an additional grant, and made it a permanent endowment. At that period he took the liberty of warning their Lordships against the course they were then about to adopt, and he implored of that House to pause before they admitted the principle of a permanent endowment for so great and important an object. He remembered at that period he took the same course as that which his noble Friend now took by proposing the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry before they agreed to the increased grant of the endowment of the College. Their Lordships did not think proper to accede to his proposition, and he was defeated. He, however, confessed that at that period, as he did now, that he did not think any great additional information would be derived from the appointment of such Committee; but he looked to the result of the inquiry before the Committee as the ground- 1308 work for the withdrawal of the grant altogether. The House would see, from the various reports they had received, and particularly from the Appendix of the Eighth Report of the Commissioners of Education, what was the character of the instruction that was given at Maynooth. They would be made acquainted with what he thought were the most dangerous tenets therein inculcated. Their Lordships had quite sufficient information before them to warrant them in demanding a more thorough investigation of the whole subject. He was told on the occasion when the measure of 1845 was proposed, that the great object of the additional grant was to give a better education to the Roman Catholic pupils in the College. Now, whether a better education had been given or not, he would not presume to say; but he was anxious that the Motion of his noble Friend should be agreed to, in order that they might ascertain that very important point. This, however, he knew—that no improvement or change had taken place in regard to the social character of the Roman Catholic priests from that time up to the present period. He thought that a reference to the course pursued by the Roman Catholic priests during the recent elections in Ireland, would leave no doubt in the minds of noble Lords as to that fact. But he was willing to allow that a very great increase had taken place in the number of persons educated in the College. Now, he believed that a much larger number of priests were educated at the College than the wants of the Roman Catholic people of Ireland could possibly require. He had the authority, not only of his own observation and that of other persons residing in the country for making that statement, but the Roman Catholics themselves; for he found in a Roman Catholic newspaper, which was recognised as the organ of the priesthood—namely, the Tablet—on the 2nd of August last, an article which deserved their Lordships' consideration. It stated that the object of the College was not only to provide an efficient national clergy for Ireland—the zeal and piety and exertions of the Irish priesthood were evident—but that it had, from the first year of its establishment to the present moment, contributed its glorious contingent of priests, not only for Ireland, but for England, for China and Japan, and that even beyond the Andes the faithful Irish missionary would be found exerting himself for the spread of 1309 the Roman Catholic faith. Now, he would ask their Lordships, and the Protestants of this country, whether when they were discussing this measure of 1845, they understood when they were assenting to the measure that the public money of this country was to be dedicated to the education of priests for those distant regions? He believed it would be admitted that that grant was solely intended to meet the alleged wants of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. If, then, in 1845, the number of priests educated in Maynooth was far more than was necessary to meet the wants of Ireland, he would ask what its condition was in 1853, with this increased grant? It appeared to him that that was a subject well worthy of their consideration. For what had taken place between 1843 and 1853? A tremendous famine had swept from Ireland a very large portion of her people. Besides the famine, there was an emigration going on, which had increased year after year; this exodus was still on the increase, and the population was therefore considerably reduced. There was, besides this, another important fact to be noticed—a fact which, as a Protestant being anxious for the dissemination of Protestant truth, he was most happy in being enabled to state—there was, besides these circumstances, a large portion of the Roman Catholic population in Ireland who had abandoned the Church to which they heretofore belonged, and had joined Protestant communions. He was aware that some noble Lords were disposed to deny or to doubt that fact. He saw some noble Lords smiling at this assertion, as if they considered that this was a mere idea of his brain; but he would ask them to visit those districts of Ireland, and to judge for themselves. He would ask those who lived there whether he was speaking the truth or not? This was another cause of the great change that had taken place in the Roman Catholic population in Ireland; and the less pretence, therefore, was there for a grant to Maynooth for a larger number of priests than was required. He was anxious to refer their Lordships to a few extracts from an interesting work, an account of a traveller who had visited Ireland during the last month, which corroborated what he had stated to the House in respect of the great diminution in the population, and of the great change which had taken place in the opinions of the people. That author stated— 1310From the best data I could obtain, it appears that two-thirds of Ireland belong in fee to Protestants, who hold half of it in their own hands, leasing the other half to Roman Catholics; that about five-twelfths of the present population are Protestant, and seven-twelfths Roman Catholics.As this division of the population seriously differed from that which it had been the business of political agitators to assert, it might be well to submit the principal grounds on which it proceeded. In the year 1834, the numbers of the religious sects in Ireland were as follows—namely, of Protestants of the Established Church there were 852,064; of Presbyterian Protestants the number was 642,315; of Protestant Dissenters the number was 51,618; total, 1,516,228. Of the Roman Catholics the number was 6,437,712. The Protestants, therefore, were represented as being one-fourth of the population; but this proportion was said to be very much underrated. In the year 1841 the population in Ireland was upwards of 8,000,000, which amount ought to have increased to 8,500,000 in 1851; but it was ascertained to have fallen to 6,515,000 in that year. That great falling - off had of course been occasioned by the loss of the potato crop, by emigration, illness, and other causes attendant upon the calamity with which Ireland had during that period been afflicted. Those who emigrated were the young and the strong, and those who were left behind were the old and infirm. From these causes the Roman Catholic population were more reduced than the Protestants; so that at present their relative proportions were to be estimated as 7-12ths to 5-12ths. He had cited those facts to show how unnecessary it was at the present day to uphold or support Roman Catholic colleges in that country. With respect to another point, it was stated in the document from which he had just been reading, that the Roman Catholic priests attributed the extraordinary number of conversions to the Protestant faith which were daily taking place in Ireland to what they termed the "meal system." But such, the writer went on to state, could not be fairly maintained to be the case; nor could it, he said, with justice be argued that meal was a bribe any more than pens, or ink, or paper, or those other articles which were supplied to those poor children in Ireland who had not the means of providing themselves with those essentials to their education. Bribery he (the 1311 Earl of Roden) was well aware was an expression generally used, and many of their Lordships might have been led into the supposition that bribery had been resorted to in those cases in which children brought up in the Catholic religion joined the Protestant Church. But who was to bribe them? what were they to be bribed by? He could tell their Lordships, from his own experience, that it was from reading the Word of God, and having its truths instilled into their minds, that those children had been induced to conform to the doctrines of the Church of England. Their Lordships should remember that in Ireland the Bible was taken out of the hands of those children by those very priests who were educated in the College of Maynooth. Their Lordships should also bear in mind that in the schools established under the national system, where the priest was the patron, the Scriptures were not tolerated. That such was the case, nobody could venture to deny. He was in a position to prove to their Lordships that the Ultra-montane system of the Church of Rome was altogether opposed to the free use of the Bible. He had seen those principles of exclusive antagonism to reading the Word of God carried out in Italy against those poor martyrs in the cause of their religion whom he had had the privilege of visiting—individuals against whom no charge of a criminal character could be maintained, whose lives were unblemished, and who had suffered ten months' solitary confinement for reading the Scriptures. Let not their Lordships think that these cruelties were confined to Italy. Even in these kingdoms, in the nineteenth century, when we boasted of so much light, many of whom the Madiai were but types were at this moment suffering in defence of Scripture truth. It was because he thought the country had a right to demand a full and free examination of this subject, and that a searching investigation into the teaching of Maynooth could only be had through the medium of a Committee of their Lordships' House, that he supported the Motion. He trusted the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) would not think he meant to say anything disrespectful to him when he said he could not rely on the professions made by the Cabinet to which he belonged. He could not but bear in mind what had been his experience of the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea) for many years—always foremost in defence of that Scripture Protestantism which had been the glory 1312 and happiness of the Empire. He could not also but bear in mind what had been the political course of those who proposed a Commission instead of this Motion. He could not but look at the table of the House, where he saw lying a Bill (the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill) than which a more unjust measure was never committed to paper. No one could respect the noble Earl's (the Earl of Aberdeen's) high character more than he did; but when he looked to his Cabinet he found one noble Lord a Member of it expressing himself in a manner which prevented him giving any support to that Cabinet so far as its Protestant views were concerned. He could not but remember the words written by a noble Lord a Member of this Cabinet—united as a Cabinet, though formerly disunited north, south, east, and west; and therefore, with regard to what the noble Lord a Member of it had written, he would say, Ex hoc uno disce omnes. He would read to them the sentiments contained in a letter acknowledged to be written by Lord John Russell, a Member of the Cabinet, and ask them whether they could trust the noble Lord opposite with the appointment of this Commission? The words to which he alluded were contained in a letter which he should be wearying the House to read, but there were two paragraphs in it which showed why he objected to the course pursued. The knowledge of the Bible was forbidden by the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland to those children who were educated under their control; and he sincerely hoped that their Lordships would, as far as was in their power, prevent the restriction of that knowledge, and institute an inquiry with respect to a college in which tenets justifying that restriction were inculcated. The noble Earl the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs (the Earl of Clarendon), when at the head of the Government in Ireland, had entered into lengthened communication with various persons of authority upon the subject of the establishment of the Queen's Colleges in that country. In the course of those communications that noble Earl had addressed a letter to a Roman Catholic archbishop, in which he stated that he entertained a profound veneration for the character of the Pope, and relied implicitly upon the uprightness of his judgment, and that it was with pleasure he asked to have the statutes for the colleges submitted to his Holiness. In another paragraph the noble Earl stated that he was extremely 1313 anxious that such security should be given with respect to the system of education in those colleges as should be perfectly satisfactory to those Irish prelates who desired to see the true interests of morality and of the Roman Catholic religion promoted. Such sentiments as those to which he (the Earl of Roden) had just called their Lordships' attention, expressed by a Member of the present Cabinet, entitled him to ask how he could conscientiously entrust the noble Earl opposite with the appointment of a Commission which should have for its object to inquire into the system of instruction pursued in a Roman Catholic college, and to lay the results of that inquiry before the country? He regretted to have been obliged to trouble their Lordships at such length, but he could have no hesitation in giving his vote in favour of the Motion of his noble Friend.
, in rising to support the Amendment, said the speech of the noble Earl, to which he had listened with all the attention which his character deserved, he had listened to with regret; for he thought that any attempt to revive the religious animosities which must necessarily be raised by opening this subject, was much to be deprecated. He believed that many of the misfortunes to which Ireland had been subjected might in a great measure be referred to the unfortunate opinions which were held in regard to the position of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in that country with reference to the State. He believed that the Act of 1845 was but a step in the right direction towards the commencement of a right policy; and he believed that any movement which should have the slightest appearance of replacing public opinion in the condition from which it had been raised with so much difficulty, must necessarily be a subject of anxiety and remonstrance to all who had at heart the interests of Ireland. He believed that the time had passed when any man or any party could make the people of this country forget the lessons of toleration they had learnt, however much irritated they might be by the unwise proceedings of that Power which they had been in the habit of regarding with jealousy and suspicion. He believed no Ministry would dare to occupy any other position than that of the strictest impartiality. Although public opinion had not been brought to bear to carry the measures which had been passed to their legitimate conclusion, they would see that larger measures of religious equality would 1314 be conceded. So far as Ireland was concerned, the neck of Protestant ascendancy was broken, and no Ministry would ever again dare to reimpose it. He could not conceal from himself the fact that the Motion of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Winchilsea) taken in connexion with his speech, must be looked on in no other view than as an attack on the College of Maynooth; and he believed that if that House were for a single instant to concede to the noble Earl, it would be considered as a hostile demonstration against that institution on their Lordships' part also. He believed it would be considered, and justly so, a return to those unfortunate opinions which had characterised the commencement of this century, and which he had no hesitation in saying for 30 years had been against the pacification of the country, and had led to the vilest agitation that ever disgraced a country or embarrassed a Government. When he examined the speech of the noble Earl who had introduced the Motion, or that of the noble Earl who had followed him on the same side, it did not appear to him that they had succeeded in making out any case why their Lordships should depart from the principles which had been recognised in every part of Her Majesty's dominions—the Roman Catholics should be afforded the means of educating their priesthood in a decent and becoming manner. That principle was established in 1795, when the 8,000l., which up to 1845 was the miserable pittance granted for that purpose, was first given. That principle was affirmed when, in 1845, the Parliament of the United Kingdom took the whole question into its consideration, and came to the conclusion that they would raise Maynooth into an institution worthy of the country, and endow it with 30,000l. a year. That principle was further affirmed when the assistance of the Government was accorded to the Presbyterians of the north of Ireland, and also when grants were made to the Colonies of Great Britain of one kind or another for this purpose. What he would venture to say was, that their Lordships had no right to make Ireland an exception to the general rule thus established, and that the Irish Roman Catholics had a right to have their priesthood properly educated. But the noble Lord contended that the doctrines taught at Maynooth were opposed to the liberties and to the constitution of this country. But to this he replied, that, to any one who studied the debates previous 1315 to the introduction of this measure, it must be sufficiently apparent that those who introduced the measure were already sufficiently alive to the nature of the doctrines taught. Therefore, in his opinion, the noble Lord had entirely failed in showing that the principles now taught differed from what were known then and sufficiently patent. It seemed to him that there could be no excuse whatever for superseding the decision to which at that time their Lordships had arrived. He was very far from wishing to palliate the errors of the Roman Catholic religion. He was very far from wishing to deny that many of the pretensions of the Court of Rome were utterly inconsistent with what was due to the Crown—that the hierarchy of the Church of Rome had been guilty of acts inconsistent with the rights of the Crown. No man was more determined to resist any aggression on the part of the Church of Rome on the supremacy of the Crown; but he would venture to remind the House that Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects were not to be considered as its instigators. They had over and over again repudiated any tenets which were against their allegiance to their Sovereign. But it was one thing to guard against an act of aggression, and another to violate rights of which they were in possession, and which they had been in the habit of considering for ever secured to them. He was perfectly ready to admit—and no one who had been in the habit of studying the proceedings of the Court of Rome could deny—that an attempt would be made, if an opportunity occurred, to reestablish its ancient power; he was perfectly convinced that the Pope of Rome was only waiting for an opportunity to reestablish his authority in England. To this attempt, he believed, the Pope was constantly encouraged by persons on whom he was compelled to rely for his information as to the state of feeling in this country with respect to the Roman Catholic religion—persons who, either from personal motives or a blind zeal, misunderstood the state of things. To such an extent was this misrepresentation extended, that scarcely an Englishman could visit Rome but it was supposed it must have something to do with a change in his religious opinions. When he was in Rome he had had the opportunity of perceiving to what an extent the conversion of a person arriving from England was looked on as a fait accompli. He himself, in his humble lodging, had received the august visit of a bishop and 1316 several high ecclesiastics clothed in purple and gold, who had done him the honour of pressing him to take part in an approaching solemnity of a very grave and religious character—to assist at the baptism of a converted Jew in the character of godfather. And yet, notwithstanding that this was the opinion entertained at Rome of the state of public feeling in England, no one who could distinguish between the shifting of the current, and the deep tide that runs beneath, could entertain any reasonable doubt whatever that it was entirely in an opposite direction than towards the temples of Rome that the prejudices and feelings of the people of England flowed. It was therefore hardly worth while that, because certain persons, looking to advancement in their profession, should endeavour to inoculate the Roman Catholics of this country with Ultramontane doctrines, we should depart from the glorious position we occupied as the champions of English liberty; nor, above all, was it scarcely wise that we should mitigate and injure the force of our remonstrances, which might from time to time be called forth by the violations of those principles by other nations—by ourselves departing from the principles of toleration. He confessed it was his deliberate opinion that it was not by a perpetual crusade against Maynooth and Catholic institutions—that it was not by constantly denouncing the errors of the Church of Rome—that it was not by a Parliamentary Committee that the sacredness of Protestant institutions of this country was to be secured. That alone was sufficient security which had ever been found sufficient to secure it from all attacks whatever—namely, the grace of God, and the piety and good sense of the people. Under these circumstances, he trusted that the noble Earl opposite would execuse him if he ventured to oppose the Motion, which he thought would be fraught with the most dangerous consequences. To the principle which endowed Maynooth, he had always given his hearty concurrence. He thought scarcely any one would be found to contend that the seminaries for the instruction of the priesthood should be conducted as before, in squalor and meanness. It was to the miserable education these priests had had, that such disgraceful manifestoes had issued from them. If the priesthood had not been allowed to grow up in the disgraceful state in which Sir Robert Peel found them, we should not have had such disgraceful exhibitions at the elections as 1317 we had had. He did, indeed, believe that if they were to press the hostile inquiry, they would be able to prove that, in affording 30,000l. a year for this institution, they were supporting an institution tainted with error and opposed to the Church of England, which he believed to be the purest Church on the face of the earth, and of which he professed himself to be a most ardent and devoted admirer. The Romish Church had issued pretensions against the supremacy of the Crown; but he scarcely thought that any one there could doubt that those pretensions were against the opinions of the Roman Catholic body, and he denied that they had any right to believe that those pretensions were the sentiments of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. He would admit that by means of inquiry they might be able to prove that, in supporting Maynooth, they were assisting in the promulgation of error, and that all error was fraught with misfortune and misery. He was ready to admit that that might be the case; but no Government was the right tribunal to judge of religious error, or was capable of taking cognisance of it. If such error should manifest itself in overt acts inconsistent with the constitution, the law of the land was fully equal to vindicate it. In granting this inquiry, the House would incur the danger of reviving those religious animosities now happily on the point of being extinguished. Ireland had passed under misfortunes greater than any other country; but, among the many blessings likely to accrue to her from those misfortunes, not the least was the cessation of the jealousies and bitternesses which had formerly prevailed there. With respect to the Amendment, he was perfectly ready to acknowledge the principle that the Government had the right, from time to time, to institute inquiries as to how the public funds were disposed of; and, in the present state of public opinion out of doors, he thought it might probably accord with the feelings of the institution itself to consent to such an inquiry. With these observations he would now conclude by thanking their Lordships for the indulgence which they had accorded to the remarks which he had felt it his duty to offer.
The EARL of DESART
said, that the system of education pursued at Maynooth was one which sent forth dangerous clerical agitators and students who certainly were no acquisition to society. He thought that England and Ireland were deeply indebted 1318 to the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea) for having proposed this inquiry to their Lordships; and he hoped that the proposed investigation would be full, free, and impartial, as would be the case before a Committee of their Lordships' House. Such a Commission as was proposed by the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government (the Earl of Aberdeen) might be animated by the best intentions; but they would never succeed in drawing aside the veil which would be spread effectually before them; and the result of the inquiry would be that little would be gained, and that the Commission would be held up by the Roman Catholic priests as a fresh proof of the incompetence of the Legislature to control them or to investigate their doings. As an impartial observer, and, he was sorry to say, as an actor in the contest going on between the Roman Catholic priests and the Protestants of Ireland, he knew that there was in England, and even in their Lordships' House, great ignorance concerning the social relations of the Irish people. They had not an idea of the extent to which the Roman Catholic priests carried their interference into the most minute details of social relations in Ireland. They had no idea that the priests endeavoured to instil into the minds of their flocks that they were rather antagonistic religionists than fellow-countrymen with the Protestants, and told them that their duties to the Queen, to their fellow-subjects, and to the law, were all subordinate to what they insolently called Catholicism —meaning thereby an entire Subservience to all their behests and commands. Take the relations of landlord and tenant. The landlords were for the most part Protestants, and tenants, who were in most cases Romanists, they would find that the priests were unscrupulous in exciting the latter against the former. There were, no doubt, exceptions to this, but then they were only exceptions, for the great body of the priests represented the Protestant landlords as selfish, and hostile to the tenants; persons to be mistrusted, thwarted, and despised. The people of England were too apt to take it for granted that the Irish landlords were ever ready to put the law in force against their tenantry. It was true that in the west of Ireland some evictions had taken place; but was that the work of a pampered landlord, or of one driven by hard necessity to remove those who were neither able to maintain themselves or to till the ground? They called out for a 1319 mischievous system of tenant-right; but from his own experience of the south of Ireland, as exemplified on his own estate, the tenants were in possession of valuable rights. At the last election only five of his tenants (that is, of his Roman Catholic tenants) voted for the candidate in whom he felt interested, and yet not one of the others had been since interfered with, except in being made to pay up some arrears for which they might otherwise never have been called upon. The priests seemed to imagine that they were obliged to resist tyranny on the part of the landlord by a sort of counteracting tyranny of their own, and in this way the duties of the people to the laws and to the Crown were held up in opposition to their duties towards their religion. If he were to enter into a lengthened statement of the abuses of the sacerdotal power, he should only weary their Lordships' patience. The priests took every advantage of the weakness and forbearance of their opponents, and availed themselves of every means, both mental and physical, to force the people to comply with their demands. Their Lordships knew this, but, perhaps, they were not so well acquainted with the interference lately going on in the election of poor-law guardians. They had no idea of the extent of the same religious machinery which was brought to bear in other cases, and which had been applied to force the ratepayers to vote for the nominees of the priests, and to turn out those whom they called the nominees of the landlords. The landlords had endeavoured to do their best to make the poor-law machinery work, and by their exertions the poor-law, he was happy to say, was working well. They had so altered the state of things that there no longer existed a pauper population—the poorhouses were empty, and instead of 5s. being the minimum rate, the maximum rate was now ls. This was the work of the landlords. The priests seeing it, felt that there was at work an influence counter to their own, and were running forward and trying to force it back by indecent scurrility. They were now coming forward to force their own nominees upon the ratepayers, not because the administration of the poor-law was had, but simply because the people should not return any but those who would carry out the views of their masters—the priests. These were strong expressions, but he (the Earl of Desart) could say that they were not the least exaggerated; and while he was happy to say that there 1320 were gentlemen among the Roman Catholic clergy whose conduct was entitled to high praise, still he could not help feeling and saying that they formed the exceptions to the general rule. He could meet Roman Catholics as fellow Catholic Christians without any other feeling but that of regret for their feelings, at being obliged to see the precepts of their religion violated and outraged by those who called themselves its ministers. The picture which he had drawn of the state of the Irish priesthood was an honest and impartial one, and one which a strict and searching inquiry would not fail to prove. But it should be such an investigation as would be able to penetrate the secrecy under which the Roman Catholic priests well knew how to conceal their doings. It must be more than a Commission, and must be supported by more than the mere sanction of Government. The priestly influence was on the decline in Ireland. If the influence of the priests was as great as it was, or was said to be—if by the confessional they had the same control over private feelings, did their Lordships think they would have been so unwise as to expose themselves to the world in the indecent and violent manner they had done during the late elections? Did their Lordships think they would have committed themselves to personal assaults upon Scripture readers for disturbing the Word of God, if they had felt their influence to be as great as formerly? Their Lordships might perhaps say that legislation could do nothing upon this subject. Perhaps so. Providence might do much, but still there was much for man to do. Long experience of Ireland and the Irish had led him, after much reflection, to the conclusion that in Ireland concession was not conciliation—on the contrary, it was regarded rather as a symptom of fear, than as a manifestation of good-will. If the landlords came forward boldly, they would find that the people would rally round them as a refuge from the tyranny of the priests, which had become almost insupportable even to their own flocks. The priests claimed a supremacy over the law; and if they found the least sign of weakness or yielding on the part of either landlord or Government, they proclaimed it to the country people as another victory achieved by the spirit of supremacy. He (the Earl of Desart) had heard the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Aberdeen) express himself in words which he had listened to at the time with the greatest pleasure. He could not remember 1321 the exact terms used, but they were to the effect that justice should be administered in Ireland with strict impartiality to Protestant and Catholic, soldier and civilian. But what, in fact, had been the result of those words? Why, that the Government had declined to prosecute the priests engaged in the contest at Six-mile Bridge. He told the Government boldly—for he had long been connected with Ireland, and knew the effects of such a weak system of government, and he knew the effect, moral and social, which had been wrought upon the priests and people by the abandonment of those prosecutions by the Government—that ten years of firm and impartial government would not obliterate the effect of that ill-judged concession to the imagined feelings of the people. It was only by truth, firmness, and consistency that Ireland could be properly or wisely governed. If they wished to see the effects of such a system, a noble Earl sat behind him (the Earl of Eglinton), who had gone to Ireland, determined to carry out his plans with firmness, consistency, and strict impartiality; and what had been the result? When his viceregal functions closed, had that noble Earl left Ireland unpopular, or attacked by a single Irishman? No; for once even the voice of malevolence had been silenced, and from all the experience he (the Earl of Desart) had of Ireland, from all he had read upon the subject, he could say that never had a Lord Lieutenant left the government of that country more universally respected, or who, by Irishmen of all creeds and classes, was more sincerely regretted on the day which saw his departure from the sister kingdom. That was the kind of government that was wanted in Ireland. They wanted truth above all things, firmness with moderation, and courage with consistency. If such a system was pursued for a short time, they would find that Ireland would no longer be the source of England's embarrassments; but that, on the contrary, it would become a firm and valuable support, bound to her by every tie of affection, respect, and esteem.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
, after having listened attentively to what had fallen from the noble Earl who had proposed the Amendment, and from the noble Earl who had brought forward the original Motion, must acknowledge that he found little to choose between the two propositions which had been laid before the House. Whether a Committee or a Commission were appointed, the course adopted must be the same. 1322 Both must be endowed with precisely the same powers; both must receive essentially the same evidence; they must examine into the system of education adopted at Maynooth; they must ascertain carefully what books were there studied, what principles were there inculcated, and in what manner the mind was there trained for the profession for which it was intended. The same evidence must be heard before the one as before the other. Perhaps not the same witnesses exactly would be selected, but in each form the inquiry would be imperfect, unless it ascertained minutely and distinctly every part of the education inculcated. He believed firmly that the noble Earl was sincere in his proposal for a Commission, and that his intention was that the inquiry should be a searching one. He believed equally, on the other side of the question, that if the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea) obtained his Committee, it would be so appointed that the inquiry would not only be searching but impartial. But the result in either case would be the same; it would be found, he believed, that the system of education adopted at Maynooth was, in its most minute details, precisely that education, that system, that course of study which was usual, which was generally adopted, which was necessary to form a Roman Catholic priest. The result of the inquiry would, he repeated, be, that the education was neither more nor less than what was necessary for a Roman Catholic priest to possess. Believing that to be the case, he said the report must come to the conclusion that the institution had fulfilled the object for which it was intended. The college of Maynooth was not established in order to bring up priests to applaud or to uphold the Protestant religion; but it was an institution to teach men to look upon that religion as a heresy, and to teach men how to meet that heresy and how to overthrow it. Those who made the original grant, and those who supported the permanent endowment of the institution, must have known that its object was the maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, or else they were profoundly ignorant; and this being the case formerly, why should an inquiry be now asked for? He was not surprised that the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea) should have moved for inquiry, for he avowedly aimed at the destruction of the institution; but he was surprised at the course pursued by the noble Earl at the 1323 head of the Government. He could not believe that the noble Earl had the slightest intention of breaking faith on this point, and he must say, therefore, he saw little logic in the course adopted by the noble Earl, in yielding to the prejudices of the country, and merely substituting that which would be quite as effective as what had been proposed on the other side. Both the Commission and the Committee seemed unnecessary, though he did not deny but that Parliament had a right either to appoint a Committee or pass a Resolution for an address to the Crown for a Commission; yet a reason for taking this step must be shown, and up to this moment he had not heard any good reason given. As he could not propose an Amendment, unsupported as he probably would be, he had to choose between two evils in the Motions before him. Both inquiries would be equally searching and equally useless; but he would vote for a Commission in preference to a Committee, because he thought a Commission would be the shortest in its proceeding. He had no doubt the Committee, if appointed, would present a fair report upon the evidence; but that form of inquiry was not so advisable as the appointment of persons who would be quite independent, and who would put no unnecessary questions about the Pope's bulls, or the Six-mile Bridge affray, or the hundred other matters which were brought into the debate, but which had no connexion whatever with the question. His inclination was to move the rejection of the Motion, and of the Amendment too; but as he could not count on sufficient support, he would not attempt such a course. He was reduced, therefore, to join in the Motion for an address which was submitted to their Lordships by the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government.
The BISHOP of LONDON
said, he did not know that he should have considered it necessary to address their Lordships if he had not felt himself compelled to do so by the speech of the noble Lord (Lord Dufferin) who had spoken early in the debate. He had listened to that speech not without great respect for the ability it displayed, but with the greatest surprise and the deepest concern at some of the statements it contained. The noble Lord had spoken of those who disapproved of the grant to Maynooth, and might not, perhaps, be disinclined to take some steps to effect its removal, as being engaged in a 1324 crusade against the Roman Catholic religion—
was understood to explain that what he had said was, that those persons were engaged in a crusade against Maynooth.
The BISHOP of LONDON
denied that it was, in any sense, a crusade against Maynooth; but he thought that if there was any crusade, it was a crusade in another direction. The continuance of the grant to Maynooth was the encouragement of a crusade for the purpose of overturning that branch of the Catholic Church which Protestants believed to be the stronghold of truth; and the persons engaged in that crusade would not rest from their endeavours until they had overthrown that Church. There were many persons, who sincerely reverenced God's truth, who were strongly opposed to this grant, believing it to uphold a crusade, not for the purpose of recovering the Holy City, but for the purpose of storming the battlements of the Church. It attacked that Church which they believed to be the stronghold of truth—the golden candlestick in which the Holy Gospel was set on high to east its pure light around, and which it sought to overthrow. This was the crusade at present raised across the Channel; and if the many noble Lords in this House, and the people of this country, were determined to use every legitimate effort against the College of Maynooth, it was because they were thoroughly convinced that the persons most busily engaged in that crusade were precisely those who were educated at the College of Maynooth. He believed the teaching at Maynooth, which was maintained by an expenditure of the money of this country, was productive of infinitely more evil than good to the Irish people; and, in the present state of his information on the subject, he should, if the question were raised, feel himself bound in conscience to oppose the continuance of the grant as a misapplication of the public funds. That, he admitted, was not, however, now the question before their Lordships. The question was whether or no, before determining on a change of system with regard to the College, they should or should not endeavour, by an inquiry, to arrive at such a knowledge of the subject as might lead them to form a right conclusion. It was agreed by all that it was their duty to make an inquiry, and to arrive, if possible, at a full knowledge of the subject, with the view of 1325 coming to a right decision as to the expediency, having regard to the religious and social state of Ireland, of changing this system. The point to be decided, therefore, was, what were the best methods of arriving at the truth—which of the two courses before their Lordships was most likely to furnish them with the materials upon which they might arrive at a safe and just conclusion. Upon the fullest consideration, he was inclined to think that that object would be best attained by a Commission, and he should give his voté, accordingly, in favour of the course suggested by the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government, as the surest and the safest mode of inquiry. Not to dwell upon the expediency—he might almost say the necessity—of conducting a part, at least, of the inquiry within the walls of the College itself, a Commission was more likely to collect facts, to gather together correct information, and to arrive at a just decision, than a Committee of either House of Parliament. By such a Commission the inquiry was likely to be more careful, more calm, more comprehensive, and more likely to present to the House such a mass of information as might enable them to form a judgment upon the subject, than an investigation conducted by a Parliamentary Committee. He apprehended, however, that whether a Commission or a Committee were appointed, there was a great part of the truth which their Lordships would never arrive at. If there were any secrets which it was desirable to hide from the public gaze in regard to the hierarchy of Rome, it was well known that that Church possessed and knew how to wield, and had wielded before now, a lever more powerful than any which their Lordships could employ, in order to prevent the truth from being elicited, and so convert that which ought to be a means of arriving at the truth into an instrument of deceit. To a certain extent he agreed with the noble Lord who had last spoken as to the perfect inefficiency of either a Commission or a Committee; but still he thought their Lordships were bound to make inquiry. He believed it would be no fault of the noble Earl's if the Commission he proposed to appoint were not an impartial one —if it were not composed of men eminently qualified by a love of truth, a full acquaintance with the subject, and a thorough competence to deal with it with firmness, sagacity, and honesty of purpose. Having, therefore, full confidence himself 1326 in the intention of the noble Earl to do that which would be satisfactory to the expectations of this House and of the public at large, he felt no hesitation in choosing that branch of the alternative which the noble Earl had introduced to their Lordships' notice, and in choosing the Amendment which he had proposed.
The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE
, although he arrived at the same conclusion as the right rev. Prelate, namely, that a Commission is preferable to a Committee of Inquiry into the subject of this discussion—came to that conclusion by a course of reasoning entirely opposite to his. He believed no inquiry whatever was at this moment necessary, and it was with great pain, therefore he had heard of the intention of the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government to agree to inquiry in any form. The speech of the noble Earl, in proposing that Amendment, however, very much mitigated, although it did not entirely remove, his objections; for a greater contrast between the animus which characterised the two speeches of his noble Friend and of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Winchilsea) could not possibly exist. Still he repeated his belief that no inquiry whatever was necessary, and he believed that such an inquiry was at this moment particularly inopportune. It would have been much wiser to have let this question rest, and not to interfere with it unless they had strong and conclusive grounds for so doing. The noble Earl who had moved the original Motion had said nothing whatever to prove the necessity of an inquiry. He was not going to argue with that noble Earl the doctrines of the Church of Rome; but he said that these had nothing whatever to do with the necessity of an inquiry into the course of education at Maynooth, or into the principles upon which it was conducted. The principle upon which that establishment rested was, whether, with so many millions of Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in Ireland, their Lordships would not accord those who professed that religion an establishment which might educate their priesthood for them in a proper manner. Would an inquiry into Maynooth alter the evils or the benefits which had flowed from the system? Did any one imagine that, if Maynooth were suppressed to-morrow, the Roman Catholic religion which it inculcated, would be suppressed in consequence? The question was not at all about the Roman Catholic religion; it was as to what 1327 good would come out of such inquiry as was proposed. He thought it would have been much better to have met this Motion by a direct negative; but, taking his choice of the two evils presented to their Lordships, he should be fully prepared to vote for the Commission for preference to the Committee. He would ask the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) if the crusade which he had spoken of as existing in Ireland would be put a stop to if it were thought in that country that their Lordships were inclined to take away the only boon accorded to the Roman Catholic religion there? Were they likely to ward off the attack upon the Protestant religion, and to do good to the Established Church, if they threatened that, whatever might be the wealth of that Church, and whatever its numerical proportion to the population of Ireland, they would maintain that establishment intact, but would revoke the grant to Maynooth, and would give nothing for the education of the clergy of the great majority of the people of that country? He could not think that that would at all be a sound policy for their Lordships to pursue. He protested also against the language used by the right rev. Prelate. The right rev. Prelate had said that whatever power of inquiry the Commission might have, the power of concealment on the part of the priests would be greater; and he spoke of the probable evasion of truth by the authorities of Maynooth. Now, that sort of abuse and that sort of accusation—for it was more than insinuation—it was very easy to retort from one side to another. He admitted that some of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church had spoken very disrespectfully of the Protestant Church; but had such language been thought proper and becoming? Quite the contrary. What then were their Lordships to say to those priests if, in this place, before their Lordships, it was stated by Protestant prelates that they practised arts of evasion, if not of perjury? He, for one, protested against that language; he protested against the use of that language, and against its truth. He believed that with regard to the educational system of Maynooth they would get a perfect knowledge of that system by a Commission, if knowledge they wanted; but he did not think that what might be the canon law of Rome was a question which they should very much inquire into. He regretted that this Commission was to be issued, for he thought he foresaw very considerable trou- 1328 ble to the Government from the result of its inquiry next year, or the year afterwards. The practical permanent results of an academical foundation were not to be ascertained at the end of some seven or eight years. That was the plea often put forward for Oxford and Cambridge against proposed extensive alterations. As to the Irish priesthood, it was impossible not to recognise the privation and distress they had gone through in the performance of their duties during late years; and when their Lordships spoke of their proceedings at elections, he would reply, that they very much overrated the influence of the Catholic clergy as a clergy; and that they ought to consider that they were under the voluntary system, which forced them to indulge in language and in conduct rather more forcible than was decorous. In this country he could produce many instances where the clergy had chapels to maintain by the force of their eloquence, and where, consequently, a misguided zeal frequently took the place of that more steady, sober, and useful preaching, which was the distinction of our parochial clergy. In Ireland, also, he had seen the evils of the voluntary system, as it was called, in its influence on the unendowed clergy. Those, however, it was to be considered, were men, and it might be as men, not as clergy, that they took the part they had done in the elections.
The DUKE of LEINSTER
said, the Amendment of the noble Earl at the head of the Government had his full support, and he was glad the noble Earl was ready to go into the inquiry. From constant residence close to the College, he was quite certain that the inquiry would be satisfactory, and that the good conduct of the priesthood would be fully shown.
§ The EARL of SHAFTESBURY
considered that the deep and serious anxiety manifested by thousands of persons in this country for inquiry into the College of Maynooth was sufficient necessity for demanding investigation into a public institution maintained by public funds. As the college was supported by public funds, the Legislature had certainly a right to inquire whether it had carried out those objects for which the public money had been given. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Clanricarde) had condemned inquiry as useless, and because even the suppression of Maynooth would not suppress the Catholic religion. Now, the suppression of the Catholic religion was not looked for or 1329 expected by those who demanded an inquiry into Maynooth; nor because they thought that Maynooth would, in any result, he left without money for its support. Inquiry was sought for because thousands of persons in this country believed that a national endowment of Maynooth was a great and heinous national sin, and they wished to exonerate themselves from all participation in that public crime, and to be uncontaminated by yielding support to a system contrary to the Gospel and the Word of God. The question was limited; it touched not a repeal of the grant—it demanded only an inquiry. The noble Earl the First Minister of the Crown had referred to an inquiry which had taken place previously to 1845; but the present inquiry was to ascertain the application and expenditure of the funds since 1845. The grant was made and calculated upon the necessities of Ireland. It was stated that a certain number of priests were required for the members of the Church of Rome in Ireland. Now, what they wanted to know was, did Maynooth produce each year a number of priests equal to, greater or less than, the wants of the population of Ireland? If equal, then cadit questio. If greater, then they were not wanted, except in the Colonies; and it was clear the Legislature was going beyond its purpose in educating priests for the Colonies instead of for the Irish Church. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) had pronounced a warm eulogy on the Maynooth establishment, which eulogy suggested many topics into which he (the Earl of Shaftesbury) was not going to enter. But it led him to the inquiry of what was taught at Maynooth. Of course their Lordships need not trouble themselves as to the confessional or the infallibility of the Pope, because the persons educated at Maynooth were educated as Roman Catholics; and if they were educated as good and loyal Catholics, why then the College had fulfilled the conditions on which the grant was made. But the Legislature had a right to know what the principles and the system of education were. They had a right to know if the morality of Liguori or Dens was inculcated there. They had a right to know if the views of civil and religious liberty taught there were the same as those recognised by the constitution of this country, or those entertained by the Grand Duke of Tuscany? They had a right to know how the priests educated at Maynooth conducted themselves in their re- 1330 spective appointments or parishes—for it was everywhere asserted that the Maynooth priests were seditious, turbulent, and violently political—whether they were simple parish priests, or were formed upon the model adopted by Cardinal Wiseman, who had openly declared that since he could form an idea, he had taken for his model no less notorious a person than Thomas A'Becket. It was quite notorious that the priests of Ireland were charged with being at the bottom of election riots, as well as every sedition that occurred in that country. Such might or might not be the case; but inquiry should be made, if for no other reason, to set aside the charge thus made against the Irish priesthood. The Government had further limited the question by proposing a Commission instead of a Committee; and he should say he preferred the former to the latter mode of investigation. It was important that, in a matter of this kind, information should be taken on the spot; and that there should be personal, public, and open responsibility. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) had undertaken that it should consist of upright, honest, and able men; and if such were appointed, as he doubted not, it would be far better than a Committee of their Lordships' House. He trusted the Commission would be well constituted, and that it should consist of five rather than of three members, who should be expected to make a report within six months, or at least within some reasonable and limited period. At the original foundation of Maynooth it was stated, and subsequently repeated by the late Sir Robert Peel, that the great object of a home college was, that the Irish priests should receive a superior education to what they did in France and Belgium, and that they should be imbued with English and Irish feelings instead of Continental. That was the object in view for founding Maynooth; but it was universally believed in this country that the reverse had taken place. If the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) would consent to the addition of a few words to his Amendment, so as to make the inquiry embrace the "course and character of the studies pursued at Maynooth, the effect produced by the increased grant," and to ascertain the numbers educated since the increase of the grant, and the parishes or localities to which the priests had since been appointed," he doubted not much satisfaction would result; but otherwise he did not see how anything but dissatisfac- 1331 tion could result from the proposed substitution of the noble Earl's Amendment.
The DUKE of ARGYLL
said, that, as coming from a part of the country where the very name of Maynooth excited something like horror, and where all believed its foundation to be an error in policy, he found it a great satisfaction at the present time that he had had occasion during the last Session of Parliament, when he was not connected with any Government, nor as far as he knew likely to be so, to state the grounds on which he was prepared to deal with the College of Maynooth. He gave his hearty assent to the Amendment of the noble Earl, not only on the general and established principle that Maynooth, being a public institution, might at any and at all times be inquired into by Parliament, if Parliament so thought fit, but also because the Amendment proposed the best form of inquiry under the circumstances. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) had stated it to be a great national sin and disgrace—and the argument in Scotland was universal—that a Protestant State committed a great sin when it gave Protestant funds to support a religion founded on error. If he could admit the premises, he might agree with the conclusion; but the obvious answer was, that the funds were not Protestant funds; that the public money was derived in part from the Roman Catholic population, and the principles of equity and justice required that that section of the community should receive its due amongst others. He, therefore, had never seen it to be any sin for a Protestant Government, so called, to vote money for the endowment of those differing with them in opinion. If they were not prepared to admit that principle, they must assent to the principles on which those persons acted who agitated for a repeal of the Union. Some noble Lords had objected to this inquiry altogether. He did not. He approved of the proposal for proceeding by Commission; and he confessed he could not quite understand the motives of the noble Earl who conducted the Opposition in that House (the Earl of Derby) in giving the preference to the Committee, since every noble Lord who had spoken for the Committee had expressed opinions in reference to the College of Maynooth, in which it was impossible that the noble Earl could sympathise, unless there had been some great change in his opinions between this and 1845. He (the Duke of Argyll) re- 1332 ally must take the preference of the Committee to the Commission in the debate to be the expression of opinions in favour of disendowment, and, therefore, he could not but wonder what had made the noble Earl display that preference. There had been no great public complaint—none greater than they had heard for years. Comparing the present time with 1845, they would remember that two years before that there had been a very great agitation in Ireland with regard to the repeal of the Union; the Roman Catholic priests sympathised with that movement, and the Government of which the noble Earl was a Member, had conducted a prosecution against the leader of it, and had convicted him of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was at that very moment, however, that the noble Earl came down to the House, and supported with all his powerful and persuasive eloquence, the granting of an additional and a permanent endowment to Maynooth. What had there been to justify the apparent change in his opinions? He did not imply that the noble Earl had changed his opinions; but only that from his position in reference to the question before the House, it seemed he was ready to admit that there had been disappointment felt with the result of what was done in 1845. But noble Lords opposite must remember that, so far as improvement in the character of the priesthood was concerned, there had been no time for its operation, the course of study being eight years. An argument used on a former occasion had been repeated that night, that you must not do evil that good might come; but the noble Earl opposite appeared to hold the contrary doctrine, that what was abstractedly good must be persevered in, even though evil consequences might be found to flow from it. He (the Duke of Argyll) was not prepared to say that the institution of Maynooth could be permanently maintained, if upon inquiry it should be proved that absolute principles of disloyalty prevailed there, and if political evils and political misconduct were found to result directly from the mode of teaching there adopted. But he would say, that if you proposed to found or endow a college for teaching Roman Catholic priests, you must be prepared to find Roman Catholic doctrines, and not Protestant doctrines, taught in that college. He had no doubt that the result of a Commission would be to satisfy the people of this country upon all those doubtful points for 1333 which it was legitimate that such an inquiry should be instituted, and that their Lordships would be prepared to continue to maintain that college for the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland, to which from the number of its Roman Catholic inhabitants that country was justly entitled.
§ The EARL of DERBY
My Lords, I hardly know to what I am indebted for the uncalled-for honour which has been done me by the noble Duke in thus drawing my name so prominently into the discussion on which we are engaged. But, my Lords, the noble Duke is a young man, and a Cabinet Minister, and perhaps on that account he will not take it amiss if I—as one more advanced in years, and whose experience as a Minister has been somewhat more enlarged than his—if I offer him a word of friendly counsel, and that is—let him not, as a Minister of the Crown, be so ready to make an unprovoked attack upon one whose sentiments upon the question in debate he is unable to judge, and especially upon one the nature of whose vote he is unable to determine. And, my Lords, having said this much, let me, in order to evince the perfect good humour with which I received the observations of the noble Duke, briefly illustrate my feelings by a story, which may not be unknown to your Lordships. Your Lordships may have heard of a certain powerful member of a class known in this country as "navvies:" he was a great, strong man, and not less in height than 6 feet 4 inches. Well, my Lords, it is related that this remarkable individual had the misfortune to marry a very little wife, who was in the habit of beating him a good deal; and when taxed for this by his boon companions, the poor man's reply was, "Oh, let her alone; she amuses herself, and she does not hurt me." Well, my Lords, turning from the noble Duke, who could not possibly tell how I am going to vote, I proceed to consider the very narrow issue on which we have to determine—assuming that it is now generally admitted on the part of Her Majesty's Government that inquiry ought to take place. My noble Friend who opened this question, suppressing his views with regard to the merits of the institution at Maynooth, and of the original policy which had created it, most strenuously excluded all consideration of the religious doctrines from the investigation that he asked for. He stated—and thus disposed of a considerable portion of the arguments 1334 heard of in the course of this debate—that he did not intend to inquire into the practices of the confessional, or into the various doctrines which are adopted by the Roman Catholic Church, and which, of course, it was natural to expect from the education of the Roman Catholic clergy, could not be omitted. But my noble Friend proposed to conduct an inquiry into the political results, into the social and moral effects, of the teaching at Maynooth, with regard to which I may venture to say that there is even between Roman Catholic and Roman Catholic a very great and broad distinction. My Lords, the noble Earl opposite said that it was perfectly well known beforehand what would be the result of any inquiries which might be set on foot. But, my Lords, the noble Earl will permit me to ask him, is there no difference between Roman Catholic priest and Roman Catholic priest? Is it not a matter worthy of an investigation, whether the system pursued at Maynooth turns out Murrays or M'Hales? Is it nothing for us to determine whether the course of instruction at Maynooth inculcates those high absolute doctrines which proclaim the assumption of temporal power by the Roman Catholic clergy, and which are so well designated under the title Ultramontane; or whether that system promulgates those more moderate views denominated Cisalpine, and which are certainly more reconcilable with the constitution of this free country, as well as more reconcilable to the position in which the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland did, or at all events ought, to stand? Now, my Lords, we must admit on the one hand that it is no purpose of this inquiry to examine into the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church—doctrines which are universally held by the Roman Catholic Church wherever it exists —the inquiry is solely to be into the moral, social, and political character of the education of Maynooth on the rising generation of Irishmen. The noble Earl at the head of the Government states, that, in his opinion, it is perfectly legitimate to enter upon such an inquiry, and that the country which supports such an endowment, and such an establishment, has a right to satisfy itself as to the character of its teaching, and the manner in which its grants have been applied. But my noble Friend (the Earl of Winchilsea) has stated that there is another ground upon which inquiry is called for—that, whereas the original intention of the grant of 1845 was to pro- 1335 vide for the adequate education of the priesthood of Ireland, a very strong impression prevails that the funds appropriated by Parliament for that purpose are not eventually applied solely to the purposes of Ireland; but that they are dispensed upon missionary establishments in almost every quarter of the globe. Now, the noble Earl admits the perfect right of Parliament to diminish, to augment, and even to abolish altogether this grant, should it become apparent to Parliament that the mode in which it was administered was defective. Well, my Lords, we have thus taken up two positions: first of all, we are about to inquire into matters which are a legitimate subject of inquiry—which in no way embrace or affect the principles or doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church—still less can that inquiry be considered to assume anything of a persecuting character. On the other hand, having the admission that such an inquiry is being demanded by the voice of the country—that it is not only open to them, but that it is the actual duty of the Government to grant it—I must say we have advanced a long way in the discussion of the subject, because we have therein an allowance that the clergy of Maynooth are amenable to the authority of Parliament, and that it is our duty to investigate their conduct if needs be. However, my Lords, I am free to confess, that, between the Motion proffered by my noble Friend and that of the noble Earl at the head of the Government, I can see no very great or broad distinction. My noble Friend proposes to inquire into the system of education pursued in the College of Maynooth; that is the first point. The noble Earl, on the other hand, proposes to inquire into the management and administration of Maynooth, into its discipline, and the course of studies pursued there. Now, I must say, the language of the noble Earl seems to me only to express, in words more extended, the aim and scope of my noble Friend's Motion. And, I would observe, in passing, on a comment which has been made on a previous notice which my noble Friend had given, which is alleged to have been calculated to create great pain, but which was withdrawn after it had remained on the table of your Lordships' House for some time. Now, my Lords, it is only necessary for me to remind your Lordships that the Motion fell to the ground in consequence of the necessary and unavoidable absence of my 1336 noble Friend. But, now, I have to point out to your Lordships wherein the proposition of the noble Earl opposite differs from that of my noble Friend. The noble Earl proposes to limit the inquiry into the system of education pursued at Maynooth since the grant of 1845 was conferred. Well, I must say that that limitation is somewhat inconsistent with the argument which was used by the noble Earl himself, for did he not state that no result could be determined since 1845, for so short a period had elapsed since then that not a single pupil could be found whose course of education could have been comprised within that time? Well, then, is it not apparent that the noble Earl professes to inquire into the results of a system by which inquiry no results can be obtained, where, in fact, there are circumstances in existence which will completely neutralise his inquiry? But, my Lords, I have yet to learn that in 1845 any extensive change was made in the system of education in vogue at Maynooth. And, be it remembered, that the allegation against the college is, that for a long period of time the priests educated at Maynooth, as compared with the old race of clergymen who received their education abroad, are a less loyal, a less educated, a more bigoted, and otherwise an inferior class of persons to those who preceded them in the ministry of the Roman Catholic Church before Maynooth was established, Now surely, my Lords, if inquiry is to be made into this system—if the charge is made, that it is to the incitement of the Roman Catholic clergy that to a great degree the disordered state of Ireland is attributable —it seems to me that there is no sufficient ground for limiting the investigation into the results to be gathered since 1845. It may be, my Lords, that the inquiry undertaken may make it manifest that by the enlargement of the grant in 1845 the Roman Catholic priesthood have since become a more loyal, a more dutiful, and a more educated class of persons. I only hope that such may be the result. But, my Lords, the real question which you have to decide is this—in what manner can you best obtain information as to the results of the system of education pursued at the College of Maynooth? And concurring, as I do in many respects, with the right rev. Prelate who has addressed your Lordships (the Bishop of London), and also with the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government, I must say, 1337 that as far as my own judgment goes, I prefer the mode of inquiry suggested by my noble Friend who opened the discussion to the proposal advanced on the part of the Government. But because I make that selection, I cannot see why I thereby lay myself open in the slightest degree to the charge or supposition that in 1853 I have altered or modified the opinion which I had formed and expressed in 1845. Indeed, such a conclusion appears to me to be anything but a logical sequence from the avowals which I have now made. And I will state to your Lordships the grounds upon which I rest my preference. But let me observe, that I hardly think the noble Earl at the head of the Government does justice to your Lordships in stating that it would be impossible to constitute a fair Committee. I quite admit, along with my noble Friend, that if the Committee were to be constituted of noble Lords who entertained very strong preconceived opinions on the merits of the case, that the tribunal to whose investigation the question was submitted would be a very one-sided one; and that the inquiry would not be of the impartial character which the country had a right to demand. I confess, however, I am quite unable to divine why the noble Earl, who has all the power in his own hands, cannot place upon the Committee those who, while they held different opinions regarding the merits of the case, are yet unanimous in their desire for a full inquiry. And, my Lords, I cannot but think that in an inquiry of this sort, it is of great consequence that we should have men engaged on it who à priori are disposed to take different views. Looking, then, to the quarter whence we must principally derive our information, it is quite evident that our main source will be in the institution which is the object of inquiry; and that the greater portion of the evidence against the college must be gathered in the cross-examination of the various witnesses. It is from the conflict of various opinions—it is from the evidence brought out by the contrast of these two sets of opinions, that the truth will in all likelihood be elicited. But if the Commission of the noble Earl is to go forth, no opportunity will be afforded of cross-examination, and if the Commissioners be perfectly impartial, the result may be that you will have only the partial evidence of partial witnesses. And, my Lords, there is another point to which great weight ought to be be attached—namely, that 1338 you have not the power of examining upon oath by means of a Commission; you have no right to compel witnesses to answer questions to which they may object. You will, therefore, neither get at the truth, nor have you the power, in case perjury should be virtually committed, of enforcing the penalties attaching to that crime—in fact, my Lords, I am not quite sure that the noble Earl, if he were to attempt to enforce the taking of oaths, would not himself be guilty of a violation of the law. But there is another reason why I give a preference to the plan of my noble Friend over that of the noble Earl opposite. I believe, that without at all imputing any desire to Her Majesty's Government of blinking this question, that the public generally will attach much more importance to an inquiry where the opposing parties will be placed face to face, than in an investigation carried on at a distance in a private room, and of which the country can know nothing as it proceeds. Very much, of course, will depend upon the character and weight of the persons who may be appointed as Commissioners. Who or what they may be I cannot, of course, presume to calculate; but I will say, no matter who they may be, I must confess that both the public at large, as well as the friends and advocates of inquiry, would repose infinitely more confidence in a well-selected Committee from your Lordships' House. For these reasons, my Lords, I much prefer the original Motion to the Amendment; but if there be any strong or general feeling on the part of your Lordships in favour of a Commission, it would be better to adopt it as the unanimous decision of this House. In this respect I am in the hands of my noble Friend who introduced the Motion. My opinion is with his. I prefer a Committee to a Commission, and if he thinks proper to divide, I shall vote with him. I leave it, however, to his discretion whether he will divide, or rest satisfied with the declaration of the noble Earl opposite that he will take every possible means of securing a full and impartial inquiry into the whole subject.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
My Lords, as it was my lot to give a hearty, a sincere, and, at the time, not ineffectual support to the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) when he introduced the measure to your Lordships' House for establishing the College of Maynooth, I am anxious now to address a few words to 1339 your Lordships. While I agree with him that this question can be narrowed in the manner he proposes, I nevertheless entirely differ with him as to the mode in which the inquiry should be conducted; and anxious as I am, in common with the noble Earl, to protect that which may be considered as his own offspring from anything like injury, I think it may best be protected from injury on the one hand, and the object of inquiry may better be answered on the other, by adopting that principle of inquiry by Commission which has been suggested by the noble Earl near me (the Earl of Aberdeen), than by having recourse to that plan—unmanageable as it would be, and, because unmanageable, pregnant with mischief—which would be the result of the Motion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea), a course which, I am convinced, if pressed to a division, would be rejected by a large majority of your Lordships' House. After the grave considerations which have been adduced by the right rév. Prelate above me, and by the noble Earl on the other side, as to the possible disadvantages attendant on an inquiry so conducted, I believe a large majority of your Lordships would hesitate before you plunge into an ocean which might be productive, possibly, of the revelation of a few facts, but which would, at the same time, produce much that would be mischievous—much that would be unnecessary—much that would be calculated to sow the seeds of mistrust and anger where it is most desirable that there should be concord and peace. My Lords, we do not speak without experience on this question. Many years ago—before the noble Earl opposite was a Member of this House—I, together with the illustrious Duke and others now dead, and the late Earl of Liverpool, sat on a Committee on the general state of Ireland. That Committee was selected and presided over by the Earl of Liverpool—no Committee could be selected more discreetly—no Committee could be more capable of avoiding those rocks and shoals on which individual Members are liable to split. But, my Lords, you cannot appoint a Committee which shall be free from warm feelings on both sides; and I ask you if you can remember a Committee so destitute of party feeling, or of ecclesiastical or political bias, as to be able to conduct an inquiry of this sort with the necessary temper? I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of Committees of this House; on the contrary, they have often been most 1340 usefully employed in eliciting many important facts on finance, commerce, &c., and have performed good service when faction has not so much been concerned; but considering the results of the particular Committee to which I have referred, I ask your Lordships if you anticipate much better results with regard to an inquiry such as that now proposed? No Committee was ever appointed more free from political bias, or more competent to conduct an inquiry of the sort. Yet, what was the result? It was most injurious to Ireland. There are on all such Committees a certain number of individuals, some more farsighted than others; but others whose vision is more opaque, who, in pursuit of an object, will go as far as they can go, sometimes going to the right, and sometimes to the left of that object. So it was in the Committee on the general state of Ireland. The Committee on the state of Ireland occupied two whole days in the consideration of the degree of authority to be given to the creed of St. Athanasius. It is almost indecorous to allude to this fact, but such was the case. Two days were actually consumed on this question. A right rev. Prelate was required to state on oath whether that creed was necessary to salvation; and the reply was, I remember, that "he could not say whether it was, but that a great many persons had sworn that it was." On another day, a right rev. Catholic Prelate was examined as to the efficacy of masses. He was told to answer, categorically, on oath, whether a great man who paid a great sum of money for masses entered heaven, whilst the poor man, for whom no masses were said, was excluded from heaven? The answer I well remember. It was, "that undoubtedly the masses would have their efficacy; but, for his part, considering the possible sins of the rich man, he would himself rather take the chances of the poor man." I allude to these things not certainly for the purpose of inducing your Lordships to appoint a Committee, but to point out to you the decorum, the wisdom, and the regard for propriety, which would always be observed by a Commission, which these Committees of either House of Parliament are at all times wanting in. I am strongly, therefore, in favour of a Commission. I believe my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) will have no objection to adopt some of the words suggested by the noble Earl, though whether in the Motion itself, or in the instructions to 1341 the Commission, I think is immaterial. My Lords, when the noble Earl states his doubt whether the public would be satisfied if a Committee were not appointed, I must remind him that a Commission was appointed in 1824, which sat for two or three years afterwards, I believe, and that that Commission gave such universal satisfaction that for ten years afterwards no complaints on the subject were heard. The noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) has stated that he would have no objection to introduce certain words suggested by the noble Earl opposite; but they would also be naturally included in the instructions issued to the Commission. Under a Commission you cannot determine the effects of the Act of 1845, because a sufficient time has not elapsed to admit of an inquiry into the operation of the Act; but there would still remain material subjects for inquiry, such as the actual state of the studies of the students, and the effect of those studies and of the discipline of the institution on the character of the students. That is a fair object of inquiry, and one of my reasons for giving my assent to the Commission would be to ascertain the character of the students, their demeanour and morality, and the peculiar nature of their studies. A Commission on the spot would best institute such an inquiry. If a Committee were appointed, they would have to bring before them professors from Ireland, who, in their turn, would have to bring over all their pupils; whereas a Commission would examine on the spot and pursue their object steadily. Does not this very debate, my Lords, show the tendency to divergence? If we cannot debate in this House for a few hours without having one noble Lord addressing to us his views upon poor-rates, and another on two or three other subjects—on the elections, for instance, while another addresses himself to the Canada Clergy Reserves, as if that question was to be agreeably anticipated before it fairly came before your Lordships' House, how is it to be expected that a Committee, which would sit for four or five hours a day, would not indulge in a variety of subjects, and feast their minds on those particular topics and views to which they are attached? I think this inquiry will answer a useful purpose. When Parliament, at the suggestion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) and of the late Sir Robert Peel, wisely made the grant to Maynooth of a permanent character, it was because the object was felt to be of a permanent char- 1342 acter—it was felt to be a paramount object that the great mass of the clergy of Ireland should be an educated clergy, as they would be less dangerous than if they were uneducated; but it was never intended to relinquish the right of inquiry into the application of that money. It will be right to inquire into the application of this money for these purposes—to ascertain that it has been properly applied, and, if necessary, to suggest to the governors of the institution the necessity of alterations; but I think it of importance that all curricula of the clergy should be maintained in their integrity. My Lords, the famine has been alluded to; but although the noble Earl adverted to it in connexion with the decrease which has taken place in the population, and to the diminution of Roman Catholics in particular, he did not connect it with Maynooth. He alluded also to the conduct of a certain portion of the Roman Catholic clergy in contributing to the agitation in that country, and in opposing the secular power. But when we blame, and not without cause, those of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland who have followed a course of obstruction, we ought also to remember that that very famine was an hour of trial, which afforded to the Roman Catholic clergy the occasion of exhibiting what has never been denied to the Roman Catholic religion—a spirit of fervent charity towards the poor—even laying down their lives to be among them and to comfort them. These virtues cannot be denied them; but it is not for the institution of Maynooth in particular that I claim these virtues and this conduct; and there is no reason why you should attribute all the evils that you ascribe to the Roman Catholic priesthood to Maynooth. No body of men on the face of the earth were ever less qualified to fulfil great public duties because they received as enlightened an education as the nature of their creed and their doctrines permitted. It is because we admit that creed and these doctrines, that we desire they should be taught openly by civilised and enlightened men, instead of being taught by enthusiasts, quacks, and impostors, into whose hands that religion might fall, which, my Lords, might be the case if you withdraw the grant you have solemnly promised to continue to Ireland, so long as that grant is administered conformably with the intentions of the Act.
§ The EARL of HARROWBY
observed, that if, as had been stated, the Commis- 1343 sioners would have power, without any alteration in the terms of the Motion, to inquire into the two points suggested by the noble Earl near the woolsack, namely, whether the services of the priests educated at Maynooth were confined to Ireland; and, secondly, as to the doctrines taught by them in reference to the connexion of the Church with the State, they would answer the public expectation, although, of course, the objections of those who objected to endowing the College at all would not be obviated. There were those who thought that a Protestant country ought not to endow a Roman Catholic College; and there was also a considerable impression abroad that the Roman Catholic clergy were in favour of concentrating all authority in the Pope, and abandoning the Roman Catholic National Church. If it were an instruction to the Commission that the inquiry should go to the extent suggested by noble Lords on the Opposition benches, then he thought it would be satisfactory to the public. Of the two modes of investigation proposed, he confessed that he preferred a Commission.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
observed, that one of the points in the Amendment which had been proposed, that, namely, requiring a return of the number of priests who had received their education in the College of Maynooth, would naturally form one of the objects of inquiry to which the attention of the Commissioners would be directed. He believed that the Commission appointed in 1824 went fully into the question of numbers, and of course the same would be done now. But when his noble Friend proposed to go into an inquiry as to the places and parishes to which the Maynooth priests might have been appointed, he seemed to forget that it was hardly possible to obtain the information desired. He believed it would be impossible, or, at all events, very difficult, to require from the College information respecting the distribution of the persons educated there, because the College of Maynooth had nothing to do with the appointment of priests to parishes; still, it would do no harm to investigate the subject, and to gather all the information attainable. He had, therefore, no objection to adopt the suggestion of his noble Friend.
§ The EARL of SHAFTESBURY
remarked, that if the Commission to be appointed would go into the points which he had laid before the House, he should be perfectly satisfied.
§ EARL GREY
expressed his Satisfaction at hearing a declaration of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) opposite, that in supporting this inquiry, and the particular form of it proposed by the noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea), he did not mean to depart from the opinions which he had expressed upon this subject in 1845. He (Earl Grey) saw no occasion whatever for this inquiry. If, however, there was to be an inquiry, he saw little reason to prefer the one before the other. If he preferred a Commission, it was only for the reason that this mode of inquiry would be the shortest, the least exciting, and the least mischievous. He, however, fully concurred with the noble Earl opposite in considering that there was no inconsistency whatever in supporting this inquiry, and at the same time adhering to the opinions so ably expressed by the same noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) in 1845. There had been a good deal said in the course of the debate, which, he confessed, he had heard with great pain; and, he was sorry to say, that in that he was compelled to include the speech of the right rev. Prelate. But that pain was greatly neutralised by finding that the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) had given no countenance or support whatever to those views which had been pressed upon the House by the right rev. Prelate. He could not, for one, hear, without something amounting to almost repugnance, those arguments which were avowedly declared to be founded upon the presumption that those who professed the principles of Protestantism were right, and that all others were wrong. He was bound to say that he thought it was much to be lamented that such language as had been used by the right rev. Prelate towards the Roman Catholic priests, should have been introduced into the present discussion. He thought that there were many excuses to be made for the conduct of the Roman Catholic priests, for he could not help remembering that, throughout the length and breadth of the land, denunciations of their religion had been uttered in most unmeasured language. The right rev. Prelate could not entertain a stronger opinion as to the errors of the Roman Catholic Church than he (Earl Grey) did. He confessed that he could not reconcile the doctrines of that Church with the language of Holy Writ. He confessed that he also dissented from the opinions of a portion of those who professed the doctrines of the Established Church. He also dissented from the opin- 1345 ions of the Unitarians. But while he dissented from the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, could he forget that one-half of the Christian world were sincere believers in her doctrines? Could he forget that those views, which were entertained by a portion of the Protestant religion, were upheld by some of the most exemplary and excellent men in the community? Could he forget that the views of the Unitarian Church were upheld by such men as Channing, who were ornaments to the age in which they lived? What right had he, then, to proclaim that he was right, and that the others were all wrong? He could not help, then, saying that if a man was so determined to adhere to his own exclusive opinions, and to publicly maintain that he was right, and all those who differed from him were necessarily wrong, that such a person must place himself in the situation of being banished from all civil society. He, however, must again repeat, that he had heard with great satisfaction the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) state that he adhered to the opinions which he had expressed upon the subject in 1845.
§ The EARL of DERBY
, in explanation, denied that in the observations he had made, he had either said that he adhered to the opinions he had expressed on the subject in 1845, or that he had departed from them. What he had stated was, that his vote as to an inquiry by a Committee or a Commission was not at all inconsistent with the opinions he had expressed upon this subject in 1845.
The EARL of WINCHILSEA
replied. He acknowledged that his object was to obtain a repeal of the grant to Maynooth. He merely sought for an inquiry, because he thought, if it were granted, he could furnish grounds for the repeal of the grant. He had further stated, that if be could bring forward evidence to show that the grant ought to be withdrawn—that if the House refused to act upon such evidence, he would, in the face of the country, declare that they had abandoned their duty to their Sovereign and their country. If the noble Earl at the head of the Government would but assent to his nomination of two of his Commissioners, he believed in his soul that they would be performing 1346 an act which would make his Government popular throughout the kingdom, because it would then be satisfactory to the public. It was said, that the Committee for which he moved would be viewed as a mere party inquiry. Now, so far from wishing it to be a mere party inquiry, it was his intention to ask the House, as a favour, that his name should be excluded from such Committee. He wished the Committee to be composed of impartial men. He had a high opinion of the honour and impartiality of the noble Earl at the head of the Government, and if that noble Earl would say that he would appoint the Members of the Commission from himself alone, without consulting any of his Colleagues, he would consent to the Amendment, and withdraw his Motion. If, however, the noble Earl refused to accept of any of the conditions he had offered, he would divide the House upon the two propositions if he were to stand alone at the bar. The House might depend upon it the people of England were with him upon this subject, and would not be satisfied without the fullest inquiry. He would ever defend his principles. He had entered public life with true Protestant principles as his sincere faith, for he felt that the happiness of the country depended upon their support and maintenance. The very first night he had entered that House he made a profession of his principles, which he had never since departed from, although they had occasioned his separation from many of his political friends, and had rent asunder many of his political friendships. He believed that if those principles were not maintained, dreadful results would happen to our great Protestant empire, and that if they were overthrown, the whole fabric of our constitution would be torn asunder —a constitution which England had ever gloried in—which had raised us above every other nation, and had made them the chosen people of the Christian dispensation. Could anything be fairer than the inquiry which he asked? That inquiry was admitted to be necessary by noble Lords on both sides of the House. He rested his case upon the canon law of the Church of Rome—a law which was utterly subversive of those principles upon which our Sovereign reigned, and our liberties were founded. He implored of their Lordships to insist upon such an inquiry as would give general satisfaction. Desirous as he was to avoid the turmoil of public life—seldom trespassing upon their 1347 Lordships' notice, still he could not, consistently with his sense of duty, consent to the issue of a Commission, because he felt satisfied that such a mode of inquiry would never give satisfaction to the country.
§ On Question, their Lordships divided:— Content 53: Not Content 110; Majority 57.
|List of the NOT-CONTENTS.|
|His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge||Enfield|
|The Lord Chancellor||Hardinge|
|Shaftesbury||Say and Sele|
|Somers||Stanley of Alderley|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative; and said Address to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.
§ House adjourned.