HL Deb 14 May 1855 vol 138 cc464-6

, having presented petitions from Gretton and Ton-bridge, praying for the repeal of the Maynooth College (Ireland) Act, begged to ask the noble Earl the head of the late Commission of Inquiry, whether it was true that alterations had been made in the evidence, and that a copy of it had been sent to Rome, and allowed to remain there for some months.


said that, in the first place, as regarded the evidence taken before this Commission, the facts were these:—The last meeting of the Commissioners was held in January last, at which time the Commissioners met at London for the purpose of preparing their report. After they had conferred with that object, they received a protest from several of the professors of the College of Maynooth, stating that it had come to their knowledge that a copy of the evidence had been put into the hands of Dr. Cullen, and that Dr. Cullen had communicated it to Rome, having translated certain passages, for the purpose of placing it before the Irish Secretary to the Propaganda for the purpose of ascertaining how far the teaching at Maynooth was at variance with the interests of the Roman Church. That was the whole of the information he received on the subject. His answer was that it certainly had been an understanding that no evidence should be passed, before it was published, into other hands than those who were engaged in conducting the inquiry; that if any indiscretion had been committed in this respect (of which he was not aware) he regretted it; but that he had the consolation of knowing that nothing could have been communicated to Rome, which was not about to be communicated to the whole world in the course of a very short time; and that any detrimental effect which might be produced at Rome by the transmission there of partially selected portions of the evidence would be soon corrected by the publication of the entire evidence and the Report. The whole amount of evil occasioned was, that there had existed for a short period of time an opportunity of exciting a prejudice at Rome against some of the professors of Maynooth, that they were not sufficiently ultramontane in their opinions. So far regarding the evidence which had been sent to Rome. With regard to the Report of the Commission, it had never been sent to Rome, and had not been tampered with by any party whatever. It was drawn up in January last, and he could take upon himself to answer for it, that it was drawn up solely in regard to the matters in which the general public took an especial interest, and which related to the political and social character of Maynooth. It was drawn up in his own handwriting, and hardly a word of it was altered by the other members of the Commission. That Report could not, of course, affect the objection which many parties had to the maintenance of the College of Maynooth, as being the endowment of a religion which they held in abhorrence; but he hoped that on all the other points of investigation as to the actual management of the college, their Lordships and the country would rest satisfied that they now had in their hands a fair statement upon that subject, and that both evidence and Report were untouched in every way by communication with Rome. He would not enter into details which had been referred to in another place, because all the objections raised had been fully answered. With regard to territorial titles having been applied to Roman Catholic bishops, in the case of certain Roman Catholic witnesses, the refusal so to address them would not, it was considered, lead to any good results, but the Commissioners had not used those titles in their Report.

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