§ Order of the Day for resuming the Debate on the Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading read.
§ Debate resumed accordingly.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
My Lords, so many, so various, and so important are the questions connected with this measure, and so many considerations of right and statesmanship enter into it, that it is impossible for anyone to approach the subject without a feeling of very considerable anxiety. At the outset I must be permitted to express my regret that this question should have come before your Lordships this year. I am bound to express my regret both as to the period at which and the manner in which the measure has been brought before your Lordships. I do not desire to impute mo- 3 tives to anyone and I will not therefore enter into the recriminations which occupied a considerable part of last night's discussion; at the same time I do regret deeply that in a case of this nature and in a question of this vital magnitude there should be anything like an appearance of party action. I think it is unfortunate for parties generally in this country, it is unfortunate also for individuals, and, lastly, it is unfortunate for Ireland herself; because Ireland learns now, as she has learned on previous occasions, that she apparently gains more by partizanship and vehemence, than she does by fair argument and reason. With regard to the Bill which is the immediate question before us, I am not here to defend it, and I thought that the objections urged against it last night were in many respects very powerful. It is uncertain and irregular in its operation, and though I am not prepared to go as far as my noble Friend on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) and suppose it possible that by a series of continual renewals this Bill might be made to destroy the Irish Church inch by inch, yet it must be admitted on all hands that assuming, for the sake of present argument, the object of the promoters to be fair and reasonable, the Bill is not a satisfactory mode of compassing that object, and that to a certain extent it cripples for the time being the organization of the Irish Church. I conceive, however, that I am relieved from entering into a discussion of the particular clauses of this Bill by the statement which has been made on both sides of the House. It has been affirmed in the broadest language, both by my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) and by my noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal, that this Bill is not to be considered in reference to its details, its technicalities, and its clauses, but that its real object and intention are the disestablishment of the Irish Church. Now we enter on that ground more fairly than on any other into a controversy upon this subject, and it is the ground upon which I, for one, own that I should wish to discuss the question. There are a great many persons who believe that the disestablishment of the Irish Church will prove a panacea for all the evils of Ireland. I take the liberty of expressing great doubt as to that. We admit that Ireland is in an unsatisfactory condition, and I fear that the evil goes much deeper than these persons suppose. After 700 years of rule— 4 after nearly seventy years of Parliamentary Government, Ireland still remains disaffected to us, and in any great national emergency she and her resources must be deducted from the estimate of our national strength. From time to time, indeed, there have been gleams of a brighter prospect—hopes of a coming reign of contentment and order. Such was the Accession of her present Majesty, when from one part of the country to the other there was a universal outburst of loyalty. Such again was the time when O'Connell's case came before this House for trial. O'Connell's course had arrayed against him even in this House all the political passions and prejudices of the time; but this House rose superior to passions and prejudices and by its decision O'Connell became free. Men said then that it was the triumph of O'Connell; but the truth was that it was the triumph of English justice. From that moment O'Counell's cause never prospered; his influence was broken, and again the hope was entertained that Ireland might be reconciled to our rule. Such once more was the time of the Irish famine, when not so much English justice as English charity and munificence were poured forth in an unstinted stream. And now once more we hope for a satisfactory conclusion; and we are told that when the 'Irish Church is disestablished, existing evils and grievances will disappear, and Ireland will be reconciled to us. My Lords, I hope against hope; I am not so sanguine as to share this opinion, and I feel bound to say that when once the Irish Church is disposed of, your last political card of this kind will be played out, and you will stand in this controversy face to face with, if possible, still larger and graver social questions.
I listened attentively to all the different objections which were urged last night against this measure. With some I agree—with others I disagree. I heard the arguments founded upon the compact supposed to have been entered into by Parliament on this subject at different times, and upon the Articles of Union, the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, and the Church Temporalities Act; but I have learnt this truth, and many of your Lordships have learnt it too—that Parliamentary securities, Parliamentary professions, Parliamentary (so-called) compacts are of very little value indeed when once the balance of political power is reversed. I heard also the objection—and I 5 admit its full force—that when the Irish Church is disestablished great hardship will result to all those Protestants, members of the Church, who are scattered in different parts of Ireland in the thick of a Roman Catholic population, and who have settled there in the belief—almost upon the faith—of the existence of the Established Church. I think that hardship is undeniable. Again, I heard the argument, that by this measure you may—I will not say "alienate," because I hope and believe that to be impossible, but may—tend to alienate that part of the population which is so true and loyal to this country. That argument—and many other arguments of the same nature—really justify the remark of a distinguished Member of the Opposition (Sir George Grey) three or four years ago—that the disestablishment of the Irish Church was tantamount to a revolution. Lastly, I heard the argument hinted at—though not, perhaps, brought out quite so plainly as it deserved—namely, that the Ultramontane tendency, both in this country and abroad, is on the increase; that, as the most liberal-minded men must admit, this Ultramontane tendency is not friendly to civil government and constitutional liberty; and that by disestablishing the Irish Church you are, if not advancing that tendency, at all events favouring it. These were some of, if not the main objections as they struck me during the course of last night's debate. I say once more I regret that this measure should have come before your Lordships. It is not my intention to impute motives and find fault with those who have brought forward this measure. It involves grave questions of the highest constitutional import; the responsibility of bringing it forward rests with its promoters, and they and their own consciences must be the judges. But we have reached a stage in this controversy when we, and particularly any one of your Lordships who, like myself, has the misfortune to stand rather without the lines of each of the two great parties at this moment, must seriously consider our present condition. There are two points of view from which I have looked at this question. I have looked al the question itself and I have looked at the position in which it is placed. The position is doubtless in a great measure owing to noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen now in Opposition. But the position is also due in a great measure—to 6 my mind in a much greater measure—to the course which Her Majesty's Government have thought fit to adopt. My Lords, allow me to state briefly what the facts are as they present themselves to those who stand somewhat without the actual sphere of party politics at this moment. I cannot forget the promise which, on the retirement of my noble Friend not now in the House (the Earl of Derby) and the formation of the present Government, was then given by the right hon. Gentleman at its head. It was a promise to the right hon. Gentleman's own supporters of a truly Conservative policy; it was a promise to the House of Commons of a "truly Liberal policy;" and of all the questions which either a Conservative or a Liberal policy, or both combined, would comprehend, the question of the Irish Church was admitted to stand in the very van. My Lords, how was that promise redeemed? Before long my noble. Friend the Secretary for Ireland (the Earl of Mayo) redeemed that promise by a speech which in point of length and copiousness left nothing to be desired. I do not pretend to quote his words; I am simply giving now the impression which that speech left on my mind, and I believe on the mind of every impartial reader. In that speech my noble Friend, after stating what had been the past and what was the present condition of Ireland, went on to intimate, I think in the plainest language, that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to endow a Roman Catholic University—a University, I say, endowed at the public cost, but emancipated from all public control. He went on further to say that it was desirable to promote the cause of religious equality, and with that view he proposed a process of "levelling up." Now, the interpretation which was placed on those promises was certainly not such as to satisfy either party. Both were discontented. The Roman Catholics were not attracted by the programme; the Irish Protestants heard it with dismay, and I think reasonably with dismay, because, if words have any meaning, those words were in direct contradiction to almost everything which had ever I fallen from that side of the House before. But a few weeks passed and a change took place. The Roman Catholic University was abandoned; religious equality was explained by the Prime Minister himself to mean simply that religious position and status in the eye of the law which is enjoyed by every religious denomination not 7 only in Ireland but in England; and the process of "levelling up" was reduced to this, that the status, or the salary, or the position—I know not what—of the Roman Catholic clmplains of prisons and workhouses in Ireland was to be improved. My Lords, this was not all. It is not much more than two or three weeks since we read the account in the newspapers of a deputation from the North of Ireland, consisting of all that party whom, without offence, I may call—for associated with their history are many great and honourable traditions—the Orange party, who waited upon the Prime Minister. They laid down a programme with three distinct points. First of all, that no alteration should be made in the status of the Established Church in Ireland; secondly, that there should bean increase of the Regium Donum; and thirdly, that under no pretence and for uo conceivable reason should any money be allowed or any provision made from the public funds for the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. And the answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave was acknowledged by the noble Marquess who headed that deputation to be in all respects satisfactory. My Lords, the Prime Minister's answer was not confined to words—it went on to political acts; and, subsequently, we have heard with every form of reiteration, over and over again, the one and self-same cry that the Church was in danger. Now, my Lords, that is a cry which has been heard before in this country, and which may be heard again; but I take the liberty of saying that it is a cry which is warranted by nothing short of the greatest and the direst political necessity. It is a cry, moreover, which I think is only politic for those politicians to use who are satisfied that the country can trust and confide in what they say. But, my Lords, if there is one single act of Her Majesty's Government which I feel compelled to condemn more strongly than another it is the course which they have taken in binding up by every possible tie the fortunes of the English and Irish Churches. I conceive there is nothing more wanton, nothing more reckless—I go further and I say nothing i more criminal—than such a proceeding. My Lords, there is no sort of analogy between the circumstances and condition of the two Churches. They are both it is true Churches professing the same doctrine. Churches connected by Acts of Parliament, Churches under the same organizfttion and discipline; but they are wholly 8 distinct in the circumstances and the conditions under which they exist. My Lords, it is most disagreeable and painful to draw a contrast between two such Churches, but Her Majesty's Government drive me to do it. What is the position of the Church of England? Year by year she has expanded; year by year she is building more churches, opening more schools, carrying her spiritual ministrations lower and lower down among the masses of ignorance and poverty and crime in our own population, spreading far and wide her missionary work and her teaching into distant lands—in one word, reigning in the hearts and minds of the people. I do not wish to contrast with all this the position of the Irish Church; but, doing full justice to it—as I hope to do—I will say that its position is unhappily different from that which I have just described. But this at least we might have expected—that when Her Majesty's Government used this language, when they denounced disestablishment in every form as the violation of principles the most sacred and holy, at least they would have been able themselves to come into court with clean hands. Now, my Lords, the noble Earl who moved the second reading of this Bill last evening (Earl Granville) alluded to the suspension of ecclesiastical offices in Jamaica. The noble Earl was probably unaware how much stronger the case really is than he stated it. If it was simply the suspension of those ecclesiastical offices we might say there was some inconsistency; but when I tell your Lordships that at this very moment Her Majesty's Government have themselves introduced into and passed through the House of Commons a Bill which does not suspend but which absolutely disendows the Church of England of every fraction of pecuniary assistance that this country, through Parliament, has ever granted in the West Indies, my Lords, I ask you, was there ever such an instance of gross—of glaring inconsistency as that which Her Majesty's Government have thus exhibited? The cases are as parallel as they can well be. You have a Church connected with the State by the direct ties of Acts of Parliament, and receiving emoluments from the State; you have the clergy of the Church of England established in the West India Islands, and who, like the Irish clergy, are performing the parts of educated clergymen, raising, refining, and educating the lower classes among whom they live; you have, again, the hardship of the 9 members of the Church of England being scattered in the West Indies among a negro population as the members of the Church of England are scattered in Ireland amongst the Roman Catholic population.: They have gone there and settled and colonized—upon what? Upon the faith of those State endowments which have lasted very nearly half a century. And, lastly, you have a Church which, inasmuch as there are few rich or no rich, when this disendowment occurs will be in a far more helpless position than the Church would be the moment it was disestablished in Ireland. Now, I ask your Lordships, on what principle is this distinction made? Is it that there is a vital difference between the latitude of Dublin and the latitude of Jamaica; or is it merely that it is a smaller sum that we have been in the habit of granting to the Church in the West Indies—a sum, by the way, which amounts, within a few thousand pounds, to that which is paid to the Presbyterians in Ireland under the name of the Regium Donum than to the Church in Ireland? What is the principle on which Her Majesty's Government can discriminate between, the two cases? Why is it that while they; are the defenders of the faith in Ireland they disestablish the self-same Church in the West Indies? My Lords, there are several courses open to Her Majesty's Government, any one of which they might have taken, and which if pursued fairly and consistently would have commanded a certain amount, of assent. But to endeavour to combine them all—in one and the same breath to court the Roman Catholics and Orangemen, to promise religious equality, and to intimate Protestant ascendancy—is a course which has not brought, and cannot bring either credit or success with it. Again I ask in this matter whom are we to believe and to trust? In the House of Commons we have had the edifying spectacle night after night of one Minister answering another. My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, in a speech of singular intellectual frigidity, shadowed out the adoption of a policy at no distant day of disestablishment or disendowment. He intimated that no mere modifications of the existing system were likely to find favour with Parliament. Well, he was followed by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Mr. Gathorne Hardy), who affirmed that the light of the Reformation was kindled and maintained in Ireland by the Established Church, and that for his 10 part he would never suffer that Church to be touched in the smallest particle of its power and influence. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, if I remember rightly, assured the House of Commons in rather mystical language that he was going to heal the sorrows of afflicted centuries. And how was that promise redeemed? Why, by my noble Friend Lord Mayo proposing the curative process of raising the status of Roman Catholic chaplains in prisons and workhouses. There is an old Italian proverb which says, "May God keep me from those in whom I put my trust; my own right hand will keep me from those whom I distrust;" and I am bound to say with sorrow that I have come painfully but deliberately to this conclusion—that it is safer for the Irish Church, safer for her fortunes, safer for her doctrines now, while she still retains no small portion of her power, while she is unbroken by defeat, to make terms with her open opponents rather than to commit herself to the protection of her professed friends. So much as regards the position in which this question stands; now let me say two or three words as to the question itself. Some of my noble Friends cheer that statement. I hope, however, that I have been speaking to the question. Anyhow, I am prepared to fulfil my promise as plainly and briefly as I can. The question, as everyone will see, resolves itself with this Bill before us into disestablishment and disendowment; for it was truly said by more than one speaker last night that the two things were very distinct in their nature. You may have disestablishment without disendowment, you may have disendowment without disestablishment, and you may have both. First of all as to disestablishment, I believe myself that we have now come to that state of things in which, whether; we like it or not, we must accept this as a political canon,—that every institution in the country, no matter what it be, no matter how long and how traditional has been its existence, must when challenged be prepared, as lawyers say, to "show cause" why it exists. And if this was true a, year ago, it is doubly, trebly, quadruply true now, since the legislation of last year. Now, I freely admit, with regard I to the Irish Church, that she has always had what I may call a very scant measure of justice meted out to her. I think the State has placed upon her a burden which she could with difficulty bear. The task 11 assigned to her has been an almost impossible one. It might have been otherwise, indeed if her Bishops had been resident—if her clergy had been compelled to been and speak, as some of the best Bishops confessed they should, the Irish tongue—if pluralities had been discountenanced. But we treated Ireland ecclesiastically very much in the same way in which we treated her politically. There is a passage which some of your Lordships may have read in the writings of Dean Swift—himself holding a high ecclesiastical office in Ireland—a passage I think in his Letter on the Sacramental Test, in which he speaks of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland as the mere hewers of wood and drawers of water. Now, it is quite true that there have been from time to time great names in the Irish Church—such names as Bramhall, Usher, Berkeley, and Taylor—these have all illustrated and reflected honour on her; but I am bound to say, after viewing this matter very anxiously, that I cannot conscientiously come to any other conclusion than that the Irish Church has failed in the mission which was assigned her. I can conceive no other conclusion to be drawn from the facts before us. You have the admission on all sides—an admission not confined to the opposite side of the House but shared by this—that no sane man would dream, if it were a tabula rasa, of creating such an institution as the Irish Church. You have also the fact that in 1834 it was felt necessary to pass the Church Temporalities Act, cutting down with a most unsparing hand the temporalities of that Church, and that even last year Her Majesty's present Government thought it right to issue a Commission to inquire into the revenues of the Church, both parties admitting that legislative action is necessary with regard to them. My Lords, as a Missionary Church she has failed, for she has made no converts; as a garrison Church she has failed, for she has not conciliated the disaffected portion of the Irish people: I cannot, therefore, conscientiously maintain that she has fulfilled her mission. It is true, indeed, that she is not the cause of all the evil which has been so often unfairly and calumniously charged upon her; but at the same time she has not done the work which a national Church, according to my judgment, ought to do. I am not insensible to the value of the principle of a national Church, providing free religious comfort and instruction to men below, 12 touching men's hearts, standing intermediate between earth and heaven, and, if I may so say, offering up the incense of prayer and repentance for the whole people. It is a great office; but at the same time every reasonable person must admit that in the case of a national Church there must be some proportion existing—some reasonable proportion—between the population of the country and the Church which represents that population. Why, my Lords, no man in his senses would argue that it was right to invest the Scotch Episcopal Church with the attributes of a national Church. No man would say that it was right to invest the Protestants in France with any attributes of a national Church. But I will go further; I will not flinch from the full force and extremity of my own argument, because if it will not bear that the argument is rotten and worthless. I venture to say that if, in the course of time—which God forbid!—the Church of Eng. land herself were so to dwindle down in numbers as to become a mere fraction—a tenth, or a twelfth part of the whole people—I could not, though I must still love that Church, though I should believe in her truth, in her doctrines, in her spiritual ministrations, and though I should, if possible, follow her with a deeper reverence, affection, and obedience in adversity than in the day of her strength—I could not, I say, in common sense, with any conscience, maintain that she was entitled any longer to that predominancy which now of justice and right belong to her. Were I to do otherwise I should contradict as it seems to me the whole mission of the Church of England. I should contend for the accident instead of the essence; I should fight for the name instead of the thing; I should consent to place justice in one scale and the interests, or supposed interests, of the Church of England in the other. If I might venture to apply some of the noblest lines ever written to the Church of England, I would say—Yet my inconstancy is suchThat you, too, shall adore;I could not love thee, dear, so muchLoved I not justice more.My Lords, I am not insensible to the value of State aid. It was argued last night that with regard to the colonial Church State aid had been dispensed with to advantage. State aid has it is true been dispensed with in the colonies, and the Church of England has prospered there; but it has been, no doubt, in spite of diffi- 13 culties that it has prospered. I do not therefore in any degree under-rate or under-value the importance of State aid. But I do say this, that State aid is not everything, and when I hear advocates of the Irish Church say, "Take away State aid and we perish," I ask whether it is possible for the bitterest enemies of that Church to say anything more bitter than that? The right rev, Prelate who presides over the diocese of London told us last night that there would be a difficulty in providing the necessary bounty, and that they would have to look to England for help; but if the Bishops of the Irish Church know, like that light rev. Prelate, how to touch the hearts of the people, to appeal to them, and to draw forth those secret springs which I believe exist in that Church as much as in ours, no such apprehension need be entertained. I do not believe, my Lords, that under such circumstances the right rev. Prelate will have a different answer on one side of the Channel from that which he has received on the other. In the same way the right rev. Prelate urged an argument which appeared to me to be scarcely in point. He said that if the Irish Church were disestablished the power of the Roman Catholic Pontiff would be much increased in Ireland, and that by the distribution of ecclesiastical honours and titles he would place the Anglican Church at a great disadvantage. Now, my Lords, in a legal point of view those titles would have no value. In a moral point of view, any value they might have would arise from the spontaneous feeling of the people, which no Act of Parliament could bind or loose. The right rev. Prelate also referred to the Canadian Church. He said it was still connected with this country, and that therefore in a vague and undecided manner it still possessed the functions and attributes of an Established Church. As the right rev. Prelate has founded an argument on that view of the case, I will venture to explain in one or two words what I believe to be the real state of things in respect to the Canadian Church. It is perfectly true that the names of the Bishops to be consecrated are, as a matter of pure form, submitted to the Crown; but there is no mandate for the consecration of those Prelates, and no appeal lies to the Privy Council in this country except as a civil case from a Civil Court. And lastly, in the very Act in which the Canada reserves are set aside there is a plain and unequivocal statement that it is to abolish 14 all semblance of connection between Church and State. Therefore I say that as far as the Canadian Church is any warrant to us in this matter it is not as an Established Church or as exercising any of the attributes or functions of an Established Church. The right rev. Prelate, in answer to the noble Earl who moved the second reading of this Bill, said the Canadian Church had suffered little from the loss of the Canada reserves, and he maintained that the bargain itself was a very favourable one for the Canadian clergy, inasmuch as they were allowed eighteen years' purchase for those reserves. I doubted the accuracy of that view of the matter, and I have since referred to the Act. I find that only vested interests were preserved, and that they were commuted at a rate of interest which, looking back to the transaction, appears to me to have been a very low rate. Therefore I say that whatever argument is to be drawn from the Canadian Church we may safely draw in reference to the Church in Ireland.
My Lords, I will say one word on another argument which I heard made use of last night. It was said "we are, by maintaining the Irish Establishment, defending the outworks in order to save the citadel." There was once a time, and not very distant one, when I. myself might have recognized the force of that argument; but I have since learnt a very different lesson, and one which I shall not easily forget—a lesson which teaches me that when resistance is carried to the uttermost point and all concessions are refused, at last the inevitable crash comes, and everything is swept away—everything is given up, when you can no longer grace the gift by conciliation or regulate it by deliberative wisdom.
And now a few words only on the second point to which I alluded—disendowment.
I must, my Lords, observe that for my own part disendowment presents itself in two forms. There is first, secularization, by which there would be an appropriation of funds originally devoted to the service of God and His worship to some lower and more worldly purpose. I must say that whilst I disagree from some of the arguments which fell from my noble Friend the Chairman of Committees the other night, on the other hand, I shrink from appropriating property which by application is connected with the highest, best, and most religious purposes to any—I will not say lessor, because the object may be a good 15 one—but to any lower purpose. The conversion of property from religious to secular uses in this country at the time of the Reformation, and more recently in France and Italy, has been spoken of. The experience of what has been done in that way in France and Italy has not, I think, yet been so satisfactorily carried out as to warrant us in adopting it; and with regard to what was done at the time of the Reformation the case is not analogous. The case of property held by the monasteries is in many important respects dissimilar to that of property held by the Irish Church. But there may be a disendowment which would be a mere abstraction of property from the Irish Church without necessarily being a conversion of it to lower uses. This is so obvious that it must command the assent of all that hear me. My Lords, there is property held by the Irish Church which she may claim by every title at law; there is other property, where her claim is founded on every consideration of equity; and there is again other property which she may claim by every reason of policy and liberality. I believe, my Lords, that men on both sides of the House and of all shades of opinion looking at the matter dispassionately and fairly would agree with me in thinking it would be cruel, monstrous, and iniquitous to turn the Irish Church out in the cold, and rival and competing denominations which have for many years been accumulating property, and would therefore start with great advantages against the Irish Church. My Lords, let us not forget that for 300 years that Church has been trained and nourished as an exotic—fostered by the State. What more has any State ever done for a Church—where has there ever been any Church more dependent on the State? If it was wrong in the first instance to establish this Church, it was the fault of the State. If, incumbered by State legislation, it has made but few converts, it is the fault of the State. If, again, it is hated by the Roman Catholics, and has become a political offence in their views, still it is the fault of the State. And therefore while I say that on an examination of the whole case I am ready, though unwillingly, to accept disestablishment, and while I am prepared to accept disendowment partially, I think we have a right to say and to earnestly contend that on every principle of reason, logic, justice and policy, there ought to be 16 most ample and generous consideration shown in dealing with the Irish Church. To do anything else than give it that consideration would be a most grievous wrong. To do anything else would be a piece of iniquity on the part of the State; and allow me to say also that it would be a piece of great impolicy on the part of the Roman Catholic Church.
My Lords, on a great question of this kind there ought to be an absence of personal feeling; but I must confess that it is not without considerable pain I find myself in this position. It is painful to me to find myself alone; I know that I can be supported by scarcely one of my political Friends: and it is more painful to me still to find myself acting on such a question in opposition to the most rev. Primate the Head of the Church. Occupying, indeed, this position, I speak more for the purpose of discharging my own conscience than in the hope of influencing anyone else, though well satisfied that before long events will justify me; but I do so in in the interest of the Church of Ireland, united up to this by stntutable connection, but inevitably, as I believe, to be disunited before long, though still to be bound, as I trust, in a spiritual union not less closely than before—I say that in the interest of these two Churches though I would not have brought forward this measure, yet, having it before me, I cannot take the responsibility of rejecting it.
§ LORD REDESDALE
My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships long; but the noble Earl who moved the second reading of this Bill having alluded in somewhat pointed terms to a pamphlet which I have published, and to a speech delivered by me the other night, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to say a few words. I have no complaint to make of the noble Earl for stating what he did in regard of the argument in my pamphlet, except that he did not state the whole of that argument. Perhaps he stated as much of it as he thought would serve his own purposes; for the noble Earl said I held that a dealing with corporate property would shake the security on which private property is based. What I stated in my pamphlet was that although corporate property stood to a certain extent in a different position as regards Parliamentary interference from private property, that the reasons given for dealing with the property of the Church in the manner proposed would endanger the security of private property. I showed that 17 Parliament, in dealing with corporate property, hitherto had invariably dealt with it so as to make it more productive for the purposes to which it was to be applied, and so as to make it more effectively promote those purposes. I also stated that when, from the great improvement in corporate property, the income raised was far too large for the purposes for which it was originally granted, arrangements had been made by which, after providing in the fullest degree, and even going somewhat beyond what was necessary for the objects to which the property was originally devoted, the surplus had been applied to some cognate purpose; but that corporate property had never been applied in any other manner, except in cases where the purposes to which it was originally devoted had become either obsolete or mischievous. This was stated in connection with the argument as to the two grounds upon which the Church is attacked—that it is the Church of the minority and that it is a badge of conquest. As regards the purposes for which that Church was created and for which the property is held, nobody can allege that they are obsolete or mischievous. Those purposes were the providing means of worship for members of the Established Church in that country, and no person who holds that the Established Church is the true Church, and that persons in this country are entitled to receive its ministrations, can deny that people in Ireland are also entitled to receive them. Rut the Established Church is attacked because it belongs to a minority. Why, all property belongs to a minority. If you attack the Church upon that ground, you at once assail the principles upon which property is founded. I also said in the pamphlet to which the noble Earl referred, that if you attacked the Church on the ground that it was a badge of conquest, you at the same time attacked certainly two-thirds of the property of Ireland. For the lands now in the hands of Protestant proprietors were for the most part lands received by them as lauds confiscated from the original owners, whose descendants to this day consider that they have a right to claim them, and some of whom, now in America, have sold those lights to others. I say that when you take all these matters into consideration you furnish an argument in favour of attacking property—other than corporate property in Ireland—of a most dangerous character. You cannot read the accounts of what occurs at meetings of 18 the priests and others in Ireland, and the arguments addressed to the people of that country upon the land question as it is called, without seeing this—that the only way, in their opinion, by which the country is to be pacified is by obtaining possession of the land from those who now hold it, and by getting rid of a large portion of the Protestant proprietors of the country. That was what I stated in the portion of the pamphlet which has not been noticed by the noble Lord. I have not heard any answer to those arguments in the course of this debate, nor do I believe it would be easy to furnish them. You can ignore them certainly, but in point of argument I believe them to be unanswerable. Another ground taken in the pamphlet, upon which the noble Earl based a portion of his remarks, was that I did not think the Church in Ireland was objected to by the population of Ireland. Now, that I believe to be distinctly the fact. I believe that the whole of this agitation against the Irish Church is of recent origin. We know most distinctly that it was never put forth as a grievance at the time of the Roman Catholic Emancipation, or for a considerable time afterwards. We know latterly that a movement has been got up among the ecclesiastics, but there has been no movement whatever among the common people of the country. Then as to its being a badge of conquest and therefore objectionable, I take the argument further, and say that if everything which is a badge of conquest is to be got rid of, you must get rid of the Protestant succession, which, at least, is as much a badge of conquest as the Church Establishment in Ireland. But we all know the manner in which His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was received when he went to Ireland. His Royal Highness there represented the conquest of Ireland; but certainly there was no feeling of that kind in the minds of the people of Ireland who received him so cordially. I do not believe that the Irish Church is objected to by the people of Ireland in the manner which it is convenient to allege for the purposes of political agitation and of this debate. The noble Earl referred to another point, which he said was not contained in my pamphlet, hut was noticed by me in a speech a few nights ago on the occasion of the presentation of a petition from certain clergymen, when I made some remarks about the Coronation Oath. Now, my Lords, I said I certainly did entertain the opinion, par- 19 tially shared by my noble Friend who has just spoken (the Earl of Carnarvon), that to deal with property which has been devoted for hundreds of years to the service of God, which is still required for the purpose to which it was so devoted, and to take it away and apply it to any other and lower purpose, is sacrilege. I do not know what else is sacrilege if that is not. I also declared that I considered sacrilege sinful. Depend upon it it is very necessary in all these matters to use plain words. We have got too much into the habit of covering over things with mild terms, so that we really do not see the whole bearing of the case. I have said before, and I repeat, that I neither know, nor pretend to know, nor can I know, what may be the opinions of Her Majesty upon this subject. But I said, and I do say, that I think it the duty of all those who may be in the position of advising Her Majesty, to be prepared to give an answer to her, supposing that when they proposed some such measure for Her Majesty's acceptance she were to entertain the same opinion that I do, that the matter was sacrilege and sin. Now, there is nothing unconstitutional in supposing that a man, if he means to be a Servant of the Crown, ought to prepare himself to answer such a question if it were put to him by his Sovereign, and that he ought to be prepared to give an opinion upon such an important matter with a full sense of the responsibility resting upon him. The noble Earl alluded to the fact that the opinion entertained by George III. with regard to the Coronation Oath had impeded for a long time the passing of Roman Catholic Emancipation. The case with regard to the Oath on that point and the present is very different. The question at that time was, whether the admission of Roman Catholics would be injurious to the Protestant religion and the Protestant institutions of this kingdom.
§ LORD REDESDALE
Yes, the admission of Protestant Dissenters came first, followed by that of the Roman Catholics. A great many persons entertained a decided opinion that instead of being disadvantageous such a change would be decidedly advantageous in those respects; that it would remove a great deal of animosity and bitterness; and that it was, on that account, most desirable that Roman Catholics and Dissenters should be admitted to Parliament. The argument was 20 one which a Minister might fairly urge upon a Sovereign, even though the Sovereign held a strong opinion to the contrary, and some circumstances, it may be observed in passing which have since occurred and are now occurring, may fairly raise a doubt whether George III., in spite of all that has been said and written, did not take a sounder and clearer view of the consequences which would attend the change than those who urged him strongly to abandon the opinion which he had formed. Upon the present occasion I do not think there is any Member of your Lordships' House who will assert that the terms of the engagement entered into by the Crown and embodied in the Coronation Oath would not be seriously affected by the disestablishment of the Irish Church. Now, Mr. Pitt and other Ministers of the Crown in that day supposed that the Sovereign had a conscience, and they respected it. It seems to be the opinion in the present day that the Sovereign has no right to have a conscience. It is said that the King can do no wrong, that his Ministers advise him, and that he acts upon their responsibility, and not upon his own. Again, we must use plain words in speaking of these things. Does anybody hold that in the Day of Judgment Ministers can Stand between God and the Sovereign and say that the act was theirs, that the Sovereign is not responsible, and that he did right in acting on their advice in opposition to the dictates of his own conscience? I say that to use language of this kind—to say that "the King can do no wrong," and to apply that phrase in such a way as to mean that the King ought not to observe an Oath which he has taken if his Ministers advise him otherwise—is tantamount to saying that God docs not reign over him. Remember the words of Scripture, "God is not mocked" I distinctly say that such is my opinion, find I believe that no one can speak plainly or think plainly upon the subject without coming to the same conclusion. You may wrap up all these matters in a very delicate covering; but when you draw aside the veil which political expediency has placed over them, you will find that there lies the truth, and that you cannot say that the Sovereign is not to be allowed to have a conscientious opinion upon such matters, and that he ought not to refuse his assent to propositions put before him, if he honestly believes that he is bound by that Oath to do so. These are the words which I have wished to address 21 to your Lordships, because I do not like anything that I may say or any opinions that I. may hold at any time to be misunderstood. I am very plain and open in all that I say. I entertain the opinions that I hold honestly, and I never shrink from declaring them. I have given utterance to these views, because I thought the noble Earl (Earl Granville)—not intentionally of course, but still to a considerable extent—had misinterpreted the opinions which I avowed, and not fairly represented the arguments which I advanced.
THE DUKE OF MARYBOROUGH
Your Lordships have listened to many speeches of great power, lucidity, and eloquence during the course of this debate, which engages your Lordships' attention for the second night. For my own part I must say that from any of the speeches delivered last evening I had no difficulty in ascertaining what were the views of the noble Lords who spoke, or in ascertaining in what sense they intended to give their votes. But my noble Friend who opened the debate this evening (the Earl of Carnarvon) was an exception, for he did so in ft speech of remarkable ingenuity, so that until he arrived at the latter portion of his remarks it was impossible to tell in what way he intended to give his vote. The noble Earl began by stating very cogent reasons why the Irish branch of the Established Church should not be disestablished; he stated that it could not be denied the Liberal party had played its last political card in proposing this measure, and that behind this question there remained others which would yet arise of a far more momentous character; he stated also that he fully concurred in many of the opinions which had been delivered in the debate of last night relating to the character and position which the Ultramontane clergy of Ireland were assuming; and he added that we have at present in Ireland a scattered population enjoying material benefits from the faithful discharge of their duties by the clergy of the Establishment, and that this population would inevitably be deprived of those benefits to a great extent by disestablishment, and, in all probability, would be merged in the Roman Catholic community. My Lords, I cannot conceive of three arguments of a stronger character than those against the measure before us; and yet, as I understood my noble Friend, he said at the close of his speech that these being the objections be conscientiously entertained against the mea- 22 sure, he nevertheless felt it his duty to give it his support. But the greater part of my noble Friend's speech consisted first in observations on the position of the Church in the colonies, and, secondly, in an attack upon Her Majesty's Government. My I Lords, I can well understand the cause of his assuming both these positions. My noble Friend cannot forget that he once I belonged to the Government of Lord Derby, and I shall be within your Lordships' recollection when I say my noble Friend has not lost a single opportunity since his separation from that Government to bring as much odium on it as he can, and to cast political dirt upon those who were once his Colleagues. But I think my noble Friend should confine himself to facts when he brings charges against the Government; I at all events if he finds his memory not sufficiently retentive to enable him accurately to detail what has occurred in the House of Commons he should follow the I commendable example of the Speaker when he has to read the Queen's Speech, and provide himself with a copy. My noble Friend stated as his first charge against the Government that Her Majesty's Ministers proposed to endow a Roman Catholic University. This is not the first time that charge has been brought against us; and as the correspondence on the subject has been laid before Parliament it is hardly necessary for me to detain your Lordships by a statement of the facts and a defence of the policy. But I wish distinctly to state that no proposal has ever been made on the part of the Government to endow a Roman Catholic University. My Lords, profiting by the errors of my noble Friend, I have provided myself with; a copy of Hansard, and I will read you the words of the Chief Secretary with regard to the endowment of the proposed University, which would be essential if Parliament agreed in the first instance to the principle of providing for the necessary expenses of the University. I refer to the expenses of providing Professors, and also of making some provision for the buildings if Parliament approved. The Earl of Mayo said—With regard to endowment it will be essential, of course, if Parliament agrees to the proposal, in the first instance to provide for the necessary expenses of the University—that is to say, the expenses of officers of the University, of the University Professors, and also to make some provision for a building. It is possible that if Parliament approves the scheme, it may not be indisposed to endow certain University scholarships.23 ["Hear!"] Well, my noble Friend the Chief Secretary said that it was possible Parliament might hereafter do it; but the Government did not propose it. ["Hear!"] The intentions of the Government I submit are only to be drawn from their own I declarations. ["Oh, oh!"] The Chief Secretary said further—But with regard to the endowment of Colleges, it is impossible we could make any proposal of that nature at present; and to that extent the question will be left open to future consideration. It is not therefore contemplated to submit any scheme for the endowment of the Colleges in connection with the University."—[3 Hansard, cxc. 1386, 1387.]Thus we see the proposal was not to endow a University; it was simply to provide a small limited sum for the professorial and tutorial expenses of the University; and if that would constitute an endowment of the University I do not know what an; endowment is. The second charge of my noble Friend is that we brought in a measure for the abolition of the ecclesiastical endowments of the West India Colonies. I will shortly explain the state of the case—and I think that my noble Friend before he left the Colonial Office must have become cognizant of the circumstance.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
I beg your pardon; as far as I remember I saw; the Bill on the subject for the first time on the table of the House.
§ THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
Well, the facts of the case are these—At the time of the abolition of slavery an annual grant of £20,000 was ordered to be set apart by the 6 &c 7 Geo. IV. for the support of the Archbishops, Bishops, and Ministers of the Established Church in the West India Islands. In the year 1842 Sir Robert Peel made a new arrangement; and recently a Bill has been introduced annually in the House of Commons to take the charge from off the Consolidated Fund. The measure has been carried by the Opposition, and the House having approved it in so unmistakeable a manner in two successive years the Government has adopted the principle, and now sanctions the proposal to remove the £20,000 from the Consolidated Fund, and has brought in a Bill with that object. I am informed that this was known in the Colonial Office when my noble Friend presided there; but of course if he states he was not aware of the fact I must accept his denial.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
I should be glad if the noble Duke would per- 24 mit me to explain, and so prevent any misapprehension on the subject. I stated that I was perfectly well aware that it would be necessary to take into consideration the whole question of the West Indian Church, and I was fully prepared myself to undertake the task, though not in the fashion now proposed by the Government. I do not find fault with the measure; I find fault with the Government, because, while it deprecates disestablishment in Ireland, it is promoting disestablishment in the West Indies.
§ THE DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH
My noble Friend is not quite accurate. The West Indian proposal does not amount to disestablishment. Ample funds are provided in the colonies themselves for the Church, and this removal of the £20,000 from the Consolidated Fund simply cori responds with a Resolution to take away the Regium Donum from the Dissenters. I will, however proceed to the main queslion of the evening. The noble Earl next proceeded to attack the Government, in which he has been assisted by the noble Lords opposite. The old proverb tells us we should never; look a gift horse in the mouth, and, my Lords, it is not perhaps at all astonishing that noble Lords opposite do not like to have their motives for promoting this measure too narrowly canvassed, considering how closely it is connected with the political exigencies of their situation. That situation has some very remarkable features; and I would recall your Lordships' attention to what occurred in 1866. The Session of that year opened with a Liberal Government in Office, supported by a united Liberal party, strong under the Leadership of one who had successfully led that party for many years; strong in the House of Commons, and powerful in the nation. But what was the result? In that year we saw the Liberal majority dissipated, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of that day surrendered the conduct of the affairs of the country into the hands of us his opponents almost on a casual plea. My Lords, what was the state of the Liberal party after that event? I need not detail its lamentable condition to your Lordships; suffice it to say it was split up into fragments, and that it was well described by a right hon. Gentleman of the party (Mr. Bouverie) as an undisciplined rabble. That being the state of the case it became positively necessary that a cry should be found to unite the scattered fragments of the party and enable it to act. And what 25 was the method of proceeding that was adopted? Putting these matters aside for the time, I wish to call attention to some striking features attending the movement. My Lords, early in this Session the noble Earl opposite (Earl Russell) brought forward, without much notice and without having referred to the subject in his re-marks on the Queen's Speech, certain charges against the Prime Minister. Those charges were to the effect that he had stated one thing at a particular time whereas he believed another—that he had boasted he had been "educating his party"—in short, that while professing one set of opinions he had been holding a different set. Now this charge of political dishonesty was followed up afterwards by the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), who sits next to the noble Earl, in one of those oratorical displays to which your Lordships always listen with pleasure and gratification. At the same time I must say that some of the statements that fell from the noble Duke on that occasion were of rather a remarkable character. The noble Duke had been at the pains during his leisure hours of reading up the speeches which have been delivered from time to time by the right hon. Gentleman, and, comparing them one with another, he exposed, with all the powers of eloquence and force of imagery, their various faults and inconsistencies. The noble Duke might, I think, have remembered the old proverb, "that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." The noble Duke might I think have remembered too that if you were to institute a similar scrutiny into the careers of any of our leading public men, you would find that they have its the course of their lives frequently been compelled, by the exigency of political situations, to alter or at all events to modify the views which they had formerly expressed. But, my Lords, I think that if any malicious spirit had brooded over the right hon. Gentleman who is the author of the measure now before your Lordships' House, and if that spirit had endeavoured with the utmost acumen of his malevolence to prompt the right hon. Gentleman to do something which should give the he to the whole of his past life, and should serve as a denial of all those principles which he had held most sacred, and for which he has contended with the greatest fervour and conviction, that malevolent spirit could not have selected a more fitting opportunity than the present, or have suggested a 26 plan more certain to have that effect than that of prompting the right hon. Gentleman to become the author of the Bill now before your Lordships' House. Now, my Lords, Mr. Gladstone has made use of some remarkable expressions with regard to the subject of the Irish Church. I have already stated that many statesmen in the exigencies of political situations may be compelled to alter their opinions and to adopt different views as to expediency and the possibility of carrying on a Government on certain principles; but I have scarcely ever seen an instance in which opinions hitherto firmly adhered to on the score of absolute truth have been so ruthlessly cast to the winds—an instance where all that has been hitherto held sacred has been so unhesitatingly devoted to destruction. Let me read a very short statement from his Work upon Church and State, made by the right hon. Gentleman so far back I believe as 1840 or 1841—Upon us of this day has fallen (and we shrink not from it, but welcome it is a high and glorious, though an arduous duty) the defence of the Reformed Catholic Church in Ireland, as the religious Establishment of the country‥‥Howerer formidable at first sight these admissions, which I have no desire to narrow or qualify, may appear, they in no way shake the foregoing arguments. They do not change the nature of truth, and her capability and destiny to benefit mankind. They do not relieve Government of its responsibility if they show that that responsibility was once unfelt and unsatisfied. They place the Legislature of this country in the condition of one called to do penance for past offences; but duty remains unaltered and imperative, and abates nothing of her demands on our services.These, my Lords, are the words of the right hon. Gentleman who is the author of this Bill—a Bill which is acknowledged by noble Lords opposite to aim at nothing short of the complete disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. I cannot help thinking that in the progress of this measure we have strongly brought into light the political dishonesty of the process which has been resorted to. Now, my Lords, a very good test as to whether a measure is well devised and well conceived, whether it is such a measure as ought to be promoted for the public benefit, is that great men and leading statesmen hare had their minds long made up on the subject, and, without any vacillation of purpose, have persistently and consistently endeavoured to attain the result for which they are striving. But has this been the case in relation to the measure of which the noble Lords opposite are 27 now so greatly enamoured? But, my Lords, as the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) stated in the brilliant address which he delivered lost evening, Sir George Grey, in 1865, on the part of the Whig Government of the day, expressly declared, with a full knowledge of all the facts before him, and with a full knowledge of the grievances of which the Irish people complained, that it was not the intention of the Government to deal with the Established Church in Ireland, and that the attempt to do so would be little short of a revolution. What was the reply which the noble Earl opposite (Earl Russell) made to the noble Earl who sits on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) two years ago? And, in passing, I may remark that if there is any noble Earl whose opinions are entitled to command the respect of us all, as they certainly do mine, it is the noble Earl who sits on the cross-Benches. I certainly do not agree with the plan which he proposed, because I do not think that it would; meet the requirements of the hour, or conduce to the prosperity of the people of Ireland; but the noble Earl has been the consistent advocate of his particular views; and has enforced them from time to time with a consistency and pertinacity that certainly entitle him to our respect. When the noble Earl brought forward his proposal as lately as two years ago, what was the reply he received from the noble Earl opposite? As I have already stated, a great change has since come over the spirit of the noble Earl's dreams; and, finding himself no longer in power, his party scattered, I and its members disunited, this plan has been devised with a view to once more bringing his party into harmony and cooperation. We find that the noble Earl; addressed a letter to Mr. Chichester Fortescue. Having, in reply to the noble. Earl on the cross-Benches, stated that; in his belief the proposal which the noble Earl advocated would be fraught with ruin and danger to Ireland, in that letter to Mr. Fortescue he adopts the proposal made by the noble Earl on the cross-Benches, and puts it forward as his own. And was this the only change in the opinion of the noble Earl? No; soon afterwards the noble Earl finds himself in another political exigency, and, after the statement of Lord Mayo in the other House of Parliament, and the exposition of the remedial meaures which the Government proposed for the benefit of Ireland, the noble Earl, with all the impetuosity for which he is so 28 remarkable, rushes headlong into the fray and declares that the time is past for all such half measures and puny proposals. He discards the plan of the noble Earl on the cross-Benches with as much facility as he adopted it, and not only gives his adherence to the plan suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the author of this measure, but advocates its adoption in public. But, my Lords, I would ask whether this is the way in which great questions are to be dealt with? Has not this measure been introduced because the management of the Reform question—which the noble Earl opposite might to a certain extent have regarded as his property—was taken out of the hands of the party opposite, and because it was therefore necessary to find a new cry? But is this the way in which a great question like this is to be treated?—thnt a plan rejected one day should be adopted the next, only in turn to give way to another of a still more dangerous and extravagant character.
My Lords, we have certainly heard a somewhat novel argument in the course of this debate. A noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Clarendon) last night laid considerable stress on the opinion that foreign countries entertain respecting the Irish Church. Now, I do not think that it is desirable that your Lordships' legislation should be in accordance with the opinions of foreign nations. It has hitherto been our custom to be guided by what we deemed to be right, by what we conceived to be just and politic, undeterred by fears or taunts, and uninfluenced by our neighbours. But I must say that, whatever the opinions abroad may be, and whether they be favourable or adverse to the existence of the Irish Church, the noble Earl opposite is to a considerable extent responsible for them. I find that the noble Earl, in a work be published in 1823—his Essays on the British Constitution—gave an account of the revenues of the Irish Church. In 1865 the noble Earl re-published that look, and in the preface he stated that he found things had so much changed he should be obliged either to rewrite his work or append such copious notes as would interfere very much with the convenience of his readers. He preferred to write a preface, and as a specimen of political honesty how did the noble Earl deal with the Irish Church? He gave in the edition of 1865 a statement of the Bishops and Archbishops forming the Establishment of the Irish Church as it 29 existed previous to the Irish Temporalities Act; indeed, he rather exaggerated the income as it existed at that day, and instead of appending a note, as he might easily have done in five lines, at the bottom of the page, that the whole had been altered by tbo Irish Church Temporalities Act, we are obliged to go back to the Introduction, which extends to 108 pages, where we find this notice relating to the Irish Church—At the same time the Irish Church was reformed, the number of Bishops reduced, and the Establishment rendered more efficient.That work, no doubt, had a large circulation; but unless the reader was very careful in looking back to the Introduction he would have gone away from the perusal of the re-publication of 1865 with the idea that the Irish Church remained in the same state in which it existed previously to the Church Temporalities Act. My Lords, I believe the noble Earl was so conscious of the great unfairness of this representation that in the following year he published a new edition, from which all mention of the Irish Church was excluded; but no sort of explanation was given of the extraordinary mistake in the edition of 1865. Therefore, my Lords, I say that if foreign countries do look upon the Irish Church as an overgrown Establishment—a great anomaly, justifying reprobation and indignation—the noble Earl is very justly chargeable with responsibility on that account by reason of his very unfair representations of the condition of that Church. But, my Lords, I have another answer to any opinions of foreign countries with regard to the Irish Church, and the words I would quote to your Lordships for that purpose are these—When foreigners express their astonishment at finding that we support in Ireland the Church of a small minority, we may tell them that we support it on the ground of a high conscientious necessity for its truth.These, my Lords, are the words of Mr. Gladstone in his book on Church and State.
My Lords, I will now make a few remarks on the action of the Bill itself. I can conceive nothing more unnecessary, even supposing this to be a question fit for your Lordships' consideration; but I hope your Lordships will agree with me that it should be referred to the general opinion of the country. Nothing could be more objectionable than the mode in which the measure proposes to deal with the question should it be adopted. The Bill simply 30 proceeds on the feeling which seems to have been engendered in the mind of its author, that it was necessary to take some action on the Resolutions that had been passed. It is said that the Bill will not interfere with vested rights; but, to a great extent, it will interfere with vested rights. The patronage of a Bishop is considered as much a vested right as the house in which he lives. The Bill, suspending nil ecclesiastical patronage, will deprive the Bishops of a portion of their vested rights. And how will it affect the case of deserving curates? There are many such who have laboriously earned preferment, and are only waiting for some contingency to receive their reward; but who will be visited with injustice and injury should this Bill receive your Lordships' sanction. As regards parochial interests also, it may be very well to introduce the provisions of the Church Temporalities Act where a vacancy occurs, the neighbouring clergyman being appointed for the interval and being remunerated accordingly; but unless some additional strength be given such a provision will be quite inadequate in many populous parishes. Are we, then, for the sake of this Bill, to throw the whole course of parochial work into confusion?
It seems to me that a very great diversity of opinion is entertained with regard to this Bill. The noble Lord who moved the second reading (Earl Granville) said the Government might and ought to accept it as part of the plan it would be necessary for them ultimately to pursue. But the noble Earl who addressed your Lordships at a later period of the evening on the same side (the Earl of Kimbeiley) declared that it was a Bill which had for its object disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. My Lords, I need not detain you any further with reference to the objections to this Bill, and which I trust will induce your Lordships to reject it on the second reading. Neither will I detain your Lordships by following my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby), who spoke last night, into the ancient history of the Irish Church. But it cannot be denied that the Church of Ireland and the Church of England have from the most ancient times always been considered one Church. I will give a single instance by reference to the Council of Constance in 1414—It is a fact well worthy of note that at the Council of Constance the Ambassadors of the French King, having objected that the English 31 Church was not entitled to vote as a separate national Church on account of the fewness of its Bishops, the English Ambassadors replied, 'That the Church in England and Ireland was one national Church, and that the number of their Bishops together exceeded the number of the; French Church.'The case was minutely inquired into and decided by the Council in favour of England. So far back, then, as the Council of Constance the English and Irish Church were looked upon as one national Church. Neither will I detain your Lordships by narrating the various submissions which have been made by the Irish Church to the Royal supremacy further than to mention that the Royal supremacy was acknowledged by the Irish Church in the reign of Henry VIII., again in the reign of Edward VI., and again in the reign of Elizabeth. The identity of the Churches is patent and irrefragable. It is not a question of three centuries, but of many centuries. It ante-dates the existence of Parliaments themselves. True, the Reformation did not spread in Ireland as in England, and there was a large body of Dissenters from the Irish Church; but though those preponderate in numbers, there are other and higher considerations on which we may rest the support of the Irish Establishment.
My Lords, the noble Earl who moved the second reading put the issue of the question upon two very distinct grounds, and to those grounds I will now briefly advert. He said that he rested his first objection to the Established Church in Ireland on the groun that it had not fulfilled the objects for which it had been established. His second objection was, that it was an injustice and offence to the Irish people. With regard to the first point, I would ask the noble Earl, What are the objects which it has not fulfilled; Does the noble Earl, whose opinions on most subjects I greatly respect, contend that the Church ought to have been a proselytizing institution? My Lords, there is no one who has done more to defend the religious convictions of the Queen's subjects than the noble Earl; I believe there is no greater friend of civil and religious liberty, and the noble Earl has signalized his sentiments on this subject by being a strenuous advocate for the introduction of the Conscience Clause into the schools of this country almost at the risk of a breach with the Established Church. So much has the noble Earl insisted upon the rights of conscience, that he is himself 32 the originator of the Conscience Clause. Is it, then, from the noble Earl that we hear the complaint that the Church has failed in its objects? Does the noble Earl mean that the Church should have been a Missionary Church—that it should have done violence to the religious feelings and prejudices of the Irish people and lighted up the flame of religious discord in every parish throughout the land? If that had been the case we should have had Ministers arguing in an exciting way in order to gain over the Catholic population, and should have had discord and enmity in every parish in Ireland. I ask, again, has not the Church fulfilled its objects? It ministers to its own Protestant congregations, which are very considerable in number, and also to many of the Protestant Dissenters; and, if so, I am at a loss to know why it has not fulfilled its duties. And here another question also arises—Is the Church at all on the increase in Ireland? I say it is. If we look to the population Returns, and compare the proportions of Protestants and Roman Catholics, we find that the Protestant population has decreased considerably less than the Roman Catholic. But then there is another very adequate test—namely, the test of subscriptions. According to a Return which has been presented to the House of Commons, it appears that in 1834 there were 35 churches originally contracted for by parishioners towards which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Ireland made grants. The total approximate value of these 35 churches was £50,890. Deducting £11,233, the amount granted by the Commissioners, it appears that on an average £1,133 was contributed in each of these 35 instances by voluntary subscriptions. There were besides 187 churches re-built by the Commissioners between 1834 and 1865, at a total cost of £271,916 4s. 9d., or at an average amount per church of £1,454 1s. 11½ d.; but these sums include voluntary subscriptions. Therefore there is no reason to suppose that voluntary subscriptions are not given to the same extent as before.
But, my Lords, I now come—and I shall not trespass on your Lordships' patience much longer—to what appears to me to be really the most important consideration that I shall have to lay before you. The second objection that my noble Friend has to the Established Church of Ireland is that it is an offence to the Irish people. Now, if it be an offence to the Irish people, 33 and this be the one thing to remove offence from the Irish bosom—if this be the one thing needed to produce those balcyon days of peace and good-will in Ireland, when every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree—if we are to have those blessed days of loyalty, happiness, truth, virtue, and religion which are required to make the world happy, I say, let us make the sacrifice. But, my Lords, because I do not believe anything of the kind—because I am sure there are other greater difficulties which the noble Earl below the Gangway has admitted to exist, and of the existence of which we have the best proofs—I conjure your Lordships to throw out this Bill, and to relegate this great question to the country with the recorded opinion of your Lordships as to its magnitude and importance. And here I will confess that, although great fears have been expressed as to the effect of this measure upon the Established Church of this country, I myself do not very much share those; fears. My Lords, I say that the Established Church in this country is rooted and founded in the affections of the people, and that it is an institution which I trust and believe will last for many generations. My Lords, so much is it in accordance with the feelings and general consent of all parties, so deeply is it felt to be the bulwark of the public liberties, that I have no fears whatever for it. Therefore, I dismiss that; consideration altogether. But what I do fear is this—not the effect of this measure upon England, but upon Ireland. It is that which is to be deprecated. My Lords, there are great questions upon which the Liberal party have been long united, and on which Her Majesty's Government are agreed with them—I allude, in the first place, to the question of National Education, which was placed upon an enduring basis by my noble Friend the late Prime Minister. That measure, introduced by my noble Friend, has been of the greatest benefit to Ireland, and it has received the support and defence of the party whom the noble Earl opposite represents. My Lords, does that measure give satisfaction generally to the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland? I will take the; words of Dr. Manning as evidence of what may be supposed to be the views of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the subject of National Education. Dr. Manning says—The other measure of pressing importance to Ireland, which may be passed at once if any Government have the will to do so, is such a 34 modification of the National Education Board as shall make the existing schools bonâ fide denominational schools of the Catholic and of the Protestant populations respectively. It is a keen irony to call a system of education national where the religion of the nation may neither be taught nor exhibited in its schools. If the people of Ireland had been consulted at its foundation, it would never have come into existence.The very argument which my noble Friend below the Gangway urged, and which has been frequently urged, with respect to the Irish Church.If they were polled now, it would not survive a day. It is not a national but a Government education, distasteful to almost the whole population of Ireland, to Catholics and to Protestants alike. Both would be glad to see it resolved into denominational education. It would promote peace, contentment, and good-will, to give over the schools in each place to the majority, be it Catholic or Protestant. The Catholic minority would gladly provide its own Catholic school. The Protestant minority would be easily provided for out of the wealth of the Protestant clergy and landlords.That, my Lords, is the opinion of Dr. Manning, and that represents the views of the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. Now, I will ask the noble Lords opposite whether, having given up the Church which has produced peace, contentment, and goodwill in Ireland, they are prepared to give up the national system of education also, which they have so long, ably, and stoutly defended? The next question which appears looming in the distance, or rather I will say showing itself in very distinct outlines, is the subject of University Education. The Queen's Colleges in Ireland are undenominational, and I believe the Liberal party, as well as the party which supports Her Majesty's Government, have sustained the principle on which these Colleges exist, and consider that, on the whole, they have been beneficial and conducive to the advantage of the country. What is the opinion of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with respect to these Colleges? My Lords, I will state it in Dr. Manning's own words—When the Irish ask for a Parliament in Dublin they are reminded that it would reduce them from the dignity of an integral part of the mother country to the level of a colony. But England treats its colonies, in education as well as in religious equality, better than it treats Ireland. If the dignity of belonging to the mother country is to be purchased by the grievance of religious inequality, and of education stripped of the national religion, Ireland may be forgiven for asking for the portion of a daughter and to be treated as a colony. The British Government has chartered and endowed Colleges at Sydney and Melbourne, in Australia, and a Catholic University in Canada. 35 But in Ireland the Catholic University has neither charter nor endowment.The mixed Colleges in Ireland have been named the "godless" Colleges; and you may depend upon it that that opinion, formed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, has not been taken up in a hurry, nor will it be abandoned in a hurry. It has: been taken up after grave consideration, and they will continue to make these demands. Are noble Lords prepared to concede to them? Then, a very serious question—the land question—has been touched on. When we have given up our system of National education and the undenominational Colleges, we shall be called upon to review this question. I do not say we shall ever come to that which will be tantamount to a revolution—the confiscation of the land and a change of proprietorship; but looking at the aspect which this question is assuming, and at the demands which this measure is likely to increase and encourage, I think that a proposal is likely to be made which, if entertained, will so far change the proprietorship of the land as to give the tenant an indefeasible right to it, subject to certain rent charges payable to the present proprietors., Let me quote another extract from the same eloquent writer with reference to the land. Dr. Manning says—The 'Land Question,' as we call it, by a somewhat heartless euphemism, means hunger, thirst, nakedness, notice to quit, labour spent in vain, the toil of years seized upon, the breaking up of homes, the miseries, sicknesses, deaths, of parents, children, wives; the despair and wildness which spring up in the hearts of the poor when legal force, like a sharp arrow, goes over the most sensitive and vital rights of mankind. All this is contained in the land question. It is this which spreads through the people in three-fourths of Ireland with an all-pervading and thrilling intensity. It is this intolerable grief which has driven hundreds of thousands to America, thereto bide the time of return. No greater self-deception could we practise on ourselves than to imagine that Fenianism is the folly of a few apprentices and shopboys. Fenianism could not have survived for a year if it were not sustained by the traditional and just discontent of almost a whole people.These are the words of incitement—of almost revolutionary incitement—addressed by this writer to an excitable people. Behind all this lies another, and, perhaps, the greatest question of all—I mean the Union of England with Ireland;—and on this point I must say that I was thunderstruck I with the argument used by the noble Earl (Bail Russell) ill his second letter to Mr. Chichcster Fortescue. The noble Earl, in 36 this publication, calls to mind what occurred when the Irish Parliament voted for union with England; and assuming that the Irish Church is an essential part of the Act of Union, he endeavours to undermine the authority of the Act by recalling the corruption and artifices used to procure the assent of the Irish Parliament, in order to show how invalid and worthless was the legislative provision for uniting the Churches of the two countries. But if such an argument is good against the Irish Church, it is good against the Union; and when the noble Earl employs his vigorous pen and powerful intellect in advocating such changes on such grounds, I ask whether it is clear that, making one concession after another, the final demand will not be made for a dissolution of the Union between the two countries?
My Lords, in conclusion I will only refer to a remarkable argument which has been made use of in this House, in order to deter, if possible, your Lordships from giving an independent vote on this question. We are told that we should beware what line we take in opposition to the House of Commons. Now, I do not think that such an argument ever has had, or ever will have, any weight in this House. Not that your Lordships are indifferent to the expressed will of the people of England. I trust that that day never will come, as certainly it never has come. But I have yet to learn that your Lordships' House does not represent the mind and will of the people of England. It is true that the other House of Parliament may represent more nearly the external fervour, the declamatory power, and the first impulses of the people; but I believe that your Lordships do represent, in an eminent degree, the inner feelings of the English nation, and, perhaps, that "still small voice" which counsels prudence, moderation, and delay. By rejecting this Bill your Lord, ships will be giving an opportunity which I think should be given to the people of England, of quietly and calmly considering this question, and the course which the noble Earl opposite and his Friends are pursuing. I trust that when the appeal is made the verdict they will give will be such as to promote the peace and prosperity of the country. In my heart and conscience I believe that noble Lords opposite are pursuing a policy dangerous to the best interests of the Empire; that by making these concessions they are only inviting further demands, and are laying a 37 foundation and adding story by story to a structure which will eventually become of most portentous and dangerous dimensions. I will only quote, in conclusion, the words of the great satirist of old—Numerosa parabit Excclsæ turn's tabulata, unde altior esset Casus, et impulsæ præceps immanc ruinæ.
My Lords, I assure your Lordships that I shall not trespass long upon your attention. So many opinions have been expressed, and the question is one which, after all, must be determined by such simple considerations, that I should have been willing to confine my share in to-night's proceedings to a silent vote. But, connected as I am with Ireland, and with the most Protestant provinco in Ireland, and yielding as I do to no one in affectionate devotion to that institution whose welfare is supposed to be at stake, and whose doom we are told will be pronounced if you give a second reading to this Bill, I am anxious to state in a few brief sentences why it is that, with a perfectly clear conscience and unfaltering judgment, I am prepared to adopt a method of procedure with reference to the Established Church of Ireland which has been so vigorously deprecated by so many distinguished persons in this House and elsewhere. In confining my observations to a simple statement of the reasons which have induced me, as an Irish Churchman, to form the opinions at which I have arrived, it will not be necessary for me to enter the wider field of argument which has been the scene of conflict between most of those who have preceded me in this debate. Of course, I am perfectly aware that a question of this kind must, in a great measure, be determined by those larger considerations of statesmanship and policy by which the internal organization of a great Empire is regulated:—I am duly sensible of the weight and cogency of these considerations; and I subscribe to the admirable exposition of them made by those noble Lords who have spoken on this side of the House; and especially to all and every word used by the noble Earl who moved the second reading of this Bill, in a speech which, though it may be presumptuous in me to make such an observation, I think is one of the noblest speeches I ever had the pleasure of listening to. But, though I perfectly agree with the noble Earl in every argument which he employed, it is not my intention to reiterate those arguments, or attempt 38 to dwell upon them. Although cordially adopting the aspirations of the great Liberal party in this country—aspirations which, notwithstanding all that has been said to the contrary, they have never ceased to entertain—to take the first opportunity of introducing into Ireland perfect religious equality, it is not as a partizan, as an adherent of any political party, or as a politician that I venture to assert an opinion on this question. I shall leave it to my noble Friends on this Bench, to whose minds the responsibility of administration may have brought even more vividly than to my own the dangers and mischiefs arising out of the present connection between Church and State in Ireland, to prefer the statesman's view of the question. They have told you already, and probably you will be told again, that history affords no precedent, that reason suggests no justification for a Government like ours—a Government which boasts of being founded on a recognition of popular rights—making a nation, or such a majority of it as is entitled to be so called—a nation co-equal with Great Britain, and sharing with her a sovereignty extending over great part of the habitable globe—that there is no precedent in history for making such a nation the victim of an ecclesiastical system which usurps the power, the revenues, and the prestige of the State for the sake of introducing into every corner of Ireland a privileged corporation connected in the minds of seven-eighths of the inhabitants with bitter memories of religious persecution and civil tyranny. I am aware that this view of the aspect in which the Established Church in Ireland is regarded by the people at large will be denied, and that the picture I have drawn will be called exaggerated. Well, of course, I can only appeal to my own experience in that case. We have heard from the noble Duke who has just sat down (the Duke of Marlborough), that the Established Church in Ireland is the real representative of the ancient Church of that country; that it is the Protestant landlords who pay the tithes. Again, we are told that we are to accept the greater wealth and the high social status of the Protestant community as the real representative of the nation, and that the numerical disproportion which exists between the adherents of the two religious communions in Ireland is to be overridden and reversed by the greater numerical strength of Protestantism 39 as compared with Catholicism over the whole United Kingdom. It is not my intention to dwell at any length on such processes of reasoning as these. I merely notice them in order to deny, first, the accuracy of the facts on which some of them are founded; and next, the justice of the conclusions that are drawn from them. I will submit to the House that view of the case of the Irish Church which presents itself to my own understanding as a zealous and faithful adherent of her communion, jealous of her honour, anxious to extend her influence and enlarge her boundary, and, above all things, desirous that in the sight of all men she should be blameless and free from stain. I hold that a Christian Church is bound in its corporate capacity to represent and exemplify those virtues and characteristics which are professed by its individual members, and which it has been constituted in order to promote. If we try to ascertain what position the early Christian Church assumed with respect to those who were not of her communion, but after whose salvation she yearned with a mother's self-sacrificing devotion, what do we find? Do we find that that was originally the case of the Established Church in Ireland? Do we not see a haughty priesthood identified in all its social interests with a military aristocracy, grasping with unrelenting tenacity all the social dignity, the civil preeminence, and those material advantages which the secular authority—always ready to gratify its spiritual associate—had to bestow, and presenting even now, in regard to those bitterer characteristics which have since then disappeared, if not in the person, at all events in the office of every one of its ministers, an epitomized representation of an obnoxious domination? St. Paul was undoubtedly not only a great Apostle, but one of the wisest men who ever lived, with a thorough knowledge of human nature and the human heart. Well, let us ask ourselves—if such a thing be possible—what that great Apostle's precept and example would counsel on a question and in a case like this. If he had found that his connection with a Government, and that the various attributes with which he was compelled to invest himself, rendered him an object of suspicion, not to say of aversion, towards those whom he was commissioned to evangelize, can anybody doubt that he would have besought your Lordships to divest, him of such impediments to his usefull 40 ness?—and, if you had refused to do so, is it not probable that his eager nature would have prompted him to fling them at your feet? It may be denied that its connection with the State has made the mission of the Protestant Church of Ireland as obnoxious to the people as I have ventured to assert. This, of course, must always remain a matter of opinion. But there is one fact to which I can appeal of a very pregnant character. Not very long-ago there were evident symptoms of public opinion in England tending to the proposal of some kind of composition between the State and the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. Well, how did the Roman Catholic hierarchy encounter those preliminary advances? Why, by refusing altogether, in the most complete and positive terms, to accept any composition from the State, or to avail themselves in any manner of State assistance. Why did that hierarchy discourage and repudiate an arrangement with England to which they assent in almost every other country? Simply because they felt that if they entered into such a transaction, and connected themselves in any such manner with the State, they would be likely to lose their influence with their flocks; and that, instead of being regarded, as they now are, as the champions and the fathers of their congregations, they would incur the danger of being looked upon as the mere creatures and agents of the Government. But if ever there was a priesthood that was identified with its people in sentiment and in race—that was ever united to them by a traditional veneration, on the one hand, and by centuries of devotion to their interests on the other—it is the Roman Catholic hierarchy and priesthood of Ireland. Well, if they in their wisdom and their knowledge of the nature of the Irish people think that they could not afford to incur the taint of such a connection with the Government, how is it possible to suppose that we can afford to do so with impunity? But the noble Duke has told us that the Established Church in Ireland must not be regarded as a Missionary Church, and that we must not consider its spiritual responsibilities to extend to the Roman Catholic population. Well, if this be the doctrine which is upheld, then at once, cadit quœstio—you are not the National Church of the country; you have no right to expend the National Revenue, no right to assume territorial titles, no right to clothe yourselves with that dignity 41 and prestige which are only legitimate as the reflection of a national communion. But I deny that this view of the question can be sustained. As the ministers of the Irish Established Church are Christian ministers, their mission extends to all. If there is no immediate opportunity of establishing pastoral relations towards those among whom they dwell, they are bound to adopt such a position and assume such an attitude towards them as is most likely to conciliate their affection and good-will. And this cannot ever be done until the Protestant Church ceases to be identified in the minds of a large portion of the population with a sinister and gloomy institution, and with principles hostile in their opinion not only to their religion but to their civil rights. But it is not only the odium and discredit attaching to the Irish Established Church which causes me as a member of her communion constant shame and confusion. I do not wish at all, my Lords, to exaggerate the state of the case. I do not wish to assert that all the disaffection and discontent which exist in Ireland are to be attributed to the presence of the Established Church. With Fenianism I never have thought that Church had any immediate connection. Although I entirely agree with the view of the case taken by the noble Earl who brought in this Bill, and with the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in thinking—which is quite a different matter—that the attention of this country; and the conscience of England with respect; to this question were much stimulated, if not altogeiher awakened, by the fact of Fenianism. The growing amenities of religious opinion in Ireland even among enthusiastic Protestants, the purity and kindliness of the Protestant clergy, and, I will venture to add, the feeling entertained by the Protestant laity towards their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, have reduced to a minimum the natural irritation and discontent which the presence of such an institution must necessarily create; but making every possible concession in this direction, looking at the case from the calmest point of view, I think it must be admitted that by every educated Irishmen the Established Church must be regarded as a relic of a hateful history and as a symbol of an unjust domination; while by the less educated the undue pretensions and prerogatives of that Church must be regarded as a reflection on their own faith and their own clergy. Now, if this be the case, can it be a matter of surprise that in 42 the presence of such a state of things there should exist ill-blood and discontent, and that the Government which persists in maintaining such a state of things should be viewed with dislike? There is nothing, we know, which a man so keenly resents as a reflection upon his religion or its ministers, and it is vain to tell the Roman Catholic community that the status of the Protestant Church is no reflection upon their own communion. In the first place, it is not true to say so; and in the next place, they see and feel every day that the contrary is the fact. In every parish in the kingdom the Protestant Church and clergyman stand out lustrous and resplendent in the full sunshine of Government patronage and recognition, while the Catholic chapel and priest are relegated to the cold shade. Every time a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic is compelled to veil his dignity and surrender his precedence in the presence of the Protestant ecclesiastic, the whole Catholic community feel as a nation would feel whose self-love had been wounded by some disrespect offered to the person of its Ambassador. But if what is called the sentimental aspect of the grievance is calculated to provoke so much irritation and discontent, what may be expected to be the case when the additional grievance of iniquitous taxation gives a point to the injustice? No matter how ingeniously the question may be argued, the upshot of the arrangement is simply; this:—I, the Protestant, who am in no degree entitled to a greater share in the benefits of the commonwealth than my Roman Catholic fellow-countryman, who equally with myself contributes to its defence and support, find religious requirements supplied to me in great splendour and profusion, free of all expense, while he is compelled to pay for them out of his own pocket. Now, we know that nothing excites more indignation, even when unaccompanied by any of those external circumstances which are calculated; to render it more obnoxious, than unjust I taxation; but, in addition to this, the wrong here complained of in every parish carries back the mind to a yet greater wrong committed in the past, by the light of which the present injury is interpreted, and which invests it with an obnoxious and pernicious meaning which otherwise might not attach to it; it is a wrong endured not by the wealthy and powerful, but by the struggling and indigent; it perpetuates memories of discord; it separates class 43 from class; it infuses a bitter venom into all political controversy; it surges up on every occasion when the hearts of the whole nation should be knitted together in the closest sympathy, for no State ceremony can take place without the whole Catholic community being reminded of Protestant ascendancy; and even the Heir to the Throne cannot pay a visit to his Sovereign's subjects without the obtrusive status accorded to the Established Church becoming a stumbling block and offence to thousands upon thousands of men on whose industry we have to depend for the prosperity and future welfare of the realm, and to whose valour we must look for its defence. We have thus a combination of circumstances so intolerable in themselves, so dangerous to the State, so discreditable to Parliament, so humiliating to the religious communion to which I belong, so full of shame and mortification to me as a fellow citizen of my Roman Catholic fellow countrymen, that I, for one, have long determined, despite every contingency, even despite the conviction of the noble Duke opposite that if we yield to the popular; demands on this question we shall have to deprive the present Irish proprietors of their estates, to take the first opportunity of doing my best to get rid of so great a reproach. For this reason, I shall vote for the second reading of this Bill.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
The noble: Earl who moved the second reading of this; Bill (Earl Granville) found fault with one of my right rev. Brethren for imputing motives to a distinguished statesman in the other House of Parliament, and said, with a countenance more of sorrow than of anger, that other clergymen of high position had followed that bad example. My Lords, that reproach could not apply to me; but I take occasion at the outset to say that in any; remarks I shall offer, I shall impute no motives but those which are honourable to; any man. Still, as one who has followed; with great admiration the course of that great statesman, who has benefited by his labours, who has for long years assisted not merely by his vote to place him in the position which he holds in the Parliament of this country, but also by the most active exertions on his behalf, I think it allowable for me to express a certain amount of regret that a great question, requiring, if ever any question required, the calm, deliberate wisdom of the highest minds in the country, should have been approached in connection with a party struggle, and that 44 the clear vision which otherwise might have helped us to a solution of our difficulty, has been somewhat impaired by the clouds and mists of party passion and strife, I am struck very much with that feeling as I have followed the course of this debate. I almost seem to myself to aspire to originality when I remind your Lordships that what we are debating is simply a Bill for suspending the operations of the Irish Church in many important particulars; and I take leave to remind your Lordships that there is in this House a class of persons who look with comparative indifference on the question which body of noble men sit on the right side and which on the left, but who come here to-night to consider not those party changes which are things of the hour, but rather a question of the deepest importance—namely, the question whether this country shall for the future be governed by a Sovereign who is able to express sympathy with one form of religion as on the whole good for the people, or whether the Sovereign is to be the head of the police of the country, regulating carefully and justly the struggles and strivings; of different parties of religionists in the State. I, for one, should desire that a Suspensory Bill should be instantly passed, suspending for a limited period—say till Monday night—the use of those volumes; of Hansard with which none of us are; entirely unacquainted. Somebody, it appears, in the other House has got an "historical conscience"—but what that means I am at a loss to comprehend. I am not accustomed, moreover, on any occasion to call any body of gentlemen an "undisciplined rabble;" and consequently it is no great amusement to me to sit in a House where that epithet is applied to a body of Gentlemen in "another place." We want to devote our entire attention to this question—whether it is in the highest sense expedient to disendow and disestablish the Irish Church, or whether you may so modify the existing institution and so remove crying abuses that the principle of Church and State may still be preserved, and yet the legitimate scruples of our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen be respected. Now, I am going—not to quote from the pages of Hansard, but to do what in the course of this debate has only been done for a very few minutes at a time, and only, indeed, by two speakers in the whole—namely, to see what will be the effect upon the Irish Church if this Suspensory Bill should become law. I hold myself per- 45 fectly free hereafter to consider any measure for the disestablishment or disendowment of the Irish Church. I have my prejudices on the subject; but I am confining myself to-night to the consideration of this particular measure, and I want to show you that, instead of being a measure of trifling importance, it is of very great reach and compass, that its operation will be in the last degree shamefully oppressive and cruel, and that it will injure men in that which they feel most deeply—namely, their conscience, their religion, and their liberty of worshipping their God. In the first place, how long is this Act to last? It is said only for a year. But we know perfectly well that if this Bill should pass you could not hereafter go back to an interdicted parish and say, "This experiment does not do; we shall set you free." This measure, if passed, will be renewable. I observe that a noble Earl opposite siginifies his dissent; but I take it that the Suspensory Bill will be renewable till Parliament finally disposes of the Irish Church. Without referring to all the various Reform Bills that have been introduced of, late years, I think I may say that the discussions relating to the measures of Reform which are about to come to an end, in your Lordships' House have been carried; on for about fourteen years. During this period the question of Reform has caused the fall of Governments, and it has been put aside from time to time in consequence of war and from other causes. I believe, therefore, that it is not an unfair inference to draw that years will have passed before this business shall have been developed into a plan, and before the wisdom of Parliament with respect to it shall have been arrived at. In 1865, I think, a Suspensory Bill was passed with reference to the Public Schools. No one thought that this Act would be wanted for more than one year; accordingly, it was introduced and passed with remarkable unanimity, there having been only one division, and that upon a minor question relating to the extent of the power of the Commissioners. No voice was raised against the propriety of the measure; but the Bill for the Public. Schools still struggles through Committees, and I take it, therefore, that we shall have the Suspensory Bill for five years. I shall not take that particular term if any one objects to it; but for myself I should be disposed to say five years. A noble Lord on the opposite side said to me, out of this House, "Of what consequence are four or 46 five vacancies?" Now, my Lords, I have looked into some figures on this master, and of two classes of livings I find that 4 per cent become vacant every year. There are 1,500 benefices in Ireland, and therefore no fewer than 300 of those benefices would become vacant in the course of five years. There are twelve Irish Prelates, and during the last five years no fewer than five out of the twelve, or nearly one-half, have been called from among us. At this rate of mortality, we should have five vacant dioceses in five years. I venture to ask in what portion of the Bill is provision made for the performance of the duties which would be discharged by Bishops filling those sees? The noble Earl who moved the second reading pointed out that there is a clause in the Bill empowering the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to provide stipends for 300 curates whom the Bishops may license. Unfortunately, the Bishops may go in the meantime. Is that a rational proposition? Why, it means an impossibility. I would ask, where do you expect to find 300 young men to take parishes under these anomalous and unsatisfactory conditions? If I proposed to a young man with a right heart in his bosom to take any one of these parishes pending the decision of Parliament on its fate I should expect him to say, "No; disendow it at once, and, perhaps, I may try to struggle on with it; but I shall not assist Parliament in a process of suffocation." I say it will be impossible to find young men to take charge of the parishes under such circumstances. I think that most young clergymen would prefer to go to New Zealand rather than take charge of parishes in such an equivocal position. It is true that provision is made by one clause for giving half a clergyman to a parish, because the clergyman of an adjoining parish may do the duty in one where the benefice is vacant. Now, it is impossible that such a provision can be beneficial. Much is said about the Church of England population in Ireland being only about 700,000; but those members of the Church of England would have good ground for saying, "Here is an existing endowment by means of which the Christian religion is to be taught, and we have a right to share in it." It is proposed to takeaway this money from the Established Church in Ireland; but what do you want with it? Unfortunately, nobody wants the money. All the information we can get on the subject of its proposed disposition 47 is that it is to be applied to Irish purposes; but that is leather a vague statement. Before five years there may be five dioceses without Bishops. Some may think that five Irish Bishops might be spared. I see a smile on the face of some noble Lords opposite which seems to indicate that to be their opinion; but bear in mind that by this Bill you would be putting the Irish Church in a worse position than if she were totally disestablished and disendowed, because there is no provision in the Bill for any Bishop being substituted when the diocese has become vacant. You cannot speak of sending in the Bishop of another diocese, because it would be a breach of ecclesiastical law for him to perform episcopal functions in a diocese other than his own without a commission. It is true that the Vicar General would have much greater power than a Vicar General in England; but he could not confirm, and confirmation is a very important ceremony, being the one at which children renew the obligations of baptism. Again, ordination is essentially an Episcopal act. You might have ten benefices vacant in one diocese, and the Bishop might he gone also. Under such circumstances, how could you have clergymen ordained for those benefices even supposing you get young men to accept them? The duty of a Bishop towards his clergy consists more in a constant watching of their zeal, and in a standing by them in cases of difficulty, rather than in preaching or in writing. Are you going to leave the Irish clergy to some haphazard assistance in that way? Then, all proceedings under the Church Discipline Act, should any become necessary, will probably be suspended, because you have no power to compel the Vicar General to proceed in such cases. I showed just now that I did not think these safeguards would be effectual. But will you just remember that the Church does not consist of the clergy alone? The Church consists of the clergy and the laity. ["Hear, hear!"] I am glad of that cheer, for it shows that perhaps we may get a little mercy for the laity, if we do struggle into Committee. Upon the death of an incumbent in any parish the whole thing will stand still. There may be a devoted Churchman in the parish paying the whole tithe out of his own pocket; yet he will see the clergyman swept away, and find to his astonishment that there exist no means whatever of ap- 48 pointing a successor. These may be spoken of as mere incidental details; but is it right that details of this kind, affecting the religious well-being of communities and districts, should he brought into this House and mixed up with party warfare? In the midst of a political warfare involving the issue whether or no parties shall change sides, no one cares to pay attention to such csseutial details as these. No; the Bill is unjust in every feature.
I must now offer a few remarks on the; terms "disestablishment" and "disendowment." The noble Earl who moved this measure himself fell into some confusion on the subject, for he referred to the; Australian colonies as cases in all of which the Church had been disestablished, whereas the participation of the Bishop in the acts of the local Legislature does amount to an establishment. But I ask your Lordships to observe that these words "disestablishment" and "disendowment" do really represent two distinct ideas. There may be some who think that disestablishment alone might happen to the Irish Church without any great harm or loss, whereas it would be obviously unfair to inflict upon them total disendowment. Disestablishment means, I suppose, something of this kind:—that the four Prelates who now sit in your Lordships' House should cease to sit there, and in all high functions when questions of precedence arose that those whom the Queen of England honours should give place to those who are honoured by an Italian Prince. Be it so. There are some who might think disestablishment a question open to argument. But this Bill is framed upon the assumption, not only that there will be total disestablishment, but total disendowment as well. And let me assure your Lordships that, in my belief, the great majority which in "another place" supported this Bill was in favour of disestablishment alone; and I say, of my own knowledge, that several of those who swelled that majority will cease to swell it the moment they understand that you are going to strip the Irish Church naked—to disendow as well as disestablish it. It is said, I know, that this is not a Bill really for disendowment, because when, all the facts are fully ascertained and parties have made up their minds in what manner the revenues of the Church are to be applied some fragments of the original amounts may find their way back to particular parishes. But what else can it be in the case of a parish which should have 49 no clergyman for five years? When you say to these parishes, "We have reconsidered the matter, and you may have the clergyman back again," what will be the indignant answer?" You have wrecked our system, you have broken up our congregations—most of the God-fearing persons among us have gone to where they could hear the blessed sounds of the Gospel, while some have fallen into the only place of worship that was open, the Roman Catholic chapel; and now you come to us with money in your hands, unfaithful stewards of a great trust, and offer to set up the Church again. Go—we can trust you no more." That is one of the consequences of the Bill, and it applies equally to poor and remote as to large and populous parishes; for I say that once you have shut up a church for a long time, even though you may wish to open it again, you will be unable to do so the thing is impossible. And it is for those reasons, and not because of any blind and bigoted hatred of the words "disestablishment" and "disendowment" that I shall vote without hesitation, when the time comes, against a Bill which is rank with foul injustice, against this crude and ill-considered measure. I do not challenge the motives of those promoting this Bill, for the motives of mankind are mixed; but I say that this Bill was not drawn by any one having at heart the true interests of the Irish Church or the Irish clergy. The revenues, we are told, are to be applied to "Irish purposes." What are they? The Irish purposes to which they were intended to be applied were to guide the steps of men heavenward, and to teach children to remember their Creator in the days of their youth; and, Irish or English, those were very good purposes. But, if these revenues are now to be applied in building roads at the end of which there ought to be bridges, or bridges to which there are no roads leading—such as I myself saw in Ireland in 1819 after a lavish expenditure of public money—then I have no hesitation in saying that these "Irish purposes" will not prove satisfactory. They will offend the legitimate prejudices—if yon like to call them prejudices—and they will shock the religious feelings of many in this country; they will shock the Roman Catholics themselves—they will shock us, and they will shock the Dissenters. For everybody knows—however you may refine upon it, and however the noble Earl may strive to point out 50 different purposes to which Church revenues have been applied—that there exists a very strong feeling of this kind—that when once money has been given and applied to religious uses you had better, upon the whole, keep it there, and by so-doing you will please nine-tenths of the population, who would rather that such funds continued to be applied to holy purposes than to any baser or lower object. I can perfectly understand the difficulty which there may be in dividing a particular in come between opposing sects, each striving for the largest share; but there must be some reason very much stronger than any I have ever heard in the case of the Irish Church to justify men who do not know what in the world to do with the money, except to do something Irish with it, in saying we will denude you of this money at once while we are waiting to make up our minds. I venture to say there has never been a case of this kind before.
The noble Earl opposite gave as one reason for the course now proposed that the Irish Church has not fulfilled the design of its institution. Now, what was that original design? It was never designed as the Church of the majority. It was designed as a mark of the disapproval of the Crown and the rulers of the country of the Roman Catholic religion. It went along with most oppressive measures, and it was, if you like, at the outset one of those oppressive measures. But it was part of a whole system. But you have altered that system; you have altered it for the better, and I am very glad that those oppressive measures have been removed. But when you come to deal with this corporation, and say that it has not fulfilled its design, why it is you who have changed the design. It was originally meant as part of a system by which we expressed our belief that the Roman Catholic religion was a foreign thing, a thing hostile to civil government, and a thing untrue. You now believe that you can mark your sense upon these points without the help of these oppressive regulations, and they have been repealed. But what has the Irish Church done? Does anybody seriously put it forward as a reproach to the Irish Church that its ministers have not gone about to every house in every parish to make proselytes? That is missionary work and not parochial work. You must live among them and love them, and so compel them to come in. No doubt that in a great measure the Irish Church has 51 not gained over the population. But, my Lords, where is the sin? The sin lies in the old system, of which this is the remnant; and I want you now to consider whether it is necessary to do so much as in your thoughtlessness, perhaps, you promised to do, and whether you cannot remove the legitimate objections of the Roman Catholics without resorting to this extreme measure. It has been said again and again that the object of the measure is peace. Will peace be insured in Ireland because of this measure? No; it is out of the question. The very persons who are recommending this measure—the ecclesiastics—have been tampering already with, and putting their fingers upon, the land. Depend upon it, the moment this measure is passed yon will be asked likewise to deal with the land. There is another consideration which I must not forbear to mention. The position of the Irish Church has compelled us to look towards it for the supply of parochial clergymen, while a large missionary agency, spending some £30,000 a year, in Ireland is supported principally from this country. Sweep away the Irish Church, and then tell me what is my duty. I do not hold with the Roman Catholic religion. I think it shuts up the Bible from the poor; and I feel that there is nothing wise but the Bible. I think the Roman Catholic religion is, after all, a foreign element, and that it strains the jurisdiction which it claims in a preposterous manner we have all seen within the last few days. What, then, is my duty if the Irish Church be disestablished? Am I to send my little tribute to missionary efforts in foreign countries and not to send my share of it to Ireland? You may depend upon it that the whole attitude of the Church in Ireland will be altered the day you disestablish and disendow it. The clergy, we are told, are to have their vested rights respected. The right hon. Gentleman who conducted this debate in "another place" told us that three-fifths of the endowments wouid be saved to the members of the Established Church—I think he used the words, "three-fifths of the income will remain to the Church as a corporation." Was there ever a more transparent fallacy than this? The truth is, we are dissolving the corporation, or whatever it is; we are confiscating the patron's right, representing two-fifths, and we are giving the remaining three-fifths to the present holders. The figures themselves are wrong, because 52 it must not be forgotten that some of the older clergy are also the richer; and therefore it makes it more convenient to say that the interests are divisable into two equal parts. The Irish clergy are a very poor body of men—little better off than English curates; and look what an unhandsome proposal you are making to them. Yon say political necessity requires that you should confiscate their revenue; you add, "We leave you one half of your income in order to raise a permanent fund which exists already." Now, will you give this half to the incumbents? If so, you leave nothing for the perpetual corporation. And if the incumbents are to convert the half into an annuity, we shall have to look to a very poor body of men to provide us with another at a sacrifice of half their income. After this, you have the satisfaction of saying that you do them no harm, and have left them in full possession of their vested interests. I am sorry to say this is by no means the worst of it; we have propositions here so ridiculous that I cannot fully place them before your Lordships. The Irish Church is, in fact, to be put through the process of being "run out." To show what an Irish layman thinks of this proposal, I will read a passage from a pamphlet by Mr. W. Bence Jones, who writes—It has been said that to let the present incumbents go on as they are till their parishes I become vacant by death will be favourable to the Church, because it will make the change more gradual. This is wholly a mistake. Such a course will hinder all enthusiasm. It will never I be clear when the right time for an effort has come. In truth, the bitterest malice could contrive no plan more hurtful to the Church.In charity we must assume it was not meant in malice. This, however, is quite a mistake; such a Bystcni would get rid of all enthusiasm, and the state of things will become worse and worse. Let us consider the case of small and large parishes in process of being "run out." Suppose several parishes, with very small congregations, lying side by side, and that one of them had an incumbent who lived to he ninety, ninety-five, or even 100 years old, and he remained just able to go through the service. The parishes round would say, "We must club together for a clergyman, for we cannot afford to have one for each parish;" but the other parish would say, "No; we have a clergyman who may last four or five years longer, and we will not join you," and thus the arrangement would be broken up. Then take the case of a 53 large and crowded parish ministered to by an aged clergyman whom we should desire to move to a less laborious work, that a younger man may take his place. But the parish says, "No; the endowment dies with our incumbent; so we will feed him up and keep him at work as long as the life is in him." That is not all; a constant jealousy will exist between parishes, and can you expect poor populations to pay tithe and give voluntary contributions for a curate besides? It is not at all likely. My Lords, the Bill is a crude, unequal proposal for regulating unjust violation.
Something has been said about hostility between the two Houses of Parliament. My Lords, if I knew that the penalty of voting against this Bill were that I should never sit in this House again, and never be allowed to listen to those interesting party discussions such as have enlivened us to-night, I would give my voice against it. To do otherwise would be tantamount to a declaration that I had not one spark of honesty left in my nature. The measure, my Lords, is palpably unjust. Of course, it is possible to conceive that this House, by persisting in unreasonable conduct, of which at present there is no prospect, would bring about consequences the gravity of which cannot be exaggerated; but when we are told that this Bill is a trifle, and that it will do no good, and when we know it will do a great deal of harm, and create a feeling of rankling I injustice difficult to wipe away, I say we are bound to turn a deaf car to those alarmists and mark our sense of so monstrous a measure.
I will add one word on the Irish Church. In common with its English sister, the Irish Church was some time ago in a condition of great depression and dejection. It is not to be disputed that it was disgraced by neglect of duty and other failings; I admit also that a consideration of the state of the Church on its merits shows that anomalies exist which demand our earnest attention. With reference to this last point, I recommend the noble Earl (Earl Russell) to consider the Report of the Commission for which he moved as, soon as it is made; and if abuses exist in that Church, if sloth and idleness characterize some parts of it, we may hope for the creation of a better spirit there. I believe that, taking one man for another, the Irish clergy are as much alive to their duty, and as anxious to perform it, as we are at home. I think they hare been 54 placed in most unfortunate circumstances; you have forbidden them to proselytize for the sake of peace, and you expect them to be zealous for the sake of justifying I their own existence. Being in that position, I believe they have played their part well. I am here to-night, my Lords, not I because I belong to what has been called elsewhere "a trade's union of Bishops." I have not come here because I believe anything will happen in my time to the temporalities of the Established Church at home; I come here because I believe that body which is one with me in faith and in practice, which owns the same Saviour, which teaches out of the same Bible, which looks forward to the same heaven, is bound to me by stronger ties than ties of party, and because it would be infamous and cowardly for one in my position to be found wanting in an hour of trial such as this. I have pointed out the defects in this Bill—I have offered my testimony to the good the Irish Church does—and I conclude by expressing a hope that some measure will be found short of disestablishment and disendowment for pacifying the Roman Catholics of Ireland.
§ LORD ROMILLY
My Lords, I have noticed, in following some of the arguments which have been addressed to the House, a remarkable fallacy; I have noticed what I may call a desire to set up a personification of the Irish Church—to treat the Church as a thing distinct and separate from all the members which constitute it. Now, if you attempt to treat the Church as a corporate being distinct from its members you personify an abstraction and give it lights which it does not possess, and use a form of words which will only lead to erroneous conclusions. The most rev. Prelate who has just sat down (the Archbishop of York) has taken—if he will allow me to say so—a somewhat narrow view of the case, and has thus impaired to some extent the vigour of his observations. He has considered only one portion of the people of Ireland, when the object of the measure is to consider the whole. The great argument against the Bill is that it interferes with the rights of property, that the Irish Church is a corporation, and that to take away the property of corporations will lead to the taking away of private property. I think, however, it can be shown that by this measure you do not take away property from anyone, nor interfere with the rights of property at all. In dealing with a corporation 55 we have to consider three classes of persons, and three only. The present possessors form the first class; those who are hereafter to become the possessors form the second; and the third class is made up of those who are interested in or affected by the exercise of the powers of! the corporation, and who, consequently, will be benefited or injured by your I dealing with it. When, therefore, you propose to make any change or alteration in a corporation, you have to consider how far it will affect each of these three classes, Now with regard to the first class every one admits that they ought to receive full compensation, and any proposal would be defective that did not fully meet this requircment. But is it possible to maintain, that the second class—their successors—have any rights at all? In reality they have no existence, and no person can be injured by the fact that he will not succeed to an office which is not vacant, and to fill which, when vacant, he has neither a legal nor a moral claim. It is in this respect that the property of a corporation differs so greatly from the property of a private individual, the value of whose, property is so much greater, inasmuch as he is entitled to transmit it to his children and descendants. In truth, it is for this purpose mainly that persons seek to acquire and to augment their property. It is the distinguishing incident of private property, that within certain legal limits the possessor can dispose of it as he pleases after his death. The possessors of corporate property possess no such right; their powers are given for certain purposes specified by the State, from whom alone they derive their powers, and these exist only during the time that they are members of the corporation. A distinction has been attempted to be drawn between the property conferred by the State and that which proceeds from the bounty of private individuals. But, in truth, the distinction is merely nominal. When a person gives property to a corporation, he knows that he gives it to an institution created by the Slate, and therefore subject to the rules which bind and affect that corporation, the first of which is that its property is to be held in trust for the benefit of the community, and that the State may lawfully resume and re-model it when and as the interests of the community require it. It may therefore safely be said that no second class exists or suffers any wrong when a corporation is abolished. The third class 56 of persons are those who are influenced and affected by the exercise of the powers possessed by the Church in Ireland. I take these to be the whole people of Ireland, and not, as some have assumed, only those who are members of the Established Church. It is a manifest and injurious error so to contend. The Established Church exists for the benefit of the people of the country where she is established; and, when she ceases to benefit the people, she should be abolished or re-modelled, so as to produce the benefit for which she was originally created. I may here observe that this fact disposes in my opinion of the argument that you have no right to interfere with the property of the Church, because the Church has a right to perpetual enjoyment by virtue of a prescription of 600 years; for, unless you personify the name, that argument is inapplicable when you take care that every one interested shall be fully compensated for any injury that may arise through the course which you propose to adopt. And, my Lords, if you rest on perpetuity as any argument at all in this case, you must recur to the original endowments, and bestow the property upon the Roman Catholics, from whom it was taken, and, as I think, very properly taken. And why? Because it was taken for the benefit of the country—that is, for the benefit of the people, whose happiness it is the first object of Government to secure and maintain. Now, my Lords, I am not going to contend that the appropriation of the property of the convents as it was effected at; the time of the Reformation was justifiable. It was done with great violence, and without any regard to the interests of the existing possessors; but, while on this subject, I should like to advert for a moment or two to a singular argument which has been repeated very often. It has been constantly and pointedly observed to a noble Earl who sits below me (Earl Russell), that the great family of which he is a member acquired a large portion of their property at the time of the Reformation out of grants of the lands of the Church. Since I have been in this House that argument has constantly been used—I have counted it, I think, six times—and it is always accompanied by a delighted chuckle on the part of the noble Lord employing it. If argument it can be called, it is an old one, and first, I believe, used by Mr. Burke, in his celebrated letter to an ancestor of the noble Earl; but from. 57 the first time that I read it down to the last time that I heard it, I have never been able to understand the force or object of it. Now, I am not going to defend the violation of rights which occurred, at the time of the Reformation, or the taking away of the property of the existing abbots and monks; but I will say this—that if you had respected their rights and in depriving them of their property had given them compensation, you would, without injuring any one, have conferred a great benefit on the people. The wrong committed at that time cannot now be repaired; but the taking the property out of the hands of the Roman Catholics was undoubtedly beneficial to the people of this country, and unless it had been granted to other possessors it would have been wholly ineffectual and would speedily have been resumed. Now, iny Lords, I have been greatly struck with one thing which pervades several of the speeches which have been made on this subject, and among them I include the speech of the most rev. Prelate who has just sat down. The arguments employed in those speeches appear to proceed on the supposition that religion is to be promoted for the sake of maintaining an Establishment, instead of supporting an Establishment, which after all is only a means towards an end, with a view to the extension and diffusion of religion. Speaking with great submission and some humility on this subject, I would ask what it is that is to be regarded as true religion? Without impropriety, I think I may say that true religion is to love God with all your heart, and to love your neighbour as yourself. Now, my Lords, does the Church Establishment produce either of these effects in Ireland? Has it accomplished the first? In other words, has it extended the true faith? One of the main objects of the Irish Church was to make converts to the doctrine of the Church. Has it done so? It has neither been successful in making converts to the Church of England or in reconciling the Roman Catholic portion of the population to Protestantism—neither can it do so. While that Church remains an Establishment I believe it impossible for it to make converts in Ireland, and the Roman Catholic people look on her as an enemy; and while she subsists, it is a point of honour and a matter of party feeling not to listen to an argument in favour of her doctrine or tenets. My conviction is that if the distinctions between the Roman Catholic 58 Church and the Protestant Church in Ireland were put an end to, you would have a much better chance of obtaining converts. Then has the Church of Ireland accomplished the second object of true religion? Has it succeeded in making the Irish people love their neighbours as themselves? The very contrary is the case. It is notorious that it has been the cause of strife and animosity among all classes of the people. Is it not, my Lords, a matter which you ought seriously to consider whether, because an institution has existed for 600 years or more, you ought, therefore, to perpetuate abuses which alienate above one-half of the people, while they fail to confer any advantage on the remainder? The measure now under your consideration really involves no violation of the rights of property at all. If, as the most rev. Prelate asserts, the Bill is replete with blunders, these do not affect the principle, and if they exist may easily be removed in Committee. If you assent to its second reading you will concur in a measure which will tend to the removal of a great disgrace—one that lowers us in the eyes of Europe, which will tend to the wider diffusion of the Protestant religion, and though possibly at first the effect upon the present generation of the people of Ireland may not be so great as is desirable, yet in the course of a few generations it will result in the union of the Irish with the English and Scotch people in one happy and contented family.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH
My Lords, the object of this Bill, as appears on the face of it, is nothing more than to increase a fund which it is presumed will be at the disposition of Parliament in case of the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. It is proposed to do this by prohibiting the promotion of such clergymen as in the course of the ensuing twelve months would, under ordinary circumstances, be presented to Irish benefices. Now, my Lords, before we consent to the infliction of an injury on deserving men, however few they may be, in order to increase this fund, I think we ought to be furnished with full information as to what purposes this fund is to be applied. Upon this point, however, we are left entirely in the dark—we have no information whatsoever:—and therefore I hope your Lordships will not think of passing a Bill the evil of which is apparent, and of the good of which we have not the most remote intimation. But even were 59 the purposes to which this Bill is to be applied fully explained, and were they accepted as most excellent, I think you would hesitate before you passed a Bill of this kind. The persons who will be affected by this Bill are a deserving though a small body of men, whom I am confident your Lordships will be ready to protect, and in whose behalf public sympathy is most warmly interested. This Bill does not affect private patronage; it affects only the patronage of the Bishops and the Crown. Private patrons dispose of their patronage as they think fit, from motives of interest or otherwise, and are seldom called to account for it. But the more extensive patronage of the Bishops is, as a general and almost invariable rule, disposed of in favour of the hard-working and meritorious curates of the diocese; and this Bill is about to interpose and prevent these men, after fifteen, eighteen, or twenty years of hard work, receiving the just need of their professional advancement. The object, besides, is a mean one. The profit, my Lords, will be small, while the injury will be great. I will confine myself to the benefices which will be at the disposal of the Bishops. Taking my own diocese, and calculating from the last nine years the number of clergy whose benefices will become vacant by death, and giving full consideration to all private patronage, the conclusion I hare come to is that the number in the ensuing year will not be above thirty—that is, over the whole of Ireland so far as the patronage of the Bishops is concerned. Those clergymen have, of course, some small cures—perhaps of the value of £100—and the preferment they might enjoy but for this Bill would be from £200 to £250 a year. Now, I think it is almost unworthy of your Lordships' legislation to deal with a matter; so small; yet though small in amount it will be most cruel and ungracious to the individuals concerned. Then, my Lords, the injury that will be done to parishes is, very considerable. In many cases the clergy are trustees for the distribution of charitable funds—by the step now proposed the whole parochial machinery will be; brought to a standstill, the children will be turned out of the schools, which derive their principal support from the rectors. This is an injustice fairly chargeable on the Bill. The whole question of the Irish Establishment is to be brought under the consideration of the next Parliament. It involves many dear and precious interests, 60 precious, not only to the 700,000 members of that Church, but to the whole Protestant community in Ireland; for whatever profession they belong to they look on the Established Church as the bulwark of their civil and religious liberty, and they know right well that if the Established Church is pulled down they will not be able to hold their ground or to exercise their rights as Protestant Christian?. This certainly, then, is a question of very great importance. If ever there was a question that should go before any tribunal without prejudice it is this. But what does this Bill propose? That it shall go before the new Parliament and the new constituency with a stigma marked upon it, and as being already condemned without trial. I therefore trust your Lordships will not approve a Bill of this kind.
But the Bill is justified by the assertion that the mission of the Irish Church has failed. My Lords, if that were true no one will say that it is the fault of the present generation, on whom you are going to bring down the heaviest punishment which it is in your power to inflict. Talk of penal laws—they would be nothing compared to the deprivation of the means of grace, and the blessing of an independent Church they have so long enjoyed, which they consider as their birthright, which they possess by right of a prescription of 300 years, and which was assured to them by as solemn a covenant as one nation could enter into with another. It is sometimes said that the Act of Union was but an Act of Parliament. My Lords, it was a treaty between two independent Parliaments, one of which, on the faith of this great nation, gave up its independence. The grand point which the Protestants of Ireland wished to secure was the Church, and on being satisfied on that point they yielded to the Union. It was said to them by Lord Castlereagh, "You are here in a minority; but let the Union be perfected and the two Churches united, and you will then rest on the basis of the population of the whole Empire." On the other hand, it was said to the Roman Catholics, "You are here a majority; we are afraid of you we cannot give you emancipation; but let the Union be established, and you are an insignificant minority. Emancipation may then be granted to you." Call the Union only an Act of Parliament!—the Act of Parliament was only the seal put on the treaty. "What solemnity, what religious vows, what oaths could have made 61 the preservation of the Protestant Church more secure than the Treaty of Union? It rested on the truth, probity, and honour of the Empire, and beyond that there is no political security whatever.
But it is said the Irish Church has failed in its mission. Why, the Church of Ireland never was more prosperous, spiritually speaking, than it is at the present; moment. The number of churches recently erected and endowed has greatly increased. The clergy have of late years acted with an energy, zeal, and devotion unknown in former ages. There is a connection of endearment and satisfaction between the clergy and the laity that never existed before. We are doing our duty well to God and to man. The improvement is great and rapid, and at such a time it is said we have failed in our mission! How is that? Is it in population? I question it. Sir William Petty gave an estimate of population taken in the year 1672. At that time there were of Roman Catholics in Ireland 800,000; of Churchmen, 100,000; of Scotch Presbyterians, 100,000; and of English Dissenters of various classes, 100,000. Therefore, Churchmen were to Roman Catholics as one to eight; they were, compared with Presbyterians and other Protestant Dissenters, as one to two. What is the case now? We have 700,000 Churchmen; we are multiplied seven times over. With respect to the Roman Catholics we are as one to six and a half, and with respect to Presbyterians and other Protestant Dissenters, instead of being as one to two, we are a very large majority. That does not look like a Church that has failed in its mission. Resides that, the 700,000 Churchmen of Ireland contain within themselves the most enterprising and intellectual portion of the nation. The great majority of the landed proprietors, the merchants, and skilled artizans belong to the Established Church. The Church Protestants have in every circumstance been ever faithful to the interests of England; they have never been mixed up with any rebellion; and when the Irish people have risen against the Government of this country, it is the Protestants that have always been the chief sufferers and have had to bear the, brunt. We have done nothing on earth to forfeit our rights or lose your favour. Our great sin in Ireland is that we are with yourselves one blood, one religion, one language, and it is on this very account that we are singled out and assailed. In conjunction with our other brother Protestants, 62 we have made the most desolate part of Ireland by far the most fertile and prosperous portion of the kingdom. What we received as a heritage in the northern parts of Ireland were the forests and swamps of Ulster. Now you will find there good houses, well-cultivated farms, and a prosperous, industrious, loyal, and peaceable people. If you look through that Province you will see the chimneys of manufactories rising on every side, and you will find that wealth, prosperity, civilization, and national power are on the advance. I do not want to draw comparisons; but I will say you will find the same thing in no other part of Ireland. Well, we have brought up our people—and 700,000 is no small number—it is about one-half of the whole population of Ireland at the time of the Revolution—we have, I say, brought them up in good principles, in the fear of God, the love of the country, and loyalty to the Queen. And now, my Lords, the principal reason given for the alleged failure of our mission is that we have not converted the Roman Catholics. Well, my Lords, I cannot think that that was the fault of the Church in Ireland. Whatever its faults may have been, I do not think that fault lies at its doors. Remember—every effort we made for that purpose was for a long period thwarted by the civil Government. When the Reformation was first introduced into Ireland there was very little objection made to what was then called "the King's proceedings." The chieftains and the great majority of the Bishops took without scruple the Oath of Supremacy, and for a considerable time the people attended the parish churches. I believe they did so for the first eleven years of the reign of Elizabeth. But what did they hear there? They heard an unknown language. It was pressed on the attention of this country over and over again that, if anything was to be done with the Irish, it must be done through the medium of their own language. The Reformation had been established for nigh fifty years before Dr. Daniel, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam, translated the New Testament into the Irish tongue—in 1608 the Prayer Book was also translated—but for fifty years you gave the Irish people neither the Bible nor the Prayer Book in a language which they could understand. Many a great and good man in Ireland saw and lamented this; and Bedell, the Bishop of Kilmore, who was ft great scholar, and 63 was sent over to Ireland on the recommendation of Archbishop Usher, as Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, at the age of sixty learnt the Irish language, and, with the assistance of King, translated the whole Bible into Irish. During the course of the translation King embraced; the principles of the Reformation, and Bedell presented him with a living. But when word of this was brought to Dublin, it was said that Bedell was encouraging the Natives, and accordingly orders went forth that King should be deprived of his living. The Bishop advised King to withstand the invasion of his rights; but I he was seized, bound hand and foot, and carried to Dublin—and that was the way in which the Government encouraged the Reformation in Ireland. The reason is alleged in a letter from Archbishop King to Dean Swift in these words, "Some think that if they were all of one mind the Church would be too powerful," and therefore cold water was thrown on the attempt to present the Reformation to the Natives of Ireland. But is the present I generation to be punished with the loss of their Church for the faults of those 200 years, and are you to do that which will have the effect of shutting the doors of the Church against the Roman Catholics? We are told that the whole possessions of the Church are in the hands of one-eighth of the people. Now, my Lords, you will find that to be altogether a fallacy. At the Reformation the great wealth of the Irish Church was in the monasteries. They had one-half the tithe of the country, and very large and extensive lands. When the monasteries were dissolved, the tithes as well as the lands were disposed of by Henry VIII. among his courtiers and friends. The Bishops who conformed remained in possession of their sees; but to use the words of Bramhall, "The alienation of Church property by deeds and leases was infinite." The bishopric of Lisinore "was held" (he observes) "by the Earl of Cork at 40s. a year." The whole possessions of Kildare were wasted, also the temporalities of Clogher. Cloyne was reduced to 40s. a year, and Cashell, Feins, and Leighlin were all impoverished. On this subject Sir Henry Sidney wrote to Queen Elizabeth—If I should write unto your Majesty what spoil hath been and is of bishoprics, partly by the Bishops themselves, partly by the potentates their noisome neighbours, I should make too long a libel of my letter; but jour Majesty may believe that on the face of the earth there is not a Church 64 in so miserable a case. In many places the walls of the churches are down, very few churches covered, and windows and doors ruined and spoiled.And this was in Meath, the best peopled diocese. Nor did the benefices fare better. Of the southern counties, Edmund Spenser says—The benefices themselves are so mean and of so small profits in these Irish counties, through the ill husbandry of the Irish people which do inhabit them, that they will not yield any competent maintenance for any honest minister to live upon, scarcely to buy him a gown.Sir John Davis says—As to the vicarages they are so poorly endowed as ten of them being united will scarce suffice to maintain an honest minister. For the churches they are for the most part in ruins; such as were presented to be in reparation are covered only with thatch.He further observes—"Many of the livings are not worth above 40s. a year." Even after the Restoration the Church was in no better case. All the churches had been ruined, first by the rebels and then by the soldiers of Cromwell; and Williams, Bishop of Ossory, writes thus—I went to live on my bishopric at Kilkenny, where I found the cathedral church and the Bishop's house all ruined, and nothing standing but bare walls without windows but the holes, I and without doors. If you walk through Ireland, as I rode from Carlingford to Dublin, and from Dublin to Kilkenny, I believe that throughout all your travel you shall find it as I foundit in all the ways that I went. Scarce one church standing for seven that are ruined and have only walls, most without roof, without doors, without windows.The benefices in his diocese averaged £43 14s. and a fraction. In 1670, Bishop Mossom gives this account of the northern diocese of Derry—First, the churches, especially those within the twelve London proportions, were generally ruinous, and not one, except that within the city, was in repair, neither were the inhabitants, from their extreme poverty, anyways able to re-build or to repair them; so that the holy offices of Gort's public worship were, for the most part, administered in a dirty cabin or in a common alehouse; and also that not only were the churches ruinous, but likewise the ministers were generally and necessarily non-resident, not having any houses upon their cures, not being able through meanness of estate to build themselves houses, nor could they find habitations to be hired upon the place.Perhaps I ought to mention the subject of tithes. They were never easily collected in Ireland, and Bishop Doyle, before a Committee of the House of Commons, said that they were never regularly collected till the time of Henry VIII. For a long time they were of small importance, and added very little to the incomes of the 65 clergy. As the prosperity of the country increased the tithes increased in value. In 1733 the Irish House of Commons passed a Resolution, not a Bill, setting forth that tithes of pasture land ought to be resisted, and they made a common purse, determining that they would oppose every clergyman who went to law to enforce those tithes. The clergy were weak and submitted, and thus the Church lost half of its property. Tithes were taken oft the rich graziers and kept on the poor tillers of the soil; and, perhaps, the Irish Church never received a heavier blow than this. After this, another quarter was taken off; and in 1832, Sir Richard Griffith proved before a Select Committee that tithes were only one-sixtieth part of the produce. The Church now has exactly one-eighth of the original tithe granted by Henry II. at the Council of Cashel. When, therefore, it is said that we are a minority, we reply, "True; but we have only one-eighth of the Church possessions." It is certain that if there had been but one religion in Ireland this diminution of the Church property would never have taken place. No Irish Parliament would have dared to free themselves from tithes—for that is practically what they did—and impose it upon their constituents. If, then, our numbers are, by comparison, small, remember that the tithes and other possessions of the Church have, from time to time, been pared down, until we now have only that proportion of Church property which would belong to us if it were apportioned according to numbers. After the Reformation there were very troublous times in Ireland, and it was not until the Revolution that the Church had peace, and could repair its wasied buildings. What it had then principally to depend on were 111,000 acres of land given by James I. for the purpose of supporting the Protestant religion in Ireland; and, whatever may come, I hope that these lands, which were given for this special purpose long after the Reformation, will be left to be devoted to the objects for which they were originally intended. At that time the poverty of the clergy was so great that efforts were made on all sides to relieve them. Bishop Bramhall came over here, and, with the assistance of Archbishop Laud, subscriptions were raised and a great quantity of lay tithes were bought up. In this way the Protestants of the time were enabled to recover possessions of the Church to the amount of £40,000 a year. Primate Boulter left £30,000 a year in the 66 middle of the last century for the purpose of augmenting small benefices. The interest of that money has been absorbed in those benefices, a great number of which have been by it augmented. Primate Robinson and others also left property for Church purposes. Primate Lindsay left an estate in the county of Down which produces £900 a-year. In this way since the Reformation the property of the Church has been gradually created; and now it is proposed to us that, for the sake of securing religious equality in Ireland, we should begin again Who can tell what have been the benefactions since the Reformation r Since I have been in Armagh one benevolent nobleman gave £6,000 to increase three small benefices in the diocese. The benefices of Ireland have thus grown tip from poverty to comparative comfort; that is, they now average £250 a year each.
Another objection is made to us, and that is that we are the Church of the rich and are supported by the poor. Now, neither of these assertions is true. The first is true only in a certain sense. We are not supported by the Roman Catholics. No man pays the tithe rent-charge; it is the land itself which pays that. As to our being the Church of the rich, it is true that nine-tenths of the land is held by Protestant proprietors; but where are they? In England, in France, in Italy—all over the world—anywhere but in Ireland. From my own observation I should say that there is on an average not more than about one resident landed proprietor in each parish in Ireland. In some parishes there may be more, but one will be about the average. If the Church were disestablished, it would then be upon this one proprietor that the support of the Church would fall—for I know very well what answers absentees give to applications for money. I have been to long a beggar not to know how much is to be got by such applications. "My dear Sir," is the answer you receive, "I do not reside in Ireland, and my rents are badly paid. I have schools and other charities to subscribe to here, and you must allow me very respectfully to decline to give anything." I will say that some years ago this was a more common form of reply than is given now, for of late there has been a most splendid and liberal response from the laity on the subject of church-building. Within ten years, I think, £194,000 have been subscribed by the laity for this purpose, and churches have 67 grown up rapidly within the last century. In 1730 in all Ireland there were only 400 churches; in 1806 there were 1,029, and in 1864 there were 1,579. These, then, are our own churches, built with our own money. The laity have liberally subscribed a large proportion of the money they cost, and the grant in aid which we get is from the money of the Church in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Besides this the glebe lands have been greatly improved by the clergy, who have built houses, hedged, ditched, drained, planted, and made the lands double their former value, in the full belief that they would never be ousted from the possession of them. I could mention the name of a clergyman—I know the circumstances well—who, on 100 acres of glebe, valued perhaps at £2,500, spent £500 upon his glebe house, of course with the idea that it would remain permanently in the hands of the Church. If he thought it would have been taken away from the Church, depend upon it he would have been loth to expend that money. The case I have mentioned is one out of many; and in the parish, of the better classes there will be very likely only the clergyman and the squire. A noble Lord has asked how, if the majority of the clergy had only moderate incomes, they could manage to be so charitable as they were said to be? But a great many men go into the Church in Ireland, having some means of their own, and with a wish to do good. If those men had not been in the Church they would never have remained in Ireland, but would have gone to some place more agreeable to them. But they lived and worked in poor, and some of them in desolate parishes, supporting their charities, and, in fact, doing everything that a good, faithful, and devoted Christian minister ought to do. If you destroy the Established Church you will drive away from the country a great number of most valuable residents of that kind. As the Established Church of Ireland sinks or recedes, you may depend upon it there is another Church there which will advance and rise. That other Church is a powerful Church. It is one which does not acknowledge the supremacy of the Queen but acknowledges the supremacy of a foreign Potentate, who at one time was very dangerous to the liberties of this country. If you overthrow the Protestant Church of Iceland you will establish the supremacy of the Pope, and substitute for the supremacy of the Queen that of a foreign ruler. 68 Let those who foolishly think that by subverting the Protestant Establishment of Ireland they will strike a deadly blow at the union of Church and State remember that, instead of doing that, they will only change a Church with the Queen as its head for one with a foreign Potentate at its head; and that in Ireland you will have an imperium in imperio. Then the power and authority of the Queen will, as was said in old times in Ireland, be held only at the Pope's discretion. You may flatter yourselves that you will have got rid of the Irish difficulty when you have abolished the Irish Church; but you will find that that difficulty has then only begun. I recollect well the tithe war in Ireland. Suppose there should be a land war of the I same description? At the time of the tithe war, I remember an immense mob surrounding a house in my parish, when the cry of "No tithe" was raised; but afterwards the cry of "No rent!" was set up, and when that once began the cry of "No tithe" was immediately given up and forgotten. Do not imagine that if you overthrow the Irish Established Church there will not be, as there was in earlier days, a very extensive emigration of Protestants, comprising many of the best, the soundest, most loyal, and most industrious of Her Majesty's Irish subjects. You will put before the Irish Protestants the choice I between apostacy and expatriation, and every man among them who has money or position when he sees his Church go will leave the country, thus weakening the dominion of England over it. Will you then adopt a course which will certainly cause those who have proved themselves for 300 years to be the best friends and defenders of English rule to flee from a country which they will think doomed and accursed? If you do that you will find Ireland so difficult to manage that you will have to depend on the gibbet and the sword; and I think you will then have reason to regret that you have no longer the aid of that Christian Church which kept your people together and made English law, English authority, English freedom, and an English Bible respected and beloved.
THE EARL OF CORK
My Lords, I cannot forbear troubling your Lordships with a few observations, being too strongly impressed with the momentous nature of the subject under consideration, and its deep importance to the English as well as Irish people, to let it pass by in silence. For in the future position of the Anglican 69 Church in Ireland is involved so much of the future contentment, happiness, and prosperity of that country, that it is, I believe, scarcely possible to over-estimate the decision at which you may arrive respecting it. The social status of the great mass of the Irish people is to a great extent at stake now—besides the larger financial question, which we must all feel will need not only very serious consideration in dealing with it but, where vested interests are concerned, the utmost circumspection in disposing of them. Difficult, however, as the arrangement of these details must necessarily prove, I look upon them as small in comparison with the chief question of the Bill—namely, the maintenance or abolition of an international Church Establishment, opposed to those principles of religious equality for which the Liberals of all classes in this country have ever contended, and which they view as the sole permanent basis of peace and unity. The existing position of that Church is, in point of fact, so unprecedented elsewhere, so unique of its kind in both past and present history, and comprises so many varied anomalies, that no one, I imagine, would ever think of answering in the affirmative the query invariably put by writers of the Press and others on the subject as to whether the foundation of a similar institution would be possible in these days. To appreciate thoroughly the spirit of heartburnings and grievances which it has always excited among those whose interests have been affected by it, one has need to trace the Irish Church step by step from its origin as a recognized Establishment in the earlier times, when it was in accordance with the faith of the country, through many a scene of political iutrigue and mismanagement, to 1560, when the spread of the Reformation placed it in overt and acknowledged opposition to the great bulk of the population. How united and how earnest was the struggle then and for long years to come on the part of all classes no one who has read Irish history can ignore; but repudiated as it has been ever since, and even clown to our times continued to be, by the people, can we look at it as other than a prominent cause of alienation from England in their hearts, and a terrible contradiction to that wise truth enunciated by Lord Eldon, "That the union of Church and State is not to make the Church political, but the State religious?" In saying thus much I do not wish to over-state the case, which 70 is already sufficiently strong on its own grounds. I do not imply, much less assert, that the settlement of the Church question is the only Balm of Gilead. I am not so sanguine as to expect that all wounds will thereby be cicatrized, all grievances allayed thenceforth and for ever. Many other points will remain nt issue, calling for nice adjustment and delicate handling; but we all know the envenomed nature of so-called religious differences, how they militate against those feelings of justice and harmony which alone make legislation fit to endure and to be endured, and how, more than any others, they exemplify the "rarity of Christian charity under the sun." And, while I entertain the strongest conviction that in this instance justice and expediency work hand in hand in calling for a change, I am unable, I own, to attach much weight to the arguments brought forward on the other side. My Lords, I cannot and I do not believe that the disestablishment in Ireland will effect even remotely the Established Church in England. No parallel, it appears to me, can be drawn between them, except for the sake of contempt. They stand upon completely separate grounds. They differ in sundry minor but by no means unimportant matters of detail as to government and discipline, and in their practical working it is almost impossible to allow adequately for the enormous differences which exist between them. The Church of England is English—the Church of Englishmen recognizing the language and nationality of its members. Ignorance of English is a bar to preferment to an English living, and ignorance of Welsh is a similar bar where Welsh is commonly spoken. The Irish language and nation are ignored by the Establishment in Ireland. Above all, there is this terrible fact, that the Anglican Church in Ireland numbers only 12 per cent of the population; it is rejected by the mass of Irishmen, who regard it as a Church hostile to themselves, and endowed with the spoils of their own ancient Church. I Where, my Lords, shall we find a parallel to this in England, or, indeed, in any other country? I must, moreover, call your attention to the fact that in insisting on the differences between the two Churches, I am only dwelling upon what has been repeated by recognized by Parliament as forming the basis of their separate treatment. Sir John Nicoll, then the chief ecclesiastical Judge in England, on May, 30, 1623, insisted that the Preamble of the Tithes 71 Bill should be altered by the Irish Secretary so as to express those differences. Sir John Nicoll said—This Bill would be highly objectionable in England, but the case might be different as it affects Ireland. The circumstances of the two parts of the kingdom are widely different. They stood in this respect rather in contrast than parallel to each other.In 1833 William IV. thus addressed his Parliament—In the further reforms that may be necessary you will probably find that, though the Established Church of Ireland is by law permanently united with that of England, the peculiarities in their respective circumstances will require a separate legislation.My Lords, it has been declared that in assenting to the disestablishment of the Irish Church the Coronation Oath would be violated. But might not the same charge have been preferred with greater justice against Queen Elizabeth when she put down the Roman Catholic Church, which she found established by the legislation of her predecessor? Prescription, too, is strongly urged as a plea for the maintenance of the Establishment, and that, no doubt, is a strong argument when the property of individuals is concerned; but with regard to the property of corporate bodies Parliament has always recognized a distinction. On this point I may cite the opinion of Lord Althorpe, who was once the Colleague of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby)—He admitted that it was very dangerous to assert any principle which interfered with any established right of property. He could not, however, admit that there was any analogy between Church property and that of corporations, and still less was there any between it and the property of private individuals which comes to them by inheritance. In the case of the holders of Church property, they obtained their rights neither by inheritance nor purchase, but by the arbitrary choice of the Crown, or of certain individuals who held the light of appointing them.Tithes have thus been altered and ministers' money abolished, yet none of these measures have had the slightest effect upon the Church of England, which, on the contrary, has of late wonderfully improved in zeal and efficiency. If the Church is disestablished, it seems to me that upon its own behaviour it will mainly depend whether its proper influence, both spiritual and temporal, be impaired or diminished. The Roman Catholic Church has maintained its powers under disestablishment and persecution; whereas the Anglican Church in Ireland will have no political restrictions, no penal laws affect- 72 ing its life and liberty. The fault must clearly be with its ministers if it fails henceforth to hold its place as a Christian Church in the land. The time, indeed, appears at hand when such a concession to that spirit of progress which characterizes the age in which we live can scarcely be evaded. Religious equality is every day becoming more and more a necessity in Ireland. As education increases so does the knowledge of national wrongs and the determination to redress them. As wealth augments among Roman Catholics so does the self-respect which protests against the ascendancy of the creed of the minority. Roman Catholics have been admitted to offices of trust and rank, and their loyalty to the Government is not doubted. They feel that while the Church Establishment exists a standing insult is offered to their faith. They complain of what Archbishop Whately once described as "the sort of insult implied by the spectacle of an endowed clergyman whose flock was not of his persuasion." The very temperate declaration of Roman Catholic laymen against the Establishment was signed by nearly every Roman Catholic Peer, Member of Parliament, and large landed proprietor. If this appeal, backed as it is by such large majorities in the House of Commons, be not listened to, a fresh opportunity will be afforded to the enemies of British rule to urge the uselessness of appeals to the Legislature for the redress of Irish wrongs. The justice of the claim of nearly 5,000,000 of Roman Catholics to equality is undoubted, and the expediency of acceding to it indisputable. Let us, then, beware how we ignore the one and deny the others. The Act of 1689 for abolishing prelacy in Scotland, commenced with this Preamble—Whereas the Estates of this Kingdom in their claim of right declared that prelacy is and hath been a great and insupportable grievance to the nation, and contrary to the inclinations of the people, &c, the King and Queen's Majesties do declare that they will settle that Church government in this kingdom which is most agreeable to the inclinations of the people, &c.That Act gave peace and prosperity to Scotland. Let me entreat your Lord ships to imitate the wise policy of your ancestors, and no longer to oppose a measure which is ardently desired by the people of Ireland.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
My Lords, I must apologize for intruding on your Lordships' attention when there are so many other Members of the House who 73 can address you with far greater ability than I can do; but I feel strongly on this question, and therefore wish briefly to express my opinion upon it. I oppose this. Bill on two grounds, I hold it tube unjust, unfair, and inexpedient to disestablish and disendow the Irish Church. Even, however, if I thought such a policy just and expedient, I should equally object to the second reading of this Bill on the ground that this is neither the time nor the manner it which the question should be dealt with. I wish, as far as possible, to avoid any acrimonious feeling, and your Lordships know that I am not a violent partizan; but I must say that if there have been any party or acrimonious feeling on either side of the House the blame does not he with the Government or its supporters—it must rest with those who have brought forward this question at a time when they knew—and indeed acknowledged—that it could not be settled. Now, it has been urged that it is unjust that Roman Catholics should have to support a clergy to whose religion they are opposed. The answer to that assertion is this—that nine-tenths of the income of the Church in Ireland comes out of the pockets of Protestant landlords. As to the right of the State to interfere with Church property, I admit that Parliament has the same right to interfere with it as with the property of any other corporate body; but though I listened attentively to the speech of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Romilly), I failed to understand what distinction there is between property belonging to the Irish Church and that belonging to any other corporation, so far as the right is concerned. The State interferes, no doubt, with corporate property when it has been wrongly applied; and even with private property in the case of railways and public improvements, but it does so only when the public good requires it. Now, I cannot see that such a case for interference exists with regard to the Irish Chinch. It has been urged, indeed, that that Church has failed in its mission; but I think it has been shown by the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Armagh) that the contrary is the fact. If I wanted independent evidence, it is not from the Irish Church—it is not from this side of the House—I would seek it. I would apply to the candour of the noble Earl who addressed us from the opposite side last night (the Earl of Clarendon), and who read to us a paragraph in which it was stated that the Irish clergymen as a body have nobly 74 done their duty. If that is not sufficient, I would appeal to another noble Earl opposite, who some time ago thought it not beneath his dignity to preside at a meeting in St. James's Hall (Earl Russell). I have not the speech of the noble Earl by me, and therefore if I misquote him I hope he will correct me. As I understand, he snid he had always been of opinion, and was still of opinion—whatever the alteration which his other sentiments might have undergone—that the Irish Church had promoted religion and morality in Ireland, Well, my Lords, if that is the case, do you mean to tell me that the Irish Church, which has always promoted religion and morality in Ireland, has not fulfilled its mission? The noble Earl went on at that meeting to say—But there is another principle which I have discovered, and which to my mind is superior to religion and morality, and that principle is equality.I hope I have not misquoted the noble Earl. I read his speech with great regret to think that at the close of his official and useful career he should have made such a statement. At the same time his statement was gratifying to me, in so far as it went to show that the Irish Church had fulfilled its mission. There is another argument I in favour of this measure to which I shall address myself for a few moments. It is, that the Irish Church is a badge of conquest. Now, on an excitable, generous, and noble people like the Irish that statement is calculated to have a great effect; but I deny it. I deny that the Established Church of Ireland was introduced by the conquest of that country. In 1172 Henry II., instigated by Pope Adrian, conquered Ireland, which up to that time possessed an independent Church. The Roman Catholic Church was then brought into Ireland, and the Reformation only replaced the Church which had existed before the conquest. The noble Earl who spoke last, to use a vulgar expression, "let the cat out of the bag." He said the vote your Lordships are called upon to come to to-night is not as to this Bill, but is a vote of "Aye" or "No" on the question whether you will preserve or destroy the Irish Church. Therefore, my Lords, let us clearly understand what it is we are about to vote upon. We have been threatened, we have been warned, we have been told that we must not put ourselves in opposition to the majority in "another place;" but, my Lords, with all due respect to that 75 majority—and no one has a higher respect for the House of Commons than I have—I do say this, that I do not think we ought to regulate our votes solely and entirely by the opinion of any House of Commons that may be in existence. And, with regard to this majority in "another place," it is a majority that has condemned itself. It has committed what I may describe as the greatest weakness a public body can be guilty of. It may be right or it may be wrong, but it has committed political suicide. It has destroyed itself, and it has placed on the Journals and Votes of the House of Commons its deliberate opinion that it does not represent, as at present constituted, the feelings and wishes of the; people of England. It has written that on the page of history, and it has therefore declared that it is incompetent to deal with any measure of importance, and much less with a measure of such transcendent importance as that for the destruction of the Irish Church. My Lords, there may be grievances and anomalies, and if there be by all means let them be considered and removed at the proper time; but it will be a gracious act of your Lordships' House towards the country and the new House of Commons to give them an opportunity of saying whether or not they are in favour of the destruction of an Establishment which has existed for at least three centuries. My Lords, I never gave a vote with a clearer conscience than the one I shall give to-night, nor did I ever give one with more hope than I now entertain that Parliament will hand down to the remotest posterity of Irishmen the blessing which our ancestors conferred upon Ireland.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
My Lords, I listened to the speech of the noble Duke who has just sat down (the Duke of Rutland) as I listened to the other speeches addressed to your Lordships from that side of the House, with the greatest attention. I can assure noble Lords on that side of the House that no one can be more anxious; than I am that this House should not place itself in a false position with regard to a question which is of great importance now, and which promises to become still more so in the future. The subject of the Irish Church is undoubtedly opening upon us; and I therefore at once ask your Lordships; whether you are determined to stand by that Church as it is now? Now, my Lords, I venture to say that this is a serious question. You noble Lords on the Go- 76 vernment side of the House have been for many years under the Leadership of the noble Earl lately at the head of the Administration. I admire the ability and I respect the character of that noble Earl. In my opinion he has every qualification for the Leader of a great party—except judgment. He led you through the campaign in support of the Corn Laws, and since then through campaigns on other great questions; but what has become of your glorious majorities and your "No surrender?" I ask you now, not in a party spirit, but as a Member of your Lordships' House, to calmly consider what position you are going to take up on this Irish Church question. Do you mean to say that you will stand by the Irish Church exactly as it is? I believe not. As far as I can understand what has fallen from Members of the Government they say this—" We will not stand by the present distribution of the revenues of the Irish Church; but we hold that those revenues should be applied for the purposes of that Church." That, I think, is your position. The noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) would take all those revenues, put them in a common fund, and divide them among different religious denominations. But the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees warned us against the sacrilege we were about to commit. It was quite frightful to hear the sins with which he charged us. But, for myself, I must say that I am not in any way responsible for this Bill; and as regards the Resolutions neither am I responsible for them. But this Bill has come to us, and you, at least, on the opposite side of the House ought to be very glad to have it, and for this reason—that you made a great complaint because the Resolutions of the House of Commons were not laid before you. You said, "Why should we not have them? they ought to be laid before us. Let us have them, and deal with them, and discuss them," said the right rev. Prelates;—who, no doubt, were very eager to discuss the question. Now you can discuss it and you ought to be very much obliged to the Gentleman in the House of Commons who, with what prudence I will not say, have sent you up this Bill to discuss. You have got the whole question before you. The Bill prevents the creation of any new vested interests. Well, my Lords, for thirty years I have voted for a large reduction in the Irish Church, and I believe it would be well if we had carried that mea- 77 sure years ago. I was reminded of the debate on the Appropriation Clause when listening to the speech of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby), for he recalled many phrases which struck me as: familiar. The noble Earl had evidently been ransacking some of his old pigeon-holes, for he brought out the very arguments which did duty in 1836 or there abouts, and he told us what opinions were entertained by Lord Palmerston in 1828. In the year 1828 those arguments did very well, but are they gravely to be put forward in the present day? I regretted that the noble Earl should have taken this line, and regretted it the more because nobody admires the ability of the noble Earl more than I do. It has been said that whoever votes for this Bill must be in favour of entire disestablishment and disendowment. Now, the Bill, as far as it goes, contains neither disestablishment nor disendowment. Disendowment was not even in the Resolutions, and in Mr. Gladstone's introductory statement the disendowment was very limited. The great fault found with his speech by many persons was this—" You are going to make a great change in the Irish Church, and at the same time you propose to allow three-fifths or two-thirds of its property to remain in the hands of the Church." But that proposal is not in the present Bill; there is nothing like it in the present Bill. What the scheme of distribution may be I confess I do not know, for I have not seen it. ["Hear, hear!"] I admit it; I admit that I do not know what the scheme is, and that I am not prepared to discuss it. ["Hear, hear "] I have not heard, up to the present, of any one who is prepared to discuss it. ["Hear, hear!"] All I have heard is the proposal that three-fifths or two-thirds of the property of the Church shall still remain to it, and that all vested interests are to be respected. I admit to the full the great difficulties of this question. I heard the speech of the right rev. Prolate (the Bishop of London) last night; it was a very able speech, and I agree with; a good deal of it. It showed the great difficulties of the question, and that before dealing with this subject we must consider it much more completely. At the same time I say this Bill has a value; and for this reason—it is a declaration to the people of Ireland that we are prepared to consider it. If you come to details, I admit there are great difficulties in any Bill. I cannot conceive myself how such a 78 scheme is to work. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, I am willing to admit the difficulties which must attend the carrying out such a scheme. That was the reason which induced me to rise; I am not going to make a party speech. But you say that this Bill is brought forward with a party motive; that we want to turn you out and to get upon those Benches ourselves. I at least do not want to get into that place of humiliation I assure you that I enjoy myself very much more upon this side of the House, in freedom, than I ever did upon those Benches. But to return to this Bill and the scheme of disestablishment. Under it we are invited to deal will the Church in this way—If a Bishop dies he is not to be replaced, or if the incumbent of a parish dies he is not to be replaced; but vested interests, as long as they continue, are to be preserved. Therefore, in one diocese a Bishop may live for thirty years—and I hope that many of them will live for the next thirty years—and retain full jurisdiction, while the very next see may be vacant the whole time. In the same way one parish may have its incumbent performing his duties for the next thirty or forty years, while in the adjoining parish the voluntary principle perforce will be at work. As far as I can see, the whole state of transition is one that is intolerable. If it is to be carried out it must be by some different arrangement; but what that is to be I confess I do not know. I will take another case—that of the noble Lord the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. I will suppose him attending with all his state, and with that great courtesy and ability which never fail to distinguish him, at some important gathering. By his side, and on his right hand, there will be a Roman Catholic Archbishop in the place of honour, and some simple Protestant will naturally ask, "Where is our Archbishop?" "Oh, the Protestant Archbishop"—the reply will be—"he was abolished some time ago." Now, to my mind, that is anything but religious equality. I do not understand how religious equality is to be insured; I see so many difficulties in the way, and questions of such magnitude, and so calculated to excite the feelings and passions of men. But it is, I think, most important that we should show to our Irish fellow-subjects that we are ready to entertain conciliatory measures. I confess that if I were in the midst of a Protestant community, and saw all the revenues going to the 79 Catholic hierarchy, I should view such a process with the greatest jealousy and dislike. And why should I do to my Catholic fellow-subjects that which I should never willingly endure myself? I do not want, to take up your Lordships' time with details of a scheme which is not practically before us; but I do wish to urge that in dealing with a question like this the House of Lords ought to take a large view, and show that they are willing to give it fair consideration, without favouring or offending either Protestant or Roman Catholic. The most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Armagh) told us how matters had been managed in Ireland some years ago. He showed most clearly that the State bad robbed the Church of an immense amount of revenue. I never heard a stronger case made out against the State, or the conduct of the State from the time of Elizabeth to the present day more bitterly denounced than by the right rev. Primate. My Lords, I will not trouble you with further observations, but whenever the real question comes before us, I hope we shall be able to view it in a spirit of justice towards the Irish people.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I must say that I hope the position of the noble Duke upon the other side of the House, which contributes so much to his enjoyment as well as ours, will continue; and I hope the noble Duke will long retain the means of enjoyment which he is so happy to possess. I listened with great interest to his speech, but the only impression left upon my mind was somewhat perplexing; for, as I understood him, it was; his opinion that this Bill was absurd, could not possibly work, and would produce effects of the most ludicrous character, yet I that it was absolutely necessary for the credit of your Lordships' House that you, should pass the Bill without delay. Of, course, I am not as old a Member of this House as the noble Duke, and I do not know in what way the credit of your Lordships' House may be best maintained; but my impression is that, unless the nature of the people of England has altered very much within the last few days, their opinion of your Lordships' House will be increased rather than diminished by your refusing to pass a Bill which is declared, even by those who are friendly to it, to be absurd and unworkable. The noble Duke's speech was distinguished by one peculiarity for which I heartily thank him, and that is that he did discuss the Bill before the 80 House; whereas the noble Earl who opened this debate (Earl Granville) appeared to show a steady and ostentatious contempt for the Bill which he was introducing to your Lordships' notice. He discussed everything in Europe and out of Europe—he went to England, to Scotland, to Canada, among all his foreign friends, but I could not hear one single observation about the Bill submitted to your Lordships except that he thought there might be a great many plausible things said against it. Now a Bill introduced to your Lordships under such auspices I think requires some careful weighing before you proceed to vote upon it on grounds wholly unconnected with it, and not contained within the four corners of its clauses. The truth is this:—The Bill professes to be one to leave the question open for the decision of the new Parliament. But there is a well-recognized and well-understood means of leaving a question of this kind open for consideration. Whenever a Royal Commission pronounces itself unfavourably to any institution or in favour of alterations, there is a form of Act we constantly pass if we wish to leave ourselves free to confirm those conclusions, and that form of Act is perfectly well known to those who are now promoting this measure. It would gain for them all they desire—its simplicity is extraordinary, and it is this—" After the passing of this Act any person who accepts any office in such and such an institution shall be understood to hold the office and receive its emoluments subject to the pleasure of Parliament." You have done that in connection with the public schools; you have done that this very Session with respect to the endowed schools; and I do not hesitate to say that if, after the vote of the House of Commons, such a Bill had come up to your Lordships' House, I should have felt there was no course open to us but to pass it. It is quite clear that the vote of the House of Commons is at least as important as a decision of a Royal Commission; and I am sure your Lordships would have been very ready to pay that deference to the opinion of the Mouse of Commons which consists in leaving a question unprejudiced for the decision of a future Parliament. But, knowing that this was the ordinary course, having these precedents before them, the promoters of the Bill have deliberately set them aside; they have adopted measures which several right rev. Prelates have shown will, if carried, produce the greatest confusion in 81 the actual administration of the Church of Ireland; and I can conclude only that they desire something totally different from leaving this question entirely unprejudiced for a future Parliament. I can conclude only that they desire by a side wind and in an indirect way to procure the sanction of your Lordships to the large measure of change which they contemplate. That being the only interpretation to be put upon the very unsatisfactory and remarkable provisions of this Bill, I must ask myself before I vote for it, what does it intend to do? What are these changes which I am asked vaguely and indefinitely to sanction without having them in any shape before me? Well, my Lords, I have heard allusions to various plans for, disestablishment without disendowment; I watched the noble Earl the late Foreign Secretary (the Earl of Clarendon) last night, and I remarked he was very chary of the word "disendewment." But on the solitary occasion when he mentioned it he favoured us with some remarkable information; he said that two-thirds—the greater part of the property was to be left to the Irish Church. My noble Friend who ordinarily sits near me (the Earl of Carnarvon) made to-night a very remarkable and able speech. He stated his intention distinctly that he would vote for disestablishment, but that he was not prepared, except to an apparently very limited extent, to vote for disendowment. I do not know what such schemes may be worth we have not them before us, and I have not seen them stated in the papers; when they are laid before us I shall be ready to examine them: but they have nothing to do with the Bill before us. This Bill is founded on certain Resolutions which state in the most distinct and absolute way that disestablishment is the object of Mr. Gladstone, who has stated as much in his speeches. In language which can leave nothing to desire from its completeness, he has assorted that every vestige of property, except, I think, Sir Benjamin Guinness's endowment, is to be taken from the Church of Ireland. Now, my noble Friend (the Earl of Carnarvon) made many observations this evening in which I entirely concur, if I understood him rightly, as to the, unwisdom under present circumstances of what is called a pure no-surrender policy, Personally, if I consulted my own disposition, I should have no objection to fight, à outrance; but I confess, from the ex- 82 perience I have had, my inclination is to say, "How can you expect to hold the fortress; it's no use holding out, for the troops won't stand to their guns?" Therefore, my Lords, if there were any intermediate proposal before the House, I should doubt whether I should assent to it or not—of course, everything depends upon its provisions. I should esteem any Minister who voted against his convictions in support of such a proposal wanting in self-respect, but I should not say that any Member of your Lordships' House, who cannot escape from responsibility by resigning, was debarred from modifying his convictions in deference to a great public exigency. But these questions do not arise upon the present occasion. None of that very eloquent diatribe which my noble Friend delivered egainst those who stand out for a no-surrender policy applies in this instance. Nothing in the nature of a compromise—nothing which the most flattering critic I would describe as a compromise—has been offered to the acceptance of either House of Parliament. My Lords, we are told that to agree in time is to prevent a demand for something more. But I have; no doubt that those who brought forward this proposal would have already demanded something more if they had been able to find it. I do not doubt their possible power so far as political action is concerned; but there is this limit in the nature of things, that when you have abolisbed a thing you can do nothing more with it; and it is an absolute and complete spoliation that Mr. Gladstone has offered to the Irish Church. The noble Duke who has just sat down (the Duke of Somerset), I told us that two-thirds of its property were to be left to the Irish Church. Two-thirds of the property Why, I heard Mr. Gladstone make his calculations, and I think it was three-fifths of the property I that were to be left to the clergymen of the Church. These are very estimable gentlemen: I am glad that some provision is to be made for them it would be a great breach of the rights of private property if some were not made. But as a promise of consolation to the Church of Ireland it is absolutely worthless. It is a, matter of perfect indifference to the Church of Ireland whether the present holders of livings are compensated or not. Therefore, my Lords, I want to make this point very I clear. We are dealing with a Bill which, I in the first place its own advocates will not 83 defend; in the second place, with a proposition as large, as extreme, and as sweeping ns it is possible for human or radical ingenuity to devise. Now, my Lords, on what grounds is this great change recommended? Wo are told that they are two—that one of them is justice, the other rests upon considerations of expediency. Now, whenever we argue that this thing is dangerous to some other interests—dangerous to the Union and to the Church—we are met with the assertion, "It is just;" and because it is just, we are told we must do it, come what may. Well, let us examine this plea of justice. Let me, in the first instance, take exception to a species of testimony with which I may say we have been inundated. I think it may be called the "foreign-friend argument." Several! noble Lords on the opposite Bench, having a large foreign acquaintance, have given us the views of their friends in abundance—as if that were the proper argument to offer to an English Parliament; they have told us the opinions held in society they have been accustomed to frequent; and they say so and so is held to be what the House of Lords should do. Well, my Lords, I listened to the opinion of these foreign friends, and I found that the late Foreign:. Secretary (the Earl of Clarendon) was much smitten by the article of an illustrious writer in the Revue des Deux Mondes. None would be wanting in respect for that i illustrious writer; but among his claims for our respect we must remember that he can boast of this characteristic, that he is a most earnest believer in the Church in which he was brought up, and that Church is the Roman Catholic. I must say that if England were judged on the "foreign-friend" ground—on the principles put forward by this critic in the Revue des Deux Mondes, there are many actions in our history that would be very severely condemned. I even doubt whether my I noble Friend's critic in the Revue des Deux Mondes could entirely approve the English Reformation. Now, my Lords, when you come to talk of justice in holding property, it is a question of title. If my right to my land is good, it is absurd to say there would be justice in taking it from me and giving it to somebody else. Therefore the question of justice resolves itself into an examination of the title by which the property is held. No one says, as I understand, that this title is bad. If it be bad, the property vests in some one else. But we have no second claimant for this property 84 with which it is proposed to deal. One of the greatest difficulties lying before yon in this case is the way in which this property shall be applied if it be taken. I do not understand that anyone has disputed that in a Court of Law the Church's title to this property is good; but there appears to be some idea in the minds of noble Lords, either that the Church is different from other corporations, or that there is something weak in the title of corporations which exposes them to peculiar operations of this kind. I am fully aware of the I power of phrases judiciously used. The noble Earl who introduced this Bill (Earl Granville) told us that the existing state of things was the paying of the clergy of a minority out of a public fund. I have heard again that fund called public property. These are very significant phrases. Whenever anybody wants to rob his neighbour of anything he always says the thing he covets is national property. I speak for a moment as a Railway Chairman when I say I have heard somebody lately assert that railways are national property: and I f have heard the assertion with alarm. Where is the title of this national property? Will you find it in any deed, in any charter, in. any statute book, or in any treatises of law? No. You will not find it in any of these; things. It has simply been evolved from the innermost depths of the Liberal consciousness. There is not the slightest vestige of external proof in favour of this claim on the part of the nation to dispose of this property. There is, indeed, only one claim advanced, and that is that in past times violent Sovereigns and unscrupulous Parliaments have dealt with Church property in the manner that best pleased their violent passions or inclinations, and you conclude that because it has once been subjected to violence you have the right to resort to violence again. But, beyond the fact that this property may have been violently dealt with at different portions of our history, you have no argument which I you can urge in favour of what you call its peculiarly national character. Well, there were some noble Lords who apparently felt the weakness of these arguments, and were alive to the absolute impossibility of proving that the title by which the Church of Ireland holds its property is different from that by which the property of any other corporation is held, and, boldly supplying the link which is missing, they told us that the property of corporations was at the pleasure of Parliament. 85 The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) told us that the State was the heir of corporations such as the Irish Church. Unfortunately the State appears to have a power which many heirs may envy—that of killing off the possessors of the property which it desires to inherit. Now, my Lords, I can only say with regard to such statements as these that they are based upon a code of law which is totally new in this country. Do not imagine that you can perpetrate this illogical violence, and then go no further than you originally intended. I can quite believe that you intend to go no further; but others will take up the principles which yon have started, and drive in the wedge which you were the first to insert, and the result will, be that you will be led into consequences from which you, I believe, would be the first to shrink with alarm. But there is one peculiarity in this position to which I think the corporations of this country should have their attention called. It is bad enough that the supposed perpetuity of corporations should be entirely abolished; it is bad enough that it should be laid down that the State is the heir to the property of a corporation which it may destroy at any moment, or as any party exigency may arise. But observe the peculiarity of this case. It is not because the property has been abused—it is not because its trusts have not been fulfilled—it is not because; in some cases its trusts have become impossible of fulfilment; that might be remedied by a much more moderate measure—it is not because its means are required by other classes; but it is because a certain body of men grudge and envy those now in possession of this property that you are prepared to take it away by force. But how far do you intend to carry this right of dispossession and to yield to demands dictated by feelings of grudge and envy? Now, my Lords, I do not wish to push too far the analogy between corporate and private property. I am willing to acknowledge the very great difference, the existence of which every one must see; but I feel convinced that if you familiarize the minds of the people of this country with the idea of yielding to the mere display of discontent, and the mere ostentation of envy, you will cause injury to property otherwise secure, and it is not with corporate property that this principle will end. So much, then, for the question of justice. The other question is one of expediency. We are told that this 86 Church is unpopular, and that the Irish, will not be pacified until it is destroyed. But there are other matters which it is equally important to consider. You have been informed to-night by a most rev. Primate who is fully qualified to judge (the Archbishop of Armagh) that the abolition of this Church will be followed by great discontent in the North of Ireland; that it will be followed by a large emigration that Ireland will lose a large proportion of that already too scanty class—the resident landlords within her border. But you cannot stop here. You talk of the immovable loyalty of the Orange population. Now, my Lords, I do not believe in such a thing as immovable loyalty. I believe that if you commit a deep and glaring injustice upon any portion of the population, however loyal, they will nourish in their breasts feelings of resentment which will not, perhaps, break out into open disturbances, but which will still be in the highest degree disastrous to the country, which will find their support wanting in the hour of its need. I would ask your Lordships to put yourselves in the place of some Protestant congregation in Dublin or the North. Hitherto the Protestants have paid willingly to the Protestant clergyman the tithes to which he has had a right from time immemorial. Without asking for any change, they suddenly find the clergyman taken away, the money hitherto devoted to his support bestowed upon the erection of a lighthouse or some other similar work, while they themselves are called upon to contribute towards the support of a minister who ought to have been supported out of the money already contributed by them. It would not be in human nature to bear this contentedly. I have spoken of Ireland and the Church of Ireland to-night, but these are mere expressions, having no ethnological and scarcely any historical value. The Ireland which you assume for the purposes of the present argument is not the Ireland of the Union; because, if you take all the country together, and take it as one nation, your alarming statistics will at once disappear, because the Church of England will still be the majority. On the other hand, if you regard the country in its true ethnological aspect, you will make out no case whatever in that part of the country where the Protestants prevail. In fact, it is simply by lumping the Protestant and Roman Catholic portions of Ireland together, and by cutting off England altoge- 87 ther, that you contrive to make up these formidable statistics. But if you so disregard the connection between the two countries, and embody that feeling in an Act of Parliament, you will find persons perfectly willing to follow your principle to the logical result of severing all connection between the two countries; and in the hour of your trial you will find the Orangemen, who have hitherto been so strong a support, very little inclined to exert themselves in defence or in promotion of an arrangement which has been attended by such bitter fruits to them. Then come the arguments about the Church of England. I agree with my noble Friend that the cry of "the Church in danger" is a cry of too serious a character to be lightly raised. I do not want to press that point, but I wish to know what you will do in the case of Wales and Cornwall, for instance, where the Church of England is in a great minority? It may not be a case of 12 per cent—but I suppose legislation does not depend upon fractions—but it is a case of great minorities. If you once acknowledge the principle that the Church is to be disestablished whenever it is in a minority, how can you resist the application of the argument to Wales and Cornwall? You may say that this Bill will have no effect upon the Church of England: but has it not had an effect already? In every part of the country the people are beginning to feel that the Church Establishment is not so safe as it was. This is alike the feeling of the clergy and of the people, and both are beginning to prepare against the issue. And in what way do they prepare themselves? How does a Church suddenly turned into the wilderness prepare to protect itself? Why, its first instinct is to protect itself by a strong development of sacerdotal organization—by a strong and powerful clerical organization. This, perhaps, may not be a great evil in a spiritual point of view; but I know there are many among your Lordships who will regret it. That will infallibly become more and more characteristic of the members of the Church of England when they begin to feel that their connection with the State is a mere question of time, and that, therefore, they must prepare themselves for the evil day. This danger has not been much alluded to, and I feel the way in which this attack is organizing the clergy, is one of the most formidable difficulties of the present time. Well, but then comes the policy of conciliating the Irish. Your 88 proposals seems to be to still the waters of this agitating time, as the ancient Greeks were wont to do, by offering up a victim to the avenging Deities; but are you quite sure that the avenging Deities are prepared to accept your offering? I have heard many elaborate attempts to prove that Fenianism is the true necessity that has caused this movement. But is it not an extraordinary phenomenon that for the first time in the history of rebellions you have rebels who do not know the real motive which is the cause of their rebellion? This is the age of rebellions—we have seen them in all countries—but I have never before heard of one where they were at a loss to state the grievances they desired to see removed. You tell us that though the Fenians never raised a cry against the Established Church, it is the Established Church which is really at the bottom of their agitation. It is impossible to conceal from ourselves that something very different is at the bottom of the Fenian movement; and I suspect when the Irish people hear that many Liberal landlords have joined in this attack on the Irish Church, they will say the reason is that they think they will save themselves by making the parson their Jonah, and thowing him overboard. My Lords, it is against the land, and not against the Church, that this Fenian agitation is really directed. You offer them that they do not ask for; you offer them that which will not pacify them. Talk of the monuments of conquest—the landlord is a much more complete monument of conquest than the clergyman. The clergyman does not hurt the peasant; if the clergyman be taken away, the peasant would be no richer, but rather poorer; but the landlord holds the property which the peasant, in his traditions, well remembers once to have belonged to his sept. If you seek to appease the danger by mere concession—if you yield to the mere demands of anger—or, to use the euphemistic language we have heard—if Fenian outrages are to make you reason calmly and dispassionately—it is to the landlord, and not to the clergyman, that you should really turn your attention. My Lords, I have only one; word more to say, and it is with respect to the position of this House. We have heard from the opposite Bench several very animated appeals to this House, and several constitutional lectures as to our duties. The noble Earl the late Foreign Secretary (the Earl of Clarendon) went so far, as I understood him, as to tell us that we must 89 watch public opinion more closely, and pay greater attention to the majorities in the other House of Parliament. My Lords, it occurs to me to ask the noble Earl whether he has considered for what purpose this House exists, and whether he would be willing to go through the humiliation of being a mere echo and supple tool of the other House in order to secure for himself the luxury of mock legislation? I agree with my noble Friend the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) below me that it were better not to be than submit to such a. slavery. I have heard many prophecies as to the conduct of this House. I am not blind to the difficulties of its position in this peculiar age—I am not blind to the peculiar obligations which lie on the Members of this House in consequence of the fixed and unalterable constitution of this House. I quite admit—everyone must admit—that when the opinion of your countrymen has declared itself, and you see that their convictions—their firm, deliberate, sustained convictions—are in favour of any course, I do not for a moment deny that it is your duty to yield. It may not be a pleasant process—it may even make some of you wish that some other arrangement were existing; but it is quite clear that whereas a Member of a Government, when asked to do that which is contrary to his convictions, may resign, and a Member of the Commons, when asked to support any measure contrary to his convictions, may abandon his seat, no such course as this is open to your Lordships; and therefore, on these rare and great occasions, on which the national mind has fully declared itself, I do not doubt your Lordships would yield to the opinion of the country—otherwise the machinery of Government could not be carried on. But there is an enormous step between that and being the mere echo of the House of Commons. My Lords, I quite admit that the difficulty of ascertaining the opinion of the country may be great. Perhaps no more striking instance of that ever occurred than in reference to this very question thirty years ago. The tide then ran very strongly against the Irish Church. Popular opinion appeared to be pronounced. The House of Commons acted upon it, and sent up Bills to this House which your Lordships systematically objected. And in course of time it turned out that you were right—that you knew the opinion of the nation better than the House of Commons. The nation became apathetic, the question slept, and for a whole generation we have 90 heard no more of the Irish Church. That is a proof at once of the difficulty of deciding what is the opinion of the nation, and of the duty incumbent on your Lordships of taking your course not less with firmness than with prudence. I have no fear of the conduct of the House of Lords in this respect. I am quite sure—whatever judgment may be passed on us, whatever predictions may be made, be your term of existence long or short—you will never consent to act except as a free, independent House of the Legislature, and that you will consider any other more timid or subservient course as at once unworthy of your traditions, unworthy of your honour, and, most of all, unworthy of the nation you serve. I admit that the future is full of difficulty, and that on many questions of doubt and perplexity which may be submitted to the House your prudence and judgment may be sorely taxed; but I am quite clear that with respect to this Bill, so vague, unmeaning, ill-constructed, and having behind it projects of change so vast, so crude, so sweeping, your Lordships can have but one duty, and that is to reject it.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
I am anxious, my Lords, to say a few words before I vote, as it is -my intention to do, in favour of this Bill; but I must be allowed, in the first instance, to read a letter I have received from one of the gentlemen who signed the Petition I presented the other evening. He says—It may be worth while just to mention that there are, in fact, very few 'unattached' clergymen among the petitioners. Nearly half are beneficed incumbents—a very good proportion. Then there is a more than usual proportion of schoolmasters and College tutors, if the Bishop of Oxford prefers to see them there, and a somewhat smaller than usual proportion of curates. Those actually 'unattached' are a small handful. In theology I imagine that the large majority are 'moderate' men.I must also read a few words from a letter which I have received from a gentleman whose trustworthiness I can answer for. He says—With reference to the observations made on the subject of the Petition against the Irish Church Establishment presented by your Lordship last Tuesday, I have reason to know the views of the Petitioners are shared by several clergymen of the Irish Church. It always requires great and exceptional moral courage for the members of a corporation—more especially of a religious corporation—to express opinions unfavourable to its character or existence. The silence, therefore, of Liberal Irish clergymen on this subject is by no means to be taken as a proof that they do not share the views of their English brethren who signed the Petition in question. A brother-in- 91 law of mine—an Irish clergyman of great ability and popularity as a preacher—wrote to me some time ago, expressing his strongest sympathy with Mr. Gladstone's Resolutions, but adding that if he expressed those views publicly in Ireland such an outcry would be raised against him by his brethren that he rather shrank from saying anything about the matter. He has recently written to me again, saying, 'I find several neighbouring clergymen agreeing with me that it is the only hope for the future welfare of our Church that the millstone of the Establishment, and all its corruptions and scandals, should be cast off.' I think it is a fair conclusion that, if he could find several clergymen in his own neighbourhood holding such views, there must be a considerable number of Irish clergymen altogether who are in favour of disestablishment. That they are timid in the expression of their views is but natural under the circumstances.My Lords, I shall vote in favour of this measure because, from the circumstances attending it, from the importance attached to the present occasion, and from the course of this debate, I think the real question before us is that of the establishment or disestablishment of the Irish Church. Upon that question I have no doubt whatever. I am bound, however, to ex-press my agreement with my noble Friend the late Colonial Secretary (the Earl of Carnarvon), who probably will have made the only speech in favour of the Bill proceeding from that side of the House, that on the whole I regret that this question should have been raised during the present Session. I impute no blame to those who have brought the measure forward, for I do not know that it may not have been incumbent on them to do so in consequence of steps taken by those opposed to them. But I should have been glad if this very rare occasion—an occasion which will probably never occur again in the life of any of us—had been taken advantage of for the purpose of passing some measures unconnected with political feeling—educational measures, such as the Bill of the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Marlborough), or that of Mr. Bruce. Our position at present is peculiar, and we were never placed in a similar one since 1831 or 1832. We are on the eve of a new election, on which all questions will be referred to an entirely new constituency; and we have no means of knowing in what way these questions will be dealt with by them. This very battle of the Irish Church will have to be fought over again; and, assuming that there was no necessity for an attempt to oust the Ministry, which was very unlikely to succeed, as it has not 92 succeeded, I could have wished that the question had not been raised during the present Session. But such was not to be our destiny. This question has been raised, and having been called upon to say "Aye" or "No" to it, I can have no hesitation as to what answer I shall give. Nor, my Lords, in my view is this question of the Irish Church one of detail, such as it is so elaborately put before us day after day in the pamphlets with which we are favoured, and in so many speeches that we hear. I cannot conceive that in any possible circumstances a religious system which, after a full and fair trial of three centuries, has, from whatever cause, failed to attract to itself more than one-sixth, to put it most favourably, of the people, ought to remain the national and Established Church of the country. By a national and Established Church I understand one which covers and embraces the whole country, which is supported by the whole population, and which is enforced over the whole country and the whole population by law. I do not go one step beyond that; and the only point which I conceive to be involved in the Resolutions upon which this measure is founded is that the Church shall cease to he the national and Established Church of the country. I hold with the late Colonial Secretary (the Earl of Carnarvon) on the question of secularization, and I should be disposed to agree with the noble Earl who moved the Amendment (Earl Grey) in the views expressed in his letter to Mr. Bright. I only regret that it is not likely those views will be entertained. If I am asked if I can reconcile my view with the theory of Church and State which I am supposed to hold, I say that I still believe in the soundness of that theory in itself, and as one of general application. I hold the doctrine as set forth in Mr. Gladstone's book, and I believe he himself holds it still to be sound in the above sense. But no theory will stand against an extreme case, and I believe the Church of Ireland is that extreme case. Parliament is just as much bound to establish our Church in Lower Canada and Australia as to maintain the Irish Church Establishment. It is said that this question is argued on the abstract or general ground of religious equality; but that I deny. The Church of England I support on the principle of the connection of Church and State; and I must say that I can conceive nothing more unreasonable or suicidal than the 93 identification of the causes of the Churches of England and Ireland. They are identical in doctrine, but it is scarcely possible to find any other material point in which the Churches are not distinct. We are often told that more than half the people of England do not belong to the Established Church. That is a statement I entirely disbelieve. But even if it were true that the number of Dissenters in England were equal to the members of the Established Church, the members of the Church of England enormously outnumber those of any one Dissenting body. That is not the case in Ireland. Further, the difference between the English Church and Dissent is nothing like that between Protestantism and Romanism in Ireland. Again, many of the English Dissenters themselves wish well to the English Church. And, lastly, the Romish religion is in Ireland diffused throughout the whole country, while in England Dissent is mainly confined to towns and populous districts. That the present measure should be looked upon as a warning and a stimulus to the Church of England I by no means doubt, for I conceive that no Church should continue as an Establishment unless it is rooted in the affections of the people. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) said that this proposal was brought forward merely on account of the grudging and envy of certain people for other people's property.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
What I said was that it arose from the envy of one religious denomination against another.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
Well, the argument which we use is distinctly that it is for the public good that this property is taken, just as we argue that it is for the public good that private property should be taken for the construction of railways and other purposes. Before concluding, however, I am bound to say a few words as to this Bill in itself. I cannot but think there was considerable weight in the objections which were urged by the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey), by the Primate of the Northern Province, and by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London). I cannot but doubt whether it was necessary or expedient that this Bill should be offered to us at all. For the reasons I have given, and because I do not think that any very serious inconvenience will result from its adoption, I shall vote for it; but I ques- 94 tion whether this House has been treated with proper courtesy and respect. The Bill before us was the result of previous deliberation and discussion in the other House of Parliament. It followed upon formal Resolutions agreed to by that House. But we have had no such Resolutions, and what ground for the Bill has been laid before us? This may be a matter of form, but it seems to me that the point is of some importance—that the Leaders of Opposition in this House ought to have brought the subject generally before us prior to the introduction of such a Bill, so that we might have come to some agreement with the other House upon the subject. Let me add that, if anything could have induced me to abstain from voting in favour of the Bill, it would be the tone of bullying and of menace which has been adopted towards this House on this subject—I do not say in this or in the other House of Parliament, but in certain publications and out-of-doors. We all know that when any question of importance is before the public certain newspapers tell us that the nation has made up its mind—which means that the writers in these newspapers have made up their minds, and that there is nothing left for us but either to assent to the changes which are proposed or to be ourselves abolished. Sometimes a modified statement is made, and we are told, not that we are to be abolished, but reformed. Now, I have very little feeling on this subject, and if I were abolished as a Peer and Member of the Legislature, I should not care about it; but I confess I do not see how we are to be "reformed." My noble Friend indeed, the late Foreign Secretary (the Earl of Clarendon), told us our reform should be to advance with the times. That, I understand, is a reform in the conduct, both of individuals and of public bodies; but in what other way we are now threatened with reform instead of abolition I do not know. Whatever we may do with regard to this Bill, I have no doubt that the House will deal fairly and considerately with the question if it is brought before your Lordships in a future Session. If a deliberate opinion is pronounced by the whole nation, and it is in favour of this or any other measure, I do not suppose that this House will for any long time stand in the way. The question, being decided by the country, will then come before us; and I feel no doubt that whenever this question of the Irish Church 95 is finally settled, it will be by the removal of this badge of servitude—this mark of the domination of the minority over the mass of the Irish people.
§ THE EARL OF HARROWBY
My Lords, there is one point connected with this question which I think we ought to remember—namely, that the agitation for this Bill does not come from Ireland. It is the result of an English raid in, Ireland just as the Fenian outbreak there was got up by strangers to the country. The Liberation Society have gone over to provoke and teaze the Irish into agitation, and ask them whether they would not come forward to help the agitation got up by the Society for the general abolition of State Establishments? The Irish Church was merely selected as a weak point for attack. We know this from their own confession, and we see the same causes operating in Wales. Mr. Bright went down to Liverpool, and addressed the Welsh people collected there, urging them to join in the movement; and the same attempt will be made to get up a cry against the Establishment in Scotland. Do not deceive yourselves. This is not an Irish movement or an Irish grievance; it is only the first part of a general system of tactics emanating from those who oppose all Establishments whatever. It is a mere cloak for a future attack upon the English Church, and hardly a meeting against the Irish Church is held in the towns of the North of England where the parties who move in it do not pledge themselves to carry out the attack upon the English Church. It is not, therefore, mere idle apprehension which leads us to think that the case of the English Church is closely connected with that of the Church in Ireland. My Lords, we are urged to take the formidable step which is now proposed either upon the grounds of expediency or of justice. Now, what is this justice? You mean to say, do you not, that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was robbed by the Protestant Church established there? Well, do you mean to make restitution? No! You call it "justice" to rob the robbers. You simply deprive them of their spoils. What is this, then, but merely to satisfy a feeling of vengeance for wrongs supposed to have been inflicted three centuries back? Do you think that by satisfying this feeling of vengeance you will ever introduce peace and tranquillity into Ireland? We often hear people speak of Ireland as if there were only one denomination of Protestants there; but, 96 in truth, besides the 700,000 Episcopalians, there are about as large a body of Presbyterians and Protestant Dissenters in that country, most of whom feel as keenly the injury which will be inflicted on Protestantism by this measure as Churchmen do themselves. Therefore, do not imagine that you are satisfying the whole people of Ireland when you are only satisfying one class. You are, in reality, only satisfying the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood. Whenever that priesthood have tried to get up a feeling against the Irish Established Church they have found it necessary to buoy up the question by pledges on the subject of the land in the first instance, in order to enable them to make an attack upon that Church. In fact, the Irish Catholic peasantry have not that aversion for the Protestant clergymen which some persons seem to suppose. My Lords, I cannot but think that those Gentlemen who have brought forward this question on the present occasion are deeply responsible to the country. They themselves look with I considerable apprehension to the effect of the great organic change which has lately been carried in our representative system. Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright have themselves confessed this. But how are they preparing for this great experiment? Why, by throwing down into the arena as the first subject of discussion among the new constituencies the destruction of the ancient institutions and religious establishments of the kingdom. Is it, I ask, a wise thing to flesh the young blood of the new electoral body upon those old institutions and venerable establishments? Is it a wise thing in them so to enter upon this change, instead of meeting it in the manner referred to by my noble Friend (Lord Lyttelton), who, however, supports this Bill for reasons little understood by others, and which, it would appear, he can hardly explain to himself? Surely the interval before the appeal to the new constituencies is made should rather be employed in quieting and composing the public mind than in exciting and inflaming it by raising such issues as these. You may say this is only an act of justice; but I hold that it is not doing justice to say a thing is robbery and not to follow it up with restitution. Nobody desires this measure but the Irish Catholic priesthood and those who follow their lead. The priests themselves have not said they will be satisfied with it; but have told you that there are other and deeper questions behind, which you seek 97 to get rid of by bringing forward the question of the Church. You have no reason to believe that any danger will be averted by it, or that one wound of Ireland will be thus healed. Instead of healing old wounds you are only creating new. You could not do an net of more perfect and unmitigated mischief, without securing to yourselves the slightest degree of advantage in return. The real "badge of conquest" of which we have heard so much will still remain behind—namely, the question of the land. Do not let Irish landlords think they can divert attention from the present settlement of the land of Ireland, which rankles in the minds of the Roman Catholic population far more than the matter of the Established Church. By this proposal you will remedy no existing evil; but only give a triumph to one party, cause the bitterest animosity and disappointment among the rest, and enormously increase your own difficulties.
THE BISHOP OF KILLALOE
My Lords, I desire to express my high respect for the noble Lord who spoke last but one (Lord Lyttelton), but the more I respect him the more deeply I regret that he should join in supporting this Bill. I think his speech made one thing plain—namely, that the noble Earl who sits on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) is not altogether so singular in his views as some may have supposed. It seems that his convictions are shared by many of those who sit opposite. What he is singular in is that he appears to have acted upon those convictions. I maintain, notwithstanding all that we have heard, that the attempt now made to disestablish the Church of these realms, not in a remote dependency of the Crown but in an integral part of the United Kingdom, is wholly unparalleled. You have modified the terms on which Church property is held; you have altered the arrangements of the dioceses; you have taken away jurisdiction from the Bishops, and have relieved some of them from the performance of Parliamentary duties; but a measure like this is wholly unprecedented in our history. Is there any justification for it in the opinions and authority of great statesmen? I think not. All the great authorities who have been cited had, I believe, a different plan for dealing with this question. They had before their minds the exclusive establishment of Protestantism in Ireland, with no provision for the hierarchy of the majority. Some of them thought of supplementing the 98 maintenance of the Establishment by some endowments of the Roman Catholic priesthood. You say that scheme is impracticable. I quite agree with you. But what right have you to cite those statesmen who were in favour of no such scheme as total disestablishment, and who denounced the exclusive Protestant Establishment solely on the ground that they thought something was wise and practicable which you say is impracticable? As to the sentiments of illustrious foreigners on this question, I greatly doubt whether any of your Lordships would attach great weight to their opinions on any other point of the British Constitution or of British policy, except this one question of the Church Establishment in Ireland. With great respect for those who have had far larger opportunities than I have had of consulting the opinions of distinguished foreigners, I think the same idea to which I have referred as being in the minds of distinguished statesmen at home was in the minds of these illustrious foreigners. They cannot understand the difficulty in a country like this of making a Concordat with Rome, and of placing all religions on an equal footing. The State finds in Ireland three great religious denominations—the Roman Catholic, the Protestant Episcopalian, and the Presbyterian. It cannot ally itself to the first, though it is the Church of the majority. There are a hundred reasons why it cannot, but one is sufficient. The hierarchy of that Church will not take your endowments on any conditions which you could accept. They know that they enjoy a greater amount of liberty in this kingdom than they would enjoy under a Concordat in any other country. Under those circumstances the State takes the next and most numerous body which it finds, whose clergy teach what the majority of the people of this realm believe to be the truth—a Church which is identical with the Establishment in England; the Church to which the Sovereign belongs; the Church recognized by the Estates of the Realm; the Church to which belongs the great majority of the landlords of the country, out of whose estates it is chiefly supported. The fact is that all property, and especially private property, is a grievance to those who do not possess it. The law of entail, primogeniture, the hereditary privileges and rank attaching to Members of this House, are all sentimental grievances to the persons who are debarred from them. Indeed, I have conversed 99 with many intelligent men in this country who have put forward as an intolerable grievance the existence of privileged orders; and I would advise the aristocracy of this country not to reckon too confidently on their privileges escaping attack. I do not believe, moreover, that the disestablishment of the Irish Church would remove the sentimental grievance, for that really rests on the social inequality of the Roman Catholic population; and as long as the Protestant Church continues to be the Church of the aristocracy—as long as it is established in this country and the Sovereign and nobility of England belong to it, so long will the sentimental grievance remain. The source of the pre sent difficulty is that agitators trade on the passions of the Irish people, keeping old wounds rankling and sore, and persuade the people that those evils which are the result of the faults of their national character are due to the English Government. The only way to meet such agitators is to announce our unalterable determination to maintain our Protestant institutions in Church and State. I may be told that this is the old cry of Protestant ascendancy—and in a certain sense it is so; but there is a Protestant ascendancy which is essential to the integrity of the realm. The people of England being the majority of the people of the realm—being, as I hope they will continue to be, Protestants; having a vast preponderance in wealth, in intelligence, and in habits of command; having the seat of Government among them, and having traditions of Imperial authority—it is impossible but that they should, if they are united, possess an ascendancy in this Empire. Why, what is it that prevents you from establishing the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland? Do not you know very well that it is the Protestant feeling of the people of England and Scotland? Well, what is that but Protestant ascendancy? It is quite possible, indeed, that if these conflicts of faction continue in England, a compact, solid body of Roman Catholics may, though a minority, obtain that preponderance which for several centuries Protestants have exercised in the affairs of this realm; but it is to be hoped that such a thing may not happen. The Established Church in Ire land may be in some sense a symbol of ascendancy, but it must be remembered that it is also a symbol of the settlement of property; and if the Church is given up you will also have to surrender the 100 Protestant succession, and the good old cause—the cause of liberty all over the world—tho cause for which Hampden died on the field and Sidney perished on the scaffold. All this you must sacrifice, or you will not satisfy the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The Protestant Church, I repeat, is a symbol of the settlement of property. You may draw a nice distinction between them, but you will never persuade the mass of the people that property set aside under trusts for the highest uses is less sacred than property which appears to be set aside merely for the advantage and comfort of individuals who may, without check or responsibility, scatter and squander it upon the most trivial objects—upon dogs and horses, and on degraded human creatures far less respectable than those animals. You will never get people to understand these metaphysical distinctions, or to understand that ecclesiastical property is less sacred than the property of individuals. Hence, if you confiscate the possessions of the Church you will endanger all other property. My Lords, I have not been a little surprised to hear the argument that because the Presbyterian Church was established in Scotland the Irish Church should be disestablished. The case of Scotland is not one in point. To make it so the question of establishing the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland should be before you. In Scotland the question at the time to which reference has been made was not only of disestablishment but one of establishment; and there is this difference between the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic religions—that the former is at least homogeneous with the Protestant feelings of the people of England, which certainly the latter cannot be said to be. Anything that is particularly objectionable to the people of this country in certain papers drawn up in connection with the Presbyterian religion has been set aside, at least practically; but, my Lords, the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland have not abandoned the principles of intolerance which that Church professes. On the 1st of September, 1851, there appeared in the Rambler, a Roman Catholic magazine, an article, to some passages of which I beg your Lordships' attention—It is difficult to say in which of the two popular expressions, 'the rights of civil liberty' or 'the rights of religious liberty,' is embodied the greatest amount of nonsense and falsehood. As these phrases are perpetually uttered, both by 101 Protestants and by some Catholics, they contain about as much truth and good sense as would be found in a cry for the inalienable right to suicide.… Let this pass, then, in the case of Protestants and politicians. But how can it be justified in the case of Catholics, who are the children of a Church which has ever avowed the deepest hostility to the principle of 'religious liberty,' and which never has given the shadow of a sanction to the theory that 'civil liberty,' as such, is necessarily a blessing at all? How intolerable it is to see this miserable device for deceiving the Protestant world still so widely popular among us! We say 'for deceiving the Protestant world;' though we are far from implying that there is not many a Catholic who really imagines himself to be a votary of 'religious liberty,' and is confident that if the tables were turned and the Catholics were uppermost in the land, he would in all circumstances grant others the same unlimited toleration he now demands for himself. Still, let our Catholic tolerationist he ever so sincere, he is only sincere because he does not take the trouble to look very closely into his own convictions. His great object is to silence Protestants, or to persuade them to let him alone; and as he certainly feels no personal malice against them, and laughs at their creed quite as cordially as he hates it, he persuades himself that he is telling the exact truth when he professes to be an advocate of 'religious liberty,' and declares that no man ought to be coerced on account of his conscientious convictions. The practical result is that now and then, but very seldom, Protestants are blinded, and are ready to clasp their expected ally in a fraternal embrace. They are deceived, we repeat, nevertheless. Believe us not, Protestants of England and Ireland, for an instant, when you see us pouring forth our Liberalisms. When you hear a Catholic orator at some public assemblage declaring solemnly that 'this is the most humiliating day in his life, when he is called upon to defend once more the glorious principle of religious freedom' (especially if he says anything about the Emancipation Act and the 'toleration' it conceded to Catholics), be not too simple in your credulity. These are brave words, but they mean nothing; no, nothing more than the promises of a Parliamentary candidate to his constituents on the hustings. He is not talking Catholicism, but nonsense and Protestantism; and he will no more act on these notions in different circumstances than you now act on them yourselves in your treatment of him.
§ My Lords, when we find such sentiments entertained by Roman Catholics, I say, without meaning them any offence, that self-preservation requires us to defend the Established Church in Ireland.
§ On Motion of the DUKE of ARGYLL the further debate on the said Motion adjourned to Monday next.