HL Deb 05 July 1869 vol 197 cc1106-8

said, he wished to ask Her Majesty's Government, In the event of the Bill for the Disestablishment of the Irish Church becoming law, in what manner in conformity with the existing statutes it is proposed to provide successors for the offices of Prelate, Chancellor, and Dean of the Order of St. Patrick, so that the dignity of that Order may be in no way diminished as originally founded by the Sovereign of these kingdoms; and also in what manner, and in what place the ceremonies connected with the installation of the Knights are for the future to be conducted and held? The Order, as their Lordships were aware, was founded in 1783, and was connected with the Established Church, the Archbishop of Armagh being Prelate, the Archbishop of Dublin, Chancellor, and the Dean of St. Patrick, Registrar, just as the Dean of Windsor was connected with the Order of the Garter, and the Dean of the Chapel Royal of Holyrood with that of the Thistle. Now, it was true that the Bill preserved the rank and status of the Irish Prelates during their lives, but the motto of the Order—Quis separabit? would no longer be applicable to the Irish Church as a branch of the United Church, and on the death of the present Prelate and Chancellor the offices would, in the absence of some new provision, be swept away. The investiture of the Knights had usually been accompanied by much pomp and circumstance, the oath being administered by the Prelate, but who would in future discharge that duty? The installation, moreover, had hitherto been held in St. Patrick's Cathedral, but the officers of the disestablished Church might refuse the use of that building, and if Her Majesty should, at any time, go over to Ireland, and should wish to hold a chapter of the Order, where could it be held? He knew of no place except the Curragh of Kildare, and would that be a proper place? He remembered the splendour of the last installation, and the princely magnificence displayed by the noble Duke (the Duke of Abercorn) who then filled the office of Lord Lieutenant; but, unless the Government were prepared to maintain the dignity and prestige of the Order, that occasion would stand on record as the last ceremony of the kind, and the organist might have appositely played Luther's hymn— What do I see and hear? The end of things created. He hoped, however, to hear that the Government intended to preserve the Order in all its dignity and prestige.


My Lords, I do not intend to follow at great length the speech of my noble Friend, but merely rise to reply to the Question he has put. I may, however, point out one mistake into which he fell. He asked what would happen to the Order and to the motto which belongs to it if the Irish Church were separated from the English Church. Now, I believe that the motto Quis separabit? refers to the three Crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and it cannot possibly refer to the Churches, because the Order of St. Patrick was founded before the Union. This matter has not been overlooked by the Government; but as there did not appear any great urgency in the settlement of the question, and as it was not intimately connected with the important measures now before Parliament, it was decided to reserve it for future consideration.