§ House again in Committee (according to Order).
§ Clause 68 (Ultimate trust of surplus).
§ LORD CAIRNS
My Lords, I have an Amendment to propose in this clause, the object of which is to keep under the control of Parliament the disposition of the surplus property of the Irish Church. It is substantially identical with one of which notice has been given by the noble Marquess who sits on the cross-Benches (the Marquess of Clanricarde), but I understand that in point of form mine is entitled to precedence. Now, so much has been said from time to time upon the disposition of the surplus that I may in a very few sentences put before your Lordships my reasons for proposing the Amendment. In the first place, the amount of the surplus is altogether uncertain. That it will be large is, I think, obvious, but whether it will be £4,000,000 or £5,000,000, or whether, as some have estimated, £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 we have at present no reliable basis to justify a conclusion. In the next place, it is manifest that a very considerable time must elapse before any substantial portion of the surplus can be realized. The Commissioners cannot take possession of any part of the property for at least one or two years, and after that time the amount of property which will come into their hands will depend very much on 1229 the question, of commutation. If there is no commutation they must await the expiration, of the life interests; but even supposing there is commutation, their first duty will be to make the large payments prescribed by the Bill, and before four or five years there cannot possibly be any surplus which they can apply to any other purpose. My next reason for asking you to keep the disposition of the surplus in the will of Parliament for some time longer is that there are grave objections to some of the objects to which the clause proposes to devote it. I take exception, in the first place, to lunatic asylums, infirmaries, and reformatories, on the ground that the application of the surplus to them would not be for the purposes of charity at all, but, in truth, for the relief of those who are already bound by law to provide funds for those particular objects. Moreover, the application of the surplus pointed out by the clause is directly at variance with the Preamble as it now stands, for it is impossible that it can be carried into effect without distinct and dogmatic religious teaching being administered by the various denominations who will practically have the application of the surplus. I do not at all complain that that is the result of the clause, but it is a clause which in that respect is at variance with the Preamble. If these objects were to remain, you would have perpetual jealousies and heart burnings with regard to the shares in which the surplus was to be apportioned, and all the more so on account of the recital in the Preamble that no part of it is to be applied for religious teaching. Upon every occasion when a part of it was handed over—for instance, to a reformatory conducted on the principle of administering religious teaching—there would be jealousy and objection on the part of other denominations as to that application of the money. Then, what strikes one strongly is that you have no scheme whatever as to the mode in which the surplus is to be divided. It is true that on the introduction of the Bill the Prime Minister mentioned certain sums which he thought should be allotted to each of these various purposes, but the Bill prescribes no particular sum to be allotted to any particular purpose. The whole mass of the surplus is to be applied among all or any of these objects, and it remains entirely in the 1230 power of the Executive Government or the Poor Law Commissioners to say in what proportion it is to be devoted to these objects. Moreover, your Lordships cannot but be of opinion that the Poor Law Commissioners will be found to be a very inefficient body for the administration of this large sum of money. They are at present appointed for the purpose of controlling the various Boards of Guardians throughout Ireland. They have no power to deal with money, all they have to do being to see that the Acts of Parliament relating to the relief of the poor are put in force by the various localities by the Boards of Guardians. The Bill, however, proposes to make them administrators of this large fund of £7,000,000 or £8,000,000. Now, what certainty can we have that they will properly perform functions so foreign to their present duties? Let me give an example of this. Suppose a lunatic asylum has to be provided. At present there is a Board appointed to manage such an asylum in each particular county, consisting of persons who have an interest in the money to be expended, and who therefore take care that the expenditure is regulated upon principles of economy. Under this clause, however, you would have to choose between two alternatives, either of them very unsatisfactory. Either the Poor Law Commissioners must supplant the local body and take the whole administration into their own hands, or they must hand over money to that local body without having any check over the expenditure. These are objections to the details of the clause, but I have an objection which to my mind is stronger than any others. This is the first instance, certainly in my recollection, in which Parliament has been asked to part at once and for ever with the control of the expenditure of £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 without having had before it any scheme or rules according to which the expenditure was to be made. If the clause passes, it will not be necessary for the Government to come to Parliament and ask for any further powers or directions, but the Government for the time being and Poor Law Commissioners, without any intervention or control by Parliament, will be able to expend the whole of this enormous sum. Now, is it wise or consistent with Parliamentary practice to part at this period, long before the money 1231 is to be realized, with, the control of the expenditure of it? We have had discussions of some length on the subject of concurrent endowment. I put it both to those noble Lords who have voted in favour of that principle and those who have voted against it that they ought to accept this Amendment. I put it to those who are anxious for the adoption of that principle, and who feel confident that the country will ultimately be willing to adopt it, whether the best way of accomplishing the end they have in view would not be to prevent the application of the surplus to a different purpose, and to leave it open to Parliament hereafter to adopt the principle? To those, on the other hand, who have opposed that principle, I would suggest whether, considering the modes and objects proposed by the clause, it is not, in fact, a mode of application which, without any of the benefits of concurrent endowment, will, in reality, involve all the possible evils attending the adoption of that principle. I propose that the clause should run thus—When the commissioners have fulfilled all the directions contained in this Act, and that the objects of this Act have been fully attained, the property then rested in the commissioners shall, subject to all subsisting charges thereon, "whether charges existing previously to the passing of the Act or created under the provisions of this Act, be applied in such manner as Parliament shall hereafter direct.
§ An Amendment moved in line 16, to leave out ("it appears to"), and also to leave out ("that they.")—(The Lord Cairns).
§ EARL GRANVILLE
My Lords, I certainly cannot consent willingly to the proposal of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns), nor can I admit the force of some of the arguments which he brought forward in support of it. The noble and learned Lord said it was obvious, though the amount of the surplus might be doubtful, that it would be very large. Now, the noble and learned Lord stated the other day that out of the property of the Irish Church £9,000,000 had been appropriated in the House of Commons. He also stated that the property of the Irish Church was£l3,700,000, though Mr. Gladstone had estimated it at £16,000,000.
§ LORD CAIRNS
I did not adopt either valuation. I simply stated that one was much higher than the other.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I understood the noble and learned Lord to give the preference to the lower valuation. Now, I will not go into a calculation of the amount by which your Lordships have reduced the surplus; but, assuming the noble and learned Lord's statement to be correct, it is impossible that his statement this evening as to the largeness of the surplus can be accurate. The noble and learned Lord next stated that the Commissioners would clearly have no surplus at their disposal for four or five years. He seemed, however, entirely to leave out of consideration the fact that one of the great facilities which the Commissioners will have will be the power of borrowing in order to liquidate the sums they will have to pay; and we feel convinced that in the course of twelve or eighteen months there will be a surplus with which my noble Friend (Viscount Monck) and his Colleagues can deal. The noble and learned Lord went on to take objection to the way in which we propose to deal with the surplus, and he began with the lunatics, respecting whom there has been a good, deal of joking. My noble Friend (Earl Russell) quoted, a short time ago, an observation which was received with much applause, that it would require a whole province in Ireland to go mad in order to exhaust the funds to be dedicated to lunatics; but the calculation is that £200,000 a year will be so applied, and £120,000 is already expended in that way, while the charge is yearly increasing. I am quite sure that it is not a practical observation to represent that a whole province of Ireland, some 1,500,000 persons, could be fed, boarded, guarded, and dressed at the rate of about 2d. a head. I believe that sum will be required for the existing wants of Ireland, and it is clear that while this demand has increased and is increasing, the way in which provision is at present made for it is in a very unsatisfactory state. It is hardly necessary to go into the question whether the Poor Law Commissioners would be a proper body or not to administer these funds. All I can say is that one of the most competent official men in this country, and one who had the full confidence of the late Government, on being sent over for the purpose gave an opinion that all these institutions would derive immense benefit from being put under the management of these very Commissioners. As to the proposal 1233 of the noble and learned Lord, it appears to me to be one of the most unfortunate in every respect which could possibly be adopted. I think there would be every possible disadvantage in such a postponement. The noble and learned Lord has not even suggested any alternative scheme for the disposal of the fund, and only two alternatives have hitherto been proposed in either House of Parliament. I am not aware that any alternative has been proposed in the House of Commons, but one has been considered and rejected by your Lordships—namely, concurrent endowment—while another has been put on the Paper for to-night by my noble Friend below the Gangway (Viscount Lifford). That proposal may be good or it may be bad; but if it is good there is no earthly reason why it should not be adopted at once, and if it is bad I do not see that five or six years' keeping would make it a whit better. The noble and learned Lord says the clause involves all the disadvantages of concurrent endowment without any of its advantages; but the noble and learned Lord himself strongly objected to concurrent endowment, both personally and on the ground that the people are opposed to it; and can your Lordships conceive anything more undesirable than holding this up as a bone of contention for an indefinite number of years? The Irish people have acquiesced in the Bill in its present shape, both by their remarkable quietness, as a whole, and by the votes of their representatives in the House of Commons; but if you hold this surplus up five or six years they will begin to believe that you will be ready to endow them to any extent in your power, and on any terms they like to exact. On the other hand, you will have all those popular feelings which exist in Scotland, in Wales, and in England working and agitated in a "no Popery" sense in order to prevent the Roman Catholics from ultimately achieving that result. What would be the consequence? Why, whether you decided one way or the other it would clearly excite ten times more dissatisfaction and more repugnance than if you now adopted this clause. I cannot conceive it desirable to leave this question open for agitation. We see how exciting these debates are in the minds of men, and yet we propose to prolong them indefinitely, whereas by the proposal of the Government we absolutely close the 1234 question, and may hope in our hearts to see the good effects of such a settlement. What would be the result on the Roman Catholics, the Church of Ireland, and the Presbyterians of leaving it open? Why, it would prevent the Roman Catholics from obtaining, by the voluntary system, those houses of which they are in need, and it would certainly deprive the Protestant Church of a great stimulus for making the best of matters, while the same remark would apply, though, perhaps, not quite so strongly, to the Presbyterians. It would paralyze all efforts for good, and more than anything I know would tend to verify the prophecies which are now made, that this settlement of the question will not produce satisfaction or tranquillity in Ireland. Now, I do not think your Lordships would be justified in verifying your own prophecies by taking a course to which we so earnestly object.
§ THE EARL OF MALMESBURY
My Lords, with regard to the noble Earl's (Earl Granville's) remark about the borrowing powers of the Commissioners, I hope they will not begin to borrow until they know certainly what the surplus will be, which at this moment is, to a certain degree, problematical. It was on account of the uncertainty of the surplus that I told the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland) on a former evening that I should vote with him if he waited till the 68th clause; for I thought it was rather like putting the cart before the horse to dispose of the surplus before we knew what it would be, because no doubt it has been diminished by all the Amendments to which your Lordships have agreed. The noble Earl opposite puts our backs to the wall and gives us no choice but the disposition described in this clause. Whether the surplus is £8,000,000 or £6,000,000, or less, the Bill proposes to devote it to lunatic asylums, reformatories, and nurses, who, by-the-way, will for the most part be Roman Catholic nuns, for I apprehend the Government object quite as much to the proposal of the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) to lend out the money to Irish cottiers as to the Amendment of my noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns). Without knowing whether the surplus is to be £8,000,000 or £4,000,000, we are to devote it to these institutions and to nothing else. Now, is that the way in which business is conducted in any private establish- 1235 ment? If any of your Lordships found a surplus at your banker's would you lay it down as an unchangeable rule that you would lay it out in some particular way, whatever the amount of the balance and the cost of that object? Surely common sense bids us first of all to ascertain what the surplus will be, and then to determine how it is to be applied. I have another reason for desiring a postponement. Three weeks ago, before I voted against the second reading, I should never have recommended or desired the taking any money from the Irish Church and applying it to other religious denominations; but the case is now different. The carriage has been stopped on the road; it has been emptied and plundered, and after being so plundered an enormous sum has been left lying on the roadside. That is the present state of affairs, and as the money lies there, and as the Government are really unable to say what ought to be done with it for the best interests of the country, we, who objected to applying the money of the Protestant Church to any other purposes, are justified in looking back to former propositions with respect to concurrent endowment, which, if they could be carried, would, no doubt, conduce very much to the peace of Ireland. Under these circumstances I am for employing the money not to relieve landlords from the county cess, but the clergy of all denominations from any personal discomforts under which they may be labouring. I do not pretend to have any great knowledge of Ireland, but I hear from landlords, tenants, and all who know the country, that if the priests could only be placed in a position of greater comfort the state of Ireland would be improved. Now, in postponing the disposition of the surplus we give time to the country to recover from the excitement under which it is now labouring, and to consider whether something like concurrent endowment would not be the best way of applying it. Looking, indeed, at the political horizon, I do not see that in the event of postponement there will be any other alternative. I believe you will end in concurrent endowment, or you must appropriate the money in the way proposed by the Government. I hope the latter will not be the ease. I have never seen a more extraordinary 1236 revulsion of feeling than that which has occurred on the question of concurrent endowment among the upper classes of this country, and depend upon it it will descend to other classes. The fruit at the top of the tree ripens first. I do not suppose, indeed, that those Nonconformists who have fixed notions in favour of the voluntary system will recede from those opinions; but among moderate Protestants, among thinking men, and those who pretend to be statesmen, I believe the feeling will spread, and that if noble Lords opposite could see their way to concurrent endowment they would adopt it to-morrow. The Amendment, then, will give the country an opportunity, not, as the noble Earl (Earl Granville) says, of squabbling over the surplus, but of considering how it can best be distributed to the benefit of religion and the interests of Ireland in general.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
said, that he had placed on the Paper an Amendment similar to that proposed by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns), but containing a proviso that the disposition of the surplus should await a Report by the Commissioners of its amount. He did not think that the noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies had given any valid reason either for rejecting the present Amendment or for adopting the plan of disposing of the surplus proposed by the Government. Admitting that the plan of the Government was a very fair one, he must warn them that it was not popular in Ireland. He had not heard a single man, whether landlord or tenant, lawyer or clergyman, express approval of it, and a more popular proposal would have been to relieve the poor rate instead of the county rate. He did not now recommend that the surplus should be used in supplying medical relief to the poor in Ireland, but he believed that it was the general wish throughout Ireland that it should be thus used in the various unions. It seemed to him, however, a great mistake, both from an economical and a political point of view, to tie up the hands of Government and Parliament before knowing what the amount of the surplus would be. He presumed that it had already been reduced to the extent of £1,500,000 by the Amendments agreed to by their Lordships. To those who, like himself, 1237 advocated concurrent endowment, it was important to know the amount of the surplus, and it was very likely that five years would elapse before the value of the commutations could be ascertained, for the clergy, being hostile to the Bill, might considerably delay that arrangement. Indeed, the existence of the Commission had been fixed at ten years in order to leave a due margin for their operations, and Mr. Gladstone, in his speech on introducing the Bill, used expressions which appeared to contemplate the probable necessity of subsidiary legislation. Now, nothing had occurred-since March to justify the expectation of an immediate and definitive settlement. Why should not Parliament await the verdict of public opinion before coming to a decision on this point? It was not, indeed, to be expected that the advocates of the voluntary principle, who thought that that principle should be adopted in England as well as in Ireland, and in England rather than in Ireland, would come round to the principle of concurrent endowment, for they had been the real originators of this Bill. He believed, however, that the great body of Churchmen in this country were open to conviction on this subject, and as he did not believe the adoption of this clause would really close the question, he wished it to be left fairly open until the amount of the surplus and the opinion of the people could be ascertained. The statesmanlike course was to look ahead as far as possible with a view to present action, but not to attempt unnecessarily to tie up future action; and it was impossible to say what plan would be best suited to the circumstances of Ireland—three, four, or five years hence.
§ LORD TAUNTON
said, he had felt a good deal of difficulty in making up his mind on this important point. On the one hand, he had felt the danger of keeping this question dangling before the people for several years; but, on the other hand, he feared that, in adopting the distribution proposed by the Government, Parliament would be taking a very unfortunate course. He had given a very cordial vote for the Motion of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) to apply part of the surplus to the improvement of the glebes of the Anglican clergy, and he had given a still heartier support to the Motion of his 1238 noble Friend (the Duke of Cleveland) to provide the Roman Catholic clergy—the clergy of the great body of the Irish people—with glebes and decent houses. The situation in which the question was now placed filled him with alarm, for he felt that their Lordships were sending the Bill back to the House of Commons altered in respect of giving greater advantages to the clergy of the Established Church, with whom personally they naturally sympathized, but stripped of a proposal which would have given glebes to the Roman Catholic priests. Now, he was strongly of opinion that if Parliament wished to obtain the affections and secure the tranquillity of the great body of the Irish people, it should lose no fitting opportunity of improving the position of their clergy, and of thus showing respect for that religion to which they were so firmly attached. Nor was that class of men unworthy of consideration. His personal acquaintance with Ireland was confined to a single year, but that year was a very remarkable one, for it was the period of the famine. As Chief Secretary for Ireland he was in Dublin during the whole of that year, and never did a day pass without his room being crowded with Roman Catholic priests, who described to him the dreadful state of their parishes, and asked his advice and assistance. Very often—a sight he was very glad to witness—they came hand in hand with the Protestant clergymen of the same parishes, and he was able to supply them with means of relief out of the funds placed at his disposal by the profuse but insufficient liberality of the British people. He never omitted the opportunity of expressing his hope that they would do their part in calming the minds of their flocks, and in assuring them of the heart-felt sympathy of the Government; and he was bound to say that the conduct of the Roman Catholic priesthood during that crisis was most exemplary. Knowing the heroic sacrifices they then made in every part of Ireland, and how they threw away their own lives in standing by their flocks in the hour of trial, he was not surprised at their hold on the affections of the Irish people. Now, the people of Ireland would not go into nice calculations, and it was necessary to speak in loud and distinct tones if Parliament wished them to believe in a real change of 1239 policy, and to see that it was desirous of doing them justice. Nothing would speak so strongly and effectually to them as a manifestation of sympathy and respect for their priesthood, by providing them with decent houses side by side with those of the Protestant clergymen. He deeply regretted, therefore, the defeat of a proposal which would have given to the Roman Catholic and also the Presbyterian clergy improved sustenance and support by means of glebes and houses. He was not as sanguine as some noble Lords that if they postponed the consideration of this question they might not incur dangers and difficulties—and to Ms mind they were no slight ones—from throwing this subject loose upon the country, and he was not so sanguine that at the end their Lordships would find themselves any better off. He regretted it, but he must do the best he could. If it were well in ordinary cases to follow the maxim—Et mihi res, non me rebus, submittere conor,in matters connected with religion it was especially necessary. Under these circumstances, placed in a difficulty as he felt himself to be, he should vote against the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns). He was most anxious that this controversy with the other House should be closed. Their Lordships had already made very important alterations in the Bill. He had no doubt that the other House would view those alterations fairly and dispassionately, and would endeavour to see whether they could not be taken in accordance with those principles which underlay the whole Bill; but he could not conceal from himself, from indications he had seen of the temper of the House of Commons, that the probability was that they would not pass. He thanked their Lordships for the attention with which they had heard him. He had been anxious to state the grounds on which he should vote, but he confessed that he had not arrived at the conclusion to which he had come without some hesitation.
§ THE DUKE OF CLEVELAND
confessed that it was with some pain and difficulty that he also had arrived at a conclusion as to how he should vote, because he was one who regretted extremely many of the alterations which had been introduced in the Bill, not only on account of themselves, but because they seemed to 1240 him to militate to a certain degree against its principles, and therefore the Bill had less chance of acceptance without some countervailing provisions. He had had the honour of submitting to the House a proposition which would have had the advantage of conciliating both parties, and of being supported by men of the most eminent talents on the other side in speeches of great ability, which must necessarily influence the great mass of public opinion, and who had expressed a liberality of view which he was glad to hear from them. He felt convinced that it was impossible that their view should not have great weight in the country, when taken in connection with other circumstances which had been alluded to. His noble Friend who had just sat down admitted that there was a great mass of public opinion which had been setting in in the direction of concurrent endowment. He had not himself adopted that word, but it had been used by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns) who had invited those who adhered to the principle of concurrent endowment to support him. He knew it to be an unpalatable word, and that in many parts of the country it aroused feelings of antagonism which he believed to be unfounded. The measure which he had the honour to submit was hardly large enough for such a name, though no doubt to a certain degree it might be so called. But their Lordships should recollect that they were now called upon to vote once for all the disposal of a large surplus— a specific disposal which had been condemned alike from almost every side of the House. The surplus had been estimated at £8,000,000 or £9,000,000, though at a less amount by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns), but he had heard no one who had addressed their Lordships approve the disposal of so large a sum in the manner proposed in the Bill. He was convinced that it was entirely out of character to have such a sum of money allotted merely to the building of asylums—he would not use a joking expression—for persons afflicted with mental aberration, of infirmaries, or reformatories; but there was this additional reason against the proposal which must command attention in the country—that these were objects which must necessarily be provided for by the land of Ireland, either 1241 wholly or to a certain extent, and it was therefore in point of fact a proposal to dispose of the surplus in favour of the land of Ireland, the greatest portion of which was in the hands of Protestant proprietors. The disproportion between the surplus and the objects to which it was proposed to devote it was so great that it was impossible it could stand the test of reason or argument, and he believed when the country came to weigh the proposal it would come to a different conclusion from that which it appeared at present to entertain. He believed that there was such a sense of justice in the great mass of the intelligent and thinking people that they would soon be convinced that after all this Irish property ought to be disposed of for Irish purposes, and that one of those purposes was providing decent residences and in some degree a decent maintenance for that priesthood which, for good or for evil, must be the priesthood of the people of Ireland. This country was not called upon to provide any endowment. The property was Irish property, and must be disposed of in some way or other. As had been pointed out by the noble and learned Lord, there must be religious instruction in asylums and reformatories—it was impossible to escape from that difficulty; but it was not on that ground, but on the ground that the amount to be devoted to asylums and reformatories was so disproportionate, that he must concur with the Amendment. He had voted against all the Amendments which seemed to him to militate against the principle of the Bill. He voted against the Ulster glebe lands being appropriated solely to the Protestant Church, though he felt there was much to be said in favour of the proposal; but still it seemed to him that without any countervailing Amendment it was utterly inconsistent with the principle of the Bill. He voted afterwards with Her Majesty's Government on another question; but when called upon once for all to say that the disposal which they proposed to make of this large sum of money was the best that could be made, he could not help thinking that it would be infinitely better that there should be some subsidiary legislation, and that no great harm could result from tying up the surplus for a time until public opinion might be directed more fully to the subject, as he 1242 had no doubt it would. Believing that that was the only way by which something could be done to satisfy Ireland, and believing that this Bill would not give satisfaction unless something more was done, he felt under an obligation to vote for the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL
My Lords, when I first saw the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord I confess I did not understand what his object could be in moving it, and I was not enlightened on that point until the close of his speech, when he threw a most ingenious fly to catch those noble Lords who had voted in favour of concurrent endowment; for then it became apparent that his object had been to frame a Motion which should unite the support of those who voted the other evening for and those who voted against concurrent endowment. I rejoice that my noble Friend behind me (Lord Taunton), who made so interesting a speech, has not been caught by the device of the noble and learned Lord. After the most mature consideration Her Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that concurrent endowment was impossible, under the circumstances in which we are placed, and to that we must adhere. I assure the House that, as far as my own feelings are concerned, I have never opposed concurrent endowment on those grounds most objected to by my noble Friend on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey), and denounced by him in language so energetic. I have never been against concurrent endowment on the ground that it was unlawful or against religious principle to endow error. I look upon what is called the property of the Church as an Irish fund, and I entirely repudiate the accusation made against Her Majesty's Government, by several noble Lords who have spoken in favour of concurrent endowment, that we are sacrificing the interest, feelings, and opinions of the Irish people to the ignorant prejudices—for that was the phrase used by my noble Friend on the cross-Benches—the ignorant prejudices of the people of England and Scotland. Her Majesty's Government has had no evidence whatever to prove that the majority of the Irish people are in favour of concurrent endowment; on the contrary, judging of the opinion of the Irish people, as the Government is bound to judge of it by the expressed opinion of 1243 the representatives of the Irish people in the House of Commons, I say we have in favour of our measure the predominant opinion of all classes in Ireland. My firm opinion is that surely as a proposal for concurrent endowment would raise dangerous controversy in England and Scotland, it would not be less dangerous as regards the controversies it would give rise to in Ireland. Men well acquainted with the North assure me that there is nothing more disagreeable to the feelings of the people of the North of Ireland than concurrent endowment. My Lords, I make these remarks because I wish to point out that, from the speeches we have heard to-night, we are invited, almost avowedly, to give a vote in an indirect form in favour of concurrent endowment; and I must say I should be surprised indeed if some noble Lords who spoke the other night, especially the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Marlborough), who made a most straightforward and manly speech against the policy, are induced to vote in favour of a Motion the object of which is evidently intended to give at least a locus penitentiœ to Parliament in favour of concurrent endowment. And I appeal even to those who are in favour of concurrent endowment, whether this is not the worst course they could take for achieving their object. I agree with my noble Friend (Earl Granville) that whatever may be the abstract advantages of concurrent endowment, good can be expected to come from it only if it be voted at once; if the surplus be hung up for an uncertain number of years those good results which some expect would be entirely dissipated, and result in nothing but angry discussions throughout the three kingdoms. Now, my Lords, that is a conclusive argument against the course the noble and learned Lord (Lord Cairns) proposes, and has it not occurred to your Lordships that the vote we are now asked to give is a vote which will stultify the House in respect of its decision by a majority of 33 the other night? The noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland) has said that no one has ventured to defend the particular application of the fund proposed by the Government. My Lords, I do defend it. As we are shut out from a course of concurrent endowment this, in my opinion, is the very best application of the funds. I deny utterly the statement of the right rev. 1244 Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) the other night, that if abstract justice is to be done to Ireland we should devote this money to the establishment of the Church of the majority of the people. My Lords, I am in favour of Established Churches, where they have grown up with the nation, and are intimately connected with associations and feelings and the memories of the great body of the people; but my firm conviction is that, in the present condition of things, where-ever Established Churches have ceased to be in that position, the only alternative is free Churches, unestablished and unendowed. As regards the destination we recommend, I beg leave to point out that the money, as we propose to deal with it, is at least distributed for the benefit of the whole Irish people, without distinction of sect or of Church—distributed equally and fairly over the whole surface of Ireland, wherever unavoidable misfortune may be found. And on a higher ground I claim that our application is the best and wisest that could be made. Much stress has been laid in the course of this debate upon the sacredness of ecclesiastical property; but I will venture to affirm, and. challenge right rev. Prelates to deny, that the great Reformers uniformly laid it down as a principle that the ancient property of the Church might, with equal justice and equal regard to religious principle, be devoted to the maintenance of the clergy or the relief of unavoidable suffering. The Reformers of Scotland wished that ecclesiastical property should be given to the relief of the poor. Now, it was objected to the proposal to devote these funds to the relief of the poor in the ordinary acceptation of the term, because we have already poor houses established by law; the First Minister of the Crown therefore suggested, and that suggestion has been adopted in the Bill, that you should devote this money to unavoidable suffering in a manner which will not relieve the owners of property or other payers of rates, but go to supply luxuries for the poor as distinct from their necessities; for, my Lords, there is a wide difference between the necessities of the poor as defined by the Poor Law and the necessities of the poor as they should be provided for in a Christian country. To supply these latter necessities I maintain to be a per- 1245 fectly legitimate application of Church, property. Another argument has been stated, or hinted at, now and then by some noble Lords in the course of this discussion, to the effect that our proposal would relieve the landowners. I quite admit that there can be no relief given to any parish but some portion of it will ultimately go to benefit the landowners; but I say with regard to those in Ireland that it is not true that the rates levied upon the occupier are wholly paid by the landlord. A very large portion of these burdens are not only paid nominally, but really, by the occupiers of land in Ireland. No doubt in certain circumstances, where the rental of land is determined by absolute free trade, I admit that the ultimate benefit of a remission would go into the hands of the landowner; but we know that in a very large portion of Ireland the conditions of holdings are regulated by customary rents, and in these cases the remission would not go to the landlord. I believe it has been found as a fact by the officers deputed by the Government to inquire into this matter that the county cess is levied on the very poorest of the peasantry, and that whatever relief is given by this measure to payers of county cess will be given, to a very large extent, to the poorest occupiers. This, then, being an indirect, and, I must say, not a very fair, attempt to induce your Lordships to rescind the vote you gave the other night upon the question of concurrent endowment, I trust the Committee will not accept the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord, but confirm the Resolution of the other House to apply the funds to a just and legitimate purpose.
§ LORD CAIRNS
With reference to the statement of the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) that this Amendment was devised with a view to catch the votes of the whole of the minority and a large portion of the majority of those who voted on the proposal of the noble Duke on the cross-Benches (the Duke of Cleveland), I beg leave to state that the Amendment now before the Committee was placed by me upon the Paper before the Amendment of the noble Duke was placed there.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, of all the false charges ever levelled against any public man the accusation against my. noble and learned 1246 Friend (Lord Cairns) of a desire to endow the Irish priest is one of the most extraordinary. I do not think the course my noble and learned Friend induced Ms party to take the other night can be produced as evidence in support of the charge; in my opinion, that course must have convinced everybody who is capable of estimating character of the deep sincerity with which my noble and learned Friend holds the views he supports. Now, I wish to state to the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) that, although I have a feeling in favour of what he is pleased to call "concurrent endowment"—words which are scarcely grammatical and I am sure wholly inapplicable—I, for one, should have voted against this clause as it stands, because it would not really enact what it is apparently designed to carry out, and because it is indeed another example of that which, with all tenderness for the feelings of noble Lords opposite, I must call the conjuring tricks of this Bill. The noble Duke has dwelt in eloquent terms upon the duty of providing for the poor; and before the Bill was so much discussed in the House, it was one of the great subjects on which the Ministry congratulated themselves, that they had discovered such noble means of disposing of the difficulty of the surplus. Since the Bill has been submitted to criticism here, we have heard less of this; but we have heard a little to-night, and it is necessary to come down from the heights of enthusiasm in which the noble Duke has indulged to consider the mere words of the clause he has recommended to your Lordships. Now, in the first place, although there are five different objects named to which this surplus may be applied, there is no limit fixed to the sums which may be applied to any given object; the sum of £200,000 which is to be applied to lunatic asylums is entirely mythical; it is not in the Bill at all, and. the Queen in Council may, under this clause, apply the whole surplus to infirmaries and hospitals. The noble Duke said the funds would, under the clause, be devoted to providing for the luxuries of the poor, and he has also spoken of the funds being confined to the alleviation of unavoidable calamities. Whether lunacy is one of the luxuries of the poor I will not now discuss. The clause says that the surplus shall be applied, first, "to the support of infirmaries, 1247 hospitals, and lunatic asylums;" but it does not stop there—it goes on to say, "in exoneration of the grand jury cess, or other assessment in lieu thereof." I am justified in saying that not one farthing of this surplus will be applied to infirmaries, hospitals, and lunatic asylums, because it is merely applied in lieu of other money already applied to these objects, and, therefore, to the relief of those who pay. I apprehend that this is true, that if the cess or rate varies from year to year, a great proportion of the variation will come out of the pocket of the occupier, because the landlord does not alter the rent every time the rate is altered; but if a provision is made which materially reduces the amount of the rate, then, if the landlord is to retain any power over the tenant at all, I will venture to say that in any country in the world the landlord will get the benefit. There is no doubt there are things in Ireland which interfere with the discretion of a landlord, who is not likely to raise his rent if he stands a chance of being shot next day. I maintain, however, that under the clause, as it stands, the whole of this money, for aught that we know, will go into into the pockets of the landlords of Ireland. That alone would be, to my mind, a sufficient reason for postponing the distribution of the surplus until the Government have a better scheme to propose. I object entirely to placing, without precaution, so large a sum in the hands of the Executive Government. You have not done it before; and if it were your own money you would not do it now. Ask the House of Commons to place £8,000,000 on the Estimates to remain in the hands of the Government to be disposed of by the Queen in Council in the promotion of any particular object, and the idea would be laughed at. If you will not do it with your own money, why will you do it with this Irish money? So far from pacifying Ireland, it seems to me you will give the Irish an idea that instead of passing a Bill to meet their condition you are simply getting rid of an awkward question. We are to place this unprecedented trust in the Government for the sake of peace. We may buy peace too dearly; and I do not think that to avoid an annual discussion on the Estimates the House of Commons would be prepared to give millions of ordinary taxes 1248 to the Government to dispose of. The plan of the Government will not produce peace. Do you think you are closing this question? Do you think it can be closed as long as lunatics hold property by virtue of what is well described by the supporters of the Government as revolution? It will be a revolutionary title by which they will hold it, and such a title is proverbially unsafe, for it will be as easy to disestablish and disendow the lunatics as it is to disendow the Irish Protestant Church. I am convinced that as long as the wants of the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland are not met, as long as they are forced to rely upon the contributions which they can wring from the most indigent population in the world, so long will the question be liable to be re-opened by agitation. The noble Duke told us he was abstractedly in favour of concurrent endowment, but could not support it on account of the circumstances in which we were placed at present.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Well, the noble Duke said there was a good deal to be said in favour of it, but really in the present state of circumstances it was impossible for the Government to adopt it. The obvious course is to wait until the present circumstances have passed by. If you are placed in this most unfortunate condition that you cannot legislate according to your own conscientious convictions, if you are obliged to legislate according to the convictions of the Nonconformists, surely it is most desirable to put off to a more convenient season the settlement of every question that can be postponed, and to wait for a more fortunate state of things than that in which the Government is obliged to accept measures at the hands of the Liberation Society. I am anxious to lend a hand to the Government in extricating them from their difficulty. I fully disbelieve that the course you are invited to take by this Amendment will, in the end, produce more agitation than the course the Government are asking you to take, though it might produce more if the Government were to take a reasonable view. If you leave the disposition of the surplus open, that will not produce so much irritation upon the minds of the people of Ireland as it will if you tell them that you are irrevocably 1249 determined that those whom they most love shall have no share in the disposal of these funds. Not only because delay will give an opportunity to deal in a statesmanlike manner with the question in the future, not only because it will give time to the public to complete the change of opinion that is progressing so rapidly, but also because it will be on the whole a measure tending to produce peace in Ireland I recommend your Lordships to accept the Amendment of the noble Lord (Lord Cairns).
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
Notwithstanding the pleasure with which we always listen to my noble Friend (the Marquess of Salisbury) I think most of your Lordships will be disposed to say you have heard enough of pleasantries about lunatics. As far as my Colleagues and myself are concerned, we would be the last to resent a joke at our expense on the subject of the lunatic asylums of Ireland. However easy it may be to make a joke, the matter is far too serious to deserve to be treated with levity in this House. As regards the disposal of this surplus, I would remind the House of what was said by a noble Marquess on the cross-Benches (the Marquess of Clanricarde). He knows Ireland and the feelings of the people well; and I was struck by the statement he made. He said—"As far as I know the Irish people, what they would desire is that this surplus should be applied to the relief of the poor rate." Well, I apprehend our plan is not obnoxious to the charge that it will merely relieve the land.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
interposing, remarked, that what he said was the application of the surplus to the relief of the poor rate would be most popular.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I am obliged to the noble Marquess. He said that the most popular plan would be to relieve the poor rate; and what is most popular I suppose is that which will most benefit the people. ["No, no!"] That certainly is my notion; it seems in Ireland it is otherwise; having been in that country sometimes, perhaps I ought to have known better. It happens, singularly enough, that while the poor rate is paid half by the landlords and half by the tenants, the county cess is paid entirely by the tenants, and this is a very great grievance with the small 1250 occupiers throughout Ireland; because this county cess falls very heavily upon them, and because the county cess is paid for the support of institutions such as infirmaries, which are not used so much by the very poorest as by the class who can avoid resort to the workhouse. Therefore our plan is not calculated so much to give direct relief to the landlords as to give sensible relief to the occupiers. It has been urged as an objection that the nurses to be provided will be principally nuns; but seeing that it is intended the greater number of them shall be midwives, I think it is improbable they will belong to the class named. As regards lunatic asylums, it is perfectly true, as the Bill states, that the money to be expended is to go in exoneration of the grand jury cess, and the sum will be about £185,000; but some of the other objects are not in exoneration of the county cess, and they will be provided out of the surplus. One of these is the increase in the supply of nurses for workhouses, and an increase in the number has been strongly recommended by the Poor Law Commissioners. There are considerable provisions for the deaf, the dumb, and the blind, with whom I suppose your Lordships will have considerable sympathy. The Census Commissioners both of 1851 and 1861 strongly recommended that some provision should be made by the Government for the education of these classes. These are some of the objects to which the surplus is applied, and I confess I think they are very legitimate objects. But then the noble Marquess opposite, after expressing his regret, as nearly all the speakers have done, at the decision at which the Committee arrived the other evening on the question of what has been called concurrent endowment, or, to adopt the phraseology of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol), co-ordinate grants, advocates the adoption of this Amendment on the ground that it will afford the people of this country an opportunity of considering the subject. But the noble Marquess will probably recognize the quotation, "Rusticus expectat," and that is really about the course of public opinion on this subject. And now, my Lords, that we have nearly concluded the consideration of the clauses, has it not occurred to some noble Lords to consider as a whole the course which this House has 1251 adopted with regard to this Bill? You passed the second reading, but you have adopted Amendment after Amendment utterly inconsistent with the principle and the framework of this Bill; and I ask the House seriously to consider whether the Bill, in its present state, when it comes to be sent down to the House of Commons is likely to meet with their approval? When your Lordships, as I thought wisely, assented to the second reading of this Bill, I hailed your decision with satisfaction, because I believed that whatever Amendments you might think fit to adopt in alleviation of any hardships which you might believe likely to result from the Bill, you would, at all events, take care that the Amendments would not be so wide in their scope—that the Amendments demanded for the Church would not be so exorbitantly large and would not be so manifestly inconsistent with the principle of the Bill—as to preclude their acceptance by the other House. I ask you not to add another stone to the edifice which you have constructed—an edifice which I do not think likely to stand. I ask you whether it will not at all events be better to send down this Bill without another Amendment directly in opposition to what the other House has agreed to, without an Amendment which, whatever the fate of other Amendments may be, will, I am convinced, never be adopted by the other House?
My Lords, I desire to remind your Lordships what this clause really means. The noble Earl who has just sat down has entirely ignored the objection as to the very large discretionary power placed by it in the hands of the Government. As the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) has said, the clause is very vague as to the proportions in which the property maybe applied to the various purposes mentioned in the Bill, and it is also vague as regards the parts of the country where it may be applied. And therefore, my Lords, mark the enormous facility for jobbing which is afforded by this clause. The moment this Bill is passed there will be an application, perhaps from an institution of one kind in the county of Cork, and perhaps from another of a totally different character in the county of Westmeath. A popular preacher in one part of the country will urge the claims of the institution in which he takes a particular in- 1252 terest, while a man of influence in another part will enforce the claims of some other institution which, in his opinion, deserves support. Nay, more, the inhabitants of one part of the country will be engaged in a contest with those of another part, with a view to deciding who shall have the largest share in the property. Now, it is well known to your Lordships that, for many years—both under the present and the former Governments of France—it has been evident that the great engine of electoral influence has been the power of dealing with competing local interests. Now, there is certainly nothing in the Act to prevent the employment of an organized system of electoral corruption. I do not for a moment suppose that the present Lord Lieutenant or the present Chief Secretary for Ireland would exercise any such power if they could use it, but we know very well that they have no freeholds in their offices. We do not know who will succeed them, and it is contrary to all sound constitutional principles to place in the hands of the Executive Government a power so extensive and one so capable of being abused. Again, as the noble Marquess observed, you do not vote £8,000,000 or £9,000,000 in a lump sum for the maintenance of the Army, and allow the Government to make "ducks and drakes" of what you grant. On the contrary, day by day the system is becoming more strict, and the Government is every day obliged to specify with greater preciseness the particular manner in which the money is to be expended. I say that the facility which this Bill gives to the Government for abuse, and the total want of clearness and preciseness as to the manner in which the money is hereafter to be applied, are decisive. I do not deny that there is much force in the argument employed by the noble Earl (Earl Granville) as to the inconvenience that will result from leaving this money to be scrambled for, and I only regret that by a former decision we prevented the definite application of a large portion. But, admitting that there is much inconvenience in the result which the noble Earl deprecates, you will not get rid of it by the clause as it has come down to us from the other House. The utmost that it will do will be to transfer the scramble from the walls of Parliament to the room of the Chief Secretary. 1253 I believe that that scramble, dangerous as it is, will be less dangerous if the distribution is made in public and before the eyes of the country, than it would be if it were to be made in secret and in the office of the Chief Secretary; and your Lordships must remember that by accepting this clause you do nothing to prevent applications being made to Parliament. You cannot for some time actually spend the money which will be at your disposal, and application will meanwhile be made to Parliament, year after year, to ask you to vary the mode in which the money is to be distributed. That, I apprehend, will be the consequence, and I do not believe the inconvenience will be greater under the Bill as amended in the manner now proposed than it would be in the present shape. There appears to have been an evident determination to do anything in the world with the money; to throw it away in any possible and conceivable manner rather than to allow the priesthood of the great majority of the Irish people to derive any benefit from it; and, my Lords, I must repeat what I have before said, that the result is to make this measure a measure not of conciliation and peace, but of fresh injury and injustice to Ireland.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
apologized for again rising in the course of the discussion, but he felt bound to deny that this money was to be disposed of in the room of the Chief Secretary of Ireland. If the noble Earl (Earl Grey) would look at the Bill he would see that it was to be entrusted to the management, not of any political body, but of a permanent body —namely, the Poor Law Commissioners of Ireland.
observed that the money was to be distributed, it was true, by the Poor Law Commissioners, but under the direction of Her Majesty in Council.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, he would refer their Lordships to the wording of the clause, which showed that on the issue of an Order in Council the property vested in the Church Commissioners, should be applied under the management and control of the Poor Law Commissioners, to the objects enumerated in the clause. The latter part of the clause said that the Commissioners might, from time to time, report to Her Majesty whether there was any income available for the purposes named, and such portion of income should be applied 1254 "under such management and control as aforesaid." The Poor Law Commissioners would therefore control and manage the funds.
THE EARL OF LUCAN
said, he believed that the Chief Secretary for Ireland was ex-officio a member of the Irish Poor Law Commission.
§ On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause?—Their Lordships divided:—Contents 90; Not-Contents 160: Majority 70.1256
|Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Carew, L.|
|Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Devonshire, D.||Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)|
|Saint Albans, D.||Chesham, L.|
|Somerset, D.||Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)|
|Ailesbury, M.||Clermont, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Clifford of Chudleigh, L.|
|Normanby, M.||Dacre, L.|
|De Tabley, L.|
|Abingdon, E.||Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)|
|Albemarle, E.||Fingall L (E. Fingall.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Foley, L. [Teller.]|
|Chichester, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard.)|
|Cowper, E.||Harris, L.|
|Craven, E.||Hastings, L.|
|Do Grey, E.||Hatherton, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Keane, L.|
|Denbigh, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Durham, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Effingham, E.||Lurgan, L.|
|Fitzwilliam, E.||Lyttelton, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Meldrum, L.(M. Huntly.)|
|Granville, E.||Meredyth, L. (L. Athlumney.)|
|Minto, E.||Methuen, L.|
|Morley, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Saint Germans, E.||Monson, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)|
|Suffolk and Berkshire, E.||Mostyn, L.|
|Zetland, E.||Northbrook, L.|
|Eversley, V.||Poltimore, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.) [Teller.]|
|Leinster, V, (D. Linester.)|
|Lifford, V.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Sydney, V.||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Oxford, Bp.||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.)||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Seymour, L. (E. St. Maur.)|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Suffield, L.|
|Sundridge L. (D. Argyll.)|
|Taunton, L.||Worlingham, L.(E. Gosford.)|
|Wentworth, L.||Wrottesley, L.|
|Canterbury, Archp.||Rosslyn, E.|
|York, Archp.||Scarbrough, E.|
|Dublin, Archp.||Selkirk, E.|
|Beaufort, D.||Stanhope, E.|
|Cleveland, D.||Stradbroke, E.|
|Grafton, D.||Tankerville, E.|
|Manchester, D.||Vane, E.|
|Marlborough, D.||Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.|
|Rutland, D.||Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)|
|De Vesci, V.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Exmouth, V.|
|Ailsa, M.||Hardinge, V.|
|Bath, M.||Hawarden, V.|
|Bristol, M.||Hill, V.|
|Exeter, M.||Hood, V.|
|Salisbury, M.||Melville, V.|
|Tweeddale, M.||Sidmouth, V.|
|Winchester, M.||Strathallan, V.|
|Amherst, E.||Bangor, Bp.|
|Annesley, E.||Derry and Raphoe, Bp.|
|Aylesford, E.||Ely, Bp.|
|Bandon, E.||Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Hereford, Bp.|
|Brooke and Warwick, E.||Lichfield, Bp.|
|Brownlow, E.||London, Bp.|
|Cadogan, E.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Carnarvon, E.||St. David's, Bp.|
|Cawdor, E.||Tuam, &c, Bp.|
|Derby, E.||Arundell of Wardour, L.|
|Devon, E.||Aveland, L.|
|Ellenborough, E.||Bolton, L.|
|Erne, E.||Cairns, L.|
|Essex, E.||Chaworth, L.(E. Meath.)|
|Feversham, E.||Chelmsford, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||Churchill, L.|
|Grey, E.||Clarina, L.|
|Haddington, E.||Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)|
|Hardwicke, E.||Clonbrock, L.|
|Harewood, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Harrington, E.||Colonsay, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Colville of Culross, L.|
|Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire.)||[Teller.]|
|Home, E.||Crewe, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Crofton, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Delamere, L.|
|Lucan, E.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Macclesfield, E.||Denman, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||De Saumarez, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Digby, L.|
|Manvers, E.||Dunboyne, L.|
|Morton, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.|
|Nelson, E.||Dunsandle and Clanconal, L.|
|Romney, E.||Dunsany, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Egerten, L.|
|Elphinstone, L.||Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)||Saltoun, L.|
|Gormanston, L.(V. Gormansion)||Sherborne, L.|
|Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Grinstead, L. (E. Enniskillen.)|
|Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) [Teller.]|
|Hylton, L.||Southampton, L.|
|Kesteven, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Kilmaine, L.||Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Lilford, L.||Stratheden, L.|
|Lyveden, L.||Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)|
|Moore, L. (M. Dragheda.)|
|Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|O'Neill, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Oriel, L. (V. Massereene.)||Thurlow, L.|
|Ormathwaite, L.||Walsingham, L.|
|Penrhyn, L.||Wharncliffe, L.|
|Rayleigh, L.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Redesdale, L.||Wynford, L.|
§ Then on Question? the proposed Amendment agreed to.
§ Words inserted accordingly.
moved to insert at the end of the clause the proviso of which he had given notice. The proposal he now made had not been submitted to either House, and he thought some such plan was essential. Considerable improvements had been, made by their Lordships in the provision for the future Church of Ireland, though, in his opinion, those Amendments had been greatly endangered by being confined to one side. Two fallacies had been propounded in the course of this discussion—one, that a large amount of money would come to the Irish Church as the result of capitalizing; the other, that the same results would follow in the case of the Irish Church as in that of the Free Church of Scotland. Now the circumstances of the two countries were entirely different, and he did not believe that any analogy could be drawn between the two cases. He had no doubt that many large Protestant proprietors would have chapels of their own, and in the large towns proper provision might be made for the Church; but what would happen to the poor in the wilds of Connemara or Kerry? How could they receive any succour except by means of a plan of concurrent endowment? He believed that if Mr. Pitt could have carried out his views on this question the present Bill would never 1257 have been called for. But a greater statesman than Pitt, Pox, Castlereagh, or Sir Robert Peel had expressed an opinion on "levelling up," which would probably rather surprise their Lordships. He saw the Grand Master of the Orangemen present, and knew he would be true to his colours, and to the glorious, pious, and immortal memory of King William. Well, in the letters to Dean Swift, talking of Irish refugees, Sir Charles Wogan wrote as follows:—I hare often blamed their men of chief distinction and sense for having rejected the terms offered by the Prince of Orange to my uncle Tyrconnel in favour of the Irish Catholics in general before the decisive battle of Aughrim. The prince was touched with the fate of a gallant nation, that had made itself a victim to French promises, and ran headlong to its ruin for the only purpose, in fact, of advancing the French conquests in the Netherlands under the favour of that hopeless diversion in Ireland, which gave work enough to 40,000 of the best troops of the Grand Alliance of Augsburg. He longed to find himself at the head of the Confederate army with so strong a reinforcement. In this anxiety, he offered the Irish Catholics the free exercise of their religion, half the churches of the kingdom, half the employments, civil and military, too, if they pleased, and even the moiety of their ancient properties.He believed the Irish people cared nothing about this Bill; though now they would, of course, be disappointed if it did not pass. The result of the Bill would be that hereafter an old man might point to a ruined glebe house in some remote part of the country, and say—"That came of a measure which we thought would give us religious liberty, but which ended in the ruin of that house, where there lived a kindly and generous gentleman, whose glebe now helps to support lunatic asylums which would have been supported if the measure had never passed." Now, if not less than ten acres of land were given in the way he proposed, such a grant would serve as a nucleus for the support of future clergymen, which would go far to remedy the evil he apprehended in the remote districts of Ireland. It would be said that the House of Commons would not assent to this Amendment. In his opinion, the Amendment would make the Bill more secure than it was before. But if this House engaged in a conflict with the House of Commons, they could not do j so in a juster cause than this attempt to introduce religious equality in Ireland— an attempt which would place their 1258 Lordships in advance of the other House upon this question. Having said so much in support of the proviso, he would leave it in their Lordships' hands to be dealt with as they thought best.
An Amendment moved, to insert at end of Clause 68—
("Provided always, that prior to such report and such application above mentioned, the commissioners shall, so far as the property at their disposal may permit, vest in the said church body ten acres of land free of charge and costs for the use and benefit for ever of each incumbent of a parish or union of parishes while he shall perform the duties thereof in person or by deputy.
And the commissioners shall likewise, on the application of the Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop acting as such in each district or diocese, vest in trustees to be named by such archbishop or bishop ten acres of land for the use and benefit for ever of the Roman Catholic parish priest acting as such in each parish or union of parishes.
And the commissioners shall, on the application of the general assembly, synod, or presbytery of the non-conforming Presbyterian congregations of Ireland who have been in receipt of Regium Donum, vest in trustees to be named by the said general assembly, synod, or presbytery ten acres of land for the use and benefit for ever of the minister of each such congregation which has been in the receipt of Regium Donum.")— (The Viscount Lifford).
said, he felt strongly upon this subject, which was one brought by him before the other House of Parliament many years ago, but he had not addressed their Lordships upon it now, for his feelings had been represented in speeches of singular eloquence and by men of such high position and influence, that he could not conceive that their words would be willingly let die. With regard to the decision just given, he could not regret it, though a general supporter of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, because it indicated, in the strongest manner, that, in the opinion of this House, the disposal of the surplus funds of the Church, as recommended by the Government, would not be satisfactory to the people of Ireland. There had been a great change in public opinion on this question. At the time to which he referred, the moderate and just proposals for a grant to Maynooth excited in this country a storm of indignation against Sir Robert Peel. Now, last night, a great majority of their Lordships approved the proposal to make a grant to Maynooth, not even from the Consolidated Fund, but from the property of the Irish Church. Such a change of 1259 feeling was one to be regarded with unmixed satisfaction. That question of concurrent endowment he believed would make progress in this country, and therefore he thought it was wise to defer the distribution of the large funds that would be raised under the operation of this Bill.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ EARL STANHOPE
moved a clause providing for the preservation of the Observatory at Armagh, which was founded in 1791, and endowed out of the profits arising from certain rectorial tithes and other sources. The Observatory had since been conducted in the most excellent manner, and he had received from General Sabine, President of the Royal Society, a letter in which he expressed his opinion that this institution was second only to one of its kind in Europe—namely, to that at Greenwich. It had been enriched both as regards endowments and instruments by the munificence of successive Primates; but it depended greatly for its due support on certain rectorial tithes which under this Bill would be diverted from it. He desired to secure to the trustees the full benefit of their lease, which was of the kind described as "customarily renewable "—one of many such in the see of Armagh. It was of great importance to promote science in a country where hitherto it had been but little cultivated, and he therefore trusted that their Lordships would accept the clause of which he had given notice.
Moved, to insert the following clause:—
("Whereas the trustees of the Observatory at Armagh hold a lease of the rectorial tithes of the parish of Carlingford, customarily renewable by the See of Armagh, and under the provisions of this Bill such lease will cease to be renewable, and the aforesaid scientific institution be deprived of a portion of the annual income available for its support, it is hereby provided that the commissioners shall pay to the trustees of the said institution such sum as shall appear to them to be a fair compensation for the loss of the said customary right of renewal.")—(The Earl Stanhope).
said, he could understand the solicitude expressed by the noble Earl (Earl Stanhope) on behalf of the Observatory at Armagh, and he was glad to have the present opportunity of adding his tribute of praise to so useful an institution. He must, however, call 1260 attention to the fact that the funds referred to in the Motion arose from private leases which had from time to time been granted to the Observatory by the successive Primates of All Ireland. Consequently the institution had neither a legal nor a vested claim to these funds, which were, so to speak, merely private benefactions. It would be extremely inconvenient if any claim of this kind were allowed under the provisions of the Bill; but, at the same time, he was prepared to say that the claims of the Armagh Observatory, as a public institution of very great value, should receive a favourable consideration at the hands of the Government when the time for such consideration arrived.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said, he had not framed the clause without consulting the vicar general of the province on the subject. It was on the express authority of that learned gentleman that he had described the lease in his Amendment as "customarily renewable," and he was assured that this description was perfectly correct.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, that cases constantly arose where leases which had been frequently renewed by Bishops were not renewed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
§ LORD CAIRNS
suggested that the noble Earl should postpone his proposal until the Report. It was desirable that they should know what the nature of the lease really was.
§ Motion (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clauses 69 to 71 [Saving Clauses].
§ Clause 69 (Provision as to Acts relating to United Church of England and Ireland).
THE BISHOP OF OXFOED
said, he wished to move the addition of a proviso at the end of the clause, to the effect that all persons admitted to Holy Orders by any Bishop of the Irish Church after it ceased to be united by law to the Church of England should be subject, mutatis mutandis, to the provisions of the Act of the 27 and 28 of the Queen touching persons admitted to Holy Orders by any Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. The clause, as it now stood in the Bill, would cause very great inconvenience in future, and would absolutely 1261 prohibit the clergy of the disestablished Irish Church from ministering in England; and the object of his proviso was to remove what he was sure their Lordships would feel to be a very great hardship to the clergy of the Free Episcopal Church in Ireland, especially as a Roman Catholic clergyman, on conforming and signing the Articles, could be admitted without re-ordination. The proviso would place the clergy of that Church on precisely the same legal status, in regard to officiating in England, as the clergy of the Scotch Episcopal Church now held in England. He was anxious that the clergy ordained in the Free Episcopal Church of Ireland should now be put in an ascertained position, and he thought the proper way of doing that was to put them, as far as Act of Parliament went, in the same position as the clergy ordained in the Episcopal Church in Scotland.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER AND BRISTOL
said, he thought it desirable that some provision to the same effect as that proposed by his right rev. Brother should be inserted somewhere in the Bill, but he did not think it was quite clear that that was the proper place in which it should be inserted.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he also thought it doubtful whether that was the most convenient part of the Bill to which to attach such a proviso, and he would suggest that it would be better if the Amendment were allowed to stand over for consideration till the Report. He was not at all sure whether, with the words proposed, the clause, instead of being an enabling, might not be disabling clause.
§ Motion (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 70 (Saving rights as to proprietary chapels and chapels of ease) agreed to.
§ Clause 71 (Saving of Act of 39 & 40 Geo. 3, c. 67) agreed to.
§ Clause 72 (Interpretation), with an Amendment, agreed to.
§ Clauses 19 to 22 [Powers of Church after passing of Act.]
§ Clause 19 (Repeal of laws prohibiting holding of synods, &c.)
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he should be among the first to claim for the Protest- 1262 ant Episcopal Church of Ireland, when disestablished, perfect freedom in every shape or form from Parliamentary interference in regard to its constitution; but a difficulty arose. In Ireland there existed at this moment an Act which prevented the holding of any assembly or convention of the Established Church. This Bill proposed to repeal that Act of Parliament, and, so far, the difficulty as to the clergy and. laity of the Church assembling would be removed. But a fresh difficulty then commenced with which that Bill did not deal. The object was to enable the clergy and laity of the Church to assemble by their representatives before the day arrived for its disestablishment. The whole object of the Amendment was to provide that before the day of disestablishment should arrive, the Church might assemble and make rules with a view to its future good government. The clergy and laity of Ireland were all members of the Established Church as it stood, and they could not act in general assembly in any way but as members of an Established Church ought to act. As an illustration of the necessity of the Amendment, suppose there was at this moment in this country an assembly formed by representation or otherwise of laymen and clergy, some of whom were so sanguine as to hope, or perhaps who feared, that the Church at a future time might be disestablished, and in that view they commenced making rules for their future regulation; the whole thing would be invalid and illegal. Now, he wanted by this Amendment to set free the hands of the clergy and laity to make rules and regulations for themselves before the time of disestablishment should come.
Amendment moved, in page 8, at the end of the clause to add—
("And the bishops of the said church, and the clergy and laity of the said church by such representation, lay and clerical, and to be elected is such manner as they the said bishops, clergy, and laity shall appoint, may meet in General Synod or Convention, and in such General Synod or Convention frame constitutions and regulations for the general management and good government of the said church, and the property and affairs thereof, and the future representation of the members thereof in Diocesan Synods, General Convocation, or otherwise.")—(The Lord Cairns.)
THE ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN
said, the Irish clergy in general were very desirous of perfect liberty, and that there should not be the remotest excuse for anybody saving hereafter that the Irish Church in its new form was a 1263 State-made Church, having a Parliamentary title. On the contrary, though they knew all the difficulties which beset them, and that they would feel the weight of their liberty, they still desired to grow from their own root and build upon their own foundation. All they asked of their Lordships was to do as little as possible for them.
§ LORD ROMILLY
said, his noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) appeared to him somewhat mistaken in the law, and, therefore, he begged to state what he apprehended would be the position of the Irish Church as soon as this Bill passed, in case nothing whatever was done by the members of that Church. These persons doing nothing whatever would remain, if they thought fit to remain, members of the Church of England, bound by the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England, exactly in the same way as the members of the Church in the colonies were the members of the Church of England, without meeting in any Synod or Assembly whatever; and if their doctrine and discipline were brought under the consideration of any court of justice, the matter would be determined by the opinion which the court of justice might form of what were the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England. But, on the other hand, they need not remain members of the Church of England, but might, if they thought fit, meet and make rules for themselves. For instance, the Scotch Episcopal Church had for a long time remained simply members of the Church of England, and did nothing but adopt its doctrines and discipline. But, about fifty or sixty years ago, they constituted a Synod, and formed a long and complicated series of Articles for themselves, which they afterwards revised in 1863. If their doctrines and discipline became the subject of judicial decision in a court of law, the question would be not whether they were in accordance with the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England, but whether they were in accordance with those Articles which they had framed for themselves and by which they had agreed to be bound; accordingly a short time since there had been an appeal to that House by a gentleman who complained that the rules made, in 1863, were ultra vires, and the matter, having been first tried in a Scotch Court, was afterwards brought to their Lordships' House. Both of which courts 1264 decided that the moment they agreed to be bound by certain rules which they themselves had framed they became a voluntary Church, and were no longer members of the Church of England; in fact, they differed, though not very materially, with regard to some points both of doctrine and discipline from those of the Church of England. Now, he apprehended that if any number of persons, being now members of the Church of England, thought fit to unite and say that they would form certain rules for Church government, for the election of Bishops, archdeacons, the trial of ecclesiastical offences, and so forth, they would be perfectly competent to do so, and it would be perfectly legal. If these rules were identical with those of the Church of England, though the rules would be merely superfluous, they would remain members of the Church of England; but if in any the slightest degree they did not conform to the doctrines and discipline of the Church of England, the only effect would be that they would be, to that extent, dissenters from the Church of England. There would not be the slightest illegality in the proceeding; but, like the Wesleyan Methodists, they would have their own doctrines and discipline. The most rev. Primate, whose speech so much delighted them on the second reading (the Archbishop of Canterbury), said that the union between the Church of England and the State was much older than the union between the Churches of England and Ireland. That was perfectly true. In truth it was coeval with the establishment of Church itself. And the Church of England and the State could not be separated from the State, but if severed would become a separate and distinct Church, and must reject the 37th of the Articles of Religion; and, therefore, their Lordships might dismiss their fears respecting the efforts of the society calling itself the Liberation Society, in endeavouring to destroy what was firmly rooted in the hearts of the great bulk of the English people, and by separating the Church of England from the State to convert it into a mere voluntary association.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he was obliged to his noble and learned Friend (Lord Romilly) for having given so excellent an illustration of the necessity of the Amendment. His noble and learned Friend had called the members of the 1265 Church of Ireland members of the Church of England. But, though united, the two Churches were not the same Church. They agreed in doctrine and discipline, rites and ceremonies; but when his noble and learned Friend represented, as he had done over and over again, that the members of the Church of Ireland would remain members of the Church of England, he had confounded two entirely different things. His noble and learned Friend had put this case—Suppose the members of the Church of England in England were to meet and say they would form a system of Church government for themselves, they might do so, and the only consequence would be that they would become Dissenters and cease to be members of the Church of England. But what he (Lord Cairns) wanted was, that before the disestablishment of the Irish Church the laity and clergy might meet and make such rules as they thought proper, and yet not be told that they were dissenters from the Church of Ireland.
§ THE EARL OF COURTOWN
said, as an Irish layman, he wished to express his satisfaction at hearing from both sides that the Church of Ireland should be left as much liberty as possible. The series of clauses which they were considering was of immense importance to the working of the Bill and the future of the Church, for the body which was proposed to be created by this clause was the one from which the Governing Body contemplated by the Bill was to arise. He approved the proposal of the Government to leave the Church perfectly free, as it would be under the Bill, except as regards the formation of the Church Body, but he concurred in the Amendment of the noble and learned Lord. It had been suggested that the Bill would leave the future Church Body to be formed by chance, but, in point of fact, there would be little chance about it; the Primate and Bishops of the Irish Church, who were responsible for its good conduct, were active and zealous in the discharge of their duties, and there was no ground for fearing, as there would be in the case of perverse or crotchety persons, that they would improperly exercise the powers devolving upon them in this clause.
§ LORD ROMILLY
said, that the Irish Church when disestablished would correspond in position with the Church in Australia or New Zealand. The mem- 1266 bers of that Church made no new rules, entered into no new articles, and accordingly they remained members of the Church of England, exactly the same as Roman Catholics in those colonies remained members of the Church of Rome. If they made new rules, and agreed to be bound by new Articles, then they be- came another and a distinct Church, and for that purpose they did not require the powers of any Act of Parliament. His objection to the Amendment of his noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) was that it seemed to assume that the Church could do nothing without a Synod and new laws. New laws were quite unnecessary; because, if things were left as at present, the Church would merely have to resort to the civil courts to expound their existing laws instead of to the ecclesiastical courts. The Episcopalians in Ireland would, in fact, be Dissenters from the Church of England to the extent the Episcopalians of Scotland were Dissenters. That was only to the extent that they framed rules not in accordance with those of the mother Church.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
suggested the alteration of the Amendment, so as to make it read that nothing should prevent the Bishops, clergy, and laity from meeting to frame a constitution; they did not wish to have powers given them by the Legislature; all that they wished was to be let alone to do what they liked. The moment you gave them power, you violated the fundamental principle of the Bill, which was equality. The Roman Catholics, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians had no such power, and therefore the principle of equality was gone immediately that any powers were given to the Church. It was quite right and fair that the Church should be free and unfettered, and therefore he would support an Amendment to the effect that nothing in the Act contained should prevent their meeting.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, the position of the Methodists was at present different from that of the Church, inasmuch as there was nothing to prevent the Methodists meeting. As the object in view would be attained by altering the Amendment in accordance with the suggestion of the noble and learned Lord, he would consent to alter it.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
Then the following Amendment made, and added to the clause:—
("And nothing in any such Act, law, or custom shall prevent the bishops of the said church, and the clergy and laity of the said church, by such representatives, lay and clerical, and to be elected as they the said bishops, clergy, and laity shall appoint, from meeting in general synod or convention, and in such synod or convention framing constitutions and regulations for the general management and good government of the said church, and property and affairs thereof, and the future representation of the members thereof in diocesan synods, general convention, or otherwise.")
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 20 (Existing law to subsist by contract).
LOED CAIRNS moved to insert the following clause instead thereof:—
The present ecclesiastical law of Ireland, and the present articles, doctrines, rites, rules, discipline, and ordinances of the said Church, with and subject to such (if any) modification or alteration as after the 1st day of January one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two may be duly made therein according to the constitution of the said church, shall be deemed to be binding on the members for the time being thereof in the same manner as if such members had mutually contracted and agreed to abide by and observe the same, and shall be capable of being enforced in the temporal courts in relation to any property which under and by virtue of this Act is reserved or given to or taken and enjoyed by the said church or any members thereof, in the same manner and to the same extent as if such property had been expressly given, granted, or conveyed upon trust to beheld, occupied, and enjoyed by persons who should observe and keep and be in all respects bound by the said ecclesiastical law, and the said articles, doctrines, rites, rules, discipline, and ordinances of the said church, subject as aforesaid; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to confer on any archbishop, bishop, or other ecclesiastical person, any coercive jurisdiction whatsoever.
Provided always, that no alteration in the articles, doctrines, rites, or, save in so far as may be rendered necessary by the passing of this Act, in the formularies of the said church, shall be binding on any ecclesiastical person at present in orders who shall within six months after the making of such alteration signify his dissent therefrom, nor shall such dissent operate to deprive such person of any annuity or other compensation to which under this Act he may be entitled.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 21 (Abolition of ecclesiastical courts and ecclesiastical law).
LORD ROMILLY moved to add the following proviso:—
("Provided always, that in all cases where any point of doctrine or discipline of the Church of England shall come into question and be decided by any of the civil courts in Ireland, the appeal shall lie to Her Majesty in Council in England, and not to the House of Lords.")
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that if the Amendment were agreed to 1268 there would be one tribunal for the Protestant Episcopalian Church and another for Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, and others.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 22 (Incorporation of church body).
§ LORD CAIRNS moved the omission of the words of limitation.
§ Amendment moved, in line 22, to leave out ("to such extent as is in this Act provided, but not further or otherwise.")—(The Lord Cairns).
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, the Amendment would place the Church Body on a different footing from that of the Catholics, and it would be contrary to that equality which was the principle of the Bill if one body were allowed to hold any extent of land.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, that considering the small number of Peers present, he would not put their Lordships to the trouble of dividing; but the point was of importance, and he should therefore now withdraw the Amendment, and propose it upon the Report, when there would be a fuller attendance.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to, with an Amendment.
§ Preamble read.
§ LORD CAIRNS
proposed to make the Preamble conform to the clause postponing the application of the surplus by leaving out from ("be") in line 8, to (" and") in line 16, and inserting ("applied in such manner as Parliament shall hereafter direct.")
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, he should not put their Lordships to the trouble of dividing; but in order to mark his disapproval of the course taken by the House, he should say "Not-content" to the Amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Words struck out.
§ Preamble, as amended, agreed to
§ Title read, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ The Report of the Amendments to be received on Friday next; and Bill to be printed, as amended. (No. 172.)
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Ten 'clock, to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.