§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading, read.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a"—(The Earl Granville.)
THE EARL OF CLANCARTY
My Lords, after the labour and patient attention your Lordships have bestowed in Committee upon the details of this Bill—labour that I fully admit has materially mitigated the amount of wrong and injustice that would have been inflicted upon the Church in Ireland under the Bill as it came up from the House of Commons—some apology, I feel, is due to your Lordships for my now rising to move its rejection. I beg to say, then, that I should not have presumed to take such a step but under a sense, a very painful sense, of duty that must be paramount to all other considerations. But, my Lords, there are, apart from the general impolicy and injustice of the measure, objections to the passing of this Bill that, though frequently adverted to in the course of these debates, have never been answered, though they are of that nature that they certainly ought not to have been left unanswered—I mean the terms and conditions of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland so far as they relate to the maintenance of the Established religion, and the Coronation Oath so far as it relates to the same subject. Objections such as these so materially enhance the responsibilities of the House in dealing with the question of disestablishing the Church that explanation, if it can be given, ought not to be withheld. With reference to the Coronation Oath, I think it cannot be denied that ever since the period of the Revolution until the present year it has been the wont of Parliament and of the Ministers of the Crown to respect the obligations that the Oath imposes upon the Sovereign of this realm. Why, my Lords, is this 1596 practice now to be departed from? It is a fact in history that about the time of the Union the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was deferred from the most opportune period for its enactment, owing to the conscientious objection of George III. to taking a step that he thought might imperil the Church. However exaggerated those apprehensions were then considered, may it not be said that circumstances at this day unhappily appear in a great measure to justify them? But when such statesmen as Pitt and Castle-reagh respected them, earnest though they were in advocating the cause of the Roman Catholics, how can we consider ourselves at liberty—however expedient the measure before the House might otherwise appear to be—to advise Her Majesty to give her Royal Assent to a Bill of no such doubtful effect upon the interests of the Church; but so plainly and directly at variance as this is with all that in the most solemn manner before God, and in presence of her people, she has promised to do with respect to the maintenance of the Protestant Reformed religion as by law established? Unless, my Lords, it can be satisfactorily shown that the objects and provisions of this Bill are in perfect harmony with the engagements so solemnly accepted by the Sovereign at her coronation, I must feel it my duty, if on no other ground, to vote and protest against the passing of the Bill. Let me further urge it upon your Lordships that some consideration is due to the feelings of the public in this matter. It is said, indeed, that the constituencies have unmistakably pronounced for the overthrow of the Church in Ireland; and, in deference to that supposed verdict of the country, many of your Lordships, contrary, I believe, to your better judgment, voted for the second reading of the Bill. I do not deny that the result of a General Election should have considerable weight with this House; but those results are not always to be relied upon as an index of public opinion. A party cry, suddenly got up and skilfully directed, may, as it has done at the late General Election, give to the wildest and most revolutionary views the appearance of acceptance by the country; but such views, even when advocated by the Ministers of the Crown, must not be mistaken for that well-matured public judgment upon great questions of policy 1597 which this House is bound to respect. Confining myself to the one question of the Coronation Oath, I would ask, were the constituencies informed how their Sovereign was bound by the express terms of that Oath to maintain the Church that their leaders were denouncing? Most certainly that fact never was put before them. The abstract question of the justice or injustice of maintaining in Ireland a Church Establishment for a communion to which a minority only, and that a small minority, of the Irish people belonged, was, no doubt, placed before them, and, probably, with the colouring, exaggeration, and misrepresentation that have invariably characterized ex parte statements against the Church; and upon this abstract question they may have pronounced; but a loyal and a truth-loving people would never have desired that their beloved Sovereign should be placed in the dilemma in which she will be placed if this Bill should be submitted to her for her Royal Assent. At nearly every public meeting on the Church question that has been held since the nature of this measure has been understood, either in speeches or in resolutions, the Coronation Oath has been invoked as a sure and insuperable safeguard for the maintenance of the Protestant Church, now the object of attack; and as this confidence springs from sentiments of the truest loyalty to the Crown, as well as of attachment to the religion of the country, it ought not to be disregarded. I trust, therefore, that some authoritative explanation maybe afforded by Her Majesty's Ministers to justify, if possible, the proposition of a measure so directly at variance with the sworn engagements of the Sovereign. The other objection to this Bill that I wish specially to call your Lordships' notice to is the terms and conditions of the Act of Union. Referring to the Fifth Article of the Union, which regards the establishment of the National Church, the words at the close of it appear to take it out of the competence of Parliament to dissolve the union then effected between the Churches of England and Ireland, without dissolving also the Union between the two countries. The Treaty of Union was a treaty or agreement between two independent nations, and any violation of the settlement then made of the Established religion would, unques- 1598 tionably—from the terms in which it is couched—be a violation of the agreement then come to, and of the fundamental condition upon which that Union of the two countries was based. By referring to the Journals of the House, your Lordships may learn exactly under what circumstances the proposal of the Union came from the English Parliament, and the motives and terms both of its acceptance by the Parliament of Ireland, and of its proposal by the Parliament of Great Britain. England was at the time engaged in a tremendous struggle against the greatest military power that the world had ever known. She consequently had need of all the resources she could command, and of all the strength that could be obtained by a concentration of her power. In consequence, the Houses of Parliament consulted and agreed to recommend certain propositions for a Union with Ireland. These propositions were laid before the King in the month of April, 1799, accompanied with an Address, in the course of which the chief object of the proposed Union is sot forth in these words—We entertain a firm persuasion that a complete and entire union between Great Britain and Ireland, founded on equal and liberal principles, must afford fresh means of opposing, at all times, an effectual resistance to the destructive projects of our foreign and domestic enemies, and must tend to confirm and augment the stability, power, and resources of the Empire.The King having communicated the propositions of his Parliament of Great Britain to his Parliament in Ireland, they were there in turn considered, and, with important amendments regarding the Established religion, returned to him in the month of March of the following year, 1800, along with an Address terminating with the following words:—We offer them [the amended propositions], in the full conviction that by uniting ourselves with your Majesty's subjects of Great Britain under one Parliament and under one government, we shall most effectually provide for the improvement of our commerce, the security of our religion, and the preservation of our liberties.The King was thus informed of the motives, as well of the Irish Parliament as of the British Parliament in agreeing to the Union. England sought to strengthen herself against the foreign foe. Ireland consented to the Union in the belief that it would secure the Established religion; and with this view the proposition of England for the Fifth Article of Union, to the effect— 1599That the Churches of that part of Great Britain called England, and that part of Great Britain called Scotland, and of Ireland, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, shall be preserved as now by law established,Was amended, and as amended, was ratified by Act of Parliament, being made the 5th Article of the Act of Union. It was therein agreed that the Church of England and Ireland should be thenceforth united into one Church, and—That the continuance and preservation of the said United Church as the Established Church of that part of the United Kingdom called England and Ireland shall be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental Article and condition of the union.The Parliament of Ireland thus made a conditional surrender of its independence; and so well understood was this, that when, some years afterwards, the coronation of George IV. took place, the Oath of the Sovereign was so modified to its present form as to be a practical and most solemn ratification of the condition upon which the Union was based. I do not question the power of Parliament to act as it is doing; but power may be abused. Nobody questioned the power of Bonaparte to put to death the 4,000 captives who had surrendered to him as prisoners of war after a brave defence of the fortress of Jaffa. He had the power, and he exercised it, of committing a cold-blooded massacre of those whose lives had been secured by every claim of right, and by every obligation of good faith and of honour. His own countrymen and greatest admirers all admit that an indelible stain has thus been left upon the character of that otherwise great man. The Parliament of the United Kingdom has likewise the power, but also the responsibility, of doing wrong. As it can ignore the sworn obligations of the Sovereign, so it can ignore good faith in the keeping of treaties. And if this measure be carried out it will, I conceive, leave abiding upon the character of the British Parliament the reproach of dishonour in violating the condition upon the faith of which alone Ireland consented to surrender her independence. And now, my Lords, before I sit down, let me add one word more in deprecation of this measure. It has been incautiously, but very justly, admitted by Her Majesty's Ministers to 1600 be a Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Irish branch of the Established Church. What is the crime for which the Irish Church is to be punished, stripped of its property, and cut off as unworthy any longer to exist? Why is the Protestant population to be deprived of the means hitherto enjoyed and guaranteed to them by the laws of the land, and by the Oath of the Sovereign, for public worship? Why is the tithe rent-charge to be left still a burden upon the land after the maintenance of the ministry of the Gospel and the worship of Almighty God, to which alone it can legitimately be applied, have been discontinued? Why is Ireland to be deprived of the benefits henceforth reserved exclusively for Great Britain, of having Christianity upheld in purity of doctrine—the Word of God as the foundation of her moral government? And when you say you are doing justice to Ireland, how do you justify—even if the robbery of the property of the Church were legitimate—the abstraction from that Irish fund of means for relieving the Imperial Exchequer of an annual payment to Maynooth College and to the Presbyterian body of about £80,000 a year? Is such the nature of your justice and liberality?—is that to be your message of peace to Ireland?—and are you going to advise the Queen so to treat her poor Irish subjects? Again, I ask—What has been the offence of the Irish branch of the Established Church—that is to say, of the Irish Church as it has existed since it came under your jurisdiction at the time of the Union, as part and parcel of the Church of England? What has it done to incur the proposed penalties, or even to merit censure? Take, first, the laity of the Church. Have they been disloyal or disaffected?—has even a single Protestant been known to have taken part in the Fenian conspiracy, or in any confederacy whatever against the laws and constitution of the country? Have they not, on the contrary, been among the most loyal of the Queen's subjects, the most zealous friends of the Union? Have they in any way wronged or oppressed their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? Have they not rather courted association with them in the free enjoyment of that constitutional liberty that became the common right of all after the passing 1601 of the Belief Bill? And are they not, moreover, at this time the most peaceable, industrious, and enterprizing of the Irish people? The Protestant laity must be acquitted of having, upon any ground whatsoever, incurred the penalties with which you are about to visit them. What, then, is the case of the clergy? Have they been unfaithful to their mission of upholding the pure doctrines of the Gospel? Have they lent themselves to those Ritualistic practices that, in this country, have to so great an extent bridged the way over from the Reformed Church to the Church of Rome? If so, they have no claim upon the sympathy of a Protestant people. Have they been uncharitable, either in act or language, towards the Roman Catholics among whom they dwell? Have they been political agitators—leaders of mobs at elections? Have they countenanced crime, immorality, dishonesty, or the infringement of any laws, human or divine? If so, they have been unfaithful to their mission as a Christian ministry, and have justly incurred the condemnation of the country. But what is the fact? They have been eminently faithful in teaching and exemplifying a practical Christianity, as ministers of God's Word, alike in the pulpit, in the sick chamber, in the parochial walk; and in the school-room they have consistently maintained that sacred character, but especially in the work of education. When the Government discarded the Bible from the National school-room, they, with self-denying faithfulness, established and maintained out of their small means a system of Scriptural education of which thousands of poor Roman Catholics as well as Protestants to this day avail themselves, and without which the light to fruth must have become nearly extinct among the poorer classes in Ireland. They are not politically a powerful body; privation, persecution, and misrepresentation are trials that have in a large measure befallen them. But they are not a body to be looked down upon. Mr. Gladstone himself, no longer ago than last year, described them as—"a clergy claiming and well earning the name of an able, zealous, and pious clergy." Many of your Lordships who have not been in Ireland, I am sure, are aware that among the most eminent preachers of 1602 the Gospel in this country are Irish clergymen; and, not to look beyond the walls of this House, I may ask your Lordships whether the natives of my country, who occupy seats upon the Episcopal Bench, may not compare, at least upon equal terms, with their English Brethren, or with the lay Peers with whom they are associated? I will close my notice of the Irish Protestant clergy with a testimony which is more important, as it regards their usefulness among the poor in their own country—it is from an eye-witness, who cannot be charged with any partiality towards the Church. The witness I call was known in the last Parliament where he gave his evidence, as the Earl of Clarendon. Now he is known as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, for which Office, I believe, no man is better fitted. His words were, addressing this House in the last Session of Parliament—I have not lived so long in Ireland without having learnt to appreciate the signal virtues of the Irish clergy…. I know there are exceptions; but still the conduct of the Protestant clergy of Ireland, as a body, is most exemplary; to the extent of their small means they are very charitable; they are not distrusted by their Catholic neighbours; and their removal from the parishes in which they labour would give cause for much regret."—[3 Hansard, cxcii. 2086.]It only remains for me now to give to your Lordships, with reference to what Her Majesty's Ministers have rightly designated as a Bill of Pains and Penalties brought against the Irish Established Church, the verdict of that Church's acquittal from the lips of Mr. Gladstone himself. These are his words—It is in my opinion an exaggeration to make the Irish Established Church, in its present form, responsible for the great grievances of ascendancy, and of national estrangement in Ireland.It is asked then—What is the cause of all the evils of Ireland? I answer, from the proofs I have given—and also by Mr. Gladstone's own verdict—it is not the Irish Church. Perhaps it may be said it is the land. Well, if so, let the land question be well looked into. The landlords do not shrink from inquiry, and if wrong be found let the proper remedy be applied; but I believe that the cause of Ireland's evils is misgovernment. For the last half-century, especially since the Reform Bill, she has been constantly the battle-field of English parties contending for the mastery, and the interests of the country have 1603 been ever postponed to those of party. There has never been for any lengthened period a systematic endeavour to govern her upon the principles and in the spirit of the Constitution. Divided in religion, her religious differences, which ought to have been assuaged through the healing influences of the Belief Bill, have been constantly kept alive. The Protestant Church, which should have received countenance and encouragement in its mission of peace, has been constantly made to serve the ends of party—made the object of unmerited attack, and foul disparagement—chiefly within the walls of Parliament. Your Lordships are—most of you—familiar with the epithets, "unjust," "offensive," so unfairly levelled against it, and must have noticed how, even in the course of these debates, as if to widen the breach between Roman Catholics and Protestants, the Established Church has been denounced as a "badge of conquest," thereby harrowing up in the Roman Catholic mind every feeling of bitterness that the recollections of the civil war and bloody conflicts that resulted in the dethronement of James II. and the triumph of King William are wont to awaken. If the Government really desires to benefit Ireland, let them try the experiment of leaving her alone for a few years, to be governed under the existing laws, but with justice and impartiality. Let them give legitimate encouragement to develop the material resources of the country through the industry of its inhabitants. Let them cease to meddle with the affairs of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Churches. We have suffered too much from such meddling. It has been too much the wont of the Government to bid for political support at the hands of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Of that body I will say nothing in disparagement. It consists of men of high order of ability, and exemplary in their faithfulness and devotion to the interests of their Church. But it is no part of the duty of a British Government to lay themselves out to advance the ecclesiastical power of Rome, and it has been of serious detriment to the best interests of Ireland. In courting the political support of the hierarchy, you have eliminated from your National schools the Bible, the corner stone of the Reformed faith; you have established a great seminary for the dissemination of Roman Catholic 1604 doctrine, and the establishment of Roman Catholic influence over the whole land. Your policy has been one of continual progress in that direction. You have proposed endowments for the Roman Catholic clergy; they have refused them. You have proposed seats in the House of Lords for Roman Catholic Prelates, and ere you had time to consider the proposition it was spurned by their accredited agent in this House. And soon your policy, I fear, is about to culminate in the final overthrow and extinction of the Protestant Church in Ireland. Truly it must be an edifying spectacle for all Christendom to behold Protestant England, so long the head of the Protestant nations of the world, now an abject courtier of Rome, and trampling upon her own Protestant institutions.
§ Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day three months. ")—(The Earl of Clancarty.)
said, though he had been for some time a Member of their Lordships' House, yet as he had never until then ventured to address them, he begged for their Lordships' kind indulgence whilst he made a few observations upon the Bill then before them. He wished, as an Irishman, to be allowed to express his grateful thanks to both sides of the House for the careful attention they had given to the subject, and the earnest desire they had shown to consult the wishes of the people of Ireland. While differing as to the means, he felt sure that they all aimed at the good of the country, and he believed the Irish people were grateful to both Houses for the disposition which they had manifested to listen to their wishes, and, as far as they were reasonable, to comply with them. An Irishman and an Episcopalian, he lived in a district in which there were between 6,000 and 7,000 members of the Established Church, and worshipped in a church where the average attendance was from 700 to 900, forming a congregation not to be surpassed in respectability or intelligence by any congregation in any part of the United Kingdom similarly circumstanced. Their spiritual wants were most satisfactorily ministered to by an estimable rector, who had lately been appointed archdeacon of the town, assisted by intelligent and self-denying curates; and 1605 he might be asked what more he could desire? While appreciating, however, the facilities afforded him of worshipping in a church supported by the State, he was bound to remember the first principles of Christianity, which inculcated the doing to others as we would be done by, and he could not forget that enormous numbers of his countrymen held different religious opinions. To determine whether the Irish Church should be continued in its present position, he must go beyond the precincts of his own parish or the limits of Ulster, and must ascertain the feeling of the majority of the people. Now, as an almost continuous resident in Ireland for fourteen out of the last sixteen years, he was bound to say that the current of public opinion had been distinctly in the direction of the present measure, and that there had been an unmistakable feeling that things could not continue on their present footing. He must go further, and say that the unfortunate disturbances which had occurred in the North of Ireland had been almost entirely due to disputes about Protestant ascendancy. The State had at different times endeavoured to legislate to put an end to those disturbances. Hence the temporary Party Processions Act in 1833 or 1834. After that came the unhappy conflict at Dolly's-brae, in the county of Down, in 1845, when a permanent Act was passed to prevent party processions. Next followed an unfortunate affair in the county of Armagh, which led to the Party Emblems Act being put in force, the object of which was to prevent the exhibition of party flags and emblems on church towers. The Act had been repealed, and now what was the consequence? On that very day, the 12th of July, on the towers of numerous churches in his neighbourhood in the North of Ireland, there were to be seen flags floating, which he knew to be a great cause of irritation to those who were not members of the Established Church. He was aware that some of their Lordships had a feeling that if that Bill became law, the Protestant religion would gradually die out and be supplanted by Roman Catholicism. He could quite understand and appreciate that consideration; but it appeared to him to be quite irrelevant on the present occasion. The simple question at issue was whether the Bill now before them for a third reading 1606 was necessary, whether it was just, and whether it would promote the objects which it professed to seek. To his mind, it clearly would promote those objects; and he, for one, certainly had no fear of the ultimate effect of the measure on the fate of Protestantism. The Protestants of Ireland were an active and energetic body; they were also the richer portion of the community; and he could not bear for a moment to think that the stigma ought to be applied to them that they could not do for their Church what the poorer portion of the community—the Roman Catholics—had long done for theirs—namely, support it for themselves. If, however, his anticipations in that respect should unfortunately not be realized, might they not count on their friends of the sister Church in England—many of whom grieved so deeply because the tie between the two Churches was about to be broken—might they not count, in their hour of need and adversity, on those friends not confining their sympathy to mere empty words, but coming forward with generous contributions to help the disestablished communion through its temporary difficulties? He wished to advert for a moment to the Amendment moved the other night by the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland). He did not know whether their Lordships had yet decided on the proper term to apply to that form of legislation. He would for the present simply call it a gratuitous giving away of money to those who had not desired it; and in making that remark he disclaimed the least wish in any way to disparage the noble Duke's proposal, which had commended itself to so many of their Lordships whose opinions were entitled to the highest respect. But he objected to the principle of that Amendment on these three grounds. He objected to it in the first place—and in this he was perhaps singular—because he was opposed to any of the funds of the disestablished and disendowed Church going to any religious body, and would wish, if he had his own way in that matter, that they should be devoted to secular purposes in Ireland. He objected to it also because the been was not desired on the part of those to whom it was proposed to be given. There was an old adage that "what is worth having is worth asking for;" and they in Ireland 1607 were not generally backward or shy in making known their wishes. Their Lordships might, therefore, take it for granted that had that remedy of glebe-houses and ten acres of land been regarded as a panacea for all their ills, their Lordships would have heard it put forward in a clear and emphatic manner, either by the people themselves or by their representatives in "another place." Not only, however, had there been no manifestations in favour of that principle, but he might say there had been a clear and emphatic pronouncement against it. The noble Earl (the Earl of Denbigh) who spoke on the subject the other night for his own religionists, the Roman Catholics, had since written to The Times to explain that the feelings he had expressed on that occasion were the feelings of the National Association. But it should be remembered that among the members of that Association were Bishops, priests, and laymen of the Roman Catholic Church, whose opinions were entitled to great respect. Then, what were the feelings of the Presbyterians? Why, at a meeting of their General Assembly, held not very long ago—the very largest General Assembly, he believed, which they had ever held, both of ministers and elders (or representatives of the laity)—the Presbyterians agreed that in the event of any proposal being made by statesmen inconsistent with the testimony which that Church had uniformly borne against the endowment of error, the Committee be instructed as heretofore to maintain such testimony unimpaired, and to offer to any proposal of such a kind a most strenuous opposition. Then what did the Episcopal Church in Ireland say to the proposal? At the conference of its clergy and laity, held in April last, a resolution was moved by a certain Mr. Hamilton—a gentleman of the North of Ireland—distinctly repudiating what was commonly known as the "levelling up" system. Several influential gentlemen, opposed to Mr. Hamilton's resolution, moved the previous question, but that resolution was adopted by a large majority as the opinion of the Conference. Under those circumstances, he ventured to hope that their Lordships would not refuse to give due consideration to the feelings of the country on that subject, and that the Government would adhere in that House, and in "another place," 1608 strictly to the principles of the Bill. It was true that by giving way they might gain some temporary and lukewarm support, but they would shock and diminish the confidence of their genuine and sincere supporters, who, like himself, believed that this Bill would do incalculable good in Ireland. He ventured also to think the day was not so very far distant, perhaps, when it would be an admitted fact that the promoter of that Bill, in bringing it under the consideration of Parliament, had proved himself to be an honest, manly, and prescient statesman.
THE EARL OF DERBY
As upon the second reading of this Bill I had an opportunity of expressing my opinions at considerable length, I will trespass only for a very short time on your Lordships at present. On the second reading having expressed, as I felt it my duty to do, my decided opposition to the main principles of the Bill, I have, through the discussions in Committee, confined myself almost exclusively to giving a silent vote in favour of those Amendments which appeared to me calculated, in some degree, to mitigate and soften the severity and harshness of the measure. But, my Lords, my objection is not to details; it is to the whole principle of the Bill, which is founded upon disestablishment and disendowment. I object to both. Your Lordships in this House may have introduced Amendments to mitigate, in some degree, the pressure on the clergy, though hardly at all upon the laity; but you have introduced none which interfere with the main principles and object of the Bill. As for disestablishment, it remains immediate and entire; as for disendowment, it remains not immediate but near in the future. Now, setting aside that provision for the temporary interests of individuals, which Her Majesty's Government from the first stated it was their intention to respect—after providing for these temporary interests, there remains to the Church at the outside a sum not exceeding £3,000,000, even if your Lordships' Amendments should be adopted in their entirety by the House of Commons—a sum which would yield for the Protestant population of Ireland an annual income not greater than that which is possessed in their private capacity by many Members of your Lordships' House, and by many outside these walls. The whole amount that these £3,000,000, accord- 1609 ing to the ordinary calculations of interest, would yield to the clergy as a body would not be more than £90,000 or £100,000; and when it is said that £9,000,000 will be left to the Church according to some, £ 11,000,000 according to others, and three-fifths of its entire income, according to the First Minister of the Crown, I believe, with the exception of personal interests, no such thing would be left to the Church according to the Bill as introduced by the Government, and little or nothing by the Bill as amended by your Lordships' House, except a miserable pittance wholly insufficient for the well-being of the Church or the high and holy purposes which the Church has to fulfil. I said I was not going to argue the subject now, nor will I enter with the noble Lord (Lord Lurgan) into the question of concurrent endowment, which he called throwing the money away, by giving it to those who did not ask for it. Had not the noble Lord been so long in waiting, I think that discussion on that point might have been postponed until raised by the Amendment of the noble Earl behind me (Earl Stanhope). I abstain, therefore, altogether from discussing the policy of concurrent endowment, or throwing away the money. But I did not rise to argue on the principle of the Bill, but simply for the purpose of saying that, as my objections extend not merely to the details, but to the principle, they have not been in the slightest degree removed by the alterations made by your Lordships' House, even if they should be acceded to by the House of Commons. If, therefore, my noble Friend behind me (the Earl of Clancarty) perseveres in dividing the House on the third reading, feeling as I do entirely opposed to the Bill both in its principles and details, and desirous of solemnly recording my protest against the whole principle of the measure, I shall feel compelled to vote in favour of the Amendment of my noble Friend. At the same time, if he will allow me to offer the advice of a very sincere Friend, I would recommend him not to go to a division; because, in the first place, it would give a very erroneous impression to the public of the disposition and character of your Lordships' House; and, in the next place, it would be very difficult for those noble Lords who supported the second reading, with the view of introducing 1610 Amendments, to join him in opposing the third reading. Therefore, while entirely agreeing with my noble Friend in the objections he takes to the measure, and desirous of seeing it rejected, and rejected by the country as well as by Parliament, I think it would be impolitic for him, on the present occasion, to risk a division. I should much prefer that this Bill, with the Amendments introduced by your Lordships, should be sent down to the House of Commons, and if there Her Majesty's Government take upon themselves to reject the very moderate and reasonable Amendments which have been introduced, and especially if your Lordships remain firm, as I trust you will,—if they refuse the fair and reasonable terms which your Lordships' offer, and if the Bill which the Government profess such a desire to pass be lost, the responsibility will rest with them and not your Lordships' House.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
said, if the Bill had remained as it was upon the passing the second reading in that House, believing it to be a just, wise, and beneficial measure, he would have voted for the third reading without any misgiving whatever. He could not add that he would vote for it with those feelings of delight with which many were enabled to support it. It was a painful process to separate man and wife, or to cut off a man's limb, though it might be just and beneficial. He wished he could say that he felt no misgiving as to the results which the measure was expected to produce. Looking to the next great question of the land, and to the history of Ireland for the last forty years, he could not feel any very confident anticipations as to the effect of the measure in promoting peace and satisfaction among the Irish people, No anticipations of that kind could have been stronger than were entertained, in 1829, on the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, and yet not many in that House could say that those anticipations had been realized. Now a few words as to the disposal of the surplus. He said on a former occasion that he entirely approved the principle of concurrent endowment, and at that time he trusted to see something of the kind embodied in this measure. But he could not think there was any sacrilege in the way in which it was proposed to dispose of the surplus. Sacrilege was a 1611 question solely of principle and depended in no respect on degree, and it should be remembered that some centuries ago B great proportion of the land of this country—some good authorities said one-half—was applied to sacred uses. Now, it would be a reductio ad ahsurdum to say that the property so appropriated should remain devoted for ever to pious and sacred uses. But still, as tending to make the measure more acceptable, he did think it would be a good thing that the property of the disendowed Church should be applied as nearly as possible, on the principle of cy près, to the purposes to which it had been applied hitherto. He held that to object to give any part of the surplus to the Roman Catholics was the essence of bigotry. But last year it was universally agreed that that was inadmissible. It was understood ex concesso that it should not be given to the Presbyterians nor to the Roman Catholics, and it remained to be considered what was to be done with the surplus. He wished to say now that no part of the Bill appeared to him more satisfactory than the application it proposed of the surplus to temporal works of mercy. Those objects which had been called "luxuries of the poor" seemed to him as nearly as possible connected with the direct services of religion to which the funds had been formerly applied. The suggestion that they should be so applied was first made by a distinguished dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Manning, in a pamphlet addressed, if he mistook not, to the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey). In that pamphlet Dr. Manning said—"The Roman Catholics do not want it; they will not take it; give it to the poor." Upon seeing the proposal he wrote to Archbishop Manning, asking him to put the matter more in detail than he had done. He could not discover any evidence of a change of opinion in the country upon the subject; and though he himself should still have much preferred that the funds should be equally divided among the different religious bodies, and the least instalment in that direction would be acceptable to him, yet as this principle of concurrent endowment was to be given up, he fully concurred in the appropriation of the surplus to the pious uses specified by the Bill as it stood.
THE EARL OF LEITRIM
said, he could not admit the right of their Lordships to adopt the principle upon which the Bill was founded. He should divide with the noble Earl who had moved that the Bill be read three months hence, because that course would be tantamount to kicking the Bill out of the House. If their Lordships met simply as a debating society for the purpose of making eloquent displays he would have been the first to award them his meed of praise; but eloquence was one thing and honour another; and he would say—Cease the House! Perish England! rather than the line of honour should be departed from, and the interests of religion and truth sacrificed. How was it possible their Lordships could dispose of the oath they had taken under the 19th chap. of the 29th of the Queen? Was this to follow the Coronation Oath and the Treaty of the Act of Union? Were their Lordships going to relieve themselves from taxation by purloining the property of the Church? If their Lordships received a proposal from Mr. Gladstone to establish Mahommedanism as the most approved religion, would they discuss it with the same energy and display the same eloquence over it as they had exhibited with reference to this Bill? There was no distinction between the principle of the two questions; they both rested upon the broad basis of religious equality. By the same rule as prompted the supporters of this Bill to rob the Protestant Church others equally regardless of honour might rob the Roman Catholic Church. He must remark that the debate on the second reading was almost entirely monopolized by noble Lords residing in that part of the United Kingdom called England; he protested in the strongest manner against such noble Lords monopolizing to themselves the privilege of governing Ireland, and teaching Irishmen what were and what were not their interests. He maintained that the Bill was a robbery of the people, and, notwithstanding all arguments to the contrary, it could end only in injury and discouragement to the people. It was immaterial what course was taken by the House below; it was their Lordships' duty to stand round the Throne, and in every way to support Her Majesty in maintaining the oath she took at her coronation.
THE BISHOP OF TUAM
said, that if the noble Earl should divide the House it would afford him the greatest possible satisfaction to vote with him. The most important question which the Bill involved was that of disestablishment. With respect to that question he could not forget that in the only Christian country where an. attempt had been made to disconnect religion from the State—namely, France, during the Revolution—the most disastrous consequences had followed. He wished, therefore, however vain it was, to protest against disestablishment. Furthermore, he desired to protest against Government taking away property from the Church which clearly and legally belonged to that Church. It was given to the Church by the pledge of the national faith, upon the condition that she should teach the Reformed religion to the people of Ireland; and she had most faithfully discharged her part of the obligation. The most grievous injustice would be committed by the Bill, for the vested rights of the laity had been entirely overlooked. And not only would gross injustice be perpetrated in this direction, but the cheeseparing which had occurred would do great injustice to the poor incumbents. An attempt had been made in Committee to get better terms for these incumbents, but it failed. He hoped, however, that Government would yet take their undoubted claims into consideration, and do something to relieve them from what would otherwise be a very unfortunate position. Out of the 1,500 clergymen belonging to the Irish Church no less than 681 were men in the receipt of very small salaries. In his own diocese, for example, about one-third of the incumbents had only £100 a year, and a large number only £200. Now, the average area of the parishes was upwards of 34,000 acres, and considering the physical exertion thus required from the clergymen, the necessity they were under of keeping a horse, and the various other claims upon their pecuniary resources, it would be seen that they were in a very poor condition, and could have very little left for the education of their children. He himself knew of the case of one clergyman whose parish was almost as large as the whole county of Dublin, whose income was only £170 per annum, and who, though he was a most earnest and painstaking minister, and 1614 had been in the ministry for a period of twenty-seven years, was only able to provide, on a very limited scale, for the wants of his family. That clergyman had always looked forward to preferment to rescue him from his difficulties; but all prospect of this had been most effectually cut off by the Bill. That being so, and seeing that the giving of further compensation to the poorer incumbents would not be opposed to the principles upon which the Bill was framed, he hoped that the Government would seriously take the matter into its consideration.
THE EARL OF CLANCARTY
said, that looking to the position the House had already taken on this question, as was shown by the votes recorded on the second reading, he felt that no practical result would be obtained by dividing the House now, and therefore, in deference to the appeal of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) he would withdraw his Motion.
§ Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ The original Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 3a accordingly, with the Amendments.
THE EARL OF DERBY
said, that a number of Peers wished to record a Protest against the third reading of the Bill, and, according to the Order of the House, such a Protest should be entered before two o'clock to-morrow. As this was an important question, and many noble Lords were desirous of appending their names to the Protest, he asked that the time for entering a Protest might be extended to two o'clock on Thursday.
§ THE EARL OF DEVON
, in rising to move an Amendment to strike out from Clause 13 the words which gave the Irish Prelates the right to retain their seats in the House of Lords, said: My Lords, I shall only trouble you for a few moments with respect to the Amendment which stands upon the Paper in my name. But before addressing myself more immediately to the question in hand, perhaps I may be permitted to express the reluctance which I feel in dealing with a matter which in one aspect, at 1615 least, assumes something of a personal character, more especially towards a right rev. Prelate for whom I entertain feelings of the greatest respect. I have also to regret that in bringing forward my Amendment I should have the misfortune to differ very considerably from a number of those with whom, under ordinary circumstances, I generally act most cordially. But I feel that the question which I am about to bring under your Lordships' notice is one which makes it incumbent upon me to set aside all private considerations and deal with this matter solely upon public grounds. My Amendment proposes to deal with Clause 13, and it seeks to omit from that clause the words which were inserted during the Committee upon the Bill on the Motion of the noble Earl (the Earl of Clancarty) and the object of which is to secure to the existing Prelates of the Irish Church the right to be summoned to, and sit in, the House of Lords after the passing of the measure which we are now discussing. The Amendment in favour of this proposal was accepted by the noble Earl the Leader of the Government in this House, and your Lordships had consequently no opportunity of expressing your opinion upon the matter. Had such an opportunity been available I should have felt it my duty to vote against the proposition of the noble Earl. Not having been able to do so I have thought it right to give your Lordships another opportunity of expressing your opinion, more especially as I think it not improbable that many of your Lordships may agree with the course which I now see fit to pursue. So far as the disestablishment of the Irish Church is concerned, your Lordships, I may say, have practically recognized, it, both because you carried the second reading of the Bill, and because none of the many Amendments which have been moved had any reference whatever to the question of disestablishment. I am not therefore, I think, wrong in assuming that your Lordships, however reluctantly, have accepted the principle of disestablishment. That being so, it is, in my estimation, a very strong reason why the right rev. Prelates should not continue any longer to retain seats which they have hitherto held only in consequence of their Church being established. Another reason in favour of the change I am advocating is the fact 1616 of these Irish Bishops sitting only by rotation, and according to a different system to that upon which the other occupants of the Episcopal Bench sit. That appears to me to be a proof that those seats cannot be considered to be permanent, and that, when the Church is disestablished, they should no longer be retained. It will be seen at once how inconsistent with the provisions of the Bill, and how inconvenient as a precedent it would be that there should sit in your Lordships' House the representatives of a religious community whose connection with the State is no longer recognized by law. Another strong reason why your Lordships should accept my Amendment is, that by conceding the privilege given by the words which I propose to strike out to the representatives of the Established Church we shall be regarded as perpetuating the principle of what is called ascendancy, which the Bill professes to do its utmost to abolish. I have still another reason to urge. Your Lordships have passed many important Amendments, with most of which I cordially concur; but it is idle for us to conceal from ourselves that these Amendments, in many respects, run counter to the spirit of the Bill as it was sent up to us. These Amendments will undergo a most searching, if not a hostile criticism in the other House of Parliament, and I believe that the particular Amendment, which I am now seeking to remove from the Bill, is very likely to prevent the other House from accepting some of the others. The consideration of the whole of the Amendments will, I hope, result in a fair, temperate, and judicious compromise. I still entertain the hope that the judgment and moderation of Parliament on both sides will result in such a modification of the Amendments as will be found to be within the scope of the principle of the Bill. I confess, my Lords, that I still have hopes of this question being settled, and I think the step I am now taking is one in this direction.
§ Amendment moved, in line 5, to leave out from ("Church") to ("shall") in line 6.—(The Earl of Devon.)
§ LORD REDESDALE
said, that having been unable on a former occasion, through the forms of the House, to address their Lordships upon the Amend- 1617 ment he had proposed upon this clause, he wished to point out that it was entirely free from the objections which the noble Earl (the Earl of Devon) had raised to the Amendment which he now asked their Lordships to omit from the clause. The noble Earl had stated that as the principle of the Bill involved the disestablishment of the Irish Church, the Bishops of that Church should not be permitted to retain their seats in their Lordships' House. He had no objection whatever to the omission of the words objected to by the noble Earl, provided the Amendment which he (Lord Redesdale) had given notice of was substituted for them. He had no wish that the Archbishops and Bishops of the Irish Church should sit in that House as such, but he objected to a disfranchising clause being sent to this House from the Commons, under which certain of its Members were to be deprived of their seats. Their Lordships should not allow any of their Members to be deprived of their seats from no fault of their own, and, therefore, he proposed to substitute for the words which the noble Earl had moved to omit an Amendment under which the present Archbishops and Bishops of the Irish Church would be permitted to retain their seats during life, being personally summoned to successive Parliaments in the same order and precedence as they had been before, but providing, as would be necessary, that such summons should not confer any hereditary right of peerage. He wished that it should be clearly understood that he looked upon the question as one affecting the rights and privileges of their Lordships' House, and not as one connected with the disestablishment of the Irish Church.
§ LORD PENZANCE
said, that no doubt it was competent to Parliament to maintain the right of the Irish Bishops to seats in their Lordships' House; but if those right rev. Prelates continued to sit in that House after the passing of this Bill it was impossible they could sit as Bishops, because their bishoprics would have been destroyed. When their baronies were destroyed, as they would be by this Bill, they could no longer sit there as they had been accustomed to sit. Whatever position they would have in their Lordships' House would be one of a new kind—one not hitherto known to the Constitution. 1618 Their Lordships bad been asked whether they would disfranchise the Irish Bishops. What was the franchise of those right rev. Prelates in that House? The franchise of each of them was his barony, and that barony being destroyed by this Bill, the Bishops' franchise was destroyed with it. What was now proposed would be a legislative phenomenon. It was proposed to give a rotary, a revolving, and intermittent right to a number of learned, pious, and erudite individuals to sit in that House; but, as regarded certain of those Prelates, that right would hereafter become a fixed one. A given number of them were to have seats during the lives of the existing Bishops; as long as there remained a sufficient number of them that right would be enjoyed by rotation; but, inasmuch as vacancies could not be filled up by other Bishops, and inasmuch as the common enemy would do his work among Bishops as well as among other mortals, the intermittent right would ultimately become, by a sort of tontine, a fixed one for certain individuals. That would be an extension of the privileges which they had hitherto enjoyed. Of course, everyone would like to go as far as possible in preserving the rights and privileges and social advantages of individuals; but, it must be remembered, that no great change could be effected without a certain amount of personal loss and inconvenience which were beyond compensation, and he thought their Lordships ought to consider this matter well before they refused to restore the clause to its original shape.
THE ARCHBISHOP OP CANTERBURY
said, it would be ridiculous in him to attempt to argue the legal question with the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down; but he thought justice required that the seats of the Irish Bishops should be preserved, and if justice did require it the noble and learned Lords in the House ought to be able to devise a mode of removing any legal objections to what was proposed. It seemed to him that the argument of the noble and learned Lord contained a fallacy. The barony of each Bishop was dissolved by the 13th clause; but it was dissolved with the condition that as long as the existing Bishops lived they should have seats by rotation in their Lordships' House. With regard to the privilege itself, it might or might not be a 1619 great one; but by words in the clause certain other rights and privileges connected with the barony were secured to those who at present enjoyed them. If the argument of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Penzance) were a good one all these other rights and privileges were destroyed with the barony, and it was an anomaly to introduce words to preserve them. Those Bishops might be called Bishops of the disestablished Church, but they had been appointed to their high office by the Sovereign of this realm, and therefore they were in quite a different position from that which would be occupied by their successors. He thought that justice and common sense required that the existing Bishops of the Irish Church should be left in possession of the seats they had hitherto enjoyed in their Lordships' House.
said, that he believed it would be contrary to all the principles of the Constitution to deprive those Prelates of the right to sit in that House.
EARL DE GREY AND RIPON
said, it was a mistake to suppose that his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies had consented to the introduction of the words by which the Irish Bishops would be still entitled to sit in their Lordships' House. His noble Friend had expressed a desire to hear the opinions of noble Lords upon the subject, which he described as one of no great importance, and finding that the clause as it stood was not warmly supported, his noble Friend had not called for a division; but when the Question as to the insertion of the words was put the Members of the Government present said, "Not content." Things were not in the same condition now. The Motion now before their Lordships had been moved by a noble Earl on the Opposition side of the House, and one who was known to be friendly towards the Irish Bishops. As had been so well pointed out by his noble and learned Friend (Lord Penzance), if the Irish Bishops continued to sit in their Lordships' House after the passing of this Bill they would sit there on a tenure such as had never given any other person a seat in that House. They would not sit as Bishops, but as rotary life Peers, though their Lordships had within the last few days rejected a Bill which would have authorized the creation of life Peers. If an English Bishop resigned his see he 1620 did not retain his seat in their Lordships' House.
EARL DE GREY AND RIPON
No doubt the new Bishop sat, but he sat as a Spiritual Peer and in right of the barony attached to his see. The course which their Lordships had taken before on this question deserved re-consideration, because it established an anomaly hitherto unheard of in the tenure of seats in this House. The Prelates sitting here would sit, not as Spiritual Peers, but as Temporal Peers, owing to the circumstances that they were once Spiritual Peers of the Irish Church. He did not think the claims of justice required that the clause should pass, and for his own part he hoped it would not become law.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he hoped their Lordships would adhere to the Amendment which, after full deliberation, they had adopted on a former evening. The whole of this Bill was a novelty, and an anomaly greater than any that ever was before known in this country, and it was rather strange, therefore, that the whole of the argument of the noble Earl (Earl de Grey and Ripon) was that this provision in the Bill was full of anomaly. No doubt the Government were not pledged on this question; but in Committee when the clause was altered, though the Leader of the House said "Not content," he offered no strenuous opposition—indeed no opposition at all—to the Amendment. Very likely after the Bill became law, if it did become law, the Irish Prelates might be little inclined to continue to sit here. But, unless the desire came from themselves, it was the duty of the House, in accordance with the whole principle on which the Bill was founded, to maintain during the lives of the Irish Bishops the rights and privileges which they now possessed. He did not agree with his noble and learned Friend opposite (Lord Penzance) as to the tenure even of the Bishops of the English Church—namely, that they sat by virtue of their baronies. But that never was true with regard to the Irish Bishops, who sat in this House under an express Parliamentary provision, and not by virtue of any writ summoning them as holding a barony. It was said that the Church was to be disestablished and that the necessary consequences of 1621 disestablishment was that the Bishops should no longer sit here. But there was a fallacy in this argument, for the majority of the House had resolved, not on an absolute disestablishment, but to disestablish the Irish Church, preserving all rights, privileges, and advantages belonging to the present holders of offices in the Church. That being so, the simple question they had to ask was, whether the privilege of being summoned to a seat in this House was one of the advantages which at present attached to the Prelates of the Church of Ireland? He did not mean to say that they sat here for their own benefit or advantage, or to support their own views. They sat to discharge a great public trust; but it was at the same time one of the advantages—and by no means an inconsiderable advantage—of their position as Prelates of the Church; and this position was entirely altered if, without their consent, their right of sitting here was taken away. He did not believe that any irritation would ensue "elsewhere" if the clause were retained. If new Prelates were thereby introduced, it might be objected to; but he did not believe that any person could feel irritation because this House resolved to pie-serve to life holders their present interests; and until he heard from the Irish Bishops that they wished to be relieved from Parliamentary duties, he should support the clause in its present form.
THE EARL of CARNARVON
said, he did not think the question was of that first-class importance which belonged to another question presently to be considered; but he was anxious to state in a few words the point of view from which it struck him. It was perfectly true, as the most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) had argued, that the Bill saved existing rights, but it saved them by granting compensation, and it happened, unfortunately, that the right now under discussion did not admit of a money compensation. He objected to the clause as it stood, because the House had, rightly or wrongly, accepted the principle of disestablishment, and because, if there was one outward visible sign of Establishment, it was the presence of Prelates in this House. If, therefore, the Irish Bishops were maintained here, what was it but saying in so many words that 1622 after the substance was gone their Lordships would insist on retaining the shadow? Again, he thought that in the interests of the Church it would be a great mistake to insist on retaining the Bishops in this House. If the Bill provided for their appearance here, it indirectly put a moral pressure upon them to be present. But for the next few years there would be numberless questions in Ireland with regard to the future of the Irish Church, and it would be the height of inconsistency and imprudence to induce these Prelates to quit the sphere of duty which was specially marked out for them—to remove them from a spot where their counsels might be of invaluable assistance, and ask them, the heads of the Irish Church, to come over and sit in this House where they no longer had functions to discharge, where they represented no one, and could not even be said to represent the Church which was disestablished.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he wished to direct their Lordships' attention to the point as to how far it would be consistent with the customs and privileges of their Lordships' House that the singular anomaly now contained in the Bill, and which the noble Earl's Amendment would get rid of, should be established for the first time. The first clause of the Bill disestablished the Church—finally, completely, and utterly disestablished it—and another clause dissolved these ecclesiastical corporations. Now, as to the precise position of the Prelates in this House, with respect to which there had been much discussion"; the better opinion was that of Chief Justice Hale, who said they were not here simply upon their consecration, or by virtue of their baronies, or by prescription, because the Prelates of the four sees created by Henry VIII. were at once summoned to that House, but by custom and usage of Parliament in virtue of their incorporation and dignity. That incorporation they had put an end to, and there could, therefore, be nothing more singular than the kind of peerage established by the Bill as it now stood. It could not be said that those Peers would be Peers Spiritual, nor that, on any ordinary principle, they were Peers Temporal. Indeed, he did not know how anybody was to describe that species of peerage. He had hoped that those right rev. Prelates, when all their political and 1623 temporal functions had gone, when the only result of their sitting there would be to withdraw them from their dioceses, where they had the high spiritual function of building up the disestablished Church in Ireland to perform, would have thought it a serious grievance to any man in their position to be distracted—as the late Archbishop Whately, although, under different circumstances, complained that he was distracted—by being called away from his diocese to sit in that House.
§ On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill?—their Lordships divided:—Contents 82; Not-Contents 108: Majority 26.1624
|Canterbury, Archp.||Strathallan, V.|
|Buckingham and Chandos, D.|
|Marlborough, D.||Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.|
|Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.)||Lichfield, Bp.|
|Ailsa, M.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Abergavenny, E.||Chelmsford, L.|
|Amherst, E.||Churston, L.|
|Bandon, E.||Clarina, L.|
|Bantry, K.||Colchester, L.|
|Brooke and Warwick, E.||Colonsay, L.|
|Brownlow, E.||Colville of Culroas, L. [Teller.]|
|Derby, E.||Congleton, L.|
|Feversham, E.||Denman, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||De Saumarez, L.|
|Harewood, E.||Dunboyne, L.|
|Harrington, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)|
|Lauderdale, E.||Dunsandle and Clanconal, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Fitzwalter, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Grinstead, L.(E. Enniskillen.)|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.||Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)|
|Orkney, E.||Headley, L.|
|Portarlington, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Powis, E.||Kilmaine, L.|
|Scarbrough, E.||Leconfield, L.|
|Selkirk, E.||O'Neill, L.|
|Tankerville, E.||Ormathwaite, L.|
|Verulam, E.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Bolingbroke and St. John, V.||Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.)|
|Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)|
|De Vesci, V.||Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Hawarden, V. [Teller.]||Sinclair, L.|
|Melville, V.||Sondes, L.|
|Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)||Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)|
|Strathnairn, L.||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Carysfort, L. (E. Carysfort.)|
|Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)|
|Devonshire, D.||Chaworth, L. (E. Meath)|
|Saint Albans, D.||Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)|
|Wellington, D.||Clermont, L.|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Clonbrock, L.|
|Bath, M.||Cloncurry, L.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Delamere, L.|
|Normanby, M.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Winchester, M.||De Tabley, L.|
|Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)|
|Abingdon, E.||Ebury, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)|
|Carnarvon, E.||Foley, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Cottenham, E.||Granard, L. (E. Granard)|
|Cowper, E.||Harris, L.|
|De Grey. E.||Hatherton, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Heytesbury, L.|
|Denbigh, E.||Keane, L.|
|Devon, E. [Teller]||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)|
|Durham, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Fitzwilliam, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Fortescue, E.||Lismore, L. (V. Lismore.)|
|Granville, E.||Lurgan, L.|
|Grey, E.||Meredyth, L. (L. Athlumney.)|
|Kimberley, E.||Methuen, L.|
|Lichfield, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Lucan, E.||Monson, L.|
|Minto, E.||Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)|
|Radnor, E.||Mostyn, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Northbrook, L.|
|Russell, E.||Northwick, L.|
|Sommers, E.||Overstone, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Penzance, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Petre, L.|
|Stradbroke, E.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.) [Teller.]|
|Eversley, V.||Romilly, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Leinster, V. (D. Leinster.)||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Powerscourt, V.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Torrington, V.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.)||Suffield, L.|
|Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll)|
|Belper, L.||Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Templemore, L.|
|Calthorpe, L.||Westbury, L.|
§ Amendment agreed to.1625
§ EARL STANHOPE
, in moving an Amendment in Clause 28 (Enactments with respect to ecclesiastical residences), said—My Lords, in moving the addition to the clause which I am about to propose, I am anxious to explain that I do so not solely on my own responsibility, but in concert with and at the request of some of the most eminent Members of your Lordships' House. But although I am acting in part at the request of others, I must add that I never rose with a clearer conviction that the course I advocate is a just and right one. I am calling on your Lordships to affirm the policy planned by Mr. Pitt, and since his time more or less explicitly avowed by almost every statesman of eminence in this country. That policy was first stated by Mr. Pitt in his well-known letter to the King, of January, 1801, the immediate precursor of his retirement from Office. In that letter he stated that it would be most desirable that the Roman Catholic priest of Ireland should receive some part of his provision from the public funds. But did Mr. Pitt say that this involved any sacrifice of principle, any renunciation of our Protestant views? On the contrary, he recommended it "as a most important additional security, of which the effect would continually increase." And herein I may say in passing lies, I think, one main merit of this proposal at the present time. Its effect would not be instant or immediate, but it would go on increasing for the public good from month to month and from year to year. But, my Lords, not only is the proposal of Mr. Pitt to the King well worthy attention, but its reception also by the King. You are aware that George the Third steadily opposed all concessions of civil rights to the Roman Catholics, and sooner than yield those claims he sacrificed his Minister, and I believe would have sacrificed his Crown. But he stated then that, wholly as he abhorred the concession of civil rights to the Roman Catholics, he fully and unreservedly admitted that some provision should be made for their clergy. Surely that is a circumstance of no slight moment, considering how highly the opinions of George the Third are still esteemed and valued by persons professing high Protestant tenets. I will not detain the House by going through all the phases of this question, from the time of Mr. 1626 Pitt to the present; but I may observe that in Ireland there have been from time to time indications on the part of Protestants of a conciliatory and far-sighted spirit towards their Roman Catholic brethren. The Dean of Westminster, in a very able pamphlet, gives this remarkable fact, that when the first Roman Catholic chapel was founded in the town of Derry, the Protestants Bishop of that place was one of the principal subscribers. He also quoted some words of Dr. Law, Bishop of Elphin, spoken in 1790, which are especially deserving your attention—Since," he said, "I am unable to make the peasants about me good Protestants, I wish to make them good Catholics, good citizens—good anything. I have therefore circulated among them some of the best of their own authors.I say that is the spirit in which we ought to legislate in respect to Ireland. In the progress of this measure we have been sometimes met by the assertion that this proposal would not accord with the wishes of the Roman Catholic Prelates in Ireland, but I rejoice that very recently the noble Earl near me (the Earl of Denbigh) took occasion to remove an erroneous impression which in a moment of misconception he had created, and it now appears that nobody at all entitled to speak the sentiments of the Roman Catholic Prelates has declared against the proposal which I have now the honour to submit. But, even if such an opinion had been given, I must confess that I never looked upon this question as one of treaty or compact with the Roman Catholics. In the first place, it is a question which concerns the Roman Catholic laity fully as much as the Roman Catholic clergy, since it is obvious that if we are allowed to provide in any manner for the Roman Catholic clergy from public sources, it proportionately lessens the weight upon the Roman Catholic laity. But, above all, I think the merit of the proposal lies in this, that it is absolutely without pledge or condition. They may leave it alone, but if they take it, it is free from every sort of condition except this—to keep in repair the houses you are to build for them, and in like manner to keep in cultivation the lands you may annex to their dwellings. But, besides, I must say that I think in Ireland, of all countries, you cannot expect at the outset an immediate indication on the part of the Roman Catholics of a readiness to 1627 accept overtures of this kind. And here I would remind you of the words of a very eminent man whose loss we all, on more than one trying occasion, have had reason to deplore. Sir George Lewis has said—In Ireland, far more than in England, improvement and civilization must proceed from above: they will not rise spontaneously from the inward workings of the community.These, I think, are wise words. Depend upon it if you wish to do good in Ireland, you must take the initiative; yours must be the hand to impel, and not the foot to follow. I will certainly not deny that in Ulster a large majority of Protestants are opposed to any concessions to the Roman Catholics, but I must say, as coming within my own knowledge from communications I have received, that this feeling has been greatly lesened from the desire of the Presbyterians to avail themselves of the same stipulations, because it has been manifest that if they desire to have this been they must be prepared to extend it to the Roman Catholics. But, as regards the other three provinces of Ireland, though, as was truly said, we are not to expect any initiatory proceeding from them, there is, as I believe, a general wish that this proposal should receive your approbation. Now, the real question is this—is Ireland to be governed according to the wishes of the Irish people, or according to the wishes of the Scotch Presbyterians and English Nonconformists? In the former case, I call upon you to accept the present proposal. In the latter you may, no doubt, be disposed to reject it. Now, I do not wish to speak disrespectfully of the feelings of Scotch Presbyterians and English Dissenters even when it seems to me that there is little of reason on their side. The Presbyterians and Nonconformists who argue the point make it out in a manner quite satisfactory to themselves. They say—" Protestant principles are sound and true; those of the Roman Catholics are erroneous, and the State is to blame if it does the least thing or contributes in the smallest degree to the maintenance of erroneous principles instead of sound ones." But there is a fallacy which underlies this argument, which is, that you have not the choice of instructing the people between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant faith, because the people will not receive Pro- 1628 testant instruction, and the choice is between Catholic instruction and none at all. My Lords, it is instructive to view how foreign nations contemplate our acts, and I dare say many of your Lordships have read in The Times of this morning a very able letter, signed only with an initial, which gives an account of a striking essay bearing on the question now before us in the Revue des deux Mondes. As I had recently read that essay it is probable I should have referred your Lordships to it even had that notice not appeared in The Times this morning. The essay, written by M. Emile de Laveleye, a writer of great eminence, discusses the principle which should regulate the position of a clergy, and states that there are three systems which might be adopted with regard to them. In the first place the priests might be left entirely dependent on the free-will offerings of their flocks as in Ireland; secondly, a salary might be given them by the State, as in France; and, thirdly, a sufficient demesne might be set apart in each parish for the benefit of the priest. After discussing these three systems, M. de Laveleye declares that the first two have not been sufficiently successful for adoption, and gives his decided adhesion to the third. The true system, he says, would be to incorporate the congregations of each parish, vesting in them a limited demesne as glebe. This I know to be also the wish of many practical men among ourselves most conversant for many years with Irish affairs. Now, before I say a word to show how the plan I advocate would be a benefit to the Roman Catholic priests, I wish you to see how greatly it would benefit the disestablished Church. It was strikingly shown in the evidence brought before the Church Commission that in many parishes in Ireland the Protestant clergy are unprovided with parsonage houses and glebes. The diocese of Down and Connor, which is beyond all question the most populous as far as Protestants are concerned, has more than fifty parishes in which there are no glebes; the next diocese in order of importance as regards Protestant population is the diocese of Armagh, and that has more than twenty parishes without glebes. Surely, then, when the Church is disestablished and placed upon the same footing as the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches, it will not 1629 be undesirable to remedy this defect by applying to it the new footing of equality. Supposing these parishes to be as I have stated, and as I believe them to be, with hundreds and thousands of Protestants, without residences for their clergy, surely we are, upon that footing of equality, entitled to ask that out of the surplus these residences shall be provided. As to the other point—the giving of residences to the priests—I submit to your Lordships that it has always been held to be most desirable if possible to connect the Roman Catholic clergy with the land of Ireland, and thus establish a kinder feeling than now prevails in many cases between the priests and Irish proprietors. I listened with the greatest interest to the remarkable speech delivered the other night by my noble Friend (Lord Taunton), who, I regret to say, is prevented from remaining here this evening through indisposition. Your Lordships will remember what a touching picture he drew of the scenes he witnessed during the time of the famine of 1846, when he acted as Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of that day. He described how Protestant and Roman Catholic clergymen were admitted side by side into his office to plead with a common voice for their suffering parishioners; and we must all agree that it would be well if that unanimity were not confined merely to periods of calamity and destitution, but could be as it were continuous, and that Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy were always found working hand in hand for the improvement of the condition of the people of Ireland. How can this be done? Surely you cannot expect this desirable state of things to follow unless you put the two bodies on a position of absolute equality. It cannot follow if, after this attempt at reform, the Protestant clergyman after the spiritual labours of the day is seen to retire to a comfortable house, and the Romish priest, in many cases, has to betake himself only to a mud cabin. Can you expect equality of feeling and common action to result from such a state of things? My Lords, the Bill as it now stands merely demolishes the old system, and I call upon you to re-model what you destroy. Do not be content with the demolition the Bill will bring about, but strive to lay the foundation of another system which will be acceptable to many 1630 on this side of the House, as the best substitute for a system they would, had the choice been theirs, prefer to retain intact. Now, my Lords, I will call your attention to the course taken by the late Sir Robert Peel on two memorable occasions resembling this. The contrast will not weigh heavily in the estimation of some of your Lordships, who owe no special allegiance to the memory of Sir Robert Peel, but, perhaps, there are some of the present Ministers who stand in a different relation to him. In 1828, when the Roman Catholic question was at issue, Sir Robert Peel came to the conclusion, contrary, to his supporters, that it was necessary for the public welfare, if not for public safety, and even to avert a possible war, that concessions should be made to the Roman Catholics. He was aware that concession was unpopular with the greater part of his supporters and the majority of the constituencies that returned high Protestant Members but he thought it was nobler to do what he considered to be a benefit to his country than to study how he might most surely retain power in his own hands. Perseverance carried him through the immediate question, but not the results of that question in the minds of his followers; and, in the ensuing year, he was expelled from Office. Again, in 1845, Sir Robert Peel came to the conclusion that the feeling that had arisen against maintaining an artificial price of corn must be allowed to prevail, and in opposition to his party he carried a measure which he believed was for the welfare of his country, and again, for the last time, he was expelled from Office. But here we have Ministers preferring the preservation of their power to a measure which, according to their own avowal, would be for the welfare of their country. The noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies told us he was distinctly in favour personally of giving glebes to the Roman Catholics. Another noble Lord (the Lord Privy Seal), in the course of his speech, indicated a precisely similar opinion. In the abstract he approved the policy I advocate; but he declined to support it, on the ground that, under present circumstances, it was inconsistent with the popular voice. I cannot but think, my Lords, that, when these different systems of dealing with public questions come to be estimated in future years the verdict 1631 of history will be that the Government of this day have acted directly in the teeth of the example set them by Sir Robert Peel; that they refused to do that which they were convinced was, in the abstract, right, rather than run the least risk of sacrificing power; that they set themselves to catch the passing breeze, and listened on which side the wind might happen to blow. I still maintain that it is our bound en duty to do that which is best for the public interests, regardless of the loss of popularity or power. I cannot but think how different from the conduct of the Government would have been that of Sir Robert Peel under similar circumstances. The debate on this question commenced this evening at a later hour than I had anticipated, and there may be other Peers desirous of expressing their sentiments, and I shall, therefore, abstain from trespassing at greater length on your Lordships' time. The measure, as you have framed it, has thus far brought no peace whatever either to Roman Catholics or Protestants. On the side of the former it has raised many unreasonable expectations, which you will find it impossible to satisfy; and. on the latter it has created most bitter heartburnings, which it will be hard at once or ever to appease. Even now, on this 12th of July—that day so often fraught with bitterness in Ulster—we are waiting with suspense and anxiety news of what may be the effect of the irritation and asperity of feeling produced in Ireland. I say the Bill has not brought peace, but a sword. It is for your Lordships to consider whether the provision I propose will not be the harbinger of peace. I can scarcely describe the importance I attach to it. This is the last time it can be brought forward in this House, and if—as I am not without some grounds for hoping—the other House should be inclined to accept it, your Lordships may, by passing it, be enabled in far distant years to look back with complacent satisfaction to the course you had courageously pursued, and may give the Irish people down to the latest generations cause to honour and to bless your memory.
Moved to insert, in page 17, line 2, after ("therein")—
(Church body to certify that the residences are required.)
Provided always, that the said church body
shall, in their application for any such residences, certify that the same are required as such for the archbishops, bishops, or clergymen, as the case may be, of the said church.
(Commissioners to annex glebe lands to the residences.)
And in any case, where any such residence and curtilage shall be so Tested in the said body, the said commissioners shall upon their application also vest in them such lands, or such portion of such lands hitherto enjoyed with such residence, as may be suitably annexed thereto hereafter as glebe lands.
(Lands not to exceed 30 acres for bishop or 10 acres for clergyman; but the quantity may be varied according to convenience or injury by severance. The commissioners, subject to approval of Lord Lieutenant, to provide suitable houses and glebe lands.)
Provided that such land shall not exceed thirty acres in the case of any archbishop or bishop, or ten acres in the case of any other clergyman of the said church.
But the said commissioners shall have power to vary the said quantities of land, where necessary for its convenient occupation, or where loss or injury might result from its severance.
And the said commissioners shall also (subject to the approval of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Council) out of the proceeds of the property by this Act vested in them, provide suitable houses of residence with lands of accommodation annexed thereto as glebe lands, for the following ecclesiastical persons:
(1.) (For clergy of disestablished church where none is provided.)
(1.) For any archbishop, bishop, or other clergyman of the said church, in any case where a suitable house of residence and glebe lands shall not under the foregoing provisions have been vested in the said church body for the use of any such archbishop, bishop, or other clergyman of the said church.
(2.) (For Roman Catholic prelates and clergy.)
(2.) For any archbishop, bishop, parish priest, or other clergyman of the Roman Catholic church who shall have spiritual charge ot any separate parochial or other territorial district, according to the regulations of the said church.
(3.) (For Presbyterian church.)
(3.) For any clergyman or minister of the Presbyterian church, who shall have spiritual charge of any separate territorial district, according to the regulations of such church.
(Quantity not to exceed 30 acres for prelate or 10 acres for other clergyman.)
Provided always, that the land so to be annexed shall not exceed thirty acres in the case of any archbishop or bishop, or ten acres in the case of any other clergyman or minister of any of the said several churches.
(Commissioners may purchase or build houses and purchase or assign lands.)
And the said commissioners shall have power to provide the said houses either by purchase or by defraying the expenses of their erection, and the said lands either by purchase or by assignment of the lands vested in them by this Act.
(Lord lieutenant in Council to declare persons to hold houses and lands in trust for Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergy.)
And the said Lord Lieutenant in Council shall, by proper rules, declare and define the persons in whom the said houses and land shall be vested for the use of the archbishops, bishops, and other clergy of the said Roman Catholic church and for the clergy of the said Presbyterian church.
(Houses and lands to be vested in such persons in trust for residence and accommodation without power of alienation, and with obligation to maintain in proper repair and condition.)
And the said Commissioners shall by order vest the said houses and lands in the said persons, upon trust for the said purposes of residence and accommodation, without power of alienation, or of use for any other purpose, and subject to the perpetual obligation to maintain the said houses in proper repair and the said lands in proper condition."—(The Earl Stanhope.)
My Lords, during these long debates one aspect of the Bill has been present to my mind which appears to have escaped remark. The Bill has been designated as revolutionary, and assuredly it is in its great historical aspects and in the fact that it deals with a question exercising great power over the minds of men and influencing the destinies of a nation. At the same time I do not think there is another instance of an important measure that will have so little practical result as this. Let me put the case in a plain practical way, and I think your Lordships will see it has a strong bearing upon the question under consideration. Revolutionary as this measure is, it most honestly and carefully respects the vested rights of every individual, with the single exception of the right of the Irish Prelates to seats in this House, with respect to which your Lordships have been unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion. With that exception, from the Primate downwards, there is not one minister of the Church of Ireland who will be any the worse for the measure. Your Lordships, there- fore, will not give the Catholic Prelates the pleasure and gratification of having an equal rank in ordinary society with the Bishops of the Protestant Church; so that when the Archbishop of Dublin and Cardinal Cullen come together the former will preserve the precedence hitherto accorded to him. It would have been easy to have arranged that point by allowing precedence according to seniority. The Protestant clergyman, with a congregation consisting of the policeman and clerk, their wives, and three or four others in a parish contain- 1634 ing 1,000 Roman Catholics, will retain his church, his house, and all the privileges of his position for the remainder of his life, and he may be a man of twenty-five. The practical effect of this will be that through the whole of Ireland the change effected will be very small. No doubt, to the thoughtful Roman Catholic there will be the satisfaction that as the Prelates, and clergymen, and curates disappear, so will the ascendancy of a hostile Church, which ultimately will be left in all the nakedness of voluntaryism. But what is your object? What do you want to do now? You want to neutralize the Fenian spirit; you want to give immediate satisfaction, not only to the Prelate in his chamber, but also to the peasant in his cottage; you want to bring about a change in the relations of England and Ireland. That you will not affect by this Bill. All relations will remain exactly the same as they are now, with the result inevitably produced by the clergymen of the Church of Ireland in the remote parts of the country losing the political and conventual status which has hitherto invested them with a certain dignity. Therefore, it seems to me, unless you do something like that which is proposed by this Amendment, you will really have done nothing for the peace of Ireland. For the practical effect we wish to produce it would be far better to pass this provision than all the rest of the Bill. I would call upon those who oppose this Amendment to consider whether, by passing it, they will not invest the Bill, in the eyes of the Irish peasant, with a remedial and practical character, and whether they will not do more than they can by any other means to satisfy an imaginative people that they want to establish now and in the future religious equality in Ireland. Nothing can be more various than the opinions attributed to the Roman Catholics in reference to this proposition. At one time the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland would have been perfectly ready to accept a State endowment. But there has gradually grown up in the Catholic Church a spirit which has its dignified side, and of which. I do not wish to speak with disrespect. Recently it has been the policy of that Church to separate itself from the States with which she has been connected. The spirit which has given rise to that policy is manifested in Ireland, but not more 1635 there than in other countries. In France the Catholic Church has shown that spirit, and recently there has been a still more signal instance of its effects in the action of that Church towards the Court of Austria. No doubt, therefore, there would be a great disinclination on the part of the Court of Home that the priests of Ireland should come into any connection with the Government of this country which would carry with it the slightest taint of interference with their independence. My Lords, some time ago, I held communications on this subject with some of the highest Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, it would be indecorous on my part to go into details; but I may say that I left the Court of Rome with the full conviction that the free and unconditional grant of houses and lands to the Irish priests would not be unwelcome to the highest authorities of that Church. Owing to the circumstances in which that country had been placed, the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland have been placed in a position of absolute submission to episcopal authority. There is less independence among them than among the clergy of any other part of Europe. That may have ecclesiastical advantages, but certainly it has social disadvantages. Again, the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland are not taken as we could wish them to be from the upper and the middle classes of the country, but almost entirely from the peasantry. Then the Irish priest is not a person of sufficient education or social position to render him comfortable in the society of Protestants or of the upper classes of his own religion. That may be said without meaning disrespect to either side. It would be a great advantage to Ireland to improve that state of things, and I think Sir Robert Peel had quite as much difficulty in passing the Maynooth measure as the Government would have in carrying such a scheme as the one now suggested. They would have to encounter the ill-will of the Nonconformists; but I believe that for support of such a policy they might with confidence appeal to the intelligence of a large majority of the House of Commons.
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
My Lords, I think we are engaged in one of the most disagreeable tasks that this House has ever been engaged in. The measure is disagreeable to noble Lords opposite, 1636 and I think Members of the Liberal party must be ashamed of it. I do not think this measure is entirely agreeable to anybody, though it obtains the partial approbation of the different sects whose prejudices have been appealed to. It pleases the Nonconformists in their hatred of religious Establishments; it pleases the Presbyterians in their hatred of Episcopacy; it pleases the Roman Catholics by offering them the destruction of the Church of Ireland; and it pleases Protestants generally by doing as little justice as possible to the Roman Catholics. It is not, therefore, in any sense a Liberal measure. We are told that the country has made up its mind—that the country is determined to have the measure as it came to this House. Whose fault is that? If Mr. Gladstone had only used one-half the ability he has spent in denouncing the Church of Ireland in explaining to the people the real state of the case, I think the result would have been very different. If he had told them to look at what we have been doing for the last thirty years; how we have been educating the priests of Ireland, and doing it with the public money; how we have been teaching the priest the best way to oppose the Protestant religion, and then when he has been so taught letting him live in a hovel—would anyone say that when we have taught the priest and intrusted him with the instruction of the people we ought not to give him some moderate means of living? Such a gift as that now proposed would be one not to the priests, but to the people of Ireland, who have the greatest reverence for their clergy. If there be any man who more than another is responsible for the misfortune of this Irish Church question, I say that man is Mr. Gladstone. He it was who said that the Irish Church ought to be upheld in the sacred cause of truth; that it must be supported because its mission was divine. It was on account of those sentiments Oxford received him with delight. But, like Coriolanus, he returned to destroy that which he had before upheld. I think, however, that as he has changed his opinion he ought to make allowance for those who were convinced by his former arguments. I confess that I was not among the number. I regarded those arguments as vain, and I think many of his present arguments are vain also. 1637 He runs from one extreme to the other. With him there appears to be no halting-place between the torrid and the frigid zones. At one time he laid down that we ought to support the Irish Church on the ground that she taught the truth. Now he advocates the voluntary system in Ireland. The voluntary system has its advantages—it has enormous advantages; but I ask any statesman knowing the condition of Europe, and seeing what are the religious opinions moving in different countries, whether this is a moment at which it is right to take away from Ireland an educated clergy? I think that would not be a statesmanlike proceeding, but a most unwarrantable, dangerous, and mischievous course. My Lords, I do not want to again go over a question of which we have heard so much already. We are told that this is a statesmanlike measure. My Lords, a statesmanlike measure does not destroy everything. It constructs something; but this measure constructs nothing at all. Is it a statesmanlike policy that destroys everything and leaves nothing? I You are asked to take away the endowments of the Church in order to give them to lunatic asylums—to take away the educated clergy and to apply their incomes with old nurses. It is impossible that this Bill can be called the measure of a statesman—it does very well to speak about it at public meetings, because it is just the sort of thing to answer for that purpose, but when it comes to be examined and criticized it is pulled to pieces on every side. I own I should have wished to have seen a measure upon this subject brought in which would have settled the question in the course of the present year, but this measure, if carried without the provision for the appropriation of the surplus, will keep the matter open for the rest of my natural life. Then there is this unfortunate Church Body, which is to lie upon the operating table for the next ten years, while the three judges, sitting like Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Æacus, condemn with stern severity. In attempting to put a little generosity into the Bill—which very much wanted it, for it was a most niggardly measure—we have gone a little too far on one side. It was a little too strong to give the disestablished Church those Ulster glebes as being private endowments because they had been originally granted by the Sovereign. The 1638 proper view to have taken of those glebes was, that when the purposes for which they were granted ceased, they should have reverted to the Sovereign. I do not, therefore, see how the disestablished Church is to keep these glebes; but, on the other hand, I should have wished to have dealt generously with the Church, with the Roman Catholics, and with the Presbyterians. I have voted in favour of this Amendment before, and I shall have great pleasure in doing so again.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords, the noble Duke behind me (the Duke of Somerset) puts the Bill to a very fair test when he asks whether or not it is a statesmanlike measure? He says that the Bill as it now stands is likely to keep the question alive for his natural life. That is just the difference between the measure as introduced by Mr. Gladstone and the Government in the other House—which, whatever its merits or its demerits, would have been a final one, and would have satisfied the true interests of the nation—and the measure as it now stands, after having been so altered and disfigured in this House that its friends would scarcely know it again. And after the Bill has been thus changed the noble Duke turns round and says—"See what an unstatesmanlike measure this is." The noble Duke forgets that this measure belongs, not to Mr. Gladstone, but to this House. The noble Duke, in his eagerness to damage the Bill, forgets whose Bill he is damaging. And now let us look at this statesmanlike clause proposed by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Stanhope) which the noble Duke behind me is supporting. Recollect, we require not a mere abstract proposition, fit to form the subject of discussion at a debating club, but a clause that will work practically. Now, in the first place, this clause bears upon its face the mark of having been prepared by those who have not communicated with those bodies with which it proposes to deal, and who are utterly in the dark as to the wishes upon the subject of the Roman Catholics, the Presbyterians, and the Church Body. It proceeds to say—And the said commissioners shall also (subject to the approval of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in Council) out of the proceeds of the property by this Act vested in them, provide suitable houses of residence with lands of accommodation annexed thereto as glebe lands, for the following ecclesiastical persons … (3.) For any 1639 clergyman or minister of the Presbyterian Church, who shall have spiritual charge of any separate territorial district, according to the regulations of such church;And then it goes on to say—And the said Lord Lieutenant in Council shall, by proper rules, declare and define the persons in whom the said houses and land shall be vested for the use of the archbishops, bishops, and other clergy of the said Roman Catholic church and for the clergy of the said Presbyterian church.My Lords, there is no such thing as a clergyman or minister of the Presbyterian Church having spiritual charge of any separate territorial district, neither is there one Presbyterian Church in Ireland. The Presbyterian body in that country is split up into many portions. First of all there is that portion of the Presbyterian Church which is represented by the General Assembly; then there is the Secession Synod, the two Synods of Antrim, the Synod of Munster, the Remonstrant Synod, and other Synods; and in order to provide for the ministers of all these bodies separate grants of glebes would have to be made. Then, as regards the feelings of the Roman Catholics upon this question. The noble Earl has referred to the plan proposed by Mr. Pitt, but under that scheme the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church were to enter into an arrangement with the State, under which certain provision was to be made for that Church, whereas the clause proposes that the Lord Lieutenant in Council shall declare and define the persons in whom the said houses and land shall be vested for the use of the Archbishops, Bishops, and other clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. Now, the noble Earl who proposes this clause should have known that the great difficulty in the way of concurrent endowment has been that it has never been possible to devise a plan by which the Government could put themselves in communication with the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. If it is the object of the clause to make the Roman Catholic Bishops their own trustees, why does it not say so plainly? But if its object is to make a body of Roman Catholics lay trustees, with interests differing from those of the Roman Catholics Bishops, it will most signally fail. It is rather too much to require the Lord Lieutenant in Council to make delicate arrangements which Parliament declines to make for itself. The noble 1640 Earl opposite (Earl Stanhope) has asked whether we are to be guided in this matter by the opinion of Scotland or by that of Ireland. But I say you have no right to assume that there is an opinion in Ireland in favour of the proposal now under discussion. You are bound to accept as the opinion of the people that which has been expressed by their representatives in Parliament and by their ecclesiastical bodies, and in every case they have declared that they will not accept a scheme of this kind. The subject has been so often discussed that one should speak very shortly upon it, and therefore I will merely address one further observation to your Lordships with "reference to it. The noble Earl opposite has claimed me as being a supporter of the principle of the clause in consequence of an observation which fell from me the other night. I admit that I have sometimes hoped that some scheme of this kind might be adopted, but I distinctly stated last year when the Suspensory Bill was under discussion, that under the circumstances, and taking into consideration the feelings of the great body of the people, it would be impossible that such a scheme could be adopted. I must also confess that I should not like to see Mr. Gladstone, after opposing the scheme of levelling up, and after having taken the vote of the country upon it, turn round now and advocate an opposite policy, and therefore, my Lords, I feel bound to oppose this proposal.
§ THE EARL OF GRANARD
admitted that the Amendment was expressed in a generous spirit towards Irish Roman Catholics, and that the residences of many of the priests were quite inadequate; but in most parts of Ireland this evil had been removed, to a great extent, by the generosity of the people. To that generosity he preferred to trust for a further remedy; and believing, as he did, that fresh State endowment was contrary to the spirit of the age, he could not hesitate to record his protest against the Amendment. In 1795 Burke advised the Catholic hierarchy to trust to God's good providence rather than to State endowments, and he believed that this sentiment still prevailed not only among the Catholic hierarchy, but the Catholic population of Ireland. The Bishops who met in Dublin on the 3d October, 1867, had resolved that, notwithstanding the right and claim of their Church to 1641 the revenues of which she had been unjustly deprived, they would not accept endowments from the State out of the property of the Established Church, nor, indeed, any State endowment whatever. These resolutions had never been rescinded, and were the last manifesto of the Catholic hierarchy on this subject. No one, therefore, had a right to say that the Catholic hierarchy were ready to accept endowment from the State. Moreover, the resolutions to which he had referred were in perfect accordance with the Bill now before the House, and, on the part of his co-religionists he denied authoritatively any disposition among the Prelates of his Church to accept houses or glebes for the use of the clergy. Considering these resolutions, and the immense amount of support given to the Bill by the Nonconformists on the understanding that no part of the Church property should be applied to religious purposes, it was impossible for an Irish Roman Catholic to vote for the Amendment unless at the expense of his consistency—he had almost said of his good faith. The Catholics of Ireland had demanded the disestablishment and disendowment of the State Church, and political and social equality in place of the political and religious ascendancy which had been so well described by an eminent Protestant divine, the Rev. Dr. Brady. The Bill of the Government fulfilled these conditions, and, therefore, in common gratitude, as well as from conviction, he was bound to vote with the Government on the present occasion.
THE DUKE OF LEINSTER
My Lords, I merely wish to state a fact which is within my own knowledge. Some years ago I built a house in the town of Athy, and gave it to the priest, who accepted it, and was most thankful for it. Since that time I have had some Scotch tenants, who built a Presbyterian Church. I gave them the land, and assisted them to build a manse. They accepted that assistance most gratefully. Strange to say, there was no residence for the Protestant clergy. I bought a residence for them, made it over to them, and am happy to say that the three denominations are all living now in perfect peace and tranquillity.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
said, that, having voted for the Amendment on a former occasion, he had been charged with something like a breach of faith 1642 for so doing. A noble Earl (the Earl of Denbigh) had given the impression the other evening that he represented the Irish Catholic Peers on this subject. All he could say was that he was by no means represented by the noble Earl (the Earl of Denbigh), however much he might respect him. When the Bill passed a second reading he was sanguine enough to imagine that their Lordships had sanctioned the great principle of religious equality as applied to Ireland. But the present state of the Bill had woefully disappointed the hopes of his co-religionists. So far from being a measure of disendowment, it had now become a measure for the re-endowment of the Protestant Church, and the Amendments introduced by their Lordships into the Bill had given that Church several millions more than was contemplated in the Bill as originally presented to them. It was rather hard, therefore, to believe, that the principle of religious equality was maintained in the Bill. He was one of those who wished on principle that this measure should have been carried out on the principle of levelling up. However, he was quite aware that, owing to the state of feeling in England, such a plan was perfectly impracticable, and therefore there was no use in wasting words in its favour. But as far as the proposal of giving glebe houses and a few acres of land to the Roman Catholic clergy was concerned, that could hardly be fairly said to come under the name of concurrent endowment. Everyone who knew the state of many parishes, particularly in the South and West of Ireland, must feel that it would be a great been if the priests of those parishes could receive a sufficient sum to build them decent dwellings. There was no doubt that this would place the priests in a social position which was much to be desired, particularly when we remembered that the Protestant clergy would retain their glebe houses. He should be most sorry if, by the possession of these houses, the priests became less dependent on their congregations and aroused any jealousy among their people. But this argument which had been used against the plan now proposed did not seem to him to be of any weight. A far more important argument was that the Catholic Prelates had made no move towards asking for any endowment, but had rather repudiated any payment out 1643 of the revenues of the Protestant Church. He asked their Lordships to remember, however, that the one great object of the Catholic clergy was religious equality, and they would, give up anything rather than risk that great object; and they thought they would come before the public in a more dignified manner if they put forward no demand on their own behalf. In arguing against the efficacy of the voluntary system, a noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) had, on a former occasion, quoted an instance in which a Catholic Bishop had imposed a tax of 5s. in the pound on the members of his Church throughout his diocese in order to erect a church. He did not know to what diocese the noble Earl alluded, but this must be taken as a very extreme case. Another case had come under his own observation which, he thought, was far better calculated to convey the feelings of the people. Some years ago, in the city of Limerick, a large church had been commenced, and the late Bishop, Dr. Ryan, thought the opportunity a good one for making it the cathedral of his diocese. There was no pressure employed, and he obtained the sum of nearly £9,000 from the poor people of the diocese. That was a noble and creditable act, and one worthy of any country or any diocese. He could not but think that the language which had been used as to the Roman Catholic priesthood wringing contributions from the poorest of the Irish people was not just or fair. It was no exaggeration to say that there was no country in Europe where contributions were given for religious objects more willingly or with less pressure than was done by the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. He thanked a noble Lord (Lord Taunton), who spoke on a recent occasion, for the earnest, impressive, and, he believed, most just eulogy he had pronounced upon the conduct of the Roman Catholic clergy during the period of the famine in Ireland. He alluded to the noble Lord who was at the time Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he thanked the noble Lord, not only on his own behalf, but on behalf of his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, for that well-merited tribute. He would also call to their Lordships' recollection the conduct of the Irish Roman Catholic clergy at the time of the attempted rising in 1848, when he had it on the authority of no 1644 less a person than the leader of that movement that it was the conduct of the priests which crushed all his hopes. Their Lordships were also well aware of the decided course taken by the Roman Catholic clergy against the Fenian movement. That clergy had always been found on the side of law and order; and it would be, he thought, a poor return to make to them when they were striving, aided by the voice of the people of England, to obtain religious equality for their country if they were now to be disappointed of its realization. He knew that he had no claim as a humble Member of that House to make this appeal, but he made it with all possible earnestness, simply as one who had lived all his life in Ireland, and who knew pretty well the feeling of the Irish Roman Catholics. What he wished to state to their Lordships was this—that they might be perfectly certain they never would remove the discontent which existed in that country, nor ever obtain the confidence of the Irish people in British rule and in the British Parliament, until they laid the foundation for it by a real bonâ fide measure of perfect religious equality. They never would remove the discontent of the people of Ireland until they succeeded in inspiring confidence in the justice of British rule in the minds of the religious teachers of that people—those teachers in whom it was natural that the people should confide as their guides, not only in matters purely spiritual, but in all those concerns which affected the social and material improvement and prosperity of their country. And he did not think any measure that could be adopted would be more calculated to produce that effect than for Parliament to let that clergy and their people both see that it was determined to carry out fully this great principle. He might, indeed, quote the concluding words of a Petition which he had recently presented to their Lordships, and say that if that Bill were passed in its integrity their Lordships would deserve the lasting gratitude of the Irish people by establishing among them the principle of religious equality, the true source of peace, prosperity, and contentment.
§ THE EARL OF HARROWBY
My Lords, there are so many of your Lordships, especially those who are connected with Ireland, in favour of the Amend- 1645 ment of the noble Earl, that I desire to say that, taken in itself, I not only see no objection to it, in itself, but so far from it have supported a similar proposal on a former occasion. Indeed, in this Bill, such as it is, it is the only green spot upon which the eye can dwell. The rest is mere ruin and destruction; this pretends at least to construct something; to extract something for her out of a mass of pure negation. But, at the same time, there are difficulties at present which interpose fatal obstacles in the way of this proposal. In the first place, what is it that has induced you to go into Committee on this Bill at all? The great majority of your Lordships were opposed to it root and branch; not only to its details, but to its principle. I did my best to induce your Lordships not to yield to the public current, but to carry out boldly the opinions you entertained. Your Lordships did not agree with that view; you thought you were bound to bow to the opinion of the country and go into Committee on the Bill. You went into Committee at all for no other reason. Now, nothing is more clear than that if it had not been stated to the constituencies that endowment of any kind to the Roman Catholic Church was entirely out of the question, we should not have had to go into Committee at all, for we should have never had this Bill. If there was one point more than another upon which Conservative seats were lost, and the present majority of the House of Commons was formed, it was the pledge that when the property of the Irish Church was taken away there should not be an atom of endowment to the Roman Catholic Church. If, then, pressure was put upon your Lordships to go into Committee on account of the current of public opinion, then, I say, it would be to go directly contrary to that which alone induced you to go into Committee at all to accept this Amendment of the noble Earl's; to pick out that one matter which the House of Commons and the country are most distinctly pledged against; to say the least of it, a most extraordinary course of action, most fatal to your own policy. If, indeed, we had had encouragement that this proposal would be accepted by Her Majesty's Government, your Lordships might have considered that it would be well to make some public sacrifice of 1646 standing with the country for the purpose of settling a great question. But we have no encouragement of that kind. There is another point to which my noble Friend opposite (the Lord Privy Seal) has alluded, which has always struck me as a great practical difficulty. How are you to carry the proposition out? On all former occasions, when the question has been brought forward, it has been carried out after negotiation and arrangement. But here you are going simply to create a property and invest it in trustees. But for whose benefit? You will say for that of the parish priest? Who is he in the eye of the law? There may be a difference between the clergyman and his Bishop—there is an appeal to the Archbishop, and from thence to the Pope. Are you to wait for a decision from Rome before you can settle to whom the house is to belong which you are going to give before you put in motion the sheriff's officer or an action for ejectment? There are practical difficulties of this kind, in dealing with a body whose law you do not recognize, and know nothing about, which it would be extremely difficult to overcome. And observe this. One of the Amendments carried in this House keeps the surplus over—and if public opinion and public feeling should change, there would then be the time to deal with the question, and to make the necessary arrangements with the authorities. So far as you have gone already, you have in no case gone against the public feeling, deference to which led you into Committee. With all your Amendments you have indeed in no point exceeded these limits, within which the language of the promoters of the Bill during the elections authorized you to act. In this point alone would you step aside to set yourself in direct opposition both to the Government and the country. Under these circumstances, still entertaining a desire that there should be a recognition of the Roman Catholic clergy, and believing that it would be a wise measure to place them in decent houses, though with great reluctance, I shall feel bound to vote against the Amendment.
§ EARL RUSSELL
My Lords, it has been said that, with respect to disestablishment, the House decided that question on the second reading. But with regard to disendowment, the ques- 1647 tion arises how are you to give equality; for that, it is generally admitted, ought to be the principle, and the people of England and the people of Scotland who voted for the Liberal candidates did so, I believe, with a feeling of generosity towards Ireland, and a wish that the religion of the great majority of the people should be on an equality with that of the other sects in that country. Now, I was speaking to a gentleman, a few days ago, who thinks that the Catholic clergy are very ill provided with dwellings, and he told me that in the South of Ireland he went to see an old parish priest eight-five years of age, and he found it impossible that any carriage could get near the hovel in which the old priest lived. He got out of his carriage, went over stepping stones across the brook, and got into a miserable hovel where this parish priest was lying in bed. But, he said, if he asked where the clergyman of the Established Church lived, with perhaps not fifty parishioners in his charge, he would be taken to a good comfortable home. Was that justice or equality? Would the people of Ireland so consider it if they learned that their clergymen had been left in that condition while the Protestant clergy had their houses and the lands preserved to them by the House of Commons and augmented by the House of Lords? Much had been said with regard to the attitude the Roman Church may assume if this Amendment were carried. Now, no doubt it was the notion of Mr. Pitt and many others to give a salary to every Roman Catholic priest in order to make him in some manner dependent upon the Government, and that is what the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland most justly resent; but our proposal differs greatly from this. We propose to give the priest his glebe house once for all, and to have no control over him whatever, and upon this the Irish priesthood has very properly refrained from making any declaration. To the original principle of the Bill—disestablishment and disendowment—the priesthood gave their adhesion, but upon a question of immediate benefit to themselves, good taste obliges them to be silent. If your Lordships agree to the Amendment of my noble Friend (Earl Stanhope) you will be contributing to that equality for the promotion of which the Bill was introduced.
§ LORD WESTBURY
My Lords, we have been told this evening by the noble Earl (the Earl of Harrowby) that we have voted for the second reading of this Bill in deference to public opinion, and that that public opinion was unanimous in its declaration against concurrent endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy; and we are assured that we are going in direct defiance of public opinion in supporting this Amendment. With great deference to the noble Earl who made those observations, I, for one—and I think I speak on behalf of many noble Lords—did not vote for the second reading of this Bill out of any deference to public opinion. I am not one to disregard public opinion when it is pronounced upon matters which it is competent and has been called upon to discuss, but I do not think it understood the question in a manner to dictate to legislators. It pronounced that there was a great evil to be redressed, and it left to you, my Lords, and to the other House of Parliament, to decide what should be the manner of that redress. I voted for the second reading because I felt the Irish Church, as at present constituted, to be a great evil; I voted for the second reading in the hope of converting this wanton Bill of destruction into a measure of beneficent reform. We have, therefore, with perfect consistency pursued the course we designated for ourselves. There was another point raised by the noble Earl, which may be disposed of in a few words. He tells you there will be great difficulty in carrying out the Amendment before us, because you will have to recognize the Archbishops and Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and in directing the enjoyment of this property be guided by their rules, with which you are not cognizant. My Lords, there is no difficulty at all about this. The ownership of these houses will remain in the hands of the trustees who are appointed, the trustees will regulate the enjoyment of the property according to law; the law is compelled repeatedly to inquire what are the doctrines held among certain religious communities, and to regulate the enjoyment of property dedicated to those communities according to the construction which courts of justice put upon the deeds conveying that property. We have been frequently told by the authors of the Bill and those 1649 who approve of it that it is intended as a measure of peace and religious equality. Those are gracious words, indicating a gracious intention; and surely they would lead to the conclusion that, whereas the only fault of the Irish Church was its monopolizing property which was dedicated originally to, and ought to have been applied for, the universal extension of our common Christianity, the spirit of peace and religious equality would have dictated to Her Majesty's Government some more universal and comprehensive scheme of distributing the surplus, and that they would have shrunk from making "ducks and drakes" of it, and indulging in the wantonness of fancy in order to get rid of the income of the Church. I have again and again entreated your Lordships to rise to an occasion that demands the exercise of legislative power and wisdom, to awaken to a sense of the great duty upon you, and accomplish the great object of peace and religious equality and religious justice by distributing the surplus in a manner equal to the demands and equal to the necessities of the several religious bodies in Ireland. I am sorry to say the plea so made has been in vain, and the historian will record in melancholy accents the fact that a great occasion for uniting these two nations together, and restoring peace and tranquillity, was lost through the bigotry of one party, and a want of high spirit on the other to guide the people of this country to measures superior to the feeling that declaims against concurrent endowment, and pronounces it to be a sin to give anything to relieve the necessities and supply the wants of Roman Catholic Christianity, although it is the religion upon which nineteen-twentieths of the Christian world depend for their salvation. These are the terms on which we may expect people in a future age to speak of us when they compare what we have done with what we might have done. It is very seldom, indeed, that the advocate of any cause has the power of calling two such witnesses as I have the power of calling to-night. The two noble Lords who have spoken on my right and left hand have settled for ever the question whether these endowments would or would not be accepted with gratitude by the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. One ounce of fact is worth pounds of argu- 1650 ment; and that ounce of fact the noble Duke (the Duke of Leinster) has supplied. He told you that he had given equal boons to Protestant, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic clergymen, that they were received with gratitude by all, and that all live in happy concord by reason of their being placed upon an equality. I ask, then, whether the Roman Catholic clergy will not willingly accept these endowments. I am sure your Lordships will receive the testimony of Peers who speak from their own knowledge, and who can vouch from their experience for the conclusions they offer to you. I press most warmly upon you the acceptance of the noble Earl's (Earl Stanhope's) Amendment. Although I have the greatest respect for the Roman Catholic clergy, and believe that without them you will never pacify, much less conciliate, Ireland, yet I must confess I have the greater love for the Protestant clergy of that country, and the greater concern for their welfare. By an overwhelming majority your Lordships have accepted the proposals of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury), and. have conferred on the Episcopalian clergy a small portion of that which undoubtedly is their own; and, for one, I cannot with. any countenance send this Bill down again to the Commons, ostensibly in the spirit in which it was sent, as a message of peace and religious equality, with that exceptional benefit given to the Protestant Episcopalian clergy, unless it were supplemented, equipoised, and balanced by equal benefits for the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergy. If the one is an act of justice, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that the other is an equal act of justice; and if you yield the one you are bound to yield the other. Then how shall we return the Bill? It will be returned with a large surplus, indeed, rent away from the Episcopalian Church, but it will be returned with the endowment of the Protestant clergy, in a great measure equalled and balanced by corresponding benefits for the clergy of all other persuasions. Then, my Lords, I should hope there will be no collision between the two Houses; we may then have a well-grounded hope that as we have done the Bill, with regard to its spirit, as little injury as possible, the other House may defer to your Lordships' opi- 1651 nion, and may believe that you have taken a wiser measure of the true extent to which the principle of the Bill ought to be carried out, and that there will then be unanimity between the two Houses, instead of there being opposition. I entreat your Lordships, as you love justice, as you would be beneficent, as you would countenance that which you have already done for your own clergy, to give at the same time a corresponding measure of benefit to the clergy of other persuasions; I entreat you, in the interests of your own measure, to lay aside all notion about your having no right to pronounce an opinion in favour of the Roman Catholic religion. Why, you fling damnation round Europe when you condemn the Roman Catholics and pronounce that great religion to be an error which you would sin in giving anything to. I trust your Lordships will rise superior to that. This is only a little matter; it is only a modicum of what your Lordships ought to do, and if your Lordships have a thought for religion, humanity, peace, and charity you will accept the Amendment of the noble Lord.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I will trespass on your Lordships' attention only for a few moments. I rise more for the purpose of protesting in the name of Her Majesty's Government against this Amendment being carried than to argue a question, which has been agued at almost every stage of the Bill. It was discussed on the second reading, on going into Committee, upon the Amendment in Committee—which was rejected by a large majority—upon the Report, upon the third reading to-day; and now again it is discussed on the Amendment of my noble Friend. I cannot say how painful it is to me to vote against some of my best personal and political friends, for whose intellect I have the greatest respect, and with whose political feelings and opinions I entirely sympathize. If it were not for that I am not sure I should not find great cause for rejoicing in the discussion which has taken place on this Amendment. I sympathize in a great degree with all the liberal feelings which have been expressed with regard to Roman Catholics and which hitherto have not met with any general acceptance in this House. I rejoice that I have heard from the opposite side of the House sentiments which I never 1652 heard before from that quarter; and I rejoice because they will facilitate in the future the spread of religious toleration. This discussion has done one great good; it has cleared away very much indeed; it has proved conclusively that it is impossible to go half-way, and that your Lordships and the country must decide whether you will adopt the scheme of disestablishment and disendowment proposed by the Government, or whether you will adopt a scheme for supporting all other denominations in Ireland. I really have heard sentiments in which I cannot say how much I concur. I heard the noble Earl who moved this Amendment state, amid cheers from those around him, that it was the duty of the Legislature to legislate for Ireland according to the wishes of the Irish, and not merely according to the wishes of the English and Scotch. I agree thoroughly in that. But I am obliged to differ from the noble Earl in regard to what the public expression of opinion in Ireland has been, whether it comes from the Irish Church, from the Presbyterian body, or from the Romanists themselves. I have really nothing to add, except that my Colleagues and I, in framing our plan of dealing with the Irish Church, followed the method which I believe all great statesmen have always adopted, which was to combine the support of those who have one object in view, in order to enable us to carry a measure which it was almost impossible for a Government to have brought forward a short time ago. I can add nothing to that. We can only adhere to the resolution which we declared to the country that it was our intention to act upon; and I must leave the case as it has been stated by my Colleagues and myself. The common sense of your Lordships cannot deny that the feeling of the constituencies at the elections was most indisputably opposed to anything in the shape of levelling up or concurrent endowment, or whatever other term you may choose to apply to it. It would be presumptuous in me to put myself on the level with the noble and learned Lord who spoke last, but I have not yet been taught to believe that this nation is incompetent to form an opinion upon an important question such as the Irish Church and the best mode of removing so great an anomaly. My Lords, I really believe that this Amendment 1653 —if your Lordships carry it to-night—will absolutely have no effect whatever but to create a certain amount of embarrassment. I am as certain that there is no more chance of this Amendment being adopted in "another place," or, as I believe, by the constituencies who send the Members to that "other place," as I am of any other subject which is reasonably open to discussion. Upon these grounds I implore your Lordships not to reverse the decision to which you came the other day, when rejecting a proposal similar to the present. Before I sit down let me say that, while owing allegiance to my Colleagues in Her Majesty's Government, I am also sensible that I owe allegiance to the honour and credit of your Lordships' House. We have been exhorted this evening to be statesmanlike, to rise to the occasion, to lead the public mind, and to show what is right in relation to the equality of the clergy of all denominations. The noble Earl opposite (Earl Stanhope) said he rose with the sanction, and even at the request, of some of the most eminent Members of your Lordships' House to propose this Amendment. Have your Lordships considered what figure you will cut in sending down this Amendment as the perfection of statesmanship, and as the work of the most eminent Members of your Lordships' House? My noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal said you ought not to devolve upon the Lord Lieutenant the most difficult duty of all, without laying down any principles at all to guide him in dealing with the Roman Catholic clergy. You say that the object is to attain religious equality; but my noble Friend has pointed out that under the words of the third section of this Amendment not a single church or glebe will go to the Presbyterians at all, inasmuch as their arrangements are made with reference to congregations, and not with regard to the spiritual charge of any separate territorial district. This Amendment therefore, so carefully considered, and which is represented as the last result of your legislative wisdom, would have the effect of depriving the Presbyterians of any advantage whatever, while giving the most liberal terms to the clergy of the Established Church, curates as well as incumbents. You leave glebes and manses to about 2,000 clergy charged with the spiritual care of 700,000 of the people of Ireland, while 1654 to the clergy superintending the religion of 4,500,000—the large majority of the people of Ireland—you offer in the whole some 1,200 houses and glebes—for that is about the number of those clergy having territorial cures. You throw £2,000,000 or so into the coffers of the Irish Church, and give the others a small pittance. And this, it is contended, is a statesmanlike proceeding, in a spirit of true equality. Can your Lordships really wish that such a proposal should go down to the other House as illustrative of the spirit of your legislative enactments?
§ EARL STANHOPE
My Lords, I shall trouble your Lordships with very few words in reply, and they shall be simply in answer to the statement just adduced by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville). I am informed by those who are thoroughly well acquainted with the part of the country of which we are speaking, that the noble Earl is entirely inaccurate when he states that the arrangements of the Presbyterian clergy are made without reference to territorial districts. A similar statement was made by the Lord Privy Seal, and I am told that the noble Lord, the Privy Seal, although for some time Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and likely therefore to be well informed, was misled by the ecclesiastical arrangements of the Wesleyan body, which he has ascribed throughout to the Presbyterians. Then, with regard to the last clause of the Amendment, the arguments of the noble Earl are a mere repetition of what was said by the Lord Privy Seal. I am blamed for not having pointed out the exact course which the Lord Lieutenant should adopt. There is no inaccuracy of mime, but there is a difference of opinion between us. I stated before that, in my judgment, it was one great advantage of the proposition that it did not insist upon any negotiation with the Roman Catholic clergy; it places them in a perfectly independent position, free to accept or to reject the offer made to them, untrammelled and unpledged in any way whatever. I can assure your Lordships that I did not venture to bring forward this Motion without the fullest consultation with those who have spent their lives in the country and who know it, to say the very least, as well as the noble Earl opposite It is therefore with the fullest confidence that I re- 1655 commend it to the adoption of your Lordships.
§ LORD CAIRNS
I ask permission to say a very few words before your Lordships go to a division. On a former occasion I felt it my duty to state fully the view which I took upon the question, and I shall now do so very briefly indeed. I do not intend to go into any criticism of the terms of the Amendment proposed to us; but I cannot help thinking it unfortunate that upon the third reading of the Bill we should have this Amendment in substitution for a proposal not essentially different from that upon which we formerly voted. I am not disposed to accept this as anything more than an expression of opinion in favour of a principle which has been variously described by the terms concurrent or indiscriminate endowment. If I were to go into any criticism of the terms of the Amendment, nothing, I am sure, would be easier than to show that the proposal is utterly and entirely unworkable and impracticable, and that the Amendment is framed in entire forget-fulness of the state of things in Ireland, and of the position of the various denominations. The question, however, is not one of words, but of substance. I stated before, as I venture to state again, notwithstanding the able arguments which have been advanced in this House, that the system of indiscriminate endowment is one which it would be an unfortunate thing for the State to adopt. So far from being favourable to the condition of Ireland, I believe it would be eminently unsuited to that country. And although this has been described as a very small measure, and a measure quite apart from endowment, depend upon it the country will never believe, when you give, rightly or wrongly, houses and lands to the clergy of various denominations, that you are doing anything else but permanently endowing the religions to which those clergymen belong. That being so, let us remember the feeling of the country, not merely of England and Scotland, but of Ireland as well. No one can deny that the feeling of the people in England and Scotland is opposed to any scheme of the kind. We know very well what the feeling of the Protestant population of Ireland is; but what is the feeling of the Roman Catholic population? On this subject we were favoured with distinct expres- 1656 sions of opinion by my noble Friend who sits below the Gangway (Earl Denbigh). My noble Friend, on the first occasion when this question was mooted, said that if the proposal were made as an act of justice towards the Roman Catholics of Ireland, he believed they would accept it. On the last evening of the discussion my noble Friend retracted that statement, and said he believed they would not accept it; but since then my noble Friend has retracted his retractation, and, professing to speak in the interests of the Roman Catholic clergy, has contradicted the statement which he previously made. A noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Granard), however, has asserted that nothing could be more inconsistent with the position of the Roman Catholics than to accept a measure of this kind; while another noble Lord (the Earl of Dunraven) speaking with the same interests at hand, has once more qualified that denial. We have, therefore, three retractations and two denials; and I own I am in a perfect chaos of bewilderment as to whether the Roman Catholic clergy will or will not accept the offer if it be made them. Turning from that point, I cannot but remember that in the other House of Parliament not a single proposition was made on behalf of the Roman Catholic Members, or those who represent Roman Catholic constituencies, to have a scheme of this kind adopted. I shall not follow in their prophecies some noble Lords who think that a great change has come over the opinions of the country, and that the change will proceed until the concurrent endowment principle is universally accepted. But, my Lords, I think that nothing would be so well calculated to prevent such a result as your Lordships doing anything which would seem to force it on the country. The Amendment by which I think your Lordships have most wisely preserved the surplus from being carelessly and foolishly dissipated will allow the country time to consider what would be the best mode of disposing of the money; and I think that even noble Lords who are of opinion that the appropriation now proposed would be a wise one—an opinion in which I confess I do not share—ought to be anxious that the surplus should not be disposed of till after the question has received full consideration.
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
said, he felt bound to make an apology for having hastily made a statement the other evening which he found afterwards he could not substantiate. He had made that statement under the erroneous supposition that the meeting to which he referred was a meeting of the Irish Roman Catholic Prelates. He had never intended to represent Irish feeling. Indeed, he thought he must be a very rash Englishman who would venture to represent Irish feeling, but he spoke in the name of other Peers besides himself. He and they had voted against the Amendment because they had been assured by the Government that it would prevent the success of the Bill, and they believed the feeling of the country was against concurrent endowment. Since then the public organs had expressed sympathy with the idea, and if the Amendment were carried he thought their Lordships would find there was more sympathy with it than they expected. With regard to the expression of Irish feeling by the National Association, and also, in former times, by the Irish Roman Catholic Prelates, he could understand and appreciate the sentiments that would prevent the Irish Bishops and clergy from putting themselves forward and asking for glebes; but if England, through a sense of justice, made the offer without any conditions the case would be different. To mark his sense of the kind intentions of the noble Earl (Earl Stanhope) he would vote for the Amendment.
§ On Question? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 121; Not-Contents 114: Majority 7.1659
|Cambridge, D.||Brownlow, E.|
|Canterbury, Archp.||Carnarvon, E.|
|York, Archp.||Cawdor, E.|
|Cleveland, D.||Cowper, E.|
|Devonshire, D.||De La Warr, E.|
|Grafton, D.||Denbigh, E.|
|Northumberland, D.||Devon, E.|
|Somerset, D.||Ellenborough, E.|
|Wellington, D.||Essex, E.|
|Bath, M.||Fitzwilliam, E.|
|Salisbury, M.||Fortescue, E.|
|Winchester, M.||Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)|
|Amherst, E.||Grey, E. [Teller]|
|Annesley, E.||Harrington, E.|
|Bantry, E.||Home, E.|
|Bradford, E.||Ilcheter, E.|
|Lichfield, E.||De L'Isle and Dudley, L.|
|Lucan, E.||De Ros, L.|
|Malmesbury, E.||Digby, L.|
|Manvers, E.||Dunmore, L. (E. Dun-more.)|
|Morton, E.||Dunsandle and Clan-conal, L.|
|Mount Edgcumbe, E.|
|Nelson, E.||Ebury, L.|
|Orkney, E.||Elphinstone, L.|
|Portarlington, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Radnor, E.||Gardner, L.|
|Romney, E.||Hastings, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Hatherton. L.|
|Russell, E.||Headley, L.|
|Sommers, E.||Heytesbury, L.|
|Stanhope, E. [Teller.]||Houghton, L.|
|Stradbroke, E.||Keane, L.|
|Verulam, E.||Kenry, L. (E. Dunraven and Mount-Earl.)|
|Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Lismore, L. (V. Lismore.)|
|Bolingbroke and St. John, V.||Lyttelton, L.|
|De Vesci, V.||Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)|
|Hardinge, V.||Meredyth, L. (L. Athlumney.)|
|Leinster, V, (D. Linester.)||Minster, L. (M. Conyngham.)|
|Melville, V.||Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)|
|Ely, Bp.||Overstone, L.|
|Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.||Penrhyn, L.|
|Lichfield. Bp,||Romilly, L.|
|Peterborough, Bp.||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Seymour, L. (E. St. Maur.)|
|Arundell of Wardour, L.|
|Belper, L.||Sinclair, L.|
|Bolton, L.||Skelmersdale, L.|
|Calthorpe, L.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) [Teller.]|
|Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)|
|Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Chaworth, L. (E. Meath.)||Stratheden, L.|
|Clonbrock, L.||Strathnairn. L.|
|Cloncurry, L.||Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|Colchester, L.||Templemore, L,|
|Crewe, L.||Vernon, L|
|Delamere, L.||Westbury, L.|
|Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Abingdon, E.|
|Buckingham and Chandos, D.||Bandon, E.|
|Marlborough, D.||Cadogan, E.|
|Saint Albans, D.||Camperdown, E.|
|Sutherland, D.||Chichester, E.|
|Ailsa, M.||De Grey, E.|
|Bristol, M.||Derby, E.|
|Exeter, M.||Ducie, E.|
|Lansdowne, M.||Durham, E.|
|Normanby, M.||Effingham, E.|
|Hare wood, E.|
|Abergavenny, E.||Harrowby, E.|
|Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire.)||Grinstead, L. (E. Ennis- killen.)|
|Kellie, E.||Harris, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Hartismere, L.(L. Henniker.)|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Hylton, L.|
|Macclesfield, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Mansfield, E.||Londesborough, L.|
|Morley, E.||Lurgan, L.|
|Rosslyn, E.||Methuen, L.|
|Selkirk, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Monson, L.|
|Spencer, E.||Mostyn, L.|
|Tankerville, E.||Northbrook, L.|
|Yarborough, E.||O'Neill, L.|
|Clancarty, V. (E. Clan-carty.)||Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.)|
|Falmouth, V.||Petre, L.|
|Gough, V.||Ponsonby L. (E. Bess-borough.) [Teller.]|
|Powerscourt, V.||Raglan, L.|
|Strathallan, V.||Rayleigh, L.|
|Templetown, V.||Redesdale, L.|
|Torrington, V.||Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)|
|Norwich, Bp.||Ross, L. (E. Glasgow.)|
|Tuam, &c, Bp.||Saltersford, L. (E. Courtown.)|
|Abercromby, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Audley, L.||Sandys, L.|
|Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.)||Saye and Sele, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)|
|Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)|
|Camoys, L.||Silchester, L. (E. Long-ford.)|
|Chelmsford, L.||Sondes, L.|
|Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)||Southampton, L.|
|Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Clifford of Chudleigh, L.|
|Colville of Culross, L.||Strathspey, L. (E. Sea-field.)|
|De Mauley, L.|
|De Saumarez, L.||Suffield, L.|
|De Tabley, L.||Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)|
|Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)||Wenlock, L.|
|Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)||Willoughby de Broke, L.|
|Fitzhardinge, L.||Worlingham, L. (E. Gos-ford.)|
|Foley, L. [Teller.]||Wrottesley, L.|
|Granard, L. (E. Granard.)||Wynford, L.|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
THE ARCHBISHOP OP DUBLIN moved the following Amendment:—After Clause 24 insert the following clause:—
In case of any such commutation as hereinbefore provided it shall be lawful for the commissioners, at the desire of the holder of any archbishopric, bishopric, benefice, or cathedral preferment, to exclude from such commutation any house or land reserved to such holder by this Act which shall be in his actual occupation.
§ Amendment agreed to.1660
VISCOUNT GOUGH moved the following Amendment:—At end of Clause 28, add—
("Provided always, that where any such ecclesiastical residence is so vested in the said representative body by order as aforesaid, such representative body shall have the like rights, powers, and remedies for recovering any sums due for dilapidations, and from the same persons, as the successor of any archbishop, bishop, or incumbent would have had if this Act had not been passed.")
§ Amendment agreed to.
THE EARL OF LIMERICK
moved the following Amendment:—Clause 33. Amend the clause so that it may stand as follows:—The commissioners may, at any time after the first day of January one thousand eight hundred and seventy-one, sell any rent-charge in lieu of tithes vested in them under this Act to the owner of the land charged therewith in consideration of the sum herein-after named; and upon any such sale being so made, the commissioners shall by order declare the rent-charge to be merged in the land out of which it issued, and the same shall merge and be extinguished accordingly.If the owner elects to pay the purchase money for the same in full at once in consideration of a sum equal to twenty-two and a half times the amount of such rent-charge, less such sum in the pound as such owner shall be ascertained by the commissioners to have been on an average of five years preceding the passing of this Act entitled to deduct for poor rates.If the owner applies for the benefit of payment by instalments as hereinafter provided, in consideration of a sum equal to twenty-two and a half times the annual amount of such rent-charge (without such deduction for poor rates).And the commissioners may, in such case, by order, declare his purchase money or any part thereof to be payable by instalments, and the land out of which such rentcharge issued to be accordingly charged as from a day to be mentioned in such order for fifty-two years thence next ensuing, with an annual sum calculated at the rate of four pounds nine shillings per centum on the purchase money, less such sum in the pound as such owner shall be ascertained by the commissioners to have been on an average of five years preceding the passing of this Act entitled to deduct for poor rates from the tithe rent-charge payable by him, or for such less number of years as may be agreed upon at an equivalent annual sum, so as to discharge the principal and interest in such less number of years. The annual sum charged by such order shall have priority over all charges and incumbrances, except quit or crown rents, and shall be payable by the same persons, and be recoverable in the same manner, and be subject to the same charges, if any, as the rentcharge in lieu of tithes heretofore payable out of the same lands.'Owner' for the purposes of this section shall mean the person for the time being liable to pay rent-charge in lieu of tithes under the provisions of the Act of the first and second years of the reign of Her present Majesty, chapter one hundred and nine.
§ On Question? Resolved in the Negative.
§ On Question, That the Bill do pass? objected to; on Question, qagreed to; Bill passed accordingly, and sent to the Commons.