HL Deb 18 June 1869 vol 197 cc162-307

Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned Debate on the Amendment to the Motion for the Second Reading— which Amendment was to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day three months")— (The Earl of Harrowby)— read.

Debate resumed accordingly.


My Lords, the question of the Irish Church is one in which I have always taken the deepest interest, and upon which I have always pursued a consistent course. I have always had in my mind the injustice of the Irish Church, and have from time to time endeavoured to bring about a settlement of the question. At one time I was in favour of a compromise, by which a certain surplus of the revenues of the Irish Church should be devoted to purposes not connected with that Church. On other occasions I was in favour of inquiry; while, for a considerable period of time, I let the question rest, trusting that public opinion would be eventually matured by the advice of those eminent and learned men who have given their views upon the subject. I rejoice that at length this question has been taken up in a befitting manner by a great Minister, who, by his able, his honest, and his courageous policy has endeavoured to settle it, and has been fortunate enough to awaken in the people of the United Kingdom a sentiment of justice and sympathy towards the people of Ireland which they have never hitherto had the good fortune to see prevail. In considering this question I beg to observe that there is something to be observed with regard to my noble Friend who moved the Amendment (the Earl of Harrowby). There is, I believe a passage in Cicero, in which—discussing the best course for an advocate to pursue—he says there are some who affirm that the weak points of a case should be treated at the beginning of a speech; others who say that they should be treated in the middle; while there are others who maintain that they should be treated towards the end. ''But,'' adds Cicero, ''my course has been to leave out the weak points alto- gether." Now, this appears to me to have been the course which has been pursued, not only by my noble Friend, but by other advocates on the same side. It is the course which has been pursued by a very learned and great advocate (Sir Bound ell Palmer), whose speech in the other House on this subject has been published to the world. The great weakness in the case of those who oppose this measure, and all measures of a similar kind, is, that they forget that three-fourths of the people of Ireland are Roman Catholics, and that of the remaining fourth only one-half belong to the Established Church. That is the plain case, and these few words seem to me really to be decisive of the principle of the question; but it is invariably omitted by great advocates on the other side in opposing this measure. If there were only 1,200,000 people in Ireland, and if 700,000 of them belonged to the Established Church, and if the congregations were composed of 200, 300, or 400, it would not be very difficult to defend the Established Church. But the moment you admit there are 4,500,000 Roman Catholics in the country the whole case is altered; and the question comes to be, what is to be done with those who differ from the Church? A right rev. Prelate who flourished in the last century has left on record an account of his conduct. He tells us that the great bulk of the population of his diocese in Ireland were Roman Catholics, and that they would not listen to his ministrations, and that the only course which he could pursue was to disperse amongst them Roman Catholic works which were conducive to religion and morality. But this appears to me to be in effect giving up the whole case; because, if a Protestant Bishop of the Established Church can do nothing better than give the people instruction in the Roman Catholic faith, according to the opinion of Roman Catholic authors, it is evident that it would be as well to have a Roman Catholic Bishop there and not to pretend to teach them at all. A distinguished person who has been frequently referred to—one of the greatest men that Ireland ever produced, and one whose opinions with regard to Ireland are deserving of the utmost respect—I allude to Mr. Grattan —thus spoke of the Irish Church— The Church established by law in Ireland is the Church of England; but the Established Church, for the most part, in justice, should be of the religion of the people. The Establishment of the Church is not made for the King, nor for the lords and ladies of the Court; it is made for the people; so it is in Scotland; in Ireland it is otherwise. You have established your own Church in Ireland, and have made the people pay it; but you go further, you disqualify three-fourths of Ireland for that Church—the Church of another country."—[Grattan's Speeches.] No doubt by the word "disqualified" he meant civil and political disqualification, and did not refer to the Established Church. His view was founded on the opinion of Mr. Pitt—to which I shall have occasion to refer — that the Irish Church might be left as it was, but that there should be a large endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, by which means he thought religious equality would be secured. The right rev. Prelate who spoke with such splendid eloquence on Tuesday night (the Bishop of Peterborough) very properly divided. this matter into the question of justice, the question of policy, and the question of the verdict which has been given by the country. In the first place, with regard to justice, I cannot but think that the few words I have quoted from Mr. Grattan have disposed of that question. It cannot be right that there should be an Established Church for one-eighth of the people of Ireland. We know that that Church was established by Queen Elizabeth, and we have been accustomed to look upon that Monarch as a wise princess. We now know, from the researches of Froude, that the wisdom of Queen Elizabeth was, in fact, the wisdom of Lord Burleigh, who dictated the councils of that Sovereign. Now, I think that if the shade of Lord Burleigh could have been present in our Gallery last night he would have been proud—if disembodied spirits can be supposed to have emotions of that kind—of his descendant. This debate, I think, has also shown, not only as regards the lay Peers, but the Lords Spiritual, who have life peerages in this House, that there is an abundance of eloquence and ability in your Lordships' House; and I think that when your walls are armed with such heavy artillery you may well feel no alarm at the irregular firing of some awkward volunteer, who has fired off his piece without orders from his commanding officer. The right rev. Prelate, the other night, made a distinction which, like the rest of his very brilliant speech, was exceedingly plausible, but which I think will scarcely bear examination. He contended that two things were to be considered—religious equality and equality of religion. Now, with regard to equality of religion, the question is not whether one form of Christian religion is better than another, but whether one form or another is best fitted to give instruction to the people. I quite admit that the religion of the Church of England is better than the religion of the Church of Borne; indeed, I think it is the best existing Christian Church in the world. I do not go so far as to agree in the opinion of Lord Chatham that its Liturgy is Popish and its Articles Calvinistic, though possibly there may be something too Popish in its Liturgy and something too Calvinistic in its Articles; but, on the whole, I believe there is no Church to be preferred to it. But am I therefore to conclude that that religion must be forced upon the people of Ireland, though it is not the religion they are willing to adopt? I cannot but advert to an opinion given by Lord Melbourne in this House, on a similar occasion to this. He said that we find great fault with our ancestors, and, speaking of the Church established in Ireland, we are too apt to accuse them of folly; but it is not clear but that they intended when they set up the Established Church in Ireland that that should be the religion of the people of that country. I am quite convinced that if Queen Elizabeth had found that the Irish Church had not been accepted by the nation she would have behaved with regard to it as she did in the case of monopolies. At first she was very much in favour of what were called monopolies; but when she found that the sense of her people was against them she abolished them; and I believe that, in like manner, had she lived some years longer, and gone to Ireland and ascertained that the people of that country were determined adherents of the Roman Catholic Church, and could not be induced to adopt the Protestant religion, she would, with some not very polite words, have dismissed the clergy of the Protestant Church—that she would probably have called them ''scurvy fellows,'' and desired them to leave the country; and although she might not have established the Roman Catholic Church, she would, probably, have altogether dises- tablished and disendowed the Protestant Church. However that may be, we have gone on for 300 years, and we find that at the end of the last century Mr. Grattan repeatedly stated that three-fourths of the people of Ireland were Roman Catholics; and having got past the middle of this century, we still find that, although the number of Roman Catholics has been diminished by famine and emigration, they constitute three-fourths of the population. I say, then, after the experience of three centuries, that it is quite time to give up this experiment and say that we will no longer persist in that attempt. Then, turning from that question of justice, according to which there ought to be no longer an Established Church in Ireland, we come to the next question which the right rev. Prelate said should be treated— namely, the question of policy. Now, with regard to the question of policy, a noble Friend of mine (the Duke of Devonshire), who addressed your Lordships last night with great authority, stated that he would have preferred a very different system from that contained in the Bill now before us. We all know that Mr. Pitt was of opinion that along with the Established Church, which he insisted should be perpetually maintained, there should be a large endowment for the Roman Catholic Church. I have here some extracts from Lord Castlereagh's Correspondence, which show the hopes held out to the Roman Catholics at the time of the Union. We have been referred to the terms of the Act of Union, and no doubt it is an Act of Parliament that ought not to be treated lightly. That which is contained in an Act of Parliament—which, at all events, was a compact between two 'Legislatures—cannot be lightly set aside. It can only be set aside in a great crisis, and in what I do not hesitate to call a great revolution. But is not this a great crisis? And is it not incumbent on your Lordships, if you can really unite the three nations in amity and friendship— is it not incumbent on you to consider whether the letter of the Act of Parliament should be set aside? But what were the declarations of Lord Castlereagh with respect to the Union? He states most fairly, in a letter to Mr. Pitt, that there was great difficulty in carrying that measure, and that the party opposed to it were very strong. We all know that at the beginning there was a majority in the Irish Parliament against it. The majority of the Irish Protestants being against the Act of Union, the question came to be whether the Roman Catholics could be conciliated and induced to desist from all opposition. Lord Cornwallis, who was a man of great prudence and caution, said he would not hold out any hopes to the Catholics unless he had some authority from the Cabinet in London. By his desire Lord Castlereagh came over and saw Mr. Pitt; I do not know whether he saw all the Members of the Cabinet, but at all events he saw the leading Ministers. And what did they tell him? They told him that he would be quite safe in asking for the assistance of the Catholics, because they were all determined on making large concessions to them; they told him he might be sure that if the Union were carried Mr. Pitt would agree to make those concessions. Lord Castlereagh goes on to state the effect of these representations. Having got this authority from Mr. Pitt and his Colleagues he says— In consequence of this communication the Irish Government omitted no exertions to call forth the Catholics in favour of the Union. Their efforts were very generally successful, and the advantage derived from this was highly useful, particularly in depriving the Opposition of the means they otherwise would have had in the southern and western counties of making an impression on the county Members. His Excellency was enabled to accomplish this purpose without giving to the Catholics any direct assurance of their being gratified; and throughout the contest he earnestly avoided being driven to such an expedient, as he considered that gratuitous concession, after the measure had been carried, would be more consistent with the character of an independent Government." — [Memoirs and Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh.] No doubt, if this concession had been proposed and carried by the Government immediately after the Union it would have been more gratifying, and a greater sign of power on the part of the Government, and would likewise have been more acceptable to the Roman Catholics. But how did the Scotch behave under similar circumstances? I wish your Lordships would here observe the great difference of character between the Scotch and the Irish; the Scotch being exceedingly prudent and "canny"—to use a word of their own—and the Irish being very impetuous, very credulous, and sometimes over-generous. When the Scotch were told that if they would acknowledge King William he would take into consideration their claims with regard to their Church, and the abolition of prelacy, what was their answer? They said they would listen to nothing of the kind—that no promises would satisfy them—that when prelacy was abolished they would be ready to acknowledge King William; but that before prelacy was abolished they would take no steps to dethrone King James and to acknowledge King William. That prudent and wise conduct succeeded. King William and his Council met; they said they had no help for it; they could not get the change in the possession of the Throne acknowledged unless prelacy was abolished. Prelacy was, therefore, at once abolished; and King William became King of Scotland as well as of England. The Irish Catholics, I am sorry to say, did not pursue a similar course. They gave their full support to the Union; the Union was carried; and all the promises made were thrown to the winds—not by Mr. Pitt, who wished to carry them into effect, but by those who succeeded him, and by subsequent Governments for nearly thirty years. I cannot refrain from reciting to your Lordships what Lord Castlereagh circulated among the Roman Catholics— Mr. Pitt and his Colleagues retired from Office for the following reasons—First, a strong and unalterable opinion that a system of comprehension is essential to our future policy, in order that we may derive from the Union all the advantages of which it is capable; secondly, because from this conviction they have, for the last two years, suffered the Irish Catholics to form a strong expectation that their hopes must be gratified, and it was impossible to disappoint those hopes without being guilty of a breach of faith."— [Ibid.] It is, therefore, clearly declared by Lord Castlereagh, on the part of Mr. Pitt, that a breach of faith was committed towards the Roman Catholics at the time of the Union, and a breach of faith with regard to what Lord Castlereagh called a system of "comprehension." This was a "comprehension," not merely for political offices or civil privileges, for Mr. Pitt, in his speech on the Union, mentioned the case of the Church as one in which Roman Catholics thought they had a grievance. We know from the speeches of Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville what was the plan they had in view. They made a solemn promise which they meant to carry into effect, but they were defeated by the reluctance and refusal of the King to entertain their plan. Mr. Pitt returned to Office for a short time, but he died before he could carry into effect any proposal for the relief of the Roman Catholics. My belief is that if George the Third had died, or had been disabled by illness, Mr. Pitt would have endeavoured to carry out his promises. It is, of course, an historical question whether or not he was bound at once to do so. The position in which he was placed was one of the greatest difficulty, and one on which I think posterity is hardly able to form a judgment. The Battle of Trafalgar was his magnificent apology for his breach of promise. But with regard to those who followed him it is melancholy to think that, from the time of the Act of Union in 1801 until 1829, nothing was done to fulfil those promises. The Roman Catholics were continually cheated, deluded, sometimes kept in suspense, but never had anything done for them. The father of my noble Friend sitting on the cross-Bench (Earl Grey), ventured, indeed, to propose that officers of the Army and Navy, being Roman Catholics, should be allowed to rise to the position of colonels and generals in the Army and of captains and admirals in the Navy; but that proposition was thought so monstrous that the Government were, in consequence, dismissed from power, Lord Grenville was never again a Minister, and for twenty-three years Lord Grey was excluded from Office, because he had the audacity to propose that men who were shedding their blood for their country, who fought against France with the same courage as their Protestant comrades, should be allowed to receive the rewards due to their valour and patriotism. We were told last night by the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby), on the authority of the Dean of Westminster, that this proposal to disestablish and abolish the Irish Church is an act, not of justice, but of vengeance. Now, there may be some vengeance in it; but we are not to forget the way in which for upwards of two centuries the Roman Catholics were treated. Many of your Lordships will recollect Lord Lansdowne in this House. Lord Lansdowne's father —better known as Lord Shelburne— was Secretary of State, and he stated in this House in 1778, that when he tilled that office he found a Roman Catholic priest condemned to imprisonment for life for the offence of having said mass in a Roman Catholic chapel. Only conceive, my Lords, that for the performance of what he considered the sacred duties of his religion to his fellow-countrymen of the same faith he should have been liable to imprisonment for life! Lord Shelburne went on to say that nothing but the exercise of the clemency of the Crown relieved the priest from the penalty. Well, my Lords, the case was the same in Ireland. The Roman Catholic priests were hunted from one place to another, and it was with the greatest difficulty that they could obtain access to the poor peasants who were afflicted with disease and who were dying; and while they were obliged to hide in caves, and were not allowed to perform the rites of their religion or to administer consolation to the dying, the Established Church was in great splendour. I remember hearing, indeed, in the House of Commons, from the son of Mr. Grattan, of the immense sums which the Protestant Bishops had left to their families and which they had accumulated during their episcopate. There is a story of a Protestant Bishop, whose family have been distinguished in the Church and in the legal profession, hearing from another Bishop that he had saved £240,000, upon which Bishop Law replied—"That is a large sum, my Lord, for a Christian Bishop to have saved in a poor country." Can your Lordships be surprised, if such has been the case, that the Irish people do compare the wealth and the pomp and the grandeur of the Established Church, with the condition of their own priesthood, driven from one hut to another, and with great difficulty being able, in some mud cabin, to say mass and to perform the ceremonies of their religion—can your Lordships be surprised that, at the end of a long time, there is this feeling of resentment amongst the Roman Catholic population of Ireland? They are deeply attached to, and would do anything on behalf of the pastors of their religion— they cannot forget the manner in which they have been treated—is it surprising, therefore, that they should join in this wish for the abolition of the Church Establishment? But, my Lords, it is said, and said now rather late in the day, that it would have been better to have had concurrent endowment than to obtain equality by abolishing all State religions. Well, my Lords, that has long been my opinion. I voted, in 1825, for the Motion which was made by Lord Ellesmere, I think, for the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy, meaning to maintain the Protestant Establishment. In 1845, when Sir Robert Peel proposed the endowment to Maynooth, I not only supported that Bill — though being a Member for the City of London I had many remonstrances against my conduct —but I declared that I was quite ready to support the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. I still say that if, in 1825, Lord Liverpool had not opposed that measure, and it had been carried, it would have been preferable to the plan which is now before your Lordships. But, my Lords, time goes on. When I was in high Office, between 1846 and 1850, I wrote to an eminent Archbishop —Archbishop Murray—to ask him whether the Roman Catholics would accept endowment from the Parliament of this country? He told me that they certainly would not. There was a feeling among them—there is that feeling among them still—you may call it, perhaps, a selfish feeling, but I think it is not an unnatural one—that if they accepted anything like maintenance from the Government of England, or from the Parliament of England, their people would cease to follow them, and if they recommended peace and order and obedience to the laws, they would be told—"You do all this as the stipendiaries of the English Government; we can no longer have any confidence in you; we can no longer follow you as our spiritual guides." It might or it might not be that that consequence would follow; but no doubt the opinion was at that time the opinion of Archbishop Murray, and is in this day that of Cardinal Cullen; and it is true also that the whole of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland have come to a resolution, which no doubt will be binding on their clergy, that they will accept no endowment and no maintenance from the Government of this country. While such is the disposition of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, what is the disposition of the people of England and of Scotland? It is quite clear that the disposition of the people of England and the people of Scotland is opposed to any new endowment, and more especially to any endowment in favour of the Roman Catholic clergy. So that what was excellent in 1801, what might have been effected in 1825, is now entirely hopeless, and no Minister would now be likely to bring forward any scheme of the kind against which the people have so strongly expressed their opinion. I, myself, have tried within these two years to see whether such a scheme might not be accepted; and I must say that I found the current of opinion so strongly against me that I am obliged to declare that some other plan must be adopted. Your Lordships may think it very unwise to adopt this measure—just as the Roman Senate might have thought it very unwise of Tarquinius Priscus to purchase the single remaining book at the price the Sybil originally asked for the whole three—but he was wise enough not to be influenced by such advice. In like manner you may be told—"You had the Pitt Sybil, who brought you three very handsome volumes, containing a great deal of useful warning and prophecy, and those you refused. Then you had the Melbourne Sybil, who offered you two volumes at the same price as for the three, and those you refused; and now you have got to the last volume you are going to give the same price for that single book. What can be more inconsistent—what can be more absurd than such conduct?" But Tarquinius Priscus, when he found that he could not get the three volumes or the two, was content to take the one, because he thought it was of great importance for the welfare of Rome. It is of no use saying now—"What a good thing it would have been to have adopted the first plan of Mr. Pitt; what a wise thing it would have been to have listened to Mr. Canning! Why did you not accept the views of Sir Robert Peel? Why did you reject all these things?" But I say the great Tory majority of the country, and the great Tory majority in Parliament, would not listen to such men as Mr. Pitt, Mr. Canning, and Sir Robert Peel, in whom they had every reason to trust. Mr. Pitt had, I believe, only fifty-two followers when he ventured to question the wisdom of Mr. Addington's Administration; and the followers of Mr. Canning were hated and abused when they proposed wide and comprehensive plans. I have myself witnessed in the House of Commons the excess of that frantic zeal against Ministers whom they ought to have trusted, and who were the leaders of their own party; and now, in 1869, you come forward and say—"We are ready to adopt Mr. Pitt's plan." It is quite childish at this time to take such a course. The right rev. Prelate, of whom I have already spoken, raised a question with regard to a policy exceedingly dangerous in itself, and if it had not come from such a quarter I should say that the Church, like Samson captive and blind, rather than perform servile work was ready to shake the pillars and bring down the whole fabric of the social state of Ireland. Of course, that is not the view of the right rev. Prelate; yet he said— There is one-tenth of the land in the hands of the clergy, and nine-tenths in the hands of the landlords, and you will give them the one-tenth which belongs to the clergy, and do you think they would be satisfied with that?"—[3 Hansard, cxcvi. 1861.] And the right rev. Prelate said, ''You will never satisfy them in this way." There seems to me to be a very clear distinction between the two cases. The Church is an institution: it may be a good institution, or it may be a bad institution. Lord Macaulay, who was referred to last night by my noble Friend (Earl Stanhope), for some time was of opinion that it would be wise to retain it; but ultimately, I believe, he gave up that opinion, and said that when the Church was free from all abuses, when the clergy were not to be reproached with failure of their duty, then would come the day when the Church would be abolished. Lord Macaulay, of course, did not mean that the good conduct of its clergy would cause its fall; but that nothing in the way of exemplary demeanour within the Church would relieve it from the disestablishment which he saw impending. What is the case with respect to the landed proprietors of Ireland? You have there to deal not with an institution, but with private property. No doubt there have been confiscations at various times—it is said that the soil of Ireland has been confiscated three times over. The land has been confiscated after rebellions—after the rebellion following the Gunpowder Plot, and after the civil wars of Charles I.; the land has been confiscated, and the property has been given to others. The right rev. Prelate asked—"Were those confiscations just or unjust? If they were unjust you are bound to give back the whole of that landed property to the heirs of those who formerly possessed it." I trust your Lordships were not influenced by the fervid eloquence with which that proposition was mooted. It is a most serious proposition. Who shall say at this day, whether confiscations of property in consequence of rebellions a century or two, or five centuries ago, were just or unjust? The other day a Bill was brought into the House of Commons which had reference to the distribution of the property of Greenwich Hospital. Will you tell me whether Lord Derwentwater was justly or unjustly condemned? I take for granted he was justly condemned, and I suppose nobody would venture to raise the question over again. Then, again, as regards the Settlement of 1662, does anyone suppose that the Settlement then made is to be disturbed, and that this and subsequent settlements of property in England and Ireland are to be disturbed? It is obvious that if you go back to the Reformation and see whether the property of the monasteries was rightly confiscated or not, you might go back to the Wars of the Roses, and you might go back to the time of William the Conqueror and the settlement of the county of Cheshire. Does anyone really, soberly, seriously propose that there should be such an investigation of titles, first in Ireland and then in England, having regard to the treasons and conspiracies that have taken place during the last seven or eight centuries? Does anybody in his sober senses propose such a thing? What did the right rev. Prelate mean by such a proposition? If he does not propose the thing seriously, why does he propose it at all? He reminds me of Achilles, who was invulnerable and clad in impenetrable armour; but still there was his heel which was capable of receiving af atal wound, in spite of the splendid arms and impenetrable frame. I listened, I must say, with the greatest delight to another right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of St. David's), who addressed the House with so much eloquence, and who relieved this question of a great deal of the superstitious impressions which prevail with respect to Church property. It was very natural, no doubt, in the Middle Ages, that there should be a mixture of superstition in this matter; but the real point is that to which the right rev. Prelate adverted when he said that the person who opens a marketplace, which is beneficial to mankind, makes an offering to God quite as much the man who builds a splendid cathedral. That is quite true. Let me put a case of an institution founded for a purpose useful at the time, but which afterwards ceased to exist. Suppose that, while Jerusalem was in the hands of the crusaders, a person had made a splendid foundation for all pilgrims who should return from the East affected with leprosy, and that, as portion of the scheme, a number of medical offices were constituted. Supposing that, in course of time, the income swelled to £10,000, £20,000, or £30,000 a year, and that there were no persons affected with leprosy to partake of the benefits of the foundation. If there were no persons coming from the Holy Land so affected, the purpose of the original founder, however excellent, would have ceased to exist. Would any Charity Commissioner, or any body entrusted with discretion in such a matter, propose to continue the appropriation of the income to a certain number of medical men, in order to comply with a bequest, the object of which, originally excellent, has become obsolete? But if you would not do so in the case of a hospital for surgeons and physicians, why should you do it for the members of a Church whose purpose is gone by? Is it right that the revenues of the Church should be applied to the support of a man by whom religious duty is performed, at which, perhaps, only one or two persons attend? If it is right to interfere in the one case it is right in the other; and thus this property becomes applicable to other purposes. Assuming, however, both disestablishment and disendowment to be just and expedient, then comes the question which has been very properly argued by the most rev. the Primate of England—in a speech to which I listened with the greatest attention and admiration—whether the constructive part of the Bill is equally wise and necessary as that which precedes it. You do not say, as the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) very justly pointed out, that because you accept disendowment that disendowment must be total. You do not say that nothing whatever shall be left to the Church. Those who spoke last year, both in this House and the House of Commons—Mr. Bright being the foremost of them—said that great generosity should be shown to the Established Church. Mr. Bright, I think, was willing to leave the clergyman and congregation in possession of the church and parsonage in cases where they were willing to continue the use of them. Now the difficulty in this case is one which was well stated by the Home Secretary (Mr. Bruce) at a time when the matter had evidently not been decided by the Cabinet. Having been defeated in Wales, he offered himself for a Scotch county; and as the Scotch are apt to be very inquisitive on these occasions, he was questioned as to the intention of the Government with regard to disendowment. He replied that there was a difficulty, and that the Government had not made up their minds. It would be very desirable, he said, that a considerable property should be left to that which had existed for 300 years as an Established Church; but, on the other hand, the Government were committed to religious equality, and if they left considerable property in the hands of the ministers of one-eighth of the people, what was to be done with regard to the six-eighths who were Roman Catholics and the other eighth who were Presbyterians? There could not be religious equality without either disendowing the whole or providing for each of the three. Now, that was a very fair statement of the difficulty. For my own part I have come to a conclusion differing from that of the Cabinet. I should have been glad if they had left a greater part of their revenues to the Established Church, even although the logical, and, I think, the fair and wise consequence had been that the Roman Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church of Ireland would have derived some benefit from that decision.

My Lords, with regard to this Bill I confess that, though I agree with a great part of it, I think that some of its provisions are very unjust, and there are two parts of it that I very much dislike. One of those parts is the end of the Preamble, and the other is the last clause. I do not confine my objections to these parts, but I think that if they were altered it would effect a considerable amendment in the Bill. The Preamble says that, after satisfying all equitable claims, the property of the Irish Church "shall be applied for the advantage of the Irish people." So far I entirely agree with those who drew this Bill. But it goes on to say—"but not for the maintenance of any Church, or clergy, or other ministry, nor for the teaching of religion." I confess that it appears to me that if there is any country in the world where it is not expedient to declare that you will have no teaching of religion, it is Ireland. I think not only that the ministers of the Established Church are a great good, even where they have not large congregations, but I entirely hold with that opinion which the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) read yesterday from a pamphlet of mine —that it is very desirable that in many parts of Ireland where there is not a sufficient congregation, there should be resident among the population an educated gentleman who is disposed to concur in all the charities of life, and will give a good example to his countrymen, and who will be generally esteemed by his Roman Catholic as well as his Protestant neighbours. I can easily conceive five or six gentlemen of a county coming to the body administering that fund—say from Waterford or Kilkenny—and saying—" We have murders in our part of the country, our people are very barbarous and uncivilized, but there is a person who has a good deal of influence with them, who is likely to be able by his influence to put a stop to these murders, and to induce the people to lead a more moral course of life. We should like to get some of this money, that we are told amounts to £7,000,000 of surplus after all just claims of the Established Church are satisfied, to enable us, in the first place, to build a house for this person, and, in the next place, to build him a chapel." The Commissioners would say —"Is this person mad?" The answer, of course, would be—"No; he is in his perfect senses." "Well, then, is he an idiot?" "On the contrary, he is a man of very sound mind." "But if the man is neither mad nor an idiot, does he refrain altogether from teaching religion?'' "No; we cannot say that. He has a wish to civilize the country, and the way in which he does so is this—he goes to the thatched cabins, and gets the people about him, some of the worst and most noted for their murders, robberies, and deeds of violence, and says to them— 'Thou shalt do no murder;' that is the command of God; and for three Sundays together he has preached on that text, and has had great influence with the people, and very likely by his great influence he will induce them to lead better lives." Under this Bill the reply of the Commissioners should be —"If he is of sound mind and if he teaches religion, and especially if he alludes to the Word of God, it is quite impossible that we can give him a farthing." That is the objection—one of the objections—I have to this Preamble. Now, as to the objection that I have to the last clause, I should wish to say, although there should be nothing for the maintenance of the clergy, I do not see why some glebe houses and some glebe land might not be given to these persons, and why some chapels might not be built of brick or stone and given to them, with the view of promoting the civilization of the people. I look to this Bill with two conditions in my mind. I want to know whether it is best for the welfare of Ireland, and I want to know whether there is no unnecessary menace in the Bill with regard to the general principle of Established Churches. I am in favour of Established Churches. I quite concur with the Established Church of England and the Established Church of Scotland as settled by law; and therefore I do not want—while I agree in this measure as a necessity for Ireland—as a necessity to which you have been brought by neglect and long apathy on this subject—I do not want to give any unnecessary stimulus to those who are against all Establishments; and I must say that these words, "not for the benefit of any Church, clergy, or other ministry, nor for the teaching of religion," would give a stimulus to the Liberation Society to proceed with their work. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Harrowby) has pointed out that the clause with respect to Maynooth is an infringement of the principle of the Bill; and for myself I wish that it had nothing to do with the grant to Maynooth. That is quite a separate question. It is a question deeply connected with Trinity College, Dublin; and it would have been far better to have left Trinity College to teach Protestant theology, and Maynooth to teach Roman Catholic theology; and at all events it would have been better to have kept this subject for a separate Bill. The Bill raises the question whether you do not in the clause respecting Maynooth infringe upon the principle that no part of the funds should be applied to religious teaching. I am not prepared to say that the provision as to nurses will not to some extent infringe the provisions relating to religious teaching. Suppose a Protestant nurse were to go to the Archbishop of Dublin and say—"I have a patient dying in the hospital; I should be very glad if you would give me some book of religion—a copy of the Lord's Prayer—that I might read to my patient"—or suppose a Roman Catholic nurse were, in the same way, to go to Cardinal Cullen and ask him for a copy of some Roman Catholic work for a person who was dying—in both these cases there would be an infringement of the principle of the Bill. In the next place, I object to the proposed application of the surplus, because it is to be devoted to the relief of the county cess and to objects that are already provided for. In the next place, I would refer to what a Roman Catholic gentleman, for whom I have a great regard, said—that it would require a whole province in Ireland to go mad to absorb this amount of money. I do not think that it is in conformity with those two principles that I have mentioned; and I hope that in disestablishing and disendowing the Church of Ireland you will keep in view the benefit of the people of Ireland, and that you will see what it is they require. Among other things, there is nothing that they more require than the civilizing influence of the Christian religion; and I hope that, in the second place, you will not give any unnecessary stimulus to those who seek the destruction of all Establishments. These things might be kept in view with perfect adherence to the general principles of disestablishment and disendowment. I think that the Amendments should be in the direction that I have mentioned, and that in this way we might make this a much better Bill than it is as sent to us by the House of Commons.

Now, my Lords, I come to the third great question raised by the right rev. Prelate. I am sorry to intrude so long upon the attention of the House, but I cannot avoid touching upon a question of such great importance to the country. When the Government of Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli carried the measure which they conceived would place the franchise on a right basis—which the right hon. Gentleman said was no longer the contracted franchise of the measure of 1832, but that it was a large extended franchise—I think that when they carried that measure they were bound to accept the conclusion at which that large constituent body should arrive. With regard to themselves and their own personal interests they promptly and nobly did so by retiring from Office when they saw that the decision of the country was against them. Lord Stanley, in speaking of the decision come to by the House of Commons in the months of March and April, said that in fact that decision was come to in the November previous. The country, no doubt, had then come to that conclusion; and they had likewise come to the conclusion—which, I think, was rather implied in Mr. Disraeli's speech —that Mr. Gladstone had the confidence of the country on such measures as he was inclined to introduce with regard to the Irish Church; but I believe it was much more; I believe the decision of the country went to this—that they wished to see Mr. Gladstone at the head of a Liberal Administration, preparing and proposing his own measures rather than that they were bent upon the abolition of the Irish Church. But the country having so chosen, and the House of Commons having decided by a majority of 114 to read the Bill a third time, I cannot but think that the deliberate verdict of the country and the deliberate verdict of the House of Commons ought seriously to be taken into your Lordships' consideration. Now, my Lords, with regard to that majority of 114, you will, perhaps, permit me to refer to what occurred in reference to the Reform Bill of 1832. That Bill having been carried in the House of Commons by a majority of 116—two more than the majority on the third reading of this Irish Church Bill—it came up to the House of Lords. There were at that time a great many Peers who had been introduced into this House—I do not say unfairly—by the Tory Government between 1784 and 1830. The noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Cairns) mentioned the other night the number of Peers that have been created since the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832, and I have in my hand the number of Peers that were created between 1784 and 1831. I find there were seventy-four Barons, ten Viscounts, and fifty-three Dukes, Marquesses, and Earls —in all 137 persons on whom peerages had been conferred or who had been raised in the Peerage. On the 7th October, 1831, of the 199 who voted for the rejection of the Bill, 107 were Peers who were created or raised between 1784 and 1832. Lord Grey's Government decided, in the first place, that such Members of the Cabinet as had any influence with Members of this House should write to their Friends to induce them to support the second reading of the Bill. I am happy to say that, having myself written to three, two out of that number abstained from voting against the Bill. Before the Bill came on for discussion the Cabinet seriously considered their position, and they came to the conclusion —it having been first urged by Earl Grey, and more especially by Lord Brougham —that the King ought to be asked to give power to his Ministers—that is to say, to the First Lord of the Treasury— that if the Bill was again thrown out to create a sufficient number of Peers to ensure its passing on another occasion. The Bill, however, was carried by a majority of 9. But in Committee an Amendment was carried which Lord Grey and all his Colleagues considered fatal to the Bill. Upon that occasion Earl Grey and Lord Brougham went to Windsor and advised the King to create a sufficient number of Peers to counterbalance and overthrow the majority. The King refused that advice, and Lord Grey and his Colleagues resigned. The Duke of Wellington and Lord Lyndhurst were then intrusted with the task of forming a Government; but, after a short time, they gave up the task, and Lord Grey came back to power; but, as any one may see in the interesting volume, published by my noble Friend on the cross-Benches, he would not consent to resume Office unless he had a decisive pledge from the King to create a sufficient number of Peers, in case of any successful resistance to any important provision of the Bill. The crisis was very dangerous, and, no doubt, disagreeable; and I remember the father of the noble Earl who moved the Amendment to the second reading of this Bill coming down to the House of Lords, and saying that he felt that the Ministry had caused the House of Lords to be disgraced and degraded. Well, the Peers were not made, and the Bill was carried. To whom is it that we owe that the House of Lords has gone on since that time —though not always in complete conformity with the opinions of the House of Commons, yet with that general harmony which is necessary to the due working of the Constitution? We owe it to one great man, who, in 1810, I saw commanding the lines of Torres Vedras, and who afterwards directed with wonderful military skill the invasion of the greatest military Empire that has ever existed. His ability and knowledge in military affairs were extraordinary: he was not, however, so well instructed in civil affairs, and when, in 1830, he declared against Preform, and in 1832, he supported the Amendment to which I have referred, he made a very great mistake. He was a very great man. I always venerated him when living, and I shall always venerate his memory; but he made great errors when, in 1830 and 1832, he opposed the Reform Bill. The Duke of Wellington, however, after that period, declared that, although there might be a difference between the majority of this House and the House of Commons and the country — and, although he himself might be of the opinion of the majority, there should be no danger of a collision taking place. The Church Temporalities Act was afterwards carried in this House; and so also was the repeal of the Corn Laws. Did the Duke of Wellington approve of those measures? I do not think he did; but, although he did not think either of them desirable, he yielded to the popular demand. With reference to the repeal of the Navigation Laws, the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby), who last night opened the debate, predicted that the most terrible evils would result from it, and the second reading of the Bill for the repeal was carried only by a small majority, the Duke of Wellington being one of that majority. I ask your Lordships to take these things into consideration, because I am persuaded that if you have imbibed any portion of the wisdom and prudence of the Duke of Wellington, and act as he acted after 1832, this Constitution may be preserved. There will be no need, if you go into Committee on this Bill and amend it—there will be no danger, I should say—of a collision between the two Houses of Parliament. A right rev. Prelate has spoken of the little excitement that has prevailed upon this subject of the Irish Church; but, my Lords, if you were to agree with my noble Friend who has proposed the Amendment, and were to reject the Bill on its second reading—refusing thereby to listen to the country as well as to the House of Commons—the question would be not between the abolition or maintenance of the Irish Church, but it would be a question as to whether the Lords were right in thwarting the will of the nation. That would be a very serious question. A nation is like Sheridan's Sir Anthony Absolute—as long as it has its own way it is good tempered; when it carries the majority of the elections it is well pleased and good humoured—but let there come a time when its action is thwarted—no man can say to what extent that anger may go. By Amendments to this Bill you may be able to effect a settlement of this great question, which since the days of the Union has excited agitation and expectation on the part of the Catholics of Ireland. It may be true, as the noble Lord opposite (Lord. Harrowby) says, that there is no chance of our Amendments being accepted by the House of Commons. But, of course, if you do not try there will be no opportunity of ascertaining what the Lower House will do. All I ask you to do is, not to throw away the oportunity you now possess of amending the Bill by rejecting it. It has been shown, in the course of the debate, by many noble Lords far more able than myself, that they, no more than I, approve of all the clauses and provisions of the Bill. For that very reason I ask you to go into consideration of the measure. It seems to me that this is now a time when there is a chance of reconciliation with the Irish people. I do not say that reconciliation is to be sought by yielding everything to their wishes—it would be very unwise to do so. The Irish people require to be governed with impartiality and. kindness, but, at the same time, with firmness. For many years, I believe the Government of Ireland has been administered with an impartial, kind, and firm hand, and by no one more than by my noble Friend the late Lord Lieutenant (the Duke of Abercorn). But if you disappoint the people of Ireland in a question of this sort, I believe it will be impossible for any man, by any means or by any skill, to preserve tranquillity and order in that country. It is in view of the evils that I am sure would follow from the rejection of the Bill, and of the advantages that would arise from your Lordships taking it into consideration and amending it, that I entreat you not to listen to the Amendment of my noble Friend but to consent to the second reading of the Bill.


My Lords, when I look at this Bill and the momentous changes it purposes to effect—the severance of the Church from the State, and the secularization of the property of the Irish Establishment—it seems impossible not to foresee that it is but the forerunner and prelude of similar changes in the same institutions of this country. I will not, my Lords, follow my noble Friend into a discussion as to whether it is a matter of good policy or not for your Lordships to record on this measure a vote not altogether in accordance with what are known to be your convictions—whether such a course would heighten the position you hold in the estimation of the men of the highest thought in the country, or would in any way add to the influence you now possess. I venture to believe that on a question of such great and vital importance your Lordships will best consult your own dignity, will best secure the high position you occupy in the eyes of the country, by determining the question on its own merits alone, apart from any influence that discussions "elsewhere'' may be supposed to exercise, and apart also from any temporary pressure which a transient excitement of the public mind may desire to exert. The questions, then, for our consideration, my Lords, are— as stated by my noble Friend—first, whether, as a matter of policy, the subversion of the Irish Church is necessary or desirable; and secondly, what measure of justice and equity ought to be observed towards those whose dearest interests are affected by the operation of the Bill; and the third and a most important point—how far the objects proposed by the Bill and the modus operandi are likely to carry out the purpose of its promoters. Now, my Lords, when we consider that the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church is a measure of such great and unprecedented importance, it is a strange anomaly that the pressure to which it owes its existence came from within, and not from without. At the time when the destruction of the Irish Church was first announced, some fifteen months ago, as the beacon to guide the Liberal party, no great excitement existed out-of-doors, no public meetings had been held; there were no indications that any imperative conviction on this subject was weighing on the public mind. The necessity for this measure originated solely in the necessity of one man—the present head of the Government—whose wish was father to the thought, and who was actuated, I fear, rather by the desire to offer a startling problem to be solved by his followers than by any deliberate view of the interests of his country, or any advantages to be wrought in the social condition of Ireland. This measure, as I need hardly remind your Lordships, proposes to effect the most startling and extensive changes in the most vital parts of the Constitution—changes not only dangerous in the extreme, but novelties among all our political experiences. We have not hitherto been accustomed to see questions of such great importance, involving changes in long-established constitutional principles, settled until after years of anxious consideration, until the cry of those who found themselves aggrieved had been heard, or until the deliberate opinion of the nation—not its mere hustings' declaration—had been fully ascertained and declared. It was in this way, my Lords, that the Bill for the Emancipation of the Roman Catholics was originated. It was not introduced into Parliament on the impulse and inspiration of one man, but after years of careful and serious consideration, and when the desire of the nation to confer that been upon the Roman Catholics had been fully and deliberately declared. But in the present case we look in vain for any indications of that set national purpose, or of that unmistakeable national exigency which alone could justify propositions so subversive of all existing institutions. The necessity for this measure, my Lords, arose— not in Ireland—not in any general sense of grievance on the part of the Irish people—but in the personal impulse of one man—I mean the present Prime Minister. Now, there is no one who has a greater admiration for the varied and transcendent talents of that eminent person than I have; but, while I gladly and respectfully acknowledge them, I am bound to say that, as one to guide us into new and revolutionary paths, tending to the overthrow of the whole social institutions of Ireland, he will be found in the future—as he has been found already—a dangerous and disastrous leader. This, then, my Lords, is the history of the Bill. It has been brought forward in the absence of any pressure from without, and has been forced on by no necessity, unless it be the necessity of keeping together a Parliamentary majority. Now, my Lords, we have heard much from various noble Lords of the injustice and injury which the Irish Church has inflicted on the Irish people; but I have always observed that those noble Lords who have made those accusations have always confined themselves to vague dissertations, and have carefully abstained from entering into the details of what that injustice consists; and I must confess they have shown judgment in so doing, for every impartial inquiry into those alleged injuries and injustices not only reduces them ad infinitum, but also exhibits in its true light the very small sense of injustice of which the Irish people are themselves conscious. I have some acquaintance with the people of Ireland, and I say distinctly—speaking of them as a whole, and not referring to those who represent them in Parliament and who are subordinated to the influence of the Roman Catholic priesthood —but taking the Roman Catholic laity as a whole, I assert that they view the destruction of the Protestant Church with indifference—as a matter of no advantage to them. The wish of the Roman Catholic laity is not the suppression of a Church that costs them nothing, and by the subversion of which they can gain nothing, but it is to be relieved from the burdens—the almost intolerable burdens—which the power of their own Church imposes on them. Now, I quite agree with my noble Friend who moved the Amendment (the Earl of Harrowby) when he said to the Government—"If your sense of the justice of the Irish Church is so very acute, you are bound, by all the laws of consistency, to give back to the Roman Catholics that which you say was unjustly taken from them. But you do not do that. Your sense of justice is not so strong as your sense of the advantage of keeping together the majority you obtained by means of the Liberation Society and the Nonconformists. What is your plan? To recoup the injustice which you profess to have been done to the former possessors of this property, you commit a second injustice by taking it away from its present owners, and, instead of giving it to either of them you give it to yourselves." My Lords, it reminds me of the lawyer in the fable, who divided the shells between the disputants and ate the oyster himself. Now, though I say that the Roman Catholic laity view with indifference the abolition of the Irish Church, I do not pretend that the Roman Catholic clergy share that feeling. There is a wide difference between them. I venture to observe that to originate legislation on a matter of such moment for the satisfaction and gratification, not of the general population, but of the Roman Catholic clergymen, however much they may be deserving of respect and consideration — and I fully admit their claims— is a somewhat novel way of administering the government of the British Empire. My Lords, I believe that looking at the ordinary evidence of public feeling, it is impossible to deny the indifference of the great bulk of the Roman Catholic laity to this measure, or to fail to remark the absence of any great array of Petitions or public meetings on its behalf. My Lords, I count the result of the Irish elections as no real index of the public feeling in Ireland, as those elections were conducted under the most violent intimidation on the part of the Roman Catholic priesthood—in numerous instances bringing about results actually contrary to the desires of the electors themselves. But, my Lords, on the other hand, we have the most unmistakable evidence of the unpopularity of this measure with the whole Protestant population of Ireland, as well amongst Presbyterians and Dissenters as members of the Church of England. We have this evidence both from the fact of the public meetings which have taken place regarding it, the immense number of the Petitions sent up against the Bill, and from the very determined antagonism which has been shown by those who may fairly be said to repre- sent 1,500,000 of their-fellow countrymen. We have been told a great deal about the verdict of the nation, and I think that the right rev. Prelate, who spoke with so much ability on Tuesday evening, made a forcible and accurate remark when he said the country has not delivered its verdict, but has simply empannelled the jury. My Lords, whatever the verdict of that jury may be, it is subject, like all other verdicts, to higher appeal and to the ultimate judgment of the country. Has that judgment been given? I believe it has not. I have ascertained the number of Petitions that have been presented to your Lordships during the last week, for and against the Bill. The number of Petitions against the Bill amounts to 4,000, many of these emanating from public meetings of 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 80,000, and in one case 200,000 persons; whilst the Petitions in favour of this measure, which the noble Lords opposite would have us believe is so irrevocably rooted in the national sympathies, and so unchangeably fixed in the national will, amount — your Lordships must be prepared for an alarming figure —to exactly 224. My Lords, with the facts I have stated, staring us in the face in Ireland, with the knowledge that those constituencies in Great Britain, as my noble Friend admitted, although they had no doubt had strong feelings of favour towards what is called in somewhat strange terms, so far as this Bill is concerned, a Liberal Government, yet showed no special interest in the destruction of the Irish Church. Looking at these facts, I venture to say that no arguments founded upon injuries done three centuries ago, or upon injuries supposed to be inflicted by the Irish Church in the present day, can convince us that this is a measure imperatively called for by the maintenance of the Empire, or for the pacification of the people of Ireland; but rather, we must be convinced, that if it be a necessity at all, it is a necessity suddenly evoked and paraded simply to enable one set of Gentlemen rather than another to sit upon a special Bench in "another place."

My Lords, I have ventured as briefly as possible to show that no great national eixgencies, no necessity of far-seeing statesmanship, require or justify the passing of such a measure as this. I will now briefly inquire how far the measure deals according to the ordinary rules of justice and equity with the property of which it so summarily disposes. And I must say that I think it strange that those noble Lords who are so sensitive to the mythical injustice of three centuries ago should so contrive to blind themselves to the much greater injustice proposed to be done at the present day. I shall not weary your Lordships by entering into many details of this Bill, but shall simply allude to one or two of those of which the injustice is the most obvious. There is the clause relating to the tithe rent-charge, for instance, which it is proposed shall be taken from the Irish Church. It is impossible to suppose that any considerable portion—if indeed any portion at all—of the tithe rent-charge now enjoyed by Protestants was ever vested in the Roman Catholic Church. That Church was in a very distracted state, divided against itself, and the amount of tithe that it might have received it is impossible to ascertain. But there is one fact to be distinctly understood, and that is, that whatever may be the proportion of those tithes which have been vested in the Roman Catholic Church, from the state of the country at that time—which was almost entirely that of waste land, morasses, and forests—the value of those tithes must have been infinitesimally small; and if, at the present day, as has been stated, the tithe rent-charge amounts to £400,000 a year, that value accrues not from any value they had originally when they were in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church, but from three centuries of good management and improved value of the agricultural produce of Ireland, in the hands of the Protestants of the country, who pay nearly the whole of that charge, and as a result of those Protestant institutions which by their establishment in Ireland have added so largely to the wealth and civilization of the country. I will pass by the glebe lands and the glebe houses, as they have been already alluded to; but I would say one word in passing with regard to the Ulster glebes, which being granted by James and Charles I.—by Protestant kings to Protestant landlords—by some mysterious and inexplicable choice of the date of 1660 it is proposed to deprive the Protestant Church of. There is another question I approach with some diffi- culty; for however anxious I may be that no injustice should be done to the Protestant Church, I am not less anxious that the Roman Catholic Church should not be unjustly treated. I allude to the compensation which it is proposed to give to Maynooth; and I think it is impossible not to see that the grossest partiality and favour have been shown towards Maynooth, as compared with the treatment accorded to the Established Church. If Maynooth is to be deprived of its grant I have no objection to fair compensation being given; but I should like to know by what possible perversion of justice it can be provided that a capitalized value of fourteen years upon its life interests should be granted to Maynooth, while the life interests of the Protestant clergy are treated as being of so much less value. The injustice becomes still more apparent when it is remembered that the endowment of Maynooth is simply an annual Parliamentary grant, granted within the last fifty years, and it is quite clear that what Parliament has granted Parliament may take away; whereas the property of the Irish Church is real property not granted by Parliament, and totally independent of any Parliamentary grants. Surely if any favour be shown in the matter, the favour ought to be on the side of real property. Moreover, this large compensation to Maynooth for the Parliamentary grant about to be withdrawn is not to be given out of the Consolidated Fund, from which it has hitherto been paid, but from property of which the Protestant Church is to be forcibly despoiled.

My Lords, I will now turn to the part of the subject in which we may inquire how far the objects proposed by this measure — namely, increased religious equality, harmony amongst the people of Ireland, and the maintenance of religion—are likely to be realized. We are told that this is a measure by which justice is to be done and religious equality to be enforced. I, for one, have no objection to real religious equality; but let us see what is to be the equality about to be established, and let us see what this Protestant ascendancy is, that is to be destroyed. Now, my Lords, apart from the titles and revenues possessed by the Irish Church by prescription and the rights of property, can anyone doubt —will anyone deny — that the real as- cendancy of influence, of power, of political agitation, is on the side of the Roman Catholic Church? Will anyone deny in three out of the four Provinces of Ireland, every Member of Parliament is nominated, and every political movement is directed, by the Roman Catholic clergy? We have never heard of Bishops of the Protestant Church issuing such election missives as the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church do not scruple to issue against candidates; and no one, I am sure, expects from the Protestant rector more than his own individual vote. Then, I ask you, what is this Protestant ascendancy which is so much complained of, when the whole power of influence in political movements are in the hands, not of the Protestant but of the Roman Catholic clergy, so far as regards three-fourths of the population of Ireland? But you may say —"We acknowledge this moral ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church; but it is mainly due to the unfair privileges conferred upon the Protestants." Well, let us assume that for a moment. By abolishing those privileges and the endowments of the Protestant Church, you propose to reduce its material ascendancy to an equality with that of the other Church. But is there any intelligent Member of the Liberal party, from my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, up to the President of the Board of Trade, who really imagines that the disestablishment of the Protestant Church will, in the slightest degree, affect the ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church—its power, influence, and means of intimidation? Will it not rather be that when the wholesome barriers hitherto existing are removed, that the ascendancy of the Roman Catholic Church will be greatly increased? You propose to deprive the Bishops and dignitaries of the Established Church of their endowments and titles, and you do that under the name of justice and equality. Let us see how this equality will work. You will have on the Roman Catholic side a Church distinct and self-contained; its Prelates appointed by and acknowledging only a foreign Power; their authority not, perhaps, officially acknowledged, but exerting a more than official influence over a subservient Government—as long as this remains constituted as at present. The Roman Catholic priests will retain their titles, and you will find these titles paraded with exultation over the whole country by the Roman Catholic population and press of Ireland, who will point triumphantly to theirs as the only true and united Church. On the other hand, whilst the Roman Catholic Church will be left complete and secure in its organization, the disestablished Church of England and Ireland will be left without cohesion, without a head, and without a status, to contend as best it can against its powerful and unscrupulous foe. This is the religious equality about which we have heard so much of late. My Lords, I have no hesitation in declaring that if it had been known previous to the election that this was the condition to which Government proposed to bring the Irish Church, your Lordships would, in all probability, have been saved the trouble of having to discuss this measure. The noble Earl the Secretary for Foreign Affairs made some allusion the other night to the Free Church of Scotland, and pointed to its success as one of the strongest proofs that could be adduced in favour of the voluntary system. He inferred that no fear need be entertained for the Irish Church on account of the position to which she will be reduced by this Bill; but, judging from what had occurred in Scotland, he stated his conviction that the usefulness, prosperity, and permanence of the Irish Establishment would be promoted rather than retarded by the measure. He and others who agree with him, however, forget one very material element of the case— an element which, in fact, altogether alters the whole complexion of the matter. He forgets that the voluntary Church in Scotland started upon a totally different basis to that from which the Church in Ireland can possibly start, when, as is proposed by this Bill, she is suddenly launched upon her own resources, after being deprived of her property by compulsory confiscations. The Free Church of Scotland started on its career not by compulsory confiscation but by voluntary secession. Moreover, the voluntary Church in Scotland had not a hostile population to contend with, swayed by a priesthood bound and knit together by one of the most complete systems of organization which the world has ever seen. Moreover, the Scotch Dissenters had a great advantage, inasmuch as the population of that country is to a much greater and more general extent wealthier than the population of Ireland; and opposed to it was a population differing but little from itself in religious doctrine and practice. I think, therefore, that it is unfair and certainly not just to draw an analogy between the position of the voluntary Church in Scotland, which is placed in the midst of a contented and wealthy population, and that in which the Irish Church will be placed by this Bill, contending, as it will have to do, with external difficulties in the shape of a hostile population and an organization of priests, and with internal difficulties in the shape of want of adequate support for its own maintenance. Very little consideration is needed to show that the Irish Church can never hope to achieve great ends as a voluntary institution. In Ulster, it is true, the Presbyterians form a very numerous and influential body. No less than upwards of 700,000 of the people of that Province belong to the Presbyterian Church; but when we go beyond Ulster we find that the whole number belonging to that denomination over all the other parts of Ireland is only some 18,000, who reside for the most part in a few of the larger towns, where only there are congregations able to maintain their ministers. So much for our past experience of the spread of Protestant voluntaryism in Ireland. But there are not wanting those who point to the Roman Catholic Church as a proof of the success of voluntaryism. Now, is the support which that Church derives from its adherents really voluntary? Is it not rather, as has well been stated, a compulsory exaction of payments, falsely called voluntary—and that, too, by an exercise of the strongest pressure of spiritual and moral coercion—a coercion which is felt to be an intolerable grievance by those very people who are compelled to submit to it—a system, moreover, that is totally antagonistic to that free and liberal spirit which is the soul of Protestantism? I maintain that by no possible way can you hope to maintain the Protestant Church of Ireland as a voluntary Church outside the Province of Ulster. The tendency of this Bill will be to decrease rather than increase the strength of Protestantism. I foresee — and I foresee it with regret—that the taking away of the stipends of the Protestant clergy- men will have the effect of breaking up a great many of the poorer congregations in Ulster—a result which must be greatly deplored by those who know the excellent qualities of the population of that Province. We have been told by the head of the Government in "another place" that it is an insult to the Protestants of Ireland to suppose that they cannot or will not support their own Church. My Lords, let us examine this question dispassionately, and endeavour to see whether this is really the case. It is quite true that nearly all the landed property of Ireland belongs to Protestant owners; but it is equally true that the population on that land is not Protestant; and I would observe that it is to the population on the land, and not to the solitary landlord, that you must look for support to the Church. Take the case of an average landlord with £3,000 or £4,000 a year. His property, perhaps, is scattered over different parishes, and. even counties. It is quite possible that this landlord will provide for the due maintenance of the Church in the parish in which he resides; but is it reasonable to suppose that he will contribute towards its support in parishes removed, perhaps, forty or fifty miles distance from where he lives, and provide for clergymen whom he never sees or hears? That, I think, is very unlikely. Very many of the parishes of Ireland, as far as the population is concerned, consist of only a few scattered Protestant farmers and tradesmen, who cannot support their Church, and whose landlord may be resident miles away. That being the case, it is easy to see that by the passing of this Bill Protestantism will virtually be extinguished in many parts of Ireland. I do not doubt that in Ulster, in large towns, and in parishes where a great landlord resides, something like a resemblance to the Established Church form of worship may be kept up. But in the parishes to which I have adverted, and which are by far the larger portion of the whole number, this will not even be the case. You cannot look for help from the absentee landlords; and the consequence will, I repeat, be that this Bill will practically extinguish Protestantism in many parts of Ireland. The injustice and impolicy of this measure are so glaring, and the injuries it will inflict upon Protestantism are so palpable, that I think your Lordships ought to have little hesitation in rejecting it. And, great as have been the evils to which I have adverted that are likely to ensue, the points I have mentioned are few in comparison with what might be cited in order to induce you to reject the Bill.

But that I desire not to weary your Lordships, I might have spoken of the inevitable result which must follow the passing of this Bill to the Established Church in England, should the exigencies of the Liberal party require the same disregard of justice, the same disregard of the most solemn pledges which have been found necessary in this case; I might solemnly warn those right rev. Prelates, who are prepared to abandon a sister Church upon the first assault, that the step which they are about to take must inevitably recoil upon themselves. If the principle of this Bill be affirmed it must lead in time to an attack upon the Church of England itself. Leaving this, however, and referring next to that cry of "Justice to Ireland," of which we hear so much, I may, perhaps, be permitted to ask what is the necessity for this Bill; and what are the objects which it proposes? Do you imagine that it will bring harmony and peace to the conflicting elements of Irish society? Do you suppose that the substitution of a voluntary Church for an Established Church will allay the animosities which exist between the Roman Catholic and the Protestant populations? Has any noble Lord who has spoken so small a knowledge of Ireland as to suppose that those conflicts which unfortunately take place between the adherents of rival creeds are confined to the Protestants of the Established Church, and that the members of the Presbyterian and voluntary communities take no part in them? Has not the experience of the last five months shown us that the prospect of this Bill, so far from allaying discontent, has intensified and made more bitter the hostility of the two conflicting sections of the population? I need scarcely ask whether our recent experience proves that the prospect of attaining to that religious equality, about which so great a parade has been made, has met with such success in Ireland as to warrant us in proceeding further with this measure? Moreover, will you by this Bill, so full of injustice and so fatal to Protestantism, conciliate the Roman Catholic popu- lation, which by some strange perversion you seem to recognize as being alone the people of Ireland? I say— and let there be no delusion on this point—that you will not. The Irish Catholic priesthood regard this boon, so dearly bought, with indifference. They accept this Bill because you are willing to give it to them; but they only regard it as an instalment, and a trifling instalment, of what is nearer and dearer to their hearts—namely, the possession of the land, the uprooting of the Protestant possessors of the soil, and the subjugation of all the education of Ireland, to Ultramontane rule. In their eyes even the Church question is wholly subordinate in importance to the question of education. On all these grounds I maintain that the Bill is wrong and unjust. What I have pointed out will result from this attempt on the part of the Government to conciliate the Roman Catholics by the sacrifice of the Protestant Church. And whilst you are striving to conciliate the Catholics, you are doing far otherwise with those whom hitherto you have been accustomed to look upon as the strongest and staunchest supporters of your rule, whose loyalty and good-will have lent security to the Crown and integrity to the Empire—namely, the Protestants of the country. I do not speak of those only connected with the Established Church, but of the whole 1,500,000 Protestants, Presbyterians, and Dissenters, as well as members of the Established Church, comprising one-fourth of the whole population of Ireland; and of that one-fourth, I may say, without any disparagement to the rest, that they are not among the least intelligent, wealthy, or energetic portion of the population. We have the most undoubted evidence that the whole Protestant population of Ireland—though in some parts, I admit, they have only declared themselves at the eleventh hour—view this measure with the strongest feelings of regret and abhorrence. They regard it as a breach of compact, as an abandonment of principle, as a violation of the Union. From information that has reached me from all parts of Ireland there is the strongest reason for fear that, if this measure should become law, we shall see the whole body of the Protestant population, who have hitherto been the strongest supporters of Imperial rule, become the strongest supporters of separation and a separate Parliament. On the behalf of the Protestant population of Ireland, I would urge that the strong expressions of their feelings to which they have lately given utterance are well worthy of your Lordships' attention. If you give so much to the Roman Catholics, who regard your gifts with indifference, you are at least equally bound to respect and listen to the feelings of the Protestant population, who view this measure, not with indifference, but with the strongest feelings of alarm and aversion —a measure which fails to conciliate those whose ill-will you desire to avert, while it alienates those who have hitherto been your strongest and firmest allies. In the name of the Protestants of Ireland I ask your Lordships, as the highest Court of Appeal in this country—as the highest judicial protector of the liberties and the property of the subject —I ask you to agree to the Amendment of my noble Friend, that the Bill be read a second time this day three months, and thus reject a measure that is full of injustice to Ireland, and which is fraught with danger to the liberty, the religion, and the peace of the United Kingdom.


My Lords, there are, I believe, a certain number of Members of this House—perhaps there may be a considerable number—whose objections to this measure are so deep that no consideration on earth will induce them to vote for the second reading. My noble Friend the Chairman of Committees (Lord Redesdale) is of that number, and undoubtedly there are many others; but I believe that the vast majority of the House of Lords—if they were convinced that this measure, in its main principle and outlines, had been finally adopted by the great majority of the people of this country—not by any accidental vote of the House of Commons, but approved by the majority of the people of the country at the last election, and finally supported by their deliberate opinion — I believe that in such a case the majority of this House would make no difficulty whatever in at least giving the Bill a second reading. And therefore I have observed that during the course of this debate various attempts have been made to impress upon your Lordships' belief this proposition — that while disestablishment indeed was plainly brought before the people at the last election, and was finally adopted by the opinion of the country, disendowment—the other great branch of the question — was not so brought before the people, and has not been adopted by the great majority of the country. I can attribute to no other cause than this that there has been, I must say, an unexpected importance attached by two of the most eminent leaders in the debate to a few sentences which fell from me in a speech I had the honour to deliver in this House on the second reading of the Suspensory Bill last year. Those sentences have been twice quoted—once by my noble Friend the noble Marquess who spoke last night (the Marquess of Salisbury), and also on a previous evening by the right rev. Prelate whose speech has been so much and so justly praised for eloquence and power. I wish to enter into no controversy with my noble Friend the noble Marquess opposite. I listened to his speech with the sincere admiration with which I believe it was listened to by every Member of your Lordships' House. It seemed to me to be a speech giving the most sagacious advice and animated by the largest and purest spirit of patriotism. In nine-tenths of that speech I heartily agree; and, I repeat, I will not enter into any controversy with, my noble Friend as to the comparatively small portion of that speech in which I dissent from him. But when my noble Friend quoted the sentences that fell from me on the previous occasion he referred principally to one point, as to which I think he will probably agree with me that it is a point which might be better discussed in Committee. I will at once candidly confess to my noble Friend that he has pointed out a discrepancy between a part of the sketch I then alluded to and the Bill now before your Lordships. But when I turn to the other case and ascertain the purpose which the right rev. Prelate had in view, I must beg to assure the House that the inference drawn from those sentences is entirely erroneous—I mean this inference, my Lords, that I said anything then, or intended to convey to your Lordships' House any impression, that the question of disendowment could be separated from the question of disestablishment, and that it was not then fully and fairly before the country. The noble Marquess has referred to the terms of the Resolutions passed by the late House of Commons. I beg my noble Friend to remember the words, and he will see that though the word "disendowment" is not in the Resolutions, the whole wording and conception of the Resolutions implied that disendowment was an essential part of disestablishment. The Resolution was in these words— That, in the opinion of this House, it is necessary that the Established Church of Ireland should cease to exist as an Establishment, due regard being had to all personal interests and to all individual rights of property."—[3 Hansard, cxci. 1338.] I need hardly point out that these words distinctly imply that disendowment — that is to say a substantial severance from the benefices at the disposal of the State—was considered an essential part of disestablishment. If there is any doubt on this question, that disendowment as well as disestablishment was before the country when the last appeal was made to it, let me cite another authority which will be acknowledged to have great weight. I refer to the counter proposition made in the other House of Parliament by Lord Stanley on the part of the whole Conservative party. What were the words of his counter proposition?— That this House, while admitting that considerable modifications in the temporalities of the United Church in Ireland may, after the pending inquiry, appear to be expedient, is of opinion that any proposition tending to the disestablishment or the disendowment of that Church ought to be reserved for the decision of a new Parliament."—[3 Hansard, cxci. 507.] That was the proposition contended for by the Conservative party. Disestablishment and disendowment were both before the country — not, of course, all the details of disestablishment and disendowment — but disendowment, in as far as disendowment is an essential part of disestablishment, was before the country, and is as much to be accepted as the result of the last General Election as disestablishment. Yes, my Lords, the verdict of the country was given in unmistakable terms in favour of disestablishment, and in the main and substantially in favour of the disendowment also of the Established Church in Ireland. Now, my Lords, during the course of this debate, very strong language has been used, both by my noble Friend who moved the rejection of this Bill, and by other noble Lords who succeeded him, as to the character of this Bill and as to the conduct of the Government; but I confess my own feeling is that we have no right or title to complain in any way of the manner in which this great debate has been conducted. My Lords, we are bound to remember—and I trust we do remember—that, in the discharge of what we believe to be a public duty to the Sovereign and the people, it has been our lot to propose to Parliament a measure which is opposed to the dearest associations and to the most cherished convictions of a large portion of the House. My Lords, I think also we are bound to remember not only the greatness of the change which we propose, but, I admit, its apparent suddenness. This point was much pressed by my noble Friend who moved the rejection of the Bill. I say its "apparent suddenness," because to those who have been watching the causes which operate on the public opinion of the country, and ultimately determine the course of Parliament, the wonder is not that this measure has come so suddenly, but rather that it has been so long delayed. But I admit to my noble Friend that to those who have been walking in the by-paths, so to speak, of public life, and have not been watching the causes which determine the course of public feeling, this change must appear to have been brought about very suddenly. And with regard to the greatness of the change, I agree with the noble Earl who spoke first last night (the Earl of Derby), that no measure which has been brought into this House in the present century may compare with this in the importance of the issues which it involves and the interests it affects. Not the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts—not the great measure of Catholic Emancipation, although, by-the-bye, this measure was in the womb of that one—not the repeal of the Corn Laws, not the Reform of Parliament—not any one of those questions involved issues so important, or cut so deeply into matters affecting such cherished associations and opinions of great portions of the people, as this measure for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. My Lords, I admit also to my noble Friend who moved the rejection of this measure, that so short a time as three years ago it is extremely probable it could not have been proposed by any public man, with any prospect of success. I think it is perfectly natural, therefore, that one in the position of my noble Friend, finding this great, rapid stream of public opinion dashing past him, and sweeping away institutions which he had been accustomed to consider as most sacred and most secure, should open his eyes with infinite surprise and ask, as my noble Friend did ask in his opening speech— ''How has all this come about, and how has this measure so suddenly been brought forward?" The more you examine this question the more clearly you will see how absolutely final and irrevocable is the verdict given on this subject by all the great political parties in this country. I beg to direct your Lordships' attention to some circumstances which appear to me to refute the arguments used by the noble Duke who preceded me (the Duke of Abercorn), and who attributed great effects to causes comparatively small, stating that the Bill originated in the individual will of my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government.


I said that it originated with him.


That is to attribute effects to the will of my right hon. Friend, which neither his nor any other individual's will was competent to produce. We have also been told to-night that the present House of Commons was elected merely to bring Mr. Gladstone into power, and that it was under the influence of his genius and of admiration for his character that the elections were held. Now what I wish to point out is that Mr. Gladstone's influence was, at least, not predominant in the late Parliament, in which this proposition was first brought forward. I desire to direct your Lordships' attention to the circumstances under which this measure was proposed. The House of Commons became, after the death of Lord Palmerston, thoroughly disorganized and demoralized. We are at liberty to speak of the late House of Commons with as much freedom as of a Parliament in the time of Charles II., and I say that it was a Parliament which had no faith in any principle, no enthusiasm in any cause, and no fidelity to any leader. It was under these circumstances—the vessel of the State with no way upon her, that suddenly a cry arose, that this Irish question, which had been so long asleep, was again alive. It was then said, that something must be done for Ireland—the old Irish difficulty was again before our public men, and it became clear that Parliament must make up its mind as to what should be done for the benefit of the Irish people. What was the answer to that cry? I am not going to quote the words of Lord Mayo or of any man, for I may say that the answer was in the air—it was in the very atmosphere of our political life. There were two alternatives in reference to the Irish Church — indiscriminate endowment, and disestablishment with disendowment. The policy suggested by the late Government—faintly and feebly, but at the same time distinctly—was that of indiscriminate endowment; and then the answer given to that proposition by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was that, rather than indiscriminate endowment, he would have disestablishment and disendowment. What was the effect of that announcement? The immediate effect was that out of absolute chaos there came order, and an assembly which had been thoroughly disorganized became well-drilled and fitted for effective political action. It was like the action of a powerful magnet passed over a mass of what seems mere dust and rubbish, but which nevertheless contains elements capable of attraction. The raising of that standard of disestablishment at once collected under it all the elements of Liberal opinion in the House of Commons. Then I ask the noble Duke, who attributes to small causes these grave effects, what is the explanation of that phenomenon? Was it the personal influence of Mr. Gladstone in the late House of Commons? No. It was the powerful action of causes which lie deeply seated in the history of the country. The noble Earl who spoke last night, and who is not now present (the Earl of Derby), said that this measure was carried by a concurrence of political parties. Now, I ask, was there ever any great measure which was not carried by the concurrence of great political parties? In a constitutional Government like that which exists in this country, the concurrence of political parties means the force of different currents of public opinion, meeting and joining together— it means the inevitable conclusion to which things are tending in a constitutional country. And now, farther, what I wish to point out is that this concurrence of parties is not casual or accidental. It is one which is undoubtedly permanent, and cannot be overcome by any resistance on the part of noble Lords opposite. Who were the great parties who rallied round the standard of disestablishment and disendowment? In the first place, I will name not the strongest, but one which has a powerful action in Parliament— the Roman Catholic element in the House of Commons. In naming this I name that which represents the national feeling of the great majority of the Irish people. Through all the stages of this measure the representatives of the Irish people supported it by large majorities; and I apprehend that no Irish Member, whether Roman Catholic or not, who sits for a Roman Catholic constituency could face his constituents in future with any hope of success unless he had voted for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church. But what a light does that throw upon the doctrines we have heard announced in this House from the right rev. Prelates and from other Members with regard to the duty of what is called the State to maintain particular religious doctrines. I wish that, whether in debate or in writing, men would more frequently take the trouble of defining the words which they use. We have heard much of the duty of the State, or the ruling power, to maintain religious truth and to support an Established Church. But what is the ruling power in a free country? I will not say that it is the House of Commons; but I will say that under a representative Constitution, and more especially a representative Constitution based upon household suffrage, the House of Commons is a very large part of the ruling power. Now what are you to do with this abstract doctrine of the duty of the State, when we have a large majority of the representatives of Ireland telling you in the House of Commons that they will no longer support the Established Church in their country? I say that is a party in favour of this measure whose vote is a permanent vote, which you have no chance of reversing; and that in the very nature of things this determination on the part of those Members is one which expresses the feeling of the great majority of the Irish people. Then you have the No Popery party in the House of Commons. You have a No Popery party both in England and in Scotland. I will not now enter into the reasons which have actuated the No Popery party as it is called. We know that there exists a strong feeling in this country with regard to the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. My noble Friend who opened the debate this evening (Earl Russell) expressed his continued adherence to the principle of concurrent endowment; but although he believes that would be in itself the best mode of settling this question, he tells us that he is convinced the people of England and the people of Scotland would not tolerate such a measure. We have then the Protestant feeling of England and of Scotland, which is national, and the Roman Catholic feeling of Ireland, which is also national, against concurrent endowment. There is also another party which has been often alluded to by the noble Earl opposite, and the very mention of which always raises excited cheers in your Lordship's House — namely, the Dissenting party, which is strongly opposed to all religious endowments. My own belief is that the strength of that party has been very much over-rated throughout the present debate. I do not think that the English, people generally are very much disposed to hold abstract doctrines with regard to endowments. I believe the Liberation Society is not a strong power in this country, but, working through the various Dissenting bodies, it undoubtedly possesses a certain amount of strength. You have thus the Roman Catholic party—you have the anti-Catholic party, you have the feeling of the Dissenters, you have the growing opinion of the great Liberal body, all agreeing that the maintenance of the Established Church in Ireland is unjust to the people of that country. I believe it is perfectly true, as has been stated by the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl. Grey), that for the last twenty years the influence of the daily Press and the influence of literary men in every form has been tending gradually but surely to change the public feeling with regard to the justice or injustice of the Established Church in Ireland. What, then, have you to oppose to all these great forces, that gives you any chance or hope of success in resisting the conclusion which the Government have come to? Have you yourselves any policy whatever? During the whole course of this debate I have listened in vain for the announcement of any policy from the noble Lords who have opposed the second reading of this Bill. Not one word have they said as to a counter-policy. Now, what are you going do? Are you going to face the! people of Ireland and tell them you will do nothing with regard to this great Irish question, which one of your own party leaders, Lord Stanley, said was the great question of the day? Are you going to face the people of England and Scotland and adopt the principle of indiscriminate endowment? Is that your plan? Independent Peers have made suggestions, but I have observed that a cautious silence has been maintained by noble Lords on the front Bench opposite; and from right rev. Prelates we have heard nothing to warrant us in believing that they would give 1s. towards indiscriminate endowment in Ireland. All their arguments with regard to "spoliation," "robbery," "sacrilege," and the other hard words they used — perhaps naturally enough — all those epithets apply equally to the taking away from the Church of 1s. of its endowments for any other purpose whatever. There was, indeed, one suggestion made by the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees that we should have Roman Catholic Bishops in this House. He said he would not level up as regards money, but he would as regards honours, and he would bring the Roman Catholic Bishops into this House. That is the one suggestion of a counter-policy which I have heard during this debate. I ask your Lordships, what chance there is of success if this policy be adopted? Do you think you will carry the next General Election by the cry— "Introduce Roman Catholic Bishops into the House of Lords? Do you think that cry would help you any more in the House of Commons than the policy of indiscriminate endowments, which scattered your party to the winds, and rallied the whole Liberal force around Mr. Gladstone? It is not possible. Well, then, will you say— "Leave things as they are; we have no policy whatever except the obstinate policy of defending things as they are?" I venture to say that even during the progress of this debate some of the most distinguished speakers have furnished ample evidence that the existence of the Established Church in Ire- land is not only a great wrong and a great injustice, but is exercising a most malevolent influence upon the relations of the different parties in that country. I was very sorry to read in the speech of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough)—which all praise for its brilliancy and eloquence— a passage which seems to me to illustrate the evil of what has been called Protestant ascendancy almost as much as anything which has been said or quoted in the course of this discussion. The right rev. Prelate, as I read in the The Times, said, ''The only remedy of English statesmen is another confiscation," and he proceeded in these words— Another confiscation, but, my Lords, with this difference—that, whereas, in those days England confiscated the property of the disloyal and rewarded the loyal, in those days she (England) proceeds to mend matters by confiscating the property of the loyal to reward the disloyal."— [3 Hansard, cxcvi. 1869–70.] What is the inference which must be drawn from these words? To please whom is it that we are "confiscating" the property of the Irish Church? Whom, do we profess and desire to please? Is it not the great mass of the people of Ireland, who happen to be Roman Catholics? And does the right rev. Prelate think it will tend to peace and goodwill in Ireland that from the Episcopal Bench in this House the great mass of Irish Roman Catholics should be denounced—at least by inference—as comparatively disloyal? I say that such language is due to the spirit—the ancient, hereditary spirit—of Protestant ascendancy.


I am exceedingly unwilling to interrupt the noble Duke, but he is entirely mistaken in what he attributes to me. I had no idea of stating that I regarded the Roman Catholic population of Ireland as disloyal. I spoke of the object of disendowment as being for the purpose of bribing or rewarding the disloyal; but I did not say that the Roman Catholic population of Ireland—either the whole or the larger part of them— were the disloyal persons whom the Government wished to reward.


I have no doubt whatever that if we put it to the right rev. Prelate whether he would describe the Catholics of Ireland as disloyal he would answer "No!" But I say that in the speech which he made in this House —I will not use the word "clap-trap," but in the rapidity of his eloquence—he was induced to use language which can bear no other interpretation than that which I have put upon it; and I say that is language which, is constantly being used by the Protestants of Ireland towards their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. But I need not go further than the speech made to-night by the noble Duke who lately represented the Crown in Ireland. What was the whole gist of his argument? It was this—and it is a sufficiently familiar argument—that the Protestants are the garrison of England in Ireland. What does that expression mean?


I said that the Protestants were loyal. I did not say that the Catholics were disloyal.


I hope the people of Ireland will be satisfied with that explanation; but that is the language which has been used throughout this debate. Your Lordships have been told, in effect—"Unless you bribe the Protestants of Ireland"—and, surely this is no great compliment to them— "unless you bribe Irish Protestants by maintaining their unjust supremacy as regards the Irish Church, they will not be loyal; and, as matters now stand, the Roman Catholics are comparatively disloyal." I say that such language has a most mischievous political effect. My Lords, I look upon this, not as the "confiscation" of any funds belonging to any particular body, but as the better appropriation by the State of funds belonging to the State, and at its disposal for the benefit of the whole people of Ireland. I know that the feeling of noble Lords opposite is that this Bill is a blow to property; that it is a blow to Established Churches; and that it is a blow to the Protestant faith; and I wish to say a few words on each of these three positions. The word "property" is often very loosely used. I do not know whether your Lordships happen to have read—I think very few have read —the Report of the Royal Commission appointed by the late Government to consider the question of the Irish Church. You will there see that funds in the hands of the Commisioners are universally called the property of the Commissioners. In a legal sense, of course, they are. All property which, by the existing law, belongs to any class of men is, in a certain sense, their property. Parliament has chosen to commit certain funds to a small minority of the Irish people, with the intention that they should convert the Irish to the Protestant faith. But I maintain that the Established Church, properly so called—that is to say, the whole body of Protestants in Ireland—has no property whatever. A distinction is frequently drawn between corporate and private property. It is a perfectly valid distinction; but what you call the property of the Irish Church is not even corporate property. Each parish, or rather each benefice is, no doubt, a corporation; but, when you dissolve that corporation, the moral right to that property exists in the people of that parish; and I say it is a great violation of the natural rights of property to take away from the people of that parish and give to other parts of Ireland funds originally destined to pious uses in that parish alone. The noble Earl who spoke last night, the Chairman of the Commission (Earl Stanhope), said that, most unfortunately, his proposal came too late, and that if it had been made some years ago, it would have been practicable. He mentioned the town of Newtownards, a very thriving Protestant community in the North of Ireland, and he proposed to transfer funds from Munster and elsewhere to the population of Newtownards. What a monstrous act of injustice! This money was left for pious uses in certain other districts in the South and West of Ireland. You say, in effect— "We do not happen to agree with the majority of the people there in their religious opinions. We do not happen to be of their Church, and therefore we will not allow this money to be devoted to pious uses among them, but we will give it to Newtownards," which, being a thriving place, might surely pay the expenses of its own Church. This is your notion of the sacredness of property. I am glad to see that the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Cairns) treats the propositions of the Commissioners with utter indifference, if not with silent contempt. But remember, my Lords, such propositions as these formed the only possible alternative from the policy of the Government. It was the re-distribution of the property of the Church within the Church; and that is consistent with your notion of property. In every parish where fewer than forty Protestants are found, the Commissioners propose a transfer of property to other parishes in Ireland; and that proposition is in exact consistency with the argument always maintained by those who resist any appropriation of the funds of the Irish Church to purposes not connected with itself.

I pass now to the question of Establishments. And here let me say that I regretted very much some observations made by my noble Friend (Earl Russell). My noble Friend says that this Bill is a great blow to Establishments, especially in the Preamble and in the last clause of the Bill, which provides that the surplus funds of the Irish Church should be given to pious uses not connected with religious purposes. With regard to the principle of Establishments, I should like to know what part of the Bill is at variance with it. One doctrine of Establishments—a doctrine quite new to me—was propounded by the right rev. Prelate, who said that the State might contract with a certain ecclesiastical firm for the purpose of doing ecclesiastical work. That, it seems to me, is not a very high ground on which to peril the principle of an Established Church; and I confess that if I were about to contract with a firm with the view to do good to a people, I should enter into a contract with that particular firm which possessed the most influence among that people, and which most coincided with their opinions. Taking that ground, I suppose the right rev. Prelate would propose that we should enter into a contract with the Roman Catholic clergymen in Ireland. But, to the adoption of that course, I should on many different grounds object. And what, I would ask, is the other doctrine with regard to Establishments which has been laid down? The other, and I think the highest doctrine, is that we should adopt that Church which embraces most completely, in our opinion, religious truth, and that, through that Church, we should teach religious truth to the people. That, however, is, I am afraid, a doctrine which is not very consistent with our form of government. We are a representative government, and we cannot, therefore, adopt any one faith which may be professed by a small minority of the community, and insist upon its being the religion of the nation at large. That is a doctrine which, it appears to me, must break down under the operation of our political system. But let me ask right rev. Prelates and noble Lords opposite, if they look upon the teaching of religious truth as the paramount duty of the State, why it is that we take the course that we now pursue in the case of Ireland? There, it is true, you endow the Established Church; but you endow also the College of Maynooth, as well as the Presbyterians of Ulster and also Unitarians. What pretence then, can you make that the present ecclesiastical system in Ireland represents, under any possible theory, that duty of the State in regard to the propagation of religious truth for which you contend? It is absurd to maintain that our present system complies with that object. I regret, I may add, the observations which fell from my noble Friend (Earl Russell) this evening, because, as it seems to me, he confounded two things which are essentially distinct. The principle of Established Churches such as it exists in England is one thing; the indiscriminate payment of all religions is a thing entirely different. I contend that this Bill, even if my noble Friend should strike out the clauses and the passages in the Preamble with regard to religious teaching, to which he so much objects, would not thereby be brought in any degree nearer to sanctioning the principle of Established Churches. It would be merely brought nearer the principle of sanctioning the endowment—the equal and indiscriminate endowment—of all religious sects. To such a proposal I am opposed, practically as a politician, and theoretically on another ground. I look upon it as an unreasonable doctrine that every man should be called upon to pay for every other man's religion. If the Established Churches which have grown up in Europe under the teaching of one universal Church—if that system breaks down, depend upon it we have nothing before us but the principle of free and unendowed Churches.

One word now, my Lords, as to the danger of the Bill to the Protestant religion. I confess I heard with great pain the observations which have fallen from some right rev. Prelates, and especially from my most rev. Friend who presides over the diocese of Dublin, in regard to the possiblity of forming what is called a Free Church, or what is called in the Bill the Church Body. Now, it appears to me that no greater blow can be given to Protestantism than the confession in this House by the leaders of the Anglican Church that, without the benefit of endowments and the help of the State, they are utterly unable to organize any Church government representing the independent power of the Church in Ireland. I am ashamed of such a confession in the face of Roman Catholics and of Christendom; I would ask right rev. Prelates to have more confidence in the strength of Protestantism and in the influence of their own episcopal ministry. I would also ask, when dealing with the argument of the evils which this Bill is calculated to work with respect to the Protestant religion—what has the Irish Church done to promote the success of that religion in Ireland? Is it not notorious that Ireland is the most Popish of all the nations of Europe —that which follows most meekly and most servilely the dominion of the priesthood? I heard in this House, not only this year, but last year, very strange complaints made as to the probability that, under the influence of a free Church, in Ireland, we should have an active proselytizing organization established, which, in the opinion of some, would be a great evil. Now, I do not share the fears in that respect to which many noble Lords have given expression. The objects of such an organization may be sought to be effected sometimes in a very selfish and fanatical spirit; but I feel, nevertheless, bound to remember that it is the duty of Churches to preach and extend, if they can, the views of religious truth which they entertain. When, therefore, I find it held out as a threat of danger—and now for the first time—that the Protestant Church in Ireland may become a proselytizing Church, it sounds to me very like a confession that she has hitherto been something like a sleepy and useless Church.

I may, before I sit down, be allowed to say a few words as to the position in which your Lordships' House stands in reference to this Bill. It has, I think, been very accurately stated in the course of this debate—that it is not our duty to accept, as a matter of course, the decision of the House of Commons. It is, however, I maintain, our duty fully to weigh all the circumstances under which the votes of that great body happen to have been given. I trust I have suc- ceeded in showing that that concurrence of parties to which Lord Derby referred as the cause of the success of this measure is a concurrence not accidental but permanent in the political history of this country. That being so, it is our duty, I contend, to give this Bill a second reading, and to go into Committee upon it. My noble Friend (Earl Russell) said, on a memorable occasion, that— "the aristocracy of this country were strong in the memory of immortal services." My Lords, I trust we are strong in better things. We cannot live on the memory of the dead. We must show that we are able to appreciate the great currents of public feeling which have formed the great parties of this country, and determined the course of political action. We must show that we are as able as the other House to appreciate the teaching of events. And if ever there has been a course of events which seemed more than another of a providential character, and to lead to one foregone conclusion, it is that series of events which, with apparent suddenness, but with long previous preparation, has brought this great measure to the table of your Lordships' House. Noble Lords opposite may say with truth that all movements are not movements of progress, and that there may be such things as movements in a wrong direction. I admit that. I believe in the decay and in the fall of States. It is the duty of the Liberal party in this country, and in every other, to question themselves and others carefully from time to time whether the movements in which they take part, and before which they are sometimes driven, are movements in a right or in a wrong direction. But, my Lords, measured by all the criteria which distinguish strength from weakness, justice from injustice, political energy and life from political decay, I avow my conviction that the movement in which we are now engaged is a movement in the right direction. It is a movement due to enlightened reason, and, better still my Lords, to awakened conscience. We desire to wipe out the foulest stain upon the name and fame of England—our policy to the Irish people. We wish to signify our adherence to the great principle, that religious truth is not to be supported at the cost of political injustice. We desire—as my noble Friend near me has suggested—to bring into the domain of politics the great Christian law of doing to others as we would be done by. These are the great principles upon which this measure is founded; and I say that these are not the indications of political decrepitude or decay. This House has been repeatedly advised to assent to the second reading of this measure mainly because it is pressed on us by the convictions of the people. But I have a higher ambition for your Lordships' House; I desire to see this House share in the great honours of their time; and my firm conviction is that in the course of a few years the passing of this measure will be looked back upon as one of the greatest triumphs of constitutional government, and as a step forward—and that a long one—in the most difficult of all works—the wise and the just government of mankind.


My Lords, though I appear here as a young Member of your Lordships' House, I am an old member of my order, and therefore I hope I am not guilty of presumption in expressing my views on this occasion. But first let me thank the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) for offering that most excellent advice which he has given to the right rev. Bench. I am thankful for it, though, for some reason applicable to myself, I do not very much feel the need of it, and for this simple reason—that in the diocese over which I presided I was disestablished and disendowed fourteen years ago. I went out from this country to New Zealand some twenty-five or twenty-six years ago, and I have seen the working of our English Church in the colony of New Zealand until it has expanded and become coequal with the growth of the colony; and now six or seven bishoprics which have been founded there attest that its increase has kept pace with the increase of the population. But, having premised so much, I will now proceed to say I come here without any prejudice whatever in favour of Establishments. Having lived so long in a disestablished Church, I return after a long absence, with no peculiar connection with any party in the State, not even with the noble Lord (the Earl of Derby) who did me the honour to invite me to accept the bishopric I now fill. I feel, therefore, that I can trust myself on this occasion to form an unprejudiced opinion and give a conscientious vote. Now, my Lords, I will vote against the second reading of this Bill because I object to its principle and to almost every one of its details. The United Church of England and Ireland is one Church, and I see no reason why that union should be dissolved, just as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is one kingdom, and I see no reason why that union should be repealed. But I hope, my Lords, that you will not think I am going to defend abuses. I am ready to join my old Friend Mr. Gladstone in cutting out all abuses root and branch, and I believe I am as great a Radical in that respect as he. But I am not prepared to admit that the establishment of any part of the English Church in Ireland is in itself an abuse. That, I believe, is the principle of this Bill and underlies every clause of the Bill. Now, on the subject of disendowment I will say very little, because I believe you are tired almost to death with hearing so much about stipends, life interests, parsonage houses, glebes, and all those matters which are called the accidents of spiritual things, in which my habits of life have given me very little interest at all. But I must say I think disendowment a very ugly word—it seems to me a very ugly word; while that which I thoroughly approve is a good constitutional system of Church reform, and that system has been going on in England and Ireland under the two Commissions—the Ecclesiastical Commission in England and the Ecclesiastical Commission in Ireland. Not only that, but a Royal Commission has been sitting for the express purpose of recommending to Parliament a further instalment of reform; and I confess that I share in the sorrow of one of the Commissioners, who rose last night to support the second reading of the Bill, that this measure had been introduced before the public had time to consider the proposals of that Commission. Indeed, the reasons which he gave for supporting the second reading seem to me to point to the rejection of this Bill, because the public have been called upon to form an opinion upon it without having had the requisite information of what was proposed to be done by the Commission. Now, this question of disendowment assumes a very serious form when it alters altogether what I believe to be the constitutional compact between the clergy and the laity—that is, when the State saves its own pockets by confiscating the property of the Church. I remember when Sir Robert Peel went down to the House of Commons at an early period of the Session, and said— I take the opportunity at an early period of this Session, of announcing that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Ministers to propose a large increase of the grant to Maynooth, and not to couple it with any condition which might impair the grace or favour of the Crown. What do we now find? That the most gracious grant of the British Parliament is to the end of time to be re-paid out of funds raised by the confiscation of the property of the Church of England in Ireland. Now, if there be any property which, when it comes to be inquired into, belongs fairly to the Church of Rome, by all means let it be given up. The Church of England professes no sympathy with the old system of confiscation. On the contrary, we believe that there cannot be a worse system of penal discipline than that of confiscation. New Zealand furnishes the strongest evidence that can be found of the evil of such a policy, because there the British Government has had to expend £5,000,000 of money in order to undo its vicious effects. Now, I should wish, after a fair investigation was held, that what belongs rightfully to the Church of England should be retained by the Church, and that what belong to the Church of Rome should be given back. The great objection to disendowment is that it does really compel the clergy to pay what the State itself ought to pay. The compact when formed between the State and the Church was that the clergy should give up their right to self-taxation and submit to be taxed by the Government. In those days these taxes were, I believe, called "benevolences," and bore the same relation to the clergy that "loans" did to the Jews. They were exacted probably in much the same way, though not by the same instruments, as "loans" were squeezed out of the Jews by the pressure of the thumbscrew. That practice was given up, the clergy consenting to be taxed in common with the laity; but they did not consent that the State should, whenever it thought proper, put its hand into the treasury of the Church and take out what it pleased to pay the debts of the State. On the subject of disestablishment, the reason why I object to this Bill is because I watched carefully all the reasons assigned in favour of it, and I cannot see any validity in them whatever. Now, the reasons assigned are, first, that the Established Church in Ireland is a badge of slavery. Now, my Lords, I do not know anything in England which is not a badge of slavery, except the National Anthem. By parity of reasoning our institutions of Parliament and our trial by jury are badges of Saxon conquest, while the Norman French embodied in our language is a badge of Norman conquest. In a lower range of life, as Scott informs us, beef and mutton are a sign of Norman conquest, while sheep and oxen are a badge of slavery. The noble Earl (Earl Granville) the other night made a graceful allusion to the ladies, thus establishing a precedent which I will take leave to follow. The ladies of the present day have happily given up that practice of their great grandmothers which reminded us of our affinity to the Picts. In the same way the presence of the Princess of Wales among us is a badge of slavery. We know that her ancestors over-ran a great part of England of which she has conquered the whole. How puerile, therefore, is it that a quick-witted nation like the Irish, except for reasons especially applicable to themselves, should feel in any way degraded by that which, if rightly managed, would be simply a benefit to them. But the fact is that the slavery or conquest of Ireland, if we may so call it, was the act entirely of the Pope. Adrian IV. gave Ireland, to Henry H., that grant was confirmed by Alexander III, and exactly the same things went on under the supremacy of the Pope as were complained of after the Reformation. English ecclesiastics plundered Church property in Ireland exactly in the same way as Italian ecclesiastics plundered Church property in England. Therefore, I think it would be best to dismiss altogether such a puerile argument as that the Established Church is a badge of conquest when we know that the Irish Church existed for centuries before the Reformation, and that the English Church has existed for three centuries since. To go back to the year 1850. At that time the noble Earl who opened the debate this evening (Earl Russell) wrote a letter, the object of which was to call upon the English people to repress what was then termed the Papal Aggression. That letter was dated the 4th of November—rather an ominous day—and on the 5th of November, or shortly afterwards, all England was in a blaze. 1,300 Petitions, with 1,000,000 signatures, justified the majority of 332 in the House of Commons in passing the Act called ''An Act to prevent the Assumption of Territorial Titles from places within the United Kingdom." What a marvellous change has occurred since then! A majority of 332 passed that Act in 1851, and last year the Suspensory Bill was passed in the House of Commons by a majority of 65. I am at a loss to account for so sudden a change of opinion. How did that Territorial Titles Bill end? It ended in humiliation. That result was brought about in this way. Lord Stanley had destroyed ten bishoprics in Ireland—no doubt with an eye to the benefit of the Church, but I think to the deep humiliation of the Church. Earl Russell, acting under the Territorial Titles Act, wrote to the titular Archbishop of Tuam, threatening him with legal proceedings. The Archbishop answered in words to this effect— I must inform your Lordship that your Lordship has extinguished ten Protestant bishoprics. It rests with your Lordship's pleasure to extinguish the remainder; but I tell your Lordship that the title which I hold your Lordship can neither give nor take away. That Act was never enforced, and the Archbishop of Westminster returned from Rome in the teeth of the Act with a cardinal's hat. And now comes the crowning measure of humiliation, and the United Church of England and. Ireland is to be deprived of all State support. Not that I think that will in any degree affect the permanence, the vitality, or the influence of that Church; but, speaking simply of the question of humiliation, it certainly appears to me that the United Church of England and Ireland will be humiliated while the Church of Rome will be exalted. In this respect I thank Mr. Gladstone for the Bill, for it is sometimes good for us to be humbled. The next point which is often alleged is, that the Church of England is the Church of the minority. On that subject, my Lords, I should like to say a few words. We have been asked to state what is the principle of an Establishment? but it is much easier to state what it is not. It certainly does not, and never did yet, depend upon the question of a majority or a minority. No position, indeed, could be more expedient on which to rest than this, because, if the principle be admitted, all the religious bodies in the country will be kept in a continual state of ferment in their endeavours to proselytize for the simple object of one disestablishing the others and establishing themselves. Nothing could be more likely to destroy the peace of Great Britain and Ireland than the assertion of such a principle. There is another point which has been alleged this evening by the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll)— namely, the failure of the Church to carry out the purposes for which she was founded. This is a very delicate subject; but I may remark that your Lordships were informed last night by my right rev. Brother the Bishop of Tuam that the Church has attained very considerable success in the most Catholic part of all Ireland. Still, it is not for us to boast of our own work, and therefore it is very difficult for us to answer such an objection as this. We have heard from another noble Lord that an Irish Prelate obtained £240,000 from that poor country; but I would ask the noble Lord who is answerable for that? If I understand the Irish law at all, it appears to me that in the reign of Queen Elizabeth an Irish Act of Parliament was passed in which it was stated that the election of the Bishops by the clergy should completely cease, and that in future all Irish Bishops should be appointed by the Crown. I think, therefore, that the Minister of the day must be answerable for that most peculating of all Bishops. It must have been done under some corrupt influence, for I scarcely think that any Church would have appointed to the office of Bishop a man who would have been guilty of such an act as that. But, then, as to the real cause of the failure of the Irish Church. The country was in such a troubled state, and the various races were so set against one another, that it was just as impossible to expect any true religion to grow up in Ireland as to have expected it to grow up in our country during the Wars of the Roses. That unhappy state of things continued in unequal proportions during the whole of the seven centuries which have passed away since the subjugation of Ireland. On this point I will cite the testimony of Mr. Plowden, who says— Such were the unceasing calamities to which that unfortunate country was doomed during the reigns of sixteen of our monarchs who held the British sceptre from the invasion under Henry II. to the Reformation under Henry VIII., calamities arising out of the internal divisions and national disunion and oppression of that kingdom. All this was during a time, I may remark, when the Roman Catholic Church held supremacy in Ireland. The same writer adds— It has been too prevalent with most writers since the Reformation to lay indiscriminately to the account of that great innovation in our national Church the various struggles and revolutions and convulsions that afterwards happened in the State, an error pregnant with incalculable mischief. And what deviation from truth does not produce evil? This is the danger against which we have to guard—the laying at the door of the Established Church many, if not most, of the evils of that country. I confess I was surprised when I heard my right rev. Brother assert that the present state of Ireland and the existence of the Established Church in that country stood in the distinct connection of cause and effect: yet in another part of his speech he seems to attribute the evils of Ireland to centuries of misrule. We have been asked this evening whether we have any plan to propose, and we have been rather taunted for not having proposed one. All I ask is that you will really regard this as an Imperial and not as an Irish question; that you will regard it as a question bearing on the interests of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and not merely on the interests of a fractional portion of the inhabitants of one part of it. The reason I say this is, because the varying circumstances of the different component parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland have been wisely considered on former occasions. I think it is most wise that in Scotland, under the special circumstances of that kingdom, the Act of Union should have been made to assume the form it did. It was an Act to maintain for ever and secure the Protestant religion and the Presbyterian Church government. That Act was, as we have been already told by several speakers, the basis of the Irish Act of Union. Both of them rested on the same principle — namely, that to secure the Protestant religion the Imperial Crown of Great Britain and Ireland was to be held by a Protestant; that the Irish Lords Spiritual should sit by rotation and vote in the House of Lords; that the Church of England and Ireland, as by law established, should be united into a Protestant Episcopal Church, called the United Church of England and Ireland; and that the continuance and preservation of the said Church should be deemed and taken to be an essential and fundamental part of the Union; and that, in like manner, the doctrine, discipline, and government of the Church of Scotland should be preserved as established by law. My reason for wishing this to be made an Imperial and not a local question is that the Queen's supremacy, and the existence of the Established Church under that supremacy, appears to me to be mixed up with all parts of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. And yet it is supposed that all the Acts of Parliament by which the Coronation Oath is regulated are to be repealed by three or four lines in a Bill which, it is assumed, was understood by every voter at the hustings. We are told, indeed, that the voice of the nation has been most distinctly pronounced upon this subject. If the peculiar circumstances of Ireland had been entertained, instead of rushing into this kind of pell-mell legislation, reasons would have been found for making a broad distinction between one part of Ireland and another —just as it was found necessary to make a distinction between one part of Great Britain and another. It would not have been difficult to show just and valid reasons for dealing exceptionally with Ulster, because almost all the allegations made against the Irish Church fail when applied to the Province of Ulster. Take, for instance, the recommendations of the Commissioners. They recommend that a bishopric of Derry should include Derry and Raphoe, and contain 112 parishes, with an average of 581 members of the Established Church in each. A second diocese is that of Down, comprising Conor, Down, and Dromore, containing 152 parishes, with an average of 1,008 members of the Established Church in each; and a third is the diocese of Armagh, including Armagh, Clogher, and Kilmore, with 222 parishes, and an average of members of the Established Church in each parish of 826. The result would be that we should have 486 parishes containing a population of 401,515 members of the Established Church, or 826 for each parish. It is quite true that these parishes would be large in extent, but there would be more certainty of adequate employment for each of the clergymen appointed. In case of a re-distribution being required—to which, for my part, I should have no objection—the funds would be more than are necessary for the maintenance of religion in those parts of the country. Now, I would ask is it at all necessary or wise that Her Majesty should be prohibited from appointing to these parishes in Ulster, and possibly to parishes in other dioceses, persons who should be the authorized exponents of the religion which Her Majesty by her Coronation Oath is bound to uphold and maintain? Is it just or reasonable that the Sovereign should be the only person in the kingdom bound to entertain a particular opinion—that the law should deny to the Sovereign a liberty which it accords to the meanest of her subjects —that she should be bound by her Coronation Oath, and, under penalty of forfeiture of the Crown, to hold to a certain form of religious persuasion — and then refuse to allow the appropriation of a certain number of persons in all parts of her dominions—where there is no local enactment to the contrary passed by a competent Legislature—to expound those principles which Her Majesty is bound to uphold and maintain? But let me take another argument. Unfortunately the Treasury Bench is now deserted. This, my Lord—(Lord Dufferin, who was at that moment the only occupant of the Treasury Bench)—is the Bench on which sit the representatives of the Queen's supremacy. On this Bench, and a Bench of still greater importance in the Lower House, business is carried on by a firm trading under the title of Henry VIII. and Co. You are responsible for the acts of Her Majesty; and you are responsible, too, if by your advice, contrary to the honour of the Crown and the advantage to the kingdom, you abridge the number of persons who are willing from their hearts to recognize Her Majesty's ecclesiastical supremacy. That Bench gives no answer! Would you so tamely witness an unwise and unnecessary reduction in our Army or our Navy? But, in reference to the general question, let me presume for a moment to speak from my own personal experience. I have myself served as a chaplain in the Army, and I have seen how it is possible for the three forms of Establishment which you find in Ireland to work together harmoniously. Now, when I was serving in the Army in New Zealand, I was one of three military chaplains who all held the commission of Her Majesty. There was an excellent chaplain of the Roman Catholic Church, an Irishman, who had served a long time in the garrison of Dublin, and who had attained the military rank of lieutenant colonel. There was a Presbyterian chaplain — appointed, of course, from the Established, and not the Tree, Church of Scotland, because the Established Church is the only one out of which Her Majesty could select Presbyterian chaplains for the Army; and there was myself, who was then only a fourth-class chaplain. Now, what did I find? Instead of the bickerings and animosities that elsewhere prevail among religious bodies, the Roman Catholic chaplain being a field officer, and, as such, entitled to a double hut, came to me as soon as I appeared in camp— "I have got two rooms, you must take one of them." Some of the Roman Catholic officers said—"They would stare at this in Ireland." But what was yet more remarkable—to show how charity grows when you get rid of all these political complications—yes, but it does not prove anything in favour of disestablishment, but that charity and good feeling prevailed because all the persons thus engaged in teaching the soldiers their religious duties received their commissions alike from Her Majesty, and that without the slightest reference to the proportion of numbers in the Army. There was no calculation of heads as to whether there were so many Church of England soldiers, or so many Presbyterians, or so many Roman Catholics. If the Roman Catholics had been in the majority, no one would have advised Her Majesty to disestablish the clergyman of the Anglican communion, or if the Church of England soldiers had been in the majority, no one would have suggested that the Presbyterian chaplain should be disestablished. The most amicable relations prevailed on all sides. When that excellent man the Roman Catholic chaplain offered me this, I said—"Are you quite right in doing this according to your rules and ordinances?" He said— "What do you mean?" I replied—"I mean what I say." Whereupon he returned—"If my superiors were to attempt to bar me from exercising the sacred duty of hospitality, I would throw up my commission rather than submit to it." And I say that, in the same way, if you would only consent to let alone these exciting feelings, to deal with this matter constitutionally, as one affecting the whole Empire—if you would not call us together here again and again with all these agitating questions, wasting our time upon politics, and sending out emissaries of strife to all the most remote parts of the Empire—if you would only advise Her Majesty to give such commissions as she pleases to as many clergymen, as appears proper of the United Church of England and Ireland, or such commissions as she thinks proper to the Presbyterian clergy of the North of Ireland, and also to the priests of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, I believe the result would be most happy. And if these persons are content to accept endowments and honours, by all means let it be so; nay, if Her Majesty should be pleased to call to her councils one who the other day stood at the foot of the Throne—once my dear brother, and now my dear friend, Archbishop Manning—I for one should never object, because whom my Sovereign delighteth to honour I will also delight to honour. The noble Duke the other evening accused us of thundering out all manner of unkind and uncharitable words against our Roman Catholic brethren— but I, at least, believe I have not laid myself open to the charge. For twenty-five or twenty-six years I have lived in perfect amity with all religious denominations. I never had strife of any kind with any minister of religion. And it is because I believe that all denominations can live in friendship that I beseech your Lordships, in spite of the so-called verdict of the nation, to allow us a little breathing time before you throw the apple of discord among all the religious bodies of Ireland; I am afraid that the appeal will not be acceded to—but liberavi animam meam. Now, my Lords, we have heard a good deal about justice to Ireland, and it has been asked what that means. I confess I was very much shocked when the noble Duke told us that the members of the Roman Catholic Church had steadily voted for the destruction of the Irish Establishment. I am not so well read as the noble Duke is in all the questions of the time; but I think I remember that Roman Catholic Emancipation was granted on the understanding—an understanding sanctioned by an oath—that the men who were then admitted to full civil equality and equal political privileges should not use their power against the Church as by law established. Now, my Lords, so much has been said on this subject—so many taunts have been thrown out against those who refer either to the Coronation Oath, or to the Oath for the maintenance of the Protestant religion—that I feel unwilling to say anything more. But when we were exhorted by the noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies to love one another, it really seemed to me —I do not use the word, invidiously— something bike mockery; it was as if he had said—"We all love one another so well, that we need not talk about such trifles as oaths." My Lords, this is really a very serious matter when one section of our fellow-subjects are bent upon destroying that Church, which for so many years they have sworn to maintain. I put it to their own consciences, whether they are released from the obligations of the oath. Did they not accept Roman Catholic emancipation as a boon? Did they not in consideration of that been waive all objections to the Established Church? Can they then conscientiously say that they are released from that obligation, merely because a mixed majority made up of all classes of persons, actuated by all manner of motives, have concurred to send up a majority of 115 to the House of Commons— including those whose votes, I think, ought never to have been given on this question at all. Now, my Lords, that I consider to be a real substantial grievance —a grievance of which, on the part of the Irish Church, we have a perfect right to complain, that their property is to be taken away; that they are to have no longer their status in society, and that, whilst nothing can deprive them of their power of serving God and winning souls, everything of which the State can possibly deprive them is to be taken away. Therefore, when we talk of justice to Ireland, do let us consider what Ire- land we mean. Let us take care that in doing justice to the southern part of Ireland we do not do injustice to the North; in doing justice to the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Ireland that we do not do injustice to the Protestants. There is injustice in every part of this Bill. There is a recognition of life interests in the case of one class of persons and not of another. There is a recognition of the life interests of the Bishops; there is a recognition of the life interests of the clergy; but there is one higher life interest which this Bill does not recognize—the life interests of the whole body of the laity. When I come to any special case—the case of the Bishops, for instance—I say that there is the greatest injustice in it. As Spiritual Peers of Parliament I think we are bound to protect them in the position they now hold. In proposing to expel from this House these excellent men, we are committing an injustice far greater than that of maintaining an Established. Church in the face of a majority of the Irish people. My Lords, you have recognized the life interest of the Bishops in other matters. You have even by this Bill recognized their life interest in the mysteries of Court precedence, which are buried somewhere in the office of the Lord Chamberlain or of the Heralds. But I ask you, do you think so little of the honour of sitting in this House that you think you inflict no disgrace on these good men by expelling them from it? You are much better able than I am to judge of the ignominy to which you are exposing them; and if that noble Earl again were here who taught us that touching lesson about loving one another, I should just ask him—"Would you like to be turned out of the House of Lords?" My Lords, I must ask leave to speak very plainly on this subject. You cannot expect me, feeling as I do, to vote for the expulsion of these right rev. Brethren of mine. You cannot expect me to desert them as mice—I will not say rats—desert a sinking ship. Sink or swim, as a Bishop of the United Church of England and Ireland, I stand by the side of these right rev. Prelates, and I tell you plainly that, much as I value my seat in this House, I would rather be turned out myself than vote for their expulsion. On the question of public opinion, the noble Duke who spoke last (the Duke of Argyll) claimed a large measure of con- fidence on that point. I am not in the least the kind of man to defy public opinion. I am the Bishop of a diocese containing 1,000,000 of men, and I am ready at any moment to go into the middle of the market-place at Wolverhampton to justify my vote. And when the noble Duke has claimed on his side a large portion of the representation of the country, because he and his friends have reduced the franchise, let us see how the case stands. The constituencies before Lord Grey's Reform Act numbered 500,000; they were raised by that Act, and by the natural increase of the population, to 1,300,000—a number which the Reform Act of 1868 raised to 2,500,000. There are, I believe, in the United Kingdom, 30,000,000 of people —one-half of whom may be assumed to be women. Of the 15,000,000 males, I allow 5,000,000 for those under twenty-one years of age. There remains, then, 10,000,000 of adult men in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, out of which 2,500,000, or about one-quarter, have votes. Now, my Lords, I speak in the interests of the 7,500,000 souls who have no votes. I claim for them the benefit of this principle of Establishment. Those persons who benefit by household suffrage, are able to pay for Churches and ministers for themselves. The very fact that they are rate-payers proves that they have property, and the fact that, for the most part, they live in great towns, proves that, whether they pay for it or not, they have the means of attending religious services. But in many of the rural parishes, and especially in Irish rural parishes, the poorer people would not have similar facilities without an Established Church. An Established Church provides them with Divine worship and the ministrations of a clergy. The persons who have the franchise pay rates, and it is not probable that they would be in favour of paying taxes to supply the people with Divine worship. As Jeremy Bentham says, an assembly of tax-payers is no more likely to be in favour of taxes than a council of horses would be to favour bits. The poor are the very persons for whom an Established Church seeks to provide. It is in the interests of those poor persons that I speak. Who is there to protect their interests? The Queen is the protector of their interests; and the prin- ciple of Establishments protects them. Speaking from my experience in the colonies, where we are non-established, I can bear testimony to the fact, that the effect of the rivalry that exists between the religious bodies is to prevent the Government making any allowance whatever for chaplains for gaols or hospitals. The consequence is that those who so specially need the ministrations of religion are left to voluntary action. We have been taunted with not having a policy. I must say my own opinion is that the Government have begun at the wrong end; and we are taking the secondary remedy instead of the primary; for the real difficulty and danger in Ireland everybody admits is the land. Why not then go boldly into the question of the land, and adopt a sound solid system which should institute honest and intelligent farmers in the possession of a portion of the land which they till? Your Lordships will doubtless recollect the letter written by Mr. Bright, in which he proposes a plan for buying up certain estates in Ireland and ultimately selling them to the Irish peasantry. The right hon. Gentleman says that he doubts whether this measure could be carried out in the then Parliament; but that, when the voice of the people should have been heard in the new Parliament, he believed it could be done. Now, my Lords, either the voice of the people is not expressed by the present Parliament, or else, according to Mr. Bright, the land scheme could be carried by it. And, indeed, I myself do not see why that should not be the case. In New Zealand Englishmen, Scotchmen, and Irishmen live together upon the best terms; the qualities of each particular class become blended with each, other to the improvement of all. No dissension as to tenant-right can arise, because every tenant has the right of purchasing the land he holds at a fixed price. Under these circumstances, the tenants, instead of being lazy and drunken, strain every nerve in order to save the money which will enable them to become the proprietors of the land they occupy. In this way it happens that the most irregular people of the Irish race become steady and industrious people, acquiring property and losing all their wandering habits, until it becomes almost impossible to distinguish between the comparative value of the character of the Irish and Scotch elements. Of their loyalty to the Crown I can speak from my own observation, for the only regiment that is employed in keeping order in New Zealand is Her Majesty's Royal Irish. Now, my Lords, I have not the slightest hope that any of these suggestions of mine will be adopted; but I think it right to say that one Member of the Cabinet has suggested similar remedies, and that is Mr. Bright. I am the more thankful to make this statement after what occurred in your Lordships' House yesterday; and I think your Lordships will regard the letter I have referred to from that right hon. Gentleman this evening as containing good practical wisdom. With reference to the question that has been raised as to the difference between private and public property, I must say that, in my opinion, to draw any such distinction is most unwise. I cannot see how property dedicated to the service of God should change its character and should cease to be property, while it would remain property if it stood as an ornamental ruin in your parks. I can assure your Lordships that if these doctrines are insisted upon you will strike at the whole charity of the country, and that the greater part of the benevolence of England will fall into the hands of that triumvirate which sits in the palace which was built by the Protector Somerset out of the spoils of the Church. My Lords, I speak on the present occasion under circumstances of grave disadvantage, for I have the misfortune to differ in opinion from the most rev. Primate, who has approved the second reading of the Bill. In the last Session of Parliament, a noble Lord uttered the prediction that, when a crisis like the present arose, the troops—meaning the defenders of the Irish Church— would not stand. My Lords, the troops are not standing, and the noble Lord who made that prediction has been the first to give way. But, my Lords, I recollect with pleasure that this is the day of the month when some troops did stand while others fled, and, my Lords, I also recollect that this year is the centenary of the birth of the gallant man under whose command they did stand. My Lords, the words of that great man may have faded from your Lordships' memories, but they still live and burn in mine. He said in this House— It has been my fortune to live among people of many different religions. I have lived among Hindoos and among Mahomedans; but, whatever their religion might be, I never found a country that did not make a public provision for religious worship. My Lords, I believe this Bill to be the beginning of a war against all Establishments in both Great Britain and Ireland. I believe it to be an infringement of many statutes, a tampering with many oaths, and a violation of many solemn treaties. I believe that it tends naturally to the destruction of God's truth; and, therefore, however painful, the necessity lies upon me to vote against the second reading. My Lords, I can only repeat the words of Luther—"Here I stand— I cannot do otherwise." If you carry your point, I hope that such an example of conciliation as this Bill will be may have some effect in producing a reciprocity in Rome. I hope that we shall not be obliged after the passing of this Act to worship God outside the walls of Rome. I hope—although, possibly, the hope is vain—that the time will come when the hills of Rome will not pour forth like volcanic lava maledictions upon nations thirsting for liberty; that the time may come when the Vatican Mount will not echo back the roar of French artillery—when the temporal throne will not be guarded against its own subjects and against the voice of a united Italy by foreign arms; and when—instead of the scarecrow we have heard so graphically described—the dove of Peace may build her nest upon the tiara of a disestablished Pope. My Lords, I look forward in the hope that these may be the results following upon this Act. And, my Lords, I have this consolation, that however erroneous the great act of conciliation may now appear to be, I hope it will be regarded in the great Council which is about to be assembled in Rome, that, in spite of all the crimes and mistakes which occurred in the dim twilight of the English Reformation, to the light of the English Bible that then rose upon our land it is owing that the British Parliament is now assembled resolved, in a spirit of impartial justice and of comprehensive charity, to redress the wrongs of Ireland and to heal her bleeding wounds.


My Lords, there are two subjects before your Lordships —in the first place, the Irish Church, which it is stated is full of evil and a crying injustice; and, in the second place, the present Bill, which is to remedy those evils. Assuming for the moment that the state of Ireland requires some remedy, I will turn to the Bill which has been introduced by Her Majesty's Government, and which we are told will effect the object they have in view. My Lords, I am sorry to say that I believe that Bill to be fraught with far greater injustice, and full of more unconstitutional principles, and altogether far worse than the evils which it professes to remedy. I believe it to be not only evil in itself, but that if carried it will be provocative of still greater evils— — mox daturus Progeniem vitiosiorem. The remedy is worse than the disease. Now I shall be told that the logical conclusion to be drawn from what I have said would be to say that it is our duty to reject the Bill. But, my Lords, I cannot accept that conclusion. I believe that you are bound by an obligation of honour, as much as you are bound by the dictates of a wise policy, not to reject the Bill, but to accept it—not finally as it stands, but for the purpose of amending it; and then if it should not be received in its amended form by the other House of Parliament I shall heartily join with your Lordships in refusing to allow it a place on the statute book. My Lords, the Bill is one of destruction—I want you to make it one of beneficial reform. I have said that you were under an obligation of honour in the matter, and I will tell you to what I allude. Last Session, when the Suspensory Bill was in this House, it was said that this question must go to the hustings, and the Government of the day said they were willing to abide by the issue. Well, my Lords, the people at the hustings most undoubtedly have returned a verdict, as it is called, establishing this— that in their opinion the Irish Church is a grave evil, and that that evil requires to be remedied. If you told the people that you would abide by their verdict, it is your duty to fulfil your obligation. But to what extent does that obligation go? My Lords, I desire carefully to discriminate and to endeavour to express with accuracy what I believe to be the position in which we stand in a constitutional point of view. The people have a right to express their opinions upon an important subject. At the last General Election they did so, and they pointed out an evil which, in their opinion, demanded redress at your hands. But it is not the duty of the people, nor is it within their competence, to accompany their representations of the evil with a statement of the legislative measures which you are to adopt. Legislation for the removal of the evils presented to you as existing belongs to your deliberative wisdom. If the people have chosen to affirm that the Irish Church is an evil, it is not to be supposed—as many times it has been supposed in this debate—that the verdict of the hustings involves the acceptance either of this measure or of the principle of disestablishment and disendowment. My Lords, constitutionally, it involves nothing of the kind. Disestablishment and disendowment are conclusions which it peculiarly belongs to the wisdom of Parliament to accept or reject. There are certain modes undoubtedly of remedying the evil; but they are not within the power of the people to dictate—they are entirely within your competency to determine. I agree with the right rev. Prelate who spoke last (the Bishop of Lichfield) in many of his remarks, though I cannot agree with him in all the principles he laid down—I fear that we must come back to the sterner realities of national life. But when I am told that we must look to the verdict of the country as conclusive on the subjects of disestablishment and disendowment—words which I agree with the right rev. Prelate are of very ugly coinage—I will say that I do not believe there was one man in 20,000 who had the least conception of the proper meaning of these words. And though I desire to speak with unfeigned respect of my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, yet, judging by the speech which he delivered in introducing his Motion, I would not venture to say that those words are rightly understood even by the Members of Her Majesty's Government. I am perfectly confident that if they were called upon to pass a logical examination, or if the Civil Service Commissioners were to examine them as to the meaning of these words, we should have many discordant answers and many contradictory interpretations. So much with regard to the hustings. But I entirely agree that if the people again and again present an evil to be redressed, and you are aware that they know what they want—if you are aware that they understand the subject—if they come to you several times with an understanding mind—then it is the duty of Parliament not to stand in the way of the fulfilment of the desires of the people. So, in like manner, with regard to the other House of Parliament. If they send up to you a measure once, twice, or three times, according to its nature well-considered and seriously required, you are not to stand between them and the object; you are bound to assume that what is so presented by the representatives of the people is, in reality vox populi, when that vox populi is properly expressed, not in clamorous tones—not when the people imagine a vain thing—but speaking with an understanding mind. My noble Friend below me (the Duke of Argyll) seems to think that this is a matter for merriment. I am very glad to have an opportunity of assuring him that it is a serious constitutional matter, which I hope hereafter he will lay to heart. I can understand that a great deal of what he has heard appears to him quite heretical and erroneous, for it is clear that he has been in the habit of looking at all these matters through a distorted glass. I do not mean to impugn or weaken the wit of my noble Friend, and, even though he has laughed at that which is a very serious truth, I do not think the worse of him, as I have a very high opinion of his judgment and knowledge. Having endeavoured to lay down what I hold to be the true constitutional principle in this matter, I will add that I entirely concur with the opinions expressed by the noble Marquess who spoke last night (the Marquess of Salisbury). I beg your Lordships to consider how important it is that, in this stage of the argument, we should remember what the position of this House would be if we refused to give attention to requests so explicitly made to it by the people. That would convert your Lordships into a tyrannical oligarchy—because, in truth, you would be refusing to the people the benefits of Parliamentary representation. Passing from that subject there are two or three topics which are constantly put forth in this argument, and which, it seems to me, desirable to look into, to prevent, as far as we can, the possibility of misapprehension upon matters so serious. A great deal has been said by different Members of this House on the subject of the Coronation Oath. This is a very serious subject, and therefore to be viewed with considerable caution. The true principle was, I think, rightly stated by my noble Friend the Master of the Rolls. But since that speech was delivered the topic has been adverted to by many Members, and particularly by the noble Earl who began the debate last night (Earl Russell). The Coronation Oath, notwithstanding its solemnity, is nothing in the world more than a compact between the Crown and the people. It is a very solemn compact; but it remains a compact, notwithstanding the solemnity of the sanction which is given to it. It is denominated in the language of the jurists "jus pro populo introductum;" and the termination of that contract is with equal truth described as "renunciare juri pro se introducto." If you, representing one party to the compact, obtain a measure from Parliament which appears to militate against the language of the Oath, and if you come to the Crown releasing it from the obligation to perform a portion of the duty to which the Crown is bound by the Oath, there can be no doubt that the obligation is effectually released, and that the Crown is relieved from all responsibility in the matter. I pass from that to the Act of Union. The noble Earl, and several others who spoke in the course of the debate, laid down the doctrine, and told you distinctly that the Act of Union was more than an Act of Parliament—that it was a Treaty. In this there was a very great fallacy, because it was discussed by the noble Earl as if one party to the Treaty was desirous of putting an end to it, and thereby of violating the rights of the other. Now, undoubtedly, it is quite true that if there be a solemn engagement completed between two parties, consisting of several articles, and if by one of the parties one of these articles is broken, that releases the other party from the obligation of performing the rest. But the fallacy lies in supposing that one party to the Treaty is doing so. The noble Earl told you last night that this contract was made with a Protestant Parliament. That matters not. They who come here now with this Bill, and against whom the Act of Union is quoted, represent not one party to the Treaty merely, but they represent the people of England, Ireland, and Scotland too. It is not one party to the Treaty which desires to be released, but it is both parties —it is the representatives of the three Kingdoms, who come here by common consent, and ask to have a particular part of this Treaty altered and omitted. There is no difficulty, therefore, either in the Coronation Oath or the Act of Union. The same principles apply to one as to the other; both are within the competence of Parliament to alter, however strong may have been the attempts of Parliaments in former ages to bind their successors. Now I pass to another subject, which has been mentioned a good deal, and I hope to express an accurate view of what is the true principle of the law on the subject of property. You have been told again and again of the difference between private and corporate property—and I observed that a great deal of the argument in "another place" turned on that distinction. Now, between private property and the property of corporations as property there is no difference at all. The title to one is the same as the title to the other—the difference is between the characters of the recipients and holders of property. A private individual is a natural growth, while a corporation is an artificial creation of society. But you cannot take away the property of a corporation, except on grounds correspondent to those which guide you in confiscating the property of an individual. If the corporation fails to perform its mission, if it refuses to fulfil its obligations, and it no longer discharges its trust, then undoubtedly it is competent to the State to destroy the corporation, and by destroying it you confiscate the property belonging to it. But while the corporation performs its functions, while it is not amenable to any indictment, or to any charge of violating its duty, its property is as sacred in the eye of the law as the property of any individual. That, my Lord, is most germane to the argument upon which we are engaged—because it has been assumed that you may deal with the Irish Church just as you would deal with a delinquent corporation. Consider for a moment what are the charges laid against the Irish Church. Are they any of them at all of the nature of those that would be required to disfranchise and dissolve a corporation and take away its property? I will come to that subject more fully presently; but I now appeal to all your Lordships whether you have heard in the course of this debate any accusation against the Irish Church; which, if it were a corporation —as it is not—it is rather a part of your Constitution—a great institution of the country; but if it had been merely a civil or municipal corporation, I ask is there anything in the world alleged against it which would have justified any court of law or any tribunal whatever in pronouncing that civil corporation liable to be disfranchised, and dissolved, and deprived of its property? I am sure I may appeal to every one of your Lordships that there is nothing— at least so far as you have yet heard— which would justify any tribunal in declaring of the Irish Church, if it were a corporation, that it was a delinquent corporation. There is another topic to which I will for a moment direct your Lordships' attention. You have heard a great deal about State endowments, and you have been told that the Irish Church received its endowments from the State, and that therefore it was competent for the State to resume that which it had given. Now, my Lords, that is altogether historically untrue. There never has been any grant made by the State to the Irish Church. There was, indeed, property belonging to the Irish Roman Catholic Church; and the Irish Reformed Church, by force of the statute of the 2nd Elizabeth, succeeded to the possession of that property. That property never arose from the State, nor sprang from donations made by the State. That property was the accumulation of the charitable gifts of individuals who, in the early stages of Christianity, following the example and the precepts supposed to be contained in the Old Testament, dedicated the tithes of their lands voluntarily to the service of the Church and the purposes of the teaching and the spreading of Christianity. Those donations were collected by degrees in the hands of the Church, and being found in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, passed into the hands of the Church in its reformed state, under the statute which I have named, and so became the property of the Irish branch of the Reformed Church. It is, therefore, quite a mistake to suppose that the State, as a State, has given, and therefore can take away; and that if it ap- peared to the State at one time to be right to give, the State is justified upon other and different grounds in resuming what it has given. That is a great fallacy; it never was given by the State; it is due to the generosity of those who were not the State; and the Irish Church is in reason and in justice as much entitled to retain it as you would be entitled to retain the bounty you receive from the generosity or benevolence of any individual. I now come, my Lords, to a matter which, to my mind, has been productive of very grave error in the course of this debate, and that is the meaning of the word "Establishment." I have observed that throughout this debate noble Lords have generally used that term with reference only to the outward constitution of the Church— namely, to its staff of officers, and the provision made for their support. My Lords, these are not the Irish Church, although they are contained in it. The Establishment is that portion of the law which has enacted that a certain religion, consisting of the Creeds of the Church of England, her Articles and her Common Prayer and the Act of Uniformity, should be the established religion in Ireland. The Establishment is the religion required by law to be preached and taught through the medium of the diocesan and parochial clergy; and the diocesan and parochial system are incidental to that Establishment; but the Establishment may continue although you take away all the staff of officers incident to it. The Establishment is the Church; it is the religion which you have imposed by law upon this country and upon Ireland also; and that is a most sacred thing, not to be dealt with in the manner that Her Majesty's Government propose, but to be preserved as the most sacred gift that you could bestow upon Ireland, and which is not therefore to be taken away upon any such light grounds as I have heard in the course of this debate. My Lords, before I proceed further to consider the principles embodied in this Bill, let me advert to one or two general considerations connected with the measure and with the time of its introduction. For myself I must say I cannot imagine anything more unhappy than the particular time selected by Her Majesty's Government for the introduction of this Bill. It comes with no grace of generosity, because it will be regarded everywhere as the mere off- spring of fear—the mere child of terror. You have embodied in this measure a great statement. That statement is this —that the Irish Church is a great injustice—a wicked evil, and ought never to have been imposed upon the Irish people. So says the Irish peasant, and he will also say this—"You came into our country with an army; you earned your Church in one hand, and fire and sword in the other. You fastened your Church upon us; you burnt our dwellings; you slew us in the field; you murdered us on the scaffold; you confiscated our land, and gave it to an alien and a Protestant proprietary. We rejoice at your penitence. You have taken 300 years to learn the dictates of religion and the rules of justice; it is a somewhat tardy application of them, but better late than never. We give you all credit for your sincerity and truth; and therefore, as you did us injustice then, which we will charitably forgive, no doubt you will complete your work of penitence by restoring to us the lands of which you robbed us." Will you, my Lords, accept these as the principles of justice and the principles of religion and say—"Thus far shall we go and no further?" Shall a man come to me who has disendowed and disestablished me by knocking me down and picking my pocket, and then, while telling me he is very sorry indeed for what he has done, say to me—"I don't intend to return you your purse?" My Lords, it is impossible to bring the mind of the Irish peasant to any other conclusion than this. Do you think he will be satisfied if I tell him, as a lawyer—"Oh, there have been 300 years of possession. I am sorry that we can't take away the land that was confiscated, but we will take away the property of the Church." Would he not at once say—"We will take the law into our own hands in order to carry out the dictates of our reason? The destruction of the Church is the only good thing we have from you; you must do complete justice; and that complete justice we are determined to have." My Lords, it was on that ground that I besought the Government some time ago to give us the Land Bill first, and the Church Bill afterwards, or to give us both together. My Lords, if I were to denominate the Bill I have now before me, and to speak of its technical arti- ficial nature, I should have to borrow a term from Mr. Burke as applicable to its authors, and say they were ''admirable architects of ruin." I find nothing in it but destruction, and I am afraid it may be the herald of other Bills constituted on the same principle. It is clear that this is not the only question—for Mr. Gladstone, in one of his speeches said— It is clear that the Church of Ireland is indeed a great question, but even that question is but one of three. There is the Church of Ireland, there is the land of Ireland, there is the education of Ireland. They are all so many branches from one trunk, and that trunk is the tree of what is called Protestant ascendancy. Well, now my Lords, this Bill is to cut down Protestant ascendancy and produce equality. I do not want to consider only part of this great subject; I want to consider the whole. I apprehend evil consequences from what I find here enacted, unless Her Majesty's Government will relieve us from all apprehension by telling us that the principles laid down in this Bill are not followed out to their logical consequences either in their Land or in their Education Bill. I should have been very glad had the suggestion I made met with any response, for it was made, not in the spirit of obstruction, but in the desire that we should have the full policy of the Government before us —because, as I found fault with this Bill, I hoped to find some compensation in their land measure. Now, that the land measure is the most important no one can read a page of the history of Ireland without being convinced. Long before the English invasion—long before the Reformation—Ireland presented, as she now presents, a constant contest for the land. Hence arose violent animosimosities, murders—in fact, all the outrages which are so painfully familiar to us. What is the reason? Ireland had no manufactures — she was overpeopled—her only support was the land, and for the land people quarrelled as they did since, and do now; and they are now only waiting in grim repose to know what Her Majesty's Government will do with the land, as the logical consequence of this measure. Passing by that, and coming to another consideration, I ask your Lordships to cast back your memory to the Plantation of Ulster and the garrison that was placed there. Was it, I ask, desirable at this juncture to alienate the affections of that large body of the people of Ireland? I apprehend it was not. I grieve over it that this Bill should have been reserved for this time. It is a Bill of the most extraordinary kind. I have little love for the atomic theory, but I confess this Bill appears to me to be in itself a perfect realization of "the fortuitous concurrence" of intellectual atoms, being the joint production of Her Majesty's Government and the Liberation Society. I pass on to consider the next matter to which I wish to call your attention— namely, the charges which have been brought against the Irish Church. The Irish Church is not charged with irreligion, with immorality, with neglect of duty, with teaching false doctrine. Nothing of the kind. There is a general testimony borne to the excellence of her clergy, to the care with which they discharge their offices, to the fidelity of their ministrations. But the Irish Church is charged with this—and I confess rightly —that she has absorbed all the provision that was made for the religious worship and religious education of the entirety of the Irish people. That is the evil, I admit. I cannot try the Irish Church for things done 300 years ago; I will not be one to cast upon her the odium of those abominable laws which grew more out of political feeling—a notion of political necessity—than from religious animosity. To judge the matter fairly, you must carry yourselves back to the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century, and remark the feelings that then agitated Europe—the division of the whole body of the people into two great classes, Protestant and Catholic, struggling for superiority—the Protestants trying to reduce the Roman Catholics, wherever the Protestants were superior, to the condition of hewers of wood and drawers of water. They were deprived of all offices in the State; they were deprived of even the ordinary rights of parents over their children:— but all this was to be ascribed to the erroneous political principles of the time, and must not be fastened on the back of the Irish Church. That being so, I say the only indictment you can bring against the Irish Church is the indictment that not by her own exertions, but under the operation of the laws passed for her establishment, she has absorbed and now holds the provision made for the worship and religious education of the whole people. Undoubtedly that is a very serious charge. The remedy for that evil—in the view of all honest, able, humane men—is to make a re-distribution of that property, not to take it away. Is it not an absurd thing to say to the Irish Church—"You have arrogated, you have monopolized what was given for the teaching of the whole notion, and therefore we will take it all away, and we will not, as this profane Bill says, allow 1s. to be dedicated to the teaching of religion." I am glad to see that my noble Friend (Earl Granville) is pleased with that. I think that would be a very absurd thing and a very cruel thing to do. But such is the absurd logic of Her Majesty's Government. The Government charge the Irish Church with having monopolized the whole provision for the religious worship and teaching of the people, and therefore it is to be taken away, put into private pockets, and devoted to uses that possibly may produce political results. So much, my Lords, for the justice and morality of this measure. What I want you, my Lords, to do is this—to admit the justice of the case, but to express it in a different way. It is a very remarkable thing—but sometimes there are remarkable concourses—it is a most singular thing that Her Majesty's Government should have stumbled upon the enunciation of this very principle, and embodied it in the Preamble of the Bill. Now, what can be better than to repudiate the Preamble? For you will observe that the legislation within the ambit of a Bill really ought not to contradict the Preamble, which unfortunately is the case in this Bill. It was said some time ago that you should re-distribute the funds, and give to each of the religious denominations an appropriate part. But then, unfortunately, that does not seem to have been in harmony with the principles adopted by the Liberation Society, and the Liberation Society, therefore, wrote what follows the Preamble; but the Preamble remains as a monument of the better sense of justice of Her Majesty's Government. The Preamble begins by stating the expediency of dissolving the union between the two Churches, and then it proceeds to deal with the Church property, and then it goes on to enunciate principles which are governed by the words—"It is expedient." It is expedient that, after satisfying, as far as possible, upon principles of equality as between the several religious denominations in Ireland all just and equitable claims, the property of the Church should be applied to certain other purposes. Now, here we have three things. We get first the acknowledgment that there are in Ireland several religious denominations; we get further the acknowledgment that these religious denominations have separately just and equitable claims; and we then get the rule laid down that out of the property of the Church those just and equitable claims must first be satisfied before we proceed to the secularization of the rest of the property. Now, I beg your Lordships to consider what answer is to be given to the question, what are the just and equitable claims of a religious denomination? I suppose, my Lords, that the just and equitable claims of every religious denomination are that provision should be made for the ministers who have done their work. Undoubtedly that is a claim both just and equitable. I apprehend that another claim would be that their places of worship should be maintained for them. According to the principles of this Bill the just and equitable claims of the various denominations are to be first provided for. Observe, that this is not a claim confined to the Protestants belonging to the Irish Church, or to the Presbyterians; but it is a claim extending to all religious denominations, and is, according to the Preamble of the Bill, to be the first provided for. Now, I say that is just what I desire to do, and, I ask, will you accept that principle? Equal distribution is the only conclusion reconcilable with humanity and law.

My Lords, property given for the maintenance of religion—for religious worship and religious teaching—is, in the eye of the law, property given to a charitable trust; and whatever time may have elapsed, whatever improprieties may have been committed in the employment of the property, the law claims the right to restore the trust and property to its original uses. Now when tithes and other property of the like destination in the early ages were dedicated to Christianity, before the unhappy distinctions of Romanist and Protestant and Presbyterian were known, they were applicable, in the eye of the law, to the great purpose of teaching Christianity, and they are so applicable now; and all denominations are entitled on that principle, if you bring back the trust to the rules that should govern its administration, to participate in that property. I find in the Roman Catholics a right to a portion — the Protestant Church has a right to a portion, and the Presbyterians have a right to a portion, and I think that is the proper interpretation of the words of the Preamble—"the just and equitable claims" of the several religious denominations. Now I beg your Lordships to raise your thoughts above the mode in which you are in the habit of considering matters of this kind. We should regard the property of the Irish Church by this broad light, and by this light we should proceed with its distribution. Observe, my Lords, that this view of the matter has at least one merit — it strips the case of that which, although it is a distinction only in words, has given rise to a great part of the bigoted feeling which this Bill has raised. I do not make a new endowment of the Catholic Church. I simply recognize the original title of the Catholic Church to a portion of the property; I recognize the injustice of taking away from her that portion, and I proceed upon the principle of restitution, and not of new endowment. I have a conviction of the injustice which now exists, and I wish to remedy that injustice in a manner which would prevent the property being taken from those entitled to it and diverted to other and unworthy purposes. My voice may be but "as the voice of one crying in the wilderness," but, recollect, that voice was the voice of truth, which ultimately prevailed. I hope we shall deal with this property upon a recognition of the great claims on the part of the Roman Catholics to a portion, on the part of the Presbyterian Church to a portion, and on the part of the Protestant Church to a portion. It is said that the Roman Catholics will not accept endowment, and that, therefore, it is unnecessary to consider that point. Your Lordships will find an admirable answer to that objection in Sydney Smith's works. He recommends you to place a certain sum at the disposal of a Roman Catholic Bishop. If it were not accepted it was to be lodged at a banker's in the name of the clergyman, and then, he said, you will see how long the self-denying spirit of the clergy- man will allow it to remain uncalled for. There is a great deal of truth in that humourous illustration. It seems to me also that there is a great deal of good sense in the proposal of concurrent endowment—which comes to us recommended by the opinions of the gravest statesmen and the most anxious patriots who have considered the subject. They all find that that is the system which justice requires and true policy recommends; and I think, also, that it is what humanity and wisdom dictate. Now, is it too late to try the experiment? Would it not be better than to give the money to lunatic asylums, which I cannot help thinking rather a reproach to Ireland? Has my noble Friend any particular regard for nurses, and their relation to the family; for that is another object of the Bill? Seriously, my Lords, I ask you to consider whether you will not even now take the advice of those who have counselled us from time to time in this matter, and parcel the loaves and fishes of the Church in due proportion among all who labour in the vineyard—regarding that vineyard not as your own little bit of ground, but as one united field of labour for all who minister in it, whatever their religious opinions and whatever their denomination. I have thrown this out for your consideration, because I believe such a system would be wholly conformable with justice and good policy. I have now only to call attention to the extraordinary manner in which Her Majesty's Government deals with the Church regarded as an established religion in Ireland. By the second provision of the Bill it is enacted that the union between the two Churches be dissolved, and that the State Church of Ireland, hereinafter referred to as the said Church, shall cease to be established in law. The said Church—it runs throughout—is by the Bill interpreted to be the Church of Ireland as she existed anterior to the Act of Union; and this Church of Ireland is to cease to be established in law. What will be the result? Her Bishops and Archbishops will be deprived of their ecclesiastical status, and are to be dissolved. What will happen after that operation it is exceedingly difficult to say. Dissolved! I can easily enter into the feelings of right rev. Prelates who have spoken on this subject. The relation of the Archbishop to the Church in Ireland depends in law upon his re- taining his legal status, and his legal status is that of a corporation. When the Archbishop, therefore, is dissolved, and the Church is disestablished, the Archbishop will be one of that mob—I speak deferentially—to which the Church will be reduced by disestablishment. The Archbishop being dissolved—what may be the machinery for effecting that purpose I do not pretend to conjecture—he loses legally and ecclesiastically all relation whatever to the Church. His Province is gone also; that is dissolved. He and the Province become strangers. His relation to his suffragans is dissolved also. They may still hob and hob together, but ecclesiastically and legally they know each other no more. [Earl GRANVILLE: Look at Clause 13.] Such is the notion which the Government have of an Archbishop. He is to be dissolved; he is to be driven out of the House of Lords. But, as my noble Friend invites me, I turn now to Clause 13 and I find this— Provided that every present Archbishop, Bishop, and Dean of the said Church shall during his life enjoy the same title and precedence as if this Act had not passed. "Title and precedence!" Why, we are talking about ecclesiastical rights. This Bill cannot be understood by the authors of it. You permit the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Armagh) to retain the name and with it the rank and precedence when he is invited to dinner; and so with all the eliminated Bishops. And that, says my noble Friend, amounts to a saving of ecclesiastical status! Otherwise all their ecclesiastical character will be gone. The incumbent will lose his character as such. The diocesan system will come to an end. The parochial system will come to an end. There is no spiritual relation that will be at all recognized between the Archbishop and his suffragans, between the Bishop and the diocesan clergy, between the incumbent and his parishioners; and no incumbent can claim the right of performing public worship in his own parish. My Lords, I now beg your attention to another matter. According to the unholy views of the framers of the Bill, from and after the 1st of January, 1871, unless there be some further enactment, no single marriage can be performed in Ireland between persons of the Protestant faith. I hope the Government will take this seriously to heart, because I have generally understood that the Irish people are given to marriage. As the Bill stands on this point it seems to open Tip as bad a prospect as when the printers of the Bible in former days converted, in a most important passage, a negative into an affirmative. My Lords, I have treated this subject rather jocularly, but, in truth, the Bill deserved it. The Government have received my remarks with great good humour, but the matter, after all, is really a most serious one. Now, the theory of the Bill is this—and it deserves all attention—It is intended to introduce into Ireland the voluntary principle. We have interwoven in our institutions and in our social habits the notion that the connection of religion with the State is right, and that its Establishment should not be in any manner whatsoever shaken. But we are by this measure thrown back on the voluntary principle, and it is sought by Her Majesty's Government to furnish a new constitution for the religion of Ireland in this extraordinary manner. Your Lordships are aware that both in this country and in Ireland there are rules of law which prohibit the Convocation of the clergy without the license of the Crown. The framers of this Bill have thought it sufficient to enact by the 19th section, that— From and after the passing of this Act there shall be repealed and determined any Act of Parliament, law, or custom, whereby the Archbishop, Bishops, clergy or laity of the said Church are prohibited from holding Assemblies, Synods, or Conventions, or electing representatives thereto for the purpose of making rules for the well-being and ordering of the said Church. Now, the notion with which that section has been introduced into the Bill is quite clear. It was supposed that a Convocation could be summoned and Synods held, and that the Convocation and the Synod would be able to frame rules for the new Body of the disestablished Church. Unfortunately, however, for this supposition, the Convocation and the Synods can only been convened in connection with the Established Church. It is ultra vires for any Convocation or Synod to deal with any but an Established Church — that to which they appertain, of which they are a constituent part, and to the existence of which their own existence is due. Now comes the 20th section, which contains the words— "Subject to any alteration which may be made after the said first day of January, 1871," which refers not to any alteration which may be made by this Convocation or these Synods, but to any alteration which may be made after that date—so that the only body which can make any alteration is that very Convocation or Synod which will die a violent death on the 1st of January, 1871. This, I think, is a very serious matter and shows the importance of our considering the whole of the subject. But what follows is still worse. The framers of the Bill have evoked a Body to make orders and regulations for the well-being of the Church which Body will be laid out and composed for burial on the 1st of January, 1871. And what is this Body, I should like to know, to do, if it does anything? What is to be the consequence? Why, that the present Ecclesiastical Laws of Ireland and the present articles, rules, doctrines, discipline, and ordinances of the old Irish Church shall be deemed to be binding on its members for the time being, to the same extent and in the same manner as if each person had mutually contracted and agreed to abide by and observe those rules. The framers of the Bill imagined, innocently enough, that alterations would be made; but they did not provide for the case of no alterations being made. They cannot be —and what is the consequence? That the whole of the Church Establishment, and all its articles, doctrines, and ceremonies, which have just been put an end to by law, will be restored again, and made to rest upon the basis of contract. This Bill proposes to remove the Church, which is founded upon a rock, and to erect it again upon the sands, and to make all its hierarchy, doctrines, and ceremonies depend upon contract. But contract between whom? One of the mob—for such it must be considered after disestablishment — must contract with the others of the mob, and every single one of the whole community of the Church may for breach of such contract bring an action against the unfortunate man. This would be serious enough if we were dealing with racing or something of that kind; but we are dealing with a Church and its sacraments—most solemn things—and we are proposing to remove the Established Church of Ireland from its foundations of law, and to re-erect it again upon the footing of contract — the fact being that to place it upon any such founda- tion would be a mockery. There are many other portions of the Bill which, although they are not quite so ludicrous, still are, in my opinion, open to great objection. I do not know of any case of powers of so extensive, so unexampled, and so outrageous a character as the powers that are proposed to be given to the Commissioners. Now, it is well-known that in difficult cases the Judges frequently express thankfulness that their decision is not the final one, but that it is liable to be examined, and, perhaps, corrected, by a higher Court. But in this case there is no appeal from the Commissioners, except in the two cases provided for by the clause in reference to appeals; while the Commissioners are to have power to decide all questions whatsoever, whether of law or fact, which they may deem it necessary or expedient to decide. That includes every description of dispute that can arise; and I repeat that there has as yet been no example of such arbitrary powers being conferred upon any body as will be conferred on the Irish Church Commissioners. There are many other things that I should have been glad to have submitted to your Lordships, but I will not weary you further. Though I concur in the second reading of the Bill, because I look upon it as proposing, in the main, a great act of justice, it has yet been necessary for me to guard that concurrence from all the consequences that might legitimately arise from it by stating explicitly that, though I agree to the second reading, there is hardly any provision in the Bill that I concur in, except that humane provision —that benevolent rule—which by some accident has crept into the Bill.


My Lords, it is a great satisfaction to me, after having heard the eloquent address of my noble and learned Friend (Lord Westbury), to find in the course of that address, in which he has denounced the motive of the Bill, in which he has denounced the principle of the Bill, and in which he has denounced nearly every clause of the Bill, there are still three points on which I can perfectly agree with him. The first point is that, like him, I shall support the second reading. The second point on which I wholly agree with him is that the verdict of the people of England should be a calm verdict, founded on the instruction they may receive and the best deliberation that they can give or have given to the subject. I believe that they have, during the course of the last autumn, received that instruction, in a manner no doubt not adequate to that which might have been afforded to them by my noble and learned Friend, if he had addressed to them his eloquent expositions on the matter; but still they have had the benefit of the clear exposition of Mr. Gladstone; and, whatever may be the faults of Mr. Bright, a want of clearness and of making himself understood by the people is not one of them. I do also agree with my noble and learned Friend that that kind of instruction is far better than the demonstrations of which we have lately had too much, and which some noble Lords have pointed at as the sign of a great re-action. And the third point in which I wholly agree with my noble and learned Friend is this—that I deeply regret with him that this measure of justice to Ireland should have been so long deferred. Accordingly, I am very thankful to recollect that exactly twenty years ago—in July, 1849—I had the satisfaction of supporting, in the House of Commons, a Motion for a Committee on the Irish Church. I expressed my opinion at that time that it should be disestablished and disendowed, and though believing it then to be, as now, impracticable, I also supported the system of concurrent endowment of the three religious bodies in Ireland. It was no fault of the party with which I was associated before I left the House of Commons that this matter was so long delayed. I mention this the rather because my noble Friend who moved the rejection of this Bill warned us carefully to think, and to reflect deeply before we took any step in so grave a matter. I can assure that noble Earl that I have reflected much, however weak my capacity may be for so doing, and, therefore, I do not approach with any consciousness of irreverent haste a subject so large, so solemn, and, I agree with my noble Friend in thinking, in some of its aspects so awful. I began to consider it some forty years ago—in 1829; and having had my attention directed to it when the Church Temporalities Act and other measures came before the House of Commons, I have found my conviction strengthened from month to month, that the only way in which justice can be done on this great question is simply by entire disestablishment and disendowment. I think it will be a relief to your Lordships to hear that I shall not follow my noble and learned Friend's example in dealing with the clauses of the Bill—not that I am unprepared for the observations he made. He has stated to you some points of law, and has asserted them with the confidence he is justly entitled to entertain. At the same time, I feel equal confidence in the contrary view that I have formed. But I will not now enter into any details of that description. I would rather approach this Bill on those great and general principles by which we must be guided on the second reading. It is not pleasant, my Lords, to find the Bill described as a Bill of spoliation, a Bill of sacrilege—for all these terms I have heard—as a Bill founded on fear, and, as a noble Duke, who so lately presided over Ireland (the Duke of Abercorn) said to-night—and I rejoice to think that he was the only one of your Lordships who used that language—as founded on the base notion of advancing party ends. I am glad in one sense that that sentiment is now cheered; I deeply grieve for it in another. I have always found it is not a good symptom of our own state of mind when we cannot conceive the action of an opponent to be directed by any but a bad motive. I will say no more on that subject, and I hope I shall say nothing in the address which I have to make to your Lordships that will give any such offence as that remark of the noble Duke has—I will confess it—most justly given to me and all connected with Her Majesty's Government. For, my Lords, I have had treasured in my heart for many years the sentiment expressed by one of the great saints of our English Church—Hooker —that ''the time will come when one word spoken in charity will outweigh a whole volume written in disdainful sharpness of wit." I hope I shall adhere, through all I have to say, to this determination. Well, I am to consider is it sacrilegious — this dangerous, this fearful, this ill-timed Bill? and, perhaps, I ought to add, as the first approach to all these disadvantages, that which the right rev. Prelate ascribed to it the other night — its "undying hostility to the Protestant religion." ["Hear!"] And that too is cheered! Well, my Lords, I am a Protestant, and have always been a Protestant; and I am also Catholic, and have always been so. I adhere strictly, and have always adhered through my life, and I hope I shall to the end of it, to those principles which induced the great reformers of the Church to clear it of those abuses that may have accumulated around it. That being so, before I approach the general question of the principle of the Bill, there are one or two difficulties to clear away. There are two difficulties in the outset which, if well founded, would certainly prevent me from adhering for one moment to this Bill. One is the allegation that it is contrary to the Oath of the Sovereign. I think I need not dwell on that—it has been so fully answered. In the first place, it was answered admirably by my noble Friend the Master of the Rolls. It was answered very tersely by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough), by whose eloquence the House has been so charmed; and it was also answered conclusively by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) who spoke from below the Gangway. I really should not have alluded to it further had it not been that the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby), who began the debate last night, seemed to think that there was something in the question—at which I was surprised—and that the noble Lord at the table (Lord Redesdale), consistently enough, persisted in his original view of the matter, and also spoke as if there was some difficulty arising from the Scotch Act of Union. I will only say of that Act, as of all Acts of this kind, that it rests on principles admitted by everyone —namely, that an oath is simply calling God to witness a solemn compact, which compact being dissolved by those who entered into it the oath has performed the whole of its functions. But the noble Lord at the table put this question —"What do you say to my proposition, that if I had taken that oath as a Member of your Lordships' House I could not possibly vote for this Bill?" To my mind it is an impossible supposition, for I do not believe that the English people would be guilty, as another nation has been, of the absurdity of calling upon the Legislature to take any such oath. How far the oaths taken by the French Legislature were successful in meeting the difficulties they were intended to deal with I leave to those who are acquainted with the history of that country to determine; but, as regards myself, I say that it is impossible that I should ever take an oath against legislative action, and as regards the English nation, it is impossible that they should have devised it. Therefore no fresh difficulty is presented to my mind by the noble Lord's asking me such a question. Further, we are told — and this is another difficulty which would have presented itself to my mind as insuperable—that we are committing sacrilege in dealing at all with the funds at the present moment devoted to what is called the National Church in Ireland. That subject was also admirably dealt with by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of St. David's), who spoke with such grave and statesmanlike wisdom in the course of this debate, and who illustrated the point by the example of St. Ambrose. But I think I can rest upon higher authority even than that. We are about to take that which has been devoted hitherto to teaching the religion of our Saviour. We would willingly—at least I would willingly—have it devoted, if it were practicable, to the teaching of that faith to the whole of the Irish people; but we find it impossible. And are there not other uses without committing sacrilege to which it may be devoted? There was One who was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame; who went about healing the sick, and curing those who were paralytic, and restoring to their right reason those whose minds were distracted—and here I must remark that there has been an attempt to raise a foolish laugh because it is proposed to devote the funds to some of the like purposes—would He have regarded such uses as those to which we propose to apply this money as sacrilegious? Are we not following His example and treading in His footsteps in so applying funds which cannot be directly applied to the purposes for which they were first intended? The noble Duke who spoke from the Benches above me (the Duke of Rutland), and one or two other noble Lords, have condemned in very strong language our desire to appropriate this property to holy, and good, and charitable purposes, under the allegation that it was devoted to God; in other words, they say it is "Corban''—that has been said and has been answered long since; and I think that I need not trouble myself further with these two difficulties, which it might be supposed had not wholly escaped my attention, as, in fact, they were brought under my notice many years ago. We next come to the question of the Treaty of Union, on which, to my surprise, the noble Earl who commenced, the debate last night (the Earl of Derby) insisted, and which was previously more fully expounded by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Chelmsford) who usually sits below the noble Earl. He said that there was formerly an Irish Parliament, and that it was dissolved on the faith of the Act of Union, and that that document contained clauses that were to be for ever binding upon us. The noble and learned Lord went on to say that that Parliament being deceased it was like a testator—for this was the very image the noble and learned Lord used — who had bequeathed property on conditions, and by whom you could no longer be released, since he was dead, and that therefore you must be bound for ever by the conditions which he had imposed by his will. Now, I, for one, do not regret the decease of that testator. I think that as regards the Irish Parliament, if we did not reflect a little sometimes on some of the modes by which its end was brought about, we might say that— —Nothing in its life Became it like the leaving it. The Irish Parliament, no doubt, professed to be a National Parliament; but in point of fact it was just as much a National Parliament as the Church of Ireland is a National Church. Indeed, I think you cannot say that there can be — at all events out of Ireland — a National Church which is not the Church of the nation. That question of the Oath and that question of the Treaty both depend upon the same fallacy. They depend upon the fallacy of its being possible, under any circumstances, to bind future generations of men to a certain course of policy simply by the use of those two words "for ever." The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) exposed that fallacy completely, and I will therefore not enter further into it, but will content myself by merely adding that these words "for ever" are very vain and presumptuous words to apply to any construction of man, whether material or moral. They are not words for man's use. They are worse than presumptuous — they are foolish, because they mislead those who can be misled; they entangle those who can be entangled by such cobwebs; and they prevent those reforms by which alone there is the slightest chance of anything in this world approximating to duration. The moment you cease to advance and say—"Here we will stand for ever," from that moment you begin to decay and to advance fast towards your ruin. Those who trust in the words "for ever," and who forbear, from timid superstition, to march on in the path of improvement which indicates the life both of nations and individuals, will find that there are two other words more sad which have composed the Hic jacet of many a noble institution — the words "too late." Well, having got rid of these difficulties, such as they are, let us approach the Bill itself. The principle of the Bill undoubtedly is, that property which was intended not for a single portion of the community alone, but for the whole, and which was intended always and at all times—though the original mode of attaining the object we must now regard as very absurd— for the general education and instruction in religion of the whole people of Ireland, and for the general administration to them of that which constitutes the comfort of those who belong to the Church, shall be taken from those few who now possess it. That was the intent from the beginning. I do not pause to inquire whether the Synod of Cashel decided anything about tithes, nor into any other subject connected with the origin of these funds. Whatever their origin, they were intended to be appropriated for the benefit, not of the few, but of the many. I have a witness to call with reference to this being a reasonable construction of the Acts relating to the Irish Church — a witness who is usually spoken of with a reverence in which I fully share — I mean Bishop Berkeley, who in his Querist puts these two questions— Is it well to apply to the benefit of the few that which was intended for the benefit of the many?…Is it well to attempt to convert a nation without understanding the language in which they are to be addressed? He, like most of those who have been conversant with the subject, concluded that it never was nor could have been the intention to apply to a small section of the people those endowments upon which reliance was to be placed for the advancement in true religion of the whole. But this difficulty arose. You find that the Church Catholic in England reformed itself. It reformed itself, and admitted by common consent that process of reformation which ended in its separation from the Church of Rome; but that was not so much an act of our withdrawing from Rome as an act of Rome choosing to withdraw from us. That was the course of things in the Church of England. But in the Church in Ireland this never was the case. The Church in Ireland never accepted the Reformation; and on this point I differ entirely as to matter of fact from my noble and learned Friend who last addressed your Lordships. It had forced upon it a course of reformation which it never would adopt and which it never could be compelled to adopt. But mark the inference I draw from the strange course of compulsion which was followed. I maintain that every tyrannical act of Henry VIII. and of Elizabeth was founded upon this assumption—that the Church was and ought to be the Church of the nation, and that the nation ought, by at once adopting the form of worship which the Sovereign and the Parliament forced upon them, to introduce those changes which they themselves were indisposed to make. So much was that the case that the Acts of Parliament proceeded upon the principle of punishing by fine and imprisonment those who did not attend on the ministrations of the Church. It was therefore intended that the whole nation should be instructed, and it was intended, also, to bring them all to one mind by fines and imprisonment. It was hoped that, by the adoption of this course, all the nation would have the benefit of these endowments. Indeed, Henry VIII. passed his enactments for this specific purpose. Finding that he could not possibly get his measures passed through the medium of Archbishop Browne, of Dublin, who was his agent in Ireland, because the proctors of the clergy in Ireland had the privilege—which the proctors of the English clergy never possessed—of sitting and voting in the House of Commons, it was found absolutely necessary, in order to carry these measures into effect, that the free voice of the clergy should be stopped, and accordingly a statute was passed declaring that the proctors had no right of voting. Again, the Act of Uniformity was intended for the whole nation. But it was absurd to suppose that the Irish could be converted from their errors through the medium of pastors who were ignorant of the native language, and a clause was actually inserted in the Act directing that, in places where the people did not understand English, the services of the Church should be performed in Latin. I only mention this again to show that it was intended that the Church should be the Church of the people, and not the Church of a small minority. If I had spoken earlier in the debate I could have given you reports of Archbishops and Secretaries, continued from century to century down to the time of Queen Anne, as to the state and condition of the Irish Church and the consequences of that mode of proceeding. Nothing could be more frightful, from beginning to end, than the conduct which the English clergy, I am ashamed to say, took part in almost down to the time of the Union—although there was a visible improvement after the Revolution. Sir Henry Sydney reports to Queen Elizabeth that there was one diocese containing 218 churches, 100 of which were appropriated to secular uses, and those were not for the general benefit; that in the whole diocese there was not a single clergyman, but only what he was pleased to call "seven sorry curates." So things went on. The churches were utterly neglected, and, from time to time, fell into ruin. A Bishop of one diocese, who was also dean of Norwich, had never even seen the country; another, who was Bishop of Kilmore and Killala, two of the richest Irish sees, was also rector of Trim; and Sir John Davis, the Attorney General of that day, said— "there was not a sound heard of sermon or service throughout the two dioceses." That was the way in which the Irish were to be converted and persuaded, and, according to my noble and learned Friend, to be brought to acquiesce in the religion which it was thus attempted to force upon them. There can be no parallel found to this, except the atrocious Penal Laws with which it was again attempted to force the population of Ireland to acquiesce in the Reformation; those laws as to which even the right rev. Prelate who addressed your Lordships with so much eloquence the other evening said he was almost prepared to adopt the word ''infernal" that had been applied to them; those laws by which a Roman Catholic was prohibited from exercising the profession of barrister or solicitor; by which a Roman Catholic father was reduced to the position of a tenant for life of the property of which he was the owner until his Protestant son came of age; and by which a younger son could deprive his elder brother of his estate by becoming a Protestant; those frightful laws were all the result of this vain attempt to force and coerce the people to adopt a religion to which the majority steadfastly remained adverse. But these scandalous laws were also an attempt at Protestant ascendancy, and Mr. Gladstone, I believe, was fully justified in attributing their origin to a desire to uphold and maintain this ascendancy. Any person who examines fairly the history of Ireland cannot fail to come to that conclusion. It was said, I think, by the right rev. Prelate, that the Church and the clergy of Ireland were very tolerant in themselves, but were compelled by England to adopt these laws; and the noble Marquess who spoke from the other end of the House (the Marquess of Salisbury) said something to the same effect when he referred to Poyning's Act, and said that the Irish Parliament were compelled by the English to adopt those proceedings. But, my Lords, I am sorry to say that a table has been published in a pamphlet (Dr. Brady's) which gives you an account of every meeting of the Irish House of Peers from the Revolution to the Union—and it was during that time that these abominable laws were passed. The table tells us when the Spiritual Peers were in a majority, and this was frequently the case, and in no instance were they ever less than one-third of the Peers present. I am sorry, therefore, I cannot admit that the Church of Ireland did not take part in these proceedings. I promised that I would not enter into any historical details that would weary the House, but there is one passage which I wish to read to the House, because it contains sentiments worthy of the man who uttered them. Archbishop King, in a charge which he delivered to his clergy, in 1720, says— If one would observe the state of religion in this kingdom in our own time—that is, since the restoration of the Royal Family—perhaps it will appear that the Church never gained more true friends than when the civil power gave her doctrine and worship the least encouragement, nor lost more the affections and hearts of her people than when seeming most encouraged. And I believe that that is the true exposition of all the evil which has resulted from an attempt to force and encourage, by State protection, the religion of the minority, and to assert thereby a supremacy which never could have been asserted without the aid of the State; and the loss of which aid, which, when the State has been least inclined to foster and encourage it, has enabled the Church to win the hearts and affections of the people. I should be most sorry, undoubtedly, to say that at this day the clergymen of Ireland are all men of the stamp and character of those I have described as existing at the earlier periods of the Church. On the contrary, I think they have acted in the noblest manner, and that they have endeavoured, after centuries of misrule and oppression, to secure for themselves a place in the hearts of the people. But they have been very late in beginning. I am old enough to remember the time when Irish Deans and Bishops were more likely to be met with at Bath and Cheltenham than in Ireland. It is only within the last forty years that any serious change has taken place. And now, my Lords, I maintain that if this Bill is accepted in the spirit in which I say it was framed, then I do see a new epoch for the Church—a time in which she may really venture to hope to make some conquest over that mass of what we regard as Roman Catholic error, which she has failed to do during the long period she has been supported by the State. And thus I come to the question whether the Church has a right to continuance in respect of the work she has done? I have, I hope, proved that in respect of these endowments it was the intention that the nation should be instructed. Has that duty been done? Has she not in this failed utterly? Has the Protestant proportion to the population increased during the last three centuries? Scarcely a whit. We have heard from one right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Tuam) of the progress made in certain parts of his diocese. But this argument can be used in reference to all countries. Has the general character, however, been changed one jot? You have still only 700,000 Episcopalians in a population of 4,500,000. But surely this was not the purpose for which the Church was established, and surely, therefore, her purpose has not been fulfilled. It is, however, said—"You propose to destroy the Church—which I contend cannot be destroyed by any human means—to ruin the Protestant religion. You have an undying hostility to it. That is manifested in every page of the Bill; by your leaving us to our own resources, at the end of thirteen or fourteen years, and calling on us to do what is done in every colony of the British Empire." I have been dismayed —I can say nothing less, being a man earnestly devoted to the Church—I have been dismayed at hearing several of the right rev. Prelates saying—''The Church is lost if you disestablish it. We cannot compete with Rome. See all her advantages; see what influence she has over the people. We cannot attain that." It is miserable—is it not—to hear that said? If I believed it I could only reply—"If the Church of England, as established in Ireland, has become so degenerate by this fostering and protection—as it is called, but which is simply destruction—the more heartily do I concur in this measure." We heard nothing of that kind from the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Lichfield) who preceded my noble and learned Friend. Look at what he has done in his see! See how his own colonial bishopric has branched out; see all that has been accomplished by his energy and- zeal. I wish, with all my heart, that he were to be at the head of the Church Body which is to be formed in Ireland, and, knowing his energy, I have little doubt of what the result would be. It is my delight and my joy, with regard to the Church of England, that her words are heard in all lands—that her words have gone out to the end of the world. We have heard of the boast which used to be made by the monarchs of Spain —that the sun never set on their dominions. Queen Victoria has a still higher glory, for there is not one hour of the twenty-four in which the Lord's Prayer is not offered up in the English tongue on some part of the globe. Has that been done by Establishments—has that been done by endowments? I was grieved, my Lords, to perceive that the most rev. Primate, who delivered so ad- mirable an address on the first night of the debate, seemed to share to some extent in this despair. Surely when he spoke of the voluntary system as being every where a failure, he must have forgotten what has been done by himself and his predecessor, through voluntary contributions, for the erection of churches and increase of spiritual instruction throughout this metropolis. They, by voluntary exertions, raised sums of vast magnitude and erected many churches. I know other Prelates who have done the same. The voluntary system in connection with the Established Church of England has sent Bishops to every quarter of the world. It has sent forty or fifty Bishops to the colonies; it has erected very many churches and numerous schools. Everywhere at home and abroad she has enlarged her bounds. The noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) told us last night that the Roman Catholic priest forced contributions out of the laity by spiritual force, and that therefore the Protestant minister could not cope with him. What a way of talking that is! Some may regard the Irish Roman Catholic as a machine, but I look upon him as a man, and I say that, if the priest is able to do what the noble Earl says, the people must of their own will submit to it. If the priest can raise these funds without an Establishment, is it not a shame for us of the Reformed Church to say—"We have been sustained by State funds for 300 years; but leave us unsupported, and in a very short time you will find that we are not able to do what the Roman Catholic priests do—sustain and uphold our position?" My Lords, I do not believe in such a result. I do not believe that our Church depends upon any endowment; and I do believe that the provisions contained in the Bill will be found amply sufficient to enable the Church to continue her work of great usefulness; but I also believe that the success of a Church in any quarter of the world must depend on the activity, energy, and zeal of its ministers. A Church which, retained its hold upon the affections of its people might indeed be disestablished and disendowed —but its destruction cannot be accomplished in any other way than by losing those affections. The question has been raised how far we have any right to deal with the funds of the Irish Church in the way proposed—namely, by hand- ing them over for charitable purposes. Now, my Lords, if you find property given for the religious instruction of a nation, but that the nation cannot agree as to the mode in which that instruction is to be given, you must take some means of disposing of that property for purposes as nearly as possible analogous to that for which it was originally intended. I believe that proposition is just beyond dispute. But then it is said—"You not only risk the Establishment in England, but you risk the institutions of property altogether." I do not see how such a position can be seriously maintained. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) said that property was no doubt different when held by individuals from what it was when held by corporations. So far I am thankful to him for having made that admission; but it is no more than I had a right to expect from the logical manner in which he conducted his argument. I do not, however, find that that admission was made, on a former occasion, by my noble and learned Friend who sits on my left (Lord Cairns). He said— Thus, my Lords, this property is given to a corporation sole, not to the whole Church as a body, but to the individual corporations formed of the Archbishops, the Bishops, clergy, and deans and chapters; and," he added, "when James I. made a grant of the glebes of Ulster, it was to the incumbent and his successors in free alms—that is, subject to certain duties to be performed; and the tenure is the same as that by which your Lordships hold your estates, namely, that of fee-simple. No doubt that is the case in a certain sense; so far as both are tenures sanctioned by the law. But if the noble Lord meant by that statement that your Lordships hold your estates on exactly the same tenure as the glebes of Ulster are held, I differ from him entirely; because the latter are held subject to the performance of certain duties which, if not performed, would become the subject of proceedings in the Ecclesiastical Courts, while your Lordships hold your estates under no such conditions. But further than that, the Ulster glebes are corporate property in the sense in which Hallam uses that term. In drawing a distinction between the Constitutional Law and the Municipal Law, and in considering this question as a question of Constitutional Law, he says that, although corporate property is held by exactly the same title as that of individuals, yet the difference in dealing with it is this—that by long habit men have acquired not only the right to transmit to their descendants the property which they possess, but the further right of transmitting it by will; while a corporation has no such rights; it continually exists for the purposes for which it was formed, and when these purposes cease the corporation legitimately comes to an end. That is Mr. Hallam's doctrine, and I accede to it fully. I admit that there is a line tacked to the end of that paragraph, which has been quoted against the view of the Government, and as limiting the application of what I have read to corporate property to which there is no expectation of succession, and as therefore taking the case of the curates of the Irish Establishment out of the question. The general principle, however, is clear, and every constitutional lawyer will tell you that you are at liberty to deal with corporate property upon a very different footing from that upon which you can deal with private property. And even under ordinary law the same difference arises between the two classes of property. Thus, if you find any property devoted to a charitable use, and the purpose of that use cannot be fulfilled, whether by original defect in the grant or from the expiration of time, so that the uses have come to an end, in either case the Court of Chancery has power to deal with the property. And very strangely it has dealt with it. In Lord Hardwicke's time, a Jewish testator disposed of his property for the education of Jewish children, and that being an unlawful use, Lord Hardwicke devoted it to the purposes of a foundling hospital. But in Parliament we rise higher than the Court of Chancery in this matter. We come here to enact a measure which is required by the great exigencies of the whole country, and it will not do to tell us that if we were in the Court of Chancery we should be met with the remark that we have still 700,000 members of the corporation left, and that, therefore, we must go on applying the property as before. If that view were to be admitted, it would not much matter, as was observed by the right rev. Prelate, who felt how impossible it would be to maintain the position, whether the number of beneficiaries was 700,000,700, or seventy. It is impossible that such a proposition could be supported for a moment in such a case as the present. When you come to a class of property inadequately effecting the purposes for which it is intended, the Legislature has, on every occasion, dealt with it. I will venture, my Lords, to answer the question which the noble Lord (Lord Redesdale) put to us in the early part of the discussion—namely, what instances could be given of any Parliamentary dealing with corporate property. Now, my Lords, I will not go back to the reign of Henry VIII., because I do not much admire the way in which that Sovereign dealt with corporate property; and, besides, if we come to treat of tithes, the taking of which the same noble Lord specially referred to as sacrilege, quoting the Prophet Malachi for his purpose, I am afraid there are many of your Lordships who take a beneficial interest in property which formerly came under that denomination. My ancestors do not mount up to that period of time which would enable me to partake of the bounty of that Monarch, but I believe there are many noble Lords now in this House who still enjoy the fruits of his liberality. But, my Lord, without going so far back into history, I may say, in the first place, that Parliament has dealt, and dealt very largely, with the Universities. You have applied their property in a very different way from what was its original destination. You have dealt with ecclesiastical property, and you have dealt with it very largely, handing over to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners large masses of property which were formerly held by the deans and chapters. And you have done more than that, for you have applied to Lancashire and to Yorkshire funds of which the districts where these deans and canons resided, including Westminster, formerly had the sole benefit. What have you done in the case of the municipal corporations? Why, until the Municipal Corporations Act was passed, every corporation was at liberty to deal with its property as it pleased, provided it did not actually put it into the pockets of the individual corporations. By some it was spent in dinners; the Liverpool Corporation applied large sums in payment of the clergy, which was a much better use of it. You passed the Corporations Act, and by it you prevented them from dealing with their own property. The Liverpool Corporation, anticipating what would happen, endeavoured to make away with £180,000 of their property in endowing churches in Liverpool; but this was contrary to the provisions of the Act, and though the Act was not in force, but only in contemplation when that was done, such an employment of the money, which might have been made without question if the Corporations Act had not been in progress, was held to be a fraud upon the Act, and they were compelled to refund. Property, therefore, which they might have dealt with only a week before was taken from them and applied to a different, but still very useful purpose. Now, what do we do in this case? By the measure now under consideration we take away from the particular body property which is corporation property, and we do not put it into any persons' pockets whatever, but we apply it to useful general purposes, and to purposes which the public will accept, instead of those to which, unfortunately, they cannot be prevailed upon to consent. I apprehend, under that state of circumstances, that I have shown the Bill to be a just Bill, and being just, that it is also politic—assuming that it is desired; for a just thing maybe impolitic if you cannot get the feeling of mankind to go with you. The only remaining point, then, is this—Is the verdict of the country in favour of this Bill? If there be one thing more surprising than another, it is the various attempts which have been made to negative that verdict; and yet I think there is hardly any question less capable of being argued as to disestablishment primarily, still less as to disendowment. Why, at the time of the General Election the country was keenly alive to all that had been going on in the late Parliament with reference to the Suspensory Bill; its attention was directed to all the arguments that had been adduced on one side and on the other, and the people having been lately intrusted with an extended franchise were all the more likely to be alive to their newly acquired power, especially when it was said, both in this House and in the other—"We have referred this subject to the verdict of the country, and by that we will abide." By that declaration we, upon this side of the House, certainly understood that noble Lords opposite would be bound; but we are now told that what was meant was —"If the verdict is against us, we shall resign and cease to be Ministers." Of course when that statement is made we cannot do otherwise than accept the view which is put before us. But the statement, I think, must really have meant more than noble Lords at present are disposed to imagine. To say that you will go to the country upon certain propositions; to discuss them in Parliament, upon the hustings, and at public meetings; to instruct your constituents in every way with regard to them;—and then when you are returned, with a large majority against you, to assert that you simply expressed your willingness to resign, is, it seems to me, placing a limited construction upon the terms which you yourselves employed. As to disestablishment, it has been admitted by almost every speaker that the country pronounced fully upon that point. One word as to disendowment. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) of whom I have already spoken, does conceive that the verdict pronounced was only partial—that the question of glebe lands and others was not considered by the country. All these hereafter will form the subject of discussion; but as to the great and general question, whether it is right that this Church property should be longer applied to its present limited uses, instead of for the benefit of the whole country, he admitted distinctly that the national verdict had been fully and clearly pronounced—that is to say, upon the proposition of disendowment. If that be so, what have we to bring forward in support of the second reading of the Bill. We have first the existence of injustice which cannot be denied; we have next the verdict of the country in favour of the course that we proposed; being, therefore, both just and desired by the people, the measure is also politic. A question might arise—I simply glance at it—assuming the measure to be as I have described, how far it is right and proper that it should be brought forward at this time, and why it should have been so long delayed. It has been delayed because of the difficulty of getting the people of Ireland, or the great majority of them, to agree upon the mode of disposing of the proceeds. The last and only remaining point, and the question now before your Lordships, is this—whether or not you will assent to the second reading. I told you I would not say a word upon the clauses. I do not think it reasonable that the House should be wearied with the discussion of clauses, except so far as may be necessary to indicate those clauses, which by providing for disestablishment and disendowment embody the whole principle of the Bill. It then remains for you to say whether—the country having thus pronounced its verdict, and this Bill having been sent up to you by a majority larger, I believe, than ever supported so vast a change—you will or will not give to it that calm consideration and revision which a discussion of the clauses will enable you to do, or whether you will—almost I must add, contemptuously—reject the measure? I do not believe that you will contemptuously reject it. But I did not hear from the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) what from his great experience in political matters and the position he has so frequently held at the head of the Government, I should especially like to have heard—what it is that he would propose to do if he were still holding the helm, what he would propose to do with reference to the Irish Church and to the future after this Bill shall have been rejected? Does he suppose that the Church can stand in its present position? I hold not; first, because of the appointment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry; and next, because of the distinct declaration of the present Viceroy of India in favour of the process of levelling up. It seems, therefore, that he would not have left matters as they are. But if a change is to come, surely that is a sufficient reason for reading the Bill a second time, whatever view the House may be disposed to take of the clauses. I assume also that the noble Earl would not be prepared to recommend the rejection of a Bill supported by so large a majority "elsewhere," unless he knew the course which he would be prepared to follow in the event of its rejection. I heard not a word from him on that point; I heard very little indeed from anybody of what was to be done if the Bill were thrown out. I should be very glad to be informed upon that point; and, further, I should like to know what noble Lords imagine would be the effect of throwing out the Bill without any such declaration as to the future. I hope that your Lordships will agree to the second reading. I am certain you will not be influenced by fear or intimidation—but I will not talk of that—I think, indeed, we have had rather too much talk of it already. You will neither be coerced by fear to do that which you choose not to do, nor, as has been already said, will you be actuated by the scarcely less base fear of being thought afraid. But there are certain kinds of fear which may influence you, and justly influence you, as I believe they will do, in the consideration of this question. You will, I am sure, fear to do a discourtesy; you will fear to affront without any object except to affront; you will fear to commit injustice, which you may do if, having no definite policy, you will not consider the provisions of a Bill which at least attempts a policy. And therefore I hope that, under the influence of those feelings, your Lordships will be induced to give this measure a second reading, and, that once being done, that you will come to consider its clauses deliberately and calmly in Committee, and that with such Amendments and improvements as in your wisdom you may introduce, you will be able to produce a Bill which will be satisfactory in this respect at least—that it will show to all concerned in it that all parties in the State desire to bring about a better feeling and a happier union in a distracted country. You heard, my Lords, a touching narration from the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Lichfield) of what occurred to himself in New Zealand, where an Irish Roman Catholic offered to a member of the Church of England the shelter of his tent, remarking, after the offer had been accepted, "What would be said if this were seen in Ireland?" The right rev. Prelate drew from that a conclusion which, with his logical mind, appeared to me to be a singular one—namely, that there was no harm in Establishment and no heartburning arising from it. The anecdote itself seemed to me to supply the answer to that. The circumstances occurred in New Zealand, where there is no religious Establishment, and the remark of the man was that nobody would believe it in. Ireland—a country where there is such an Establishment. I trust, my Lords, that with the aid of Bishops and clergy of the right rev. Prelate's own temper and spirit in Ireland, after this Bill passes, we may attain there the happy end that he desires—the end of men of different creeds living in peace, in love, and in charity together; and I see nothing in this measure to prevent, but much that is calculated to promote, that result.


My Lords, as I gather that there is a general desire on the part of your Lordships that this debate should, terminate to-night. I feel that, even at the risk of interposing between other Members of your Lordships'. House who may desire to take part in the discussion, it would be improper for me to allow it to close without venturing to offer to your Lordships some observations on the great question which we have to decide. My Lords, there are at least two very good reasons why I should endeavour to compress, within the smallest compass that the case admits of, those observations. In the first place, my Lords, by your favour and forbearance, I was permitted last year at great, and I fear inconvenient, length to address you on a subject then under consideration, which was to a great extent cognate to the present. My Lords, the second reason is the exhaustive character of the present debate. The noble Earl the President of the Council in addressing your Lordships the other night said he felt great difficulty in following a speech such as had been delivered, immediately before by the right rev. Prelate who presides over the diocese of Peterborough. Your Lordships will remember the effect which that speech had on this House—a speech remarkable not only for the splendour of its eloquence and the brilliancy of its thought, but also for the deep and broad current of reasoning and reflection which under-ran the whole. My Lords, if the noble Earl found it difficult to follow that speech in the character of a respondent, I can also assure your Lordships that every person on this side of the House who has attempted to follow it and pursue the same line of argument has felt the difficulty which it was natural to experience—lest by touching again on those topics which the right rev. Prelate had touched harm and not benefit might be done to his cause.

My Lords, in order to make the best use of the time that remains, I would venture, in the first place, to put aside such subjects as have been frequently referred to, and on which I propose to detain your Lordships for but a few moments. I will refer first to the Coronation Oath. I have often had occasion to address your Lordships and the other House of Parliament on the subject of the Irish Church, but upon no occasion has any word upon the interpretation of the Coronation Oath ever fallen from me. My Lords, I should pursue the same course at the present time but for one consideration—that the arguments which have been advanced in relation to that Oath necessarily touch feelings and interests which are not represented in either House of Parliament; and I think it is the bounden duty of both those who support and of those who oppose this measure to state frankly and fairly what their opinion on that subject is. My Lords, much as I dislike this measure, I entirely refuse to base my opposition to it upon arguments that do not satisfy my own mind. And I have never been able to satisfy my mind that the object or the meaning of the Coronation Oath was such that, if any measure of public legislation should be presented to the Sovereign by the two Houses of Parliament, the Sovereign was bound by that Oath to refuse assent to the measure. And, my Lords, even if there were any doubt on that subject, remembering as I do that the whole contents of the Oath are over-ridden by the preliminary words, "to the utmost of my power"—I have never been able to see how, under a constitutional government, when the time has arrived at which, following constitutional precedents, the Sovereign is unable any longer to restrain the progress of a measure—I have never been able to understand how, with those words at the commencement of the Oath, the Oath continued any longer to have any operation, such as has been contended for.

My Lords, I pass from that and come to some other arguments which have been very frequently used in this debate. The charges made against the Irish Church have been these—that it is a badge of conquest—that it does not fulfil its mission—that it is a wicked thing, because it had taken a great part 150 or 200 years ago in the passing of some penal statutes in Ireland. Now, these are arguments which ought to be considered; but I own they always have appeared to me to bear a very strong resemblance to some other arguments which your Lordships, perhaps, remember were used in a fable which is, I think, more frequently read by persons less advanced in life than your Lordships are. Your Lordships recollect that when the wolf conceived the time had arrived for the destruction—perhaps I ought to say the disestablishment—of the lamb, he conducted his proceedings to that end in a highly argumentative manner. He stated several reasons why the lamb ought to be destroyed. The lamb also took part in that discussion; and, as well, as I remember, it has generally been considered that the lamb had upon all the points decidedly the best of the argument. But, my Lords, notwithstanding, the conclusion was a foregone one, and the arguments of the lamb were of no avail. Now, I own it always appeared to me that the three arguments to which I have referred were very much like arguments invented by those who had, in the first instance, arrived at the conclusion they sought to attain. Let us take the first—the Church is a badge of conquest. Now, I want to know what conquest. When was Ireland conquered? Was Ireland conquered as a Roman Catholic country by England as a Protestant country? Ireland was conquered three centuries and a-half before the Reformation. How did it come to be conquered? It was conquered because the Pope of that time requested Henry II. to undertake the conquest, to carry, as he said, the true Christian faith to those barbarous and unhappy tribes. Accordingly the conquest was undertaken and accomplished. What was the result of the conquest? The first introduction of Romanism into Ireland was the result of that conquest. From that time to the Reformation was Ireland in a state of happiness, repose, and harmony among all classes of its inhabitants? We know exactly the contrary. There was no period in the history of Ireland when disorders, anarchy, and bloodshed, bitter animosity, and hostility prevailed to a greater extent. I will simply remind you what a Roman Catholic historian has told us about it. Mr. Moore says— At the period when all were of one faith, the Church of the Government and the Church of the people of Ireland were almost as much separated from each other by difference in race, language, political feeling, and even ecclesiastical discipline, as they have been at any period since by difference of creed. Disheartening as may be some of the conclusions deducible from this fact, it clearly shows that the establishment of the Reformed Church in that kingdom was not the first or sole cause of the bitter hostility between the two races. That shows clearly that the establishment of the Reformed Church in that kingdom was not the first or sole cause of that bitter hostility between the two races. Well, my Lords, if the Reformed Church in Ireland can in no way be said to be a badge of conquest, I ask are there no badges of conquest in Ireland? Perhaps it might be said to be a badge of conquest that Ireland is ruled over by the Sovereign of this country. It might be said to be a badge of conquest that a very large portion of the land of Ireland is owned by Englishmen, many of them resident in this country. It might be said to be a badge of conquest that Ireland is united with England in taxation, and that the Legislature of Ireland sits in England. But I want to know, are you going to teach the people of Ireland that your principle is that everything that is a badge of conquest is to be removed— are you going to encourage in their minds the view that those other badges, which are real, historical, and tangible, are going to be put out of their way? Well, then, what is the next argument against the Church? The Church has failed in its mission. My Lords, we have had in these days a favourite phrase, which comes, I believe, from the officina of the Education Committee of the Privy Council—I mean "payment by results." Now, payment by results is a very good thing in the matter of education, because I believe that a certain amount of care and attention on the part of the schoolmaster may induce that degree of education in what are termed "the three R's" which will enable the payment to be made according to results. But, my Lords, I entirely disavow the principle of payment by results when you come to deal with a question of the effect of the message of religious truth upon the mind and heart of man. My noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack has just reminded us of one circumstance which, indeed, might be held to have had considerable effect on the mission, and the results of the mission, of the Church in Ireland. He reminded us that one of the earliest Acts of the time of Queen Elizabeth was an Act for which the Church of Ireland was not responsible, but for which the Government of England was responsible. That Act provided that, for the spread of religious truth, the people of Ireland should be taught by the Church in the language of England, and if they did not understand—if they did not like —the language of England, they should be taught in the Latin language. That was not the act of the Church, but of the Government of England, for which they were responsible, not the Church, and it may well have had a considerable effect on the mission of the Church both at that time and long afterwards. But what is the mission of the Church in Ireland? I apprehend that the mission of the Church, especially when planted in the midst of ignorance and vice is this—to carry the message of the truths of Christianity to those who will receive it, and to hold it forth as a testimony against those who decline to receive it. And, that being so, I ask, has the mission of the Church in Ireland failed? The Secretary of State referred to the Census in Ireland. I will not cite figures upon that point; but I will say that I feel surprised that the noble Earl, after all that has been said in reference to the calculations of Sir William Petty, should again refer to them, when Mr. Hallam himself says they are so ''prodigiously vague'' that no reliance can be placed on them. I do not place much importance on those figures, but, taking them for what they are worth, what do they amount to? He says that at the remote time of which he is speaking the number of the Protestant population was 100,000, and of the Roman Catholic 1,100,000, being a proportion of 1 to 11. Assuming these figures to be true —which I very much doubt—let us compare them with the present state of things. At present we find that the members of the Church alone are 700,000, and if that number be multiplied by 11, there would result a population of more than 7,500,000, whereas the whole of the population is less than 6,000,000. Therefore, we find that there is a considerable relative increase among the Protestants. But, I go further than that. The noble Lord referred to emigration, and he said that the Roman Catholic population had very much decreased by emigration. That is true; but if you refer to anyone who has studied the statistics of emigration, and who knows the condition of Ireland, you will find that emigration has gone on in a much greater degree among the Protestants than among the Roman Catholics. And for this reason—whenever the time arrives that emigration increases to a great extent, the Protestants, having most money and most energy, are the first to emigrate, and they emigrate in great numbers. I hold that if any person were to bring against the Church of England in this country that it had failed in its mission, such accusation would be without foundation; but I ask you to test the matter by the principle which my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack applies to the case of Ireland. You find at the time of the Reformation in England that the whole of the English people were substantially members of the Reformed Church. The Reformed Church had everything in its favour, it had no prejudices to contend with, and the Bible and the Prayer Book were in the English tongue; and yet now we are obliged to confess that a large portion of the population—some say one-third and some say one-half—do not belong to that Church, but have gone off into Dissent. Therefore, we should be careful before we adopt the principle of penal legislation against the Church in Ireland, on the allegation that it has failed in its mission. But it is said that, at all events, the Church of Ireland has done very wicked things because it concurred in those 'Penal Laws which were passed some 200 years ago. My noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack I am afraid derived most of his facts from a pamphlet which is generally considered not very fair or accurate. I have not time to examine them now; but I will assume that there is some foundation for the fact which my noble and learned Friend so readily adopted against the Irish Church. Now, I want to know what is the principle on which you are going to deal with the Irish Church of the present day? Are you going to bring in a Bill of Pains and Penalties against the Irish Church for pains and penalties inflicted by it 200 years ago? But I go further, and I ask, was the Irish Church answerable for the Penal Laws? I detest those laws as much as any one, but what are the facts? In the 100 or 150 years during which those laws were being passed, there was a Pretender to the Throne of this Kingdom, and the principle on which the penal legislation proceeded was that there was sympathy with the Pretender on the part of the Roman Catholic body; and if you read the history of Ireland, you will find that the object of those laws was by no means so much for the purpose of obtaining—as my noble and learned Friend says—conversions to Protestantism, as to insure the political object of keeping down that organization which was supposed to be favourable to the claims of the Pretender. Well, but more than that, is not really the substance of the charge that you make on this score against the Irish Church no more than this—that the Irish Church was not, 150 years ago, in advance both of England and all the rest of the world? Now, it is a very curious thing how people change in their opinions, and how they advance in the views that they take of matters of this kind. I find that the noble Earl (Earl Russell) who addressed us to-night, and who also referred to this penal legislation, expressed the strongest condemnation of it, and attributed, I think, some blame to the Church for a share in it. Well, but I find that the noble Earl himself, in the year 1823, in the first edition of his work on the Constitution of England, when speaking of that penal legislation, after describing what it was, says—"Whether the precautions adopted by Parliament were wise,'' he did not then think they were adopted by the Church —"I will not decide, but I am clearly of opinion that they were just." The noble Earl, however, has grown with the age in enlightenment. I have no doubt he will forgive me for suggesting it— the noble Earl, if he had lived—which I am very glad he did not—150 years ago, would have been one of the first to act along with the Parliament of which he speaks; but, in the years that have elapsed between 1823 and 1865, the noble Earl thought that some change ought to be made in his view with regard to this legislation; and in the edition of his book published in 1865, the passage runs thus—"Whether the precautions adopted were wise I do not affirm, but I cannot deny that they were the result of many injuries." Now, that is exactly the sort of change which lapse of years and progress make. We now look back to that penal legislation—and very justly so—with horror, and we feel that such laws could not possibly be enacted now. But is it too much to say that the Irish Church is to be condemned because 150 years ago she did know or see that which no statesman in Ireland or England knew or saw at that time?

My Lords, passing by these arguments, I come to the arguments founded on justice and policy; and the first thing necessary is to understand what it is the Bill does which is said to be just and politic. The first question is that of disestablishment. The Bill proposes to do that which has never before been done in this country—to sever the Church from the State. That union has been maintained in this country since the kingdom was a kingdom—in one form in Scotland, in another form in England and Ireland. There is no time now to argue at any length the question of Establishments; but, as rather less has been said on that subject in the course of debate than I think might have been desired, I shall venture to express very shortly the strong opinion which I entertain respecting it. It is one of the few points on which I cannot altogether agree with the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough). My Lords, I think the question of disestablishment— the severance of the union of Church and State—is an extremely important question. Of the two I am not sure that it is not quite as important as the question of disendowment. I hold, in the first place, that the connection between Church and State is a politic thing. I believe it is our best security for religious freedom. I believe that in a wise provision—that the laws of the Church should be the laws of the State, and the laws of the State should be the laws of the Church, consists the only security for a minority, for the security is the same— the security of the law—which every man in the country has with regard to his liberty and his property, and that security is effected through the medium of the supremacy of the Crown, through that provision in our Constitution which makes the Queen supreme in causes ecclesiastical, and brings directly under the decision of Judges appointed by her the causes which may arise, and which are included within that jurisdiction. I mention this now, not for the purpose of pursuing the subject, but merely that I may advert to an observation made upon it by the noble Earl the Secretary of State. He is under the impression that the supremacy of the Crown is preserved by this Bill. I venture to say that, as far as I can understand anything about it, that is an entire mistake. The supremacy of the Crown in Ireland is at an end if this Bill passes. The noble Earl has adopted the view which has become fashionable within the last six weeks, but never was heard of in the country before—that because, forsooth, a civil court, through the medium of the execution of a trust, may take notice of the private regulations of a religious body; therefore, all religious bodies by that circumstance, because they may bring their causes into a civil court, are under the supremacy of the Crown. Now that is not the supremacy of the Crown in any sense or in any form. The supremacy of the Crown is expressed by the phrase that the Queen is supreme in causes ecclesiastical as well as civil. The meaning of that again was not to declare the truism that the Queen was supreme in causes civil, for no person doubted that; but the object was to declare that the Queen was supreme in causes ecclesiastical in the same way, and to the same extent, as she was supreme in causes civil. That is the true expression of the Queen's supremacy, and that this supremacy comes to an end with the passing of the Bill needs no more to establish it than this simple statement—that after the passing of the Bill there cannot be such a thing in Ireland as a cause ecclesiastical, because the whole ecclesiastical law is swept away. One other observation on the same subject. The noble Earl said that in Scotland there is no Royal supremacy. That is a play upon words. It is quite true that in Scotland the ultimate appeal to the Queen is not preserved; but if the noble Earl will, at any moment he may find leisure, consult the Scotch Act of Parliament of 1690, he will find not only the laws, but even the doctrines of the Church declared on the face of the Act; he will find the Church government by Kirk Session and Assemblies of that kind laid down and provided for in that Act; and the whole of that done by the King and Queen at the time, and with the authority of the Parliament of Scotland. There, therefore, just as in this country, the laws of the State are the laws of the Church, and the laws of the Church are the laws of the State. I will go one step further before I leave the question of disestablishment. I know it has been the fashion to say that those who support the principle of Establishments have ceased to support it upon the ground that the Establishment maintains the truth. My Lords, that has been repeated in the course of this debate. My noble and learned Friend the Master of the Bolls, I think, said this— "It is the principle of all modern statesmen that the State is not to lay down that this is true and that is false, or to force any form of religion upon the people." With a part of that statement I entirely agree. It is not the business of the State to enforce any form of religion upon the people; and I have been somewhat astonished in the course of this evening's debate to hear the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) use the term that the Established Church forced religion upon the people. I believe also that it is not necessary for the State, or the province of the State, to go out of its way to declare other religions to be false; but what I do maintain is, that it is the business of the State, it is the duty of the State, it is the privilege of the State to decide for itself, and decide as an Imperial question, what form of organization will, in the judgment of the State—acting as a whole and treating it as an Imperial question— be the form which will best convey to the people of the State the knowledge of those great truths of Christianity which the majority of the State considers to be of inestimable value. And, my Lords, I prefer very much what was said by my noble and learned Friend (Lord Penzance), who observed—"I believe that an Established Church is a great national necessity, and is a national acknowledgment of a religious duty." That has been the doctrine always accepted in this country, and I venture to enter my earnest protest against the views of my noble and learned Friend the Master of the Rolls, that modern statesmen have ceased to acknowledge or to hold that doctrine. I go a step further, and I ask—If any State held a doctrine of that kind, is it possible for this country to hold it? My Lords, what are our title deeds? What do we find in the Declaration of Rights? We find the whole foundation of it is that this is a Protestant country. What is the tenure of the Throne by the Sovereign? The succession is limited to those who are Protestants. What is the condition upon which the Sovereign holds the Throne? It is that the Sovereign conforms to and is a member of the Church of England. What are the forms of the Writs which summon your Lordships to this House and the Members of the other House of Parliament? The form is this—that Parliament is to be assembled "for arduous and urgent affairs concerning the estate and defence of Our United Kingdom and the Church.'' Is that consistent with the idea that the State cannot, as an Imperial question, and as a whole decide for itself what form of religion is the best? What is the meaning of calling the two Estates of the Realm into council with reference to the affairs of the Church, unless the Church is to have the privileges of an Establishment? To mention a subject which must be referred to with forbearance, I want to know the meaning of having Prayer offered up in your Lordships' House at the commencement of Business, when we ask the Supreme Being to guide us in our councils towards the maintenance of the true religion? [Laughter,.] I am sorry to observe that the noble Lord opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) considers this a laughing matter. I would ask him whether it is a mockery which we intend when we use the expressions to which I have referred, or whether there is really in the eyes of the State such a thing as true religion? The objection, therefore, to this Bill as to the question of disestablishment is, I think, that it amounts on the face of it to a declaration on the part of the State of the abandonment of any Church or religion whatsoever, and an expression on the part of the State of that which is equivalent to infidelity.

My Lords, there is one other peculiarity in the case, when we have to deal with Ireland, so far as the question of disestablishment is concerned. I object to disestablishment generally on the ground of policy and duty; but, in the case of Ireland, another ground presents itself—a ground which has been very much discussed in the course of the debates on this subject—I mean that which is connected with the Act of Union. Into that point I do not intend to enter at any length; but I must say, with the most profound respect for those who entertain a different opinion, that I never believed the Treaty of Union between England and Ireland to be different from any treaty between any other two countries. I know well that such a Treaty can be put an end to by the mutual consent of the contracting parties; but this does not exhaust the question. One provision of the Act of Union is that the maintenance of the Church in Ireland as established is an essential and fundamental part of the contract of Union. You say, however, that the constituencies of Ireland and the representatives of that country are willing that the Irish Church Establishment should be done away with, and that there is a cancellation of that clause of the Treaty. But the only way in which you can cancel an essential clause of the Treaty is by cancelling the whole contract. What I ask your Lordships, then, to consider is this —though the subject cannot be pursued at any length now—whether the consequence of cancelling that which is an essential part of the Treaty of Union is not a moral abandonment—I do not speak of any technical question of the effect of an Act of Parliament—of the Act of Union itself. True it may be that the constituencies of Ireland are perfectly willing to abandon the maintenance of the Church Establishment in that country; but have, I would ask, the constituencies and people of Ireland yet signified their willingness to restore the contract of Union, which morally comes to an end when you take out of it a necessary and fundamental term? Let me not be misunderstood. I know well that there is in some parts of Ireland an agitation on the question of the Union; and, if my voice could reach any of those who take a view opposed to its continuance, I should with the greatest earnestness implore them to abandon such an idea. Nothing could, in my opinion, be more disastrous for Ireland, for the Protestants of that country, or for any portion of its population, than the severance of the Union with England. But if you introduce the principle that the Treaty of Union is to be broken through, and that the question of its validity or re-affirmance is to depend on the will of the Irish people, we ought, I think, to be very careful as to bringing about a state of things which would lead the people of Ireland, not only in those parts of the country in which such views already prevail, but in those parts of it in which they have never prevailed before—to come to the conclusion that if any portion of the Act of Union is to go, they would prefer that the Treaty itself should be dispensed with altogether.

I now pass from the question of disestablishment, which, if the view I take of it be right, is contrary to policy and to duty, and is even a violation of a contract which may lead to the consequences which I have pointed out. I now come, in the next place, to the question of disendowment; and the first observation I would make with respect to it is that what this Bill proposes to do is to devote to purposes which I may say, without seeking to pronounce any panegyric upon them, are laudable and proper purposes, if you had only got money to apply to them, funds which have hitherto been devoted, and exclusively devoted, to the teaching of religion. The idea which at the outset occurs to me in dealing with this point is that this is a thing which in this country has never been done before. I listened to the noble and learned Lord, who, I thought was going to cite cases in which it had been done; but I heard no such cases. I am aware that the suppression of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. has been referred to; but that has no analogy whatever to what is to be done here. The monasteries were declared to be things which ought to be put an end to; and being put an end to, the property, whether rightly or wrongly I will not now discuss, was applied to other purposes. It was not a case in which it was said—"We wish the monasteries to go on; we think them the best things in the world; and, while taking away their property we, wish them happiness and enjoyment." So far from that, they were pronounced by Parliament to have committed faults which justified their suppression, and being accordingly suppressed, it was impossible that the money could any longer be applied to their use. Is there any other analogy? As to what was done at the Reformation, it is no precedent, for the Church itself was then reformed by the authority of the State, and the property remained in the hands of the Church. Is Canada a precedent in favour of the proposal of the Government? Why, it is a precedent directly against it. There was certain Church property which never had been localized or made the property of any parish for the support of religion, but had been held in one general mass, out of which from time to time allowances and stipends were made to the Protestant clergy of Canada. That property was dealt with in a way of which we have heard. But what was done with property which had been localized and devoted to the purpose of religious teaching in certain localities? Why, as the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) reminded your Lordships, at the time the clergy reserves were appropriated to other purposes, those forty-seven or fifty rectories which had been established by Sir John Colborne when he was Governor of Canada, and which were on all fours with English incumbencies, were religiously preserved—they were never taken away to be applied to other purposes, but remained devoted to religious teaching in the respective parishes. I may refer to one other parallel which has been cited. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of St. David's) told us a most interesting story of St. Ambrose, which for another purpose was also mentioned by my noble Friend (the Earl of Derby) last night. St. Ambrose used the silver vessels of the altar for the purpose of ransoming slaves. I thought at the time that the right rev. Prelate might have adduced an instance of greater authority and of a higher sanction—the shew-bread, which also was part of the furniture of the altar, and which was used for the purpose of supplying those who were hungry. But both those were cases in which the offerings were taken from the altar because, without their being so taken, distress, which was imminent, could not be averted. What, however, you are doing here is stripping the altar for the sake of stripping the altar; and then when you hate stripped it, which you do for the mere pleasure of plunder, you look about you, forsooth, and see what you can do with the money you have acquired in that way. In your desperation—in that agony which according to my noble and learned Friend has for so many years prevented any Government from dealing with the Irish Church—that agony of knowing what to do with the surplus, you at last remember that lunatic asylums and reformatories are excellent things, and you decide on giving the money to those in- stitutions. I want to know what right you have to do this?

My Lords, we have heard a great deal of the distinction between private and corporate property. I must Beg to be allowed to object to the use of that term, which, I think, was introduced by Mr. Hallam without sufficient consideration, and has since been adopted by many writers. There is said to be a distinction between private and corporate property; and it is said that a corporation having no heir, and being the creation of the Legislature, which can put an end to it by the same power which created it, the property of a corporation is something altogether different from that of an individual. Now that is not a very comfortable doctrine for the Bank of England; it is not a very comfortable doctrine for the Great Eastern Railway Company, or for the numberless corporations throughout the country that carry on trade and possess property. The truth is it is an entire misapprehension of terms to suppose that it carries the argument one inch further to find that you are dealing with the property of a corporation and not with the property of individuals. If Mr. Hallam be right that corporate property is State property, because a corporation has no heir; then the result would be that the benefactions of private donors would fall to the State, as well as the other property belonging to the corporation. And yet it is admitted, even by the present Bill, that you cannot touch property which is given by private donors. But I go further. Suppose you say that a distinction may be made in the case of such corporations as those to which I have referred, and that because the Bank of England has shareholders, with private interests in its shares, it cannot be classed with ordinary corporations. Let us, then, take the case of an hospital founded by some munificent man for the purpose of supplying medical aid to a parish, and if you like to make the analogy a little more complete, for the purpose of supplying such aid according to the homoeopathic system to persons in the parish who liked it. Now if, in the case of the Bank of England or the Great Eastern Railway, the circumstance that private individuals have interests in the shape of shares, and if the property is thereby protected, why should not the interests of the parishioners, or, at all events, of those who like homcœpathy, be also protected? The truth is, it is simply leading us into a cloud of bewilderment when you talk of the circumstance of the Church being a corporation having anything to do with the matter. The real question is the nature of the property, where it came from, and what are the purposes to which it was to be applied. And now let me ask your Lordships to remember what is that property proposed to be dealt with by this Bill? We have two kinds of property, tithes and glebes, which are quite different from each other, and open to different considerations. First of all, I will take the case of the tithes. They have been called over and over again national property. In fact, they are no more national property than—I will not say, the property of your Lordships, but the property of one of the corporations to which I alluded just now. Let us see what they really are. The tithes were never granted by the State. They were the offerings and oblations in early times of members of the Church, who were actuated to make these donations by the exhortations of the Church, and their own sense of what was right; and when the Church became connected with the State the Church said to the State—"We have been in the habit of getting tithes, but as those who give them are not very regular in their payments, we should like you to pass an Act of Parliament in order to give a legal sanction to that which all the members of the Church have already agreed to." This is a matter as to which there can be no doubt whatever, because fortunately we have the Preambles of the first Tithe Acts, both for England and Ireland. One of these Preambles says— Whereas divers persons, not regarding their duties to Almighty God, have not letted to subtract and withdraw the lawful and accustomed Tythes of Corn, &c. Now, my Lords, the fact is we are a little confused in dealing with this subject from the circumstances that these tithes have been turned into rent-charges. Suppose, however, that there had been no such conversion. Can your Lord ships believe it would be possible if the old state of things existed for the Legislature of the country to step in and say— "The parson shall no longer take the tenth sheaf of corn; our own officer shall take it instead, because it is national property, and we will use this tenth sheaf of corn for any purposes we deem fit to apply to it?" Now, does it really make any difference because, in order to facilitate collection, these tithes have been converted into rent-charges? It is impossible for a moment to sustain such a position. I will give another illustration. We have lately been discussing the question of church rates in England. Those rates amounted, not many years ago, to a sum about as large as the whole tithe revenue of the Irish Church. The church rates were a charge upon land, and formed a condition of the succession to landed property. But would it have been possible for the State in that case to come forward and say—"Those church rates cause a great deal of quarrelling; they produce much ill feeling; we must put a stop to their application to the purposes of the Established Church; the State will collect them; will use them for the service of the State; we will not repair the churches, but we will seize on these £400,000 or £500,000 a year, and apply them to the purposes of the public Exchequer?" My Lords, I do not deny that this is public property; but there is a great difference between national property and public property. As public property, coupled with a trust in which there is a duty to be performed, I quite agree that it is within the competence of the State to step in and see that the duties are properly performed —to see that in the nature of the trust itself there is nothing illegal, and that in the expenditure there is no extravagance. And that is the answer to what was urged by the noble Earl (Earl Russell) at the table to-night. He said—"Take the case of an endowment founded for the benefit of persons who go to the Holy Land and return with the leprosy." I do not know that that would be the result of the journey; but that is the case that was taken by the noble Earl. "Supposing the income of the endowment, from the increase of value and other causes, yielded an annual return of £15,000 or £20,000, and there are no lepers for whose benefit the income can be applied, may not the State step in and apply the money to purposes as nearly akin to the original as possible?" Under these circumstances I quite agree with the conclusion at which the noble Earl arrived. But, supposing there are 700,000 lepers to whose benefit you can apply the fund, would you then be justified in confiscating it? And this is really the point of the case. This is not national property. The nation has no right to apply it, except for the objects originally intended. You may see that it is applied to the objects originally intended, you may see that the duty is properly performed, and that the expenditure is not extravagant; but beyond that you cannot go. Let me ask your Lordships to imagine a case that ought, I believe, to carry conviction to any mind that fairly considers it. Suppose a College or school were founded in a particular parish; suppose that the funds were not extravagant for the purpose, and suppose that, though not the whole of the children of the parish, yet a sufficient number, availed themselves of the opportunity thus afforded them; and suppose you came to deal with the endowments in the way you propose to do with the Irish Church, what would the Preamble to your Act of Parliament be? Would it not be something of this kind—"Whereas an endowment was made for the purpose of providing education for children of the parish who were willing to receive it at the time of its foundation; whereas the school has been of great advantage in the teaching of children; and whereas it is expedient that, notwithstanding, for the future, the school shall not be permitted to continue its teaching, and the endowments shall be employed for another purpose entirely unconnected with teaching." Would such a Preamble as that be consistent with any previous legislation? But is not that exactly what you are doing now? You do not recite, because any one may learn the fact for himself, if he desires what was the origin of the tithes; you know that the Irish Church has fulfilled its mission to the extent I have mentioned; you do not say that the expenditure is extravagant; but the State steps in and takes funds set aside for religious teaching, and, in seizing them, makes the express provision that no portion of these funds shall be devoted to the objects for which they were originally intended. Then comes the question of justice with regard to tithes. How did my noble Friend elude that? He says that all those endowments were meant to be used for the purposes of religious teaching by the whole of the nation, and that it was expected that the teaching would be accepted by the whole nation. Now, it is very hard to tell what was expected in this case. I do not know that Elizabeth, for instance, expected the whole of Ireland to be converted—if she did she must have been a very sanguine woman—but, my Lords, I do say that it is a new and dangerous principle to establish that, if an endowment is provided for the religious teaching of a parish, that that endowment should be sacrificed and put an end to, because you find that a certain section of the parish refuse to avail themselves of its benefits. I do not want to apply that argument in any way unfairly, but I believe it to be applicable in the present instance.

Now let me say something about the glebe lands, especially of Ulster, which are by far the most extensive. My Lords, remember what the state of these glebe lands is. James I. had confiscated the lands of Ulster. They were perfectly free, perfectly unoccupied—nay more they were perfectly deserted. He could give them to whom he liked, and, under the advice of his Ministers, he devised a plan for the settlement of Ulster. He divided those confiscated lands into portions of 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 acres, and made a scheme for the settlement of the whole. Grants were given to individuals on the terms that they were to settle those lands with English and Scotch settlers; they were to build houses; erect fortified walls; live on their farms, and among the settlers; and a principal condition of the plan was that for every 1,000 acres ten should be set apart for the purpose of supporting a Protestant incumbent, who was to become the religious teacher of the settlers. Now, I do say, honestly and fairly, that I have never found this portion of the Church question even approached by the supporters of the Bill. Here were settlers taken from their homes in England and Scotland, where they had endowments and would have had them to this day. They were taken over to a country where they had no co-religionists, upon the inducement not only that they should have so much free land, but that their religious teachers should also be provided with a part of the same land. The consequence was that the settlers went there, they colonized Ulster, and made it from a desert wilderness the garden of Ireland; and then you turn round and say to their descendants that they may keep their farms, but they must surrender that which was as much an appendage to their farms as if it had been a right to an adjacent common—the acres of land set apart to maintain their ministers. And remember that in those parishes of Ulster there is no lack of members. The Church population in most of them is the population of the parish, or if there is any other it is a population entirely in sympathy with the population of the Church. Now, is this policy justified? How apt we are in Bills of this kind to look only at one side of the case, and shut our eyes to the other, and to say that the view we take is eminently just and commends itself to our consciences. But let us look at both sides of the case. When James I. made grants of land in Ulster to some of the London Companies he made grants also for some of the parish ministers. But, again, the London Companies themselves, out of the land granted to them by the King, made further grants to the parochial incumbents of the Church. Your Bill saves the land where the Companies have made grants, but it confiscates it where the grant was made by the King. In fact, instead of removing you only create anomalies. I have done now with the question of disendowment, and I say, in that respect, that instead of doing justice you do wrong and the grossest injustice.

And now a few words as to the effect of the measure—first, on the Church itself, then on the Protestant population, and then on the Roman Catholics. As to the Church, it is a Bill to extinguish it. But you will not extinguish the Church. Persecution would not extinguish the Church, but it does not follow that persecution is a right thing. But though you cannot extinguish the Church, you may extinguish the organization for the spread of the doctrines of the Church. The voluntary system has been very much referred to—so often, indeed, that a rapid summary will be sufficient for my purpose. Where has the voluntary system succeeded? Has it succeeded in the Episcopal Church in Scotland—a Church to which belong many of the chief landowners in Scotland? We have had testimony from the most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) on the subject. But what about the Free Church? We have been told that wonders have been done by the Free Church. We must remember that the greatest part of those exertions were made under the pressure of the conscientious grievance, as they thought it, which led to their separation from the Established Church. But if we want to know what has been the result of the voluntary system in Scotland, let us look to the testimony of Dr. Begg, who, in his pamphlet, furnishes us with evidence on that head—


It is all false.


The noble Earl says that the testimony of Dr. Begg is false.


The statements inserted in Mr. M'Naught's pamphlet are false.


Mr. M'Naught did not make his statements in a pamphlet. He made them in a speech to the Presbytery at Glasgow, and I suppose, if he were wrong he could have been set right. His speech was published in a pamphlet with a preface by Mr. Begg, who endorses the statements in Dr. M'Naught's speech, and corroborates their accuracy. Well, Dr. Begg says the real answer to all that has been said about the success of the voluntary system in Scotland is that many of the ministers are not as well paid as bank clerks, while some of them are struggling with actual poverty. With regard to what has been said about what the voluntary system has effected in the colonies, I would observe that in several of the colonies provision has been made for religious purposes—so that the voluntary system does not prevail in those colonies. Again, it is to be remembered that when settlers go out to a colony each one knows what he will have to do in the way of contribution for religious purposes, and the extension of religion proceeds with the advance of the colony. Now, there is a great difference between that case and the case of suddenly disendowing a Church which for centuries has enjoyed endowments. My noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack alluded to what had been done by the Bishop of London; but I think there cannot be a stronger illustration of the truth of what we say in respect of the voluntary system. If there be any concentration of wealth equal to what is to be found in this metropolis, I am not aware of the place in which it is to be found. Well, in this metropolis, where, generally speaking, all the possessors of wealth and all those immediately below them have religious ministrations supplied gratuitously there has been a want of those ministrations for many of the poorer class; and a powerful appeal was made by the most rev. Primate, who then presided over that diocese, to collect £1,000,000 to supply that want for the poor. What has been the result of that appeal? During a period extending over six years, in this great metropolis, with all its wealth, a sum has been collected, in answer to that appeal, which would be just about sufficient to pay the building charges on the glebes in Ireland, and to prevent the Irish clergy from being turned out homeless on the world. Well, what will be the consequence of this disestablishment and disendowment to the Protestants of Ireland? In plain words the consequence will be this—the Church will be maintained, no doubt, in the large and prosperous towns; but in the country parishes, many miles long and many miles broad, where there may be perhaps 200 or 300 of a Church population, mostly humble labouring men with one or two landlords, one or both of whom may be absentees, either the Protestant population will be absorbed in the Roman Catholic population, or that other alternative suggested by the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland) last night be adopted. The noble Duke said—"Let the scattered Protestants in the South go to the North, and let the Roman Catholics in the North go to the South." If the noble Duke resided in Ireland, I do not think that is a prospect he would like. If you adopted it, a material wall would not be built up between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants; but I fear that a much more objectionable wall would be erected between them—a wall of angry passions, prejudice, and antagonism, which would for ever prevent that common sympathy from which alone we can hope for the permanent improvement and prosperity of Ireland. I do not want to be mistaken—I do not hold the view of the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Argyll), that the Protestants of Ireland, unless they are bribed, will not be loyal.


I did not say so. I said that was the argument of the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Abercorn).


Then the noble Duke was mistaken. I listened from beginning to end of the able and striking speech of the noble Duke near me (the Duke of Abercorn), and I am certain that he never uttered a sentence that could bear such a construction. The Protestants of Ireland make no demand for being loyal—they do not want to be bribed; but, whether they are right or wrong in their opinion—and I think they are right —they say—"This property is our own, we have a right to keep our own, and that we think you are taking away from us;" and believing, as they will do, this to be the case, they will naturally be exasperated; and I do not think that by exasperating the Protestant population we shall succeed in pacifying Ireland. And now, my Lords, what will be the effect of this measure upon the Roman Catholic population of the country? My Lords, I think that perhaps it will be the means, to some extent, of gratifying the Roman Catholic population; but, while you gratify them, do not think you will satisfy them—the two things are very different indeed. My Lords, we know perfectly well that what the Roman Catholic population of Ireland have set their hearts upon is, not the disestablishment and the disendowment of the Established Church, but the possession of the land; and they merely look upon the destruction of the Establishment as a preliminary to the destruction of the Land Laws. Now, I give the Government this credit, that I do not believe they will bring in any measure with respect to the land at all calculated to gratify the hopes that are entertained in Ireland. But what will be the effect upon the Irish population, when they find that they will have to pay their rent as before, and that the payments to their priests will have to be made as before? Why, there will be a recoil in their feelings, and they will turn round and ask you what you meant by that wonderful piece of legislation which was to have insured so much to their satisfaction. Now, my Lords, let me ask you for a moment what would be your answer if a Roman Catholic was to come and address you thus—"You have introduced a very wholesome and excellent principle of legislation; you have laid down the rule that there is to be no inequality whatever in ecclesiastical arrangements—that is a very good thing; you have laid down the further rule that in the treatment of ecclesiastical arrangements there is no longer to be a question of the union of the three countries, but that the views of the majority of the population of each of the three is to be consulted, and that the case of Ireland is to be dealt with as standing by itself; you have got an Established Church in England, the Church of the majority, and an Established Church in Scotland, the Church also of the majority; you tell me you are anxious to carry out the principle of equality, and therefore I ask you to establish the Church of the majority in Ireland." Now, supposing you said, in answer to that demand—"Well, we should like to see you placed on a perfect equality with ourselves; but, unfortunately, there is a little prejudice about these things, and somehow or another we cannot persuade the Parliament of England to establish the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland." And then supposing the Roman Catholics were to say—"Well, we can quite understand that, but there is another thing that can be done: if you cannot establish the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland, you can disestablish the Established Churches of England and Scotland, and then we shall be quite equal and perfectly happy." Now I ask you, my Lords, I ask the noble Earl opposite (the Secretary for the Colonies) what answer you could give to that proposition? I say that it would be perfectly impossible to answer it, and that you would then find out that your principle of equality is absurd, and cannot be carried to a logical conclusion without entailing consequences from which you would recoil. My Lords, I will not say more than a word or two about the case of England. I am anxious not to set a precedent that may afterwards work evil in this county; but I want to ask you this—You are now asked to hold this doctrine — that wherever there is an Established Church and an endowed Church there is between its members and those belonging to unendowed religious communities a religious inequality. You are asked further to hold that where there is inequality there is injustice. But is not that a dangerous principle when you come to deal with it? Let us put aside the question of num- bers—let us forget England altogether, and take an illustration merely upon Irish soil. If I take 2,000,000 from the Roman Catholics and put them over to the Protestant side, making the numbers of the Protestants 3,500,000, though the Protestants would then be in a majority—as long as religious Establishments existed would there not be in principle just the same inequality which you say now exists? I beg your Lordships to beware of affirming a principle which, if applied to England, would lead to your being charged with injustice, because one-third or something less than one-half of the people did not belong to the established religion. The noble Earl the Secretary for the Colonies gave a good deal of advice to the Episcopal Bench as to the course they should follow, warning them not to reject the measure, or in any way to connect the cause of England with that of Ireland. The noble Earl told us the result of some conversations which he had held with defeated Members of Parliament belonging to the Liberal party. I was always under the impression that defeated Members of Parliament resorted to the Secretary to the Treasury when they wanted consolation. But I can quite understand that a Secretary to the Treasury having a Secretary for the Colonies of such consoling power as the noble Earl would naturally send on the defeated candidates, and I can only regret that to the burden of public duties this additional duty is cast upon the noble Earl of receiving the confidences of rejected candidates. The noble Earl told us that those who were defeated complained that invariably their great enemies were the parson, the sexton, and the gravedigger.


The clerk and the sexton.


Yes; the parson, the clerk, and the sexton. The defeated Liberal candidates said they met these terrible agents everywhere; and the noble Earl warned the Bishops of the dangers that would come to the Church if Liberal candidates continued to be thus successfully opposed. I do not expect the noble Earl will have any of these confidential communications with defeated candidates on the other side; but I venture to say that if he could only spare a little time to hear them they would tell him that their great opponents at the last election were the Nonconforming ministers, and that for skill in electioneering and in bringing influence to bear upon their flocks very few could surpass those persons. They would also tell him that the reason why the Nonconforming ministers were so anxious about the Irish Church was not from any benevolent sympathy with Ireland at all, but because they sought to overthrow the Irish Church merely as a precedent for attacking the Church in England. And, therefore, having heard the revelations which these disappointed candidates could make to the noble Earl, perhaps he would begin to think that there was some reason for the sexton, the clerk, and even for the rector, to feel anxious about the result of the elections. The right rev. Prelate who presides over the diocese of St. David's said it was absurd to suppose that in Wales there are any differences at all, for that the only differences which there prevail are not greater than exist elsewhere between different sections of the Church itself. We all know that there was no place where the Irish Church question was more warmly taken up and discussed at the last election than in Wales; I would, therefore, ask your Lordships, and even the right rev. Prelate himself —do you believe that if the Irish Church question had been the only one, and that legislation affecting the Church was to end there, the Nonconforming ministers would have cared — what shall I say?—the value of a journey to the hustings for the question?

My Lords, let me say a very few words with regard to the course to be taken on this occasion. I think it a fortunate circumstance that on the great question of the constitutional position of this House, there is, as far as I can gather, really no difference whatever between any Members of your Lordships' House; the only difficulty which does arise is not as to the principles but as to the application of them. I am quite willing to accept as regards principle the view which my noble Friend below the Gangway (the Marquess of Salisbury) expressed with such power last night, although I differ with him in the application. My noble Friend said — and I agree with him—that as regards many public questions the country at large does not take any lively or active in- terest; that those questions are relegated by the country to be decided by the House of Commons and the House of Lords; that as to those questions both Houses have full co-ordinate jurisdictions, and the country leaves them to settle those questions between themselves as best they may. But I agree with my noble Friend further, that there are questions which arise now and again—rarely, but sometimes—as to which the country is so much upon the alert, is so nervously anxious, and so well acquainted with their details, that it steps in as it were, takes the matter out of the hands of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and substantially and in truth tells both Houses of the Legislature what the country requires; and that in those cases either House of Parliament, or both together, cannot expect to be more powerful than the country, or to do otherwise than the country desires. But, my Lords, while I admit that as a general principle, I think there is a correlative principle which never ought to be lost sight of. While I admit, as I do most freely, that the House of Lords must faithfully interpret the wishes of the nation, and that this House is not an external body which is to govern the nation against its will, there is a correlative principle, which to my mind is this—that the House of Lords, especially when it surrenders its own convictions upon the merits of a question, must be very careful indeed to be certain that the mind of the country is rightly and faithfully interpreted. Now, what is it necessary to remind your Lordships of with reference to the last election? I quite agree again with my noble Friend that there was an issue presented to the country in which to a large extent the question of the Irish Church was mixed up; and I agree with him that as regards the knowledge of the country, of the form and extent of that issue, much must be determined by the declarations of those who were advocating before the country the policy which is now embodied, or said to be embodied, in this Bill. Now, the expressions used last year by the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Argyll) have been referred to to-night; and the noble Duke has entered into an argument of some length to show that, taken in connexion with Amendments which were moved in the other House, it must have been known by the Conservative party that his words would not bear the meaning that has been put on them. That is not the question. The question is this — Take the effect of those words on the country at large, which is not versed in those Parliamentary contests that produce Amendments and counter-Amendments, and there can be no doubt of the sense it attached to them. I would remind your Lordships of the later words of the noble Duke. What did he say? He said— Therefore, those Members of the House of Commons who voted for that Resolution are perfectly free to vote for any sort of compromise in respect to the endowment of the Church."— [3 Hansard, cxciii. 174.] The matter does not rest entirely upon the words of the noble Duke. He will forgive me for saying that there is an authority still higher than he. What did Mr. Gladstone say? We all remember his general expressions about the Church being treated with indulgence and generosity; that after all, she would not be so badly off, but would go forth into the world with about two-thirds or three-fifths of her property; and although it was afterwards explained that those two-thirds or three-fifths would be left to the Church or to her members, yet the country at large does not criticize these distinctions; and there can be no doubt that the feeling out of doors was that the Irish Church would be dealt with in a most liberal and handsome way, and that, when disestablished and disendowed, she would still retain two-thirds or three-fifths of her property and that she would carry with her in entering on her new eareer a very good provision. What did Mr. Gladstone say last year on the subject of endowment about the same time when the noble Duke used the words that have been quoted? Mr. Gladstone said— We have passed a vote with regard to the Established Church which excluded the word 'disendow' because we have reserved to ourselves the power to deal liberally on every question of construction and interpretation as far as the Established Church is concerned. So that Mr. Gladstone really went much further than the noble Duke, and said he would not even mention the word "disendowment." In that state of things the matter went to the elections. What do we all know in regard to those elections? I describe the state of things accurately when I say that the voluntary body, which is strong and respectable, were very keen on the subject of the Irish Church for reasons that we all know. The Roman Catholic body was also anxious for the adoption of the policy announced by Mr. Gladstone. But I venture to say that with the great mass of the Liberal party the great idea was that they wanted a change of Government. What was wanted was a Liberal Government, with Mr. Gladstone at the head of it; and we know perfectly well that in a great many places the Liberal candidate had to keep the Irish Church in the background, or if he mentioned it he had to take refuge in the kindly and generous intentions attributed to Mr. Gladstone. In that state of things the election was concluded; the Government was changed, Mr. Gladstone was at the head of affairs, and what do we find was done? What were the first declarations of two of his leading Colleagues on the subject of the Irish Church? Contrast their speeches with what was said before the Bill was introduced. I have read the declaration of Mr. Gladstone as to generosity and liberality. What were the words used after the Government came into Office and this Bill was introduced? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said— "Generosity! treat the Church with generosity! I, generous with other people's money!" What did the Chief Secretary for Ireland say? He said— "It is true the Bill is sweeping and severe; it would be weakness and folly if it were anything else." If the Liberal candidate at one of the elections in England had used these words, I do not think there would have been much chance of his return. What more is there? I am not going into details, but I would remind your Lordships of some matters about which there is no doubt as to the operation of this Bill. In the first place, the Bill leaves the Church absolutely unprovided for. Life interests are nothing to the Church. The fabrics of the churches are said not to be marketable; they are left to the Church because you cannot take them away. The Church that was to go out with two-thirds of its property has absolutely, literally nothing—nay, less than nothing. The glebe houses, the residences of the incumbents, as to which the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Argyll), Mr. Gladstone, and Mr. Bright all declared, in the most emphatic terms the English language could supply, that nobody could ever dream of taking them away from the incumbents—the glebe houses are to be left, it is true, but only provided the Church pay £250,000 for them; and as there are between 900 and 1,000 of them over which this sum has to be apportioned, from my knowledge of Irish glebe houses I should say very few are worth that money. Then we have that strange invention as to the period from which private endowments should be taken—1660. The Ulster glebes are swept away. Then it is said great tenderness is shown to the Church Body with regard to commutations. The holders of life interests are to be allowed, with the consent of the Church Body, to have the Government value of their annuity paid to them in bulk. What advantage is that to the Church? It is paid into the hands of the Church Body, but the Church Body is charged with the payment of the annuity. Unless the Church is grossly dishonest, it must keep the capitalized annuity for the purpose of paying these poor men their life interest; and if the Government tables are correct, if the Church paid the life interest, the result would be that it would simply have nothing. If you mean that the holders of these life interests are to take less than their annuities and give the rest to the Church—where is the "generosity" of this? As the right rev. Prelate said the other night, you put the sackcloth and ashes on the wrong man. I shall not follow my noble and. learned Friend (Lord Westbury) with regard to the working of the machinery of the Church; but I must say that anything more extravagant than the commendation bestowed upon these arrangements I never heard. The new Church is to stand upon the principle of contract. My Lords, my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack knows perfectly well that you can have no legal redress upon the footing of a contract with a voluntary body unless in respect of property—you cannot raise your action unless there be some property in respect of which to make a complaint; and yet you found this Church upon the footing of a contract, and say—"You may pursue these contracts at law;" but, in order to make it impossible to do so, you deprive the Church of any property whatever. I need not follow the consequences of the Bill further. I venture to say that if this Bill had been before the country at the time of the elections it would have been impossible for it to have received the approbation of the constituencies. I do not admit the distinction maintained on this head between disestablishment and disendowment. My noble and learned Friend stated the truth exactly when he stated that the people of the country at large do not analyze the matter, and do not understand the difference between disestablishment and disendowment. I believe that the country looked upon the matter in this light—they believed you were going to deal with the Irish Church very handsomely, and that it was to tend towards the pacification of Ireland; and, believing that, they did not draw any distinction between disestablishment and disendowment. They merely looked for a Bill consistent with the representations made by noble Lords opposite during the time of the election. My Lords, the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) quoted some words of mine, uttered last year with reference to the Government being guided by the decision of the country, and I am quite willing to accept his interpretation of what I uttered. I stated that the then Government were willing to stake their existence upon the verdict of the country. I stated the policy which the Government as a Government would maintain at the elections. I said that that was a policy by which any Ministry would be glad to stand or fall, and I declared that by that policy we would stand or fall. The noble Earl opposite says that our pledge to do this did not amount to much, because the House of Commons had the power to change the Government, and that we would have to stand or fall by its vote. My Lords, in the first place, a pledge is not the less a pledge, because there is a strong probability that you must fulfil it. But the noble Earl forgets that he very properly and very handsomely acknowledged that it was not only a patriotic course which the late Government took in resigning, when it could not expect to obtain the confidence of the House of Commons, but he further admitted that it was only by that resignation that the present Government were enabled to put their views on the Church into a Bill and submit it to Parliament in the present Session.

My Lords, I listened anxiously to what fell from the Secretary of State on the subject of the Amendments which might be introduced hero. I am very anxious rightly to understand this question, but I own that the remarks upon this subject which fell from the noble Earl the Secretary of State, though they appeared to give great comfort to the most rev. Primate who presides over this Province (the Archbishop of Canterbury), did not produce the same effect upon my mind. I find the noble Earl said that to all the main principles of the Bill the Government religiously adhere. What the main principles of the Bill were the noble Earl did not tell us, and therefore he is free to maintain any provision and to resist any Amendment which he may say, in his judgment, interferes with the main principles of the Bill. Then the noble Earl said that any Amendments which we may make will be respectfully considered by the Government. Now I am very sure that any Amendments which we may make would not only be considered by the Government, but if they be supported by a majority in this House, the Amendments will be carried, whether the Government consider them or not. The action of this House is in its own hands—we do not want pledges as to the action of this House—we do not even want pledges as to the action of the House of Commons. What we want to know is what is the course which will be taken by the Government in the House of Commons; because that is the real point in the question, and on that point we have got no information whatever. I was much struck with what was said by the noble and learned Lord (Lord Penzance). He said with great candour that, for his part, if the second reading were carried, he saw great difficulty in the introduction into the Bill of Amendments of the character indicated by the most rev. Primate. If that be so, and we have no assurance that our Amendments will be accepted, I want to know what encouragement there is to go into Committee with a view to making Amendments. The noble Earl (Earl Grey), who sits upon the cross-Benches, and who strongly advocated going into Committee, described in glowing terms the Amendments and the great improvements which might be made in the Bill, and the excellent position we should be in if we go into Committee. Now, I venture, with the greatest respect, to ask the noble Earl—and he will pardon me for feeling a doubt about the matter—whether he has ascertained that there is any single Amendment which he would propose which would be agreed to by the Government in this House, and whether there is any single Amendment which would be proposed by any other Member of this House to which he would agree. My Lords, I cannot derive much comfort from assurances of that kind, unless I know that the Amendments, which are so vividly impressed upon the mind of the noble Earl, are the kind of Amendments which I myself should like to see introduced. I agree with my noble Friend below the Gangway (the Marquess of Salisbury), that when we come to speak of any change that may have occurred in the country we have to deal with a difficult question. That is a point on which every person must form his own opinion in the most conscientious way and with the best information in his power. But certainly very remarkable things have occurred. I do not refer merely to the manner in which Petitions have come before this House on the subject of the Bill, though that is remarkable. It is remarkable to find that in so short a space of time Petitions against the Bill have been signed by 700,000 persons over and above those Petitions signed by the chairmen of meetings, which must represent in the aggregate as many more—and this while the Petitions for the Bill are signed by only 124,000 persons. This also is, I think, very remarkable—that to a greater extent than I ever remember in the case of any public question in recent times— meetings have been held expressive of disapprobation of this Bill, as soon as its contents became fully known, not only in counties and parishes, but in the most populous towns throughout the country. Nor were these tumultuous meetings, as they have sometimes been described to be in this debate, but grave meetings, solemnly called together, conducting their deliberations in the most solemn way, showing the most comprehensive acquaintance with the subject, and manifesting the most stern resolve on the part of those present to oppose the policy of the measure. It has been said that meetings have been held on the other side also, or that they would have been held had they not been discouraged by Members of the Government, and among others by Mr. Bright. I do not know how this may have been, but it strikes me, at all events, as being somewhat singular, that in the only town with which Mr. Bright is directly connected—I mean as its representative —not only was a meeting held, but very much patronized by him, for, as we know, the right hon. Gentleman in a letter which has been often referred to, very fully disclosed his opinions on the particular subject which was under discussion. But even that meeting, notwithstanding the political feelings which, as your Lordships are aware, prevail in the town in which it was held, was anything but unanimous in supporting this Bill, and in its approval of the policy which it embodies. I own, my Lords, that those things which come under one's observation every day have very deeply impressed my mind with the persuasion that the people of this country have not yet fully considered the character and provisions of the measure.

My Lords, I beg you not to forget that this is a question—let men talk as they like—in which your Lordships' House has any peculiar or personal interest. The object—the only object—you can have in view in dealing with it—is really, and without the fear, as far as possible, of subsequent error or cause for regret— to ascertain what ought to be done with the grave issue which has been submitted for your deliberation. For my part, without in the slightest degree desiring to commit this House to taking up a position of antagonism to the country, I maintain, for the reasons I have stated, that my noble Friend who has moved the Amendment is right in wishing that further time should be afforded to the country for the consideration of a measure the most enormous in its scope, the most momentous in its consequences that has ever been laid before Parliament. My Lords, we are asked to commit a wrong—a grievous and cruel wrong—and that in one of those points on which they are most sensitive—on over 1,000,000 of our Protestant fellow-subjects in Ireland—a class of men of whom it is not too much to say that they have contributed in a greater degree than any other element in the country to the promotion of civilization and good order of their native land, and to the maintenance of the connection between it and England. We are asked to cast them off, to repudiate their right to institutions like our own, after the maintenance of those institutions has been guaranteed by engagements and stipulations the most solemn into which a State can enter. The measure which we are invited to adopt is not a measure of neutrality, but of destruction; it is a measure, not of indifference on the part of the State to true religion, but of actual hostility to it. We are asked to abandon once and for all the recognition as a State in Ireland of the Reformed religion, and thereby as a State to do all that a State can do to extinguish it. My Lords, we are going, as I believe, not to pacify Ireland, but to sow broadcast in that country a new and plentiful crop of angry passions, ungoverned jealousies, bitter and revengeful memories, which will soon ripen into a harvest of evil that, depend upon it, we shall have to reap even as we sow it. We are going in a country where of all others the sacredness of the rights of property ought to be inculcated, to teach a lesson that even in sacred things the State will bend and strain those rights for a political object and under political pressure. My Lords, it is because I anticipate these evils from the passing of this measure— it is because I feel convinced that if your Lordships were to accept it it could be only in deference to the unmistakable opinion of the country—it is because I see that any mistake as to that opinion is fatal and irretrievable—it is because I believe that the more the country sees and knows of this measure the less it likes and approves it—that I for my part shall give my vote for the Amendment.


My Lords, the noble Earl who began the debate yesterday (the Earl of Derby) remarked on the observations I made in introducing the Bill with that good nature which he has always shown me; but he complained that I had not touched in my speech on the principle of the Bill. Well, my Lords, I think that at the close of the debate at this hour it is too late to remedy that deficiency, or even to follow in any length the able and detailed argument urged by the noble and learned Lord, who went over much the same ground as I think I remember that he did but a twelvemonth ago. Now, I think that there are certain arguments with regard to this Bill and to the Church of Ireland which have been smoothed away by discussion. After what has been said by some of the right rev. Prelates and by the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury), I think it unnecessary to go again through the whole of the arguments; but I must say a few words in reply to what fell from the noble and learned Lord opposite. He asserted that it was absolutely necessary that the majority of the nation, as a whole, ought to decide what religion should be taught in the State, and to provide churches for the teaching of that religion. But, if this be so, what is to be said for the establishment—not of the Episcopalian but of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland? Then the noble and learned Lord tells us that the great importance of having a State Church is that it protects the religious freedom of the minority. I must confess I do not understand what is meant by that statement. The only country I know of where the State Church is in a very small minority is Ireland, and how can the existence of that State Church in the slightest degree tend to the religious liberty of the great majority of the people of that country? Then take the case of the Established Church here, to which I belong and which I hope will grow in usefulness. How has that Church been instrumental in securing the religious freedom of the Nonconformists in this country? As to the Act of Union, if as the noble and learned Lord contends the clause relating to the Established Church is a fundamental condition of the Union, surely there is no reason whatever why the representatives of England, Ireland and Scotland should not, for the public good, change that portion of the Act of Union. I may remark that I am no friend to disendowment; but I object to endowment when it is, in my opinion, unjust and when it tends to create feelings of irritation on the part of the great majority of the people. In Ireland a Catholic has to pay, perhaps, £2 or £3 a-year for the support of his religion, while his Protestant neighbour has not to pay a farthing. Can such a state of things be expected to exist without ill-feeling being created? This Bill has been criticized with great severity, and a great many faults have been found with it. But what has occurred in the course of the speeches of several noble Lords has led me to hope that this debate may yet land us in Committee, so that at this late hour I will spare your Lordships any discussion. I think the great preponderance of argument has been that as far as disestablishment is concerned the verdict of the country has been in favour of this Bill. I quite agree with my noble Friend who said that in his opinion the fact that the country had decided in favour of disestablishment was enough to warrant your Lordships in accepting the Bill and making in Committee what Amendments you may think necessary. The noble and learned Lord put a question to me, and I appeal not to noble Lords on this but to noble Lords on the other side of the House, and ask whether it is a reasonable one, and whether it is one I can be expected to answer. I stated the intentions of the Government, and he asks me what will be done in the House of Commons in regard to Amendments about which we know nothing, and of which we have not even had the character given us. During the course of this debate questions far more reasonable have been put to the leaders of the Conservative party, and have met with no reply. The right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) accused the Government in "another place", of having received every argument against the Bill with a conspiracy of silence. Among, however, the many objections urged against Mr. Gladstone, I have never heard that he was accused of having refused to argue out a great question. With regard to this silence, I am glad that it has not occurred in this House; because, if we had been so silent, we should have lost one of the most remarkable and one of the most interesting debates I remember ever to have heard in the course of my political life. No answer has been returned to the question of the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) who very pertinently asked the noble Earl what was the next step supposing you succeeded in rejecting the Bill. That important question still remains unanswered. Again, it has been asked what is your policy when you ask this House to put itself in the position in which the Duke of Wellington said the House ought never to find itself—in opposition to the Crown, to the House of Commons, and to the nation? What right have you to do so without giving the slightest intention of what you intend to substitute? The noble and learned Lord may say, like Sir Robert Peel—"Call me in and I will prescribe;" but the noble and learned Lord was called in, and if he had a plan he tore it up and put it on the fire. One other question has been asked a hundred times. It is whether if we were in the position of the Irish people with reference to a State Church we would suffer such a state of things to continue? I venture to say that question remains unanswered. I challenged my noble Relative who moved the rejection of the Bill (the Earl of Harrowby) to answer it; but he treated my challenge with contempt. It was so treated till the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) rose, whose speech has been so much praised for its splendid eloquence and ability. He referred to it—but, adopting a custom which I believe is more common in the sister kingdom than in this, he answered it by putting another direct question. He asked what portion of the people of Ireland the Government wished to do justice to? That question was at once answered by my noble Friend the President of the Council, who said the object of the Government was not to do justice to any portion of the people, but to do justice to the whole of Ireland. My Lords, when I ask this House—a House to which I am so deeply attached, and I ought to be, because I owe it so much—to take the step of adopting this Bill, subject to any Amendments which your Lordships may think fit to propose, I feel that I am asking it to adopt a measure founded on the highest principles of justice and morality, and entirely bound up with our duty both as men and politicians.

Motion (of Monday last), That the Bill be now read 2a—(The Earl Granville); objected to; an Amendment moved to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day three months")—(The Earl of Harrowby.)

On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion? their Lordships divided: — Contents 179; Not-Contents 146: Majority 33.

Resolved in the Affirmative.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday the 29th Instant.

Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.) Suffolk and Berkshire, E.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Cleveland, D. Yarborough, E.
Devonshire, D. Zetland, E.
Grafton, D.
Leeds, D. Eversley, V.
Norfolk, D. Falmouth, V.
Saint Albans, D. Halifax, V.
Somerset, D. Leinster, V. (D. Leinster.)
Sutherland, D.
Lifford, V.
Ailesbury, M. Powerscourt, V.
Anglesey, M. Sidmouth, V.
Bath, M. Sydney, V.
Camden, M.
Lansdowne, M. St. David's, Bp.
Normanby, M.
Salisbury, M.
Townshend, M. Abercromby, L.
Winchester, M. Abinger, L.
Annaly, L.
Abingdon, E. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Airlie, E. Audley, L.
Albemarle, E. Aveland, L.
Camperdown, E. Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.)
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Cathcart, E. Bateman, L.
Cawdor, E. Belper, L.
Chichester, E. Bolton, L.
Clarendon, E. Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)
Cottenham, E.
Cowley, E. Brougham and Vaux, L.
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Craven, E. Camoys, L.
Dartrey, E. Carew, L.
De Grey, E. Carrington, L.
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Devon, E. Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)
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Durham, E. Chesham, L.
Essex, E. Churchill, L.
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Innes, E. (D. Roxburghe.) Delamere, L.
De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Jersey, E. De Mauley, L.
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Leicester, E. Ebury, L.
Lichfield, E. Elphinstone, L.
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Lucan, E. Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)
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Stourton, L.
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Romilly, L.
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Buckingham and Chandos, D. Hardwicke, E.
Harewood, E.
Manchester, D. Harrington, E.
Marlborough, D. Harrowby, E. [Teller.]
Northumberland, D. Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire.)
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Huntingdon, E.
Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.) Lauderdale, E.
Leven and Melville, E.
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Bristol, M. Malmesbury, E.
Exeter, M. Mansfield, E.
Westmeath, M. Mount Cashell, E.
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Derby, E.
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Ellenborough, E.
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Gough, V.
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Hereford, V.
Hill, V. Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.)
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Templetown, V. Hopetoun, L. (E. Hopetoun.)
Bangor, Bp. Hylton, L.
Derry and Raphoe, Bp. Kesteven, L.
Durham, Bp. Kilmaine, L.
Ely, Bp. Kingston, L. (E. Kingston.)
Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Leconfield, L.
Hereford, Bp. Lovel and Holland, L.(E. Egmont.)
Lichfield, Bp.
Llandaff, Bp. Middleton, L.
London, Bp. Moore, L. (M. Drogheda.)
Norwich, Bp.
Peterborough, Bp. Northwick, L.
Ripon, Bp. O'Neill, L.
Rochester, Bp. Oriel, L.(V. Massereene.)
Tuam, &c, Bp. Ormathwaite, L.
Worcester, Bp. Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.)
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Colville of Culross, L. [Teller.] Southampton, L.
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De Ros, L. Tredegar, L.
De Saumarez, L. Walsingham, L.
Digby, L. Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)
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Fitzwalter, L. Willoughby de Broke, L.
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