HL Deb 27 May 1870 vol 201 cc1469-91

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said: My Lords, the object of this Bill is to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1861. That Act is very short, containing only four clauses. The 1st clause declares and enacts that any brief or bull proceeding from the Pope, pretending to establish any jurisdiction in this country, shall be deemed un-lawful and void. The 2nd imposes a penalty of £100 on the procuring or putting in use any such brief or bull; and on any person, other than a person authorized by law, who shall assume any ecclesiastical title of any city, town, or district—no suit, however, being brought without the consent of the Attorney General. The 3rd clause, which is not quite consistent with the rest of the Act, relieves from penalties the Bishops of the Scotch Episcopal Church; and the 4th reserves the operation of the Charitable Bequests Act of 1844. I need hardly recall the circumstances under which the Act of 1851 was passed. Most of us can remember the excitement which was caused by the promulgation, in September, 1850, of the Pope's Bull, the great agitation which followed throughout the country, and the protracted debates in Parliament which resulted in the passing of the Act. That excitement having long passed away, I am quite sure that your Lordships will now discuss the subject on both sides in a spirit of calmness and impartiality. I will first state what have been the practical results of the Act; secondly, the special circumstances which, in the opinion of the Government, necessitate its repeal; and thirdly, what the position of the law will be in the event of this Bill being passed. Now, as regards the enforcement of any penalties, the Act has been a dead letter, for no one has been sued for any penalty under it; but I by no means imply that the Act has been altogether ineffectual. It has, unfortunately, been the cause of considerable inconvenience, and has, perhaps, to some extent, accomplished the intentions of its promoters. As the penalties apply only to persons assuming the titles, the Act has not prevented the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, whether in England or Ireland, from being generally, and I may add ostentatiously, called by the sees of which they profess to be Bishops. The Bishops themselves have, in this country, generally observed the law; but in Ireland the case is different, and it has not been much observed. Indeed, it was stated by Dr. Moriarty, a very distinguished Roman Catholic Prelate, before a Committee of the other House, that great inconveniences would result from its strict observance by the Bishops, and that such observance was, in point of fact, impossible. There have been some other consequences; it is alleged, for instance, that inconvenience has resulted with regard to bequests, for it has not been possible so to describe Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church that property could be vested in them to be held by successive Bishops for charitable purposes. I am bound to say that that inconvenience has been exaggerated, and that a Committee of this House was quite justified in reporting that, although inconvenience had been felt, and much circumlocution had had to be resorted to in constituting trusts under which these charities should be held, in practice no serious evil had arisen. In Ireland, under the Charitable Bequests Act, which is specially saved by the 4th clause, machinery is provided by which Roman Catholic charities are regulated without inconvenience. If, however, these results have not been such as to cause any serious evil, I cannot say as much for the general effect of the Act—especially in Ireland. As soon as it passed very great irritation was produced; and whereas previously there had been friendly intercourse between the Roman Catholic Bishops and the Irish Government, it is not too much to say that such intercourse then almost entirely ceased. I am aware that when the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Abercorn) was Lord Lieutenant there was an instance of intercourse between Cardinal Cullen and the Government; but Cardinal Cullen having a title to which the Act does not apply, his position is an exceptional one. Any one of your Lordships on either side of the House who has been responsible for the Government of Ireland must have felt the cessation of that friendly intercourse as a serious evil. Whatever we may think of the opinions of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, we must all be aware that they certainly exercise great influence over the majority of the people of Ireland who are Roman Catholics; and though it is not necessary that the Government should conform to their advice, it is desirable that, in the event of points in their policy affecting Roman Catholics, it should communicate with their Prelates in a free and friendly way, in order to hear their objections, to remove them if possible, and to be on the same footing with them as with all other classes of Her Majesty's subjects. I consider, therefore, that the result of the Act in this respect has been most prejudicial to the Government of Ireland, and that alone, I hold, would make its repeal expedient. A person exceedingly well qualified to speak on this point, the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in his evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, said— As the law now stands, I see no reason to expect that there will be a renewal of cordial personal intercourse between people in authority in secular affairs and those who rule the Catholic Church in a spiritual fashion. I think that is a great calamity, especially in a country like Ireland, as there, in a special manner for the purpose of arranging social affairs and maintaining law and order, you want all the help which can he got from any quarter. Now, everyone who has in any degree been connected with the Irish Government will agree that in Ireland all the help we can get from any quarter is not too much in order to maintain law and order. I am bound, however, to admit that these were not the views which were taken of this subject by the Committee of your Lordships' House which sat in 1868, which reported by a majority against a repeal of the Act; though the Committee of the other House in 1867 decided by the casting vote of the Chairman to recommend such repeal. If the matter stood now as it did then, I should have to contend against the authority of the former Committee. But circumstances have greatly changed. The Church of Ireland has been disestablished; and I contend that this circumstance amounts to a special reason for the repeal of the Act of 1851. In the first place, after the 1st of January next, apart from the titles of precedence enjoyed by particular individuals who then hold bishoprics, and who are saved by a special clause in last year's Act, Bishops who may be appointed in that Church will come under the provisions of the Act of 1851. Dr. Leslie, for example, who was recently consecrated Bishop of Kilmore, may at present use that title; but after the 1st of January he will be liable to penalties if he does so. It is impossible then, as your Lordships will see, that the law can remain unaltered. We might, no doubt, exempt the Bishops of the Protestant Church in Ireland in the same way as the Bishops of the Scotch Episcopal Church; but after your Lordships—many of you at the sacrifice of strong personal feelings—have destroyed the Irish Establishment, in order by a great act of justice to remove all grounds of discontent as regards equality in matters of religion, could you maintain this one vestige of inequality, that the Protestant Bishops should be exempted from the penalties to which Irish Bishops are exposed from the Act of 1851? I am sure no one in this House would deem such a course expedient. It would, indeed, be a melancholy result if, after that great act, we were to leave a miserable shred of disability as a source of constant irritation to those whom we have made such great sacrifices to conciliate. For these reasons the Government have introduced this Bill for the repeal of the Act of 1851. I will now proceed to describe what I conceive the state of the law will be if your Lordships assent, as I trust you will, to the passing of this Bill. In the first place, let me observe that the Bill does not propose to deal with the clause in the Emancipation Act of 1829, which prohibits the assumption by Roman Catholics of any title held by a Bishop of the Established Church, the object of which cannot be better explained than by quoting Sir Robert Peel's remarks in introducing that measure. He said— I propose that the episcopal titles and names made use of in the Church of England shall not be assumed by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. …… I maintain it is not seemly or decorous for them to use the styles and titles that properly belong to prelates of the Established Church."—[2 Hansard, xx. 776.] I do not profess to attach much importance to that clause; but when applying a remedy to a particular evil the remedy need not go further than that evil. After next January the clause will not apply to any Irish Bishop; for as there will be no bishoprics established by law in Ire- land there will be no titles which the Bishops of any Church will be prohibited from assuming. As regards England, the people of this country are naturally sensitive on this matter; and I doubt whether any of your Lordships would not feel some annoyance—though that word is not strong enough—if a Roman Catholic Prelate took the title, for instance, of Archbishop of Canterbury. If ever—which I do not think is probable—the Roman Catholics should be so ill-advised as to take such a step, I am sure it would cause a revival of agitation among the Protestant people of England which might lead to unfortunate measures being taken. When, moreover, the Roman Catholic authorities were establishing their hierarchy in England in 1850, special care was taken—and that justice must be done to the Pope—not to infringe the clause of 1829 by conferring on their Bishops titles of sees identical with those of the Established Church. I know that there was one apparent exception—St. David's; but, as was explained in the evidence taken by the Committee, though that is the official title, the title by which that Prelate is known is Bishop of Newport, which was adopted in order to avoid clashing with the see of St. David's. As to what will be the state of the law if the Bill passes, I speak with great diffidence—especially as I am to be followed by a noble and learned Lord who, I regret to say, has given Notice of an Amendment for the rejection of this Bill. Instead, therefore, of asking your Lordships to rely on my opinion, I will quote an authority which I think noble Lords opposite will recognize. Dr. Ball, Attorney General for Ireland under the late Government, in answer to a question by a Member of the Committee (Earl Granville) said— The view I take of the law is this—looking only to the Acts of Henry VIII. declaring the Crown's supremacy; in particular the 26 Henry VIII., c. 1, in England, corresponding to the 28 Henry VIII. c. 5 in Ireland, my opinion is, that from the time those statutes were passed (and they are declaratory Acts) by the law of England, any such documents as are described in the first section of this Act were absolutely null and void. To make this more certain, there is an Act of Henry VIII., the 28 Henry III. c. 16, which was repealed by Philip and Mary, and was revived by the 1 Eliz. c. 1, which is absolute and express as to the nullity of those bulls, briefs, and rescripts. The law I take to be exactly the same in England and Ireland, because the 28 Henry VIII. c. 5, Irish, is precisely the same as the 26 Henry VIII. c. 1, English—that is, as to the supremacy of the Sovereign; and, supposing that a clause of a declaratory Act in England were omitted in an Irish Act, in my opinion the Irish Courts would still be bound to construe the law according to the English Act, because the English Parliament, having declared the common law by that Act, and not created a new right or a new enactment, that would operate in the Courts in Ireland to determine what was the rule of the common law. Therefore, I take it that as regards the law in England and Ireland, even though there might be some variance of the words in some of the statutes on this subject in each country, the same principle would apply in both, and that from the reign of Henry VIII. the proposition affirmed in the first clause of the Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Act is absolute and undoubted law. By the common law, therefore, the bulls and briefs prohibited by the Act of 1851 are illegal, and the further enactments declaring the common law are still in force. I am aware that in 1844 the penalties imposed by some of those enactments were abolished; but I believe that against which they were directed is still a misdemeanour. The Bill I now propose is carefully guarded both by a proviso and a Preamble. The Preamble expressly states that— It is not competent for any foreign Prince' Prelate, or Potentate, or any other person whomsoever other than the Sovereign of this realm, to confer any title, rank, or precedence, or any anthority or jurisdiction whatsoever, over the subjects of the realm, and all assumption of such authority or jurisdiction is wholly void. That repeats in a formal manner the declaration that, in proposing to Parliament to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, we do not intend to affect the general law of the country as it existed previous to the passing of that Act. There is also a provision in the Bill which touches specially upon the titles proposed to be created in 1851, and says that— Such repeal shall not, nor shall anything in this Act contained, be deemed in any way to authorize or sanction the conferring or attempting to confer any rank, title, or precedence, authority or jurisdiction, on or over any subject of this realm by any foreign Prince, Prelate, or Potentate, or person whomsoever other than the Sovereign of this realm. The result, therefore, of this Bill will be that, while the penalty specially imposed by the Act of 1851 on any person assuming a title contrary to that Act will no longer be retained, the general law of the country, declaring that no foreign jurisdiction shall have any power or dominion in this country, will remain precisely as it was before. I have always understood that the main object of the Act of 1851 was to protest against what was termed the Papal aggression; and, as far as it was a protest, I think it was a not unnatural protest upon the part of the people of this country, and that it was probably unavoidable for the Government and for the Parliament of that day that they should join in giving expression to this deep and general feeling by their solemn declaration. Looking back upon what has occurred, it is perhaps to be regretted that this protest did not assume the form of a declaratory Act, or of an Address to the Throne by both. Houses, which would have accomplished the same object and have been free from the objections that are raised to this Act. But, be that as it may, I should be extremely sorry if it were understood that, by this Bill, Parliament and the country were receding in any manner from that attitude which they have ever maintained both before and since the Reformation—an attitude of steady and resolute resistance to any encroachment or any attempt to establish jurisdiction in this country by any foreign Power whatever. I wish to add one word more. I should be sorry that any misconstruction should be put upon my motives because I am the mover of this Bill. Nothing can be further from my wish than to say a word that would hurt or wound the feelings of my Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in the slightest degree. I have been always earnestly desirous that they should enjoy the fullest share of religious freedom and perfect equality of civil rights with all other subjects of the Queen; but I am at the same time bound to add that no man can be more strongly opposed than I am to the system of the Roman Catholic Church. And if it were possible that my aversion to it could be increased this would have been done by the extravagant pretensions put forward by the Court of Rome in the Syllabus and Schema which have lately appeared, pretensions which if they could be—and happily they cannot be—carried out would, I believe, be fatal to civilization, and would stop the whole current of human progress. If I thought the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill could in the slightest degree diminish our power to resist such pretensions as these I would be no party to a Bill for the repeal of that Act; but believing, as I do, that the Act adds no security to the enjoyment of our own religion, at the same time that it causes great irritation to a considerable number of Her Majesty's subjects, and that the law, after this Act is repealed, will be quite sufficient to mark the determination of the English people that no foreign jurisdiction shall be exercised in this country, I trust the House will agree to the Motion for the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Privy Seal.)


said, that he was one of the supporters of the Act of 1851, and he then made a compact with himself that if, in his lifetime, any attempt were made to repeal that Act, whatever might be his position, and even though he might have retired from public life, while Providence enabled him to come down to the House and give a vote he would steadily oppose the attempt. It had pleased Providence to prolong his life to the present time, and he had now come down to redeem his pledge. It was necessary to remind their Lordships of the circumstances which had led to the passing of that measure. At that time, the feeling of the country was expressed in so outspoken and unmistakable a manner on the encroachments which led to the measure, that no Government that ever existed, however strong, would have dared to run counter to the national convictions. It so happened that he could speak as strongly as anyone as to the feeling of the country in December, 1850, after the Brief of the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman's Letter had been published in this country. He had never in his life attended an open-air public meeting, except when he was addressing his constituents as a Member of the other House; but, on this occasion, he did attend, as a simple country gentleman, a meeting that was summoned in his own county to take into consideration the propriety of opposing those measures of the Pope and the pretensions of the Cardinal. There was a large and most respectable meeting, and when they knew that he was there they did him the honour to ask him to move one of the Resolutions. He wished their Lordships could have heard the sound of the voices of many, many hundreds of men, and the applause which they gave to everything that was said tending to oppose the encroachments of the Bishop of Rome in this country. Now how did the matter stand? They all recollected the arguments which were used in favour of the Act for the Relief of the Roman Catholics, and they knew that that Act contained a clause which prohibited the Roman Catholics from taking the titles of the sees appropriated to the Church of England. This assumption was prohibited under a penalty of £100, but it was never enforced. Now he had heard it asked, as an argument both against that Bill and the Bill it was now sought to repeal—what was the use of retaining a law the penalties of which were never put in execution. He thought then, and he thought still, that if there was anything which was more creditable than another to Protestant England—for this country was still Protestant England, and in spite of the manœuvres of the Pope of Rome it would continue to be Protestant England—it was this—that when once the law upon the subject had been authoritatively declared, once it had been laid down that the attempted exercise of power by the Pope of Rome was illegal and void, the country rested satisfied with that knowledge, and no attempt had been made to enforce the pecuniary penalty. That, their Lordships were aware, was a strong fact, because if ever there was a powerful feeling on a great public question in this country, it was upon this point, that the people would not allow themselves to be dominated over by the Pope of Rome. Great offence had been taken over all England, and the Government of that day could not have maintained their position for a moment if they had refused to satisfy the people of England upon the point. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley) had not met the real question in this case. This was not a question of religion, but a question of power—of whether Protestant interests in this country were to be upheld, or whether the Pope of Rome should be permitted to cut and carve this kingdom at his pleasure, and send whomsoever he might please to dominate over us. The country did not desire to interpose the slightest obstacle to the freest enjoyment by Roman Catholics of the religion which they professed; but they had meant, did mean, and would continue to mean, that demands by the Pope or his Ministers for control and power over this country should never be acceded to. What was it that England, with such determination, resolved to put down in 1851? He did not wish to use harsh expressions, and would not say it was the trickery, but it was certainly the manœuvring, the evasion of the laws of England, by which the Romish Bishops sought to establish their own power. This was done in the face and in spite of the law of England. How was it managed? In this way. The Pope of Rome thought to give an authority which he had just the same power to give as anybody standing in the street at this moment had—he sent his brief and his Prince Cardinals to cut and carve all. England into new archbishoprics, new bishoprics, and new deaneries, which archbishoprics, bishoprics, and deaneries were not only illegal, but void. His first act was to create a new archbishopric—the Archbishopric of Westminster. And as if the fact of such an institution was not sufficiently startling, the way in which it was referred to by the Cardinal was rather remarkable. He spoke of it, of course, with great admiration, and what he said was this—"Time may end, but the Roman Catholic Church never will end." Then he said—"The time never can come when the Archbishopric of Westminster will be without an Archbishop; but the time may come when Canterbury may be without an Archbishop." That is, we have against all law an Archbishop of Westminster; and it will last for ever. Such is the Cardinal's comparison of the power of the Pope with the power of the Queen, the Legislature, and the people of England. "We," he says, "have created an Archbishopric of Westminster—you have no Archbishop of Westminster." No doubt the power of the Crown could create one to-morrow; but in what situation would he stand? "We have an Archbishop of Westminster, and you have none." What were the feelings of their Lordships as well as of the country at large when this outrage—as he must call it—was committed? He well remembered his own feelings on the occasion. He felt as if he had been struck to the heart. The author of that outrage was at this moment claiming, while on earth, the attributes which belonged to God in Heaven alone. The outrage, he repeated, caused great excitement among the people of England, and the Government which was then in Office could not have existed a week had they not passed the measure which it was now proposed to repeal. What was the nature of that Act? The noble Earl (the Earl of Kimberley) had cautiously avoided telling them anything whatever on the subject. What did the Act say? The first part of the Act recited— That divers of the Queen's Roman Catholic subjects have assumed to themselves the titles of Archbishop and Bishops of a pretended province and of pretended sees or dioceses within the United Kingdom, under cover of an alleged authority given to them for that purpose by certain briefs, rescripts, or letters apostolical purporting to have been given at Rome on the 29th of September, 1850. Secondly, it recited the 10 Geo. IV., c. 7, which makes it penal for any person, other than those authorized by law, to assume the name, style, or title of Archbishop of any province, Bishop of any bishopric, or Dean of any deanery in England or Ireland. Thirdly, it recited that— It may be doubted whether the recited enactments extended to the assumption of the title of Archbishop of a pretended province or diocese, or Archbishop or Bishop of a city, place, or territory, or Dean of any pretended deanery in England or Ireland, not being the see, province, or diocese of any Archbishop or Bishop, or deanery of any Dean recognized by law; but the attempt to establish under colour of authority from the See of Rome or otherwise such pretended sees, provinces, dioceses, or deaneries is illegal and void; and that it was expedient to prohibit the assumption of such titles in respect of any places within the United Kingdom. The Act then enacted that all such briefs, rescripts, or letters apostolical, and all the jurisdiction, authority, pre-eminence, or title conferred, or pretended to be conferred, thereby, are and shall be deemed unlawful and void. And then penalties were imposed for breach of the law. He would now ask what had happened since the passing of that Act to justify its repeal? Had the Roman Catholic Church become less encroaching? Was its position in England less strong than it used to be? Let their Lordships bear in mind what had been the nature of recent legislation, and what was its bearing on the question which they now had to decide. The great Act of last Session at one fell swoop took away £16,000,000 of the property belonging to the Irish Church, and cut off that Church from the United Church of England and Ireland. It destroyed that part of the Union of England and Ireland, and thereby gave confidence to those who desired to see an end put to the connection between the two countries. It also removed the Irish Bishops from the House of Lords; and if ever there was an Irish grievance that certainly was one. Could any encouragement be derived from these circumstances for the repeal of the Act? Would not its simple and unconditional repeal be equivalent to saying that the Pope of Rome had taken no improper step when he parcelled out this country into different dioceses? Accepting the proposition contained in the Preamble of the Bill, that— It is not necessary or expedient to impose penalties upon those ministers of religion who may, as among the several religious bodies to which they belong, be designated by distinctions regarded as titles of office. Whatever that might mean, he urged that, as the bishoprics against which the Act was directed were pretended bishoprics which had no legal existence, there was no hardship in enforcing the Act. The noble Lord concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment moved, to leave out ("now") and insert ("this day six months.")—(The Lord St. Leonards.)


said, that being the person who had introduced into the other House of Parliament the Act which it was now proposed to repeal, he deemed it his duty to ask their Lordships' attention for a few moments. He must say that, knowing what was now taking place at Rome, the present was a most unfortunate time to introduce this Bill. He objected, however, far more to the manner in which the Bill was drawn than to the Bill itself. The Preamble would be proper to a Bill which proposed to abolish pecuniary penalties upon persons illegally assuming the titles of Archbishop and Bishop, and he thought that if the Bill were confined to the Preamble and the simple repeal of the statute it would be much better. But he did not suppose the Government would persist in adhering to the exact form in which the Bill was drawn, and he trusted that when it came into Committee they would amend it and make it more consonant with reason and pre- cedent. The Bill was remarkable for omitting that which it ought to contain, and containing that which ought to be omitted. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act was founded upon a previous Act, the 10 Geo. IV., commonly known as the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act. By this it was enacted that if any person, after the commencement of that Act, other than persons authorized by the law, should assume or use the name, style, or title of Archbishop of any province, Bishop of any bishopric, or Dean of any deanery in England or Ireland, he should for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of £100. When, in 1850, what was popularly called "the Papal Aggression" was made, and the Government of the day had to consider what they should do, they naturally looked into the state of the law with regard to existing provinces and sees, and they found in the statute book this previous Act, sanctioned by the authority of Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington. He should have been very well content himself, and he believed the Government of the day would have been very well content to have passed a declaratory Resolution, declaring the title of Archbishop of Westminster and the other titles then assumed to be void; but they found that it could not be effectual without some alteration of the law. Therefore, in framing the Ecclesiastical Titles Act he had taken the Act of George IV. for his model, and Parliament was asked to enact, and did enact, that every person who assumed the title of Archbishop or Bishop of any pretended province or see whether it was the actual seat of any Archbishop or Bishop, or not, should be subject to a penalty of £100. If this Bill was to be in a proper form, it was absolutely necessary that the Act o George IV. should be recited, and an end put to it also. That Act could not be new to the Government, because he had brought it under the notice of his noble Friend last year or the year before. The Lord Privy Seal said that the titles of the Irish Protestant Bishops could not be assumed by the Roman Catholics until after January 1, 1871 But the Bill disestablishing the Irish Church preserved the titles enjoyed by the Bishops of that Church during their lives. Unless, therefore, all these Bishops died by the 31st of December, 1870, there would be Bishops in Ireland hold- ing the titles lawfully, and any persons assuming those titles would be liable to a, penalty of £100. Was that the intention of the Government? He could not believe it was. If they objected to the legal penalty, let them, do away with it in that case. The noble and learned Lord (Lord St. Leonards) had said truly that the persons who drew the Bill had tried to evade the difficulties instead of meeting them, and had avoided speaking the open truth. The Bill recited that— It is not competent for any foreign Prince, Prelate, or Potentate, or other person whomsoever other than the Sovereign of this realm, to confer any title, rank or precedence, or any authority or jurisdiction whatsoever, over the subjects of the realm, and all assumption of such authority or jurisdiction is wholly void; but it is not necessary or expedient to impose penalties upon those ministers of religion who may, as among the members of the several religious bodies to which they respectively belong, be designated by distinctions regarded as titles of office, although such designations may be connected with the name of some town or place within the realm. Now, did this recital describe truly that which the persons named by the Pope had assumed? Quite the contrary. According to the evidence of many persons examined before the Committee on this subject, the Papal authority proposed to nominate Archbishops to certain provinces and Bishops to certain sees in this country—their view being that no other Archbishop or Bishop existed in those provinces or sees. It was felt in 1851 that you could not have two Bishops in one see; that one Bishop was the lawful authority there, and there could be no other. Take the City of Westminster, for example. If he were asked in what see Westminster was situated, he should say that it formed part of the diocese of London, and that the Bishop of London, and no other person, had authority and jurisdiction there. But if a Roman Catholic were asked the same question, he would say—"The gentleman you call the Bishop of London is not in Holy Orders at all, and the only person who has jurisdiction in Westminster is the Roman Catholic Archbishop of that city." Their Lordships would feel that these two pretensions could not be properly recognized side by side. It could not be said that it was a matter of courtesy in such a case to call a man Archbishop of Westminster or not—it was a question of jurisdiction and authority; and this could only be given by the Crown, and was not the prerogative of any foreign Prince. Who would not say that the title and authority was vested in the person nominated by our Gracious Sovereign? Who would say that the office could be filled by one appointed by a foreign Prince? He had no doubt which alternative their Lordships would choose. There could be no doubt of their Lordships' opinion that the Bishop of London had the right to exercise this authority, while the Archbishop of Westminster had no right whatever. Now, the Bill certainly declared that no foreign Prince, Prelate, or Potentate could confer any title, rank, or precedence, or any authority or jurisdiction over the subjects of the realm: but it did not say, as the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill said, that no person should assume such titles. If, therefore, the Bill passed in its present shape, Archbishop Manning might say—"Now I have been acknowledged by Parliament, I shall assume the authority to which I believe that I am entitled; and your remedy must be against the Pope." Of course, we could enforce no remedy against the Pope; but we had a remedy against the assumption of a title by the Archbishop of Westminster. Unless, therefore, the Bill was amended in Committee, he should certainly oppose the third reading.


said, he was sure their Lordships were glad of any occasion which afforded them an opportunity of again listening to his noble and learned Friend behind him (Lord St. Leonards), who had again addressed the House that evening with a vigour and energy and an eloquence which those of their Lordships who were considerably his juniors might well envy. He did not, he might add, rise for the purpose of entering into any argument with respect to the Bill under discussion, but rather to ask Her Majesty's Government, What was the real principle upon which it was intended that it should proceed? Last year Parliament, in its wisdom, had thought fit to disestablish the Irish Church. That disestablishment was to take place on the 1st day of January next. It was provided that the Archbishops and Bishops in existence at the time of the passing of the Act should have their dignities and privileges secured to them for their lives. But let him suppose that, after the 1st of January next, a new Bishop should be appointed to a bishopric in the Irish Church, he would be met by the difficulty that, not being a Bishop authorized by law, if he assumed a particular title, the clause in the Emancipation Act, to which the noble Earl had just referred, would subject him to the payment of a penalty of £100. A promise was, therefore, made by the Government last year that some legislation would be proposed to meet such a case as that which he had just described. On turning, however, to the Bill before the House, he found, to his great surprise, that the clause of the Emancipation Act by which those new Bishops would stand imperilled was entirely unnoticed, and that no attempt was made to repeal it. The clause in the Emancipation Act stated, that if any person after the commencement of the Act should assume or use the name, style, or title of Bishop or Archbishop of any province or town in England or Ireland, he should for every such offence forfeit £100. He knew that an argument might be raised in a Court of Law as to what the position might be of the disestablished bishoprics in the Established Church in Ireland: but he knew, also, that there were Bishops who were authorized to assume during their lives the titles of their sees; and it was a matter of doubt whether any new Bishop in the Established Church would not be subjected to a penalty under the clause of the Emancipation Act, if he assumed a particular title. That was a matter, however, which might be easily remedied in Committee. A graver question was, what was the principle on which the present Bill proceeded? In the recital it was set forth that— It is not necessary or expedient to impose penalties on those ministers of religion who may, as among the members of the several religious bodies to which they respectively belong, be designated by distinctions regarded as titles of office, although such designations may be connected with the name of some town or place within the realm. Now, if that recital was asked by the Government to be accepted as the expression of the opinion of Parliament on the subject, it went altogether beyond the case of Ireland—it embraced, also, the case of England—with which he yet understood the Lord Privy Seal to say it was not the wish of the Government to deal; and that they did not propose to repeal that clause of the Emancipation Act, because it prohibited the assumption by other bodies—Roman Catholic or otherwise—of the title of Archbishop or Bishop. He saw that the noble Earl assented. Now, look at the principle on which the Government was acting. At the same time that they proposed to continue the penalty against Roman Catholic Prelates who assumed the title of English towns where there was at present a Bishop of the Established Church, they were asking Parliament to affirm the proposition that it was neither necessary nor expedient to impose penalties on persons who may be designated by distinctions regarded as titles of office, "although such designations may be connected with the name of some town or place within the realm? What would be the consequence? Supposing the Bill to be passed into law, and a Roman Catholic Bishop to be appointed, who might assume the title of Bishop of Norwich. It might be contended that if he did so he would be committing an offence against the clause of the Emancipation Act to which he had referred, which forbade any person in England except the person entitled by law to assume the title of any bishopric. The Bishop of Norwich might, however, answer—"It is all very well to talk about the Emancipation Act; but you have recited in your recent legislation that it is neither necessary nor expedient to impose penalties on those ministers of religion who may, as among the ministers of the several religious bodies to which they respectively belong, be designated by distinctions regarded as titles of office, although such designations may be connected with the name of some town or place within the realm." If the principle on which it was sought to proceed was to enable the Prelates of the disestablished Church in Ireland, who might wish to assume particular titles, to do so without being subjected to a penalty, then why, he would ask, was the Ecclesiastical Titles Act to be repealed with respect to England? They were in this dilemma—If they wanted to meet the case of Ireland only, they had no right to touch the Ecclesiastical Titles Act with regard to England: on the other hand, if they wanted to meet the case described in the Preamble, of a minister who took a title of office con- nected with a town, then they could not stop short where the Bill stopped, but they must go on and repeal the clause in the Emancipation Act. Those were consequences which the Government could not escape from, and he hoped they should have an explanation of the grounds on which they intended to proceed. He quite concurred in the view that there should be some legislation to meet the consequences of the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland; but what he wished to ascertain from the Government was, whether they were calling upon the House to embark on the consideration of a measure founded on that small principle, or on one based on the large principle that it was no longer desirable to keep up any prohibition against the assumption of any ecclesiastical title in any part of England?


My Lords, I do not think it will be extremely difficult to answer the question proposed by my noble and learned Friend; and, indeed, I think he was so completely answered by anticipation by my noble Friend who moved the second reading that I am rather surprised at his taking this objection. His objection is this—You deal with the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851, which prohibits any person whatsoever from taking the title of Bishop, Archbishop, or dean of any place within the United Kingdom; but you do not deal with the section of the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, which prohibits the assumption of titles corresponding to the titles of the Established Church. My noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal has explained fully why it is done; and it only remains for me to explain how it is done. After the Church in Ireland has ceased to be established, there is no longer any objection in that country to any person assuming the title of his see from any town, the name of which had formerly been appropriated to a see of the Established Church; it will then simply designate a see over which some person or persons of one or the other communion may have been appointed to preside, neither being by law established. In England, however, it would not be agreeable to the feelings of many that in a country where by law a Bishop is established over every see, and an Archbishop over each province, that persons should be allowed—as they would be by the repeal of the clause in the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act—to take the identical titles which must always be coupled in the minds of the community with the jurisdiction of those whose exercise of authority has been recognized by the law. There is no objection to a person calling himself Archbishop of Westminster because it causes no conflict of jurisdiction; but there would be the strongest objection to allow persons belonging to a community not recognized by law to assume the titles of Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York, or Bishop of London, because the Prelates bearing those titles are already exercising lawful jurisdiction over their dioceses. My noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) states that in 1871 the right rev. Prelates, who are allowed for the whole of their lives to bear titles which represent sees in Ireland, will be subject to the penalties of the Act. I apprehend it is nothing of the kind.


The noble and learned Lord has misunderstood me. I spoke of the newly-appointed Bishops.


I will take it either way. The meaning of the 24th clause of the Act of 1829 is extremely plain. It begins with the recital that— The Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, and likewise the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof, are by the respective Acts of Union of England and Scotland, and of Great Britain and Ireland, established permanently and inviolably. And it goes on to state that the titles borne by the dignitaries of these Churches have been settled by law, and it enacts that any person other than those authorized by law assuming those titles shall be liable to penalties. The whole object of the Act is to secure the titles of those who are recognized by law as against those who are not; and therefore it cannot apply to Ireland, where there will be no Church established by law. The assumption of the title of, for instance, Archbishop or Bishop of Dublin could not possibly be held by any Court to come within the purview of that clause. Any Court would at once say that there was no one belonging to any Church established by law who bore such a name, and the designation was therefore one with which the law had nothing to do. That was, he apprehended, as plain as anything could possibly be. The noble Earl (Earl Russell) had said that, as regarded persons who assumed titles which were only among their own community the designations of office, the Government evaded the question whether such persons were really assuming an authority, by saying that it was not right to punish persons who merely assumed those titles among their coreligionists. Without fear of being thought to be in league with Roman Catholic Prelates or with him whom they recognized as their head, he could show what was thought to be the impropriety of punishing persons for merely such an assumption of title. In the Act which it was now proposed to repeal, there was a proviso excepting such Scottish Bishops as assumed titles, although there was an Established Presbyterian Church in Scotland, because it was said that those titles only designated the communities over whom they exercised a voluntary jurisdiction. In Scotland there were Bishops of Perth, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, just as there was in Ireland a Bishop of Derry; and if they were brought before an English or Scotch Court the same question would be asked of each—"What are the rules of your society?" The same rule would apply to the Roman Catholic or to the disestablished Church in Ireland after 1871; no jurisdiction would be held by any Prelate in that Church other than the voluntary authority which its members might be willing to confide to him; and that was what was meant by the words to which the noble Earl had taken objection. The law did not object to their having a title amongst their coreligionists. The law did not object to it with regard to the Wesleyan Methodists, for instance, or the members of registered societies. The law could not object to the assumption of a title or designation by the head of any religious society who was appointed to be their teacher or guide, and to exercise authority over them. The principle on which the Government acted was this—on the one hand they would not recognize any authority whatever in the persons who called themselves by such titles; but, on the other, they would not inflict any penalty on a man for assuming a title which did not belong to the see of any Established Church. But inas- much as we had in England an Established Church, and confusion might arise from two persons calling themselves by the same titles, the one being fictitious, and the other having authority over a diocese given him by law to exercise jurisdiction over offences committed therein; the assumption of such a title would be not only indecorous, but also misleading to persons, who would not know what authority to recognize. It would be an offence for a person to call himself Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he had no pretensions to such an office; and it would be offensive in every way that there should be two Archbishops of Canterbury—one with fictitious, the other with legal authority. No such difficulty could be created by the assumption of such a title as the Archbishop of Westminster, and therefore the Bill would apply only to the taking of such titles as did not clash with others. The Lord Chancellor concluded by expressing the pleasure with which he saw in the House the noble Lord who had moved the Amendment in that full vigour of mind and body which he hoped the noble Lord might long continue to enjoy.


said, that the title of the Bill did not indicate what the Government intended to do; but he should be satisfied with an assurance that in Committee they would put the Bill in such a form as would express their views, so that the House might know clearly what they were to be able to decide upon then.


said, that as an Irish representative Peer he desired to say a few words on this question. He had never concealed in that House the strong Protestant opinions which he entertained; but, while he altogether repudiated Ultramontane ideas, he desired that every Roman Catholic should enjoy liberty and equality with all other subjects of the Queen. But he could not help thinking that the strongest reasons for not passing this Bill might be gathered from the speech of the noble Earl in moving its second reading. The Act to which it related had remained inoperative, because it could not be put in force except with the permission of the Attorney General, which could never be obtained on account of all parties desiring to receive support from the Roman Catholics who represented Irish constituencies. It was commonly assumed that the Roman Catholic Church could be dealt with on the same terms as Dissenting bodies; but he held that to be an utter fallacy, for these bodies were comparatively insignificant in numbers, and had neither the organization or power of the Roman Catholic Church. That body was kept in check by special legislation in every Roman Catholic country, from the knowledge that if it were not, it would become paramount over the civil power. The claims of the Roman Catholic Church were now as arrogant as ever, while her power was perhaps greater, because the spirit of national Churches had been much over-come, and a stronger central power existed at Rome, while the extension of this system in England was evidenced by the enormous increase of Roman Catholic churches as well as of her monastic and conventual institutions. If the supremacy of the Crown and the I supremacy of the law were to be upheld, he believed that Parliament should not repeal such statutes as that now under discussion—a statute which was only enacted to oppose the aggression of the Roman Catholic Church. There was one thing he desired to have clearly explained—that was the precedence given to Cardinal Cullen at the Viceregal Court. Were he a foreign Prince visiting Ireland, of course he would receive the precedence due to his rank, but being a British subject and a resident in Ireland, he was given precedence as a Prince of the Roman Catholic Church over an English Duke. This could only have been given to him as an ecclesiastic; thus subordinating the authority of our Sovereign to that of the Pope, and the civil power of this country to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. He had heard it said that Cardinal Cullen was exempt from the operation of the Act. He desired to know if that was so; and, if it was, how it came to pass?


I wish to observe that, in assenting to the second reading of this Bill, we especially desire that our decision may not be construed as in any way offering homage to the Papal authority. I say this because of an expression which fell from the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Kimberley). Nor do we wish our decision to be regarded as offering facilities for the government of the country being carried on under a Roman Catholic clergy; and, with every respect for the opinion of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, I must say that the Bill will require very considerable amendment in Committee.


in answer to the noble Lord (Lord Oranmore and Browne), explained that the Ecclesiastical Titles Act prohibited a person from assuming the title of Archbishop, Bishop, or Dean of any place in the United Kingdom; and that he had wished to convey by his remarks upon this point that the use of the title which Cardinal Cullen held was not prohibited by the Act. That would explain the courtesies extended to the Cardinal as such by recent Lord Lieutenants.

On Question, That ("now") stand part of the Motion? Resolved in the Affirmative; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday the 16th of June next.