HL Deb 28 May 1880 vol 252 cc611-28

rose to call the attention of the House to the appointment of the Marquess of Ripon to the office of Governor General of India, and the inconsistency of such appointment with the views expressed by the Prime Minister in pamphlets published in 1875, entitled Rome, and Newest Fashions in Religion; and to ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister adheres to his statements made in these pamphlets, or does not— Defend, even in argument, polemical language…used…when in a position of greater freedom and less responsibility; and whether, if adopting the latter conclusion, he will apologize to the Roman Catholics for having used words "that may be justly described of a painful and wounding character;" or, if he adheres to statements made in the pamphlets referred to, will explain how, as a friend of civil and religious liberty, he has appointed the Marquess of Ripon, who— If any conflict arise between the Pope and the Queen, intends to follow the Pope, and let the Queen shift for herself? The noble Lord observed, that so many noble Lords, in presenting Petitions against the appointment of Lord Ripon, had repudiated all sympathy with them, that he must shortly inquire why that was the case, and whether he was justified in bringing a somewhat unpalatable subject before the House. The reasons why it was unpalatable were evident. Politically, from the two great Parties in the State being equally divided, and the Roman Catholic minority being united, that body often had the casting vote in the election of the numerous electorial bodies by which this country was governed. Thus, that body had an undue influence as holding the balance of power. Socially, Roman or Ritualistic Catholicism had invaded their hearths and their homes, so both politically and socially it was a sore subject. But, though these circumstances made it uncomfortable, they must not shut their eyes to the fact that in every country in Europe, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, the struggle between the Church of Borne and the civil power had gone on for 1,000 years, and would continue so long as man made religion a steppingstone to power. When a new Government was formed, what its policy would be was judged of, not only by the fact of whether a statesman was Roman Catholic or Protestant, but by what his proclivities were—whether æsthetical, sensational, or those of common sense, Ultramontane, or national. The questions were as burning here as in every country in Europe, aye, through great part of the world. They were matters that it was reasonable for Parliament to consider and discuss, and a comparatively new issue was raised by the appointment of a convert to Rome to the highest office, out of these Kingdoms, it was in the power of the Crown to bestow. In drawing the attention of their Lordships to the objections to this ap- pointment, he should trouble them but little with his own views. They were considered fanatical and bigoted; but he demurred to those epithets, because he only touched on the religious aspect of the case as far as it interfered with civil rights and liberties; but he should rely in support of his case on expressions of public opinion through the public Press, and on the carefully-elaborated statements of the Prime Minister, as contained in a book entitled Rome's Newest Fashions in Religion. The great learning and ability of the right hon. Gentleman none would gainsay. His admirers believed that he was always guided by motives at once the most enlightened and disinterested. Far be it from him to question the fact, though sometimes smaller minds were startled by the apparent inconsistencies of this great man which were coincident with the requirements of his becoming Prime Minister. In a letter he had received from Mr. Godley, Secretary to Mr. Gladstone, he dwelt on the honour and integrity of the Marquess of Ripon. No one called them in question, nor doubted his intended impartiality in dealing with religious matters; but the Prime Minister had shown that as a convert to Rome he had renounced his "moral and mental freedom," and that his honour, integrity, and impartiality depended on another. He had a slight acquaintance with the noble Marquess, and, sitting on a Committee with him, he had found him a very courteous gentleman. But as a public man he felt it his duty some years back to call in question the part the noble Marquess and Her Majesty's Government played in negotiating the Treaty of Washington. Sent to Washington to reject the extortionate demands of the United States Government, to insist on the questions at issue being regulated by the old established code of national law, he had agreed that all claims should be settled by arbitration, and that arbitration should be guided by an entirely new-fangled code of national law, which, of course, resulted in the taxpayers in this country being mulcted in so extravagant a sum that now, after 10 years had passed, no claimants being entitled to receive it, the Government of the United States had above £3,000,000 of British money undisposed of. The British taxpayer advanced a large sum to persuade the clause on fisheries to be accepted by the Government of the Dominion. That was, as he had foreseen, still a troublesome question. To have been made a Marquess for this failure seemed to have been no inconsiderable reward. It certainly could not be on account of this most humiliating Treaty that the noble Marquess was appointed to the high post he now filled. They must, therefore, look further ahead. He feared, though he knew that there were a few at least of their Lordships who sympathized with his views, that their sympathy would not meet with any expression that evening; and, therefore, he must show from other sources what was, and had been, public opinion on this matter. First, he would read an extract from The Times of the 3rd of September, 1874— But a nobleman who becomes a convert to Roman Catholicism forfeits at once the confidence of the English people. Such a step involves a complete abandonment of any claim to political or even social influence in the nation at large, and can only be regarded as betraying an irreparable weakness of character. To become a Roman Catholic and remain a thorough Englishman are, it cannot be disguised, almost incompatible conditions. We do not for a moment doubt that men who have been born and bred up in the Roman Catholic faith may retain their creed as a harmless and colourless element of their opinions. But when a man in the prime of life abandons the faith of Protestantism for that of Home, his mind must necessarily have undergone what to Englishmen can only seem a fatal demoralization. Next he would read a protest from an influential Congregational organ, The Fountain. It said— Lord Ripon is a pervert to Roman Catholicism; and perverts are always remarkable for the fiery zeal with which they propagate their newly-embraced doctrines. Have we any reason to suppose that Lord Ripon will be an exception to the rule? Is it not extremely probable that he will use his great authority and influence for the advancement of Popery? There is going on in India a fierce conflict betwixt Protestantism and Romanism, and this appointment is a distinct advantage to the latter. Indeed, it would scarcely be too much to say that Mr. Gladstone has, by this one act, conferred upon Popery greater patronage than could have been given to it by any other man or in any other way. The Bishop of Calcutta goes to India as the representative of the Queen, and the Viceroy goes, as far as religion is concerned, as the representative of the Pope! And Roman Catholics swear allegiance to the spiritual King first, and to the earthly Monarch second. What if the Queen should have in India a Viceroy who regards her as being below another? Certainly the Marquess of Ripon will not attend the ministrations of the clergy who represent the Protestant Church of the people and Crown of England; so that we shall have the anomalous spectacle of the Queen's political representative refusing to accept the services of the Queen's religious representatives. A Roman Catholic Viceroy must have chaplains of the same faith; 'he must he surrounded by priests and masses; and his whole influence must work in favour of priestcraft and Popery. This appointment will be looked upon as a bestowment of patronage upon a religion which is hated by the English people. We observe that a protest was entered against the Marquess of Ripon's appointment by some members of the Baptist Union. The gentlemen who entered that protest acted in harmony with the views of Protestant Nonconformists throughout the country. He was informed that Mr. Gladstone's statement— That the office of Viceroy was detached in a remarkable degree from all direct contact with religious and ecclesiastical interests, was contrary to the fact. The Viceroy had absolute control over every chaplain. He located them, invested them, even granted or refused their applications for furlough, &c. The Indian Bishops had no jurisdiction over Church of England chaplains. Mr. Gladstone stated "that he would act impartially in religious matters." But in any case of conflict between Roman Catholic and Protestant Missionaries, how could Lord Ripon as a good Catholic act impartially? His Church had forbidden that any but the Roman Church should be countenanced by the State. That was not an abstract proposition; for the present Pope, supposed to be more liberal than his predecessor, had refused to have any official intercourse with the Government of Italy, because that Government sanctioned the exercise of freedom of worship. He could understand that the Roman Catholic Church was sufficiently astute to temporize in this case, as it did at the time of Roman Catholic Emancipation. The Prime Minister had fully exposed this line of action, and this appointment was intended as a precedent for future use. As to expression of public opinion against this appointment, he must acknowledge that it had been small, though the return of Conservatives for Oxford and the Wigtown boroughs was in some measure owing to it; and there had been large meetings in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Liverpool condemning it. Had the appointment been anticipated? The Mid Lothian progress would have been impaired by it; but there was this patent fact beyond dispute—powerful, united, and rich as was the Roman Catholic body, not one Roman Catholic Representative had been returned for any constituency in Great Britain. Some who had formerly represented English constituencies had retired on changing their religion, and now represented Irish Roman Catholic constituencies. It was an anomaly that they refused Roman Catholic Representatives and accepted Roman Catholic Rulers. It was an evidence that for a time their Radicalism exceeded their Protestantism, and also was evidence of the belief of the residuum, that the Apostle of Disorder would resolve society into its original elements, and" that out of the chaos "the People's William would provide them with beer and baccy not earned by the sweat of their brow. His objections to the appointment of the Marquess of Ripon might thus be summed up. First, because, though not contrary to the letter, it was contrary to the spirit of the laws which preclude a Roman Catholic from occupying the Throne of these Realms, and from filling the position of Viceroy in Ireland; secondly, because the Queen, having been created Empress of India, it was evident, by implication, that the same restrictions existed to the appointment of Her Majesty's Representative to rule over 200,000,000 of her Eastern subjects; and, thirdly, because the appointment was a precedent for changing those laws which exclude a Roman Catholic from the Throne of this country, which laws were found necessary to preserve the independence of the Throne as well as their civil and religious liberties. The last, and not the least, important witness he would call was the Prime Minister of England himself. To understand well the full force of Mr. Gladstone's publication of Rome and the Newest Fashions in Religion, they must remember that the right hon. Gentleman had stated that a short time previous to its publication "the Roman Catholic Prelacy in Ireland," by the direct influence which they exercised over a certain number of Irish Members, succeeded in turning his Government out of Office. It appeared to him that this was, in itself, sufficient and complete evidence of the difficulty that existed in the employment of Ministers holding Ultramontane views in the government of this country. The difficulty arose from the fact, proved in this case, that they were Catholics first and Englishmen after. But, unless the common belief was mistaken, this instance of the interference of the Church of Rome in the decision of the House of Commons was more important than it at first appeared to be. The common belief was that the Irish Roman Catholic Prelates would have accepted the University Bill; that they had come to an agreement to this effect with the Government of the right hon. Gentleman; but that they received a direct mandate from Rome to throw it out, not on account of its own demerits, but because it was thought by the Curia that it would better serve the ends of the Church of Rome on the Continent of Europe. There were great hopes at the time that Legitimacy and the Roman Catholic Church would be re-established with Henri V. in France and Don Carlos in Spain; and the Curia believed that the old English Tory would so rejoice in the re-establishment of Legitimacy that a Tory Government would be more in accord with these designs than one that was Radical. Thus in 1874, by orders from Rome, one English Government was turned out and another brought into power. Was it the part of wise statesmen to put out of their calculation such a power as this? Was it the will of the people of Great Britain that the decisions of Parliament should be governed from Rome? But what had Lord Ripon's appointment to do with this? It was a not unimportant link in the chain by which the Roman Catholic Church was binding the people of this country. He must ask their Lordships to allow him to read a few ex-tracts or summaries from the work of the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman said that his treatise was "defensive, not offensive; not theological, and not controversial, save in its civil bearing;" that he regretted wounding moderate Roman Catholics, but that this was brought upon them by the action of their Church. All other Christian Churches," he said, "are content with freedom in their own domain-The Roman Catholic Church claims an imperium in imperio." He also drew out the following propositions, and re-affirms them through 200 pages:—1. That Rome has substituted for the proud boast of semper eadem, a policy of violence and change of faith. 2. That she has refurbished and paraded anew every rusty tool she was fully thought to have disused. 3. That no one can now become her convert without renouncing his moral and mental freedom and placing his civil loyalty and duty at the mercy of another; and 4. That she has equally repudiated modern thought and ancient history. Mr. Godley, replying for the Prime Minister, referred to the appointment of the Earl of Kenmare. The Resolutions he forwarded to Mr. Gladstone did not mention this appointment. Living in a Roman Catholic country, he did not class old Roman Catholics and converts to Rome in the same category. The former might religiously be good Catholics and in no wise Ultramontane. The latter must accept all the newest fashions in religion. The Prime Minister objected to his quotations as incomplete and misleading, and he referred to the following passage in his work:— I cannot but say that the immediate purpose of my appeal has been attained, in so far that the loyalty of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects in the mass remains untainted and secure. But, in the same page, he states as follows:— This means that the poison circulated from Rome has not actually been taken into the system. And through the whole of his work he reverts to the former propositions as showing— How absolute is the obedience and submission required by the Church of Rome; And concludes by saying— The purpose of my pamphlet was to show that the directors of the Romish Church had in the councils of the Vatican committed a gross offence against civil authority and civil freedom. Adding that he writes Under the sense of his responsibility to a higher power than public opinion. The Marquess of Ripon had never repudiated or minimized his sense of obligation to all the doctrines of his new Church. He commenced by giving up his position as Grand Master of Freemasons, a post of considerable social distinction, in obedience to the decrees of his Church, a society to which many Roman Catholics still belonged; and he thought the noble Marquess would not accept gratefully an explanation that would make him aught but an obedient son of the Church, to which all his own views of honour, integrity, and equity must be subordinated. He believed, and the country believed, that the noble Marquess was appointed Governor General of India because he had surrendered his mental and moral freedom to the Church of Rome! The last Government was designated "a Government of surprises; "this Government was a Government of apologies." When in a position of greater freedom and less responsibility" the Prime Minister in his cacoethes loquendi insulted the Emperor of Austria. He used "words of a painful and wounding character." He could not give His Imperial Majesty a place, so he now expressed his concern and promised to forget the ill language he used! In his cacoethes scribendi he exposed "the inconsistency of Vaticanism and civil liberty." He offended a mightier Power, and now again he had "banished the statements he made from his mind," and had made more solid amends by handing over the government of 200,000,000 of Her Majesty's subjects to the most humble, but most influential neophyte to the Church of Rome— That, repudiating modern thought and ancient history, he may upon these unfortunate people use every rusty tool that she has now refurbished and paraded anew. He wished to inquire whether he interpreted this appointment aright? Did the Prime Minister withdraw the statements made in Home and the Newest Fashions in Religion, and make this practical apology for his error, or would Her Majerty's Government explain how the Marquess of Ripon, a convert to the Church of Rome, and one who— If any conflict arose between the Pope and the Queen, intended to follow the Pope and let the Queen shift for herself, was appointed to the position of Governor General of India?


Though I cannot, my Lords, agree with the somewhat invidious reasons which the noble Lord has given for it, I admit it is likely that the Question is not one which commends itself to the judgment of either side of your Lordships' House. On the other hand, I do not in the slightest degree complain of the noble Lord raising the question. If he really believes, as he has just stated, that Lord Ripon was selected at this critical moment in Indian affairs, not on account of his fitness for the post, but on account of his subserviency to Rome, I think he was quite right in calling attention to the subject. But I should like to say a few words with regard to the terms of the Notice which the noble Lord laid upon your Lordships' Table. I remember Archbishop Whately being examined before a Select Committee of your Lordships' House, when a rather long question was put to him by a right rev. Prelate. The Archbishop paused a little while, and then asked—"Is this a question, or is it an answer?" Now, my Lords, I am not quite sure that that observation would not apply to the Notice of Question, interlarded as it was with arguments, insinuations, and quotations, more or less correct, made by the noble Lord. The noble Lord seems desirous of raising two questions. First of all, he wishes expressly to ventilate Mr. Gladstone's opinions as to Roman Catholicism; and, in the next place, he wishes to point out the impropriety of the appointment of Lord Ripon to the Viceroyalty of India. My Lords, I do not think it a very convenient thing to call upon a third person to go into an explanation of a matter of this sort, which the noble Lord himself brings forward by casting on the Table of the House a quantity of short disjointed sentences without their contexts, and with very incorrect references to the documents from which they have been extracted. I am, myself, perfectly satisfied with one extract from Mr. Gladstone's pamphlet on Vaticanism which the noble Lord himself quoted—whore my right hon. Friend states that the result of his appeal had been to establish the fact that the loyalty of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects was, in the mass, "untainted and secure." It appears to me that that is an observation which is perfectly consistent with Mr. Gladstone's recommending to the Sovereign a person who, for other reasons, he considered to be fit for the post of Viceroy. Now, the noble Lord objects to Lord Ripon because he was engaged in the Alabama negotiations. Those were friendly negotiations; and, without going into the question at all, I may say that I heartily rejoice that those negotiations occurred, and at the result they produced; but it would be a severe rule of ostracism, indeed, if all public men who, like the Marquess of Ripon and Sir Stafford Northcote, at great self-sacrifice engaged in such negotiations, were excluded from serving their Queen for the future. With regard to the question whether the fact of Lord Ripon becoming a Roman Catho- lie excluded him from high office, the noble Lord referred to the history of 1,000 years. My Lords, I will refer only to the history of the last 50 years. Is the noble Lord aware that during those years the abolition of religious tests occurred; that Roman Catholics were emancipated; that Jews were emancipated; and that, with the exception of an infinitesimally small number of offices, all the Departments of the State were thrown open to all Her Majesty's subjects, without limit and without restriction? The noble Lord seems to think that there is something particular in the case of India, which makes it unfit that a Roman Catholic should be at the head of it. I should like to appeal on that point to my noble Friend behind me (the Earl of Northbrook), who has recently been Viceroy of India, and who is also acquainted with the working of most of the important Departments at home. I should like to know from him whether in any respect religious matters come to be more dealt with by one holding the position of Viceroy than would be the case in any other Department of the State? The noble Lord inaccurately stated the population of India to be 200,000,000. I think the population, by the last Census, is more like 300,000,000; and I have heard a distinguished Anglo-Indian say that he believed it would take a Commission 10 years to ascertain the different religious creeds, sects, and sub-division of sects, which exist among that enormous population. There are, I believe, only 2,000,000 of Christians among the 300,000,000; and of the 2,000,000 the overwhelming majority are persons who—whether they are good Catholics or not—profess to be Roman Catholics. I think, indeed, they number something like 1,900,000. Lord Ripon, if he had so desired it, might have surrounded himself with persons of that persuasion. But what took place on his receiving his appointment? In the first place, he was presented with an address from those who knew him best and know him up to the present moment, including the signatures of several distinguished Protestant clergymen, testifying their satisfaction at the appointment he had received. And whom did the noble Lord take out with him? He selected as his Military Secretary, not a Jesuit, not a Roman Catholic, but a distinguished soldier, who happens to be son-in-law of the Protestant Archdeacon of Calcutta. Who is his Private Secretary—a most confidential office? He appointed Colonel Gordon, who is well known not only for the marvellous success he has had in dealing with Asiaties, but for the strong Protestant and Evangelical opinions which he holds. I do not cite these things in proof of Lord Ripon's liberal views, but to show that his religious opinions and belief did not interfere with his judgment when making appointments which I think your Lordships will say were prudent appointments. Lord Ripon, having to deal with temporal matters in India, chose the persons he thought best adapted to aid him in dealing with those temporal matters, without going into any invidious inquisition into their individual religious opinions. I stated just now, that the noble Lord brought the question before the House thinking that Her Majesty's Government had done something dangerous to the Protestant religion. But, my Lords, I would ask, are such statements as we heard in the course of the speech of the noble Lord calculated to add strength to the Protestant religion, or to recommend that religion either to Roman Catholics or to any other portion of the community? I believe that the real strength of the Protestant religion lies in something very different, and that you will strengthen and confirm it by showing what large and liberal views Protestants do take of the sacred cause of religious freedom.


said, that a considerable portion of the address of the noble Lord opposite was devoted to an incrimination of a particular act of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government and to uncomplimentary observations with reference to the noble Marquess the Viceroy of India. If the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government thought it worth while to defend his consistency no one was better able to do so, and it was not his purpose to enter upon any vindication of the diplomatic services of the noble Marquess. But under the personal question raised by the noble Lord there undoubtedly lay one of real feeling which affected the consciences and the hearts of many pious persons. There were undoubtedly some persons connected with Protestant communities who were solicitous on the subject to which the noble Lord's Question referred, and who thought that the nomination of a Roman Catholic to the high Office of Viceroy of India might possibly, in one form or another, militate against Protestant interests in that Empire. It was not altogether superfluous for one in an impartial and indifferent position like himself to endeavour to show that it was altogether impossible, in the nature of things, that the power of the Viceroy should be used in any way to the prejudice of the Protestant interest in India. First of all, he did not doubt that the Marquess 'of Ripon would deal with perfect impartiality towards all religions simply from a sense of duty to his Sovereign and his country. He firmly believed the noble Marquess would never have undertaken the momentous duties he had if he had not conscientiously felt he could perform them all in a totally natural, candid, and faithful spirit. As all might not have the same confidence in the character of the noble Marquess that he had, or might believe that the change in his religion might prejudice him in some special circumstances his natural rectitude might possibly not be able to resist, he thought it right to affirm that, even if the noble Marquess had a very different disposition and intentions, he still could do no harm to the Protestant interest in India. For that belief he would give a few reasons. Protestant interests in India consisted, first, of an official establishment, which was maintained by the Government and paid for out of the Indian Revenues for the religious worship of the Military and Civil Services in India; and, secondly, of the Protestant missions, which were largely subsidized and supported by the Government, not as religious, but as educational and philanthropic agencies. It had been stated that the relations of the Governor General towards the Protestant Establishment were very direct and constant; but he should have said exactly the contrary, and those relations were altogether impartial and exceptional. As to the mission establishments, it was rather the local Governments of Madras, Bombay, and the North-West Provinces that had to deal with them. Besides, whatever relations there were with the Governor General, they were not subject to the mere caprice of an individual, but they were strictly governed by regulations which he had no power to alter. Theoretically he had absolute power, but only in theory; for changes must come before the local Governments and also before his Council, which was substantially Protestant. If all those difficulties could be got over, and something objectionable were done, there would be an appeal to the Secretary of State. It was therefore impossible to suppose that the Governor General could carry by surprise anything which would be prejudicial to the interests of Protestants. But let them assume that the noble Marquess could do something which would be antagonistic to Protestant interests in India, he would ask them to consider that his government there was only for a few years, and the orders made would be reversed. But, in fact, the idea that he could do anything prejudicial to the Protestant religion in India was absolutely chimerical. Indeed, there was not so much to fear from the action of a Roman Catholic Viceroy as, in some circumstances, there might be to fear from a Protestant Viceroy, because the action of the former would be subjected to the severest scrutiny, and any questionable proceeding would expose him to obloquy. Therefore, a Roman Catholic Viceroy might shrink from doing some things with reference to Protestant establishments which would not be wrong merely on account of his peculiar position. And, in fact, the Viceroy who acted with the greatest severity towards Protestant establishments was Lord Mayo, who had very decided Protestant sympathies, and whose character was distinguished by Christian charity in the broadest sense. He was able to act towards the Protestant establishments in India in a manner a Roman Catholic Viceroy would have had difficulty in doing. A Roman Catholic Viceroy must necessarily be in favour of religious agencies for secular instruction and of necessary establishments. It was natural he should be peculiarly favourable to the establishments of his own religion; but if he desired to act justly and liberally by Roman Catholic missions—which had a very high claim in India to our sympathy—he must be prepared to act with equal liberality and justice to Protestant missions. It was impossible that a Viceroy could set up one standard for one branch and another for another branch, or that he should be able to give an advantage to Catholics over Protestants. If it were said that Protestant missions, while spared from direct attack, might be doomed to languish for five years, he did not believe that could be; for the Viceroy had nothing to do with them officially except as educational and philanthropic instruments. The noble Marquess had an accurate and a profound knowledge of all educational institutions; and he believed that he would in India take as much action in favour of Protestant educational establishments as in favour of Roman Catholic. He had himself visited all the missionary establishments in India, and he had found them all, though under different systems, occupied in doing good, and with great zeal. He regarded them all with equal esteem and of equal value. Those missionary bodies had been endeavouring to vanquish prejudices against Englishmen, and they had conquered the hearts of millions of Natives. The missionary agencies in India were working together, not for power, not for profit, not for pay, but for the service of mankind, as circumstances required. Those who had seen them and were acquainted with them would never be induced to believe that an English statesman who had voluntarily accepted from the hands of his Sovereign the highest trust in her power to bestow would ever deal with the solemn and sacred interests of Christianity in India in the spirit of a sectarian or partizan. The noble Marquess's position was surrounded by many difficulties, and he would require all the confidence and sympathies which his countrymen could give him to enable him to overcome them. He trusted it was not too much to ask his noble Friend opposite, and those with whom he usually acted, not to add to those difficulties anxieties and dangers which were of a peculiarly artificial and illusory character.


I entirely agree in the main with my noble Friend who has last addressed the House. It is perfectly true, as my noble Friend has said, that there is probably no Office under the Crown in which the occupier has less to do with religious questions of any kind, connected with either the Protestant or the Roman Catholic Church, than the Office of Viceroy of India. During the four years that I was Viceroy I can hardly remember a single instance in which a question connected with the ecclesiastical establishments of India came before me, unless it was concerning the destination of a chaplain. My Lords, I deeply regret the course which has been taken by the noble Lord, for this reason—that in India, where Christians of all denominations are few in number, among an enormous mass of Hindoos and Mahometans, I am thankful to say that those differences which have been so enlarged upon by the noble Lord opposite sink into insignificance; and Christians of all denominations have united in their exertions for the temporal benefit of the Natives. It constantly happens that a meeting for the benefit of the Natives of India is supported by the Protestant Bishop of Calcutta, by the Roman Catholic Archbishop, as well as by ministers of other persuasions. My Lords, I feel that to assert that the fact of my noble Friend being a Roman Catholic is a disqualification must, in order to be of effect at all, have a tendency to bring into India sectarian differences and prejudices, from which that country is now fortunately almost entirely free. My Lords, this is a question which affects the whole of the people of India, the 200,000,000 or 300,000,000 of people under the dominion of Her Majesty. It is to the interest of those Natives that the best man that can be found should be sent out to India as Viceroy; and the miserable law having been struck off the Statute Book which placed our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects under disabilities from serving the Crown, it seems to me that the simple question was whether the noble Marquess was the most fitting man to be sent to India, and not whether he was a Roman Catholic or a Protestant. My Lords, I entertain a profound conviction that my noble Friend will perform his duty in India with judgment, with courage, and with entire impartiality; and with this sincere belief, it was with great regret that I heard the noble Lord bringing these small sectarian prejudices to interfere with a career which I trust and believe will be of substantial benefit both to this country and to the Natives of India.


said, that in 1616 an Ambassador from James I. had written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that in India—where Roman Catholics were tolerated—there were more churches than Christians. He feared that the noble Marquess might have people about him who would not forward the spread of the Bible; and it was an unfortunate thing that there should be a Viceroy who was, confessedly, an object of suspicion to Protestants. He believed, however, that, now, Christians when in foreign lands had very much fewer differences than at home; and he remembered Bishop Selwyn telling him that once in New Zealand, being out in the rain, a Roman Catholic priest, taking away everything that could offend a Protestant, offered him the use of his chapel. Lord Plunket and Mr. Grattan, when pleading for Catholic Emancipation, declared that no danger would arise from it to the Protestant Church. In Edinburgh, in the winter, Mr. Justin M'Carthy paid a high tribute of praise to the spread of religion in Scotland. He (Lord Denman) regretted that the noble Viceroy had deserted his first denomination; but he did not think that the discussion could do any harm, because there was a strong feeling in this country on the part of many persons against the Marquess of Ripon's appointment. However, now that they had been informed that the Governor General would not use any influence against the spread of pure religion, he advised their Lordships to let bygones be bygones, and make the best of the position.


rose to reply, and was stating that the noble Earl the Leader of the Government (Earl Granville), and the noble Earl the First Lord of the Admiralty (the Earl of Northbrook), might have read the statements of the Prime Minister, they had not thought them worthy of consideration, but had replied to his arguments upon other grounds—when

THE MARQUESS OF BATH rose to Order. There was no Question before the House.


submitted that though there was no Question, it was the practice of the House to allow a few observations in reply. He had been a Member of their Lordships' House for 10 years, and it was the habit of the House to permit a reply.


said, that he had been a Member of the House for 28 years, and he could assure the noble Lord that when a Question only was asked, and a discussion took place, a reply was not allowed.


submitted that it was unusual; but, per- haps, the noble Earl the Leader of the House would express his opinion upon this point?


said, he felt bound to state that the noble Lord was right as to the practice that had grown up; but it was not so much allowing a reply as allowing an explanation to be made at the end of the discussion of some points which had arisen in consequence of asking the Question.


expressed his thanks to the noble Earl for his opinion, and said, that the appointment had caused a great feeling of excitement amongst Protestants, and although that feeling might be dormant, it was not one that politicians could despise, and one he hoped and believed would ere long make itself felt by both Parties in Parliament.