rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill, better to secure the title and enjoyment of lands and tenements granted for purposes of Catholic worship, and of education in Ireland. His object was, not to extend the present law in any of its details, save one, and that was, to give greater facilities for the enjoyment of property. At present, the trusts of the Catholic places of worship were equally protected by the law, and by courts of equity, as other trusts; but his object was to render easier the method of transmission from one set of trustees to another, and he thought his principle would be equally applicable to Dissenters' places of worship in England. His proposal was, that when trustees died, it should not be necessary to bring their executors before the Court, but, by a simple conveyance, to vest the fee in new trustees. The objects were of such a nature, that he should simply make a statement, and lay the Bill upon the table of the House, that it might be 563 printed, and placed in the hands of the Members, and they would then, see the entire plan; and he thought, that as the object was merely to simplify the conveyance of this kind of property, there would be no objection to his bringing in the Bill.
§ Mr. Shaw
did not mean so far to oppose the Bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, as to take the unusual course of objecting to its introduction. He (Mr. Shaw) did not desire either to deal with the question in any bigoted or sectarian spirit; but he must say, that the proceeding startled him., as one of a very novel nature; and he thought the hon. and learned Gentleman had failed to make out. a case, for putting the Roman Catholic Church on a different footing from any other religious body in the United Kingdom, which dissented from the Established Church. He wished no civil inequality to those who professed the Roman Catholic-religion—still he could not conceal, and he said so without meaning to give offence, that the notice of the hon. and learned Gentleman, to propose the present measure, had given rise to some justifiable feeling of jealousy against any further encroachment on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland; they had peculiar opportunities of inducing bequests, and influencing persons by motives, which Protestants might reasonably be expected to question, to make over property for the purposes suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman in the present measure. He could see no just ground for forming the Roman Catholic hierarchy into a corporation, capable of taking and transmitting property, without the intervention of trustees—a privilege enjoyed by no other religious sect in either country. Considering the recent disclaimer of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and the Roman Catholic priesthood, of any desire to be connected with the state, and their advocacy of the voluntary principle as applied to their church in Ireland, he owned he regarded the present proceedings with some degree of suspicion. While, therefore, he would not divide the House at that stage, before they had had the opportunity of seeing the Bill, still he begged to put the House upon its guard on the subject, and he hoped they would not suffer the measure to pass into a law. He would watch, with a jealous anxiety, the course of the hon. and learned Gentle- 564 man, in any attempt to invest the Roman Catholic clergy, in Ireland, with greater power or property than they already possessed; and, at the same time, he again disclaimed all intention to give offence, or do injustice, either to the Roman Catholic clergy, or people in that country.
agreed with his right hon. Friend and Colleague, in thinking this a most important measure, and one that should be watched with the greatest jealousy. In short, it appeared as the first step in advance, for establishing the Roman Catholic religion as a state religion in Ireland. He could conceive no other object the hon. and learned Gentleman had in view. No other religious sect enjoyed the privilege of transmitting property in the manner now sought for by the hon. and learned Gentleman. He felt some difficulty in even allowing the measure to be introduced, and he would oppose it in all its future stages.
§ Colonel Conolly
did not rise to oppose the introduction of the Bill, but he wished to state, that he had given grants of land on his property, for the building of Roman Catholic places of worship; but, in two instances, he had stipulated, that the ground should be restored to him whenever these places were made the arenas for political discussion, and exciting the people to acts contrary to the law. He was happy to say, that the clergymen to whom he had made that proposition, had readily assented to it. If the hon. and learned Member persevered in his motion, he should feel it his duty to introduce a clause, to the effect that, the moment Roman Catholic chapels were used for other purposes than religious worship, they should cease to claim the protection of the law.
As the measure appeared to him objectionable, upon Protestant grounds, he should divide the House upon it, even in its present stage.
explained. There was nothing in the Bill to affect the right of the granter of the lease, to make any terms he pleased. All he wanted was, to take that species of property out of the Court of Chancery, and if he were aware of the forms of conveyance used by the Protestant Dissenters, he would at once extend its operation to them. As its effect would be to prevent litigation, and diminish expense, he hoped to see it very generally supported.
§ Colonel Perceval
opposed the Bill. At the same time, he wished to see the Roman Catholic churches, chapels, and places of education, placed in a position that would render them amenable to the law. He suspected the hon. and learned Gentleman had not been as explicit as he ought; for the House would recollect, that the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland were, to a man, members of the National, or rather Catholic Association of Dublin, the object of which was to interfere with the rights of the people, of registering their freeholds, and returning Members to Parliament. He felt bound to oppose the introduction of the Bill.
§ Viscount Morpeth
, although he would give his vote for the motion, wished to add, that the Government intended to reserve its opinion upon the measure, until it had seen the details. He would most cordially join the hon. Members on the opposite side, in expressing a wish, that political agitation should be excluded from all such places as chapels and churches.
§ Mr. Maclean
begged to ask the hon. and learned Member, whether the facilities the Bill conferred for the conveyance of property, were possessed by the Established Church itself?
§ Mr. West
thought there was something objectionable in the title of the Bill, but, i at the same time, it would be extremely hard, to tie down the hon. and learned Member to an objectionable phrase, when the object of the measure might be what! he had staled. On these grounds, he should vote for the introduction of the Bill.
§ Leave given.