§ Mr. Colquhoun
said:* Before I pass to the merits of the question, I would address an appeal to the noble Lord the Member for London. On the last occasion upon which this subject was discussed, the noble Lord adverted to measures which, in his judgment, would follow this Bill if it were carried. He traced what those measures were, and suggested an endowment for the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland. I am not about to discuss the propriety of such a measure; my appeal to the noble Lord is to request that before he suggests it, he will carefully consider its bearings, and the more especially as upon two classes of political questions his authority is of peculiar weight. When the noble Lord delivers his sentiments upon the question of the Oregon territory, he speaks as an independent Member of Parliament, of great influence indeed and ability, but not exercising any absolute control over the measures of Government; but there are two classes of questions, those which relate to religion and those which affect Ireland, on which I shall be able to satisfy the noble Lord that the leader of Opposition exercises an influence of a very different kind. It has occurred, Sir, ever since the Reform Bill, by what law of our political existence I cannot pretend to say, that on these two classes of questions those who sit on this side of the House are divested of all power of carrying out their opinions, and are constrained to adopt the opinions of their opponents. I shall prove this law, as I would prove a law of nature, by the induction of cases. It was so under the Administration of the noble Lord. Upon National Education he was obliged to adopt our opinions, or, at least, greatly to limit his own. On the question of the*From a corrected Report.502 Irish Church he was blamed by his own party for adopting our views, and surrendering his plan of appropriation. On the subject of Irish Registration he could not carry out his own views. It was supposed, however, that when we crossed to this side of the House, we should on these questions, above all others, transport our opinions with us. On the contrary, his opinions, opposed to ours, which could not be carried as long as our opponents sat on this side of the House, have become prevalent since we came to it. The hon. Member for Waterford held particular views on the subject of Academical Education in Ireland. I do not ask whether these views were just or not. The fact is, that so long as he stated them on this side of the House they were dormant. He stated them in an elaborate speech, and that speech has gone to our records up-stairs, where so many able and so many dull orations are entombed. The hon. Gentleman became a Member of the late Government. Still his views of academic education were neglected; but the moment that he passes to the other side of the House they become all powerful, and are about to be carried into a law in the present Session. The same hon. Member held very decided views on the subject of English education, the chief feature of which was to give to the Executive Government a predominant influence, which I always thought greatly to be dreaded, over national education. These views were resisted by us when in opposition; but the moment that the hon. Member takes our place, then his views are adopted by Government, and the President of the Council delivers a speech in Yorkshire, the head and tail of which might not exactly suit the Member for Waterford; but as to the great body of the speech, the only objection which the Member for Waterford could make to it was, that it was not delivered in inverted commas as a quotation from his elaborate orations. There is another subject, Sir, for which, while we sat on the other side of the House, we earnestly contended. I mean Church extension. We declared this to be essential to the welfare of the country, and in our vote upon it we run the late Government so hard, that we were only in a minority of nineteen. It was supposed that when we crossed the House, Church extension would be introduced on a large scale. What has become of it? With the exception of a trifling 503 measure, good in principle, but so limited that it supplied 300 churches to a country whose wants demanded thousands, Church extension has gone to the same place of oblivion which has received the speeches and plans of so many Members. Thus far I have spoken of religious questions. Now turn to Irish questions. Our views upon Irish registration were definite whilst in opposition. The evil, we said, was flagrant, the remedy was plain. It admitted of no delay; we would not suffer the late Government to delay. We pressed our plan; we carried it on several divisions. In office we were sure to introduce it. Ever since, Irish registration has been unheard of, and no measure to correct it has been carried. It is these things which induce me to appeal to the noble Lord. He has on these questions over-ruling power. Let him exercise it with a due sense of his responsibility. He is now in the situation of power — let him beware how he throws out hasty suggestions. It is not unlikely that they may be carried into law. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Dungarvon, threw out a bold suggestion upon Irish registration. I listened to the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman with pleasure; but I am not sure that he is the person to suggest the settlement of difficult questions. I hope the noble Lord will restrain him. I have an appeal to make also to the hon. Members for Sheffield and Montrose. They have been the consistent opponents of the Irish Church. I have a great desire to maintain that Church. Where they now sit they may be able to carry out their views. If we could tempt them to this side of the House, I should have no further apprehension. Will they resume the seats which they formerly occupied? It is evident that they are detached from the party of the noble Lord, and that they are in fact supporters of the present Government. Why should they not cross to this side of the House? Are they fearful of the name of Conservative? There is, I assure them, nothing in it. It is a mere name, a name too without a notion. While, however, Gentlemen entertaining such views occupy the seats of power, I am afraid I cannot join my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, in anticipating that our opposition to the present measure will be effectual. This certainly I can promise, that our resistance will be uncompromising. We shall oppose it at every 504 stage; we shall insist upon reasonable delay; and if our request be not complied with, we shall resort to those forms of the House which are established to protect a minority, which I predict will never have been used with greater moderation, nor for a more legitimate end. Undoubtedly, Sir, if it were not for the circumstances to which I have alluded, I should have a strong confidence that when the subject is fairly stated, the House would never pass such a measure as the present. Much has been said on the question of conscience; there is truth in the observation of my noble Friend the Member for Liverpool, that the majority in a State cannot set up their own consciences as an inflexible standard; and refuse to suffer the endowment of any religion inconsistent with theirs. [Mr. Roebuck: Hear, hear]. I admit this to the hon. Member. I wish to argue the case fairly; to avoid none of its difficulties. I admit that in cases, like Canada and Malta, where you incorporate in your Empire States possessing different religions from our own, it would be inconsistent with the very existence of that Empire, to refuse to allow the religious endowments which they possess. But if on this side of the question an absolute doctrine cannot be laid down, the other extreme maintained by the right hon. Member for Dungarvon is much more untenable. The right hon. Member says, that it is now an axiom of Government that we are to neglect the dictates of our individual consciences in the conduct of public affairs. I never heard of such a doctrine except in the government of Napoleon, who was an honorary member of all religions, and indifferent to all. That is neither the doctrine nor the practice of this country. I refer him to the despatches of the noble Lord the Member for London, and of the late President of the Board of Control. Did they acknowledge such a doctrine? Did they not practically repudiate it? Why did the one interfere with suttees in India? Was not that an ordinance of the Indian religion? Why did the other refuse in our Colonies to permit infanticide? Is not this a religious usage sanctioned by the faith of many savages? They felt, and truly, that there are principles of immutable morality, sanctioned by the Christian faith, which it is our duty to extend throughout every corner of our Empire. The truth, I take it, Sir, to be this, that, where we possess, as we do, institutions, 505 both ecclesiastical and civil, of peculiar value, it is our duty, a duty which we owe to the States with which we are connected, to keep in view, as our great aim, the extension of these throughout our Empire, at such times, and in such a manner, as may best accomplish our ultimate end, their establishment throughout all parts of our dominions. This principle is capable of application to Ireland, and I am satisfied that I could show that we might settle the present question in accordance with it; but I am not about to enter on this in the present discussion. The religious ground on which this question could be argued, I am willing this evening to wave. I hold it—I will not surrender it—I am quite prepared to take my stand on it; but I feel so strong in the confidence of my case, that I descend from this vantage-ground to the mere political ground on which the right hon. Baronet has rested his measure. On that issue I am prepared to meet him; and I think I can show that, on grounds of policy alone, there never was a measure submitted to Parliament which less deserved our support. I would first dispose of the question of compact. This indeed has been little relied on. My noble Friend the Member for Liverpool, talked of it as a quasi compact. The right hon. Member for Dungarvon, who relied on it before' never alluded to it in this debate. Gentlemen, I suspect, feel this ground to be untenable. [Mr. Ward: Hear, hear]. If the hon. Gentleman relies on it, I shall be happy to hear his argument; and as other opportunities will occur, I shall be quite prepared to meet him on it. For the present, I make a single remark which goes far to settle the question. The Irish Parliament passed with unanimity the Bill to enable the Roman Catholics to endow the College of Maynooth. That they should have refused to do so, would indeed have been monstrous; and badly as I think of the proceedings of the Irish Parliament, it would have branded them with the foulest stigma to refuse to the Roman Catholics the power (for that is all which these acts confer) of establishing a college for the education of their youth. The Irish Parliament went further, and assisted the establishment of the College by an annual grant of money. But that this was precarious, granted, or to be withheld at pleasure, that, in fact, it has nothing in it of a compact, is plain from this striking fact. In 1799 the Roman 506 Catholic Bishops wished that this money grant should be converted from a precarious vote into a certain endowment. They petitioned the House to that effect; and the House of Lords by an overwhelming majority rejected their petition. I pass from these preliminary questions to the merits of the Bill. Mr. Pitt's name has been quoted; what, I asked, was Mr. Pitt's object in the establishment of the College of Maynooth? His object has been stated on the highest authority by Lord Castlereagh, who was more intimately acquainted with Mr. Pitt's views on this question than any other man. In 1810, speaking in this House, Lord Castlereagh says of Mr. Pitt's views,—His wish was, that they should not cease to be Roman Catholics; that they should continue to be sincere and liberal Roman Catholics, connecting themselves with their own Government, for purposes of mutual benefit; to the exclusion of all foreign connexion.How has this object been attained? We have had an experience of fifty years, during which Maynooth has formed the social character of the priesthood. Two great periods have occurred of political agitation; an agitation in both cases hostile to British connexion. What part have the priesthood taken in these? For the one, I cannot find a higher authority than that of the Member for Waterford, in his History of the Roman Catholic Association. His words are these:—The clergy, too, had sent in from time to time their adhesion. Maynooth began to be felt. Irishmen who had never left Ireland, were the priests whom it sent forth; and though, in some instances, the proprieties and decencies of their ecclesiastical station were considerably lost, the country gained on the whole by the infusion of a more popular spirit among the body.Again, he says,—The young were of a very different temper; for the most part they had been educated at Maynooth, and had carried with them, as I have already remarked, all that spirit of independence and democracy which of late years has more or less become the characteristic of Irish Catholic education. They were full of the spirit of the times, and thoroughly acquainted with every detail of recent politics.There was another crisis—the Repeal crisis in 1843—the violence and hostility of which we all remember. It is a significant fact, that the priesthood, almost to a man, were embarked in that movement. I will read to you the observation of an 507 eye-witness, understood to be a gentleman who received office under the late Government, who now holds office, and who addressed, in October, 1843, this letter to the Morning Chronicle:—The most serious fact of all connected with the present agitation has yet to be mentioned. There cannot be a doubt that the great body of the Roman Catholic priests have gone into the movement in the worst, that is, in the rebellions sense. Many of the priests of the old school, who had been educated in France, and had seen the world, held out for a time; but they were given to understand, that if they continued to take this line, the shepherd would be deserted by his flock, and they were forced to yield. Two or three splendid instances are still mentioned of priests openly professing their determination to submit to any consequences, rather than give their sanction to a movement which they knew to be of the most dangerous and pernicious character; but the curates and young priests brought up at Maynooth, have gone into it heartily, almost to a man. These young men are generally the sons of small farmers, and other persons of a similar rank in life. They, therefore, bring with them strong feelings and limited and one-sided information from home; and at Maynooth they are brought up, like our young Newmanite clergy at Oxford, to regard the Church as the sole object for which they are to live, and think, and act. They have no property, no families of their own, to be compromised by a rebellion; and, as it would be inconsistent with the character of their sacred profession to appear at the head of their flocks on the field of battle, they run no personal risk. They may gain, but they cannot well lose, by the result of a conflict. Some, more heady and enthusiastic than the rest, might even lead their flocks to battle; but, whatever their conduct in this respect might be, there cannot be a doubt that the prevailing spirit of the priesthood is correctly represented by the following expressions, extracted from the speech of the Rev. Mr. Cantwell, parish priest of Tramore, at the late monster-meeting at Lismore:—'He could support O'Connell with his voice, but he would support him with more. Look at that arm (said the reverend gentleman, stretching forth his right arm). After the magnificent scene I have this day witnessed, I'll die a death, or see Ireland free.' (Tremendous cheering, waving of hats, &c.) The priests have given to the repeal movements all the weight of a religious cause in the eyes of a superstitious people.I could multiply testimony; I give only one from a gentleman long in Ireland, who had great means of observation, and used them with singular impartiality. In his letter to me he says,—I never heard the subject of the priest- 508 hood mentioned, that it was not universally considered that the priests educated abroad and at Maynooth, were perfectly distinct classes. The one, well disposed, peaceable, and of kindly feeling towards all; the other, turbulent, assuming, political, and hostile to the English Constitution.The right hon. Member for Dungarvon seemed to think that we contrasted the priest of old times with the priest of modern times. That is not our distinction. It lies between a priesthood educated at such a college as Maynooth, and a priesthood educated in a university of a different character. As an example of what I mean, I take the case of two priests, administrators, a short time since, in the parish of Boyle, county of Roscommon. The one was educated partly at Trinity College, the other in Maynooth. "The Trinity College man," my correspondent writes, "is mild, inoffensive, and gentlemanlike in his demeanour;" the other he describes as a perfect firebrand. And this difference is a matter of easy explanation; I find an illustration of it in the circumstances of our own Church. There are in that Church, clergymen who entertain very strong opinions upon ecclesiastical questions. They hold the highest notions of the authority of the priesthood, and of the deference due to them by the laity. Those, however, who enter the Church, are educated at Universities open to the laity, and where men of all professions meet. In these Universities opinion is formed, moderated by the collision of various classes and sentiments. Suppose, now, we were to constitute for the clerical education of the English Church a separate college; place there as its professors men holding these ecclesiastical opinions; let the students be drilled by them, and let them live there for four years without coming into contact with the laity. I beg to ask what sort of opinions would be formed? what clerical character would result? A character so drilled in monastic notions, so inflated with ideas of ecclesiastical domination, that with such a clergy, the connexion could not exist for ten years between the Church and the State. Yet this is the actual position of Maynooth, with this addition, that as their ecclesiastics are celibates, they are cut off during the whole of their after-life from all the ties and amenities of social life. Can we wonder that the growth of such a system 509 should be that haughty spirit of intolerance, which has been remarked by every traveller as the characteristic of the Irish priesthood? Do you, in your Bill, propose to correct this? to mitigate it, to abate the evil? you propose to increase it, to aggravate it, to lengthen the period, to increase the intenity of this bigoted education. Your plan is this; and there never was one, at once so inconsistent with common reason, and so unlikely to accomplish any practical good. The students under this system are already too numerous; we increase them. They already stay there two long for any liberal education; we shall enable them to stay longer. They have, and this is your complaint, only 22l. per annum; and only a portion of them have that sum. We raise the bursary to 28l., and we extend it to the whole five hundred. In the name of common sense, was there ever such a proposal! The absurdity of this was pointed out long ago by a Roman Catholic barrister, Mr. McKenna. He was an advocate for Maynooth; and yet here are the terms in which he speaks of this system of a great number of petty bursaries, which you propose to multiply:No intentions could possibly be more laudable than those by which the Government was influenced on that occasion, and the persons selected to direct the institution were amongst the most honourable in society. But these persons were not concerned in the original design, or in the details. The Ministers who carried the project into effect had not an accurate view of the subject; and they consulted with persons who were incompetent to inform them. The Roman Catholic religion might have received the assistance designed for it at a much less expense; or the sum bestowed might have been rendered a means of more extensive good, and productive of stronger feelings of gratitude. The Government should have contented itself in providing the necessary buildings, appointing officers and professors, with endowment adequate to ensure a succession, and creating a limited number of foundations in reward of merit, or in aid of deserving necessity. There, in my apprehension, it should have stopped. The bounty which supports at the public expense an entire college, and every individual of its members, is too indiscriminate; the emotions to which it might be expected to give rise, are lost in the generality; no man is obliged by what every man partakes of.These observations are just. If you wanted to stimulate zeal, to rouse literary ambition, you would give your endowments, not, as you propose, to every lad 510 that enters the college, but to those who distinguish themselves by their exertions. The result of your system must be, as it is, to attract to the college the very dregs of the people, and to deter from it every man of better education and more liberal mind. Such is the fact; the hon. Baronet the Member for Louth tried to explain it; he tried to show why the higher classes of Roman Catholics sent no scholars to Maynooth:—he has failed. In Prussia, where the payment is not greater, the sons of gentlemen enter the Romish Church. Why do they not do so in Ireland? I should like to see the Roman Catholic gentleman—I would go a long way to see him—who should tell me that he, brought up in the accomplishments and liberal tastes of our social life, would send his son to be drilled in the bigoted notions and monastic discipline of such an establishment; excellent, indeed, for its end, to imprint upon men such a character as the Irish priest exhibits, but from which I am sure every liberal Roman Catholic would revolt; he would repudiate the idea of sending his son to a seminary, the professors of which, badly educated themselves, give a bad literary and bad mathematical education. [Sir J. Graham: Hear.] I will first finish my sentence, and then dispose of the argument expressed in the cheer of my right hon. Friend. Yes, so bad an education, that the professor of mathematics declared to the Commissioners, that he was not acquainted with the sixth book of Euclid. [Mr. Ward: Hear.] I perfectly understand the argument of the hon. Gentleman. I know what is meant both by him and by my right hon. Friend. They mean, that if you raise the endowment of the professors; if you give them, as by the Bill you propose to do, higher salaries, you will secure the services of superior men. Is this the mode in which they dispose of all the influences of public opinion? Only pay men well, and they will work well! Why, then, are there so many grammar schools, both in England and Ireland, where the masters are paid well, and do nothing? [Mr. Milnes: We have a better chance.] So this is the doctrine of my hon. Friend the Member for Pomfret: we are to pay 25,000l. per annum for the chance of a better education! Very dear, if you had the certainty; but 25,000l. for the chance—and what a chance! All experience tells us, that when you surround an institution with 511 secrecy, where you shut out its proceedings from the daylight of opinion, and cover them with the shroud of concealment, abuses are sure to arise, and the very object of your endowment to be frustrated. No, Sir, if you will have a college, cut off from all public knowledge of its proceedings—from the intercommunion of different classes—you will have, and you deserve to have, ignorance, and bigotry, and a perversion of public objects for narrow and mischievous ends. The case of Prussia has been cited. Its policy has been quoted as if it were to be our own; nothing can be more different. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon stated it as the universal practice of the Roman Catholic Church to train up those who were destined for its priesthood in ecclesiastical seminaries, and in a separate and ascetic discipline, like that of Maynooth. As a general statement, nothing can be more inaccurate. It is true of one of the systems of education for the priesthood pursued a broad—the Italian system. There the youth are trained from the early age of seven till they enter the Church, in seminaries conducted by the priests, and where no lay students are admitted; but the result of this is to train up a priesthood such as we find them in Italy—narrow-minded, bigoted, and ignorant. If your object is to have such a priesthood in Ireland, by means of the College of Maynooth, such an object will be attained. But there is another system conducted on very different principles; and which, as it is established throughout Germany, I shall call, in contradistinction to the Italian, the Germanic. This system has for its object to make the student a citizen before he becomes a priest—to imprint on him the national before he assumes the ecclesiastical character. The mode of doing this is by a system the direct opposite to that which is pursued in Italy and at Maynooth. Instead of allowing the boy of tender years to be draughted into the ecclesiastical seminary, there to be narrowed into bigoted notions and ascetic habits, he is compelled to pass through the literary institutions of his country, from the school which he enters at seven, to the college or public school, and finally to the university. In all these he meets with boys of every class; he is subjected to the contact of every opinion; he is exposed to the strong but strengthening collision of opposite views. The result is, that when at twenty-one he 512 passes from the university into the ecclesiastical seminary, he goes there liberalized with study, with his mind expanded, and his views mitigated by his training. The German priest thus offers a striking contrast to the Italian or the Irish priest. Men of liberal feelings enter the Church; persons of the upper classes of society become members of the German priests hood. That this cultivation of mindis connected with their studies, I will show you from one case—that of Ronge, the son of a Silesian farmer—who thus speak-of his experience. After being nine yea in the high school of Neisse, he, in 1836, entered with inexpressible joy the University of Breslau; he delighted in history and German literature:—I felt and knew that I was free. Associated with a company of noble-minded youths, it was our earnest endeavour to cultivate our minds, and strengthen our bodies. I chose theology as my profession, because I felt a strong leaning towards teaching.The efficacy of this system has been lately tried. The late Archbishop of Cologne, who had the notions of an Italian priest, threw Prussia into confusion by attempting to establish the extravagant supremacy of the ecclesiastical over the civil power. With his views the Irish priesthood sympathized, and expressed their sympathy through their organ, the Dublin Review. This was the natural fruit of their system of teaching; but the priests in the Rhenish provinces, trained in the Germanic system, refused to join in these extravagant claims — the national spirit prevailed over the ecclesiastical—and the result was, that these pretensions were put down, and peace was restored in Prussia. Had you devised a similar system for Ireland, it would have had, on ground of policy, some justification; you might have, at least, pleaded its expediency. Your measure does not possess even this plea. It aggravates the evils from which we are suffering; it perpetuates that character of the Irish priesthood by which Ireland is convulsed. I can discover for it no possible justification; and regarding it as bad in principle, and wretched in policy, I shall confront it with the most resolute opposition; and through all the stages of its future progress, I shall meet it with every resistance which the forms and the votes of this House can present. I now move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ Mr. Grogan
rose to second the Motion 513 of the hon. Gentleman, and in doing so would at once express his dissent from the measure introduced by Her Majesty's Government in reference to the College of Maynooth. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Robert Peel) who introduced the measure seemed to rest his case upon two grounds—compact and expediency. But he had made out no case in reference to either. The question of compact was one very easily discussed. The right hon. Baronet said, three courses were open to the Legislature to adopt—namely, to pursue the old system; to abandon the grant altogether; and the course now before the House. If there was a compact in existence, it was not competent to abandon it at all; therefore it was clear by the right hon. Baronet's own showing, that no such compact existed. But there were even stronger grounds in the expressed opinions of those men who, living at the time the grant was first made, might be said to speak the sentiments of the Legislature that bestowed it. Sir Arthur Wellesley (now Duke of Wellington) said, in 1808, that it was never contemplated to support Maynooth from the public purse; and Dr. Crotty, a Roman Catholic prelate, said before the Committee on the subject in 1825, that he did not know whether the Government had intended to make an annual grant or not. The Irish Parliament had only required that certain pious and charitable institutions should be continued for a number of years, on a scale of expense to be ascertained by an average of six years. If Maynooth was entitled to a continuance of the grant secured to it on the same condition as those instructions, so were they likewise. Yet the Government had withdrawn the grant from the charter schools. The measure could be no more supported on the ground of expediency than of compact. Mr. Pitt was sanguine, in founding the college, that men trained in it, and instructed in a royal institution, would turn out men loyally disposed, and inclined to encourage the dissemination of social and kindly feelings amongst their fellow subjects. That was a very natural object for the Minister of the day to aim at, although the experiment was a dangerous one, a fact proved by the very little success which appeared to have attended it. They were now called upon to grant a new charter to this College, and the question for them to put to themselves was, 514 had it answered the purpose for which it was instituted? He was afraid that, for one, he must answer decidedly no. It had already been mentioned in the House that the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland had taken a very prominent part in the agitations which distracted that country about two years ago. He would attribute most, if not the entire blame of that agitation to the Roman Catholic clergy. The people had powerful lay leaders, it was true, but had it not been for the assistance rendered them by the Roman Catholic clergy, he was certain the agitation could not have been so vigorously sustained. But, despite of this consideration, they were, in one point of view, entitled to the highest praise; for when enormous masses of people had assembled from all parts of the country, chiefly through their instrumentality, and under their management and control, little or no damage, either to person or property, had taken place. But the experience, on the occasion he had referred to, of the part taken by the priests in the agitations of the day, was quite enough to establish his position, that the Catholic College at Maynooth had not answered the object which the Government had in view in seeking to rear up a priesthood in a State Establishment. The system of education pursued at Maynooth was so bad, that the best and most humane, if educated there, would turn out precisely as the priests had done who were educate there. The very course of instruction—the system of education in all its branches, doctrines and tenets, were such as to inevitably assimilate all who were instructed there, to what they had already found the priests to be. The College was managed by seventeen trustees, most of them eminent men, and eleven of them either archbishops or bishops of the Catholic Church. He would not trouble the House by entering at large into the subject of the dependence of the Catholic clergy upon the See of Rome. They all knew that it was absolute and complete; and the Protestants of Ireland had strong doubts that this absolute submission to a Foreign Power was not confined to spiritual matters, but embraced also temporal. The extreme devotion manifested by the Irish hierarchy to the Pope was perfectly well known. Lord Castlereagh declared that the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland were more dependent upon the 515 authority of Rome than the clergy of any other Catholic church in Europe. They enjoyed a great degree of liberty in their intercourse with Rome, they enjoyed unrestricted communication with the Holy See, and this more so than their fellow clergy in any other country in Europe. In every other country he believed there were restrictions imposed upon the communications passing between the clergy and the See of Rome, even when solely affecting spiritual things. In Ireland, on the other hand, there were no restrictions—no limitations of any kind. The See of Rome was anxious to maintain, by every possible means, its supremacy in that country. As to the tenets of the Catholic Church in Ireland, he would cite the assertion of Dr. Milner, who possessed the confidence of the Catholics of that country, that there was not a single Catholic Prelate in England or Ireland who was not ready to reject the four articles of the Gallican Church, commonly called the Gallican Liberties. The hon. Gentleman then quoted several works—that of Valdinatus amongst the rest—and another in which the students at Maynooth were instructed, and from which they were examined in proof of the doctrines inculcated by the Catholic Church in Ireland, and taught at the College of Maynooth. From these quotations it appeared that one of these doctrines was that heretics were more pernicious than thieves and murderers, as it was much more criminal to steal the souls of men than to deprive them of either property or life. He objected to the continuance of a seminary in which such doctrines were inculcated. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) proposed to augment the grant to Maynooth, in order to render those educated there more expert, more liberal, and in all respects better educated men. His object was to secure to them a more liberal, enlarged, and enlightened sphere of information; and this he expected would place the clergy on a better footing, and render them better, while it made them more enlightened, members of society. But let them look at other Catholic countries, where large and liberal endowments supported educational institutions, and where the clergy were instructed at these institutions, and say if they found that the happy results anticipated in Ireland by the right hon. Gentleman had followed in these countries altogether from 516 the mere enlargement of their system of education. Did they not know that of all the different denominations into which Catholicism was divided, the one which was in the most especial manner distinguished for its talent, learning, and ability, was the one which, of all others, had been the most proscribed throughout the whole of Europe?—he meant the Jesuits. They had but little information as to the present management of Maynooth; and he wished that before they proceeded to make an additional grant, some Committee should be appointed to furnish them with the desired information. That which they now had was of rather an ancient date. They had no one subsequent to 1826. From that then afforded they had these singular facts:—During the presidency of the Archbishop of Dublin (Dr. Murray), who was frequently drawn away from his duties at the College by the business of his arch-diocese, to which he sedulously attended, Dr. Kenny was selected to conduct the rituals at the College. It appeared that Dr. Kenny had been educated at the College of Louvain; and admitted himself to be not only a professed Jesuit, but also the chief or general of all the Jesuits in Ireland. They found, therefore, that this College of Maynooth—maintained by money derived from a Protestant State—was at that particular time presided over, governed, and regulated by a gentleman who held the high office of chief or general of all the Jesuits in Ireland. Dr. Kenny was examined as to the general opinions which were prevalent at Maynooth; and he admitted them to be precisely those which prevailed in the college in which he had been educated—that of Louvain—which was a Jesuit college. They had then a college, instituted by a Protestant country, and supported by Protestant funds, which was on one occasion headed by a Jesuit, and the chief of the Jesuits of the country; the book which the students were required to study was a Jesuit book, written by a Jesuit; and the practices which prevailed at the College were such as prevailed at other Jesuit institutions. He did not say that the Roman Catholic seminary at Maynooth was a Jesuit seminary; but he could not say that it was not. It was quite sufficient for him to show that there were grounds of doubt, and reasonable cause of alarm, in the minds of the Protestants generally, but particularly of the 517 Protestants of Ireland, as to the nature and doctrines of that institution; and they considered it not safe or prudent to grant any further State support to an establishment which, as it appeared from the numerous petitions which had been laid upon the Table on the subject, was anti-social in its doctrines and tendencies. If they granted away the public money to this College, they should be assured that they did not give that money to a body which had been proscribed by every country in Europe. The sentiments of this country upon the subject were well exemplified by the petitions which had already been poured into the House, and would still continue to be presented. The right hon. Baronet proposed to give greatly enlarged funds to this College, without making, at the same time, any attempt to regulate, or to correct the system of education there pursued. If they had discovered by experience, that by these grants they had not been doing good hitherto, why should they now increase the grant, and thereby enlarge the power for causing mischief? They proposed at the present moment an endowment of a very extraordinary character—it was one that did not resemble anything done by them for any other public institution. They had their Army, Navy, Ordnance—they had annual Votes for them—they had two grants for the maintenance of Science and of Literature—all these had to come before them annually; they were called upon to contribute to them by an annual Vote, and they could by that means control them. Even their Established Church, they were told that the Parliament could control it; but now they were about to propose the establishment of an institution, over which neither Parliament nor Government was to have any control. Even the highest and most respectable Personage in the realm—even the Sovereign herself—had her endowment or revenue settled by Parliament at the commencement of her reign; whilst here, a College that almost every Protestant objected to see endowed, was to be established in a permanent manner; and that, too, without the shadow of any control whatever. But then he asked the Government, could they stop with that endowment? Were they, who were Protestants—who gloried in the name of Protestants—were they, he asked, to make Popish priests better disputants, and more able controversialists, and the 518 fitter to oppose these Protestant establishments? And if they did this, what prospect could they have of peace and harmony in the country? If they educated priests by these endowments, could they afterwards send them into the country without some endowment for their support? Were they then, he asked, as a Protestant Government, prepared to endow the clergy of the Catholic Church? The noble Lord the Member for London had intimated that this should be done. So, too, had the right hon. Member for Dungarvon. If they looked to the public press, they would find the same thing stated; they would find it said that it was utterly impossible to endow the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, without also endowing the Roman Catholic clergy. Now, he believed that the country could not submit to this—he believed that it was the desire of the people of this country, that the utmost exertions should be used to prevent the measure from passing. He must also add this—that whatever opinion he might entertain of the measure, he could not but think that the present moment was a peculiarly unfavourable one. It was brought forward just at the time when we had escaped from an agitation of the public mind that was unparalleled in our history. That agitation had been calmed down by degrees; Ireland was now in a comparative state of tranquillity; and it was at such a moment as this, that a new cause of discussion and irritation was thrown amongst the Irish. The whole of the Protestant community was opposed to this measure; and upon the other side, it had not met with anything like a decided support. Mr. O'Connell had, indeed, praised the right hon. Gentleman; and said that that measure was "a boon for their misbehaviour; and that they were too honest not to give value for their money." Within the last two years they had had a violent agitation in Ireland for a Repeal of the Union. In his opinion, the effect of Repeal would be to throw Ireland into the hands of some foreign enemy—of France or of America—most probably of France. That agitation had been carrying on by Mr. O'Connell; yet now, when the country was partially recovering from the effects of that agitation, this, the first measure proposed, obviously went to renew and promote it. The fact was, they were now going over the same scene that they had witnessed in 519 1829. The Established Church of Ireland was a Missionary Church, as everybody knew. For many years it had failed in the object of converting Roman Catholics. It had not been on the right course. It could not instruct, because the people did not understand the language; but some twelve or fifteen years ago a different course had been adopted. A great variety of books had been published in the Irish language, and this system had been most beneficial in some instances. Even the very part of the country where Mr. O'Connell resides — in the vicinity of Dingle — many converts have been made. He thought, certainly, a few years' longer delay might have been allowed to enable them to see whether the Church on the present system was not sufficient to bring about an enlarged conversion. He feared that new schisms and a new course of dispute would be introduced by this Bill. There was another fact, too, which he would mention, and which was, that there was an island at the extreme west near Galway, on which lately there was one Protestant. But about ten years back a very pious and zealous gentleman established himself there, and there are now not only schools and a church, but also something like a college for Roman Catholic priests, who have been converted, in order to educate them better and make them good clergymen of the Established Church. The society from whom he had the honour that night of presenting a petition to the House had taken this seminary expressly under their care. At this society there were at least nine gentlemen from Maynooth; and he trusted, therefore, that the right hon. Baronet would also give some assistance to this society, as well as to Maynooth. There were also some other points to which the Protestants of Ireland objected; but these he would pass over, merely observing, it was not their opinion that Ireland was either in so safe or so quiet a state as might be expected. Then, with regard to the bulls of the Pope; there was one in particular then in force in Ireland, which was very alarming in its effect, as denouncing the strongest pains and penalties against all those who were not true believers in that particular doctrine. This was a bull, he would admit, which had not always been in force in Ireland—the bull in cœnâ Domini—which had been lately promulgated 520 by the Irish bishops—a bull, the tendency of which was so alarming that it had been objected to and condemned by every Sovereign in Europe, and which abounded in the strongest denunciations of pains and penalties against heretics. It was stated in the course of the examinations which took place in 1825 with respect to emancipation, never to have been in force in Ireland, or to have been adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in that country. It was then stated that, were this bull to be in force generally, there would not be a quiet State in Europe, and every street would be liable to be deluged in blood. That bull, he repeated, had since been published under the sanction of the Roman Catholic prelates of Ireland, and was recited publicly every Holy Thursday. The Protestants of Ireland looked, therefore, with suspicion on the system carried on at Maynooth; and that they had strong reasons, from self-defence alone, to object to the proposed grant. There was also another to which he might allude on the subject of petitions. There had been but one petition in favour of this proposition, and that one introduced by the right hon. Baronet himself, whilst the petitions against it had been numerous; the one petition came from Protestants and not Romanists, while the numerous petitions were from both parties. He considered that several Peers of the Roman Catholic persuasion, as well as most well educated Irish Romanists, though they might feel some gratification in having their priests put on this footing, did not at all concur in the policy of the measure. It was, perhaps, hard to strike out any new ground of objection, but from the reasons he had already stated, he thought it his duty as a Protestant to enter his protest against the present Bill as one uncalled for, and as a violation of those very principles which every Protestant had sworn to maintain, and for which no vindication could be found either in national compact or enlightened expediency. It must be obvious to the House that it was extremely difficult, and almost impossible, to speak on this subject without offending the feelings of some hon. Gentlemen opposite; still on this occasion he hoped he had not done so, for he had endeavoured strictly to avoid any such thing.
§ Mr. W. E. Gladstone
* I am sure, Sir,*From a corrected Report.521 that the House will excuse my anxiety to take advantage of the very earliest opportunity of delivering my sentiments in this debate. Indeed I feel myself to be under the somewhat unusual obligation to offer some apology to the House for having suffered one occasion, upon which the measure now before us has already been discussed, to pass by, without my having either taken part in the discussion, or given my voice in the division. The truth is, that I thought it incumbent upon me, under the circumstances in which I stand with regard to the question, to make a full statement of the reasons upon which my vote was to be founded, together with the vote itself; and I was desirous to have the opportunity of seeing the Bill of my right hon. Friend in print, and thus of becoming acquainted with the entire detail, in addition to the principles of his plan, as being necessary in order to enable me to put the House in possession of the view which I am led to take of this case as a whole, and of the great questions which it involves. I could not have this advantage when the debate took place upon the introduction of the Bill. It was simply on that account that I remained passive, and not, as I trust I need hardly assure the House, from any disposition to evade the responsibility incumbent upon myself in common with every other Member, or the duty incumbent upon me, in some especial respects, to make a full and frank exposition of my sentiments upon this particular subject. At the same time I hope my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford will not suppose that I intend in any manner or degree to insinuate a complaint of the measure which he adopted in order to obtain so early an expression of the opinion of the House. Representing as he did a sentiment very powerful, and very widely spread among the people of this country, and one entitled to the sincerest respect, and entertaining likewise that sentiment for himself with depth and fervour, as one closely allied to his conscientious convictions of religion, I cannot feel the smallest surprise at his proceeding. And I must frankly avow my belief, that the minority of last week upon the introduction of this Bill did represent the general and prevailing sentiment of the great majority of the people of England and of Scotland. But after making this admission to my hon. Friend, and believing indeed that the fact 522 is too notorious to admit of denial or of doubt, I must state for myself, that after a mature consideration of this subject in the position in which it stands, and in the position in which we stand, I am prepared, in opposition to what I believe to be the prevailing opinion of the people of England and of Scotland, in opposition to the judgment of my own constituents, from whom I greatly regret to differ, and in opposition to my own deeply cherished predilections, to give a deliberate and even an anxious support to the measure which my right hon. Friend has submitted to Parliament. Now, Sir, I shall endeavour, as well as I am able, to review some of the prominent reasons which have been advanced in support of this measure, and in opposition to it. And I shall first advert to certain of the reasons urged in support of the measure, which I confess appear to me, when taken upon their own merits, to be inadequate to its support; at least for myself I cannot find in them grounds on which to vindicate the vote I intend to give. I may be allowed, I trust, Sir, without any want of deference to the general rules of this House, to refer to the authoritative statement of my right hon. Friend* on the part of the Government, of which he is the head: and I will, presuming upon this indulgence, remind you that towards the close of his address he used some such expressions as these:—That the measure which he invited us to adopt did not amount to more than would be implied by an honourable and liberal construction of that compact or engagement which, with relation to this subject, may be considered to subsist, not indeed in a rigid and literal form, but in spirit and in equity, between the Imperial Parliament and the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Sir, I confess that that proposition is one which, if I could conscientiously espouse it, would materially facilitate my approach to the consideration of this subject; but I will not delude myself with a plea which does not present itself to my mind as real and substantial; I must endeavour to look the question in the face as it is. Now, Sir, I am prepared to contend, with the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Dungarvon, that there is nothing in the nature of a compact in this case. Of course I do not mean a written instrument, binding the*On Thursday, 3rd April.523 Legislature definitely, and without any limit of time, but a state of circumstances connected with the origin and history of the grant, and a state of relations between this Legislature and the people of Ireland, which lead to this result, whether you choose to call it by the name of a compact or not—and, for my part, I would rather decline the mere controversy of words—that they do certainly fetter in a considerable degree the discretion of Parliament with regard to the annual renewal of the ordinary vote in support of the College of Maynooth, and oblige us to feel that we approach the question of that vote under very different conditions from those of a new and unopened question. But the argument, that our judgment is forestalled by previous transactions, is not, in my view, applicable to the measure of my right hon. Friend. I feel that we come to consider the enlargement of the grant, and the other changes which he proposes to make, with our liberty entire, so far as any question of good faith is concerned; and therefore that I cannot shelter myself from any part of my responsibility by alleging an engagement already in force, but that I must examine the subject upon independent and larger grounds; I must regard it as being in its substance and effect a new and original measure. At the same time, Sir, I will ask the House to suffer me to go a little more at large into this part of the argument, because it has a great practical bearing upon the prayer of the petitions against the measure of the Government. Those petitions which I have myself presented, and such others as I have read, refer for the most part to the supposition that a compact subsists with regard to the annual vote; they distinctly repudiate that supposition, and they pray that the annual vote may be altogether withdrawn. It is therefore a matter of importance, with a view to the direction of our conduct, that we should inquire whether the supposition of a pledge of some kind is or is not fictitious. Upon this subject I trust that the House will allow me to refer to a declaration which was made by Mr. Perceval in the year 1812, and which has not yet been quoted in this discussion. In that year it was proposed by Sir John Newport to augment the annual grant to Maynooth; Mr. Perceval resisted the increase, but defended the vote in its ordinary form, in the language which I am about to quote,— 524That he supported the grant as it stood, because it was one of those which the Parliament of Ireland thought it wise to preserve at the Union; because he found it, in fact, given over to England as part of the Union; that if the grant had been fairly open to opposition after the Union he certainly should have been disposed to resist it, because he thought, on principle, that it was wrong in a State endeavouring to establish a particular system of religion to provide a public supply for the maintenance, encouragement, and propagation of another."*I say, therefore, in few words, that we have these circumstances before us:—A Parliament, composed exclusively of the wealthy minority of the inhabitants of Ireland (that wealthy minority being in the enjoyment, through the Church of Ireland, of the whole religious endowments of that country), alters the law, in the year 1795, in order to facilitate, or rather in order to permit, the establishment of a college for the purpose of training the teachers of the great majority; that Parliament also becomes a contributor to the expense of the establishment by a grant of 8,000l.; and the grant thus given was renewed annually, with some variations of amount and with a single exception (that of 1799), during the period of five or six years, for which the Parliament of Ireland retained its separate existence. We then find that Parliament merged and absorbed in a larger body, composed of persons differing in religious profession from the great majority of the Irish people; a body in which Irish influences must necessarily, on account of numerical inferiority, be supposed to be secondary, and not predominant. Now, Sir, this sum of money was voted as a grace by the Irish Parliament to the Roman Catholics of that country, and as a grace which I, for one, am entirely persuaded that a native Parliament would not have thought fit, when once so given, to withdraw. Under these circumstances it would manifestly have been a most ungenerous use of power to avail yourselves of your numerical superiority and mere strength, as opposed to equity, for the purpose of withholding the grant. But if I want a seal to this argument in favour of the existence of something like an honourable obligation on our part, I find it in the declaration of Mr. Perceval, in the declaration of a man who, of all the Ministers*Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Session 1812, vol. xxi. p. 1226.525 of this country since the Union, had the strongest sentiments in favour of the ascendancy in Ireland—of a man whose Government was formed upon the very principle of resisting every concession, great and small alike, to the Roman Catholic claims—of a man who entertained, upon conscientious conviction, insurmountable objections to the principles of the grant—but also of a man whose native honesty and candour led him thus frankly to recognise what he thought an obligation of good faith—limiting and fettering his free agency with regard to the College of Maynooth, compelling him to deal with it rather as an instrument than as a judge, and leading him so far as to the very strong declaration, that he regarded the grant to the College of Maynooth as being a virtual portion of the legislative Union with Ireland. There is no presumption that Mr. Perceval here referred simply to that provision of the Act of Union, which stipulated for the maintenance during a term of years of certain payments for charitable uses. I apprehend he more probably alluded to a general and less definite obligation; and that construction of his we find confirmed by the regular uninterrupted series of annual votes which have taken place since his time, and which, with those that preceded, now make up the term of half a century from the foundation of the college. But, Mr. Speaker, I conceive, that, by adopting the Bill of my right hon. Friend, we are about to alter fundamentally the relation of the State to the College. I take the various alterations which he proposes to make, and I must estimate their effect as a whole. He changes the annual grant into a permanent one, by a permanent Act of Parliament; he increases threefold the amount of the grant, from about 9,000l. (I think) to near 27,000l.; he incorporates the trustees; he provides a sum for the restoration and extension of the buildings, and he likewise places the future care of the fabric in the hands of a department of the Executive Government, thereby, as I conceive, certainly establishing a very close connexion between the State and the College. Further, I do not think we are to estimate the importance of the increase in the grant to my present argument simply by the number of thousands annually that are to be added to the income of the institution; the increase, in my judgment, alters in its essence the 526 position and function of the State with respect to it. We have the distinct declaration of the Duke of Wellington, when he was Secretary for Ireland, on record, that the original scheme of the college contemplated private and not public benefactions as the means of its support. And indeed it seems to me obvious, on the face of the Act of Parliament in 1795, that the principal object in the view of those who framed the Act was simply to confer enabling powers, and to impose regulations. After the sections for these purposes, the Act proceeds to give 8,000l. out of the monies voted for the service of the year, and thereby to make the State a direct contributor to the project—a large contributor—but still, I think, with the view of being one among many contributors. When further sums were granted in the subsequent years, I do not think the idea was changed, although doubtless the anticipations of pecuniary aid from individuals must have grown weaker as time passed on. But now we proceed upon a different basis; we assign a certain magnitude to the college; having given it so many pupils, we reckon what will be requisite for their decent and respectable support; we likewise compute what will be a competent maintenance for the governors and professors whom such a number of pupils will require, and we proceed to provide the whole from the public purse. Thus we charge the State with the whole responsibility of the provision for the college. Let us not blind ourselves to facts; this is the real subject before us, and to this, as a question not foreclosed by any pledge, I intend to address myself. Next, Sir, there is an argument that has been advanced as a ground for the adoption of this measure, which, I think it my duty most emphatically to disclaim; I mean the argument that we ought to vote these funds to the College of Maynooth by way of restitution to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. I do not much envy those who adopt this argument as their own, and who shall, after having adopted, endeavour to limit and control it. I will not now enter into the detail of all the objections that may be urged against it. For the present I protest against it in every view and upon every ground: in the name of the law and the Constitution, in the name of whatever I know of our religion and our history, I disclaim and repudiate this argument. 527 Only one observation will I offer with regard to it. If this be an act of restitution, it is one of the most shameful confessions ever extorted from a Legislature, because we admit a wrong which we do not repair. If it be an act of restitution, it is a restitution of about 1s. in the 1l., or perhaps more nearly one of 6d. in the 1l. Such an offer would be a mean and shabby offer from a debtor to his creditor; but it is worse than shabby, it is a new act of positive infamy and shame; from a robber to the party whom he has plundered. I beg therefore to be free from all benefit that may accrue to my case from the argument of restitution. Next, Sir, it has been calculated by some persons, that we are to anticipate, as the consequence of this augmented grant, a great and radical change in the class of persons from which the Roman priesthood in Ireland draws its recruits. Upon this subject I confess that I entertain only moderate expectations. On the whole it is my belief, that the Roman Catholic priesthood is at present replenished from the ranks which can alone supply in sufficient numbers persons adapted by their views to the discharge of its offices. A mere provision for the years passed in education, not touching those of after life, although it may have the effect of giving to the earlier term greater attractions, can scarcely operate with power enough to change in any great degree the disposition of the middle and upper class to enter upon the clerical profession. Reference has been made in this debate by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, to the case of Northern Germany. There it is not unusual for members of the aristocracy to receive holy orders; and my hon. Friend, contrasting with that case the case of Ireland, appeared to refer the difference to this cause, that in Ireland the youths intended for the priesthood are educated apart from somewhat early years, whereas in Northern Germany they are, Until the age of twenty-one, trained in companionship with young men about to betake themselves to other pursuits. It appears to me, Sir, that this is a far-fetched supposition of my hon. Friend, and that it is easy to suggest a more natural explanation. The church of Northern Germany in communion with the See of Rome is in possession of ancient endowments; it has all the dignity which belongs to a traditional position amidst the institutions 528 of the country, as well as to high station and to revenues which are large with reference to the general standard of wealth. In these respects I apprehend that that church in the north of Germany occupies nearly the same relation to the social system as the Church of England holds in England. It is very easy, therefore, to understand how, there as here, persons of higher birth and station ordinarily find the career of the priesthood one of those open and obvious to them; and it is in this distinction from the state of things prevalent in Ireland, but not in the comparative length of time during which the young ecclesiastic is separated from the laity, that I find the main cause of the total absence of members of the aristocracy of the country from the ranks of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. At the same time I fully grant, that whatever tends to give dignity and increased acquirement to the teachers in this institution, will have a material influence in softening its general tone; and so far, I think, we may reasonably calculate upon advantage of this kind. We hear it stated, on authority apparently high, and in evident conformity with probability, that on account of the extremely low salaries received by the professors at Maynooth, they are naturally led to look to their pastoral occupation out of the College as a step in their social advancement, and that, instead of pursuing their studies to greater range and maturity, they are in this way early led into active life. In the first place, we may anticipate that increased emoluments will have an effect in attracting higher talents; and in the second place, diminishing the inducement to removal, they will lead to the occupation of the chairs for longer terms, and thereby will secure to the professors the opportunity of increased acquirements. And in proportion as the governing and teaching body shall have more of a substantive and permanent character, we certainly may expect it to exercise more of a mild and civilizing influence upon the young students of the College, and, through their medium, upon the Roman Catholic community in Ireland. I estimate this argument then as having a certain value, while I hold that it is one liable to be overruled by superior considerations. I will venture, Sir, likewise to notice one more argument, which, I confess, appears to me to be in itself little 529 short of ridiculous. It is given by some persons as a reason for augmenting the revenues of Maynooth, that we are thereby to promote the extension of Protestantism in Ireland. I do not know how the point may occur to other minds—and it is my duty to respect every conviction which is entertained and propounded with bonâ fides—but I freely avow that to me it would appear just as reasonable to say that the effect of the discovery of printing was to make books scarce and dear, or that the result of the application of the locomotive engine to railways has been to obstruct and retard the communications of the country. In conferring this increased endowment, do not let us attempt to conceal from ourselves that we are conferring new elements of power; we are providing ease and leisure, the means of reading and of meditation, with a view to the maintenance of the faith which they profess, and without any restraint or other countervailing influence, to inhabitants of a country abounding in natural talent, in a degree, I believe, not surpassed by any country on the face of the earth. Do not then let us delude ouselves with the supposition that we are taking a measure, of which, in the ordinary course of things, the effect can be to open the way for the relaxation of the Roman Catholic system, and thereby for the increase of Protestantism in Ireland. Now, Sir, when I proceed to state to the House, so far as my ability will permit, the reasons which have brought me to the conviction that this measure of Her Majesty's Government ought to receive the sanction of Parliament, I must first state that I am to view it not simply as it might be, or as it has been, but as it is at the present time, and under the present circumstances, as it is offered here and now to me in the capacity of a Member of the Legislature. It is obvious that I can neither have credit nor responsibility for having helped it forward to that position. It must be indeed manifest to the House, from what they already know, that, if my agency has had any influence at all upon its destiny, it must necessarily have been rather in retarding than in aiding its advance. But I must regard it with the arguments and authorities that may be advanced in its favour as it stands, and must impartially ask myself, with that view of it, whether I can draw principles from an opposite quarter of a weight and 530 vital force sufficient to overrule them. It cannot be denied, Sir, that you may have many and strong presumptions of a popular kind to urge in favour of a measure such as this. You have to urge the great numbers, the many millions, of the people, whom it purports to favour, and their great poverty—the difficulty they experience for the most part in providing themselves with the very barest necessaries of life, still more than in furnishing support for their teachers of religion, and most of all for the teachers of those teachers. You have the authority which this question has acquired from the dispositions of our statesmen—the known and understood sentiments of many of those who have passed away, of those who lead one of the principal parties in this country, and now also the avowed opinions and the official proposal of the only other subsisting body of statesmen in the country, of those, namely, who are at this moment charged with the administration of public affairs. You have the strength that a proposal of this kind undeniably derives from those popular principles of Government which so powerfully influence the tone of our actual institutions. According to those popular principles it is admitted, that as the public funds are drawn from the labour of the whole community, it is desirable that, except from strong and overpowering considerations, no class should be excluded from the claim to share in their distribution. You have also, I am bound to admit the recollection of former wrongs. When we look back upon the conduct of England towards Ireland in former times, and especially upon the history of the last century, we cannot but feel that it imposes upon us the obligation to treat Irish questions such as this with an especial tenderness and consideration. I do not say, Sir, that topics such as these are decisive of the question. But at least they make me feel that the burden of proof lies with the opposition to the Bill; that I must give effect to these reasons unless I can produce some powerful argument to countervail them, something not less than a great principle adequately grounded in the law and the Constitution of the country, and not only in these, but also in the convictions of men which form the living basis and support of that Constitution. Now, Sir, nothing has more contributed to confirm me in the propriety of the determin- 531 ation at which I have arrived, than the nature of the reasonings which have been employed by the opponents of the measure. I know well that they are persons not wanting in courage or ability for the assertion of their principles; but what are the principles which they assert? They do not ascend to the whole height of the question, nor meet it in all its breadth. I can find in them little but what is secondary in its character—nothing at all that is solid, palpable, and broad enough to form a ground upon which the Legislature may take its stand in the face of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and announce its intention permanently to reject this measure, and every other resembling it. If I look first to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle tonight, I find that he reserved indeed his right to fall back upon high constitutional principles, and upon grounds of religion; but still, although he represents, as we must recollect, the very strong feeling that prevails out of doors, and the petitions on the Table which are founded upon religious considerations, and expressed in the strongest language, he did not think fit to argue the question upon those considerations. Some of his main points, indeed, were objections to the structure of the Bill in detail, which appeared to me to be fitter for the Committee than for this debate; none of them appeared in any degree to furnish that breadth of ground which, I am led to think, is absolutely necessary for those who would reject this measure. In fact my hon. Friend rested his argument—the argument which he thought most likely to produce an effect with the House—upon the failure of the college. Now, Sir, I do not think it reasonable to reject the measure upon the ground that Maynooth has failed to realize the purposes for which it was founded. My hon. Friend, referring to the authority of Mr. Pitt, said that Mr. Pitt indeed had thought it fit that an experiment of this kind should be made, but that as it had now been made, and had not succeeded, such a plea could no longer have any force, and we are at perfect liberty to withdraw from our connection with the college. But if I am to withdraw from it on the ground that Mr. Pitt's experiment has failed, I must be sure that I know what really was the experiment that he desired to make. Was it then the view of Mr. Pitt to found this college for the 532 training of the Roman priesthood in Ireland, and to do nothing more? Now the House will observe that I am not at this moment either justifying or condemning the plan of Mr. Pitt, but simply inquiring into it as a matter of fact. And I thought, Sir, it had been generally understood, that Mr. Pitt's disposition was not simply to found an establishment to train the Roman Catholic clergy, but likewise to make provision, by an act of the State, for their subsequent support. The establishment has been founded, and a great number of ecclesiastics have been trained in it, but no provision has been made for their subsequent support. This may be right, or it may be wrong; but at all events, it is sufficient to show that Mr. Pitt's experiment in point of fact has not been tried; only a small part of it has been tried; and I think it is a very partial and superficial view, and in argument an unfair deduction, if you urge that because a limited portion of his plan, carried into execution apart from the rest, has not produced the effects that he anticipated from the whole, therefore even that part should be abandoned. I must say I think those who are desirous to press the authority of Mr. Pitt, have a much fairer plea when they argue that his plan has been intercepted, and that you never can appreciate the results of his views, either in whole or in part, unless you shall have given the whole of them a trial. Well then, Sir, my hon. Friend said much of the defective state of the College with regard to literature. My hon. Friend is generally most accurate in his information; and I shall therefore suppose that he is strictly accurate in the statements that he made to the House tonight respecting literature at Maynooth. Admitting them, then, in their full breadth, I must still ask, whether they form a ground for the rejection of the Bill; or whether they might not also be used for the directly opposite purpose of recommending that by a more liberal provision we should endeavour to improve the defective literature of the College? I scarcely think it possible that any man, with the question on this Bill, as it at present stands, before him, can take into his view the condition of Ireland—the religious divisions of its population—its relation to this country and to the State—and the course of its past history—and, alive to all that these topics suggest, can reject a proposition 533 for increasing the income of Maynooth on the ground of the defectiveness of its literature. What an argument, Sir, is this proceeding from the mouth of my hon. Friend, when we compare it with the character of the policy to which he invites us; and also when we compare it with the language of the petitions on the Table, and with the principles and feelings that have prompted the public movement against the Bill? How striking and significant a fact must it appear, that he shrinks from urging the propositions on which the petitions rest, and confines himself to matters of small and secondary consideration — fit, it is possible, to be examined at later stages of the progress of the Bill—but quite incapable of influencing the essential decision upon its fate. My hon. Friend, in contrasting the literature of Maynooth with that of the Roman Catholic priests of Germany, adverted to the case of an individual named Ronge. I apprehend, Sir, that this is the same person who has recently separated from the Roman Catholic Church. [Several hon. Members said it was not the same person; and others that it was the same.] Then, Sir, if there is a doubt upon the matter, I will not embarrass the general course of my remarks by a collateral debate upon his identity, but will omit what I was about to state. The nature then, Sir, of these arguments, and of others to which I might refer, employed in this and in the recent discussion by the champions of the opposition to the measure of the Government, tends to support the presumption, as it seems to me, in its favour. I am also entirely convinced that, whatever may be the feeling out of doors upon this measure, the general movement of the public sentiment is decidedly in favour of the principle upon which it rests. Still, to determine the question, I must revert to the point which I have already put. Can I discover and define any great principle of the Constitution, sufficiently grounded in the actual convictions of the people, upon which the Legislature can permanently and securely stand? Sir, I can discover no such means of permanent resistance. Now, Sir, when I speak of resistance, and the means of it, I am thinking not of physical, but of moral means of resistance. I do not enter into the nice inquiry—what are those political objects for which we may and ought to 534 incur the hazard of a resort to arms. And indeed, as to mere force, I do not entertain a doubt that the vigour of England can supply it in any degree, and for any occasion whatever that may arise. I am not governed in my course principally by the apprehension of the effects to which the rejection of this measure, and the announcement of an opposite policy, might give rise in Ireland, but by convictions independent of such fear. At the same time, I think they would be formidable; and I am not ashamed to say that it is our duty not to shut out such matters from our consideration. There are risks and perils of every kind which are attendant upon the alienation of Ireland from this country, which it is our duty to regard, and, if we can, to obviate. Nor can I admit that such a proposal as this will have no power in softening the minds and gaining the affections of those with whom we have been so long at variance. It seems to me to be a paradox, untenable in itself, and most injurious to human nature, to assert that conciliatory measures have no other effect than that of encouraging extreme demands. I think we must act upon the principle, that they have a natural influence in binding men together. Those who assert the contrary must set out with this for a fundamental article of their creed, that there is nothing generous, liberal, or just in the character of a people who are our fellow-subjects and fellow-Christians, and who are conspicuous among all nations for their susceptibility, and for grateful attachment to those whom they believe to be their friends. I come then, Sir, to examine this question of principle, which, although my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle has touched it slightly, lies, as I apprehend, at the root of the whole case. And I may, perhaps, best illustrate the aspect in which it presents itself to my mind, by adverting to the two extremes of abstract opinion which are held on opposite sides. By some it is held, that to withhold such a grant as this on the ground of difference of religion is essentially contrary to natural justice; by others it is held that to assent to such a grant—namely, a grant for the particular form of religion which the Church of Rome professes—is necessarily contrary to our religious duty. Now, Sir, I am not able to adopt either the one of these propositions, or the other; but I must faithfully examine the whole of the 535 circumstances under which such a claim is made, and must then act as general justice and wisdom shall seem to me to require. First, Sir, I am as far as possible from holding that it is contrary, in general, to justice, for a State to adopt and promote any one form of religion in preference to another; and I am even inclined to think, that few of those who are accustomed to profess that doctrine among ourselves would adhere to it, if they had sufficiently considered the immense paradoxes which it is seen to involve when it is tested, as universal maxims ought to be tested, by application to various conditions of human affairs. My hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle has with propriety and force referred to the case of the British dominion in India, where, although we do not attempt to interfere by authority with the religion of the natives, yet we are far from observing a perfect neutrality. I am not able to say whether in every case we keep ourselves free, as we ought to keep ourselves, from giving encouragement to their idolatry; nor whether we lend as much aid to the Christian religion as our duty requires, and our power enables us; nor do I inquire whether we lend such aid in the right manner; but thus much is undoubtedly true, that in India we have an immense population of Hindoos and Mahometans, whose labour supplies very large revenues to the State, and out of those revenues we apply without any doubt or scruple, but on the contrary with a full consciousness of doing right, such proportion as may be deemed fit for the support of Christian worship. I almost doubt whether any one will hold that such a course is contrary to natural justice; I at least think it most suitable to the nature of government, and sustained by the highest justice, and the highest consideration for the welfare of the inhabitants of India. But it may be urged, that this refers to the case of a Christian Government in its relation to a people who are not Christians. I will then further proceed to test this maxim, as it is one which is frequently propounded in this House, and likewise by large numbers of persons out of doors, in another instance, Allow me, Sir, without offence or assumption towards any man, to put the case of the Tudor Sovereigns of England in the sixteenth century. It is, I think, sufficiently clear, that the English Reformation, to which I am making reference 536 simply as matter of fact, was propagated from above, and not from beneath. It proceeded from bishops and clergy—from Sovereigns and rulers; it was through the influence of these orders that it impregnated the mass of the people, who were brought to concur in it through the influence of their governors in the Church and in the State. There was, therefore, a time, perhaps there was more than one, when the sense of the Sovereign and the Government was inclined to the one part, and the sense of the majority of the people to the other. Now, Sir, allow me to ask any Gentleman—allow me, in particular, to ask any one in communion with the Church of England, to which the great proportion of us belong, is it to be held that Queen Elizabeth, and others who preceded her, and those also who served the State under her, were guilty of a violation of natural justice in adopting—I do not say those particular measures which they did adopt, because it would be quite irrelevant to my purpose that I should enter upon the question of coercive and penal laws in matter of religion—but in adopting measures, according to the powers which they possessed under the constitution and with the full acknowledgment of the people, for communicating to that people the greatest of all blessings, in their estimation, that could be conferred upon them? It there be such an opinion among us, I must be content with entering my decided protest against it and must hold that it is the duty of Government, according to its just prerogatives and its opportunities, to form a judgment upon religion, and to act in support of it. Then, Sir, I turn to the other opinion, of those, namely, who hold in the present case that this country is a Protestant country, and that, therefore, it is a breach of our religious obligations that we should under any circumstances consent to the proposed grant for the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. It appears to me that those who hold this as an universal maxim, independent of any secondary considerations, overlook some of the essential conditions of political society, and confound together the principles upon which we are free to act in our individual capacity, and those upon which we may be required to act as members, and more especially as governors of a community. In our individual capacity we are the supreme governors of ourselves; we have 537 a will and conscience given us, and no force external to us can prevent that will and conscience from acting according to their own dictates. We may, indeed, betray or abandon our duty through internal defect, but no other person can separate between us and it. But in political society, the will and conscience of each individual cannot be supreme. Communities can only exist by a combination of many wills, and, since among those many wills differences will certainly and constantly arise, by a combination involving mutual surrender and mutual concession: and if, placed as we all are by Divine ordinance in political society, we are to insist, every man for himself, that his own will and opinion, without bating one jot or tittle of it, shall take effect, and that all others shall conform themselves to it, and that it shall be the model of the law, I say, he that holds this doctrine proclaims a principle which, if it be universally adopted, is fatal to political society, and must issue in its utter disorganization. I must inquire, then, Sir, into the ability of the State to promote religious truth, as being, under any given circumstances, the measure of its duty. And here I must fervently say, happy is that land in which religious unity prevails among the people, and in which, because it prevails among the people, it can also be maintained as the characteristic of the acts and legislation of the Government. I cannot scruple, Sir, to place that religious unity at the very head of the list of all social and civil blessings; I cannot for a moment seek to win your approbation, by pretending to believe that religious profession has no kind or degree of bearing upon civil and political duties; nor can I exhibit anything resembling indifference to those divisions in religion which unhappily prevail amongst ourselves, and which I find to lie at the very root of all our social difficulties and discords. But, Sir, while entertaining these general convictions in their full force, I cannot by them alone decide the practical question: I again say, I must examine the ground of resistance on which it is proposed to refuse this measure. I must ask, in the first place, whether it is in its own nature a substantive and a positive ground; whether the argument will merely avail to overthrow what is proposed by others, or whether it promises to supply me with a principle upon 538 which the country may be governed. Generally speaking, the opponents of the measure disapprove of the grant because they are Protestants, and because the grant is to be conferred upon members of the Church of Rome. Here I find a flaw at the very outset. They do not say, here is a body of definite truth on which we lean ourselves, and on which we wish others to lean, which we will not have impugned, and which the Church of Rome does impugn. This would be offering a man something on which to rely. But, without stating what it is that as a body they approve and agree in, what they say is this: Here is a particular form of the Christian religion, of which we disapprove; and whatever you may do with regard to other forms of it, this you must never encourage or support. I do not find here, Sir, any good omen, nor any promise of that solid and intelligible ground of opposition for which I look, as alone entitling me to reject this Bill, and on which alone we could well and consistently justify our rejection of it in the face of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Let me look, Sir, for a moment at the materials of which the opposition to the measure is composed, of the thousands of petitions which have been presented, and of those still more numerous petitions which probably will appear on future days. I apprehend that nearly half of them may proceed from persons who object on principle to all grants from the public funds for the purposes of religion. The other half have no such objection, and generally deem it the duty of the State to support religion, but object in this case to the particular form of religion for which the grant is to be made. What unity, what consistency, what hope of permanence, can there be in an opposition thus made up of parties having their several positions at the very extremes of the poles of opinion? what hope, I say, does it afford of extracting from it any positive principle for the future direction of this department of public affairs? Here is my hon. Friend who sits by me, the Member for the University of Oxford, who is at the head of this opposition; he holds firmly by a rule which is perfectly intelligible, and by which I too would closely hold, if I could persuade myself that the state of the general convictions of the country, and its divisions, would warrant it, namely, that of the exclusive support of the national reli- 539 gion. But what would be his position if he should succeed in obtaining the rejection of this Bill? By what companions, and by what followers, will he find himself surrounded? One large part of his supporters will at once go to issue with him on the ground of their universal objection to public endowments for religion; and another large part, though differing from the former, will also differ from my hon. Friend, and his principle of exclusive duty to the Church, and will say to him, "Although we have conscientious objections to any grant for the Roman Catholic religion, we think it right that all forms of the Protestant religion should be deemed fit recipients of State support." Sir, to oppose a measure, to take exception to a course of policy suggested by an Administration, and to array the materials of resistance to it, are operations of one kind; but to conceive a positive principle of action, to design and carry into execution a definite idea for the government of a country, is another and a very different matter. It may be easy to form conjunctions by the accidental coincidence, on a particular and isolated point, of those who essentially differ in their general views, and by these to form a power which shall be effectual for its immediate object; but this is the commencement, not the end, of their labour; and when, after this first success, they come to ask themselves upon what principle they are to conduct the public affairs, what answer, capable of bearing the scrutiny of just reason, they will make to the Roman Catholics of Ireland in vindication of the course they have pursued, then, Sir, a new order of ideas comes into view, and difficulties of which we had never dreamed start up before us into gigantic magnitude. What I hold, Sir, is, that if we reject this Bill of the Queen's Government, we ought to be prepared to state, for the information and satisfaction of Ireland in particular, not only that we objected to this Bill on account of its relation to the religion of the Church of Rome, but likewise what is the policy on which we mean to act, and what the principle which forms its foundation; and the result of my consideration is, that I am unable to find in the public sentiment of the country, or in the opinions avowed by the opponents of the Bill, or in the actual practice of the Constitution, a principle which I can justly and reason- 540 ably endeavour to make available for such a purpose. Now, Sir, it is well known that the connexion of the Church with the State continues to subsist among us as a general rule, and that both in England and in Ireland the Church has a great prominence among the established institutions of the country, and long may it so remain; but yet the rigid theory of exclusive support to the Church has for so many years, and in so many ways, been progressively impaired, that I no longer can think it equitable to urge it as forming of itself a conclusive reason for the rejection of a measure that applies public money to the purposes of some other communion. Scarcely a year passes, as I have observed, without the introduction of some provision into our law, or some practice of our Government, that constitutes, on a scale sometimes smaller and sometimes larger, a new violation of that theory. Anxious really to understand the state of facts around me, and to see them as they are, and seeking, as I have said, not for a plea of rejection, but for a positive constitutional principle by which to direct a future course, I cannot with honesty persuade myself, or seek to persuade others, that this measure should now be resisted on account of the exclusive allegiance of the State to the Church as established by law in England, or on account of the same rule, with the variation introduced into it by the legal obligations which the Legislature has contracted to the Establishment of Scotland. Neither can I find the answer to my question in the view which is entertained at the opposite extreme. Many of the petitioners, and some Members of this House, recommend the entire abrogation of all religious endowments. But a contrary sentiment is so generally accepted in the country, and among its rulers, that, independently of any examination into the merits of such a proposition, it is perfectly manifest that we cannot reject the Bill on this principle, because we are almost infinitely remote from being prepared to apply the principle in other cases; and accordingly, always bearing in mind that it is not enough for our justification to object to this or that, and that we must have some substantive and intelligible intention, I dismiss wholly from my view the notions of this class of objectors to the measure. I now come, Sir, to that which I think is an objection 541 springing out of a religious sentiment, and entitled to profound respect on that account, as well as on account of the numbers of persons by whom it is entertained. I mean the objection of those who would propose, as the rule of the future policy of the State, that we should recognise as admissible to public support all the forms of Protestantism, without making any specific exception, but should at the same time hold as disqualified all that is in the communion of the Church of Rome. Now, Sir, I am bound frankly and plainly to avow, that I cannot understand nor adopt this principle, either as a principle of the Constitution, or as a principle of religion. I cannot in the first place understand that there is an essential alliance between the law and the Constitution on the one hand, and an undefined and negative idea, such as that which is indicated by the term Protestantism, on the other. But do not let me do an injustice, nor seem to glance at that which I have not in my view. I am very far indeed from asserting that the phrase Protestantism, as it is used by individuals, is necessarily or always indefinite. It is in many minds any thing rather than a negative idea. With them, so far from being confined to mere negation, and to a protest against opinions or practices that they disclaim, it is the exponent of a definite and positive belief in the truths of the Christian revelation, on which those who employ it are content to build their individual hope of salvation. Of these I do not speak, but of the signification which the term Protestantism will be found practically, and I fear inevitably, to bear, if it is adopted as the legal definition comprising all forms of Christianity which are to be admissible to the favour of the State, and excluding those which are to be disqualified. In this point of view I deny that the constitution of the country recognises all that bears the name of Protestant, and nothing that does not bear it. It is provided indeed by law that the Sovereign of the United Kingdom cannot be other than a Protestant; but this general term acquires a defined and positive sense, from the further provision of the law which requires that the Sovereign shall also be a communicant of the Church of England. I admit that the law does not recognise the religion of the Church of England alone; there is also an alliance formed by Statute between it 542 and the Presbyterian Church Establishment of Scotland. That Establishment, therefore, professes a Protestantism which is known to the Constitution. But here we are dealing with what is definite; what is known to the State, embodied in written instruments, and incapable of alteration, except with the knowledge and consent of the State. Now, Sir, let me assure the House, I am not going to compare one form of Protestantism with another upon its religious merits, for which this is not a seemly place. I wish to confine myself strictly to matter which is relevant and suitable for the consideration of Parliament. And I do most confidently submit to you the impossibility of maintaining as a ground of legislative policy, in the face of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, that we cannot contract or deal with them, because we intend to confine the contributions of the State, for religious purposes, to bodies agreeing together only in entertaining objections to the practices of the Church of Rome, and in the liability to a common, and, at the least for public purposes, a most delusive appellation, of which we are totally unable, as a Legislature, either to fix the meaning, or to check the variations. I confess, Sir, I am deeply struck with the language which Mr. Burke has used on this subject; and which derives a peculiar force, lying as it does so near the ground of religion, from the circumstance that it is found in his later and his very last works on the subject of Ireland; in works composed during the closing years of his life, when his mind was evidently under very solemn impressions of the reality of things unseen. He judges it to have been one of the most cruel features in our system of penal laws for Ireland during the last century, that instead of punishing men as former persecutors had punished them, for refusing to embrace the truth, all our labours were directed towards detaching them from their own form of religious profession, and we were utterly slack and indifferent in guiding them to that by which we professed a desire to supersede it. A passage of his, in his last letter on public affairs, shows how ill he could reconcile with his personal convictions of religious duty the spirit of our repressive laws in Ireland. The letter was written in March, 1797, and he speaks in it as follows:—It is agreeable neither to piety nor to po- 543 licy to give exclusively all manner of civil privileges and advantages to a negative religion—such is the Protestant without a certain creed—and at the same time to deny those privileges to men whom we know to agree to an iota in every one positive doctrine, which all of us who profess the religion authoritatively taught in England hold ourselves, according to our faculties, bound to believe."*Sir, I know so well the depth and reality of the religious feeling of individuals, which is thus, as I believe, directed towards an impossible purpose, and I so truly respect it, that I do with the greatest earnestness implore hon. Gentlemen not to rest in general phrases, but to examine with care the position in which we actually stand, and not until after having so examined it to take their stand upon any such principle, either by way of ascribing it to the constitution, or in connexion with a motive of religion, as this, that we shall agree to embrace and encourage every thing that may be called Protestantism, but nothing that may not. Again I assure you, Sir, I am not about to institute any minute comparison between the relations of different creeds or professions beyond her pale to the Church of England; but I must ask you, as I have asked myself, whether our present practice will warrant and enable us, upon a religious ground, to plead our scruples for the rejection of this measure, in the face of the Roman Catholics of Ireland? Can we with a decent and tolerable consistency, and with the details of our present practice full in our view, refuse the Bill, and determine to rest for our vindication upon the doctrine to which I have alluded, as a rule of religious obgation? Sir, we must scrutinize ourselves severely, as we shall be severely scrutinized by others. If we reject this Bill, of course it is certain, and it is right, that our proceeding should be rigorously examined, and our inconsistencies, if we are inconsistent, mercilessly exposed. Let us endeavour, Sir, in considering it, to put ourselves in the place of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and to judge it from their point of view, as they are the party more immediately interested. [An ironical Cheer from an hon. Member.] Yes, Sir, I say, that not only in this case, but in every case where we, as a Parliament, are dealing with the interests and feelings of persons or of*Burke's Works, vol. ix. p. 465.544 classes out of doors, we ought, as a matter of justice and of right, to endeavour, so far as possible, to assume their position, in order to test and to correct our own view of what is before us; and I am surprised that any hon. Gentleman should be disposed to contest a remark so obvious. What then, Sir, will the Irish Roman Catholic perceive, when he comes to examine our conduct, after we have rejected this Bill upon the allegation of a religious objection? We make votes of money from year to year, without resistance, for persons not agreeing with the national religion; and let it not be said these votes are for persons who, if they differ from the National Church, differ upon matters secondary and unimportant. To confute that plea I will not enter upon any ground that might be thought open to dispute, but will refer to that which I think will command an universal admission. Last year, Sir, when the Bill termed the Dissenters' Chapels Bill was before Parliament, some of its opponents, using the license which politics are taken to allow, denominated that Bill a Socinian Endowment Bill. I think, Sir, that the denomination was an unjust one. But, I lament to say, that if parties are seeking a Socinian Endowment Bill, they need not resort to that particular measure; every appropriation Bill that passes through the two Houses, and receives the Royal sanction at the termination of the Session, is, in its degree, a Socinian Endowment Bill; that is to say, it contains grants of money from the funds of the State for the support of persons, some of whom are avowedly teachers of Arian and Unitarian doctrine. Now, Sir, it may be said, and said with truth, that the sums of money to which I allude are not given by a permanent Act, but are renewable from year to year; and that thus the opportunity of altering or discontinuing them periodically and rapidly recurs. I am sorry to say, Sir, that, as against the present Bill, I must consider that to be a merely technical and not a substantial argument. Is there any likelihood that these votes will be altered or discontinued? On any of the numerous opportunities that they present to us, does any Member propose it? In point of fact, they are voted year after year as a mere matter of course, or little more. I must then recognise this as being so far an established fact. I may, and I do, lament it; but if I cannot alter it, it would 545 be dishonest to refuse to recognise both it, and what it entails and involves. This very night, Sir, my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government has presented a petition from the body termed the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster. That body has stated that they receive from the State pecuniary assistance, both for the support of their ministers, and likewise for the instructors in their theological academy; and they pray that the like advantages may be accorded to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. By this petition it appears to me that the parties have done themselves high honour. They are, as I believe, honest and avowed supporters of Arian tenets; and I conceive, therefore, that they feel themselves to be cut off by a much wider interval from the predominant religion of this country than are the members of the Church of Rome, inasmuch as with them we differ upon the great and cardinal doctrines which relate to the object of our faith; and that, being themselves endowed, or at least supported by annual vote, in spite of this essential difference, they cannot understand how, on account of differences that relate to inferior subject matter, we should refuse to grant adequate aid to the College of Maynooth. If then these parties conceive that by a law of equal justice we are bound, while we render aid to them, and mean to continue that aid, not to withhold aid on any religious plea from professors of the religion of the Church of Rome, and if they cannot understand our refusal, sanguine indeed must be the man who can hope that the Roman Catholics of Ireland will, or who can think that in reason they ought, to be better able to understand it. I am bound, Sir, to add, before I quit this topic, that whatever I may think of votes of money for Arian and Socinian purposes, I am not able to conceive in what manner we can withdraw them, because I do not know by what rule this House, having once departed from the rule of exclusive support to the established religions of the country, could distinguish with any certainty and permanence between those Dissenters who are Arian and those who are not, or could draw the line within which, on account of their supposed proximity to religious truth, particular forms of belief should be qualified for the favour of the State, and beyond which they should be excluded from it. And I certainly believe, that if we were to at- 546 tempt to divide these portions of the Presbyterian body from the rest for such a purpose, we should find ourselves involved in the details of theological discussions, with which, important as they are, we as an assembly are wholly unfit to deal, and should utterly fail to establish a criterion. So that I say, Sir, viewing the practice of the State in Ireland as it is, and as it is likely to remain, I find that it has cut away from under me any ground of religion upon which a stand might have been made. And again I must admit, I cannot find in our existing system—I cannot find in those convictions of the people with regard to it, which form the actual materials for governing the country—any principle of a substantive and consistent character, founded upon equality of dealing towards the several sections of the people, which will sustain me in the rejection of the Bill. I may weary the House in surveying, at so great length, these proofs of the negative, which I find crowding upon me from such various quarters; but yet, before I leave the subject, I will advert to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin (Mr. Gregan), who seconded the Amendment to-night. Now, I understood my hon. Friend himself not to take his stand upon any principle of unity of religion appertaining to the State, but rather to advert to the peculiar social circumstances of Ireland, and to the particular form in which, and the pretensions with which, the system of the Church of Rome is there inculcated. He spoke of the Gallican Articles of 1682 as not being recognised at Maynooth; he complained of certain papal bulls (the bull unam sanctam and the bull In cœnâ Domini) which are held to be in force in Ireland, and he also complained that it is not proposed to establish on the part of the State any powerful control over the system of education which is to be carried on in Maynooth at the public expense. But I understood him to go so far as to intimate, even for himself, that if the Articles of 1682 were recognised, if these particular bulls were not in force, if such a control were enforced, it might have been a fair question whether some concession to the Roman Catholics should be made. [Mr. Grogan expressed his dissent.] But, Sir, if I have inaccurately collected the meaning of my hon. Friend, I must still make the principal observation I had in view, which is this: My hon. Friend founded 547 his reasonings chiefly upon objections to one form of the Roman system as compared with another. So if we look into the popular publications of the day, the main strain of the objections to the College of Maynooth is similarly conceived; and it is constantly said, if particular opinions relating to social relations, or other particular opinions presumed to be separable from the substance of the Roman system, were not taught there, the matter would be very different, and we should be happy to concur in any attempt to improve the condition of the College. But, Sir, the House will not fail to observe, that, when we adopt this line of argument, we descend from the high ground of objection upon a religious principle, and preclude ourselves from resuming it; and I am quite sure that if we reject this measure, not because the Roman system is taught at Maynooth, but because it is taught there in a particular form, and with certain pretensions that may be less prominent elsewhere, we shall rest upon what is termed, a false position—upon a position which, not being religious, is also not comprehensible—and shall involve ourselves in hopeless intricacy and confusion. In my opinion, we have but two alternatives: either to announce some constitutional principle capable of being defined and understood, to which the law of the land, and the practice of the Government, may be made to conform, and which will, as a principle, exclude this measure; or, if Parliament will not adopt such a principle, and give it effect, then I think that common honesty binds us to admit the Roman Catholics of Ireland to be free to urge their claims against the State, upon a footing of equality with other religious bodies, in circumstances like their own, as policy and justice may require. Failing then, Sir, to discover any principle so grounded, both in the convictions and in the constitution of the country, as to warrant the Legislature in pursuing a course of exclusion with reference to the Irish Roman Catholics, and in pursuing it according to the plan of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, namely, by the rejection of this Bill, I must next proceed to avow my impression that the boon, to which I for one have thus agreed, is a very great boon. I think it important, most of all important, with regard to the principles which it involves. I am very far indeed from saying that it 548 virtually decides upon the payment of the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland by the State; but I do not deny that it disposes of the religious objections to that measure. I mean, that we who assent to this Bill shall, in my judgment, no longer be in a condition to plead religious objections to such a project. There are many political and social questions which may arise in connexion with it. These may indefinitely retard its approach, they may raise insuperable objections to its being carried into execution, or they may not; but I think we must not conceal from ourselves that the acceptance of this measure, introduced in the year 1845, and under auspices of such authority, will preclude the rejection on any grounds, purely religious, of the other. In a different view, the measure is a great one. I do not mean that the number of thousands per annum bestowed by it upon the college amounts to a very imposing sum; but I do not know of any religious endowment held by the Church of England or by the Church of Ireland upon terms so easy and unconstrained; nor do I know whether the church of any foreign country, being in communion with the See of Rome, will afford such an example. At the same time, Sir, I am far from impugning the measure upon this account. I think, considering the position of the Roman communion in Ireland, and our relations to it, my right hon. Friend and the Government have acted wisely in framing their plan upon this basis; only, I say, let not any one pretend to decry this as a paltry gift to the Roman Catholics because the amount of revenue to be bestowed upon Maynooth, although considerable, may yet fall short perhaps (but I speak in uncertainty) of that enjoyed by the University of Dublin. The privileges of that body are held upon very different conditions. It is a common thing in this House to speak of the alliance between the State and the Church as of an arrangement securing to the Church the benefit of a temporal provision without any corresponding burden. But the case is far otherwise. If the State grants to the Church the privilege of endowment, and some other privileges, chiefly of an honorary kind, on the other hand it imposes upon the Church severe restrictions. It is a scheme of giving and taking, both upon the part of the State and upon the part of the Church. The State restrains her right of synodical assembly; it fetters in 549 many ways her original and organic powers; it imposes limits upon her discipline and laws; and even the expression of any of her doctrines cannot be varied without its knowledge and assent. Sir, I do not mention these things as matters of complaint; nor do I advert to the case of the Church of England in particular. The same state of facts obtains abroad. The doctrinal statements of the Church are tied down, I apprehend, by acts of the State in France and in Austria. In neither of those countries can a papal bull have any validity without the consent of the civil power. Thus the State claims an universal right of intercepting the action of the Church. Accordingly, Sir, the endowment which we are about to confer by this Bill upon the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth, although it may be limited in pecuniary amount, is nevertheless a great and liberal gift, indicating a hopeful spirit—a spirit of confidence and of kindness—which I trust will be as liberally appreciated; for the College of Maynooth is to remain unfettered by such conditions; and the Bill, be it recollected, confers all that it purports to confer upon terms more liberal than those granted to the established religion of the country, or than those required by great Foreign States from the Roman Catholic Church in foreign countries. I look upon the proposition, then, as one of great moment, and upon the boon as one of great magnitude. And such being the case, I do, Sir, fondly trust, that if we have made up our minds that the state of our laws and institutions, and of the public sentiment with respect to national religion, and the relations of different religious communions among us, leave it upon the whole a matter of justice that this grant should be given; if in our hearts we feel that we cannot oppose to it any grounds of reason that shall be equitable, that shall be consistent, that shall promise to be permanent—then, Sir, I trust with earnestness that what we are to give we shall give freely, and give cheerfully. I know well the objection may be made, that this concession is a reward to past agitation, and a premium upon its continuance; and I am not prepared to assert that that objection, within its own sphere, is wholly without weight. I fear it is too apt to be true of boons and concessions generally, that those on whom they are conferred do not measure them as liberally as they ought. 550 But, Sir, I must urge upon the House, that it is not justifiable to make an objection of this kind a primary ground of action. If we believe, as I believe, that what we are about to do is just—just in that sense in which alone measures of public policy are usually to be deemed just or unjust, namely, with an equitable and comprehensive regard to the actual circumstances of the period and of the country—if in this true sense of public policy our measure be a just one, we must not allow ourselves to be governed in affirming or rejecting it by the consideration of the manner in which it will be received. At the same time, I grant to my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin that there is cause for uneasiness on this head. I have read to-day words ascribed to a Gentleman well known to us all in his capacity as a Member of this House,* and so full of vigour and of humour, that they bear with them sufficient evidence of their authenticity. In a speech said to have been delivered elsewhere, that Gentleman is said to have hailed the measure in the following terms: "Agitation, I think you; Conciliation Hall, I am much obliged to you; Repeal Association, Maynooth ought to pray for you." And it seems also to have been said that this measure was a reward for past misbehaviour, and ought to be rewarded in its turn by perseverance in a similar course. But, Sir, if this language be held, and these intentions cherished, I trust that those who hold and cherish them may be brought to remember, that agitation is a two-edged weapon, and that the lesson they give is one that may operate here as well as there, and in an opposite direction. If the mind of the Irish people, on an occasion such as this, offers to the agitator a tempting field where he may labour to stimulate their passions by it to a demand for more, then I say, Sir, the petitions which have been already laid in multitudes upon your Table, and the still greater numbers of such petitions which will follow them, and the language which those petititions employ, may well serve to demonstrate that the mind of the people of this country—of England and of Scotland, and of an important part of Ireland—offers to the agitator of another class, at this time, another field not less open—not less inviting*Speech of Mr. O'Connell, at Dublin, in The Times of April 11, 1845.551 and seductive, for his labours, in opposition to any such project of concession. Sir, for my own part, with the view I take of the subject, I must deprecate agitation, as distinguished from the calm and deliberate expression of opinion, both on the one part, and on the other. I must trust that a kindlier and a wiser spirit will prevail both in the minds of Members of this House, and in the general mind of the country; that, both in Ireland and in England, parties, upon mature reflection, will come to the conviction at which, certainly without any undue predilection to bias me in its favour, I have for myself deliberately arrived, that the occasion demands of us all, as a matter of social justice, the surrender of something of our rival claims, and of our extreme opinions. Only, if these menaces of constant agitation are to be launched at us on the one hand, and such a plan is to be construed only as an incitement to increased demands; if on the other hand is to be advanced the plea of religion, shorn as it has been of a consistent and intelligible character, and immoveable considerations of abstract duty are to be urged against all concession, how is society to subsist in peace, and what is to be the fate of our common country? It must be torn by hopeless and interminable discord. But, Sir, I feel that we have some reason for cherishing the hope that these unfavourable anticipations may not be realized, and that parties will be content to abate from their desires, and to follow the path of conciliation, when they reflect how utterly contrary it is to the very first requisites of our condition, as members of a community, that, notwithstanding the differences that so extensively subsist among us, each of us, setting out from his own idea, should urge every claim to an extreme. No doubt, Sir, it will be said that we admit principles in this grant which are sure to be carried to the remotest of all the consequences they may seem logically to involve. But while it is difficult to confute this argument in the abstract, the history of the country shows that practically it can only be received with very great qualification. This was the reasoning so strenuously urged against Mr. Burke at the period of the American war. When he recommended that this country should altogether refrain from enforcing in the Colonies its sovereign right of taxation, he was told, not only that he would fail to 552 give satisfaction to the Americans, but also that all other persons at home who, like them, were unrepresented, would claim a similar exemption by parity of reasoning, and that general disorder would ensue. In answer to the objection Mr. Burke used the following language:—It is a very great mistake to imagine that mankind follow up practically any speculative principle, either of government or of freedom, as far as it will go in argument and logical illation. We Englishmen stop very short of the principles upon which we support any given part of our constitution, or even the whole of it together. … . These are the cords of man. Man acts from adequate motives relative to his interests, and not on metaphysical speculations. Aristotle, the great master of reasoning, cautions us, and with great weight and propriety, against this species of delusive geometrical accuracy in moral arguments, as the most fallacious of all sophistry."*And surely, Sir, as this is true of mankind in general, so is it especially and pointedly true with regard to England and to Englishmen. Granted, that principles of policy have a tendency to work out their logical results, yet surely it is impossible not to see that nearly our whole system of law and polity consists of a combination of opposite principles, each checking and modifying the rest, in their separate and uncontrolled action mutually destructive; but scarcely one of them carried to the extreme which in speculation it might appear even to require, and all hereby subsisting in harmony and collected strength. I do not wish to introduce any new matter of a nature to be controverted into this discussion; but I cannot help feeling persuaded that the reference I am about to make will be received, as matter of fact, with one accord among us, whatever view we may take of it as matter of opinion. Surely then, Sir, we have a most remarkable instance of the manner in which the apparent and argumentative consequences of political principles may be intercepted, in what has taken place among ourselves since the memorable occasion of the Reform Bill. Who that considers the nature of the admissions which that measure appeared to make, and of the arguments by which during the fever of the discussion it was very commonly maintained, can fail to be surprised at the manner in which the influences and*Burke's Works, vol. iii. p. 110.553 powers then set in motion, and sustained by the apparent sanction of the Legislature in a solemn act, have been checked and qualified by the practical good sense and the reflective and sober-minded habits of the people of England? Let us not, then, assume that every thing, which a measure may be shown theoretically to warrant, will of necessity be found to flow from it in practice. Upon the whole, Sir, while I recognise the importance of the boon, I am anxious to avoid any sanguine anticipations of its results; but believing that justice recommends the Bill, and that, though there is power enough which might at this moment be employed for its overthrow, there is no rule of public policy on which, as a Legislature and a country, we are in the least degree prepared to act, that would warrant such rejection, I do trust, that, notwithstanding the great sacrifice of feeling which I admit that it demands from the people of England and of Scotland, it may pass into a law, if not with their approval, at least with their acquiescence; that there will be a disposition on the part of its opponents to consider the feelings of those whom it immediately affects, and the claims which they may fairly found upon the actual spirit of our policy, both general and religious; that they will surrender something even of what would be dear to them, in deference to the great social law that binds us all together, and in the hope of making a contribution, such as the public exigencies demand, to the common good. Sir, I have now only to return my cordial thanks to the House for the indulgence which it has extended to me, and to close with a single remark not affecting the general question. I have thought it right to discuss that question, notwithstanding the relation which it bears to myself individually, without the introduction of any personal matter. I should have done injustice to the House, and to the subject, if I had lowered the tone of a debate involving such grave issues, by mixing with it matter of a nature so trivial. I would much rather, Sir, that my vindication, if I need one, should follow in the train of these infinitely greater considerations. I am best content to seek it simply in the pursuit of such a course as may tend to produce the belief, that I have endeavoured to form an impartial judgment of the merits and the bearings of a measure so important to the country. Indeed, for us 554 all, I am convinced that we shall most fitly provide for our own characters by leaving behind us such words and acts as will convince those who are to follow us that we have laboured in our own day and generation, if with fallible judgment, yet with integrity of intention, and with a constant will, to consult for the interests of those whose social welfare is committed to our charge.
The Earl of Arundel and Surrey
congratulated the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, at now having the support of every man who was worthy of the name of a statesman. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin had alluded to the want of Catholic petitions for this measure. The hon. Gentleman had made a long speech, characterized by amenity of manner, and by language of which no one could have any right to complain; but he wished to tell the hon. Gentleman that what affected the Catholics of Ireland affected also the Catholics of England; that the Catholics of England rejoiced in any good that was offered to Ireland, and that they viewed with delight and gratitude the boon which was about to be bestowed on the Catholics of Ireland by the right hon. Baronet. He must say also, that the hon. Member's speech was full of exploded charges against the Catholics, and of no doubt unintentional misrepresentations against Catholic doctrines and principles; but the real point of the speech was to be found in the last sentence, wherein he declared that he opposed the grant, because he was opposed to the Catholic religion, and that was the real reason of the violence, and of the "No Popery" cry. The sole reason was this they said, "You are wrong and we are right." They denied, indeed, any desire to persecute the Catholics, but they were endowed with no friendly feeling towards them. They were influenced by a spirit which would have qualified them to become one of the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table; a spirit and a frame of mind which, a few centuries ago, would have made the hon. Member for Kent turn him at a slowfire, and some other person turn the survivor, and that without any great loss to the country. But, to go back as far as eighteen centuries, suppose the hon. Member for Kent had been born an Israelite, and brought up an honest and conscientious Israelite, would he not, with the same frame of mind and disposition, have desired to impeach the Roman Go- 555 vernor Pontius Pilate, as the hon. Member for Knaresborough now wished to impeach the right hon. Baronet? He did not wish to pick out the hon. Member for Kent invidiously; but that hon. Gentleman had attacked him, and charged him with being an idolater, to the great amusement of his right hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvon, who said he heard him with a feeling akin to love. The hon. Friend of the Member for Kent, the Member for Oxford too, displayed a soured spirit, which seemed to qualify him to be High Priest of the Jews. He was no latitudinarian. He was a Catholic in communion with the Church of Rome by conviction, by examination, confirmed by those Scriptures which the Catholics were accused of not being permitted to read. But, holding that creed and profession, he did most strenuously abhor and repudiate religious persecution in every country, and under every creed. Whether in Great Britain, or in Spain, or in Naples, or in Russia, he fully abhorred it. He should not have done his duty if, before he sat down, he did not pay a tribute, though a most inadequate and humble one, but certainly a most unqualified one, of admiration, at the position in which the right hon. Baronet had placed himself in bringing forward this measure, opposed as he was by a great minority of his usual supporters. Calm and intrepid, the right hon. Baronet bore up against the stream, firm in his determination, and supported by every true statesman in the United Kingdom; and he trusted that he would not merely triumph in this Bill, but succeed in promoting the pacification of the empire.
§ Mr. Disraeli
said: Sir, I should not have intruded for a moment between you and the noble Lord just now, had I the slightest idea that he intended to have caught your eye; but the Amendment having been withdrawn, I imagined, and that supposition is very general on this side of the House, that we should not have been honoured with any declaration of opinion from Gentlemen opposite. But I am extremely glad that the noble Lord has had an opportunity of expressing his opinion on the subject. I trust he does not for a moment imagine that I rise to say anything injurious to his creed, which I respect, or anything offensive to himself and his co-religionists, with whom, in many respects, I sympathize. I come to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark. My first impression, 556 when I listened to that able address was surprise that the right hon. Gentleman had passed the gangway to deliver it. It seemed to be worthy of the Treasury Bench, of that Treasury Bench which this evening he criticised. It seemed to me that while the right hon. Gentleman informed us that though he supported the present Bill, it was not for the reasons which were adduced by his late right hon. chief; yet, nevertheless, had he been in his position, and had he introduced the Bill himself, he might have brought forward, perhaps, unanswerable arguments in its favour; and, deeply sensible of what he styled the circumstances of the case, he might, perhaps, have arrested the flow of those petitions which he confesses has astounded him, but which next week he informs us will astonish us still more. But if I asked myself for a moment what was the necessity for the right hon. Gentleman passing the gangway to deliver that speech, ought I not rather to have asked myself the question, what was the necessity for the right hon. Gentleman to have crossed the House to deliver that speech? If those are the opinions the right hon. Gentleman entertains, how can he, subtle a casuist as he may be, reconcile the course which he now pursues to that which he pursued when in opposition? Because, after all, what is the result of the adroit argumentation of the right hon. Gentleman? It is this; that the principle upon which the State has hitherto been connected with the ecclesiastical affairs of this country is worn out. We must seek a new principle, says the right hon. Gentleman, and the Government which I have left because I support it—that Government has discovered a new principle. But where is the new principle? He tells us that it is not now definitely and distinctly made out. He acknowledges that the exposition of it is feeble, a little vague. It is not now complete; we must look to futurity. But if this is the case, have there been no prior attempts to adumbrate this new system, and have no public men in this House raised their voices to support this principle and advocate this new settlement? Have not their opinions been in fact the foundation of measures brought forward by them as a Government which no longer exists? And was not an opposition to their measures, however imperfect their provisions, or however partially advocated, the bond of union of the party which opposed them, and the foundation of 557 the Conservative theory? I am perfectly ready to agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the relation which exists between the Church and State in this country is an extremely unsatisfactory one. I have had some opportunities for observation on this head. I have been a Member of this House now eight or nine Sessions, during a very tempestuous period, the principal part of which has been expended in discussions arising out of this controverted principle. I have read the right hon. Gentlemen's book. But the right hon. Gentleman, in his argument to-night, has made one great assumption. He says,—"You have endowed the Anglican church. Can you, in fact, refuse to endow the Roman Church?" But have we, in fact, endowed the Anglican Church? That is a question. We know that there has been an alliance between the Church and the State; and the very term "alliance" shows that they met on equal terms, and made an equal compact. But the right hon. Gentleman, with all his historical lore, and with all his trained casuistry, cannot place his finger on any page in history which shows that the State endowed the Church. You may regret that the ecclesiastical power in this country has a large estate. You may say that it makes it predominant, and reason against the policy, but its estate is a fact which none can deny. We deal with it as we deal with the great estates of the territorial aristocracy. Parties may be divided upon the policy of the landed inheritance of the country. But you cannot deny the fact. As practical men we deal with great facts in such a way as to secure the greatest possible benefits. But when we come to the question of fresh relations, and speak of endowing religions, the plea, I will not call it an argument, of analogy fails us. I should like to know what principle you will lay down for the step you are invited to take. I know, the right hon. Gentleman who introduced the Bill—and I must make the same apology as the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade for referring to his speech—told us, that upon this subject there were three courses open to us. I never heard the right hon. Gentleman bring forward a measure without his making the same confession. I never knew the right hon. Gentleman bring forward, not what I call a great measure, but a measure which assumes to settle a great controversy—there is a difference—without saying that three 558 courses were open to us. In a certain sense, and looking to his own position, he is right. There is the course the right hon. Gentleman has left. There is the course that the right hon. Gentleman is following; and there is usually the course which the right hon. Gentleman ought to follow. Perhaps, Sir, I ought to add that there is a fourth course; because it is possible for the House of Commons to adopt one of those courses indicated by the right hon. Gentleman, and then having voted for it to rescind its vote. That is the fourth course, which in future I trust the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) will not forget. The right hon. Gentleman tells us to go back to precedents; with him a great measure is always founded on a small precedent. He traces the steam-engine always back to the tea-kettle. His precedents are generally tea-kettle precedents. In the present instance, he refers us to Mr. Perceval, and to some odd Vote in a dusty corner from which he infers the principle is admitted. He says, "You have admitted the principle. Confine yourselves to the details. Don't trouble yourselves about the first and second reading, but reserve all your energies for the Committee, because the principle is admitted." Now, I deny that even, in the limited sense the right hon. Gentleman says, it is admitted. In the first place, that was a temporary vote, and this is not; in fact, it is a permanent one. But I will not make that the ground of opposition to the right hon. Gentleman. I will go to the argument, founded on circumstances, of the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Board of Trade: I am somewhat astonished that he should so completely have given up principles. I looked upon the right hon. Gentleman as the last paladin of principle, the very chivalry of abstraction; and, when a question was raised which touched the elementary principle of ecclesiastical institutions, I never supposed that it would be the right hon. Gentleman who would come and give the House the small change of circumstances to settle this great account. But have circumstances, which ought to settle every thing—have circumstances not changed since the time of Mr. Perceval? How astonished must Mr. Perceval's ghost be—if he have a ghost to be thus appealed to! Were it Mr. Pitt, or Fox, or Burke, whom the right hon. Gentleman has quoted to-night, that was brought in to settle this question, we might feel the 559 controlling influence of the great apparition. But Mr. Perceval to be brought in to settle it! Mr. Perceval seems casually to have agreed to a miserable vote about this accidental college at Maynooth. What, let me ask you, was the political and religious situation of affairs by virtue of which Mr. Perceval became Prime Minister at the time of which I am speaking? You had really then in England what you pretend you now have—a Constitution in Church and State. You had that Constitution, and Members of Parliament being then necessarily in communion with the Church, were, by virtue of this junction of Church and State, in fact members of a lay synod. What, again, was the situation of the other kingdoms of the Empire? You had a Church in Scotland without any Dissenters. What was the case with respect to Ireland? There was a Constitution in Church and State not only in principle, but rigidly adhered to. What do we now see? You have no longer in this country your boasted union of Church and State. You may proclaim it still — you may make speeches to prove that the Union is as strong as ever—you may toast it at your public dinners; but I tell you that the constitution in Church and State no longer exists. What is the undeniable fact with respect to this proclaimed union? Yon know very well that the Church of England is subject to the control of those who no longer exclusively profess communion wish that Church. I am politically connected with a district which is threatened with very severe suffering in consequence of this supposed union of Church and State; the inhabitants of that district are about to endure one of the greatest blows that could be inflicted upon them, and this solely because it has pleased a Conservative Government to destroy the ancient episcopate under which they have so long been governed. What is now the position of the Church of Scotland—a Church which the late Earl of Liverpool held up as a model, and as the perfection of a religious community, because, I suppose, it gave him no trouble? What, I repeat, is the present situation of the Church of Scotland? It is rent in twain! Besides the Kirk, there is now the Free Kirk. Well, will you endow the Free Kirk? Will you apply this principle of endowment to sectarians and schismatics of every class? Where will you stop? Why should you stop? And this consideration 560 brings me to the real question before the House. You find your Erastian system crumbling from under your feet. Will yon adopt a pantheistic principle? I have unfaltering confidence in the stability of our Church; but I think that the real source of the danger which threatens it is its connexion with the State, which places it under the control of a House of Commons that is not necessarily of its communion. Leave the Church to herself, and she will shrink from no contest, however severe. I believe in Ireland itself, if the question be, will you sever the Church from the State, or will you endow the Roman Catholic Church?—for my own part, I believe the Protestants of Ireland would say, "Sever the connexion between the Church and the State, and don't endow the Roman Catholics." But then we come to this other consideration—are we to recognise a pantheistic principle? Because, judging from all that has passed, I can only come to the conclusion, that any body of sectarians that can prove a certain population to Downing-street, will be considered to have a claim for an endowment. For my own part, I confess I have no great confidence in the cure of souls in that quarter. I observe in Downing-street a disposition to assail our old and deeply rooted habits. From that quarter has proceeded the assault on the parochial constitution of the kingdom. Will they complete it by attending to our spiritual necessities? I am totally opposed to such a proceeding. I can conceive nothing more opposed to or more utterly at variance with the feelings of this country than a police surveillance, such as is contemplated over the religious ordinances of the people. I deny that the Church of England is the creature of the State. The alliance between them has been one formed and maintained upon equal terms; and if it be attempted, as appears to be the intention, to place all ecclesiastical affairs under the control of Downing-street, and to subject them to the same species of discipline that is enforced in Prussia over the religious establishments there, I tell the right hon. Gentleman that the people of this country will never endure such a system. This alone is a sufficient ground with me to oppose the Bill now before the House. I will not say that this Bill has been introduced into the House in a sinister and insidious manner, though I, in common with others, have formed my conclusions upon that 561 point; but I will assert, what I believe cannot be denied, that the measure has taken the country by surprise. But I have other reasons for opposing this measure. I oppose this Bill on account of the manner in which it has been introduced, and I oppose it also on account of the men by whom it has been brought forward. [Loud cheers]. I am perfectly ready to meet those cheers, and I do so by declaring, that I do not think—putting totally out of view the other objections which I entertain—that the Gentlemen who are now seated on the Treasury Bench are morally entitled to bring such a measure forward. This measure, Sir, involves a principle against which the right hon. Gentleman and most of his Colleagues have all along signally struggled. When I recall to mind all the speeches, and all the Motions, and all the Votes which have emanated from the present occupants of the Treasury Bench on this and analogous questions—when I remember their opposition to that system of education which they now seek to promote—when I recollect the procession of prelates going up to the palace of the Sovereign to protest against analogous measures with those which the very men who incited that procession are now urging forward—when I recall to mind all the discussions which have taken place here upon the subject of Irish education—when the Appropriation Clause presents itself to my memory, I consider it would be worse than useless to dwell at any length upon the circumstances which induce me to adopt this opinion. And are we to be told, that because those men who took the course to which I have referred have crossed the floor of this House, and have abandoned with their former seats their former professions — are we to be told that these men's measures and actions are to remain uncriticised and unopposed, because they tell us to look to the merits of their measures, and to forget themselves and their former protestations? Such pretensions naturally lead to the question whether party, as a political instrument, is or is not to continue to govern the discussions of this House? The question touches the whole of their Ministry. Let us, therefore, grapple with it, and decide what our future course shall be in this respect. Let us endeavour to put an end to the misconception and subterfuge which now surround us. I am perfectly contented to place the question upon this footing. Now, 562 Sir, it is very easy to complain of party Government, and there may be persons capable of forming an opinion on this subject who may entertain a deep objection to that Government, and know to what that objection leads. But there are others who shrug their shoulders, and talk in a slipshod style on this head, who, perhaps, are not exactly aware of what the objections lead to. These persons should understand, that if they object to party Government, they do, in fact, object to nothing more nor less than Parliamentary Government. A popular assembly without parties—500 isolated individuals — cannot stand five years against a Minister with an organized Government without becoming a servile Senate. The objectors to party Government may have a good case, on the merits of which I give no opinion. They may say, "Here are we the Parliament of England; we have had the virtual sovereignty of this country for a century and a half; we have plunged the country in debt, and we can't pay it. We have done more than patrician Rome in its most rapacious hour; we have mortgaged industry to protect property. We have passed laws on the currency which have affected property more than all the tampering of the coinage by all the Sovereigns that have ever existed; we have violently assailed, and now still more enormously menace, the parochial constitution of the country, and, having differed on every other subject, we have at length agreed on one point, that with relation to the civilization, the wealth, and luxury that surround them, the people of England are the hardest worked and the worst fed, the most miserable and degraded population in the world." This is the case of those who are opposed to party Government. Well, let them carry out their principle; let them vote an Address to the Crown, go up to Buckingham Palace, fall on their knees before our Sovereign Lady, and restore to Her the prerogatives which they have so long usurped and so injuriously used. But for the right hon. Gentleman, even a pedant in favour of Parliamentary Power, who, First Minister of the Crown, declares he is ready to go to war to-morrow with the Lord Chief Justice of England in behalf of your privileges—who is jealous of the slightest interference with your business or your duties, even if you cannot transact or perform them—who enjoins the youth of England not to make brilliant speeches, but to work on railway Committees—for him to set up for one 563 who would be independent of Parliament and party, is indeed astonishing. The noble Lord opposite, the hereditary leader of the Whig party, who founded Parliamentary Government in this country, will, I am sure, not withhold his concurrence with the principles I have laid down. That noble Lord, the representative of Mr. Fox, will not gainsay the motto of that great leader—"Men, and not measures." And I would ask Gentlemen on this side, how has the opposite system answered for them? You have permitted men to gain power and enter place, and then carry measures exactly the reverse to those which they professed in opposition, and they carry these measures by the very means and machinery by which they conducted the opposition, and by which they gained power. And you are reconciled to this procedure by being persuaded that by carrying measures which you disapprove of and they pretend to disrelish, they are making what they call "the best bargain" for you. I say, that the Parliamentary course is for this House to have the advantage of a Government formed on distinct principles, and having in consequence a constitutional Opposition. Here is a Minister who habitually brings forward as his own measures those very schemes and proposals to which, when in opposition, he always avowed himself a bitter and determined opponent. He brings in Canada Bills, he brings in Maynooth Bills; he uses expressions and excites feelings still more objectionable than the measures; but, let me ask the admirers of "the best bargain" system, how they think the right hon. Gentleman would have acted had they been introduced by the noble Lord opposite? Why, then those Bills would have been at least checked by the Opposition, by a constitutional Opposition; the questions would have been criticised, the measures would have been modified. Grant even that some measures might have been factiously opposed; that would have been only one of the necessary inconveniencies of a Parliamentary Government. In what situtation are we placed now? Up come all these petitions; in them we hear the loud murmurs of the people, because there is no exponent of a great national opinion in this House, while we have a Government which came into power by an organization prepared to oppose such measures, now engaged in carrying them. I may on constitutional grounds say, the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) ought to oppose the present 564 measure, though he approves it, because it is thus brought forward. He will reply it is for those who act on another set of principles to oppose the Government; consequently the country is without a consitutional Opposition to keep the Government in check. Now, I hope it will not be said, because I have made these observations, which are in entire and complete relation and affinity to the Motion before the House, that I am "bandying personalities." Certainly, we live in strange times, when Parliamentary criticism on a person in so eminent a position as the First Minister of the Crown, is to be stopped by his declaring it personality; when it is but fair observation on the character and conduct of a public man, whose career is open to us, with respect to whom we have a right to draw the inferences we think legitimate; and if they are not just they may be contravened in free discussion. I do not know what the House thinks of this system of putting down Parliamentary discussion; it is not a very new experiment; it has been tried in,—I will not say another House, for that must not be referred to—but it has been tried in what is called "another place." I do not know whether the position occupied by "another place" in the public estimation and the public eye is one of which the Members of the House of Commons are particularly ambitious. I remember when we used to toast "another place" with three times three and nine times nine; the independence of "another place" was once a favourite toast at all Conservative dinners; where is the independence of "another place" now? It is not Radicalism, it is not the revolutionary spirit of the nineteenth century, which has consigned "another place" to illustrious insignificance; it is Conservatism and a Conservative dictator. Are you prepared to meet the same fate? Every time a Member expresses any opinions not absolutely agreeable to the Minister of the day, is he to be stopped by a charge of "bandying personalities?" Whenever the young men of England allude to any great principle of political life or Parliamentary conduct, are they to be recommended to go to a railway Committee? I have no doubt it would be very agreeable if this House were in the same condition, especially with regard to the Bill, as "another place." I know the elements of this House are different, that the characters of the individuals who would control us are different; but the process with both bodies, although it varies, is in 565 result the same. It may break the spirit in "another place," and it may lower the tone in this; "another place" may be drilled into a guard-room, and the House of Commons may be degraded into a vestry. But the consequence is exactly similar; and that consequence will be, that you will have Bills like the Maynooth Bill, and that still more important measure which, after the admission of the right hon. Member for Newark, may be looked on as a fact, if not accomplished, yet ascertained, introduced, and carried through this House, and of course through "another place;" and you may have the floor of this House covered with petitions, and the lobby of "another place" crowded with the constituents who have left us in despair; but, whatever may be the degree of public feeling, whatever may be the depth of the national sentiment, if you choose to support a Government that announces no distinctive principles, which is in turn supported by an Opposition that does not oppose, I am certain there is no spirit and no nation that can resist a "cross" so deeply laid and so deliberately accomplished. This Maynooth Bill, I suppose, is introduced instead of the Irish Registration Bill, the necessity for which was so apparent when the right hon. Gentleman was in opposition. It is brought in after a four years' experiment of lowering your tone, and working that, constitutionally, by means of a Whig Opposition. During those four years what has the Conservative party endured? What has it experienced? What is the treatment it has been obliged to submit to, till the thing was so ripe that even your murmurs are not noticed? This Bill brings affairs to a crisis; the question is not to be decided on its merits; it is to be decided on the fact—who are the men who bring it forward? If you are to have a popular Government—if you are to have a Parliamentary Administration, the conditions antecedent are, that you should have a Government which declares the principles upon which its policy is founded, and then you can have on them the wholesome check of a constitutional Opposition. What have we got instead? Something has risen up in this country as fatal in the political world as it has been in the landed world of Ireland—we have a great Parliamentary middleman. It is well known what a middleman is; he is a man who bamboozles one party, and plunders the other, till, having obtained a position to which he is not entitled, he cries out, "Let us have 566 no party questions, but fixity of tenure." I want to have a Commission issued to inquire into the tenure by which Downing-street is held. I want to know whether the conditions of entry have been complied with, and whether there are not some covenants in the lease which are already forfeited? I hope I shall not be answered by Hansard. I am not surprised the right hon. Gentleman should be so fond of recurring to that great authority; he has great advantages; he can look over a record of thirty, and more than thirty years of an eminent career. But that is not the lot of every one; and I may say, as a general rule, I am rather surprised that your experienced statesmen should be so fond of recurring to that eminent publication. What, after all, do they see on looking over a quarter of a century or more even of their speeches in Hansard? What dreary pages of interminable talk, what predictions falsified, what pledges broken, what calculations that have gone wrong, what budgets that have blown up! And all this, too, not relieved by a single original thought, a single generous impulse, or a single happy expression! Why, Hansard, instead of being the Delphi of Downing-street, is but the Dunciad of politics. But I want something more than quotations from Hansard to account for the process by which parties have been managed in this House. It is a system so matter of fact and yet so fallacious, taking in everybody, though everybody knows he is deceived; so mechanical, and yet so Machiavelian, that I can hardly say what it is, except a sort of humdrum hocus pocus, in which the order of the day is read to take in a nation. Now; the system is to be brought to a test to-night. Will the House support the Government in a measure which, according to the highest authority—one who has quitted the Cabinet for some reason that has not been given, and who, probably, may join it again under circumstances equally obscure—is, in fact, an endowment for the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland? If any vote were at stake in which the social and political equality of the Roman Catholic population were concerned, I would go as far as any man in the House, and perhaps further than many. But, Sir, no one pretends that this is now the question. The grounds on which I oppose this Motion are not those of hostility to their claims, but grounds which they themselves, after the clamour of the moment, must feel are le- 567 gitimate ones. I cannot admit the plea ad misericordiam, founded on the state of Maynooth. Surely men of high spirit and bearing cannot for a moment bring themselves to suppose that we shall be induced to vote for the measure on this plea; it would be an insult to them to suppose so. I know there are Roman Catholic colleges, well organized and well ordered, that are not in the condition of Maynooth; there are sectarian colleges in England with larger revenues even than those now proposed to be given by the Government in support of Roman Catholic principles. What sustains them? The sympathy of their co-religionaries. I cannot believe, therefore, that those Gentlemen will, upon reflection, be anxious that this Bill should pass. I do not think it a measure either flattering to their pride, or solacing to their feelings; I do not think it either a great or a liberal measure. The right hon. Gentleman is a supreme master of Parliamentary tactics, and when he found he was not receiving from the seats behind him the once abundant chorus of applause to which he was accustomed, he went forward to the red box, and saying, "I know this is a great grant to Maynooth," obtained the heedless assent of some hon. Gentlemen opposite to the assertion. But if the right hon. Gentleman's principle is correct, I think it is not a great grant; I think it is a mean, a meagre, and a miserable grant. If the Roman Catholic priesthood are to be educated by the State, it must be something greater than the difference between 23l. and 28l., something higher than the difference between three in a bed and two. That is not the way, under any circumstances, in which I would approach a reverend priesthood. I cannot believe, therefore, that the Roman Catholic gentlemen, on reflection—and I hope they will have time for reflection—will vote for this measure, when they consider what it is. Who is he who introduces it? He is the same individual whose bleak shade fell on the sunshine of your hopes for more than a quarter of a century. Will not this consideration affect you? What if it be a boon?—I deny that it is one—but if it were the boon it is said to be, would you accept it from hands polluted? It is not from him you ought to accept it—not from him who, urged on, as he reluctantly admitted, by fatal State necessity, accompanied the concession of your legitimate political claims by the niggardly avowal that he 568 was obliged to concede them. As to the Whigs, I am almost in despair of appealing to their hereditary duties, their constitutional convictions, or their historical position; but I should have thought that the noble Lord opposite was almost weary of being dragged at the triumphal car of a conqueror who did not conquer him in fair fight. I think the noble Lord might have found some inspiration in the writings of that great man whom he has so often quoted, and whose fame he attempts to emulate. I should have thought that a man of the mind and spirit of the noble Lord—and he has a thoughtful mind and a noble spirit—might have felt that Mr. Fox would have taken that course which I still think the noble Lord, touched by his high position, and the responsibility of that position, will still adopt. His party may have fallen, but it still is one connected with the history of this country. Other parties have also fallen; they have been reconstructed, and they have been destroyed. The noble Lord is not in so fallen a position as that in which the right hon. Gentleman was in 1831. But let the noble Lord beware of this; let him beware of rising from that degraded position again by the same system of tactics. They may bring some short-lived success, but upon conditions which I believe the gallant spirit of the noble Lord would disdain. I do not, then, despair, Sir, of the aid of the Roman Catholic gentry of Ireland, or of the Whigs of England, in opposing this measure respecting Maynooth, as well as of those who would reject it on exclusively Protestant principles, or on the general principle against State interference which I have attempted to uphold. But, whatever may be the various motives and impulses which animate these different sections of opinion, there is at least one common ground for co-operation — there is one animating principle which may inspire us all. Let us in this House reecho that which I believe to be the sovereign sentiment of this country; let us tell persons in high places that cunning is not caution, and that habitual perfidy is not high policy of State. On that ground we may all join. Let us bring back to this House that which it has for so long a time past been without—the legitimate influence and salutary check of a constitutional Opposition. That is what the country requires, what the country looks for. Let us do it at once in the 569 only way in which it can be done, by dethroning this dynasty of deception, by putting an end to the intolerable yoke of official despotism and Parliamentary imposture.
§ Mr. Roebuck
said, he approached this question with considerable apprehension as to whether he would be able adequately to explain the opinions he held upon it, and the reasons for his vote. He felt this the more, because it appeared to him that this was a great national question, and that there was danger from what they had heard to-night that all considerations of national welfare would be forgotten in petty private pique, and personal feeling. He did not like on a question of this kind to see feelings of a merely personal nature introduced to disturb those other considerations which must of necessity in that House, and at that time, excite great anxiety in the minds of all men, who felt that they had a great duty to perform to the people, and who did not forget the interests of the people in considerations concerning themselves. And here he would for the moment make one passing remark of a critical character. He could not congratulate the hon. Member for Shrewsbury on the effect of the manner of his speech; it certainly had not been characterized by any of that remarkable talent which was necessary to bear away the open malice which it evinced. That speech was certainly poor in its performance, however malicious in its motives. It was said to be something to be praised by one who was himself worthy of praise; so it was hard to be accused of inconsistency by one who was himself open to the same charge. Even if he (Mr. Roebuck) were unwilling to use towards the hon. Member those hard words which seemed to stand in the place of wit on this occasion, the argument, if argument it could be called, which formed the sum and substance of the hon. Gentleman's speech, could be retorted on the hon. Gentleman himself. What did his charge amount to? Why, that the right hon. Baronet had in former times held former opinions, and that with the change of times he had changed his opinions. The hon. Gentleman himself was open to the same charge. What was the sort of constitutional opposition to which the hon. Member at one time aspired? Why, it was not only a constitutional opposition, but a liberal one. The great model of his Parliamentary career was at one time the hon. Member for Montrose. Commencing 570 life with these aspirations, he was shortly afterwards to be found in open opposition behind the back of the right hon. Baronet. How came he there? That was a natural question. An equally natural one was, why did he remain there? If, indeed, his brilliant merits have been forgotten, and the right hon. Baronet has indeed thought of measures and not of men, then, indeed, we may understand the position of the hon. Member and his unfortunate state of mind—unfortunate, perhaps, only because he has never had afforded to him the opportunity of "coming below the gangway." But, he asked, were not these miserable displays on such a question? When they had the country from one end to the other excited by the deepest and strongest feelings respecting their religious belief and expectations, was it not deeply to be regretted that they had had their minds turned from the great object of the debate to these petty feelings and considerations? And he did hope the House would pardon him if he endeavoured to forget all consideration of the immediate amusement which might be derived from malice in the guise of wit, and left it at once for the more serious subjects involved in the question. It was a question which must be regarded as of great importance on that (the Opposition) side of the House; for it involved not merely the quiet of Ireland, but also the quiet and well-being of England; and perhaps, without exaggeration, he might say, the quiet of the world at large. It was because he viewed the question in this light, and because the country generally, and his constituents in particular, were deeply stirred by conscientious scruples in connexion with it, that he approached it with feelings of doubt and anxiety. If the question came before them now for the first time, it would assume a very different aspect. But, however easy it might be to laugh at the word "circumstances," he could not shut out from his view the present condition of Ireland and of this country when he came to consider the course he should take on this measure. "Circumstances" might be cited often, as indeed might "principles," without much care being felt for either one or the other. But when he looked at the state of Ireland, and at the circumstances under which they were called upon to vote on this question, he must say that it behoved them to place themselves above the agitation around them, to set an example to those whom they represented, to do their duty boldly, 571 and, whatever might be the result, to act up to their view of what was right and proper, and likely to conduce to the welfare of this great community. Now, looking at the grant then proposed by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, he had no hesitation in saying that he, for one, was prepared to support it. He would go one step further, and declare that if the right hon. Gentleman had come down to the House to propose a grant, and they were for the moment excluding all recollection of any money having been formerly granted for the same purpose, he (Mr. Roebuck) would at once close with the offer. But he would take the case as it was first presented to them. A purely Protestant Parliament in Ireland, endowed, as it was termed, though he objected to the word, the Roman Catholic College of Maynooth. An annual grant was made by a Parliament exclusively Protestant, and composed wholly of the rich, and that grant was continued up to the time of the Union. At the period of the Union a purely Protestant Parliament repeated the Vote. Various Ministers came into power; political parties of various descriptions took office; and under all, this grant was continued. He wanted the House, however, to remark particularly the circumstances under which a grant was first made to the College of Maynooth. This took place in 1795, at a time when the Protestant feared the Catholic less than he feared the principles of France, when he would rather see in every parish in Ireland a Catholic priest, a follower of the religion of Christ, than an emissary of the Jacobin Club in Paris, or a follower of Robespierre. During the existence of the Reign of Terror, they applied themselves to the task of conciliating the Catholics; and to secure their assistance in the battle which they were fighting, this grant was made. As time went on, the parties in the conquest changed. Napoleon, it was true, established Catholicity in France; but it was supposed that he aimed at universal dominion, and Ireland was required to send forth thousands of gallant soldiers to fight the great battle that was then going on between France and England. In the year 1808 the principle of the grant was again mooted, and again discussed, and they added to the grant that was originally made. They found a purely Protestant Parliament acting in this way, for its own purposes, 572 under all Ministries, up to the year 1827. In that year, the Roman Catholics were, as it was termed, emancipated, and entered into the composition both of that and the other House of Parliament. The grant to Maynooth was again renewed, and was continued up to the time of the Reform Act. Now, it might, and probably would, be said that the doings of an aristocratic Government were not those with which they could have much sympathy, it being notorious that an aristocracy consulted only its own convenience and its own selfish interests. But after the year 1832, the Parliament was one which represented the great body of Dissenters in this country; and from that time to the present had the grant been continued. What he had to say on this subject he wished to address to his constituents and to the people out of doors. They had for the last twelve years sanctioned this grant; they had sanctioned the principle of it up to the present hour; and they could not, therefore, now turn round and tell their Representatives, whilst they suddenly startled their ears with a sort of ecclesiastical trumpet, that Protestantism was in daily and hourly peril on account of this grant. They had seen the former grant made, not only without remonstrance, but with applause; and if the grant had been made for twelve years by four successive Parliaments, with different Administrations in power, the principle being the same as regarded the religious question, whether the grant were 8,000l. or 26,000l. they could not be suddenly called upon to recede from the principle on which the grant had hitherto been made. Some complaint had been made against the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) on account of his stating that there were but three courses open. It would not be denied that it was excedingly useful to look at the real position in which they were placed. That matters should remain in their present position every one acknowledged to be impossible. It was admitted that the present potition of Maynooth could not continue, first, by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford, who had always consistently been opposed to the grant; and, secondly, by those who had had a new light brought into their minds by the proposed extension of it. Hon. Members on that side of the House who supported the policy of the Government, contended that the providing for the proper education of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland was of the highest moment, as being calculated to 573 make them feel that they were not aliens from the country of their birth. They felt that it was desirable to do all in their power to create in the minds of the Irish priesthood feelings of affection for the Government, and associations of pleasure in connexion with the place in which they were educated, instead of associations of insult and indignity. It must be recollected that the institutions of this country were not in any case paltry or mean, because they were unable to make them otherwise. They were, in fact, for the most part, distinguished by magnificence and liberality; and if Maynooth were treated in a different manner, it would be attributed, not to an inability, but to unwillingness to provide proper support. The Roman Catholic clergy had in many cases endured poverty and privation in carrying what they believed to be the truth from one end of the globe to the other; and if it were necessary, he believed they would at all times cheerfully assist in bearing public burdens. But when they found all the appliances of wealth exerted in other cases, and withheld in their own, they naturally felt that they did not enjoy their due share of the sympathy of England. What course, then, could the House pursue? Why, they must either get rid of the grant altogether, or accede to the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. His only objection to that Motion was, that it did not go far enough. He had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have proposed a broad scheme of academical education, making Maynooth a Roman Catholic university, similar to Oxford and Cambridge in the power of conferring degrees, so that the clergy and the gentry might equally have availed themselves of its benefits. Had that course been pursued, he believed no more hostility would have been exhibited to that proposal than the present. Now, there were two classes of objectors to this measure. The first class, with whom he deeply sympathized, opposed the grant on the voluntary principle, objecting to the endowment of any religion by the State. They said, that at the present moment, the Established Church was the monster grievance of Ireland, and they objected to what they called the setting up of a Roman Catholic Church establishment as equally objectionable. But he contended that this was not the setting up of another establishment, but a contribution towards the education of Ireland—a contribution in the 574 best form towards the teaching of the only teachers of the Irish people. He regretted that the measure of the right hon. Gentleman was so inadequate to that object; but he supported it as an approach towards national education; and he would do so if, in place of being intended for the benefit of their fellow-Christians in Ireland, it were designed for Jews or Mahomedans. Did they not already contribute towards the teaching of the Brahmin priests in India, and of the Roman Catholic priests in Canada? In Canada there was a priesthood endowed by Act of Parliament, and not one word had been said on the score of a violation of conscience. In fact, an hon. Member had that evening admitted, that without this it would be impossible to maintain their Colonial dominion. The question of principle, it appeared, had no influence when interest was concerned. Then they put the principle in their pockets and sanctioned the endowment, as it was called, of the Roman Catholic religion. He did not object to this; he acknowledged the reason of it, and thought it a sufficient one; but why not apply the same argument to Ireland? If it could be shown that there were in Ireland reasons for believing that they would conciliate the people, that they would very much contribute to the harmony of the whole people by continuing and increasing this grant, how came it that it had the opposition of persons who could concede to this principle for the purposes of Colonial religion? The truth was that there was not a single hour of any one of their legislative days that they did not break a principle. He supported the grant on the ground that we were of necessity obliged, so far as the religious teaching of the people was concerned, to be for the moment passive. We must contribute as well as we could to the due education of the people in the faith which they held, and in which we had not a right to interfere; all that the State had to inquire into was, were they good citizens? And, therefore, going from one end of the world to the other—to Canada, to India, to Malta, to the West Indies—in fact, through the whole of our Foreign Possessions, we found that this was the system pursued; but, on turning to Ireland, he supported the measure on this ground of conciliation. He had once heard an observation made by a right hon. Gentleman opposite, "that we had come to the end of conciliation." He was not going to quarrel with any change of opinion which 575 experience might have wrought on the minds of right hon. Gentlemen opposite; but he considered that within the last two years a great change had taken place with regard to the government of Ireland. We had adopted a different system to that which had prevailed almost during the recollection of every man in that House; and he considered this, the last proposed act of the right hon. Gentleman, a most marked step in the progress of this system of concession—a conquest over every successive Ministry that had governed Ireland since the passing of the Reform Bill. It had sealed upon it the doctrine of concession, and both the great parties of this country were now endeavouring to make all necessary concessions to Ireland. He took this measure as one great step in that concession, not because (as had been asked) they expected all these great consequences from this paltry concession—from the difference between 9,000l. and 28,000l. a year—for he did not expect this. He might be asked, did he expect the priesthood of Ireland to be bribed to our service by such means? His answer was, he did not want to do that; but he wanted to make the people feel that the system was changed — that we were endeavouring to do justice to that unfortunate people. Though he did not expect great results—though he did not hope that the priests might be established in that country immediately, yet he did hope that when this great measure was consummated in all its circumstances, the very opposition to it marking how strong was the necessity on the right hon. Gentleman's mind of such a proposition, this concession would convince the leaders of the Irish people, and address itself to their calm and thinking minds and generous feelings, and that their leaders and those who wished to excite them for purposes of personal ambition, would not have them, as they now had, so thoroughly at command and beck. He took this as the greatest boon that had been conferred, not upon the people of Ireland, but upon the people of England; for we might depend upon it, that if assailed to-morrow from abroad, and we were to refuse this grant, the insulted people of Ireland would recollect the insult. They had been told by many ardent persons that the religion of the Irish was a superstition and immoral, and parts of their books had been brought forward to prove it; and that to endow this college was to endow a college to teach immorality and superstition. The 576 insulted people of Ireland would recollect this; and we should find our danger came not so much from abroad as it was at home. Our chief enemies would be at home, and we should be weak, and open to the insults of the world, because we had been unjust to one-third of our countrymen. It was upon this great ground that he maintained the grant proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. Look at the condition of Ireland at the present moment. Suppose that at the present moment England was in the same situation, and Ireland in a situation totally at variance with its present condition of great depression. Suppose they could find some Saxon demagogue—some William Long-beard to appeal to the oppressed Saxon and point to his Norman spoliator, and appeal to what was in the memory of many living men, and speak of the desolation which was spread through the land, of cabins burnt, of fields laid waste, and of thousands of people turned out to starve; suppose, then, he could point to the scene of the patient and deserving priest, careless of danger, and wealth, and power, going to these people thus beaten down and trodden to the earth, and ministering to them courageously and bravely all the religious comforts which their condition demanded — suppose a demagogue in England could say these things, would England be quiet under such circumstances? Would she not rise up as one man and put down the oppressor? And had not the Irish people the same feelings and power as we had? And were we to forget that this hypothetical case which he was putting, was actually the case in Ireland? Mr. O'Connell regarded the proposition of the right hon. Baronet as a "bidding" against him; he (Mr. O'Connell) knew very well that if justice were done to Ireland. Ireland would no longer seek to be divided from us, but would be our right hand in the time of war, and our friendly ally in the time of peace. Taking into consideration the religious and moral aspect of Ireland, he would ask if the proposed grant could be considered in any other light than as a donation given to the people in the best form? If he were asked the mode in which he could do the greatest good at the least possible cost, he should say it would be by educating the Irish priests. It would be a contribution made in the best form for educating the Irish people. The grant was objected to on the score of religious principle. These arguments were difficult to reply to, and for 577 the most part he could not understand them. They eluded his understanding altogether. He was told the objection was, that the teaching at Maynooth was a teaching of error, and they objected to support such teaching. He had in his hand a very remarkable report of a speech made at Liverpool. He wished to call the attention of the House to observations made upon the present question by a rev. gentleman at Liverpool (as we understood). He really felt it necessary to beg pardon of the House for bringing upon them a mode of treating the present question which was in all respects so objectionable, but yet the manner in which the rev. gentleman discussed this matter was, in its way, very striking. He said,—"Was God's word to be practically supreme, or not?" and then he went on to observe that though no part of the Bible was obscure, certainly not unintelligible, yet there were some pictures of the sacred Scriptures so characterized by extreme clearness, that to doubt their meaning was little less than to deny the use of the Bible itself. The Bible prohibited the bowing down to graven images, it prohibited adultery, it prohibited theft. Then he added that inasmuch as Parliament would not think of endowing a college for promoting adultery or theft, so they ought not to endow a college which inculcated the practice of bowing down to graven images. Now, he would appeal to hon. Members to say, if that was the manner in which such a question as the present ought to be argued? Could he or any Member be fairly called upon to meet such arguments? For his part he should not attempt to do anything of the sort. Neither should he seek to answer those who affirmed that their views of that which was the truth ought alone to be accepted as the truth. Who should say what was the truth as compared with the opinions of other men? For the reasons, then, which he had stated, he gave to the grant his most cordial support.
§ Lord Northland
next rose, but owing to the confusion which prevailed in the House, the few observations which the noble Lord made were nearly inaudible. He was understood to say that he felt great regret at being thus obliged, for the first time, to differ from Her Majesty's Government.
§ Debate adjourned, and House adjourned at half-past twelve o'clock.