§ LORD J. RUSSELL
* Sir, the House, I am sure, will readily believe the anxiety with which I approach the important sub- 188 ject which I promised to bring under their notice. The deep interest which is felt in this county by all classes of persons, the numerous petitions that have been presented to this House, praying the House to resist encroachment on the part of a foreign Sovereign, the addresses presented to the Crown, all make it a matter of deep responsibility to undertake the task of bringing such a question before the House. That anxiety is not diminished, but increased, by the indications that were given the other evening of the disposition of a great portion of the House. One hon. Gentleman, the Member for Sheffield, who spoke on that occasion, warned me not to take a retrograde step. Another hon. Gentleman, the Member for Buckinghamshire, warned me, on the other side, not to introduce anything less than a complete code regulating all the relations which might occur between the Court of Rome and Her Majesty's subjects in the united kingdom. With respect to the first of those observations—that I should not take a retrograde step—my answer to my adviser is, that the only retrograde step I propose to take is that natural action of a man who finds that a blow is aimed at his head, and who steps backward to raise his arm, and put himself in a posture of defence. With respect to the other observation, I shall now enter into a consideration of the reasons why I differ from the hon. Member who made it; but in the course of the statement I have to make I shall address those remarks to the House which appear to me to belong to the subject, and state those motives which have induced the Government not to pursue the course which is the one he has suggested as the most proper.
In bringing this subject before the House, I beg the House to recollect some circumstances that occurred at a very recent period. In the course of last year, the nomination of an Archbishop in Ireland by the Roman See was made in an unusual manner. It was generally understood, and has never been contradicted, that those who usually elect to the office of Archbishop on the part of the Roman Catholics in Ireland had sent three names to Rome, but that instead of any one of those learned ecclesiastics being chosen who had been proposed for that office, a clergyman who had been long resident at Rome, who was more conversant with the habits and opinions of Rome than with the state and circumstances of Ireland, was named by the Pope to assume the office of Arch- 189 bishop in Ireland. No sooner did that ecclesiastic arrive than he showed very clearly that it was not his intention to follow the usual practice that had been observed by Archbishop Murray and others, of putting themselves into communication, in relation to any matters necessary to be transacted between them, with the Irish Government. Presently we found that a Synod had been called at Thurles, which soon after assembled. It was stated that at that Synod a question was raised whether or not an address should be issued to the people of Ireland, and that that Motion was carried by a majority of 13 to 12, being a majority consisting of that very person who had been sent over from Rome, whose views were foreign to the state of Ireland, and who prompted that determination. An address was accordingly issued.
Well, if that address had been confined to matters of the internal discipline of the Roman Catholic religion—if it had been shown that, with respect to matters of internal discipline, there was a variety of practice in different parts of Ireland, and that the Synod had met for the purpose of regulating those matters, however unusual, and entirely without precedent the assembling of a Synod might be—for no such meeting had taken place since the time of the Revolution—I could have understood its object. But a great portion of that address was taken up with two subjects. The one was the danger of the system of education in the colleges established by the Queen in conformity with an Act of Parliament. It stated that, however good the intentions of the Legislature might be, those colleges were established in ignorance of the inflexible nature of the Roman Catholic Church; and it pointed out that they could not but be attended with danger to the faith and morals of those who were of that Church, Another part of that address was taken up with descriptions of the state of that part of the poorer portion of the Irish peasantry who had been evicted. And I must say that no language was omitted which could excite the feelings of that peasant class against those who were owners of land, and who had enforced the process of the law against their tenants.
I am not going, at the present time, to enter into any defence of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland; nor am I about to discuss the question whether the Irish landlords have acted with discretion and humanity in the use of their legal rights; but I point 190 this out to the House as a most important circumstance, that on the question of education, that on questions of the occupancy of land, the Synod, which consisted entirely of Roman Catholic ecclesiatics, from which all laymen were excluded, thought it proper on this, their first meeting, to hold forth to the Irish people and tell them what should be their duty and conduct on those two subjects. I must ask the hon. Member for Sheffield whether this is a matter of entirely spiritual concern? Whether this House and the Government of the country can be entirely indifferent, when they see that an archbishop has been thus named, purposely of course instructed, and aware of the intentions at Rome, and that the first proceeding be carries into effect is to hold forth to odium an Act of Parliament passed by this country for the purpose, of educating the people of Ireland, of giving better instruction to the higher and middle classes; while likewise exciting to hatred of the owners of land a great portion of the population of that kingdom? This, I think, is an instance at all events, that we have not to deal with purely spiritual concerns; that that interference, which is so well known in all modern history of clerical bodies, with the temporal and civil concerns of the State, has been attempted, not as a system, but as a beginning—as a beginning, no doubt, to be matured into other measures, and to be exerted on some future occasion with more potent results.
If there is one part of this transaction which merits remark, as it may have excited attention—and I own it excited mine—it is the signature to the published address of the Synod of Thurles. In a copy I received of that address, it was stated to be published "by authority," and purported to be signed at the end, "Paul, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland." I received from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland a communication stating that his attention had likewise been drawn to that circumstance; that he had consulted those who were best qualified to assist him in the construction of the law; and that they had informed him that, although if the Roman Catholic Archbishop had assumed the title of Archbishop of Armagh in any document of which they were in possession, they could then apply the law to the case, yet the appearance in print of that name would then be evidence in a court of law, and that they were not likely to obtain from the printer any evidence—even should 191 such be the fact—that Dr. Cullen had signed that document. They thought it probable that he had not signed it, but that his name had been affixed to it.
Now, having stated that occurrence, I shall refer to some other occurrences which took place about the same time, not in this country, but on the continent of Europe. One was a circumstance which took place in the kingdom of Sardinia. Until very lately a law had been in force in Piedmont, which had not been for many years the usual law of most of the States of Europe. It was, that ecclesiastics should only be amenable to the ecclesiastical tribunals, and that certain places should possess what was called the right of asylum. It appears that the Sardinian Government and the Sardinian Parliament assembled at Turin, changed the law in these respects, and made it similar to that which prevailed in other parts of Europe. They declared that, with regard to all temporal matters, clergymen should be tried before the temporal and civil tribunals of the land, and that the right of asylum should be taken away. One of the Ministers, who was a party to making that law, was soon afterwards taken dangerously ill, and when he required the sacrament, and made his confession, he was asked whether he would repent of the consent which he had given to the new law which had been passed? Instead of doing so, he made a declaration, which was not satisfactory to the Archbishop of Turin; and the consequence was that he died without receiving the sacrament of the Church, as a person who was without the pale of the Church. That was an instance of the interference of spiritual power and spiritual, consure for the purpose of controlling, of directing, and of terrifying a Minister of the Crown and a Member of Parliament, on account of his conduct as a Minister and a Member of the Parliament to which he belonged.
Now, I beg the House to observe these things, because they are not altogether foreign to us. They may not be intended here this year or next year; but we are told in the writing to which I have alluded, that the doctrines of the Court of Rome are inflexible—that their maxims are unchangeable. They may not think it expedient to introduce such a practice into this country now; but they retain in their hands the power of applying to secular purposes those maxims—those censures—those most formidable and awful spiritual powers which they possess.
192 About the same time, or it may be a little after, there appeared a rescript from Rome in Belgium, with respect to the conduct of the Government of that country. Now, the Government of Belgium, from the commencement of its independence, had taken a course more favourable to the independence of the Roman Catholic Church than any other country in Europe had done, for it had allowed the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical body to enjoy all their endowments, while at the same time the civil Government was entirely without any power of interference with the nomination or conduct of bishops and beneficed clergymen.
But it was found, with regard to the civil education which the State had provided, that that education had dropped very much into the hands of the bishops of the Church of Rome; and the Belgian Chambers, consisting in great part of Roman Catholics, anxious for the interests of the State, took means to provide for security of education in Belgium. The step they took was impugned by the head of the Church of Rome. A document, disapproving it, was published, and it was generally believed that that document was circulated at the time it was that it might exert an influence over the elections, and thereby induce the Belgian Chambers to alter their decision. However, it was not much regarded, and when the Minister was questioned on the subject he produced a despatch in which he had desired the Belgian Minister to inform the Secretary of State at Rome that the Pope had been entirely misinformed—that the facts were not as had been represented to him—and that no course had been taken by the Government which was opposed to the interests of the Church of Rome. The subject provoked a good deal of discussion, but a great majority approved of the conduct of the Belgian Government in the matter.
Then came the proceedings more immediately connected with this country. At the end of September letters-apostolic were issued, declaring that Rome had altered the ecclesiastical arrangement that had prevailed in this country, altering it from the arrangement of vicars-apostolic, and proposing to establish an archbishop and bishops, among whom the country was to be divided. I shall hereafter state the view which I take of that document. What I wish to say now is, that that change was made entirely without the consent—I may say entirely without the 193 knowledge—of the Government of this country. Sir, the hon. Member for Sheffield referred the other day to some remark of mine upon this subject—I may therefore remind the House of a statement that, in 1848, in the course of discussion, I made in answer to some observation or question of my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, namely, that I did not know that the Pope intended to create an archbishop or bishops in this country, that I had not given my consent to such an arrangement, and that, on the contrary, I should not give my consent to the appointment of any such archbishop or bishops in England. I had indeed been told some time before by a private individual of the Roman Catholic persuasion, that he believed there was such a project, and he asked me if I should approve of it. I said, in reply, that I should not approve of it. I said nothing more. I certainly concluded, weakly it may be, that the Government of Borne being a friendly Government, not being in hostility to this country, would never think it possible to create archbishops and bishops in this country, and to divide it into dioceses, without communicating at least the project to the Government of England. I did not believe that it could be intended so to insult the Queen. I may have been like the foolish Italian shepherd, who said—Urbem, quam dicunt Romam, Melibœe, putavi, Stultus ego huic nostra similem:"—I may have thought most trustingly and imprudently that the Court of Rome would observe such relations—such discretion—such courtesy in her conduct with the State of England, as all other States that are friendly observe towards each other, and as she herself has observed towards every other State in Europe. I know that in some letters of Dr. Wiseman, it has in some way, if not directly stated, been insinuated that Lord Minto, when at Rome, gave some kind of sanction or consent to the project of Rome. Lord Minto has himself given a positive denial to that statement. We have heard the story, to be sure, that at an interview with which he was honoured at the Court of Rome, the Pope, pointing to a table in the room, observed, "There is something there that regards you;" but that Lord Minto did not look at the paper, or make any observation whatever on the subject. Lord Minto himself says he does not recollect the circumstance, and it is one which he may well have for- 194 gotten, supposing it had even taken place. But, even if the story be true, it is surely a most astonishing inference to draw from the circumstance that there happened to be a paper lying on a table, which paper was novel' read by the Minister of England, that he had given his consent to the aggression which has been made upon this country. Be it observed, that supposing the story had been told with complete accuracy, it is not alleged that the Secretary of State, or the Pope, or any other person, said, "Here is a paper that we would wish you to take and peruse, and submit to your Government." If anything was said at all, it was only "That is a project that concerns you."
Now, having stated this with regard to the measure that has been introduced to this country, I think it is expedient, before I proceed further, to state what has been the conduct of the different Powers of Europe, and what has been the conduct of our own country, with respect to measures of this kind which have been attempted to be imposed upon them by the Pope of Rome. And let me first say, that I conceive it is of the nature of all ecclesiastical bodies to attempt to trench on temporal matters. I have myself resisted with regard to Protestants in this country, and with regard to the Church of England herself, measures and proposals which I thought tended to give undue power to ecclesiastics with respect to the temporal affairs of the State. But, if this is true of any ecclesiastical body, it is more especially true of the Church of Rome. I conceive it to be true for two principal reasons, among others—the one, that the allowed infallibility of the Roman Catholic church with respect to matters of spiritual doctrine gives her an influence and a power over the minds of those who belong to that communion greater than that possessed by any other churches. But, in the next place, Rome has a traditionary influence and power—a power asserted by her in the middle ages, when she often was manifesting it, perhaps in favour of civilisation or learning, or perhaps, again, when she was aiming by her ambition to obtain that supremacy over kings and over States which made them entirely subject to her will. Sir, this power was asserted in the most arrogant manner by Boniface VIII., when he told Philip the Fair, of France, "It is fit you should know that you are subject to us in temporal as well in spiritual things." Now, the country 195 that has had most to contest this power of the Roman Catholic Church, the country which I should say had most successfully contested it—hut at the same time amid repeated dangers—is that very country of France.
I had lately occasion to read that most able treatise upon the subject of what is called the liberties of the Gallican Church, or more properly, as the author most justly states, the liberties of the Gallican State in respect of the Church, written by M. Dupin, the President of the Legislative Assembly of France. Long before he held that post, or any public post whatever, he was distinguished for his great logical power and his great legal learning, and was regarded as an authority in all matters to which his attention had been given, or his studies directed. At the beginning of his work upon the liberties of the Gallican Church, he makes an observation to the effect, that though Rome has for the present relaxed many of her pretensions, she never entirely loses sight of them; that she is a Power which has forgotten nothing, and learned much; that she is a Power which has neither infancy nor widowhood; hence she can struggle with temporal States at all times with means of which those temporal States often are not possessed; that therefore it requires the utmost vigilance and the utmost attention to watch against the aggressions of the Church of Rome, and to preserve the temporal liberties of any country with which she is connected. He makes another observation, which I think may be of some use to the hon. Member for Sheffield. He says that philosophy (which in this instance he thinks too presumptuous) is of opinion that there is no need of particular laws or of a study of jurisprudence on this subject—that her influence is quite sufficient to encounter any dangers to which a country may be exposed from Rome; but he goes on to say that it is quite evident that philosophers deceive themselves in this; that, though their arguments are irresistible with philosophers, yet, that the great mass of men, whether from religious convictions, whether from habit, or whether from regard to appearances in the world, are governed by religious belief, and do not attend to the opinions and arguments of philosophers.
After this introduction, Dupin states, in a very small book containing an immense quantity of learning on the subject, what the assertion of the liberties of France has been in its contest with Rome. Some of 196 the cases which, in connection with France, I shall mention, as well as those relating to other States, have reference entirely to the appointment to bishoprics, or other ecclesiastical offices, which were endowed, or which received salaries or emoluments from the State. I may observe, on this subject, that Mr. Bowyer dismissess all these points, and all those which refer to the time before the Reformation, as not applicable to the present state of matters. This, however, is far from being generally true. But, even supposing that they do not refer to the present state of things, there are still maxims established in law by the dicta of the great judges of France, well worthy of attention. One of these is, that no document of the Pope can be received in France without the placet, that is, the consent or direction of the sovereign. This applies not only to questions relative to appointment to ecclesiastical benefices and bishoprics, but it applies generally to anything that may be ordered by the See of Rome.
There is another maxim, likewise, of great importance. In order to preserve the entire temporal independence of the kings of France, it was laid down that, if any person should introduce any bull or instrument inflicting spiritual excommunication or censure upon any person in the service of the kings of France, for things done in the service of the kings of France, all his goods and property should be forfeited to the Crown. This was a very important and striking power, but it was one rendered necessary by the assumptions of Rome in France; for it is argued justly by Dupin, that if the king had all his ministers and officers struck by excommunication, he would have been made powerless, and his orders would have had no effect whatever. It was likewise held, that in respect of many spiritual matters, the decrees of the Pope should not be received unless confirmed by a general council. Such were the maxims, and such the laws of France under the monarchy; and the powers that were exercised by the kings of France under the monarchy were exercised by Louis IX., a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, by Henry IV., and by Louis XIV., as fully as in the other reigns, and in subsequent times.
But there is a circumstance which I think is worthy of mention, because it answers the argument that, with respect to what is once done there can be no change or alteration made by Rome. According 197 to the concordat made by Napoleon at the commencement of the century, the limit of a diocese was ordered by the civil government in conjunction with the Pope; and those who under former settlements were lawfully, according to Rome, archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in France, were entirely deprived of the rights which they possessed. Another circumstance of importance occurs to my mind on this point. In 1817, the king of France determined that he would not have his country bound by the concordat made by what he considered an usurped power—the Consul of the French Republic—and he proposed to make another concordat, to which he obtained the consent of the Pope; but when that concordat came to be considered in France, it was found that the Assembly was so averse to it, that the King asked the Pope that it should be dropped, as not having taken place. The consequence was, that the new concordat remained a dead letter, and the former concordat was still the law, and acted upon in France. Now, do not tell me after this that the Papal Power cannot retrace its steps; that what is done by Rome must remain for ever unaltered.
I go, next, to what was, I am sorry to say was, the law of Austria—that great Roman Catholic Power. The laws which were made by the Emperor Joseph were of the most stringent description with respect to the introduction of Papal bulls and Papal appointments and censures. He declared that the civil power was supreme and sovereign, that nothing ecclesiastical could be attempted without the placet of the Emperor, and that no appointment could be made that had not his confirmation; that no intercourse could take place between the bishops of Austria and the Pope without the knowledge and sanction of the ruling powers; and that every document which proposed to inflict spiritual censures and excommunication should be submitted to a mixed body of clergy and laity, and should not be valid without their concurrence. This shows, then, with regard to another great Roman Catholic Power, what has been the jealousy, what have been the results of experience, with regard to the encroachments of the Church of Rome.
Having stated the course pursued by these two great Roman Catholic Powers, I will not go into detail regarding any of the others, but state generally that there is no Roman Catholic Power, so far as we have been able to ascertain, who would 198 permit any bull to be brought into the country without the previous sanction of the civil authority. I am bound to state, however, with respect to Austria, that the Emperor has, during the year 1850, made a new constitution in respect of the clergy, and has permitted them to hold intercourse with the See of Rome in ecclesiastical matters, I have stated the course of great Powers; I may as well state that as regards Portugal, one of the smallest, our Minister there was informed by the Portuguese Minister, that they would permit no bull to be sent into that country which had not previously been submitted to the Government, and thoroughly considered.
We have inquired also with respect to the Protestant countries of Europe what their policy is in this matter; and we have been informed that in Prussia—the greatest of these Powers, though, with reference to her Catholic population, she acts by agreement with the Pope in the appointment of bishops and clergy—yet, when it was proposed at Rome that a bishop of Magdeburgh should be created in Prussia, that country immediately referred to the articles of the Treaty of Westphalia, and refused her consent to the introduction of such a bishopric. There was an agreement made twenty years ago between the King of the Netherlands with respect to the appointment of bishops in some cases in Holland by means of a concordat; but the measure excited so much indignation in Holland, that it has never been carried into effect.
From what I have said, the inference may be drawn, that there is no country in Europe, however great or however small—no country which values its own independence—upon which the Pope would have attempted to pass this insult which he has offered to the kingdom of England. In some instances the matter is regulated by treaty between the two Powers; in other instances it has been proposed to introduce bishops into Protestant countries; and, when it has been refused, the Court of Rome has at once desisted from its intention.
I come now to consider what is the character of the insult that has been offered to this country. The document by which the recent change was proposed to be effected was purposely issued without the smallest reference to the united kingdom being an independent State. It is not made a question, from the beginning to the end, whether there can be any power existing in this country the consent of 199 which ought to be asked, or whose lawful power ought to be respected. An Archbishop is pretended to be appointed to this metropolitan city, where the Queen holds Her Court, and where she meets Her Parliament. Then, other sees are pretended to be created in various parts of the country which are now under the established bishops of the Church of England. The document issued with reference to his appointment by Dr. Wiseman declares at once, "We govern, and shall continue to govern, the counties of Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex." And, in the case of five other counties, the same pretensions were set forth.
Now, Sir, I cannot see in these words anything but an assumption of territorial sovereignty. It is not a direction that certain persons should govern those who belong to the Roman Catholic communion situated within a certain district, and that over them alone they were to exercise their spiritual functions. Those English counties are territories subject to the Queen's dominion; and the only excuse that is offered for the assumption of Rome, is, that there are certain forms belonging to all documents, and that it is according to the forms of the Church of Rome that the assumption of dominion over Middlesex, Hertford, and Essex belongs to the agent who has been sent there. That may be. I do not deny their knowledge of their own forms; but there is another form with which I have been acquainted. It is, "Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen." That form appears to me totally inconsistent with the other. Take which of them you like. Say that the Pope is to be Sovereign in this country, and that any person he chooses to send is to govern the English counties, and that Royalty is bound to pay obedience to the orders of the Court of Rome. That is one course. But I cannot conceive that any person who is bound in loyalty to Queen Victoria can admit that any authority but her own can govern those counties. ["Hear!"] Well, then, I know not what those Gentlemen mean; but if they mean to say that this is an authority merely assumed, and that it cannot be enforced, I certainly know that perfectly well. I owe very little gratitude or thanks to those who do not attempt to enforce that authority, because I know it is impossible. It is enough for me that here is the assumption of a power.
If a person had come during the time 200 that the Pretender resided at Rome, and said, "I have been named Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex by James Stuart, and claim to govern the county of Middlesex by virtue of that authority," I know perfectly well that the King of England's Lord Lieutenant would have held his authority unscathed, and that he, and he alone, would have been obeyed: still I should have said that that was an unwarrantable assumption, and one that justly subjected the person so assuming it to any penalty which he might thereby have incurred.
I must now refer for a few minutes to that which has been done in former times in this very country—and that in Roman Catholic times—with respect to the power of the Pope of Rome. I find that, in those times, our Roman Catholic ancestors were as jealous as we can be in these days of the encroaching power of the Pope. I find, even in the days of William the Conqueror, that the Sovereign would not allow any sentence of excommunication to be proceeeded with in this country without his authority. I find that, in the time of Edward I. a person who had procured an excommunication against another person was proceeded against in the King's courts, that the judges declared that his procuring that excommunication without the assent of the King was no less than high treason; and that it was only on the supplication of his councillors that the King refrained from having that sentence executed.
Now, those persons who were thus concerned in carrying on that trial, and in condemning that person, were no Protestants, or men distrustful of the Roman Catholic faith, or in any way opposed to the Roman Catholic tenets. On the contrary, they were all strict adherents of the Roman Catholic faith; but, nevertheless, they would not allow any usurped power to come into England. So, likewise, in the time of Edward III., a petition was presented to the Crown to prevent any letters, bulls, process, reservations, instruments, or any other things whatsoever, being received in this country from Rome, to the prejudice of the King and of his people. Now, be it observed, this is not, as Mr. Bowyer says, entirely confined to endowments which were then protected by the State, but it refers to all those relations between man and man with which the spiritual power of Rome was in the habit of interfering; and it was for the purpose of controlling that power, that our Catholic ancestors thought it necessary to take mea- 201 sures to guard against the See of Rome. The statutes upon that subject are well known and have been frequently quoted, more especially the statutes of "Provisos" and the statute of Prœmunire, which was passed in the reign of Richard II. I shall not trouble the House by stating the particular nature of those measures. I merely refer to the subject to show that in those times there was a very constant, vigilant, and I believe very wise, jealousy, entertained with respect to the power of Rome.
I will now proceed to the consideration of the course which the Government took upon being made aware of the publication of these letters-apostolic, and to state the nature of the measure which I propose to introduce. The first step the Government took upon having their attention drawn to these letters was to ask the law officers of the Crown whether they came under any known law, and what, in their opinion, would be the effect of a prosecution against those who had introduced those letters into this country? The opinion which was given by the law officers to the Government was to the effect (without quoting the words) that with regard to the assumption of the particular titles assumed, and and with reference to the present state of the law and the existing statutes, they did not think that either by the common law, or the statute law, that assumption of those titles was illegal, or that those persons who assumed them could be prosecuted with effect. But, with respect to a further question, they said that the introduction of letters-apostolic into this country was, in their opinion, an offence; an offence which could be prosecuted; that, in their opinion, the Judges would declare that the introduction of those letters-apostolic was unlawful, and was subject to a penalty; but they said (going beyond the mere law of the case), that the statutes which prohibited the introduction of any bull or writings from Rome had not been for a very long period of time put in force; and that, if the Government proposed to prosecute the offence of the introduction of bulls, writings, or letters from Rome, they thought that the fact of the long disuse of any prosecution for such an offence would probably cause such a prosecution to fail.
I think that the House will agree that, with such an opinion before us, it was not advisable for the Government to desire the law officers to institute a prosecution, by which the authority of the Government 202 might be greatly weakened, and no useful effect be produced. But I will say, further, that on this, the first occasion when we thought we had reason to complain of the introduction of documents of this description, I should with very great reluctance have ordered the prosecution of that which had been so long done, and which had been practised without lot or hindrance, and apparently with the tacit consent of the Government of this country. There is a passage which no doubt is not strict law, but which appears to me to be sound morality on this subject, which I have met with in the writings of Jeremy Taylor, who observes—As long as the law is obligatory, so long our obedience is due, and he that begins a contrary custom, without reason, sins; but he that breaks the law when the custom is entered and fixed is excused, because it is supposed the legislative power consents when, by not punishing, it suffers disobedience to grow to a custom.I think that sentence in a great degree applicable to the custom I have mentioned. But there is a further difficulty; and I wish to state to the House the whole of the difficulties upon the subject with regard to the statutes for preventing bulls or writings being introduced into this country. No doubt that, according to the statute of Richard II., in certain cases the introduction of bulls, and the assumption of power by virtue of such bulls, would be a very great offence, and would subject the offenders to the loss of their property. That was decided in the case of Lalor, in the time of James I. Lalor having obtained writings from Rome, as vicar-apostolic in Ireland, was desirous of exercising, and did exorcise, jurisdiction in various cases by virtue of the power given to him by those writings. He was prosecuted and convicted.
There is likewise a statutory prohibition, which was passed in the 13th of Elizabeth, and which states the law as it now stands with respect to the introduction of writings from Rome. In the year 1846, that part of the statute of the 13th of Elizabeth which attached the punishment of treason to any offence of that nature was taken away; but it was declared that in taking away the penalty there was nothing in that relaxation of the law which should render it lawful to introduce such bulls or such writings. We might, therefore, have prosecuted, but with the prospect of such an issue as I have stated, under the statute to which I have just 203 referred. But then a further question arises—if these statutes had, to a certain degree, fallen into disuse, would it or would it not be advisable to make a new enactment upon the subject with regard to the introduction of writings from Rome? Now, this an important part of that great subject to which the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. D'Israeli) referred the other night. It appears to me, that if you alter the law you should do so in one of two ways. First, you might make a law containing a general prohibition, such as is contained in the statute of Edward III., and such as exists in the laws of some countries in Europe, enacting that no bull or writing should be introduced that was prejudicial to the King or to the welfare of his people; but the adoption of such a course would, I think, leave the law exceedingly vague, and it would always be doubtful whether or not any particular bull or writing fell within that particular prohibition. Or you might adopt another course—and one which I believe has been very generally adopted by countries on the continent of Europe—it is that of declaring that every bull and every writing coming from Rome should be subjected to some civil authority, and should not have currency, or be allowed to be of force, without the sanction of such authority, or without the omission of any objection to it.
Now, Sir, I do not say that there is any such paramount objection as should pro-vent the Legislature from adopting a measure of that kind; but, at the same time, I cannot but conceive that there might be many grievances attending it. It cannot be denied that the local discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, and its internal concerns, cannot he regulated without the introduction of a certain class of bulls, of dispensations, and writings from Rome. Again, there are writings of a description which some persons may consider would be dangerous to the State, and be an undue interference with the temporal concerns of the people, but which others might consider (although not for a moment friendly to their introduction) to come entirely within the scope of the free exercise of religious communication between the head of the Roman Catholic Church and those belonging to that community. I cannot but think, that if any discretion were lodged in the office of the Secretary of State, or in the hands of a board, upon this subject, we should bring into very fre- 204 quent discussion the propriety of allowing papers from the Church of Rome to be published. In many instances it would, no doubt, be thought that the Secretary of State had dealt unfairly and harshly by the Roman Catholic body; while, in other instances, it would be said that he had allowed writings prejudicial to the State to be published. Now, in this free country, and in this free Parliament, these and other questions would become matters of debate and party dispute. It would, in my opinion, be a very great evil to introduce such additional and irritating topics into our Parliamentary discussions. Therefore, Sir, after much deliberation on this subject, and after a very anxious discussion with a view to come to the best decision that could be formed upon this subject, we have thought it best neither to propose the repeal of the statute which I have mentioned, nor to propose either of such substitutes as those to which I have alluded.
In the present state of affairs, with the great uncertainty which still prevails as to what was the intention of the measure that has been taken by Rome, whether it is the prelude to further measures, or whether it is merely a blunder, committed on the sudden, which will be retracted or amended—in this state of uncertainty I think it far better on the one side not to relax any power which you can now maintain by law, and on the other not to propose any substitute which would of itself be the cause of further debate. I come, then, to the immediate question of the assumption of titles, and I think it is useful upon this subject to refer to that which was declared as the reason of a clause which is now contained in the Roman Catholic Relief Act. Sir R. Peel, in introducing that great measure, spoke to the following effect:—A practice has occasionally, of late, prevailed, in Ireland, which is calculated to afford great, and I may add just, offence to Protessants—I allude to the practice of claiming and assuming, on the part of the Roman Catholic prelates, the names and titles of dignities belonging to the Church of England. I propose that the episcopal titles and names made use of in the Church of England shall not be assumed by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops I call them, for bishops they are, and have, among other privileges, a right to exercise the power of ordination, which is perfectly valid, and is even recognised by our own Church; but I maintain it is not seemly or decorous for them to use the styles and titles that properly belong to prelates of the Established Church, much less publicly and ostentatiously 205 to assume them, as of late. This will be prevented in future.Accordingly, that provision was inserted in the Act, and I find that in the following year there was a pastoral address from the Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops te the clergy and laity belonging to their community throughout Ireland. This address spoke in very warm terms of the kindness which the Legislature had shown in passing that Act. It is worth while at the present time, when the language which has been used by Archbishop Cullen is not quite so respectful to the Legislature and to the Sovereign of this country, to recall a little to mind what was the universal sentiment of twenty-six archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the year 1830. After saying that "the storm which almost wrecked the country has subsided, whilst social order, with peace and justice in her train, prepares to establish her sway in this long-distracted country;" they go on to say—And is not the King, beloved brethren, whom by the law of God we are bound to honour, entitled now to all the honour, and all the obedience, and all the gratitude you can bestow? And do not his Ministers merit from you a confidence commensurate with the labours and the zeal expended by them on your behalf? And that Legislature which raised you up from your prostrate condition, and gave to you, without reserve, all the privileges you desired—is not that Legislature entitled to your reverence and love? We confide that your feelings on this subject are in unison with our own, and that a steady attachment to the constitution and laws of your country, as well as to the person and Government of our most gracious Sovereign, will be manifested in your entire conduct.I think it would be well for Archbishop Cullen and Archbishop M'Hale to refer to what were the sentiments then expressed by their predecessors, the Catholic archbishops and bishops of Ireland, what was the loyalty they expressed to the Crown, and what was the attachment they expressed to the constitution; and to consider whether such conduct is not worthy of imitation. True, they do not pass without notice the clause to which I have alluded, but they refer to it in this manner:—We rejoice at the result, regardless of those provisions in the great measure of relief which injuriously affect ourselves, and not only us but those religious orders which the Church of God, even from the apostolic times, has nurtured and cherished in her bosom. These provisions, however, which were, as we hope and believe', a sacrifice required, not by reason or policy, but by prejudices holding captive the minds of even honest men, did not prevent us from rejoicing at the good which was effected for our country.206 They did not, therefore, while referring to those provisions, ask for their repeal, or do anything more than give expression to a passing regret that such a clause should have been introduced. It seems to me, therefore, if such were the provisions of the Relief Act, if those provisions were passed without objection on the part of Roman Catholics themselves, if they were received with submission and obedience by the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland, that we certainly should be fully justified in proposing provisions of a similar nature with regard to the recent assumption of titles in this country.
For I consider, that, whether the assumption be that of the title of the Archbishop of Canterbury, with the jurisdiction and authority possessed over every part of the archdiocese of Canterbury, or whether it be that of Archbishop of Westminster, with a new diocese carved out of that which is under its present Protestant bishop, is immaterial to the question:—that it is an assumption of supremacy and of sovereignty which ought not to have been authorised by the Pope of Rome cannot be denied.
But there are other questions which are closely and immediately connected with the assumption of these titles. It is believed, and I think not without foundation, that one reason for the change from vicars-apostolic, under which titles the Roman Catholics have enjoyed the free exercise of their religion, and with which for 200 years they have been satisfied; and, to make them bishops with a new division of the country, is not merely to place them in the same degree with the Protestant bishops, but it is also for the purpose of enabling them to exercise, by the authority of those names, a greater control over all the endowments which are in the hands of certain Roman Catholics as trustees in this country. I don't think it would be fitting that we should allow that control to be exorcised by virtue of any of those titles which we propose to prohibit.
If, therefore, the House should give me leave to bring in a Bill upon this subject, I propose to introduce a clause which shall enact that all gifts to persons under those titles shall be null and void; that any act done by them with those titles shall be null and void: and that property bequeathed or given for such purposes shall pass at once to the Crown, with power to the Crown either to create a trust for purposes similar to those for which the original trust had 207 been created, or for other purposes, as shall seem best to the Crown. I do not think a power less extensive than that would enable us to reach the justice of the case. I am aware that in several cases there has been a transfer of property from those who have hitherto held it to other persons who have been named by authority, either from Rome, or by persons assuming to act as bishops under the See of Rome. I was told, the other day, that a priest living near the sea-coast was deprived of an income which he had hitherto held, being informed by ecclesiastical authority that it was found that such property, and such an income, could be more usefully employed for other purposes. Now, I think we should do all in our power to defend the Roman Catholic laity against such acts of usurpation. The clause which I propose to introduce will, in a great degree, do so. If it should be necessary to introduce other provisions for this purpose in the Bill which my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will introduce with regard to charitable trusts, it can be done, and further security can be taken to guard the Roman Catholic laity from that which purports to be a transfer of their property to hands which were not intended, nor had any right to be possessed of it.
There is a more difficult question, which perhaps the hon. Member for Youghall may raise with regard to the means by which the transfer of this property is obtained—those means being a spiritual censure against the priests of the Roman Catholic community. That is a far more difficult question, and one which can hardly be reached unless by the spirit of some of those ancient laws to which I have referred. In the present Bill I do not propose to introduce any provision of the kind contained in those laws. What I propose is, in the first place to prevent the assumption of any title taken, not only from any diocese now existing, but from any territory or any place within any part of the united kingdom. That provision is in conformity with a proposition which was made by the Bishop of London, in answer to one of the addresses which was presented to him. He said that he thought that not only we ought to prohibit the assumption of any title or rank already existing in this country, but any title derived from any place in the united kingdom. Our Bill will agree with that suggestion.
Perhaps I may mention that when I informed the Archbishop of Canterbury that 208 it was not intended to institute a prosecution, he said, "I did not expect that the Government would institute a prosecution; but what I do expect is, that some legislation should take place upon this subject." By the measure proposed I hope to prevent that which I consider to be an insult to the Crown of this country, an interference with the rights of the Established Church of this country, and an attack upon the independence of this nation. By the other clauses to which I have alluded, I think we shall obtain security against any person obtaining possession, under these titles, of the trust property to which I have referred.
I have now stated the effect of the Bill that I propose to introduce. It is, as the House will see, entirely different from a proposal for a new system with regard to the relations between the See of Rome and this country. I think, whatever may be our ultimate legislation upon this great subject—a subject far greater than that to which I propose the present Bill to relate—we are not now in a condition to frame any such measure.
Much will depend upon the temper in which the present measure may be regarded by Rome, and much upon the direction which may be given to him who has taken upon himself the responsibility of representing at Rome the opinions of the Roman Catholic clergy, and of inducing the Pope to assent to the issuing of this document. That individual has it in his own power to remove a great part of the objections which have been felt in this country. If he has been given by the Pope a title which it belongs to the Government of Rome to confer, and has been honoured by an election which has placed him in the band of the Sacred College, I should think that if he has any regard for the welfare of this country—if he has any regard for the peace and stability of the Roman Catholic community—the best course he can take will be to renounce the title which he has assumed in this country, and rather do that which I believe it was his original intention to do, and which he assured me it was his original intention to do—namely, reside at Rome.
But if other counsels should prevail, and if he should be able to instil notions of ambition, or of revenge, into the Court of Rome, we may then, probably (though we can well know the end), look for a long and arduous struggle. With respect to that struggle, the part which I shall take will be guided by that principle which has 209 hitherto always guided my conduct on this subject. I am for the fullest enjoyment of religious liberty; but I am entirely opposed to any interference on the part of ecclesiastics with the temporal supremacy of the realm.
Whenever I have seen in other bodies—whenever I have seen in my own Church, a disposition to assume powers which I thought were inconsistent with the temporal supremacy that belonged to the State, I have not been slow in urging myself, and inducing others to urge, strong and prevailing objections to any such measure. For instance, I may say, that in the course of the very last year, when the proposal was made—which was plausible in itself—to give to the bishops of the English Church a power which I thought would give them a control over the temporal well-being and property of the clergy of the Church, that proposal, because we saw in it a dangerous principle, was resisted, and successfully resisted, by my colleagues, in the place where it was proposed. But, if that is the case with regard to Protestants, who have expressed the utmost attachment to freedom—if that is the case with regard to a church which, like the Church of England, is, I believe, of all established churches the most tolerant of difference of opinion, the most consonant with the freedom of the institutions of a country like this—if that is the case, shall I not far more strongly object to any attempt on the part of the Church of Rome to introduce her temporal supremacy into this country? I cannot, Sir, forget that not alone in ancient times, but in the most recent times, opinions have been put forth on the part of that Church totally abhorrent to our notions of freedom, civil or religious.
It was a very recent Pope who said, "that from the foul spring of indifference had sprung that absurd, and bold, and mad opinion, that freedom of conscience should be permitted and guaranteed to all persons in the State." It is quite as recently that there has been kept up in the Court of Rome a prohibition to study such works as those of Guicciardini, De Thou, Arnaud, Robertson, and even (such was the prevailing jealousy) of the Greek Lexicon of Scapula. When I see in these times so great an aversion to religious liberty; when I see so determined a watch over books which contain, not merely questions of doctrine, but which contain narratives that may be injurious to the 210 reputations of Popes, I own I feel a still greater dislike to the introduction of Ultramontane Romanist opinions into this country. I see, as I stated the other night, a total and entire distinction between the faith of the Roman Catholics as practised by the great men of the time of our forefathers—as practised and believed by the eminent men who lived in France, and who were the distinguished ornaments of the Church, and of the bar of France—there is, I say, a total and entire distinction between the faith of such men and the Ultramontane doctrines, as they are properly called by the Duke of Norfolk, which are brought to us from the Court of Rome. In admitting, therefore, full liberty of opinion to the Roman Catholics, I propose that this House now—and, if it should be necessary, on future occasions—should resist the exercise of that power.
I know, Sir, that in taking this course, we are liable to be misrepresented; and having stood during a long contest exposed to popular odium, and sentenced to exclusion from power on behalf of the privileges of the Roman Catholics, I know it may be said we are now changing our opinions and altering our views with respect to the Roman Catholics. But I do not feel, Sir, I have changed at all those opinions I have held, that Roman Catholics are entitled to be admitted to all the privileges of the constitution. My belief is, that those Acts, as tests of exclusion, which were passed in the reign of Charles II. and James II., were only rightly enacted, because there was then, and very justly, a suspicion of Charles II. and James II., as sovereigns upon the throne, that if they were allowed to employ Roman Catholics in the service of the Crown, not only the loyal Roman Catholics would be employed, but loyal Protestants would be excluded. That, I think, was the ground for the Acts then enforced; and be it observed, that in the time of Elizabeth, when you could trust the Sovereign on the throne, as you can do now, as being animated with feelings favourable to the defence of the Protestant faith, no such exclusive legislation was necessary.
I believe our powers of resistance to Rome, at the present moment, are augmented, because loyal Roman Catholics, attached to the Crown, attached to the constitution of this country, can hold office, and can be admitted to seats in the Legislature. I feel we are much more powerful in entering upon this contest, be- 211 cause we have it to say that we have made no exclusion on the ground of religion; and that if we make any exclusion, it is in defence of the laws and of the authority of the constitution. Sir, I think, therefore, with those feelings, we may say, as the Parliament in old times, as the Parliament in Roman Catholic times said, if we admit those assumptions—So that the Crown of England, which hath been so free at all times that it hath been in no earthly subjection, but immediately subject to God, in all things touching the regality of the same Crown, and to none other, should be submitted to the Pope, and the laws and statutes of the realm by him defeated and annulled at his will, in perpetual destruction of the sovereignty of the King our lord, his crown and his regality, and of all his realm, which God forbid!Sir, the Parliament, the Roman Catholic Parliament of that day, declared—That they will stand with the same Crown and regality, in those cases especially, and in all other cases which shall be attempted against the said Crown and regality, in all points, with all their power.So say I: let us, too, stand against those attempts in all points, and with all our power. His Lordship concluded by moving—That leave be given to bring in a Bill to prevent the Assumption of certain Ecclesiastical Titles in respect of places in the United Kingdom.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the noble Lord at the head of the Government began by laying a foundation broad enough for the large capital of legislation proposed by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. He not only went back to the most distant ages, but had searched Europe through, and had gone through the history of Austria, of Russia, of France, and of Holland for his Act, and, lastly, of England. If he had gathered its purpose rightly from the noble Lord's description, the Bill to be introduced meant that bishops of the Roman Catholic faith should not call themselves bishops of any place in the three kingdoms, or in any part of Her Majesty's dominions—[Lord J. RUSSELL: No! only in the three kingdoms]—and that any property left to them as such bishops should be forfeited to the Crown. Let the House understand, if the person calls himself Archbishop of Westminster the law would operate, but if he called himself Archbishop in Westminster, the law would be inoperative. With the strong opinions expressed by the noble Lord respecting ecclesiastical power and ambition he entirely concurred, but there was one broad fallacy 212 running through every word the noble Lord had said. He applied his arguments to what would apply to a country in which the Catholic religion was the religion of the State, and not to one which did not recognise it. Why had he not referred to the United States, a country in which there was a people numbering 25,000,000 freemen, speaking their own language, governed by their laws, and not afraid of the Pope; it was a gross omission on the part of the noble Lord to avoid the only case which bore any similarity to our own. Could one thing be more widely distinguished from another than France from England, or than Catholic England from Protestant England? The law of France, of Austria, and of Prussia was right, for these reasons—that the Catholic religion established by law contemplated the power of the Pope and the Pope's infallibility as an essential element of their faith; and, as to the quotations made by the noble Lord from M. Dupin, any one who had read Pascal or Arnaud must have known that in the struggle for Gallican liberty it was necessary for them to protest against the assumptions of the Pope, and to resist, because if they had not so protested his acts would have become the law of the land. The reason for these precautions ceased when the country ceased to be Catholic. The noble Lord had declared the Pope's proceeding to be an insult to England, and an encroachment on the prerogatives of the Crown, and on the rights and liberties of Englishmen. His Bill, therefore, had for its object to defend the Queen's prerogative, to wipe away the insult, and to maintain the liberty and independence of the country. The noble Lord complained that the bishops created by the Pope did not put themselves in communication with the Irish Government. If he (Mr. Roebuck) had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and a Catholic bishop had come to him to consult him upon such a subject, his answer would be, "I don't want to know anything about you. You may attempt what you like as far as you are a priest, but so far as the law is concerned we know you not. You may be Cardinal or Archbishop if you please, but you have no power under the law." When the noble Lord speaks of the time of his ancestors, when the Pope was really a great power in this country, and could make the whole of England tremble, and the Monarch yield to his wishes, then, indeed, it was important to consider how 213 his power could be limited, and in what way it might be necessary for our Parliament to stand up against such authority on the part of the Pope. But now the Pope was supported in his position by French bayonets; and if we, by a matter of negotiation, could induce France to withdraw her army, then the Pope might be a vagabond upon the face of the earth. He did not mean to use that word in an offensive sense, but simply to say that lie would be a wanderer in the world. That a person placed in such a position should so far frighten the noble Lord as to induce him to waste two mortal hours of his valuable time to prove the necessity for his Bill, was to him (Mr. Roebuck) most surprising. He had thought that at this time of day such a proceeding on the part of the Pope would be met with ridicule—that it would be met by a greater effort for disseminating information among the people. And depend upon it their Act of Parliament will have only the effect of rivetting more closely that yoke which they said they so much feared, and will make those persons against whom they were directing their legislation to be obedient to that spiritual dominion which the noble Lord so much dreaded. It was all very well to say that if a man pronounced an excommunication or published a bull he should be punishable by law, but let them follow one step further. Suppose the priest who had excommunicated was punished by law, and then said, "I will not absolve,"—what were you to do? And that led him to the noble Lord's ease of Sardinia. Now, Sardinia in that case he would accept as an illustration of his argument. But remember that that was a Catholic country. But what happened, and wherein was derived the power of the priest? Was it from the law? Was it not from the mind of the poor man, even though he was in the agony of suffering? The priest derived his power because he came to that man's house armed, not with the authority of the law, but his power was in the mind of the poor, agonising man, who really believed that the priest had that power which he exercised over him. Well, they could not reach that evil by an Act of Parliament. They might print books after books, issue anathema after anathema—they could not relieve the poor man from that state of mind but by a system of education; and hence the priest maintained his power in spite of all their Acts of Parliament. If they said 214 they would make a law to prevent persons on their deathbeds leaving property to priests and bishops, he would be the very first to assist them, but he would extend; it to all alike. He should fear a Methodist; preacher as much as Cardinal Wiseman—he should fear the Bishop of London quite as much as Cardinal Wiseman. He would direct an Act against them by the general name of "priests," but he would not direct any against a Catholic bishop which; he did not apply to a Methodist preacher. Had the noble Lord even thought upon what he was about? Had there not been for the last half dozen years a constant acknowledgment of the Catholic bishops in Ireland by the names of their sees; and, not only that, but had not the Charitable; Bequests Act expressly appointed a commission partly composed of Catholic bishops, and bad not a Commission issued from the Sovereign naming those bishops by the titles of their sees? Had not bishops been named by persons in authority by the names of the sees in which they resided, and were they not recognised in Acts of Parliament by those names? Why, there was a very stringent Act, which rendered it necessary to record the name of every Catholic priest, and the name of the person by whom he was ordained, and table after table had been filled up under it, naming the various Catholic bishops by the names of their sees. His objection to this measure was, that it was a step backward in obedience to prejudice out of doors—that it was a retrograde step, made because of the feeling of hon. Gentleman opposite. The noble Lord could not be alarmed at the power of the Pope in this country unless he was alarmed at the influence of the priesthood on account of their intelligence, industry, and continued application to the principles of religion. There was something in the circumstances of a Catholic priest coming into this country which exhibited him in an exalted position. He came into a kingdom where he had to meet great prejudice, among a people full of distrust and predisposition to suspect him; and there, though protected by the law, he made no converts but by the influence of his mind over the minds of others, and could derive no power but from his own industry. It was dangerous to meddle with such a power; and all he would say of the noble Lord's law was that it derived its benefit from its utter inefficiency. The noble Lord bad thought fit to warn him not to have faith in what was called philosophy. If not, he wanted 215 to know in what he was to have faith, for, in his sense of the term, to have faith in philosophy meant to have faith in the strength of truth. If he was not to believe in philosophy, he had against the Roman Catholic priest no defence whatever. If the noble Lord said there should be no Catholic bishop, he impugned the freedom of the Roman Catholics, and said they should not have the comforts of their religion; but if he meant they should not be called bishops of any particular place within the realm, he (Mr. Roebuck) would not divide against it, because he considered the measure utterly unworthy of a moment's consideration, and looked on the noble Lord as having, in vulgar phrase, "thrown out a tub to the whale." The description which the noble Lord at first gave of what was necessary to be done, somewhat staggered him, for he thought the noble Lord was about to yield to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, and to deal with the question in a way that would be satisfactory to them. No such thing. The noble Lord simply yielded to the vanity of certain persons; and if the Roman Catholics would follow his advice they would say, "We do not care about calling our archbishop the Archbishop of Westminster—we will give him some other name; he will still derive his power from the Pope, and after your Bill passes he will have exactly the same diocese, exactly the same power, and he will deal with the property which you seek to protect just as he would have done had it never been proposed." Suppose that instead of Cardinal Wiseman calling himself Archbishop of Westminster, he were to call himself Archbishop in Westminster. Your Act of Parliament then would not touch him. But if the Act should be framed to meet that case, he might call himself bishop of any foreign district with power in Westminster. How would you get out of that? How, too, would you frame an indictment under the Act? and if it were in Ireland how would you try it? It was extraordinary that the noble Lord had carefully avoided giving any explanation of the machinery of the Bill. The noble Lord said it was an offence for a Roman Catholic Prelate to call himself Archbishop of Westminster; but he had not stated whether it was to be a misdemeanour or a felony—whether it was to be punished by imprisonment or fine—nor had he declared how he was to be tried. Was there ever such a meagre finale to such an overgrown commencement? The noble Lord might as well have said at the 216 outset that all he purposed to do was to prevent Roman Catholic Prelates from using certain titles, and there an end. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam had called himself so for many years. Suppose he and his brother Prelates were to say, "We have enjoyed our titles for a long time, and we will not surrender them at your bidding; we will resist and test your law and your machinery for enforcing it." Suppose the Archbishop of Tuam, that lion of the Pope, were to write a letter to the Lord Lieutenant, signed by his title, and say that he did so on purpose in order to try the law. How would you deal with that case in a country where nine persons out of ten were Catholics? The Bill would, he feared, be productive of mischief, not advantage—it would cause excitement, not allay it. Carrying out his hypothetical case, he would suppose that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland took up the gauntlet which the Archbishop of Tuam threw down. An indictment would, he presumed, be sent before the grand jury, and then remitted to a special jury. Conceive the state of things in the archbishop's diocese while the matter was pending. Recollect they would be dealing then with a strongly religious, excitable, and he would say a prejudiced people, over whom their clergyman sways a power that none of us can well understand. He has an influence over the minds, the feelings, the passions, and the fears of the persons, not only in that one particular diocese, but all over Ireland. And if a person that was held so sacred in the eyes of the people be once immured in prison by the operation of the law, the peace of the whole country would certainly be endangered under the sophisticated wisdom of the noble Lord. And why was all this? Here was England, which had almost the power of sweeping every sea; whose fleet was to be found in every quarter, and whose fiat might go forth to the world as law; was she, then, to be insulted by a poor powerless priest, who chose to tell another priest that he shall have jurisdiction over the diocese of Westminster? The noble Lord spoke of this authority as if it took away authority from any one else here. What did that mean? Was the Archbishop of Canterbury one whit less powerful because Archbishop Wiseman existed here? Had any of his temporalities been touched? Was his dignity affected? Was he not still the Archbishop of Canterbury throughout this realm? Was he not at the head 217 of the Church of England, and was he less so by this declaration? How was the Queen hurt? Was not the Archbishop of Westminster just as much the Queen's subject as ever? Could he do any one thing against her power or authority? Was the law disarmed because he had taken a particular title in his Church? In respect to the law of the country, he was no more entitled to that name than the head of the Quakers, if they had a head at all, or the Jumpers. If we had made him a portion of the Establishment, then, indeed, it; would become us to look about us; and while he was on this subject, he would remind the noble Lord that there were such persons as the Catholic Archbishop of Montreal and of Sydney, who derived their subsistence from the tithe of land. So that, then, there was an establishment. In respect to the recent Papal appointments, the Government of this country only showed their want of wisdom by taking the slightest possible notice of their position. But why, said the noble Lord, did they not address themselves to the Government of Ireland? Why, the moment they had addressed the Government, if the Government had any communication with them, they would be at once acknowledging those titles which the noble Lord was now endeavouring to abolish. If they were allowed to manage their own internal affairs according to their own fashion, no danger could possibly arise. He regretted not seeing the noble Lord at the head of the Government in his place; but as he observed one of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues there, he would state what he heard in respect to the Earl of Minto. He understood that a letter had been received by the Earl of Minto from a person whom he very well knew, a Scotchman of the name of Abbate Hamilton. This gentleman was a convert to the Roman Catholic religion, and was now a priest. He said that the Earl of Minto was coming, one day, from an audience with the Pope at Rome, when the writer met him. In the conversation which took place between them, the Earl of Minto told him that he had just seen the brief by which the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church was to be established in England; but that he had said that he had nothing to do with that matter, because with the internal rule of the Church he had no concern. That was the language used by Abbaté Hamilton in his letter, who having seen this outbreak of our puritanical hatred to the 218 Pope, communicated to the Earl of Minto this circumstance, and recalled to his Lordship's mind that remarkable conversation. Now, to return to the question, what was I his (Mr. Roebuck's) argument? He appealed to the common justice of the House to say whether the whole conduct of Ministers had not tended and conduced to the belief in the minds of Catholics, that what the Pope was then about to do would give no offence to the Government of this country? If, then, he be answered in the affirmative, he also appealed to their justice not to allow those obsolete laws to be dragged forth, nor this proposed enactment in imitation of them to be passed into law. The noble Lord might point to his past career of long statesmanship to prove his character for toleration and liberality. That, however, was no answer to him (Mr. Roebuck) when he pointed attention to the character of his last proposition. It was useless for the noble Lord to accuse him of misrepresenting him, and to refer to his past career, when he (Mr. Roebuck) pointed to his present acts. It was just as if a person convicted of picking a pocket should allege that he had borne a good character for twenty years. In such a case the judge would say, "More shame for yon!" and so he said to the noble Lord. When the noble Lord turned round upon him with his overwhelming sarcasm, and said that he ought to have credit given him for good intentions, he should have remarked that there was a homely maxim that "hell was paved with good intentions." The noble Lord's intentions might be of the purest character, but his Bill was fraught with mischief, and was wholly incapable of effecting good. Some centuries hence, when people would look back to this period, they would not be so much astonished at the display of stupid bigotry manifested by the people out of doors, as at the position taken by the noble Lord who had been heretofore foremost in religious toleration; that in the midst of this warm gush of anti-Papal zeal, he should be found to yield himself up to the control of the ignorant multitude; and, still more that he should come to Parliament to propose a law which would prove itself the most absurd Act of Parliament that had ever been passed, and one that would disgrace the legislation of the most bigoted times.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had acted wisely, even in the eleventh hour, in not proposing such a measure as his celebrated 219 letter, written some three months ago, had led them to expect, and which had excited a degree of bigotry that would have disgraced any Christian country. The mountain had at length brought forth a mouse. The Bill, however, was one that ill became the noble Lord, as it was utterly at variance with all his previous political history. The noble Lord spoke of the Catholic Primate of Ireland in a manner that was wholly unjustifiable. So far from Archbishop Cullen being an ecclesiastic unacquainted with Ireland, he was for a number of years in Rome as the representative of the Irish people. He was appointed primate by the Pope in consequence of the divisions that were sown in Rome by the intrigues of the British Government there, as it was considered that such an appointment would be approved of by all parties, and give a triumph to none. The noble Lord had also attacked the Synod of Thurles for their proceeding. Upon the subject of education in Ireland, the Catholic bishops had sought for no endowment for themselves. All they sought, and all they asked for were guarantees as to the orthodoxy of those who were professors and instructors, so that no infidelity should be inculcated into the minds of the Catholic youth of Ireland. It was the duty of the Catholic bishops to do this; but then the noble Lord had said that the synod in Ireland had attacked the laws regulating the holding of land in Ireland. The synod had done no such thing. All that the members of the synod had done, was to look to the misery that had been endured by the people, and to deplore that misery. Then the noble Lord had referred to Sardinia, and he had misstated the facts in connexion with that country and the dispute that had taken place between the Court of Rome and the Court of Sardinia. The noble Lord had not said one word with regard to the bad faith that had been manifested by the Government of Sardinia towards the Court of Rome. In 1841 a new arrangement had been made between the Sardinian Government and the Pope; and although that did away with many of the immunities of the clergy, still it was readily consented to by the Pope. In 1848, the Sardinian Government came forward with a new proposition and a new arrangement. It was told that Rome was ready to make concessions. It was then, at the very time when those arrangements were making, that the Sardinian ambassador was withdrawn from Rome without any cause being 220 assigned, the pending arrangements were broken off, and those arrangements that had already been made on the faith of a treaty were abrogated; and all this was done without any consent on the part of the Church of Rome. The new arrangements thus made by the Sardinian Government did not affect merely temporal matters—they interfered with the religious observances and practices of the people; they usurped the powers that belonged to the Church; and they did this without any reference to the Church of Rome. By these proceedings the censures of the Church were necessarily incurred by all Catholics who had taken part in them; and when the unfortunate minister Rosas found himself upon his death-bed, he was told by his confessor that he could not have the benefit of the sacrament of penance unless there was a retractation on his part of what he had done; that an absolution otherwise would be of no benefit to him. The dying man then did make a retractation—that was, a private retractation—and he received absolution. He refused, however, to make a public recantation. Now, the offence was public, and so should be the recantation of that offence. So he was told; but still he insisted that it should be kept private. Under such circumstances, his retractation was of no effect, and the priest was obliged to refuse him the last sacrament of the viaticum. In point of fact, he could not so administer it without being guilty of sacrilege. But then when it came to the archbishop's ears that Rosas had made a recantation, and that he had received absolution, he allowed to him the Catholic rites of burial. The noble Lord had next referred to France; but the state of immorality in that country should be a warning to him that the State derived no benefit from its persecution of the Catholic Church. The noble Lord had next referred to Austria, and to the restrictions that had been imposed upon it in his dominions by the infidel Joseph II. The present Emperor of Austria, however, finding that the Catholic Church was the bond of order in the recent desperate struggle against anarchy, had done away with those restrictions, which had limited and restrained the liberties of the Church. The noble Lord had admitted that it was acknowledged by the law-officers of the Crown, that neither the common law nor statute law had been violated by the recent appointment of Catholic bishops; and then the noble Lord told them of what William 221 the Conqueror had done in opposition to the Pope. Why, the noble Lord might have cited the example of several other monarchs of this country who had interfered with the rights of the Church; but when the noble Lord cited such examples, he would be obliged to admit that the same monarchs who did this were monarchs who invaded the civil and religious rights of their subjects whenever they could; and the strongest examples for the noble Lord's purpose would be found in those periods of history when anti-Popes were set up, and claimed that respect which was alone due to the rightful occupant of the chair of St. Peter. The noble Lord had next referred to the Archbishops of Armagh and of Tuam, because they had not expressed themselves in the same terms of praise that had been used with regard to the working of the British constitution by the Catholic bishops in 1830, immediately after the passing of the Catholic Relief Bill. It was quite true that the Catholic bishops were grateful for the Act that had then been passed, and they then hoped that it would be carried out in the spirit in which it appeared to have been framed. Since then, however, they had found dissension had been fomented amongst their clergy in every possible way by the British Government. As to the supremacy of the Queen, to which the noble Lord had alluded, he said that the Catholics fully acknowledged the temporal supremacy of the Queen. But the noble Lord had spoken of loyal Catholics and of ultramontane Catholics, and wished it to be inferred rather than declared openly, that those who did not acknowledge the supremacy of the Queen in spiritual matters, were ultramontane, and not loyal Catholics. Now what the Catholics were asked to swear, and what they did swear, was this: that the Pope had no temporal or civil power in this country; but they were not called upon to swear, because if they were, they would refuse to do so, that the Pope had not spiritual or ecclesiastical supremacy. And when the noble Lord spoke of spiritual supremacy, and the Catholics acknowledged it, he ought first to call upon the Protestant bishops to agree upon it. Let the noble Lord look to the protest of the Bishop of Exeter upon spiritual supremacy in the Crown. And then, he said, that when the Protestant Dissenters denied the spiritual supremacy, it was too bad to cast an imputation of disloyalty upon the Catholics, 222 because they would not acknowledge it. As to the temporal supremacy of the Sovereign, the Catholics entirely acknowledged it, and none were more determined in supporting it than the Catholics. He was not going to quote Hansard against the noble Lord, although he might take whole pages from it, to convict the noble Lord of inconsistency. He would content himself with alluding to what the noble Lord bad said in February, 1844, about seven years ago, when, in allusion to the titles of Roman Catholic bishops, he said that any attempt at prohibiting them would be found to be a most foolish prohibition; that they might prohibit Archbishop Murray from calling himself Archbishop of Dublin, but that he would be called it nevertheless. That was the noble Lord's opinion in 1844. And now, let the House look at the document creating vicars-apostolic in 1840, and which was encountered by not the slightest remonstrance. He held in his hand the document issued in 1840, by Pope Gregory XVI., increasing the number of vicars-apostolic from four to eight, and in which was set down the bonds and limits of the vicar-apostolic of London; these comprised Middlesex, Herts, Essex, Southampton, Surrey, Kent, with the islands of Guernsey and Jersey. There the territorial limitations were as distinctly set down as in the latter document, which had been so strongly denounced that night, and for which the noble Lord had disturbed the country, and yet found at last that he had so poor a case, that be had to conclude by proposing a measure which was so small, so puny, and so ineffective, that it was only calculated to excite contempt. He told them that they could not, in any way, shake the progress of the Catholic Church. It did not rest upon temporal possession, nor upon physical strength—its power was the power of mind over mind, and nothing that the noble Lord could do, nothing that that House could do, even though its legislation were to be guided by hon. Gentlemen opposite, who wished for much more stringent laws than the noble Lord now proposed, could prevent the power of the Church from spreading, if it were the will of Heaven that it should spread. As to the illustrious individual who was said not to be popular, and who had been referred to, he could say nothing could he so calculated to make him popular and influential, as to find that he had been made the object of a pitiful and paltry persecu- 223 tion. As an Irish Catholic, he said, that they, the Catholics of Ireland, despised any attempt that might be made to revive the penal laws. He almost said, that he defied them, for the Irish had already shown that their spirit could not he broken by penal laws. They regarded with contempt this entire movement, as well as the paltry, useless weapon of persecution which had that night been forged by the noble Lord. He regretted the course on which they were now entering; for although he had often found fault with the proceedings in that House, yet when he considered the many good Acts which had of late years been passed in it, he could not but feel that it was an honour to belong to such an Assembly. When he looked hack upon what had been done by that House during the present century—that, by it had been effected the gradual restoration of the principles of civil and religious liberty—that by it had been carried the emancipation of the slaves—that by it had been put down slavery throughout the I world—that by it had been accomplished a reform in the representation—and by it, too, had been enforced the principles of free trade; he could not but deplore that the lustre of such legislation should be tarnished by the paltry measure the noble Lord had that night proposed to them.
MR. H. DRUMMOND
said: Notwithstanding the great cry which had resounded from one part of the country to the other, he could not rise up against the Roman Catholic Church. He could not refuse to acknowledge that it contained every truth most sacred to man; although he must admit it has been perverted so as to make it fairly a question whether it has not done as much evil as good. He was very much astonished when he was told that this question was not a novel one; because he would defy any Gentleman to point out a single instance in history where a similar case had occurred. He defied them to show him a single State in Europe in which the Pope would have dared to have done that which he had in this. Other occasions would arise when he would feel it his duty to point out how otherwise he should have rejoiced at much that has taken place. He would have done so now, if the question had been confined to its spiritual point of view, because in the present state of ecclesiastical affairs, after the decision pronounced by the Privy Council, by that selected person who might be considered to have spoken with the voice 224 of the Queen; after the extraordinary answer of the Archbishop of Canterbury; after the opinions given by a great many distinguished laymen of the House of Commons, and of the House of Lords, he did rejoice that there was still one church left which had faith in sacraments, and one that would maintain its faith against all that mere politicians could accomplish. But the thing against which they were called upon to defend themselves now was quite a new one. Some Gentlemen had declared that they were incapable of understanding a distinction which had been drawn by an hon. and learned Gentleman, that there was a distinction between the Court of Rome and the Church of Rome. But the distinction is recognised by all the canonists. The Church of Rome was that which had an invisible power over invisible or spiritual doctrines, and confining its power to that alone; whereas the Court of Rome was an external and visible thing, which had a jurisdiction over temporal and material relations. It was a very remarkable fact that the republic of France was obliged to put down lately at Lyons an association or confraternity for some religious purpose which was about to be formed; the French Government declaring that in such cases the secular power alone was to be consulted, and that neither the Pope nor the Archbishop could give any sanction to the contrary. Now what they had to contend against was against the Roman Catholic Church; but they had to contend against that which had been at work since the first age of the Church—the domination of the priesthood, the slavery of the laity, and the extermination of everybody who resists them. The laity were only as baculi in their hands, to be used only when and where their purposes required. In Cardinal Wiseman's edition of the Exercises of Loyola they would find it ordained that no Roman Catholic was to be without a director, from whom he receives directions upon every single thing which he has to do. If that were not slavery he did not know what was. But that was not all. They were told that they ought not to be astonished at these proceedings, not to be in the least surprised at them, although it was in the same breath asserted that this measure of the Papacy was merely a sudden thought adopted by the Court of Rome, and although the Pope declared, from the first moment at which he assumed the far-famed chair of St. Peter, that the Court of Rome never gave up the assertion of their 225 right to dispose of the Crown of England. ["No, no!"] Had they forgotten the bull In cœná Domini? had they forgotten the evidence given before the Committee of that House by the Irish Roman Catholic bishops? Over and over again it had been stated, and not disproved, that the Court of Rome claimed to exercise that authority. ["No, no!"] If hon. Gentlemen went on with these denials he should be obliged to quote, and that lie did not like to do, for quotations wearied the House. To be sure they were told that that bull In cœna Domini had never come in to these countries, and therefore could not apply. That was a little bit of special pleading. For there was a special clause in it which provided that by being pasted on the doors of the great churches in Rome, that should be deemed good service The Pope had over and over again repeated that he had temporal power here as well as spiritual. [Cries of "No, no!"] What! did they want him to produce authorities? The assertion of the power on the part of the Popes was one thousand years old. The present Pope has declared that he thought of this aggression ever since he came to the Papal throne. Now let them see what were its consequences. The last power which the priests exercised in Ireland was to create O'Neil's famous rebellion. After that they were kept down by the penal law. They were not able to do it again, but they never ceased to have the desire. They have kept up from year to year a continual irritation amongst the body of the people, and they have prevented the possibility of the quiet government of Ireland. Bishop Cantwell declared that there was a conspiracy in this House against the people of Ireland; and, in allusion to the Earl of Shrewsbury, he said how dreadful it was to consider that Roman Catholic Peers would join in that conspiracy to starve the people, and to alienate the estates of the Irish, and to make them pass into the hands of the Saxon. The Irish Members have said, that we indeed know nothing about their country, but we legislated with the best intentions; but they have never gone back and contradicted the bishop: we neither cared what he said or what he did not say; but when they went back they had not the courage to contradict this assertion of Bishop Cantwell, addressed to seven millions of deluded Irishmen. Now how had they gone on since Dr. M'Hale said, that the poor-law was purposely intended to starve the people? Bid any one of 226 those Gentlemen who give ns credit for the best intentions contradict that? No, not one of them. And yet it was necessary to remember that these people were taught to look upon the voice of the priest; as if God Almighty had himself spoken, [Cries of "No, no!"] What! was it necessary to quote authority for that also? Was it not the doctrine of the Church, that their superior should be to them as the voice of God? And who were these superiors? Why, the priests. It was these men who kept up this hostility in the minds of the Roman Catholics to English Government. Things went on in this way with the difficulty of governing the country, when the Marl of Clarendon unfortunately consulted them about these colleges. The news was sent to Rome, and they said, "Ho, ho! now the time has come when we have got the confession from a Protestant Government, that they cannot rule a Popish people without our help;" and he sent over that Dr. Cullen, whose anti-English, anti-British connexion with Ireland was so well known. If they doubted his statement he would refer them to the Earl of Shrewsbury's pamphlet, where they would find the character of this anti-English, anti-British Cullen was set down—
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
rose to order. He did not consider it proper that the hon. Member should attribute treasonable sentiments to absent individuals.
Well, Dr. Cullen came over, went back, and made his report. He was at Rome when he heard that Smith O'Brien had sent over to the French Republic to ask their assistance in the contemplated rebellion in Ireland. When he heard the news, he said, "Oh, now the time is come for crushing England; now the time is come to put down Protestantism there." Dr. Wiseman I was there at the same time, and he said to Father Grassi, one of the lieutenant-generals of the Jesuits, "Give me but sufficient power, and I will establish a Jesu in London;" and with that promise he bought his red stockings. It was for purposes like those that the anti-British party sent Dr. Cullen to Ireland, and put him over the heads of all whom the Irish Roman Catholic bishops had recommended for the primacy to the Pope. He had observed that, in the discussion of this question, it had been argued that though the proceedings of the Court of Rome might be fraught with much mischief, and likely to produce hereafter much evil, that was no- 227 thing, or very little, to us, and that we need give ourselves no trouble about the matter. But he confessed himself considerably at a loss to discover how any one could argue so, and at the same time recollect the proceedings in Ireland which the Roman Catholic priesthood adopted in the maintenance of their own power. It was only by anti-English, anti-British sentiments that these men won their way to power. But there were some persons who professed to take a common-sense view of the question, and said that Popery might be a very bad thing; but still, what had this to do with this question? He would show them that it had every thing to do with this question, and for that purpose he need only refer to the papers lying upon the table connected with the poor-laws of Ireland. They had passed a law by which chaplains were to be appointed, whose duty it was to attend the workhouses on a certain number of days. But a chaplain in one of the workhouses in the west of Ireland refused, from some cause or other, to attend the workhouse. He was remonstrated with by the inspector, but he still refused, on which the inspector, as in duty bound, dismissed him; on which Dr. M'Hale wrote to know how the inspector dared to interfere with a priest under his jurisdiction. There, then, was a direct collision between a law they had passed and Dr. M'Hale, who chose to call what the inspector had done "persecution." It was a very convenient thing for the Roman Catholics to call out for a perfect toleration of all religions. But where had they ever allowed that? Was there a single Roman Catholic country where any one dared to use these words? It was only on English soil that such a phrase was at all tolerated; and he would mention a case, to show that that notion was especially opposed by the Pope himself. When the then Pope was completely under the control and in the power of Napoleon, he was asked to consent to a measure by which all sects should be put upon a par with each other. The Pope peremptorily refused that, and declared such a measure to be impossible—that such a recognition of all religions was wholly rejected by the canons and councils of his Church—that it would be inconsistent with the tranquillity of life, the well-being of society, and could not fail to be attended with the most lamentable consequences. That was the opinion of the Pope on the question of civil and religious liberty. Then they were anxious for the education of the Irish people; and to that 228 end they had established what were called the Queen's Colleges. He was rather opposed to those institutions himself; but he saw that the only real objection to them on the part of the priests was, that they tended to encourage freedom of thought on the part of those poor wretched slaves, the laity. As far as he could observe—and it was not his opinion alone, but that to which the whole French nation had come—the object of the priests had always been to enslave the mind and spirit; while the object of all Protestant sects was to give the best possible education to their children which they were capable of receiving. But all their hooks ordered to be used in the Queen's Colleges would be placed in the Index Expurgatorius; and the Queen's Colleges would be at an end if Roman Catholic laymen pleased to remain under the domination of the priests. It was very amusing to hear a person of the ingenuity of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield attempting to put Cardinal Wiseman on the same footing with a Wesleyan minister. Why, what comparison could there be betwixt them? Did ever any one hear a Wesleyan minister, or any other dissenting minister, say that he had a right to dispose of all the crowns and monarchies of Europe? Did they ever hear any dissenting minister declare that every body would be damned for ever who was not of their sect? Aye, his sect, for in the case of the Roman Catholic it was not enough that you believed every article of his faith, still, if you were not on the rock of Peter, that was to say, if you did not submit to the domination of the Pope and the priests, there was no salvation for you. But to come back to the question before them, he must remind the House that this was not a question of names. The whole framework of the hierarchy was altered by the Papal rescript, which made the bishops slaves to the archbishop—the priests slaves to the bishop. As for the poor laity, they could not be worse slaves than they were before. What was their object in this change? Their object was, as it had ever been, and he was glad the noble Lord appeared to have got an inkling of the fact, to get money—to bring the endowments of which Catholic bodies were possessed into the bands of the priests, over which the laity should have no control; and if hon. Members dared to tell the truth, there was no person who ought to be more obliged to the noble Lord for this Bill 229 than the Roman Catholic laity. Then what were they going to do with the convents? Were they going to allow these secret prisons in which young females were confined? Were they going to suffer to be transacted in this country scenes such as he had seen transacted in the convents of foreign countries? It was a pity that hon. Gentlemen opposite never read Roman Catholic works. He would refer them to a theological work which he had been reading that morning, by Busembaum, where they would see what was his opinion of the use of torture in matters of religion. Hon. Gentlemen might view the present danger as a very light matter, because they might happen to know individual Roman Catholic gentlemen who were not slaves to the priests in the way that he had said. But what would they do with the whole body of Papists in Ireland, if the Pope should put that country under his ban? It might be very well for those Gentlemen who had no faith in sacraments to smile at such a supposition; but they ought to put themselves in the shoes of those men who knew the value of sacraments before they judged of their conduct. He believed that the Pope was perfectly prepared to do this, for he never relaxed; he never abated one iota of those pretensions which had ever been put forward by one of his predecessors. Well, then, he asked again, what were they to do with the sacredness of monastic vows? Did they not know that scoundrels were now going about the country stealing children from their parents, and immuring them within the walls of convents? Was there no access to be allowed to such places? What they meant to do he knew not; but he knew that in Bavaria, a Roman Catholic country, no vows were allowed for a longer period than three years. Were they going to allow monasteries to be established as fast as funds could be got to support them, till matters should got as had in Ireland as they found it was in the days of Bode, who, in one of his letters, complains that the multiplication of monasteries had grown to so great an abuse that there was scarcely sufficient men left to defend the country? Another object of this measure of the Pope's was to take away all trust funds from the English courts of law, and to place them under the sole management of Archbishop Wiseman. That was the real gist of the question. The money was the thing. It mattered very little whether they called Dr. Wiseman Arch- 230 bishop of Westminster, or Archbishop of England; but to take the property of Roman Catholics out of the hands of our courts, and get it into their own—that was an object, worth attaining. The Catholics could do nothing themselves. They must receive the sacrament every Easter; they must do penance for every word they might utter against the appropriation by the clergy of these trust funds. He saw a right hon. Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board, who was about to introduce a measure for the protection of poor girls in workhouses; but he could assure the Government that the poor girls in convents in this country required protection quite as much. It was but a few years ago that a remonstrance was signed by thirteen of the bishops and archbishops of Ireland, complaining of the persecution to which they were subjected from the persecution of the English Government, and the gravamen of their charge was, that by the statute of mortmain it was not allowed to a layman, in the last hour of his existence—that sincerest hour of his repentance—to give some of his lands for the salvation of his soul. Had hon. Gentlemen seen a petition of the priests against the bishops, complaining that the bishops went to the death-beds of the laity, and that the priests got nothing—that the bishops took all, so that it appeared the laity had no chance, being both under the bishops and the clergy? Some hon. Gentlemen said, that this was no attack on the Queen's supremacy; but that only showed their ignorance of what the Queen's supremacy was, and the extent to which it went. If they went back to the earliest times—and he went back to these that there might be no dispute about the matter—they would find that the Queen was held by the coronation service of Edward the Confessor, which was very much the same with the coronation service observed now—to be persona duplex and persona mixta, because she was vicarius Christi, who is persona mixta—that was to say, a priest upon her throne. He was speaking now, they would observe, of her spiritual supremacy. In accordance with the same views, she was clothed in ecclesiastical garments, even a Cope and Dalmatic. She sat covered in the house of God, when even the bishops took off their mitres—she was prayed for in the Litany as the head of ecclesiastical persons, not as the head of civil governors —she received tithes by Act of Parliament as a spiritual person—she was 231 anointed with holy oil, which was a symbol of spiritual and not of temporal jurisdiction. Now, he believed that in the present aspect of ecclesiastical affairs in this country that spiritual supremacy could no longer be enforced. He believed they would be called upon to pass some more Acts of Parliament to make this question fit into the present framework of society. They might rest assured they would not keep back the Papal aggression by anything they had done. The Pope would slip through their fingers in spite of them; and if they found that this view of the Queen's supremacy, which was now the law of the land, was untenable, as he believed it to be, let them at least have the manliness to come forward and repeal it themselves, but don't let them suffer it to be expunged from the Statute-book at the dictation of an insolent priest.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
could have supposed during the last half hour that he was in Exeter-hall, listening to some of the minor canons who held forth in that edifice. It was evident that whatever might be the religious opinions of the hon. Member for West Surrey, he was one of that class who did not hesitate to rush in "where angels feared to tread." His speech afforded a slight indication of the evil that this measure of the noble Lord at the head of the Government was likely to produce in this country, and in Ireland. The noble Lord had spoken in strong language of the necessity that had been forced upon him by the Papal aggression, and he was very indignant at the acts of the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman. To judge from the language of the noble Lord, it might be inferred that he considered the conduct of Cardinal Wiseman to fall little short of high treason. If so, did not the law as it now stood afford the means by which to meet the act? The Act of the 13th of Elizabeth was surely sufficient to meet any aggression such as that signified by the noble Lord, if the Government chose to put it in execution; and the opinion of Sir Edward Sugden, one of the ablest lawyers of the day, was, that the existing law met the case. If they had enforced the provisions of the 13th of Elizabeth, cap. 2, sec. 3, the whole proceeding and the accompanying and consequent excitement, would have been prevented. [The hon. Member here read the clause of the Act, which was to the effect that any person introducing into this country bulls, papers, writings, or instruments 232 of the Pope, should be deemed guilty of high treason.] It was true that the penalty in the Act had been repealed, but the offence remained. He believed this Bill, such as it was, to be utterly unnecessary to the country; and, more than that, it was taking the Bill as the noble Lord had described it, a manifest retrograde movement in civil and religious liberty. In the first place, the noble Lord proposed to extend this Bill not only to England, where there had been casus belli, but he condescended also to extend it to Ireland. As an Irish Member, he begged leave to tell the noble Lord that there was no necessity in that country for any measure of the kind. In saying this, he did not speak only upon his own authority, but quoted from authority of far greater weight. During the recent religious excitement, the Archbishops and Bishops of England presented an Address to Her Majesty against what is commonly called the "Papal aggression," in which they styled themselves "the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England." As the "United Church of England and Ireland" is the only Church known to the law, the Irish Prelates, in order to enlighten their episcopal brethren in England as to the name of the church in which they were bishops, forwarded a memorial upon the subject to the Archbishop of Canterbury. His Grace, in his reply, expressed his anxiety to assure his Grace the Primate of Ireland, and his right reverend brethren in that country, that the address had not originated in any desire on the part of the English prelates to represent themselves as a body separate from the Irish Church, and that the reason why no allusion was made to the Church in Ireland was, that in the present instance the movement of the common adversary was immediately directed against "ourselves"—that is, against England. He was, therefore, warranted in saying, on the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that this Bill was utterly needless in Ireland. He declared this to be a retrograde movement, because it was an attempt to ignore altogether the existence of the Roman Catholic Church over the entire empire; and he assorted that that church had been virtually recognised by that House, and by the Government, not only in the colonies, but in Ireland. The noble Lord had himself recognised it as the law of the empire; for there was a paragraph ex- 233 actly similar to that now complained of in a bull which, in March 1843, was introduced into our colony of Australia. The bishop of the province remonstrated with Lord Stanley, who was then at the head of the Colonial department, stating his objections to the introduction of the bull; and that noble Lord no doubt received the remonstrance, coming from such a quarter, with deference and consideration. [The hon. Member here read a letter from the Bishop of Australia to Lord Stanley, dated March 27, 1843, and a circular from the Bishop of Australia to his clergy, dated March 25, 1843.] The House would observe that this was the case of a Protestant bishop in one of our colonies protesting against the introduction of a bull from the Pope of Rome, which was precisely similar to the bull now complained of—namely, to establish and confirm a Roman Catholic bishop in the very sec represented by the right rev. Protestant prelate himself. Lord Stanley, in a despatch of the 12th of September, 1843, acknowledged the receipt of the bishop's letter, but desired that prelate to be acquainted that he (Lord Stanley) must decline a discussion upon the question which it raised. In doing this, he (Mr. Roche) thought that Lord Stanley acted as a sound-judging and discreet statesman; and he must say that the provisions now proposed by the noble Lord at the head of the Government were a direct attack upon Lord Stanley as Secretary for the Colonies, and he hoped that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire would defend his chief. Lot, if the measure was a direct attack on Lord Stanley, and in contravention of our policy in the colonies, what was it with regard to the Earl of Clarendon and the policy pursued in Ireland by him, and also by the late Government of Sir Robert Peel, of which Lord Stanley had been a Member? By more than one Act of Parliament and by innumerable acts of the Executive in that country, we had recognised the Roman Catholic church and the dignitaries of that church in Ireland. The first was the Bequests Act of the 7th and 8th Victoria, c. 96. Subsequently, during the government of the late Earl of Bessborough, a Committee was appointed by a Queen's Letter, to decide who were to take under that Act, and who were not; and in that letter the Roman Catholic bishops wore designated as the bishops of certain sees. They had beard, too, a great deal from the noble Lord, and from his supporters in and out of that House, about 234 interference with the Queen's supremacy. What was the case as to the law upon that point? There was an Act of Parliament relating to Ireland which virtually repealed the Act of Supremacy pro tanto; it certainly was only a local Act, but it was an important one—it was the Dublin Cemeteries Act. It was passed in 1846, and gave certain powers to "His Grace Archbishop Murray and his successors exercising the same jurisdiction which he exercised in the diocess of Dublin as an archbishop." That was a direct recognition of Archbishop Murray's spiritual jurisdiction in the diocess of Dublin; as that Archbishop Murray derived his spiritual jurisdiction from the Pope, it was pro tanto a recognition of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope in Ireland; and he defied any legal Member of the Government to contradict him, when he said that the Dublin Cemeteries Act was pro tanto a repeal of the Act of Supremacy in Ireland. Again, on Her Majesty's late visit to Ireland, the Executive Government issued, in the Dublin Gazette, a notice that Her Majesty was pleased to desire that the following persons should have the entrée of the Castle: the Primate, the Chancellor, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Roman Catholic Primate, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Duke of Leinster, the Cabinet Ministers—so that the Roman Catholic Primate and Archbishop of Dublin took precedence of the Duke of Leinster and Her Majesty's Ministers, the Protestant Bishops, and, as an hon. Member reminded him, the University of Dublin. He was fully warranted in saying that the jurisdiction and titles of the ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic church in Ireland had been recognised by Government. In attempting to extend this measure to Ireland—a measure almost ignoring the existence of the Roman Catholic church in that country—he contended that they were entering on a retrograde movement—they were invading the grand principles of civil and religious liberty. The Bill which had just been introduced was a direct censure on the Earl of Clarendon, who had allowed the Catholic bishops to assume the designation of their sees—to assume those titles to which they had been called by the united voice of the Catholic people, expressed by deputy. He certainly thought that they were wrong in abandoning the policy of their own Lord Lieutenant, and in abandoning, he would say, the principles on which they had been acting. If they passed the present Bill, 235 they would require an Act of Indemnity for the Earl of Clarendon and the Government for adopting the proceedings which they had taken in Ireland in this matter. He maintained that the noble Lord had shown no just grounds for extending the measure to Ireland. The noble Lord had, it might be thought, made out a very strong case for England. England he (Mr. Roche) did not so much regard in the matter as he did Ireland; and he maintained that if they extended this Bill to Ireland they would inflict on that country a measure of practical oppression. He was well aware of the inflammable materials which the late agitation had brought to play in this country; and from what he saw out of doors, as well as from what he had heard within, and especially from the speech of the hon. Member for West Surrey, it seemed likely to descend into a religious dispute and scramble. He wished he could change that feeling into one of anxious desire on the part of the people of Ireland to apply themselves to the regeneration of their country and the pursuits of industry. He feared not only that he would fail in that, but that every one else would also fail, while the noble Lord and those who supported him made aggressions on the Church of Rome. It was not too late, if not to withdraw the measure, to remove from it all that related to Ireland, and he trusted that that course would be taken, for no cause had been shown why Ireland should be included in it.
§ MR. MOORE
said, the noble Lord at the head of the Government had that night displayed an amount of historical research which would entitle him to fill the chair of history in the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. The noble Lord had undertaken to prove, from ancient and modern history, that there was a principle in Popery which required repression—that its full development was dangerous to the Government, and to the community—that therefore it was their duty, in conformity with the practice of our despotic ancestors, and in conformity with the practice of the absolute Governments of Europe, to repress the development of its institutions by statute. But he would ask the noble Lord of what institutions did any despotic Government, ancient or modern, permit the development? To assert that the policy of William the Conquer of, that the policy of the Governments of the middle ages, or of modern Governments which were not constitututional, should be examples to this coun- 236 try, was neither more nor less than to call upon them to adopt the policy of despotic Governments, and to abandon the first and fundamental principle of free institutions. The two principles of Zoroaster were not more distinct and antagonistic than the two principles there involved. Despotic governments of ancient and the present times maintained that it was the duty of the State to repress, restrain, and prevent the development of all opinions which they deemed dangerous to the Government or to the community. But free countries, with a constitutional government, on the contrary, maintained, or rather used to maintain, that it was not the province of the State to interfere with opinion; but that, on the contrary, the free growth and development of public opinion was the very sap and vitality of free institutions; and they held that any interference with opinion was the most dangerous and fatal of all tyrannies, because it restricted, not only liberty, but knowledge and progress. The noble Lord had referred to other countries; but, as the hon. Member for Sheffield had observed, he had omitted the case of America, which was the only analogous one to that of this country. It was a free country, and there the Pope might send as many cardinals as he chose. If they disobeyed the law of the land, they would be punished; if they attempted to subvert the institutions of the country, they would be amenable to the laws; but they might call themselves bishops or what they pleased so long as they kept their hands out of other people's pockets; they might call those who differed from them heretics, provided they avoided the law of libel; and they might inculcate the canon law to their hearts' content, so long as they obeyed the law of the land. But it was said, that even in the time of their Roman Catholic ancestors any attempt of the Pope to appoint bishops to sees in England was always resisted. Why, in those times bishops were not only spiritual functionaries, but also temporal potentates. In the laws affecting marriage, inheritances, and other important matters, they exercised extensive jurisdiction. The Bishop of Durham, for instance, was not only Bishop of the diocese, but also Prince Palatine of the county; the laws were administered in his name; and the influence he might exercise over the temporal affairs of his neighbours might be easily imagined. To hand over the nomination of such potentates as these to a foreign 237 prince, would be to surrender into his hands no inconsiderable portion of the revenue, and a large share of the judicial and executive power of the country. To compare the case of prelatic princes with that of a parcel of poor priests, who received from the State nothing but slight and obstruction, was not only the very pedantry of bigotry, but the injurious sophistry of premeditated wrong. The question in the present case was not whether the nomination of bishops should be placed in the hands of the Queen or the Pope; but whether they should be nominated at all. They protested against the interference of a foreign prince in this matter; but in what condition did they come forward as plaintiffs? Did they come into court with clean hands? Had they fulfilled in any way the duties of a Government towards those men with regard to whom they now deprecated foreign interference. If that wretched man, who was condemned the other day in their criminal courts for ill-treating the person whom he was specially hound to protect, had indicted a stranger for giving advice or assistance to Jane Wilbred, his complaint of foreign interference would not be more preposterous than that of the Government in the present instance. The Sovereign, on her Coronation, protested against the religion of one-third of her subjects. The Government persisted in ignoring that religion altogether, except as a necessary evil to be gradually remedied. The Legislature, per force, under compulsion, tolerated what it had failed to exterminate. If one-third of the population of the empire had not been trodden down into helots, or degraded into savages, it was not for want of will on the part of the British Legislature, which now, while it acknowledged the temporal rights of the Catholics as citizens, still maintained over an entire Roman Catholic people, a system of ecclesiastical tyranny, robbery, and oppression, which had been condemned by the universal verdict of civilised man. Why, he denied that they could make out a case against Satan himself for interfering with them in the spiritual affairs of their Roman Catholic fellow; countrymen. But if the Pope did not nominate the Roman Catholic bishops, by whom were they to be nominated? The State ignored any relations with the Roman Catholic priesthood, except those of neglect and oppression. That dog-in-the-manger policy would not do. There must be either alliance or non-interference. He 238 did not offer any advice upon the adoption of either course, he merely protested against the continuance of a system of obstruction and blockade. The Queen, let her Coronation say what it might, was a great Roman Catholic potentate—one of the greatest Roman Catholic potentates in Europe. Let her come forward in that capacity, and She would find no difficulty with the Court of Rome or her own subjects; but so long as She was bound to protest against the Roman Catholic religion, any interference with those whose functions She was bound to neutralise was a contradiction almost in terms, and the most intolerable of all persecutions. But it was said, that to recede now would be an insult to the people's wishes. To that he answered, after all that had been done during the last fifty years, to take the proposed step would be to insult the people's history. But the agitation of the last three months had been termed a great national manifestation, pervading every class, penetrating into every circle, uniting every party, and carrying with it the whole will, energy, and intelligence of the whole people. And he had no doubt that the people of England believed all this—he had no doubt that they implicitly believed that the Papal aggression, as it was called, had undergone a thorough and impartial discussion during the last three months—that the question had been fully debated, sifted, and considered in all its bearings—and that they had delivered themselves of a verdict so complete, precise, comprehensive, and unanimous as to make doubt impossible, and even elucidation unnecessary. Now, he ventured to deny all these propositions. First, as to the unanimity—it was, at best, two-thirds of the people protesting against the religion of the other third; it was every two men in the street insulting every other third; and though if it came to blows, two to one would be formidable, if their object were to maintain peace and concord, they would find one to two a fearful minority. 2ndly. Had this demonstration been worthy of a great people or a great occasion, if the occasion were a great one? If so, would hon. Gentlemen point out a single great intellectual effort that the occasion bad brought forth: they boasted of the millions of heads that hail been brought together—what had been the produce of the brains that they contained? Could hon. Gentlemen point out a single speech recognised by themselves as a great complete and statesmanlike exposition of the principles and the 239 objects of this wonderful manifestation? Nay, could they refer to one brilliant aphorism—one pregnant sentence—one bright scintillation of genius that had flashed from the intellectual collision? They had been promised a storm, and, lo! a Scotch mist;—no thunder rolled—no lightning flashed; but instead, they had been drenched to their very souls with a dense and dreary drizzle, "one weak, wasting, everlasting flood" of scurrility and cant, from the miserable endurance of which oppression might be deemed relief, and persecution shelter. If it were true that the masculine sense of the English people had retrograded into the second childhood imputed to it by the No-Popery orators—if debt and taxation in the past and future were less evils than the confessional here, and purgatory hereafter; if the giant strides of crime were considered by them of less danger than the infinitesimal progress of Popery—if Puseyism were more dangerous than pauperism, and ultramontane bishops worse than bankruptcy and ruin—then, indeed, it was time for that House to assume its noblest functions and highest responsibility, namely, the asserting against the wild voice of three months' agitation the steady, continuous, consistent, and progressive development of free opinion for half a century. But if the people demanded one thing, let them not imagine they were yielding to their wishes by giving them another. If they asked for resistance to Popery, let them not imagine they were yielding to that demand by declaring that particular bishops should not take particular titles. The agitation began with the noble Lord's notorious letter to the Bishop of Durham. If it were supposed that that letter had been directed exclusively against the recent act of the Pope, a more irrelevant letter could scarcely have been written. But though the noble Lord's shaft flew quite wide of Popish aggression, it did not, however, miss its aim—the pith and point of the noble Lord's attack were directed against a party in the noble Lord's own Church. Nomine mutato de te fabula narratur. The danger was not from the Roman Catholics, but from themselves. They might describe the Church of England in the words in which Ciesar commenced his Commentaries—Ecclesia Anglicana divisa est in partes tres; and although, as in a disintegrated planet, the fragments still revolved in the same orbit, they were held there by no internal bond of mutual attraction or cohesion, but by 240 their central gravitation to the sunshine of the State round which they severally circled. They had first the High Church or Puseyite party, which was strongly suspected of an inclination to the Roman Catholic Church; they had next the extreme Low Church party, which was more than suspected of identity of doctrine with the Dissenters; and they had last the moderate quiet-going Church party, whose motto was "a plague o' both your houses," and who entertained a morbid suspicion that the coach would be upset between them. In that state of things the Minister resolved to reform the Church, and becoming for the purpose himself a Church Dissenter, he began by appointing Church Dissenters to the episcopal sees; hung out the banner of the Sovereign in distinct antagonism to that of the hierarchy, snubbed the bishops, swamped the ecclesiastical courts, blockaded the Church, and stormed the Universities. Now, as a part of this scheme—and in no other light could he understand the noble Lord's letter—that the noble Lord did not himself believe that the assumption of English sees by Catholic bishops was dangerous either to Church or State, did not rest upon surmise or deduction, but upon the express declarations of the noble Lord himself; inasmuch as he found him in 1844 declaring that the statute which prohibited the assumption by Roman Catholic prelates of the names of the dioceses over which they presided, was "a most foolish prohibition;" and inasmuch as in 1846 he had again declared that the prohibition contained in the Act of 1829, as to the assumption of episcopal titles, was "a most absurd and puerile distinction." He (Mr. Moore) was, therefore, bound to believe that the noble Lord regarded the late aggression of the Pope rather as an opportunity than a disaster—rather as a godsend than an evasion—that the noble Lord wished to strike at Puseyism through the ribs of Popery, and make the Romish intruder a whipping boy for the Anglican truant. So far he admitted the plea of the noble Lord, that the offensive portion of his letter was directed against Puseyism; but when the noble Lord asserted that he could not be held answerable for the opinions that might be formed of his letter by others, he reminded him (Mr. Moore), of the vulgar story of the man wallopping his own nigger, and justifying the chance blows he inflicted on passers-by during the operation. The noble Lord had a clear right to entertain what- 241 ever opinion he thought fit on the subject in his private capacity; but for the Prime Minister of the Crown to give vent to every crude opinion he might take up, without calculating the injury he might inflict on the country by setting classes of Her Majesty's subjects against one another, was what he could not assent to. But however that might be, the letter of the noble Lord was clearly an appeal to the Protestant feeling of the country. And what had been the answer of the country to that appeal? Did it contain any nice discrimination between the Cisalpine and Trasmontane forms of Popery? On the contrary, the answer of the people of England was an indiscriminate and undiscriminating protest against all forms of Popery within and without, whether Anglican or Italian, whether vicariate or hierarchical; and if any distinction was made by them between one form of Popery and another, the fire and fury of their protest was rather the more vehemently directed against the Cisalpine than the Ultramontane. The real question was, were they prepared to resist Popery by statute? That was what the people of England called upon them to do, and they ought to receive an answer worthy of their own frank and truth-loving character. But if it were held that the noble Lord and Parliament were bound to listen to the voice of the people of England as expressed in this matter; was no respect due to the voice of the people of Ireland demanding redress for injuries inflicted on themselves? Here, however, it was a case of infliction of wrong. The Legislature were called upon to offer up to the inordinate pride of one country, the wounded feelings and crushed hearts of another. To this proposition, however, Ireland had but one answer to give—that was defiance. The people of Ireland defied the attempt to inflict upon them this wrong. The law inflicting it would not be obeyed in that country; and, what was more, it ought not to be obeyed. It would likewise be disobeyed with impunity; for from one end of Ireland to the other, a verdict would not be got against those who violated it. Was this an example to set to the people of Ireland? The noble Lord said, that if the Bill he proposed was not strong enough, he would go further. Was the noble Lord prepared to go the whole length with M'Neile, and try the gibbet? And if not, how far would he go in the path of persecution? Ce n'est pas que le premier 242 pas qui coute. Let them save themselves, while they had yet time, alike from the agony of advance and the misery of retractation. He might be asked what right had Roman Catholics to religious liberty, inasmuch as the Roman Church had never shown any disposition to concede it to those who differed from it when it had power? He might be asked why, if religious liberty was not granted to Protestants in Rome, it should be claimed by Catholics in England? To this he replied—because England was England; and because he demanded civil and religious liberty, not as a Roman Catholic, but as an Englishman. While he was grateful to Providence for teaching him what he believed to be the true faith, he was also grateful that he was the native of a free country. While he felt proud of his spiritual relations with the head of his Church, he was also proud that he was not the subject of a petty Italian prince; and while he hoped for mercy from God through the faith to which he clung, and the church to which he belonged, he looked to justice from his country through the national rights to which he was born.
§ MR. BRIGHT
Sir, I presume the hon. Members on the Government benches think it is not necessary to speak after the statement of the noble Lord; and on the other side the hon. Gentlemen are rather taken aback and do not know precisely what line to pursue until they have considered it out of doors, and have fixed on the course they are to pursue. Now, the question which we are to discuss to-night is considered by some present to be a light one, and a matter of very little importance; by others it is considered a very grave one, and amongst them is the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who showed more than usual feeling and excitement in the speech he has delivered to-night. I am not about to make many observations upon the course which the noble Lord has taken with regard to this question. The worst I will say of his letter is that I think it was written under feelings of excitement which are hardly becoming a Prime Minister, and which will not add to the noble Lord's character as a judicious statesman. There is also an inconsistency in it, for the noble Lord, in reference to the appointment of certain Catholic bishops, is fearful that it is a breach of the Queen's supremacy, an insult to the country, and in fact that it threatens the independence of the nation. But in that letter he has made a statement which shows that it is not that which excites him; 243 for he states that there is something which alarms him much more than the aggression of any foreign potentate. He says, "what danger, then, is to be apprehended from a foreign prince of no great power compared to the danger within the gates from the unworthy sons of the Church of England herself?" I suppose that the Prime Minister must have forgotten all this, or beyond question he would have placed in the Queen's Speech some reference to the most important danger from which so much was apprehended. Instead of that he goes down in breathless haste to the House, and on the first day or in the first week of the Session he proposes a measure with reference to this trifling and almost imaginary danger; but he makes no reference whatever to the principal danger which menaced the country and the Church. The noble Lord has appealed to the country, I should say to the bigotry of the country. He has met with a response from that bigotry, and a response too from some men who I will admit are not bigoted, but who have followed the banner which the noble Lord raised for them. The end of all this excitement is not yet. The end is not in the little, paltry, miserable measure which the noble Lord appears to be about to bring in to meet this great emergency: but this is only the beginning of a great struggle on which, as he says, we are about to enter. I should not be surprised if, like the person we read of in old, and perhaps fabulous, times, the noble Lord should find himself devoured by his own hounds; and if this measure, which he, for a moment, obtained great popularity by, should end in the destruction of his Government. But I will admit, for the sake of argument, that this is a grave case. I think I may be allowed to do that when we take into account the extraordinary number of meetings which have been held throughout the counties and boroughs of England—I take it for granted that our countrymen do not hold meetings unless they think there is some cause. I will allow that there is a grave reason for all this excitement, which doubtless arises from a belief in the public mind that the Roman Catholic religion is making rapid strides in the united kingdom, and that the measures which have lately been adopted are an indication of its progress. Believing (as I am free to confess that I myself believe) that it would be a great calamity for this people to return from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, and to return again to that church, which they 244 think is nevertheless gaining strength rapidly and steadily throughout all classes of society—there can be no wonder at persons feeling uneasy that the people should be in danger of yielding to it, or falling back to it. Now, this is not a subject for us in Parliament to discuss at all, and we are discussing it in consequence of the errors of our forefathers. The American Minister was in the House, or near the House, when the debate began. He listened to the speech of the noble Lord, and my eyes were fixed on his countenance. I asked myself what can that gentleman think of the people of England and of the Parliament of England—that, in the year 1851, after the experience we have had of so many centuries on this question—what can he think of our common sense, finding us discussing a question like this—an imaginary sentiment and nothing more, while so many great social and political problems are pressing upon the attention of the country and of Parliament, and which it so strongly behoves us rather to discuss and to settle? But, however, we have legislated upon it in past times, and therefore, in any case, it is a question which may be discussed in this House; for now, the noble Lord asks us to legislate more upon it. Now, the real question which we have to consider while this subject is before us is this—how has our past policy tended to correct or to suppress the Roman Catholic religion?—how has it tended to lead the people from the pale of that religion; and how has it tended to make this, what the constitution supposes it ought to be, and what the noble Lord boasts it is, a Protestant country and a Protestant empire? Now, in Ireland there can be no doubt that the Roman Catholic religion at this moment is more prevalent than at any former period since the English conquest of that country. One hundred and thirty years ago a distinguished Irish Primate said that at that time in that country there was one Protestant to five Catholics; I believe, at the present time, the proportion of Protestants to Catholics is still less. I have no doubt, indeed, that the tendency of all our policy in past times with regard to Catholics in Ireland, has been to give strength and permanence to the Roman Catholic religion, and to make it impossible that Protestantism should ever take root in that country. But it is said that in England Catholicism is making progress. I do not much believe that. I believe few Englishmen who are of a different religion 245 ever become Roman Catholics. There is a very large immigration from Ireland to England; and, as far as Lancashire is concerned, there are many families who have been Roman Catholics in all times, and who still remain so. This is the case in Lancashire more than in any other county in the kingdom, I believe. But, in Lancashire, as elsewhere in England, the great bulk of the Catholics are Catholics imported from Ireland. But I am satisfied that, in this country, whatever there is of conversion to what is called Popery, of conversion to a belief either in the Church of Rome or in the Pope of Rome, or to the principles acknowledged by and held by, the Church of Rome, is found among the clergy of the Established Church. Very few of the laity, indeed, I think, are really infected with these principles. Let us look for a moment at the Irish case. We are a Parliament sitting here, the successors of the Parliaments who had this question before them for hundreds of years, whose aim it was to exterminate Catholicism by exterminating Catholics, and who, at one time, drove all the Roman Catholics of Ireland, with few exceptions, into a species of exile beyond the Shannon. From 1690 to 1775–8, the most stringent penal laws were enacted against the Irish Catholics; and it was not because those Parliaments cared one straw for religious liberty that any relaxation in that frightful code took place, but because England was engaged in a dangerous war with the United States, and it was hoped that a relaxation in that code might arrest threatened disaffection in Ireland, and might tend to unite the two countries while the war was being carried on. From that period down to 1829, the process was one of gradual, but slow, relaxation. Every little privilege, and every petty right, gained by the Catholics of Ireland was gained by incessant struggles, and was opposed by large parties in this country, and by one party in Ireland, with a determined and relentless resistance. From the middle of the twelfth to the sixteenth century this country was engaged in conquering Ireland. From the middle of the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth century, this country was engaged in. converting the Catholics of Ireland by force; and from the end of that period up to within twenty years ago it was a system of gradual but slow relaxation. Then we had tried the old system long enough, and any man who had any intellect what- 246 ever might have become convinced that a policy which had failed, after such a trial of hundreds of years, with all the power of the Government of this country to back it, was a policy which had no element of success whatever in its composition, and which might as well be abandoned. But, besides, there has been in Ireland an institution which has many friends in this country. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford is a great friend of that institution. The Irish Church—for I believe it is no longer to be called the Established Church, but the Irish branch of the United Church—has lately become alarmed, and does not thank the noble Lord at the head of the Government for his celebrated letter, because that letter calls attention to the existence of this Church in Ireland. The safety of the Irish Church depends on its being entirely overlooked. This Irish Church is an institution, if I understand it rightly, placed in Ireland for the purpose of converting the Roman Catholics of that country; for the purpose of being the bond of union between Great Britain and Ireland. Observe, now, what this Church has had at its disposal. It has had the whole power and favour of the Crown, and the whole power and favour of Parliament. It has had all the laws Parliament could make to help it, and it has had the whole administration of these laws in its own hands. It has had the army and the police at its disposal. It has collected rates from all the Catholics of Ireland, and it has carried on a war with the peasantry for tithes, to that extent that it has been acknowledged by Lord Stanley, the leader of Gentlemen opposite, that to gain 12,000l. value of tithes, the Government of this country, aiding the Irish Church, had to spend 28,000l. in military and police. It has had all the patronage of Ireland at its disposal; it has had all the dignitaries of State. It has been, in short, a Church of ascendancy and of domination in Ireland. What is more, it has had an amount of property at its disposal equal to at least a principal sum of 20,000,000l., the annual income of which has been received by its bishops and its ministers. This Church has been allied with the civil power; and there has not been an act of oppression which the civil power has committed in Ireland which has not been committed either in obedience to that Church, or with its most cordial and constant assent. Nay, more, that Church has denounced every statesman who ever made an effort 247 to give anything like freedom to the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. The noble Lord at the head of the Government has himself been denounced within my recollection by those in favour of the Church of Ireland, because he was suspected of being friendly to the rights and liberties of our Catholic fellow-subjects. And, after all, the Irish Catholics have not been exterminated, and their religion has not been suppressed. It is a common saying, and it is an accurate saying, that truth is indestructible. But let the House remember that there is another thing which is indestructible, and that is a persecuted error. Now, I hope those Gentlemen who sit near me, I allude to the Irish Members, will not for an instant suppose, when I speak of their church as being a church of error, that I am to be understood as saying anything offensive to them. I hold opinions very different from the opinions they hold, and would treat their church with all the deference and consideration which I could ask them to maintain towards my own. I was stating that this Irish Church had been leagued with the civil power. I recollect a saying of a very ancient father of the church, who lived, I think, in the eighth century, which is applicable in this case. Speaking of the difficulty he found in converting the Saxons, he said of the missionary clergy, that had they entered on the work of conversion with kindness and generosity, had they been as zealous in manifesting Christianly conduct as in collecting tithes—Sint Prœdicatores, non Prœdatores— had they been preachers, not plunderers—their difficulties would have been considerably less. The Church of Ireland said to the Government of this country, "If you will defend me with the sword, I will defend you with the pen;" and so these two powers have always gone together in Ireland; and the result is this, that I think it capable of demonstration that the system pursued by them together—assuming the Catholic religion to be less pure than the Protestant religion—is at the root of that extension of Catholicism which we now find in Ireland, and is the real cause of that pertinacious adherence to the Church of Rome which has characterised Ireland more than any other Catholic country in Europe. I wish hon. Gentlemen could for a moment imagine themselves Irish Catholics, with this Protestant Church and this Protestant State ruling them as the Irish Catholics have been 248 ruled, and you will at once see that the system we have adopted would have been enough to make Catholicism not only a faith, but a patriotism—and that every Irishman who abandoned Catholicism and became a Protestant, abandoned not only his church, but committed himself to a party who were the greatest enemies to the peace and tranquillity of his country. Well, the Catholic religion triumphs; and the territorial system you adopted is now breaking down by the dispersion of landed property under the Incumbered Estates Act. That territorial system oppressed the peasantry, and has so greatly impoverished them, that annually, for some years, great numbers of them have been forced to exile themselves from Ireland. Lancashire, and all the great towns and other places where employment is to be had, are now crowded with a population which, but for the Government of this country with regard to Ireland, would have been living comfortably, and industriously, and prosperously in their own land. Well, this is a fitting retribution. I wish some one capable of such a work would write a history of the retributive justice which has overtaken this country in relation to its dealings with Catholic Ireland. Catholicism, we are told, is spreading; and I admit that it does appear to be spreading. But I believe those appearances arise from the circumstances I have before referred to. Our legislation, then, has borne fruits to Rome both in Ireland and in England. Let us inquire as to England. England shows symptoms of returning to Rome. But where are these symptoms? In the people or in the clergy? Why, the noble Lord's letter tells us where it is. The noble Lord has discovered that that great institution, which was supposed to be the bulwark of Protestantism, turns out to be a huge manufactory of a national or home-made Popery. I do not mean to say that those who are retrograding are willing to recognise the supremacy of the Pope; but it is a fact that they do adopt the principles of the Papal religion, such as a sacramental Church, the special powers of priests, and the subjugation of the mind to the priestly influence. I recollect travelling with a clergyman of the Church of England lately, and he said frankly that he thought the great evil of this country was its Protestantism. Again, this very month it happened that I met two clergymen in one day—and they quite as frankly 249 told me that they did not hold the doctrine of the supremacy of the Queen with respect to the Church at all. Turn for a moment, then, and consider this English Church. This English Church has been: established very much as it now is for nearly three hundred years. It has been called the bulwark of Protestantism. Let us examine what this Church has had at its disposal; and I will, if I can—but many will think I cannot, doubtless—examine it with something like impartiality, It has had the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge at its disposal. Dissenters, I believe, cannot go at all to Oxford, and they do not get on very well at Cambridge. It has had some two dozen bishops in the House of Lords. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said to-night that he was strongly opposed to ecclesiastical influence in temporal affairs. Why, if we walk to the other House, we see twenty-four or twenty-six bishops, and it is a remarkable fact that they always sit behind the Government. When a Minister crosses the House the bishops stay where they are; they always keep the Government side. One of these bishops, or rather an Archbishop, has an income of 15,000l. a year. I heard the noble Lord, when this Archbishop was appointed, state that an arrangement had been made by which the salary would be brought down from its hitherto unknown and fabulous amount, to this 15,000l. a year; and the noble Lord said, with a coolness I thought inimitable, that he hoped this would be quite satisfactory. The noble Lord, however, has a humble idea of his own services, and did not propose on the Salaries' Committee of last Session to give the chief officer of the Government more than 5,000l. a year, though it would be difficult to say what bishop had ever done one-tenth of the service to the country which the head of the Government was in the habit of performing. Not only, however, here, but wherever they travel, these bishops and archbishops are surrounded with pomp and power. A bishop was sent lately to Jerusalem; and he did not travel like an ordinary man—he had a steam-frigate to himself, called The Devastation. And when he arrived within a stone's throw, no doubt, of the house where an apostle lived, in the house of Simon the tanner, he landed under a salute of twenty-one guns. The other day in a Bombay paper I saw that the Bishop of Madras had been leaving that port, and as he passed out he was honoured with a salute 250 due to his rank and dignity. I believe hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House think more honour due to bishops than to peers, and consider that to speak against the Established Church is a sort of crime very nearly akin to high treason. This Church of England has the Crown in its favour, the Parliament at its back, and the noble Lord himself has a compact with the bishops. This has been the case since the noble Lord has been in power from 1846, having, no doubt, taken warning by what took place when he was formerly in office. He has obviously a league offensive and defensive with the bishops; he is to let the bishops alone, and they are to let him alone. This Church has the Army, the magistracy, and the police, at its disposal and in its favour. It has from 10,000 to 15,000 priests spread over all the parishes of England. One half of these, 5,000 are presented by private patrons. I make no charge against these ministers of the Established Church. Many of them are not to be surpassed by the ministers of any church. There can be no doubt that the Church which has stood so long, and which retains still so much of the affection and respect of the people of this country, must contain within its borders great numbers of men of great piety and great services, and is not to be treated lightly. But still it is a church of ascendancy and domination. It has had votes of money from Parliament to almost an unknown amount. It has a revenue of millions, of which the Parliamentary plummet has never sounded the depth. Well, and where now is this Church? In the year 1850, after an existence of three centuries, it has not only not saved the country from the Pope, but, according to the statement of the Prime Minister, it is deeply infected with Popery itself. Now, I ask, if your machinery in any other department had as totally failed in effecting the purpose for which it was established, would you not entirely get rid of it? This Church took its original from Henry VIII.; it was fixed where it is by Elizabeth, she hating the Pope at Rome because she was herself Pope at home, and it was to her imperious and tyrannical despotism more than to anything else we owe the fact that what was called the Reformed Church of England is not really reformed. I do not blame this Church as being worse than any other church. I only say that any other church, under similar circumstances, would have brought about the same result. In the reign of James I. it was 251 a church of tyranny and persecution. In the reign of Charles I. it did much to overturn the monarchy; for prelacy united with the Crown was so heavy, it sank the Crown. In Charles II.'s time Dissenters were persecuted right and left; and all the members of the sect to which I belong were, I believe, at one time in prison. This went on to the time of the Toleration Act. Well, the revenues of the Church still remain enormous—no one knows how much, for Parliamentary orders are never properly complied with in this matter—but the Church is still the opponent of every legislative reform. The Church was a political Church to begin with as its articles show, and as long as it was merely a political church it worked on tolerably harmoniously. But there is a new danger to the Church just now; and I believe that its own most honest members are now unconsciously so acting as to ensure the final overthrow of the establishment. Looking to the present condition of the Church, I really feel commiseration for it myself. [A laugh.] Yes, and I can feel a sympathy for the Wesleyan body, rent as it is with a schism. It is indeed not a light matter that any church should be afflicted with the troubles which now afflict the Church of England—its characteristics disputed by its own preachers—its creed questioned by its members; and split up, as it is, into three or four—at least three—bodies. Sects of Dissenters feel no kind of hostility towards each other, compared with the deep and abiding hostility actuating the different sects of this one Church. I believe there is not a man in this House would say that the Church of England would last for a month as a united Church, if it were not for its connexion with the constitution and government of this country, and if it were not for the vast revenues which are placed at its disposal. In such discussions as these the principle of the establishment must come up. Well, Ireland repudiates your Establishment; and so far as it exists there, it will have to be abrogated. Scotland, where the great majority of the population is Presbyterian, also repudiates your Establishment. In Wales, nine-tenths of the people are Dissenters. In England a very large and intelligent, and powerful portion of the population repudiate your Establishment, as well as your ecclesiastical supremacy. The measure, then, introduced by the noble Lord at the head of the Ministry, is in my 252 opinion—and I speak it not offensively—nothing better than a sham. I believe the only effect of it can be an attempt to bolster up the ascendancy so long maintained by the Church Establishment, an establishment, the noble Lord says, the most tolerant on earth. This pretence of the noble Lord for religious liberty—I use the phrase in no offensive sense—is just now very curious. He forgets there is an ascendancy Church, which, whilst it repudiates the advances of Roman Catholics on the one hand, also repudiates the advances of Dissenters on the other. I admit there are some Members of the dissenting body joined with him in this cry. There exists a body calling themselves the representatives of the three denominations of Protestant Dissenters; they have the privilege of audience of the Queen, and seem eager to seize every opportunity of exercising that privilege. However, these do not represent the Dissenters of this country. Many of them reside in London; and their influence is almost unknown in the country. In the north of England the Dissenters have unanimously held aloof from the roar that has been got up in reference to this question. For the benefit of the Dissenters, and for the information of the noble Lord, I would like to state one thing that, in my mind, hears much upon this question of religious liberty. I was lately reading the life of Dr. Fletcher, of Stepney, a minister of the Independents. I want to show how Dr. Fletcher, who enjoyed the privilege of presentation to Her Majesty, was treated by the Church which has just been represented by the noble Lord at the head of the Ministry as a most tolerant establishment. On the 14th of November of the same year (1841), he (Dr. Fletcher) preached a sermon on the occasion of the birth of the Prince of Wales, which, at the request of his young people, he published, under the title of The Birthday. This was not only the last sermon he ever published, but also the occasion of a correspondence which deserves mention, as illustrating the position in which the Established Church of this country places all who are not of her pale in reference to the Sovereign of the realm. Thinking that the relation of the sermon to an event in which the sympathies of the Queen and the loyalty of Her subjects were alike concerned, justified such a course, Dr. Fletcher transmitted a copy of the sermon, through the Lord Chamber- 253 lain, Earl Delawarr, to Her Majesty, with the following note:—Her most gracious Majesty's acceptance of the sermon accompanying this note is humbly requested by Her Majesty's most loyal and de voted subject, J. FLETCHER.Mile-end-road, Jan. 17, 1842.In the course of the next month, Earl Delawarr sent a note to Dr. Fletcher, stating that, after having given to the request every consideration in his power, he had arrived at the conclusion that it would be inconsistent with his duty, "as a public officer," to present the publication to Her Majesty, as it had not, and obviously could not, have "the sanction of the Established Church." Dr. Fletcher wrote in reply to this communication, asking for more definite reasons, if they could with propriety be given, for refusing to place in the hands of Her Majesty a sermon, which was not only expressive of personal gratification on the part of the author at the event which occasioned it, but which might be considered as a specimen of the loyal and affectionate feelings with which a large class of the subjects of the realm regarded Her Majesty. He did not call in question the right of Earl Delawarr to exercise his discretion on all works sent to him for presentation; but having frequently been presented to Her Majesty in the capacity of a Dissenting minister, and as a member of a body whose privilege of approach to the Throne on public occasions was acknowledged ever since the reign of Queen Anne, he felt it somewhat strange that the mere circumstance of his not being a minister of the Established Church should now be the reason for refusing to comply with his request. The Lord Chamberlain returned the following answer:—17, Upper Grosvenor-street, March 12, 1842.Sir—In reply to your note of the 9th instant, I have the honour to state that I consider the fact of your discourse having been delivered in a dissenting meeting is of itself sufficient to justify me in declining to present a copy of it to the Queen. With many apologies for having detained the copy so long, I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant, "DELAWARR.Now, I do not think that that shows any great disposition on the part of the Church, or of the Government of which the noble Lord (Earl Delawarr) was a Member, to regard the Dissenters and Churchmen with an equal eye. I could show how this Church acts year after year. I could show how a gentleman of the same name as the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown—but I should be sorry to think a member of his family—in a parish of 254 this city enters, not bodily but by proxy, a meeting-house of the society to which I belong, and where their meetings are held, and annually strips it of its furniture—some forty chairs, with tables, which, year after year, are removed to pay the minister of the most tolerant Church on earth. Yes, in the midst of this great city, whose municipal and parochial authorities have absolutely frightened the world with the hub-bub they have raised on this question, such acts as these are of annual occurrence. But allusion has been made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield to the treatment which a question like this would receive in America. I wish to give an illustration of the way in which the Roman Catholic religion is there dealt with. In the United States the Roman Catholic religion is professed chiefly by the emigrants from Ireland and from Germany. I was lately speaking with an intelligent gentleman of that country, and one well acquainted with religious parties there; and he assured me it was a rare thing to find a native American become a Roman Catholic. The emigrants were of that faith, but many of the succeeding generations went out of that communion. The ceremonies of that Church were not so rigidly carried out there as they were here. The gentleman assured me there were cases of secession from the Roman Church, such as were never known and never would be known in this country under the existing system. I find the following paragraph in an American paper, the New York Independent:—The Philadelphia papers of Saturday contained a notice of the organisation of a new German church in that city on the next day, composed of a number of Catholic German families, who have openly seceded from the Roman hierarchy. These instances of secession have become quite frequent; and, as the influences of our free Protestantism are felt, will become very much the fashion of the emigrants, particularly the Germans. In Cincinnati, the editor of the Louisville Herald states, there are already seven of these communions, some reformed, others evangelical, and all independent. They receive the Scriptures as the rule of faith, and many have the appearance of truly converted persons. All the churches have pastors, four of whom are regarded as rationalists, and the other three as evangelical and highly exemplary. In other cities the same is true—probably, in most of the larger cities, there is more or less of this distinctive secession from Rome. What with these refractory emigrants, and the universal tendency of the children of Catholics to think for themselves, the prospects of Popery in this land are not so bright as to discourage Protestant labour and prayer for their good. The field which is thus opening before the church is exceedingly broad and promising.255 This American gentleman also informed me of a circumstance that had occurred at Baltimore. In that city there is a church with a congregation of some 200 members, and two clergymen, who lately seceded from the Church of Rome. What was their conduct in seceding from that church? They fixed a day to meet their congregation in the chapel. They had lighted candles in the church, with curtains excluding the light of day through the windows. One clergyman delivered a discourse containing not a single word of vituperation as regarding the church he was about to leave, but stating plainly, clearly, and forcibly his reasons for seceding. At the close the candles were put out and the curtains drawn from the windows: thus as it were excluding the artificial light for the broad beam of day. But as long as the Church of England acts as she does, there can be no secession from the Church of Rome, or from any other persecuted church. The system of the Church of England makes it impossible for her to make converts from the Roman Catholic Church. Lord Burleigh, the great Minister of Elizabeth, who was not at all favourably disposed towards the Puritans, used to remark that, "though the Puritans were too squeamish in their scruples, their catechising and preaching were the best means of preventing the growth of Popery." I must confess, were I a Roman Catholic, it is not by being dragooned into a belief that would make me accept it. No, but by being encouraged and assisted in the discovery of truth, and then, when I had found it, to embrace it. And, let me tell you, until you get rid of this system of oppression by the power of law, I believe the Roman Catholic religion will continue to submerge not alone Ireland, but also a great portion of this country. As for the measure introduced by the noble Lord this evening, I believe it to be quite impotent for any useful purpose. If the matter was worth the trouble of writing his celebrated letter, and the outcry he has made about it, it was worth a more substantial measure of legislation. But this Bill, if it is to have any effect, is but a further step in a long career of legislating against the Catholic religion—a career which has been wholly unsuccessful; or it is intended further to bolster up an Establishment opposed to civil liberty, and deeply infected in its clergy with all that is evil in the Roman Church. I will neither legislate against the Catholics, nor in support of the Estab 256 lishment; and however much the noble Lord may succeed in gratifying the passions, or in satisfying the prejudices of his followers out of doors, I see nothing but evil in the course he is pursuing, and therefore I must withhold my consent from this mischievous Bill.
§ MR. DISRAELI
Sir, I wish to recall the attention of the House for a moment from that controversial rhetoric, of which, I fear, the policy of Her Majesty's Government affords the House a considerable prospect for the rest of the Session. I wish to state the reason why I shall give my vote for the introduction of this measure. I shall do so because I think it important that the people, the community in general, should see what is the result of that remarkable agitation which has been fostered by the Government, and which has led, I admit, to a national demonstration, seldom, perhaps, been equalled. I cannot but think that, to-morrow, when the report of the contents of this Bill shall become known to the country, there will be experienced a feeling of great disappoinment, I will add, of great mortification. Let us remember for a moment what this Bill is intended to combat. It is to combat "an aggression." Let the House remember the origin of that now familiar but fearful term. It was the expression of the Minister, selected by himself, and offered to the country as a reason for that appeal, both to the passions and the reason of the nation, which he in his wisdom felt it his duty to make. This, then, is the weapon by which the First Minister of the Crown, after three months of unexampled agitation in the country—after three months of consultation with his colleagues—this is the weapon which he has prepared for defending the Church and the State from that great "aggression" which he has so vehemently denounced. I confess I do not think that the weapon in equal to the office for which it is intended. I think that many persons will be of opinion that it is a somewhat small result after the antecedents that had so attracted public notice. Was it for this that the Lord High Chancellor of England trampled on a cardinal's hat—amidst the patriotic acclamations of the metropolitan municipality? Was it for this that the First Minister, with more reserve, delicately intimated to the assembled guests that there had been occasions when perhaps even greater danger was at hand—as, for instance, when the shadow of the Armada darkened the seas of Eng- 257 land? Was it for this that all the counties and corporations of England met? Was it for this that all our learned and religious societies assembled, at a period the most inconvenient, in order, as they thought, to respond to the appeal of their Sovereign, and to lose no time in assuring Her Majesty of their determination to guard Her authority and Her supremacy? Was it for this that the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge—that the great city of London itself—went in solemn procession, to offer at the foot of the Throne the assurance of their devotion? Was it for this that the electric telegraph conveyed Her Majesty's response to these addresses, that not an instant might be lost in reassuring the courage of the inhabitants of the metropolis. And what are these remedies? Some Roman Catholic priests are to be prevented from taking titles which they had already been prevented, to a very considerable extent, from taking by the existing law; the only difference being that now they are to be prevented from taking a territorial title which has not been assumed by a Prelate of the National Church; while it seems that to that provision there is to be attached a penalty. But a penalty to what amount? One of 40s., perhaps. That is not yet stated, but a penalty of that amount would, in my opinion, be worthy of the occasion. Is this all? Is a piece of petty persecution the only weapon that we can devise on a solemn political exigency of this importance? At the best, a great political exigency is met by a remedy purely technical. Not a single principle is asserted; not a single principle is vindicated; and in my opinion no substantial evil will be remedied. But mark the address by which this insignificant project is introduced. I grant you that between the project and the proem the difference is most significant. If the noble Lord had been about to introduce a proposition for the revival of the penal laws, the proportions of his speech could not have been more colossal. Sir, I well remember that when the letter of the noble Lord first appeared, an appeal was made to me by my constituents, and I recommended them to pause before they acted, and thoroughly to understand the question which was at issue. I told them it was not sufficient to record their loyalty to the Crown, and hurry onto some hasty, and, probably, some crude act of legislation; but that this was a wide, a comprehensive question, and that it was 258 impossible to legislate for England on the subject without at the same time legislating for Ireland. What was the answer of the authorities apparently connected with the Government, and who at that season of the year could alone influence opinion? They derided the idea of legislating for Ireland. We were told that was an exceptional case; that the circumstances were perfectly distinct; and that it was not the intention of the Minister to make his measure apply to Ireland. But mark the speech of the Minister to-night. It was no longer the Papal aggression of October or November that the noble Lord lays down as the foundation of these new laws. I find the noble Lord going at once to Ireland, and seeking, as the basis of his legislation, the Synod of Thurles, and not the visit of Dr. Wiseman to England. But, after having treated the question of the Synod of Thurles in a spirit, I am bound to admit, worthy of the subject—which is a great, a serious, even an awful subject—what does the noble Lord do? He immediately introduces a Bill which bears no reference whatever to the Synod of Thurles, or any synodical action in any of the kingdoms of Her Majesty. Why, these are inconsistencies which, after three months of inconsistencies, I confess excite my astonishment. I did expect that the Government, after their frequent councils, and the opportunities which they possessed of becoming acquainted with the state of public feeling on the subject, would at least have brought in a measure consistent with the exposition of the First Minister. And now, Sir, what is the excuse, if I may use the term, or what is the reason given by the noble Lord to-night for this strange contrast between his introductory statement and his remedial proposition? It is, forsooth, that he begins to believe that the business is an insignificant one.
How does the noble Lord now describe the Papal aggression—that Papal aggression that for three months, through the instrumentality of the noble Lord, has excited the passions of the whole people? The Pope's letter is described to-night as a "blunder of the sudden." It is now the opinion of the noble Lord, that, after all, the conduct of the Pope has been nothing more than a "blunder of the sudden"—a somewhat strange phrase, and one which, perhaps, some persons might think applicable to some other letters. But, Sir, I cannot admit that the conduct of the Pope has been precipitate, or not duly matured and considered. I form this opinion from 259 circumstances of public notoriety, and from the gradual occurrence of incidents and events, which, I think, might have well justified his Holiness in the course which he has adopted. When I recollect what has occurred in Ireland and in the Colonies with respect to Roman Catholic bishops—when I recollect that the Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of our Sovereign, has been in indirect communication with the Pope himself—that he has expressed his veneration, his high veneration, for the character of his Holiness—that he has consulted him and deferred to his judgment—I cannot agree to the allegation of the noble Lord, that the conduct of the Pope, right or wrong, was a sudden act, or was a course of behaviour or policy adopted without due reason and due encouragement. But besides all that occurred in Ireland and in the Colonies with respect to the introduction of Roman Catholic prelates; besides the letter of Lord Clarendon—a letter which has never yet been vindicated—in which the noble Lord expressed for the Pope a feeling of veneration, and deferred to his judgment—I cannot forget the manner, not very long ago, in which the First Minister of the Crown expressed himself, on the subject of a Roman Catholic Relief Bill. The passage is one to which I referred the other night from memory, but which, strange to say—numerous as have been the citations from the speeches of the noble Lord—has never yet been quoted during these debates. According to our authoritative record, thus spoke Lord John Russell in the month of July, 1845:—He believed they might repeal those disallowing clauses which prevented a Roman Catholic bishop assuming a title held by a bishop of the Established Church."—[Hansard, Third Series, lxxii. 290.]The noble Lord saw no objection whatever, a few years ago, in the year 1845, to a Roman Catholic bishop even assuming a title held by a bishop of the Established Church. He had no objection then to Dr. Wiseman's coming to this country, and styling himself Archbishop of Canterbury. The noble Lord proceeded as follows:—"He could not conceive any good grounds for the continuance of this restriction." Now, does the noble Lord suppose that the opinions of so eminent an individual on a subject of such paramount interest are not duly noted and duly known—that such opinions, expressed in the House of Commons by such a man, are not immediately furnished to the Vatican? And when the Pope was 260 aware that these were the opinions of so eminent a personage—when the representative of our Sovereign was himself indirectly communicating with him in a tone of deferential homage—when he might read in the records of the Irish Court that his archbishops and bishops took the highest precedence—an unfortunate occurrence, now satisfactorily accounted for, though a more convenient subordinate never yet appeared in a public discussion—I ask the House, is it just, is it fair, is the noble Lord authorised to state, to-night, that the conduct of the Pope was "a blunder on the sudden?" Sir, I need not enter into the question whether a formal communication was made or not to my Lord Minto upon this subject. But this I will say, that we have heard details to-night which prove that some communication was made; and certainly I am very much surprised that an envoy on a mission so confidential, after having been apprised by the candour of his Holiness that there was something here which touched England nearly, should never have had the curiosity to ask what it was—that he should never have had the curiosity to say, "Pray, what is it?" In his next mission I have no doubt that Lord Minto will profit by his past experience; and I might observe, that of all public men employed in public missions, Lord Minto has run the most remarkable course. There are financial reformers present who have animadverted on, among other things, the diplomatic expenditure of the country. Now I confess, that so far as I can form an opinion from the operations of the distinguished amateur, whose name has been so frequently brought before Parliament of late, I have been led to the conclusion that in the case of missions, whether open or secret—whether for war or for peace, or even for religion, it would be better to employ the services of a professional diplomatist. In my opinion the course which Her Majesty's Government are now taking is not merely one very unsatisfactory as regards the present, but extremely perilous for the future. I think it a great evil, after all that has occurred, to baulk the feelings of a nation; but I regard that as a minor evil compared with the prospect which is held out to us by the noble Lord this evening, of ulterior measures and of future legislation. The noble Lord seems to me to have chalked out for himself an illimitable career, which is to commence with petty persecution, and perhaps terminate with 261 national disaster, while it can never accomplish a solution worthy of a great statesman and a great public emergency. What is the prospect before us? Suppose there is another Papal aggression—and by the encouragement which the last has received, I think we may count on the probable occurrence of such an event—there is then to be another measure adapted to the new insult on the supremacy of the Sovereign. We are then to have party passions still more embittered; public prejudices still more excited, rancour, hatred, malice, and the odium theologicum prevalent among all classes. A new mea-sure will probably produce another aggression, another "blunder of the sudden;" and these "blunders of the sudden" may be perpetually recurring year after year, to be met by some law "of the sudden," though I am afraid not so certain in the result. Thus we shall have the Whigs governing England again by a continual "Popish plot," which is never to be brought to a head. Sir, in my opinion the existence of a Roman Catholic hierarchy in a Protestant country, not recognised by the law, is a great political evil. To reconcile the recognition of such a hierarchy by the law with a sacred and complete respect for the civil and religious liberties of Roman Catholics, may be a political problem difficult to solve. But although difficult to solve, its solution is not, in my opinion, impossible; and that not by a concordat with any foreign Prince, but by the internal and essential power of the English Parliament. I do not say that it is a political difficulty which any cautious statesman would, under any circumstances, have courted—I do not mean to say that it is a subject which a man would have gone out of his way to bring under public notice; but I say this, that when a statesman has taken the course which the noble Lord has taken, he is bound to attempt to solve that political problem—he is bound to introduce a measure equal to the occasion, and not to meet a great political emergency which he himself has fostered, if not created, by a technical remedy unworthy of the dignity of Parliament, and of the occasion which it pretends to cope with. That is the view which I take of the conduct of the Government. I will not oppose the introduction of this Bill. I think its introduction is the severest condemnation of their conduct for the last three months. But if the House should pass this Bill, let them remember that thereby they will have 262 done nothing. They will still have failed in any way to cope with an exigency which they are bound to meet; and all they will have done will be, that they will have gained time—too brief to count in the history of a nation—only to have to encounter the same difficulties very shortly again, aggravated by our inconsistency, by the spirit with which we first recognised our danger, and the craven manner in which we afterwards shrank from meeting it.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
said, that the country had, during the recess, been led to believe (as had been remarked by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down) that Ireland was to be exempted from the operation of this Bill. Ireland, however, was included in the Bill, and for his own part he was not sorry for it. An hon. Friend near him, an Irish Protestant, had given notice of a Motion to alter that provision, but he hoped that he would not persevere in his Motion. He believed that most Irish Members wished the provision not to be withdrawn; for if wrong had been done by the English Catholics, the Irish Catholics shared with them in the offence, and, as the numerically stronger and more powerful body, they should not desert the weaker in a case like the present. Not only had the existing law been practically inoperative in Ireland on this question, but the supremacy of the Queen over the Established Church was an undeniable fact (whatever might be thought of its justice) in that country as in England; and therefore if a violation of it had been committed in the one country, it had in the other. The noble Lord had spoken of the loyalty of certain Roman Catholics in such a manner as to disparage that of others; he (Mr. O'Connell) did not feel his loyalty to the Queen of England at all affected by the noble Lord's judgment; but if the noble Lord meant to say that he and those who agreed with him, and who did not look on the proceedings of the Court of Rome as injurious to the Queen of England, or contrary to public policy, had diminished their loyalty in the slightest degree, he could make no answer to that imputation, because he could not make one which would be respectful to that House. He denied that the present case was at all parallel to the supposed one cited by the noble Lord at the head of the Government of a person landing in England with a grant from the Pretender, and proceeding to act upon it; for such a person would 263 come at once under the penalties for high treason; while in the present case the noble Lord only proposed to inflict some trumpery fines. The Act of 1829 (sec. 24), prohibiting the assumption of the titles of sees, and quoted by the noble Lord as a precedent for his past legislation, has proved a dead letter, and he believed that the present proposition, after producing a little annoyance and irritation at first, would have no further effect. The noble Lord had referred to the Synod of Thurles and its proceedings with reference to the Irish colleges. He believed, however, that if the colleges proved a failure, that failure would be due, not to their old opponents, but to the conduct of the noble Lord himself. He knew large bodies of men in Cork and the neighbourhood who, up to November last, were strong well-wishers of the noble Lord, and supporters of the Government, who now felt great soreness, caused by the noble Lord's letter.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
was unwilling that amongst the number of Members who had listened to the speech of the Member for Manchester, which was a most elaborate bill of indictment against the Church of England, there should not be one to give some answer to it. The hon. Member for Manchester, in his usual ad captandum style, referred to the proceedings of a clergyman of the name of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, with respect to a meeting-house of the sect to which the hon. Member belonged. The hon. Member did not state whether the clergyman bodily entered that meeting-house, or whether the furniture were seized by ordinary process of law. If wrongfully seized, the process of law might be reversed. But in point of fact it was well known to the hon. Member that the seizure was merely the mode by which the lawful dues withheld by the body to which the hon. Member belonged were secured. Then as to the other case which the hon. Member brought forward with great dignity, he (Sir R. Inglis) never heard of it before; but he apprehended that those more immediately connected with the Government of which the Earl De la Warr was an officer, would know more of the circumstances of the case than he did. This, however, he knew that the ordinary way to present anything to Her Majesty was, not directly to Herself, but through the functionary who was responsible that Her Majesty should not have anything presented to Her unworthy of Her acceptance. If this were so, there 264 must in every case be the exercise of a discretion. He knew nothing of the sermon, or of the preacher; but he knew enough of the noble Earl to be satisfied that he did not act lightly in the matter. But, said the hon. Member for Manchester, "all this present outbreak is the bigotry of the Church of England; some few Dissenters, indeed, may have been entrapped by the delusion." Now he thought it was to the honour of the Dissenters of England that the two first petitions presented to that House during the present Session against the measure which formed the subject of the noble Lord's Bill, were presented by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton from two dissenting bodies. Then with respect to the emoluments of the Church of England—what the hon. Gentleman called the salaries of the bishops of the Church. Over and over again, he had declared in that House, and he now repeated, that there was no such thing as a salary allocated by Her Majesty's Ministers or by that House, to this or that bishop or dignitary of the Church of England. All that Parliament had done was, to lessen the amount of property hereditary in the respective sees; for when the hon. Gentleman spoke of the 15,000l. a year of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and asked if the noble Lord, or anybody else, were justified in saying that that was a satisfactory arrangement, he (Sir R. Inglis) told the hon. Member for Manchester, that it was only so much less than was left to that prelate by his predecessors. Now, with regard to the celebrated letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he (Sir R. Inglis) should be ashamed of himself, after the frequent mention made of it on both sides of the House, if he did not thank the noble Lord for that document, for which he believed the Protestants not only of this country but of Europe were largely indebted to him. He (Sir R. Inglis) thanked the noble Lord also for his speech that night—he wished he could equally thank him for the Bill which he desired to bring in. He (Sir R. Inglis) could not but feel that there was too much truth in the statement which had been made, that this Bill would fall far short of the requirements of the case. However, he should not do justice to himself if he did not thank the noble Lord; and he would not be doing justice to his measure if he pronounced a decided opinion upon it when the Bill was not technically and regularly before the House. He hoped to be permitted to address the House more 265 in detail on the subject when the noble Lord should have brought in his Bill, and had obtained the consent of the House to have it read on some future day. In the present instance he wished merely to say that he had been unwilling that the House should separate without his endeavouring to answer part of the speech of the hon. Member for Manchester, who had introduced a subject utterly unnecessary and uncalled-for, and irrelevant to the question before the House; and he believed that if any hon. Member had entered while the hon. Gentleman was speaking, it would have been considered by such Member that he was making a fit speech on a Motion for the abolition of the United Church of England and Ireland.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, as far as he was concerned, that if any hon. Gentleman desired to address the House on the Motion for the introduction of the Bill, he had no objection to his doing so; and he hoped that the House would agree to an adjournment of the debate if any hon. Member was so disposed.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
could assure the House and the noble Lord that he would not have proposed an adjournment if it did not appear that many hon. Gentlemen were most anxious to address the House.
§ Debate adjourned till Monday next.
§ The House adjourned at a quarter after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.