§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [14th March],—Debate resumed.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
had sought that opportunity of addressing the House, not because he could express any warm approval of the Bill under consideration, though he should vote for the second reading of the Bill, imperfect as it was, because he thought some declaration of the common law on this subject was necessary. He had no wish to carp in any factious spirit at the measure introduced by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, but he was anxious to draw the attention of the House to a part of the subject to which he thought that neither in the debate then proceeding, nor in the previous discussions in that House and the country, had due consideration been given—a part which he looked upon as of the greatest importance—namely, the aggression upon the temporal sovereignty and civil independence of this nation, which had been committed by the agents of the Pope. He had on a former occasion shortly called the attention of the House to that part of the subject, and had shown that, although a Roman hierarchy in this kingdom was a thing in some sort necessary, but in form of its present intrusion illegal, unconstitutional, unnecessary, and dangerous, still more dangerous was the aggression which had been made upon the temporal and civil independence of the country. Although the Bishop of Rome had taken upon himself to establish 234 this hierarchy under the plea that it was required by the body of religionists who acknowledged his sway, he had in reality sent into this country a Cardinal, a member of his privy council, selected from his senate, for the sole purpose of extending his temporal power over England, and arrogantly gave been a commission to arrange the civil, political, and economical affairs of the people of this country, as legate a latere. The noble Lord had adverted in his opening speech to this point, in another case—that of Dr. Cullen—when alluding to the wide range of operation adopted by the Synod of Thurles, and had pointed out to the House the fact that, not satisfied with confining their interference to religious matters, they had proceeded at once to take up and dispose of the vast question involved in the social arrangements between landlord and tenant in Ireland—a question so vast and so complicated, so deep and intricate in its nature, that even Parliament, the legitimate source of all such interference, shrunk from the task of legislating on it. What he (Mr. Newdegate) wanted to show the House was, that the synod merely obeyed the orders of the Pope, as conveyed through Dr. Cullen, their head and director, as legate, in interfering as they had done in the civil and economical affairs of that country; and further, that Cardinal Wiseman, as legate a latere, had still fuller power and authority than Dr. Cullen—powers which, no doubt, would be kept in abeyance until the House separated for the recess, when they would be revived and put in practice during the following months, to the annoyance of the people of this country. He (Mr. Newdegate) hoped he would be pardoned for tendering proof as to the nature of the office and the character of the functions which this man had come to England to exercise, and showing, still further, that from the earliest period of history it has been held to be contrary to the common law of this country that a Papal legate, and more especially a Cardinal legate, should come into the realm, without the permission of the Sovereign or of the Legislature, and without taking an oath not to interfere with, or to the detriment of, the institutions of this country. If he proved, as he believed he could, these points, he should contribute his mite to the better understanding of the question, and, as he trusted, thereby relieve the measures necessary to repel Papal aggression from the unjust imputation of religious persecu- 235 tion. He would beg the House to bear with him while he endeavoured to prove what he had asserted. The other night he had called the attention of the House to the description of the office of cardinal, as given by high Roman Catholic authorities. In this, as in all such cases, where a man stated an important truth in this free country, he found himself supported by men far more competent than he was to investigate the subject. He found, that at a meeting the other day held by some clergymen at Sion College, Dr. M'Caul, whose character for learning and for piety stood deservedly high, had quoted works of authority to show the true office of a cardinal a latere, and the true object of appointing a Roman Catholic prelate to such a post. The House would find that the order of cardinals was literally part and parcel of the Papacy, and that cardinals were the privy council—the body corporate, of which the Pope was head. Dr. M'Caul said—There might have been, and there might be, Roman Catholic bishops who might be necessary to the purposes of their religion, without having cardinals. Cardinals were the mere temporal and political agents of the Court of Rome.In proof of this he had looked to the authority:—
"Cohelli notet. Cardinalatus (Rome, 1653). "Cohelli makes this remark, in his work published at Rome in 1653: 'The Order of Cardinals;'— "P. 17. Pars corporis ipsius Papæ, sic se habentes ad Papam ut senatores ad Imperatorem. "P. 17. Part of the body of the Pope, they stand with regard to the Pope in the same position as senators to the Emperor. "P. 3. Auctis ecclesiæ opibus, et insuper accessione temporalis principatus, cœpit Pontifex in singulos dies consiliis et adjutoribus egere; episcopi vero tam sæpe evocari non poterant; ea propter concilia paulatim omissa sunt, totaque res ad cardinalium senatum redacta est. "P. 3. After the wealth of the Church had increased, and the accession of temporal sovereignty, the Pontiff began to want every day councils and assistants; the bishops could not be called out so often; councils on this account were by degrees omitted, and the whole business was referred to the senate of cardinals. "P. 40. Ut ad institutum redeamus, ad offlcium quippe cardinalium in assistentia Romano Pontifici ad sedis apostol. negotia exequenda consistens. Cujus causa cardinales a Romana curia abesse, "P. 40. That we may return to that which has been established—to the duty, in fact, of the cardinals, which consists in assisting the Roman Pontiff for the forwarding of the business of the Ro-
Thus Dr. M'Caul proved on ancient authority that the office of cardinal was merely that of deacon; but when the Pope assumed temporal authority over Europe, he converted cardinals into privy councillors, and he then found that the duties were so important, that they ought not to be absent from the Roman Court unless sent as legates to a foreign Power; the special function of a cardinal was the exercise of temporal power in the administration of matter chiefly secular at Rome, and it Was only as a legate that a cardinal could be here. Of this fact he (Mr. Newdegate) had obtained indisputable proof from another authoritative service. He would remark that Van-espen was received as an authority at Maynooth, and the following extract was from a work sanctioned in a solemn manner by more than one imprimatur:—Ceremoniale Sanctœ Ecclesiœ num primum correctum et commentariis auctum, vol. i., cap. xviii., p. 321. De Creatione Legati Apostolici de latere, published permissu superiorum, at Rome, 1750, with the imprimatur Joseph Catalano:—
nisi legationis causa, non debent." man see. On which account cardinals ought not to be absent from the Roman court except by reason of (being sent as) legates."
"De Officio Legati, in v. i. notavit inter alios Van-espen, parte i. Juris Ecclesiastici Universi, titulo xxi., cap. 1, quicquid autem de aliis generibus legatorum sit, legati a latere vocantur legati cardinales, et hoc ideo ait glossa in citato cap. 1., 'quia assumunter de latere Papæ.' Nam sicut imperator et patricii sive consiliarii faciunt unum corpus, cujus imperator est caput, et consiliarii qui sibi assistant in secretis dicuntur esse membra, ita similiter Papa est caput, et cardinales sunt membra. Ideo quando aliquis assumitur ex cardinalibus, ut mittatur legatus, dicitur sumptus de latere, et appellatur legatus de latere."—Josephus Catalanus, vol. i., page 321. "Concerning the office of legate, Van-espen, in the 1st volume and 1st part of his Universal Ecclesiastical Law, has remarked that whatever may be the case with other kinds of legates, cardinal legates are called legates a latere, and this too, says the glossary on the above cited chapter 1, 'because they are taken from the side (beside) of the Pope.' For as an Emperor and the patricians or counsellors form one body, of which the Emperor is the head, and the counsellors who assist him in secret matters are said to be the members, so likewise the Pope and the Cardinals form one body, of which the Pope is the head, and the cardinals are the members. When, therefore, some one of the cardinals is taken away that he may he sent as legate, he is
Again, to follow the more recent authorities cited by Dr. M'Caul, who brought his proof down almost to the present day, and proved that the cardinals were originally only curates, but that when the Pope be came a temporal Sovereign, it was then necessary to have temporal counsellors, he quoted from Encyclopedia Italiana e Dizionaria della Conversazione, Opera Originate, &c.—Venezia, 1842, Eti. 8vo:—
said to be taken from (beside the side of the Pope), and is called a legate a latere."
In further, and still later, proof of the system, the rev. gentleman (Dr. M'Caul) quoted the following passages from the Nouveau Dictionnaire de la Conversation, tom. 2, Bruxelles, 1843, pp. 527, 528:—
"Assistono in una parola al Pontefice nell' esercizio de suoi doveri come supremo gerarca della Chiesa e sovrano temporale. Talora essi vengono inviati come ambasciatori per gravissime cause ai principi della Christianita, e prendono il nome ed il grado di legati a latere.—Tom. 5; article Cardinal; signed Prof. Ab. Nardi, p. 679. "They assist, in short, the Pontiff in the performance of his duty as the supreme governor of the Church, and as temporal Sovereign. Thence it happens that these same persons are sent as ambassadors for the weightiest causes to the Princes of Christendom, and take both the name and rank of legates a latere."Les premiers cardinaux ne furent done autres choses que les curés de I'Evêque de Rome. … mais lorsque les Papes joignirent le sceptre des Rois à leur crois pastorale le cercle de leurs attributions s'étendit avec celui de leur autorité. Il fallut de nouveaux ministres à leur nouvelle puissance, et ce furent cardinaux qu'ils choisirent.He quoted these authorities merely to show there could be no possible doubt about the functions of Cardinal Wiseman, and that Cardinal Wiseman was here as a political agent, to follow out the temporal purposes of the Court of Rome. It would be recollected, that a controversy arose respecting the Papal oath taken by Cardinal Wiseman. He believed Cardinal Wiseman denied having taken the usual archbishop's oath. He denied having taken the oath in all its integrity; but that he failed to prove. He also denied having taken any oath on being appointed a Cardinal. It might be supposed that Dr. Wiseman's having taken the archbishop's oath was considered to be a sufficient excuse for his having been sworn by the Privy Council of the Pope. Now he (Mr. Newdegate) had diligently searched, but had found no precedent for the alleged omis- 238 sion. The oath of a privy councilor bound Cardinal Wiseman to the discharge of certain temporal function, and that oath, which was as follows, contains one very remarkable passage:—
He perceived that hon. Members who were Roman Catholics were very much inclined to laugh at his statements. It appeared to him that the greater the power, the more absolute despotic the authority, to which they were subjected, the better pleased they were. It seemed that their allegiance to the Pope had so endeared the Pope to them, that they wished to have him for their temporal as well as their ecclesiastical Sovereign. If such were the opinions of these hon. Members who were Roman Catholics, then certainly the steps 239 taken by the Holy See were the most effectual steps to attain such a purpose. But then they must not be surprised or angry at their loyalty to Her Most Gracious Majesty being suspected, when it was remembered they sanctioned the intrusion of an authority, not ecclesiastical or spiritual only, but an authority which arrogated to itself jurisdiction in civil and temporal matters, and unhesitating obedience to its officers, specially commissioned for these temporal purposes. He did not know how Cardinal Wiseman would be able to reconcile one passage in the oath he had taken with the Act of Settlement. The passage was, "for the recovery of such property as has been alienated from the Roman Church, to my utmost will I labour." When the House remembered that the property in question amounted at one time to one-third or one-half of the real property of this country, this arrogance might seem ridiculous; but they must remember that the magnitude of such an object was no bar to the ambition of a priesthood and a Papacy who claimed and aimed at universal dominion. He would now show that Cardinal Wiseman, by his own first act as Cardinal priest in this country, had reverted to the exercise of those very functions of his office he had just described, and that he had already commenced labouring for the recovery of the goods of the Roman Church. Cardinal Wiseman had announced a jubilee. Here was an extract from the announcement:—
[Extract from Le Parfaite Notaire Apostolique. Par T. L. Brunet, Avocat en Parlement. Tom. i., cap. a. 1775. "Le serment qu'on exige des cardinaux est tel qu'il ensuit."] "Ego. … nuper assumptus in sanctæ Romanæ ecclesiæ cardinalem, ab hac hora in antea ero fidelis beato Petro universalique et Romanæ Ecclesiæ, ac Summo Pontifici, ejusque successoribus canonice intrantibus. Laborabo fideliter pro defensione fidei Catholicæ, extirpationeque hæresum et errorum, atque schismatum reformatione, ac pace in populo Christiano. Alienationibus rerum et bonorum ecclesiæ; Romanæ aut aliarum ecelesiarum et beneficiorum quorumcunque non consentiam, nisi in casibus a jure permissis; et pro alienatis ab ecclesia Romana recuperandis pro posse meo operam dabo. Non consulem quidquam Summo Pontifici, nec subscribam, nisi secundum Deum et conscientiam meam. Quæ mihi per sedem apostolicam commissa fuerint fideliter exequar, cultum Divinum in ecclesia tituli mei et ejus bona conservabo, sic me Deus adjuvet et hæc sacrosancta Dei evangelia." "I. … lately raised to (the office of) cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, from this hour, will be faithful in the aforesaid to the blessed Peter and the universal and Roman Church, also to the Supreme Pontiff and his successors canonically entering upon the office. I will faithfully labour for the defence of the Catholic faith, and the extirpation of heresies and errors, and the reformation of schisms, and for the peace of Christian people. I will not consent to alienations of the property or goods of the Roman Church, or of other churches and benefices, except in cases by law permitted; and for the recovery of such as have been alienated from the Roman Church to my utmost will I labour. I will not give to the Roman Pontiff, nor consent to advice being given, except according to (the will of) God and my conscience. Whatever shall be committed to me by the Apostolic See, I will faithfully execute. I will preserve Divine worship in the Church of (whence I derive) my title, and the goods thereof. So help me God, and these God's holy Gospels."Nicholas, by the Divine mercy, of the Holy Roman Church, by the title of St. Pudentiana, Cardinal Priest, Archbishop of Westminster, and administrator apostolic of the diocese of South-wark—To our dearly beloved in Christ, the clergy, secular and regular, and the faithful of the said archdiocese and diocese, health, and benediction in the Lord," &c.Having decreed a jubilee, he goes on to say—By a jubilee is signified a period of time, during which the Church more earnestly exerts herself, through her ministers, to bring sinners to repentance, to obtain the restitution of ill-gotten property, and the reparation of injured reputations; to reconcile enemies; to make the lukewarm fervent; to awaken faith, enliven hope, and increase charity; and to renew in all the sound principles of true religion and their serious observance,"&c.—"In order to encourage the faithful to partake of the benefits of this holy time, the Church liberally opens her precious treasures, and grants to all a plenary indulgence in the form of a jubilee," &c.—"And now, beloved in Christ, we have to exhort you to one clear duty: although alms-deeds are not prescribed to you as a condi- 240 tion of granting the jubilee, yet it is among the surest means of obtaining the fulness of its benefits.It was a long time since a cardinal had been seen in England, and he would venture to assert, and would show the House, that it was contrary to the constitution and the law of England that this temporal officer of a foreign potentate should be permitted to reside in England. It might be said, we, in former ages, had cardinals who resided in England. He admitted the fact that Cardinals Beaufort, Wolsey, and Pole had resided in England. But the Statute-book, he found, was not silent on the subject of the residence of the first of these cardinals—Beaufort—in this country. Cardinal Beaufort was brother to King Henry VI. Here was the case of Cardinal Beaufort, from the Codex Juris Ecclesiastici, by Edmund Gibson, D.D., Bishop of London, 1761, Oxford. Vol. I., p. 66 (note) upon the Statute of Provisors of Benefices made, 25 Edw. III., Stat. 6, and Anno Domini 1350, sect. 2:—And the said Kings in times past were wont to have the greatest part of their council, for the safeguard of the realm, when they had need, of such prelates and clerks so advanced: the Bishop of Borne encroaching to him new seignories of such possessions and benefices, doth give and grant the same benefices to aliens which did never dwell in England, and to cardinals which might not dwell here, and to others as well aliens as denizens," &c.Here was a special recital and declaration of the then existing state of the law. England was so far from admitting cardinals who were foreigners to any part in her public councils, that it became an established rule that if any Englishman was made a cardinal, he should thereby become utterly incapable of being of the King's council; insomuch that Cardinal Beaufort, though of the blood royal, could not be admitted one of the King's councillors but by a special declaration of Parliament (Rot. Parl. 8, Hen. VI.) for that purpose, and upon an oath by him taken to retire out of the council as oft as any matters concerning the two Courts of Rome and England should be under consideration. Yet we now saw Cardinal Wiseman, who is a prince of a foreign court, sent over here to administer a foreign law amongst British subjects—a law which is notoriously opposed in many matters to the law of the land, without leave asked or given by any competent authority of this country. The Record sets forth— 241Quod transactis temporibus in regno Angliæ I visum non fuerit, atsperatur, quod regno Anglicæ nationis ad statum et dignitatem Cardinalis per Sedem Apostolicam sublimati, post susceptam hujusmodi dignitatem ad interessendum conciliis Regiis, veluti Regis et Regni conciliarii hactenus admissi exstiterunt.After which, having recited the Cardinal's relation to the King, and his great merits and abilities, it follows:—De avisamento et assensu Dominorum Spiritualium et Temporalium in præsenti Parliamento existentium concordatum fuit et unanimiter avisatum, quod præfatuis Cardinalis ad interessendum conciliis Regiis et unius consiliariorum suorum nedum admitti, sed etiam ad intendendum eisdem consiliis ex parte ejusdem Domini Regii requiri debet specialiter, et hortari; sub Protestations tamen subsequente, videlicet, quod quoties aliquæ materiæ, causæ, vel negotia, ipsum Dominum Rgem aut regna, seu Dominia sua ex parte unâ, et Sedem Apostolicam ex parte alterâ concernentia in hujus conciliis Regiis communicauda et tractanda fuerint, idem Cardinalis se ab hujusmodi conciliis absentet, et communicationi earumdem causarum, materiarum et negotiorum non intersit quovis modo"—This was the first Act relating to this matter, showing that even the King's brother required an Act of Parliament to authorise his residence as cardinal in this country, and to permit him to take his seat at the Privy Council. Well, he would now come to Cardinal Wolsey. At the time Wolsey was made cardinal, the Pope was on friendly terms with Henry VIII., and conferred upon him the title of Fidei Defensor. At that time Wolsey was made a cardinal first, and was sent back by the Pope as legate afterwards; but both the office and commission were conferred upon him at the express instance of his Sovereign. Then came Cardinal Pole, who, after being driven from England by Henry VIII. for opposing his claim to be supreme governor of the Church of England, was made cardinal deacon—an inferior position to that of cardinal priest. Queen Mary received him at court—thought, it was said, of making him King Consort—but, dismissing that idea, sent him to Rome, for the express purpose of his being ordained cardinal priest and legate, that he might in that capacity reconcile the people and Parliament of England to the Church of Rome. He instanced these cases to show there was no instance of a cardinal or of a legate having been resident in England without the consent of the Crown and Parliament, and that Cardinal Wiseman's residence here was an intrusion into this realm, and a violation of the constitution of this coun- 242 try. The last instance of a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic avowedly invested with legatine powers attempting to enter England, took place in the time of Elizabeth. But what did Queen Elizabeth and the Privy Council do? He found the fact recorded in history, in Camden's Elizabeth, book i., page 54, A.D. 1561:—The English merchants were, notwithstanding, through the procurement of the Duke de Guise, injuriously handled upon the coast of Britain, their ships being taken and made prizes; there was close dealing again at Rome for an excommunication to be thundered forth against the Queen Elizabeth; but Pius Quartus, bishop of Rome, thought best she should be dealt withall more mildly. For he (as I have said in the last year) solicited her by enticing letters; and now having appointed a day for the Council of Trent (begun heretofore, and by often wars interrupted) for the taking away of dissensions in religion, and allured thither all princes; even such as were averse from the Popish religion; he sent the Abbot of Martinego into England with letters most full of love and kindness; but the abbot stayed in the Netherlands, and requested that he might be admitted into England, for by an ancient law it was provided—That the Pope's nuncios should not enter into England, but upon leave first obtained, and oath also taken that they should attempt nothing in England which might be prejudicial to the King, or to the liberty of the kingdom.' And the Council of England thought it not safe to admit him, considering that so many in all parts being nuzzled up in Popery, diligently laboured at home and abroad to disturb the quiet of the State. When the abbot was not permitted to cross the seas into England, the Bishop of Viterbo, the Pope's nuncio in France, dealt earnestly with Throckmorton that Queen Elizabeth would send her ambassador to the Council; and many princes in Christendome, the French King, the Spaniard, the Portugall, Henry Cardinal of Portugall, and especially the Duke of Alva (who yet bore her singular good will) persuaded her by their letters, that she would rather rest upon the Æcumenicall Council of Trent in matters of religion, which is the only anchor-hold of Christians, and the prop of kingdoms, than upon the private opinions of a few—though never so learned. Sheanswered—'That she wished with all her heart an Æcumenicall council, but to a Popish council she would not send; with the Bishop of Rome she had nothing to do, whose authority was expelled from England by consent of the estates of the realm; neither belonged it to him, but to the Emperor, to call councils, nor could she acknowledge any greater authority in him than in any other bishop.'He wished Her Majesty, our Protestant Queen, had been advised by a Privy Council as ready to defend Her rights as Queen Elizabeth. He wished the noble Lord, when he first heard of the Pope's intention, not to send a Nuncio with limited power, but a full-blown Cardinal legate, who was to carry out the establishment of a Roman Catholic hierarchy—had 243 taken proper steps to prevent it. He wished the noble Lord, adverting to the common law of England, had warned Cardinal Wiseman not to come here, and that if he did so it would be a violation of the law. But Her Majesty's Ministers appeared at that time to have been paralysed or to be doubtful of their duty. The noble Lord seemed scarcely to understand the honour intended for his Sovereign; at all events, he took no effectual means to prevent Cardinal Wiseman from coming. And the noble Lord's Bill had this fault, that instead of stopping aggression at the outset, as it ought to have done, it only rendered acts penal that had already gone on for four months. What were the consequences of this hesitation? The priest party on the Continent was congratulating itself on every additional day that the aggression remained unredressed. The Church of Rome was a church of forms; and it must be remembered, with the Church of Rome that forms were things binding on the consciences of her adherents. The time that had thus uselessly been permitted to be wasted inactively, had done this mischief—it had damaged the position of their fellow Roman Catholics—for he rejoiced to say very many Roman Catholics, though many had abstained from expressing openly their opinions, considered the proceedings of the Pope were an infraction of their liberty, and they Were as heartily opposed to the aggression as the Protestant people of England; but they were in danger of Rome's setting up a prescriptive right, founded on the technical admission of principle, which would be made binding on their consciences owing to the delay which had taken place; and this danger increased with every day that nothing effectual was done. He did not speak only from ancient precedents, when he said that the aggression was not only a violation of the law of this country, but a violation of international law; for in the Treaty of Vienna it was specified, that the laws of each country with respect to the admission of legates were by that treaty confirmed. Had the noble Lord, who opened the debate with so able a speech, continued his proceedings in the same spirit, and followed out that speech in the way the country expected, he would have been at this moment at the head of a powerful Ministry: he would have disarmed his enemies. Had the noble Lord followed up his declarations, he would have ruined the Opposition; they would not be in the position they then 244 were. But the noble Lord, after expressing the full sense of the indignity that had been offered to the Crown, and the insult inflicted on the nation, cast down the reins of power, and when he resumed them it was in a faltering spirit, ill calculated for the present time. The noble Lord, in his opening speech, adverted to the case of other countries, and proved that all the countries of Europe—Roman Catholic and Protestant alike—guarded themselves against the usurpations of the Church of Rome; but the noble Lord said little of Prussia, though the case most analogous to that of Cardinal Wiseman had occurred in Prussia—the most recent instance of the intrusion of a Cardinal into a foreign country contrary to the will of, or without permission of, the Government of that country. This took place in 1829. A Cardinal Archbishop was appointed to Konigsberg, and the Prussian archives furnished an account of what the Prussian Government did on that occasion:—When, in 1829, Pope Pius VIII. appointed Cardinal Albani Archbishop of Konigsberg, the first question he was asked was, whether his office included also civil authority. His reply was, only spiritual.Mr. Newdegate here begged the House to observe the strict analogy up to this point between the conduct of Cardinal Albani and Cardinal Wiseman: then, continuing the quotation, he read as follows:—Thereupon he was asked to take the Oath of allegiance to the Prussian Crown. He refused to do so on the ground that he could not serve two opposite masters at once, having as a Cardinal already taken the oath of supremacy both in civil and religious allegiance to the Pope. The question then arose whether the Toleration hot, as promulgated by the Congress of Vienna, permits a foreign Prince to appoint a dignitary in Prussia who has sworn civil obedience to the laws and authority of another country. The reply of the Prussian Cabinet was in the negative. The Act of Toleration only allows foreigners the free exercise of their religion, but not of the laws of their respective countries; and as the Catholic dignitaries have sworn allegiance to the Pope, it cannot be expected that they will, in the extended sphere of their operation as archbishops especially, pay much attention to the laws of the country, whenever they should think they are at variance with their conscience, and detection improbable."—Prussian Church Archives, p. 1622.Note to the above:—It is well known that the canon law allows the Catholic bishop to absolve a subject from oath of allegiance to his Sovereign, as may be seen in Ecclesiastical History, book vi., where Gregory, Bishop of Antioch, absolved the soldiers from their oath of allegiance to Philippas, saying that 245 he was 'intrusted with the affairs of heaven and earth.'Prussia was a Protestant country, and in that respect was in the same position as this country. But what was the determination of the Prussian Government? The Prussian Government directed an escort to attend the cardinal to the frontier, which Cardinal Albani never recrossed. That was the last instance of an intrusion of this kind. True, a circumstance occurred of another kind, when a Roman Catholic archbishop, in 1837, came into collision with the Prussian Government. He referred to the Archbishop of Cologne, and his proceedings against the laws of the country. It was held that the proceedings of the archbishop were a direct violation of the laws. From the Prussian Church Archives he obtained the following particulars:—In 1837, Drost, Archbishop of Cologne, committed a series of acts in direct violation of the laws of the country; and when remonstrated with by the Prussian Government, replied in a public document addressed to the Prussian Cabinet, that 'having sworn allegiance to the Pope, and obedience to the old statutes of the canon law, he can have but one master and one law, namely, that of Rome and the holy father; any law or even concordat established in contradiction of the canon law, or the free will of the holy father, is null and void, and so is every oath taken on matters where civil law disagrees with the canon law.' He was banished to the fortress of Minden.Did the Prussian Government submit to this? Not a bit. They took care that the archbishop should be placed under surveillance until arrangements were made with Rome to relieve the Government from the inconvenience of the archbishop's notions of allegiance. The case of Archbishop Drost was not so much in point; but he cited it to show how little foreign Governments submitted to the assumptions of the Church of Rome. But the case of Cardinal Albani was exactly analogous to that of Cardinal Wiseman, and proved that other countries would not allow these intrusions of the Pope, and that when a cardinal was intruded on them, they knew how to serve and protect their Sovereign. He lamented that the noble Lord had not adopted some such steps in the first instance. They could then have considered the question calmly, and have decided on the most fitting measures to suit the emergency. But at this moment we had a cardinal at the head of the Roman priesthood in England, using all the means at his command to disturb men's minds rather 246 than to promote the public peace, and attempting to carry measures dangerous to our religion and to the best interests of society. The noble Lord had permitted a cardinal to establish himself here, exercising jurisdiction and commanding obedience on the part of all Roman Catholics, on pain of the refusal of the sacraments and the penalty of excommunication. He had the other evening shown from high Roman Catholic authorities that Dr. Cullen had in no wise exceeded his commission in what he had done, but that he had acted only up to his proper power as legate a latere. But he wished to call the attention of the House to another point. The House were anxious to prevent the complete synodal action of the Roman Catholic Church from being established here; the only way to prevent it was to exclude those persons who had the requisite authority from Rome, which alone could render synods canonical. No national synod could be summoned unless summoned by a legate a latere, and unless presided over by a legate a latere. Its decrees were not canonical. This explained the fact of the appointment of legates to this country and Ireland. The reason why the Pope had sent legates here invested with authority to summon and preside over synods was, that by the decrees of the Council of Trent no national synod should be held canonical, and its decrees therefore binding on the consciences of all Roman Catholics, which was not convened and presided over by a legate a latere. If we permitted cardinals and legates to reside here, the synods they would summon would be nothing more than committees to work out those measures, the principles of which had been previously settled and decided at Rome, for they were invested with the full controlling and appellate power of the Pope himself, but their decrees would be binding on the consciences of Roman Catholics. He was not surprised that the Roman Catholic priests in the district of Beverley recoiled at the idea of being put under the domination of Dr. Wiseman, the representative of the Pope. It appeared from their petition that they did not wish their liberty to be limited by being placed under the administration of Dr. Wiseman. What did these Roman Catholic priests in their petition pray for?Translation of 'An Address and Memorial to his Eminence Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, 247 Archbishop of Westminster, &c., agreed to by the Roman Catholic Clergy of the Diocese of Beverley, in meeting assembled at Selby, in Yorkshire, on Tuesday, the 14th of January, 1851, the Very Reverend the Dean of the District being in the chair,' &c., &c.They therefore ask, and they ask with confidence—1. That their ecclesiastical constitution be compounded of these four ingredients—that is, the civil law of England, the canon law (in spirituals) of the Catholic Church, the common law, and the just and equitable statute laws of their beloved country; for they are convinced that these would constitute, if properly compounded, a safe, salutary, and uniform system of ecclesiastical legislation for the Catholics of England. 2. They deprecate all spiritual interference with the civil rights of individuals, in reference to property, knowing as they do the fatal consequences arising from such interference in a country where Catholic bishops cannot exercise any civil authority whatsoever, in order to carry out the sentences of spiritual tribunals. 3. They deprecate the introduction of any mere foreign system of ecclesiastical legislation, as obnoxious to their own feelings, and as hateful to the millions by whom they are surrounded, and with whom they are in constant intercourse. 4. They implore your Eminence to oppose the establishment of any spiritual courts which may in the mode of their construction be liable to the imputation of undue influence, such courts being in England held in utter abhorrence, and in all countries condemned by men who have been matured in the principles of rational freedom. 5. The memorialists have long borne, but they have borne with an impatience subdued only by a sense of religion, the system which has prevailed in the nomination of bishops. On this point they now look forward to a complete change—a change which may give to the governed an effective affirmation in the nomination of those who are to be their governors, &c., &c.Finally, the memorialists beg permission to assure your Eminence that they anticipate a favourable reply to this their dutiful address and memorial, for they are convinced that the contemplated restoration of the hierarchy without these measures, instead of conducing to the advancement, will be the cause of the deterioration of religion in England, &c., &c.And the memorialists will ever pray that the contemplated government, so constituted, may be long and prosperous in reference to your Eminence, and in reference to the Church so long as the Church itself shall exist.Now, he would fearlessly ask any impartial man, whether the contents of this petition did not clearly evince the apprehensions these Roman Catholic priests entertained, of the nature of the system they anticipated as likely to be enforced upon their compelled obedience, if this aggression was left unrepelled—and whether this petition did not afford internal and sufficient evidence of the tyranny which Dr. Wiseman had come to exercise in England? After this it was in vain to tell them they were not 248 defending the liberties of the Roman Catholics as well as the liberties of the nation. He had heard many opinions broached as to the reasons which had induced the Pope to make this aggression—as to what had induced him to outstep the former cautious usages of the Court of Rome with reference to this country, and to evince an unusual zeal in his determination to establish a hierarchy here. Cardinal Wiseman had given the reasons in his Appeal. They were almost all connected with the Acts of that House, or with omissions of duty, committed by the present or former Governments. Dr. Wiseman stated that the institution of the hierarchy had been made on the following considerations:—1. That previous to 1847 the Catholics were; still under the pressure of heavy penal laws, and enjoyed no liberty of conscience. Now, if this was true, and the aggression was unjustifiable, the removal of those penal laws to the extent they had been relaxed, was condemned by that very fact. As for the assertion that the Catholics had enjoyed no liberty of conscience under our former laws, he thought the petitions of the priests of Beverley showed that they considered that they had enjoyed more liberty under those laws than they were likely to do under the authority of the new hierarchy. The next reason given by Dr. Wiseman was, that the religious orders of the Romish Church had no houses in England. And here it was worth while to consider what the recent establishment in this country of the religious orders of the Romish Church had to do with this aggression. The truth was, that they were the police for enforcing synodical decrees—the tools, the instruments which the Romish Church knew so well how to employ. The third reason given by Dr. Wiseman was, that there was nothing approaching to a parochial division. But how could a parochial division be needed in England for a Roman Catholic population of not more than 1,500,000 souls? The truth was that this parochial division was not needed for the Roman Catholics, but was intended for the conversion or rather annoyance of Protestants. The fourth reason given was the increase which had taken place in the number of Roman Catholic chapels and ministers, which if it proved anything, proved that Roman Catholics had suffered no persecution, but presumed upon the toleration and liberty they enjoyed. Thus Rome used toleration only for the pur- 249 pose of aggression. Now, keeping all these things in view, it did appear to him that the Bill before the House would do nothing to prevent the exercise of the powers delegated by the See of Rome, or to render illegal the convening of synods, and the enforcement of the Roman canon law by their decrees. He now begged the attention of the House to a curious and important document which had been sent to him in 1847, and which he had carefully preserved, as strikingly illustrative of the manner in which the decrees of any national synod introducing the canon law would be enforced under the authority of a hierarchy, such as the Pope had thrust upon England. In 1847 a Bill was introduced by the hon. Member for Youghal for the purpose of regulating Roman Catholic charitable bequests. Strange to say, the Roman Catholic Members, instead of supporting the Bill, threw cold water on it, so that the hon. and learned Gentleman was obliged ultimately to withdraw it. The Bill had not, as it appeared, been introduced permissu superiorum. The document he held in his hand was a report upon this Bill from the Law Committee of the Association of St. Thomas of Canterbury, to which Dr. Wiseman and he (Mr. Newdegate) believed all the vicars-apostolic, in 1847, belonged. It was signed by the Secretary of the Law Committee of St. Thomas, Canterbury, and he thought fully explained the opinions entertained in 1847 by that association as to the mode in which England should be dealt with on the establishment of the canon law. Of the third clause of the Bill this report stated—The first part of this clause implies what other provisions of the Bill now under consideration express more distinctly (secs. 6 and 1)—that in cases where, for instance, property has been left to a bishop under circumstances which enable the Court of Chancery to presume a charitable trust, but no express objects have been provided by the donor or testator, the bishop shall be compellable to make public the administration of the fund, and on the suit of any volunteer plaintiff to account to the Court of Chancery for the same. In cases where the donor has by express direction left the distribution of his charity to the discretion of the trustee, the Bill provides that there shall be no public enrolment and no publishing of accounts (secs. 6 and 7). But that in a large proportion of Catholic charitable trusts, in which the property has in fact been left to the absolute discretion of the ecclesiastical trustee, but without any express direction to that effect, it is proposed to enforce most unreserved publicity. This your Committee consider to be very objectionable, and particularly 250 oppressive in its application to trusts already in existence, &c.To compel a Catholic bishop or other ecclesiastic to produce an account before a Protestant and lay tribunal, where the donor has reposed implicit confidence in him, and has left his discretion entirely unfettered, would be in the highest degree oppressive. In many cases the best possible application of the fund might be for purposes which no bishop worthy of the name would consent to disclose, and which no threats or compulsion of the Court of Chancery, or any other lay tribunal, could wring from him.With regard to another portion of the clause, this report stated—Another portion of the clause (clause 3), though probably introduced with a different intention, is still more objectionable. It permits the Court of Chancery to sanction the usage of twenty years, so far as the same shall be found to be in accordance with the doctrines, discipline, canons, laws, customs, or usages of the Church of Rome, and not further or otherwise. By this provision a bishop can be compelled, by a suit instituted, or a petition presented, by any layman—one of his own rebellious subjects may be—to appear before a Protestant court, and prove to its satisfaction that the bishop's administration has been in accordance, not merely with the canons and discipline, but even with the doctrines of the Church; and by other clauses of the Bill every facility is given for calling bishops to account in this manner. It is no answer to this objection that, in the existing state of the law, bishops are exposed to a like inconvenience. The existing state of the law is, in this respect, a grievance of which the removal should be sought; but to make the Catholics of England parties to its extension and aggravation, as would be the case were this Bill to become law, is a policy to which your Committee can by no means consent.In the Catholic Church the bishop, as your Committee learn, is not merely an administrator—he is a judge, acting sometimes with the ordinary formalities of courts, at other times summarily and without any formalities whatever.The temporary court ought to derive its knowledge of Catholic canon law and usage not from its own vague and unlearned inquiries, but from the authoritative sentence or the certificate of an English bishop, in the first instance, and ultimately from the authoritative sentence of the great Roman tribunal—the highest court of appeal.It was clear from this clause (Mr. Newdegate observed) that those men proposed to use the Lord Chancellor of England as the mere bailiff, first to the Roman Catholic bishop, but, on appeal to the Pope for the execution of the Roman canon law unmitigated, at the dictation and under the authority of his delegate, Dr. Wiseman. The Committee then went on to say—Your Committee deem the fourth clause even more objectionable (if possible) than the third. They (the terms of the clause) indirectly provide, 251 or are intended to provide, that the holder of an ecclesiastical function—a priest or a missionary for instance—shall continue to enjoy the income of the mission until he has been formally tried and found guilty of some specific offence. The clause is in effect an instruction to the Court of Chancery to see that suspended priests have had the benefit of a canonical trial; to inquire into the nature of their offence; to pronounce whether these offences are sufficiently specific to justify removal by their bishop, and in all respects to act as a court of appeal from the bishop's judgment seat.The Bill, therefore, (Mr. Newdegate again observed) of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal had been condemned by the Law Committee of the Association of St. Thomas, Canterbury, because he wished to protect Roman Catholic priests from suspension and removal without a trial. The Committee went on to declare that what they proposed was in accordance with the opinions laid down by the Bishop of Digne, a high authority in France on the subject of the canon law; and then they went on to state—It is not every case of supposed criminality in which a priest is entitled to a trial before suspension. On the contrary, it is the gravest offences of all which, for avoiding scandal, gives the bishop the right of suspension without trial.The Committee then proceeded to quote the decree of the Council of Trent (sess. 14, 1). Benedict XIV., De Synod. Diocese, lib. 12, c. 8, s. 4, as follows:—'So true is it, that a bishop can, by virtue of the aforesaid decree, for reasons best known to himself, interdict a priest from the exercise of his sacred functions, that he is not even bound to make known the cause of suspension or the crime to the very criminal himself, but only to the Apostolic See, if the suspended priest shall have recourse to that tribunal.' This attempt, therefore, by a side wind, and through half a clause in an Act of Parliament, to enforce, first, the irremovability of the clergy; secondly, the revival of the bishops' courts, with their impossible method of technical procedure; and, thirdly, the necessity of trial in all cases, even in those in which a trial is not necessary by canon law, may be pronounced wholly inadmissible and fatal to the clause of which it forms the substance.It was pretty clear, therefore, what those men meant by the application of the canon law. Adverting to the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, and speaking of the 5th Clause of the Bill, they state—Your Committee considers the 5th Clause extremely objectionable. When any charitable property has been wholly or in part diverted from the use to which it was given, this clause gives the Lord Chancellor power to order total or par- 252 tial restoration of such property, dc. Surely this is not the way in which Catholics would seek to, adjust whatever may have been erroneous in the management of their affairs.They had seen several acts of attempted misappropriation of bequests, lately exhibited by the nominees of the Pope—these intruded bishops; and he hoped the House would forgive him for introducing these extracts, and not making the assertions which he had done merely on his own authority. When the House considered on whose authority this report was issued, and by whom it was framed, they could not doubt either its authenticity, or the nature of the system its authors intended to establish. He had said that Dr. Wiseman looked to the religious orders as the instruments of his spiritual tyranny. He wished, therefore, to call the attention of the House to the increase that had taken place in the number of Roman Catholic religious establishments within the last few years. It appeared, from the Roman Catholic Register, that the number of convents in 1847 was 34; in 1848, 38; in 1851, 53; being an increase of 19 within four years. He was not aware of anything so peculiarly attractive in those establishments as to make Protestants rejoice at the increase in the number of them; but this he knew, that they would be neglecting to guard the liberty of their fellow-subjects, social and political, if they did not pass some law for the regular inspection of religious houses. The House could not but recollect the petition which the hon. Member for the University of Oxford had presented the other day from a gentleman lately a Member of that House, Mr. Craven Berkeley, respecting a young lady who was immured in one of those prisons—for so he might call them. No one who looked at the facts of the petition could doubt the necessity of legislating on the subject. What was the Lord Chancellor about—what was the keeper of the conscience of our Protestant Queen about—that he permitted his ward—a minor—to be placed, against the will of her nearest relative, in a convent, excluded from the world? The power of that high functionary must be strangely crippled if such things were allowed to go on—if, in spite of the remonstrances of the girl's nearest friend, she was to be estranged from the nearest and tenderest ties interwoven with human nature, and retained in the seclu- 253 sion of a convent, exposed to every art by which her property might be wrung from her to aggrandise the religious order in whose power she was. Let them not attempt to call this a land of liberty if such things were allowed to be done with impunity, or to be done at all. He was sorry to say that in his own county there were several convents. Some years ago, a nun escaped, or attempted to escape, from one of them, but was taken back. Nothing further was known of her fate; but this was well known, that within a week 15 cwt. of iron stanchions were put in the windows of the convent, and that it was now as complete a prison as any in the county of Warwick. The people who were immured in these places mouldered and died. No account was given of their illness or death. No coroner's inquest was ever known to have taken place with respect to any person who had died in a s convent. He did hope that means would be adopted for visiting and inspecting these establishments, where all was at present so shrouded from the public eye. He came now to the monasteries. Their number in England in 1847 was 8; 1848, 11; 1851, 17; being an increase of nine within the last four years. He wished to know whether or not the noble Lord intended to give effect to the clauses in the Act of 1829, relative to the regular clergy of the Ro mish Church. After the declaration made by Dr. Wiseman, that the establishment of religious houses was one reason for the late aggression, the country was fully entitled to call for that registration and surveillance stipulated for on behalf of the Protestant people and constitution of this country, in the Act of 1829. Not for the life of him could he understand how, after four months' consideration of the subject, the noble Lord bad been so forgetful of these provisions of that Act to I which he had been so often referred in terms of approval. If there were no other reason for enforcing those provisions, the increase of nine in the number of monasteries in the last four years was sufficient. But there were other reasons. He had seen it stated in a letter in the Morning Herald, that a very great increase bad taken place in the number of Jesuits in this city. It was well known that he was no great admirer of the order. He shared very much in the opinions expressed on this point by the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, in the very able and manly speech which he delivered the other 254 night on this subject. The hon. Barone spoke of the Jesuits of his own knowledge—he had seen their evil workings in Switzerland, in a republic where two-thirds of the people were Protestant, and the other third Roman Catholic, and he had warned the noble Lord opposite to look well to the matter. He (Mr. Newdegate) had certain information that there were no Jesuit missions in London till Dr. Wiseman became vicar-apostolic; that he recommended and sanctioned the order, and that he had since declared in his Appeal that an increase of that and the other religious orders would enable him to enforce the decrees of his master. It was full time to look to their proceedings. The plain matter of fact was, that the regular orders of the Romish Church, and more particularly the Jesuits, were the teeth, the head, and front of this aggression. The House might rest assured that the Jesuits had not been without their share in all the late disturbances in Europe. Their order formed a polity of itself, bound by oaths of implicit obedience to their own officers, and, through them, to the Pope. Their constant aim was universal dominion. They were truly cosmopolitan in their principles. They cared not what were the institutions of the country in which they happened to dwell—whether they were a blessing or a curse to the people—they only considered these institutions as they subserved or were opposed to the insatiate ambition of their order. History showed that they stopped not at any crime, if they thought the commission of it necessary to their ends. The hon. Member for Cork claimed for them the other night the first announcement of the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people. Had they yielded obedience to that doctrine in the republic of Switzerland? The fact was, if they found a republic that was independent, they would never cease labouring for its overthrow—if they found a monarchy which they could not control, they would plot night and day for its destruction. This doctrine of the sovereignty of the people was invented by the Jesuits merely to enslave the people, after using them to destroy all authority save their own. It was the doctrine taught by Casaubon, by Emanuel Sa, and Mariana, that infamous Jesuit who incited Ravaillac to stab his sovereign, Henry IV. of France, in the streets of Paris. An increase in the number of Jesuits had taken place in this country, and the Protestant subjects of Her Majesty had a right to ask that 255 some account should be taken of these aliens and their aggressions. He begged the attention of the House to the opinion of the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary, with regard to the Jesuits. In a despatch to Viscount Normanby, dated November, 1847, the noble Lord wrote—The society of Jesuits must be looked at both in a religious and in a political point of view. In its religious character it is a society avowedly established to make war upon the Protestant religion. What wonder then, that in a small country like Switzerland, where two-thirds of the people were Protestants, the introduction of such a society should give rise to dissension between Catholic and Protestant, and should be viewed with aversion by the majority of the nation? In its ecclesiastical character the Society of Jesuits is known to be exclusive and encroaching. Can it be surprising, then, that in Switzerland, as in other countries, a great portion even of the Catholic population should look upon the Jesuits with jealousy and dislike?The present Pope, from the day of his election, had been lavish in his expressions of favour towards the Jesuit order. He warned the noble Lord that if he allowed much longer time to elapse before dealing with this matter in this country, the Jesuits would turn prescription into a reality. The people would not be satisfied with the present Bill. He could scarcely believe the noble Lord was prepared to permit the residence in this country of an ecclesiastic with full legatine powers, which might be used here as they had been used in Ireland, contrary to the declared intentions of the Legislature and the Crown, declared in the Diplomatic Relations Bill so late as 1848. Legates a latere could not manage our affairs, but interfere with them they would, and the chief agents of this interference would be the regular orders of the Church of Rome, and, above all, the Jesuits. The people of Switzerland, where the Protestants were two-thirds of the population, had strenuously opposed the introduction of the Jesuits; and the Protestant people of this country viewed them with equal dislike. Many of the Roman Catholics of Switzerland had participated in the feelings of their Protestant fellow-countrymen on the subject; and he doubted not that such was also the case in England. He entreated the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) not to conceive that the House and the nation would be satisfied with the measure then under consideration. If he allowed these acts of aggression to acquire a prescription, they would be held to confer a right; and when once, that right was acknowledged, it would become obligatory 256 upon their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. He spoke the sentiments of peaceful men when he said that they were willing to be protected from this aggression by the law; but if they were not so protected, they would take the matter into their own hands.
wished to express his indignation and that of the people of Ulster at the conduct of the Government with regard to this Bill. The letter of the noble Lord at the head of the Government had been regarded by every Protestant in the kingdom as an indication that he intended to do his duty to the country in protecting its religion. When, however, the noble Lord brought forward a measure, it turned out to be a milk-and-water affair, and did not by any means bear out the declarations contained in his celebrated letter. What followed? Some hon. Members threatened the noble Lord with a civil war in Ireland; and, in consequence of that absurd threat, the Bill was reduced to a wretched remnant, and would have no effect whatever in preventing the assumption of power by the Roman Pontiff. He (Mr. Knox) wished to take that opportunity of contradicting an assertion made the other evening by the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, that Ulster was perfectly indifferent as to the measures that might be taken on this subject. He could only say that the Protestants of Ulster were as angry at the Papal aggression as they now were at the conduct of the noble Lord, who, with the support of a minority of that House, held the reins of Government. He hoped that Ireland would be included in any measure that might be carried through the House; for he considered that the omission of Ireland would be a breach of the Act of Union.
§ MR. M. POWER
thought that some of the speeches which had been delivered by supporters of the Bill were better suited to the atmosphere of Exeter Hall than to a calm and dispassionate deliberative assembly. The question was whether the Pope, by the creation of a Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country, had invaded the supremacy of the Crown, the rights of the Established Church, and the independence of the nation; and unless that could be shown by the evidence of clear and indisputable facts, he, for one, would feel himself justified in denouncing the present Bill as a persecuting measure, and one that ran counter to the great and glorious principles of religious toleration. The ques- 257 tion must not be decided by old and musty dogmas, not by arguments drawn from obsolete canons, not by appeals to the Index Expurgatorius, or the oft-refuted calumnies against Jesuits and the Catholic religion. The charge must be made out on evidence and clear facts, and unless it could be so made out, he, for one, could not feel justified in assenting to a persecuting measure—a measure that ran counter to the great and glorious principle of religious toleration. If the arguments adduced by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire were arguments against the Papal aggression, they were still stronger arguments against the existence of the Catholic religion at all. If they were good for anything, they would go to that extent. The noble Lord at the head of the Government rested his case on the Pope's brief conferring upon the bishops territorial jurisdiction; but in his speech he took good care not to mention the broad distinction that existed between civil and spiritual jurisdiction. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, seeing the force of the argument drawn from this distinction, dexterously shifted his ground, and drew a distinction between spiritual and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. But such a distinction could not be drawn in the case of a Church. The leading principle of the whole system was, that it should be governed by a hierarchy. He denied that Roman Catholics believed that the Pope had any civil jurisdiction or authority in these realms. The bishops of Ireland made an oath to that effect before a Committee that sat in 1825; every Roman Catholic Member swore to the same thing at that table; and yet in the teeth of these oaths and declarations, they were told that their allegiance was divided. He was not aware that the supremacy of the Queen over the Protestant Church had ever been questioned by Roman Catholics, although it had been questioned by some of the bishops, and not a few of the laity, of the Established Church. Now a hierarchy was essential to the Catholic Church, and the right of the Crown to the appointment of Catholic bishops never having been asserted, it must be that the right existed somewhere, and that must be in the head of the Church to whom the Catholics yielded obedience. If by passing that Bill they prevented the Catholics from completing the organisation of their Church, what became of their boasted toleration, and where was freedom of conscience, which 258 they so loudly proclaimed? When the hon. and learned Solicitor General was consulted by the noble Lord, whether the assumption of these titles was contrary to law, the hon. and learned Gentleman's answer was, that it was not against the law to assume these titles; but the same hon. and learned Gentleman, in his speech the other night, asserted that to assume these titles was contrary to law. Now, which of the two conflicting and opposite statements of the hon. and learned Gentleman was the House to receive? But the hon. and learned Gentleman also stated that the office of bishop implied a temporal jurisdiction. Now in countries where bishops were barons, and enjoyed seats in the legislature, it was true that a temporal jurisdiction was implied; but where the bishops were not acknowledged by the State, nor derived any advantage from it, it was absurd to assume that their appointment gave any temporal jurisdiction. But if they had a temporal jurisdiction, where then was their power to enforce it? The hon. Member for the West Riding had told them that the entire naval force of his Holiness the Pope consisted of one gun-brig and two sloops of war; and he was only supported in his position at Rome by French bayonets. It was utterly absurd, then, to suppose that the Pope or any of his bishops could enforce any temporal power in this country. But the noble Lord the Member for Bath had attempted to weaken this argument by pointing to the assistance the Pope recently received from three great Powers on the Continent. But if Spain, France, or Austria assisted to restore the Pope to his temporal authority in Rome, was it for a moment to be supposed that either of these great Powers would assist the Pope in enterprises of conquest against Great Britain? Yet that was the chimera which had frightened the timid and romantic Member for Bath, who, moreover, had been so scared at the sight of two Roman candles in the church of St. Barnabas, that he had fled with his Lydia to the river's bank. It was surprising that a simple change in the internal organisation of the Catholic Church should have so generally stirred up the worst passions of the human breast throughout the country. If the measure had in any way interfered with the allegiance which Catholics owed and acknowledged to the Sovereign of the realm—if it had encroached upon the privileges or diminished the revenues of the Established 259 Church in any manner, then indeed there might have been some just cause for alarm, and for the interference of the Legislature; but, as they had been repeatedly told, the very charge against which there was so much outcry placed the Catholic bishops in a position of greater independence of the Holy See than they were before, and enabled them more effectually to resist those very encroachments of the Holy See which the country so much dreaded. What had been the operation of an independent Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland? The Catholic bishops in Ireland had maintained from an early age a struggle of resistance to the interference of the Sovereign Pontiff, such as with regard to the Gregorian calendar, and the time for the observance of Easter; and denying also the right of the Pope to levy money from that country. And this determined resistance, he believed it was, that caused the Sovereign Pontiff to hand over Ireland to the tender mercies of Henry II. In Spain, again, the Catholic bishops were the first to proclaim the right of the negro to be free; in South America the Catholic clergy headed the people in their struggles against despotism, and to secure their own independence; in the United States of North America, also, when the Puritans of New England persecuted the Episcopalian Protestants, and when the Quakers in Pennsylvania persecuted the Presbyterians, the persecuted fled to the Roman Catholic colony of Maryland, which was the first to proclaim the great principles of religious toleration. If the creation of a Roman Catholic hierarchy was an invasion of our national independence, why was it that the United States of America, who were most jealous of their independence, allowed a Catholic hierarchy to be established quietly there? There the Catholics had their bishops and archbishops, and not a year passed without some addition being made to their number; and yet we heard of no disturbance or excitement on that account. But the truth was, that the United States were not saddled with an Established Church, like ours, which was perpetually trembling for its existence, and at every change, or every reform, however necessary, raising the cry of "The Church in danger!" But if the garment of the Protestant Establishment was rent, it had not been torn by the Roman Catholics, but by the members within her own pale. He solemnly believed, that if Puseyism had not reared its formidable front within the 260 Church, the change in their own organisation which the Catholics had effected, would have been suffered to pass with little or no notice. If it had not been Puseyism, they would not have seen the Comedy of Errors enacted in Downing-street, nor Much Ado about Nothing played of late on every platform in the country. Could not the noble Lord then have reformed the evils in his own Church, without trenching upon the liberties of another Church? It was surprising that the noble Lord should not have learnt from history, in which he was so well versed, that penal laws and persecution were not the proper means for putting down an obnoxious religion. Persecution had been tried for 300 years in Ireland, and they all knew well how signally it had failed. This Bill, whilst it would not effect the object for which it was intended in England, with regard to Scotland was a positive injustice. Protestant bishops and Catholic bishops stood both in the same relation to the dominant religion in Scotland, and yet the Protestant bishops in Scotland were not to be included in this Bill. The colonies were not to be included, because the Queen's supremacy did not extend to them; but, he would ask, was the Queen's supremacy paramount in Presbyterian Scotland? The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary declared that the Protestant bishops in Scotland had assumed territorial titles without the shadow of a lawful right. Why, then, were these bishops to be specially excepted from this Bill? Were these not cases of gross partiality and monstrous inconsistency? The Irish people were naturally in a slate of indignation at having their ancient hierarchy (which they had had unbroken from the days of St. Patrick down to the present) unnecessarily interfered with; and the intolerant legislation of the noble Lord was calling again into existence among them that Roman Catholic Association which they had, it now appeared, vainly hoped was for ever buried in oblivion. Unless they wished to rekindle and perpetuate religious strife and sectarian rancours—unless they wished to make Ireland continue the difficulty, not merely of the present, but of all future, Administrations—unless they wished to alienate still more strongly the feelings of the Irish people, and to render their government impossible without a standing army of at least 40,000 men—unless they wished to endanger the peace, and to retard the prosperity, not merely of Ireland, but of 261 the empire at large, he implored them to reject the measure now under discussion.
MR. HENRY DRUMMOND
* Sir, I cannot consent to confine the subject of this discussion within the narrow limits which the hon. Member who has just sat down would prescribe for it: the question which we have to decide is no less than this: Whether the Papists shall remain a tolerated sect under the dominion of the Queen? or, Whether the Queen shall become a licensed heretic under the dominion of the Pope? We have further to determine—Whether we would have one-third of the inhabitants of this empire, under the pretext of "a religious development necessary to their system," governed by a law unknown to, and unrecognised by, the remaining two-thirds, and which that one-third part maintains to be superior to both the common and statute law which govern alike the whole community? These questions will not be terminated by this night's debate, nor by this Bill, nor by a hundred such; for the Pope has raised a storm in this country which will never be allayed again in the lifetime of the youngest person present.
Before engaging, however, with the main body of the Pope's army, I must say something to the skirmishers who have been thrown out in the front of the battle. And the first of those to which I would direct your attention, is the Philosophers, who, elevating themselves into a position from which they affect to look down upon all sublunary contests, care little, like the Turk, whether the hog eat the dog, or the dog the hog—whether the Papist eat the Protestant, or the Protestant the Papist—and recommend us to stand aloof, to do nothing, but allow all things to take their course. It is a pity that these philosophers did not think the same two years ago; for they then did condescend to come down from their height, and meddle with a Bill that was sent up from this House; and gave as a reason for inserting a clause which has justly offended the Pope, that they would not allow him to send an alter ego here; and now the Pope, instead of sending an alter ego, has sent a part of himself—pars ipsius corporis, as a cardinal is called. We are indebted to an Irish writer for showing us the real value of philosophers in all sublunary matters; and whoever has read the "Voyage to Laputa," can have no difficulty in estimating the worth of philosophers in all that relates to the conduct of mankind.
262 I must, in the next place, warn the House against supposing that the Roman Catholic Members are better acquainted with the details of Popery than any others. I am sure that the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan) is as incapable of saying anything which he does not believe to be true as any Member of this House; nevertheless, he did distinctly deny, during a late debate, that there was any difference between the Court of Rome and the Church of Rome: this was refuted; yet, nevertheless, at a subsequent period in the debate, up jumps the hon. Member for Dublin, and repeats the same thing. But what does Dr. M'Hale say?—and surely both these Gentlemen must bow down to him—he says, in his evidence before the Education Committee—The doctrine and principles of the Court of Rome are not sufficient to establish the doctrine of the Catholic Church; we distinguish between the Court of Rome and the See of Rome; for the Court of Rome may be a scene of much intrigue and cabal, without affecting, at the same time, the authority of the Holy See, or decrees of the Catholic Church.This is sufficient to show that the Roman Catholic Members do not know the doctrines of their own Church, and that the statement which I made concerning that difference was correct. Yet Dr. Wiseman declares that "it is the law of this country that divides the sovereign of the Roman States from the Bishop of Rome." Of all the impostures which are put forth by the Papacy, there is none more false than that it is unchanged and unchangeable; for it has been continually changing, and every change was to give increased power to the priests, and to take away some right from the laity. The philosophers who tell us to let such a system alone, had better remember the words of a French Minister to the Senate in the time of the First Consul, who said—The Catholic religion is that of the vast majority of the French nation; to abandon so powerful an engine would be to desire the first ambitious knave or unprincipled demagogue who wishes to convulse France, to seize it, and direct it against his country.For "France," read "Ireland," The object to be attained by the Papacy has never been lost sight of, and it retains the same means of effecting its ends which it ever had. It has been said that it is ridiculous to make such a fuss about an Italian priest, who is totally without power, save over the consciences of those who choose to believe in him. But the Pope 263 has the same arms which he ever had. He never has had an army—he never has had a fleet—yet he has contrived to do as much mischief in Europe, to shed as much blood in battle, as Napoleon, or anybody else. He has kept his arms, but we have thrown away ours, with which we in former times successfully resisted him. It is asked, with infantile simplicity, "In what way can his present act be called an aggression? It is only a spiritual reconstitution, or development, of our hierarchical system." These are very pretty words; but if this be all that is required, how came the Pope to send here a Cardinal?—a Cardinal is not a spiritual person. It is so long since we have had a gentleman of this description in this country, that people have forgotten what sort of animal he is. Now I will show you what a Cardinal is in the words of a Pope himself. There was in France, in the reign of Louis XIV., a certain Cardinal Bouillon, a very worthless fellow, whom the king sent away: upon this the Pope wrote to his legate to tell the king, that—It had never entered into the mind of the Pope to dispute the power of His Most Christian Majesty to dismiss from His service those Ministers and servants of whose conduct His Majesty is not satisfied, but only that His Majesty could not send away an ecclesiastic, and far less a Cardinal; and this not tin account of any affection for Cardinal Bouillon, who has not applied for aid to His Holiness, but out of the zeal which he ought to have for the immunities of sacred persons and things. With regard to other ecclesiastics, these indeed, are born subjects of their King; but so soon as they receive any orders from the Church, they become exempt from all lay power, in order to become subject solely to the Apostolic See; and the King is endangering his eternal salvation if he thinks otherwise.Such then is the faith of the priests of one-third of the population of Great Britain and Ireland; this is what they are endeavouring to establish by all their labours, by all their conversions, by all their insinuations into families, and decoying of the inexperienced. Bearing in mind this claim of the Pope for his priests, let us see the oath which the Cardinal takes to the Pope:—I promise and swear that I, from this time forward, so long as I shall live, will be faithful and obedient to blessed Peter and the Holy Roman Apostolic Church, and to our most holy Lord the Pope and his successors, and will fight for their honour and standing against all, with all my endeavours and all my power.If any one will take the oath of allegiance to the Queen also, he must intend to lie to 264 one or to the other; the two engagements are incompatible.
With such instruments then, a cardinal sworn to fight for him against all others, and a body of bishops and priests "exempt from all lay power, and subject only to the apostolic see," the Pope proceeds to abrogate, annul, and destroy, all the sees of England, which have been established by the monarchs of England, from the days of King Ethelbert—a proclamation, such as the Queen herself dare not issue, and such as the Pope would not have dared to have sent to any other country than this. These are his words:—Whatever regulations, either in the ancient system of the Anglican churches," [that is, before the Reformation] "or in the subsequent missionary state," [that is, subsequent to the Reformation] "may have been in force either by special constitutions, or privileges, or peculiar customs, will now henceforth carry no right nor obligation; and, in order that no doubt may remain on this point, we, by the plenitude of our apostolic authority, repeal and abrogate all power whatsoever of imposing obligation or conferring right in those peculiar constitutions and privileges, of whatsoever kind they may be, and in all customs by whomsoever or at whatsoever most ancient and immemorial time brought in," [that is, by our Saxon monarchs]. "Hence, it will, for the future, be solely competent for the archbishop and bishops,hereby setting aside all the rights of the priests and laity—"to distinguish what things belong to the execution of the common ecclesiastical law, and what according to the common discipline of the Church are entrusted to the authority of the bishops.When Augustine came to England, having been consecrated a bishop in France, the King gave him a see, first in London, and then removed him to Canterbury. Yet a recent pastoral of Dr. M'Hale has the presumption, in defiance of the plain words of history, to assert that the Pope appointed Augustine to Canterbury. In those days Popes were kept in better order than to dare to parcel out kingdoms without the consent of their respective sovereigns; there is no instance of any Pope daring to set up a see of his own will, nor to abolish one; but it is hard to meet with one of these bishops' pastorals, that does not contain direct falsehoods, and perversion of facts intended to deceive. Unfortunately, such being the arrogant aggression which Cardinal Wiseman and the priests are appointed to carry out, there are never wanting parties to uphold him. So long ago as 1846, a Popish organ declared as follows:—Calm your perturbation, ye excellent indivi- 265 duals, and submit with decent dignity to the inevitable. It is even so. It will be so yet more and more; you are only at the beginning of your perplexity. The Pope will speak more loudly than ever, and, what is more, he will be listened to. He will turn over your musty Acts of Parliament, with finger and thumb, scrutinising them with a most irreverent audacity; examining those which concern him;"—How can Acts of a British Parliament concern him unless he be a foreign intruder into our concerns?—"and when he has found these, rejecting some and tolerating others, with as much freedom as you use when you handle oranges in a shop, selecting the soft and the sweet, contemptuously rejecting the sour and rotten. And then—O dreadful thought:—he will insist upon being obeyed.Yes, and will be obeyed by traitors, and can be obeyed by none else.What! the Bill was read three times in each House of Parliament; it was thrice passed; engrossed on parchment; garnished with a waxen appendage, by way of seal; and has had read over it pronounced by Royal lips, the mysterious and creative fiat, La Reine veut—The Queen wills it; the Lords will it; the Commons will it. What does it want to complete the perfect fashion of a law? Nothing of solemnity, nothing of force, which the imperial sceptre of this kingdom could give, is wanting to it. But truly it may want the sanction of religion: the Pope" [so he is religion] "snuffs disdainfully at it: an Italian priest will have none of it: it trenches upon his rights;"—How can an Italian have rights in Britain?——"or rather upon his duties; it violates the integrity of those interests which he is set to guard; and, therefore, Commons, Lords, Queen, wax, parchment, and all, avail it very little. You may call it law if you please. You may enter it on your roll. You may print it in the yearly volume of your statutes. But before long you will have to repeal, or alter it, in order to procure the sanction of a foreign potentate, without which it has not in the end the value of a tenpenny nail.Such is the amount of loyalty which is avowed by the servants of the Pope; and let it be remarked, that he and religion are held to be synonymous. The priests always call themselves "religion" in contradistinction to the laity; but it would be well for the laity to remind them of that which M. Isambert said respecting them:—You call yourselves religion, but we will make you understand that religion is one thing, and you are another thing.There is another class of persons who object to any opposition by law against the Pope's aggression, which is the class of Utilitarians. One of these gentlemen said lately at a public meeting— 266If the Roman Catholics were to come to Parliament and say, 'The head of our Church has given us bishops, and we ask you to give these bishops power by law to enforce their jurisdiction,' then, I should say, that such a demand should be visited with the most strenuous opposition."—And again, "Tell me in what way these Roman Catholic bishops will interfere with my civil liberty, with my religious opinions, or with my purse.We have been accustomed to hear much of the selfishness of this sect of Utilitarians in what relates to to the food of the people; they would open the trade in corn, because it increased the export of cotton, but they would not say a word in favour of malt, because cotton was not to be benefited; and now they have gone a step farther, and declared that no one was to be protected if these Utilitarians themselves did not happen to want protection. But did you so act towards negro slaves? Did they ask for protection? Did the factory children ask for protection? Do idiots, or insane persons, ask for protection? How can a poor young lady who is locked up, Where she may be either starved or whipped to death, that the priests may clutch her money, ask for protection? [Interruption, and cries of "No, no!"] I assert that nunneries are prisons, and I have seen them so used. [Violent cries of "No, no!"] They have ever been either prisons or brothels.
The EARL of ARUNDEL and SURREY
I had only just entered the House when I heard the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) say, at least so I understood him to say, though I hope I am mistaken in my impression, that nunneries were either prisons or brothels. Now, Sir, I wish to ask you whether an hon. Member is in order, who states that these nunneries, in which reside ladies who devote themselves to the service of God, and endeavour to attain to the perfection of all human virtues—I ask, whether it is proper, in this House, to use base terms so disgraceful of those institutions as have fallen from the hon. Member?
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must say, in reply to the appeal of the noble Lord, that nothing has fallen from the hon. Member for Surrey inconsistent with the freedom of debate. ["Hear, hear!" and murmurs of dissent from some quarters of the House.]
I will show you presently what is "the perfection of all human virtue," in the minds and instructions of priests, and towards which the laity are advanced. In the meantime, I will show you that so far is the assertion in the pastorals of the bishops, that neither priests nor laity require protection, from being true, both priests and laity have petitioned against the very measures which the Pope has taken.
The noble Lord said on a former evening, that he had, with several others, signed a petition for the very measure which has been granted. He has not, however, shown us that petition: still if he says that he has really petitioned for that which the Pope has done, no doubt he has so petitioned. But then we must say that the petition of the noble Lord was exactly the reverse of the petition of other noble Lords, and of others of the Roman Catholic body, for I have here a copy of a petition signed by Lord Petre, Messrs. Riddell, Searle, George Rokewode, Douglas, E. Riddell, Innes, Tempest, Selby, Blount, Jerningham, Scully, T. C. Anstey, and many others. This petition is addressed—To his Holiness Gregory XVI. in 1839. May it please your Holiness. The gracious attention which it has pleased your Holiness to pay to a petition presented about two years ago from a numerous and influential portion of Catholics of the northern district of England, praying for a subdivision of our districts, election by the rectors, as well secular as regular, of each congregation, the proper appointment of chapters, and enactment of laws duly considered and approved by the Holy See. …. cannot but increase our gratitude," &c., &c.These, then, were the things petitioned for two years before 1839, and again in that year; but not one of these things is now granted, nor are they contained in the recent act of the Pope. Finding there was even at that time a beginning to work the very mischief that has now taken place, the petition goes on to state—Our joy, however, has been checked by reports which seem but too well founded, of designs to impede by various means your wise intentions on our behalf. More especially we find that attempts are being made, with the risk of fomenting dissension amongst us, to deprive us of the expected privilege of voting in the election of chapters, and of vicars-apostolic, those missionaries who belong to religious orders," &c.Thus, then, instead of that act of the Pope being in acordance with the prayer of the petitions of the Catholic laity, it is exactly in the teeth of those prayers.
268 This, however, is not all. I have here a copy of the petition of the priests, which is as follows:—We, the undersigned, missionary priests of the Catholic Church in England, humbly and earnestly beseech the Sacred Congregation that the rank of bishops in ordinary may not be granted to the vicars-apostolic of England before that the rights of the parish priests shall have been granted to the missionary priests; …. and that, in the first place, there may be a code of laws touching spiritual things, .…. some part given to the priests in the choice of their bishops, …. chapters duly constituted in each district, …. and that stability of place, and that parochial status secured, which hitherto, that is, down to the present generation of vicars-apostolic, was sanctioned by customary law; the which things not being granted, the latter state of the aforesaid clergy will be worse than the first.Here, then, is proof positive that the aggression was not made in consequence of petitions from England. Moreover, there is proof that, in defiance of these petitions for a totally different thing, a cabal was going on at Rome, in 1847, in order to do the very thing that has now been done. I have here an extract from a letter written in that year from Rome to Mr. C. Dickens, by a Roman Catholic priest, under the signature of "Savanarola." He writes, in April, 1847—If our intercourse with Rome is in favourable progress, a recent step on the part of your British 'vicars-apostolic' is, nevertheless, likely to create an awkward impediment. You are aware that these functionaries, originally four, were doubled during the last years of Gregory, and England is now divided into eight quasi-episcopal districts: viz., Metropolitan, York, Lancaster, Northern, Eastern, "Western, Midland, and Wales. Not satisfied with this augmentation of their numbers, the vicarial body is just now in the attitude of Oliver Twist, 'asking for more.' Their new demand is, to have their locus standi in England no longer vicarial, i.e., removable at the simple will of the Vatican, but diocesan, with permanent, 'ordinary,' and irresponsible jurisdiction. If this were a mere matter of honorific title, and an approximation on the part of the English Roman Catholic prelates to the plenitude of hierarchy existing for the brotherhood in Ireland, it would be offensive only in the nostrils of jealous bigrotry; … but the proceeding is deemed objectionable on other grounds: as seriously affecting the Roman Catholic body, clergy as well as laity, in England. The 'vicars' have not had the grace, in seeking to better their own Condition, to raise up, by one common effort, their 'beloved clergy,' who are at present dismissible at caprice like themselves. They seek not the salutary control of a diocesan dean and chapter, according to the canonical arrangements of Catholic Christendom; they do not relish the assistance of irremovable rural deans, appointed for length of service, learning, and piety: no claims of parochial authority, as in Ireland, enter into their project for the 'good of the Church.'269So far in spirituals; but here's the rub! in temporalities they want to 'carry the bag,' and to get transferred to their single separate names the pure and simple proprietorship of all the landed and funded property now vested in lay or clerical trustees, for Roman Catholic purposes throughout Great Britain. These accumulated funds, the legacy of bygone piety, have long been coveted; and as the law of England will not sweep away these solemn trusts at the bidding of the vicars, it is sought to carry the object into effect by the spiritual weapons of excommunication and ghostly terror, should Propaganda give powers to wield such questionable thunder for such still more questionable purposes.Considerable funds and rents are held by laymen in various countries in trust for Benedictine and Jesuit missions; but as these corporations a it powerful at Rome, no attempt is made just now at usurpation in that quarter. The other lay patrons of Roman Catholic livings, holding such patronage according to the canonical usage of all Catholic countries (in right of original grants from the pockets of their ancestors), are all about to be despoiled of their immemorial lights, unless, being made aware of what is brewing in Rome, they instruct Roman lawyers and agents to resist the palpable spoliation, or, what would be more effectual, bring the matter under the notice of Pius himself.The system by which the vicars themselves are created is an anomaly unknown to Catholic Christendom. There is no election by a parochial synod as in Ireland: no principle of detur digniori. Caprice and cabal influence the result, and men of mediocrity and cunning will be sure to rise over the heads of such men as Lingard under the present arrangement. In fact, understrappers at Propaganda settle the spiritual affairs of Great Britain and her colonies just as they like; nor is it understood that these subaltern functionaries (who have the power of suppressing or distorting correspondence) are inaccessible to persuasions of an arithmetical character.Such is the picture of the way in which the Church is infallibly guided by an infallible priesthood, drawn by a priest himself at Rome! Still we are told that this is only a question of titles; whereas we have it from the testimony of priests themselves, that the titles are not empty sounds, but are realities which ensure the grasp of the property of the laity.
To clench the matter still more firmly, I will read a letter from a priest, dated this very year, 1851, Jan. 27:—I have information from Rome that there is prepared a brief to force upon us the canon law of the Diocese of Rome. By that law bishops are, under their primate, absolute masters of all church temporalities; and the great motive for the creation of a mock hierarchy was the introduction of the same canon law, and the annihilation, consequently, of all hope of reviving the old free canon law of England amongst us. Thus would Rome succeed for the first time since the Conquest in her darling object—the introduction of her own canon law into England, to be enthroned upon the ruins of an ancient and homely canon law; an 270 object not the less cherished by her now that almost every Catholic country in the world—even Piedmont and Sardinia at last—has rejected her legislation.Another priest says—It is not true that they pretend to confine it to spirituals, but with the Cardinalities the distinction of spirituals and ecclesiasticals is not recognised; and so "spiritual" in their mouths means all things relating to persons and rights ecclesiastical, as benefices, patrons, congregations, incumbents, church lands, and the like. Cardinal Wiseman is determined to be paramount in spirituals first, and then in temporals. If he succeed, all liberty is lost to us, poor clergymen; and succeed he will, unless Parliament interfere to save us.It is clear, after this statement, that I am justified in saying that there is a portion of Her Majesty's subjects entitled to protection from this aggression on their rights. Dr. Ullathorne, in one of his pastorals lately says, "Aye, but let us know who these priests are; whether they are in full communion with the Church, or not." Dr. Ullathorne knew full well that if he could get hold of their names they would be dismissed instanter, without mercy and without redress. These men are mostly poor, without private funds, and being bred up to be ecclesiastics, are incapable of exercising any other vocation, and therefore dismissal to them is synonymous with starvation. Cardinal Wiseman says, in his first Lecture on the Hierarchy, that "not one obtains any increased power or jurisdiction over clergy or laity, or property or trusts, or any person or thing." I The Cardinal is contradicted by his priests as plainly as language can tell him: they tell him that his assertion is the very opposite of truth; in short, they say, totidem verbis et totidem literis, that it is directly false: and this Lecture of Wiseman's is calculated to deceive the laity upon the extent of the power which he will henceforth have over their temporalities.
The power which the bishops possess has been exposed in some degree by Lord Shrewsbury, who has dared to let the cat out of the bag. In writing to Dr. M'Hale, his Lordship says—"Dr. O'Finnan, one of your Grace's suffragans, was dispossessed of his diocese at Killaloe, and another thrust into his place, as the successful issue of a petty intrigue at Rome." Dr. Mulholland appealed to the Court of Queen's Bench at Sligo, in 1837: but Mr. O'Connell advised him to submit, for no justice could be obtained for him.
It has been the fashion for many people to speak of the Papacy as a thing that is 271 by no means in the present day that which it was in former times. The Popes, however, to do them justice, have never changed—have never abated one iota of their pretensions to the temporal as well as to the spiritual sovereignty of Christendom. When this is alleged, we are answered that we have been raking up musty records of bygone times, but that the principles of modern Romanists are totally different. Now I will defy any one to point out a doctrine of the Court of Home which has been so continuously and unremittingly held as this. I have now before me extracts from the decrees of no less than twenty-one Popes and seven Councils, all claiming the right to depose temporal sovereigns, and all putting the doctrine in practice—at least, absolving subjects from their allegiance, when they could not attain to the other. Gentlemen may deny this if they please—if they find it convenient to answer present purposes; I will not venture to characterise such denials, but I will read to them what one of the Popes says of those who draw any distinction between his spiritual and temporal power. This infallible gentleman says that such deniers are "beasts," "members of Satan," and "limbs of Antichrist." It is further worthy of remark, that none of the books which maintained the Pope's temporal rights over all sovereigns have ever been placed in the Index Expurgatorius, whilst all which denied it have been. When it suited the purpose of Dr. Doyle to deny this, when Catholic Emancipation was wanted, he wrote to Lord Liverpool thatIt must be quite obvious that these claims had not their origin in the gospel" [quite obvious indeed], "nor in the doctrine of the Catholic Church" [certainly in the doctrine of the Papal Church], "but in the state of society, in the mistaken zeal, or in the ambition of some Popes; a zeal or an ambition excited and directed by an insatiable avarice, pride, and thirst of power, in their followers and dependants.This he wrote in his Essay on the Catholic Claims, addressed to Lord Liverpool in 1826. It is a pity that we do not take a lesson from Roman Catholic Powers, who know how to deal with the Pope's claims far better than we do: and when the Pope wrote—Boniface, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, to Philip, King of France, fear God, &c., &c.; we wish you to know that you are subordinate to us both in spiritual and temporal concern.The King wrote him back for answer— 272Philip, by the grace of God, King of France, to Boniface, acting as Pope, little or no greeting: your superlative foolishness is hereby informed, that in temporal concerns we are not subordinate to any one.Having then seen what are the Papal pretensions, their extent, and the unabated claims, let us see what means the Pope has at his command of enforcing them. It is said that he has no troops, and but one corvette, and that it is absurd for us to have any apprehensions on that account. Pray, when had he ever an army and a fleet? He possesses the same power now that Popes ever had—the power of excommunication. Many persons in this House do not believe in the efficacy of sacraments, and these say that if men are such fools as to be frightened by the fear of being excommunicated, they must take the consequences. Such persons, however, are not competent judges, because they cannot enter into the feelings of those who have faith in sacraments, and I should be very sorry to see that faith shaken. This argument is like that which was commonly used at the time of the Relief Bill, when it was said that the disabilities were no hardship at all, for the Papists had only to become Protestants. The difference lies here, namely, that the sacraments were given by God as instruments of blessing to the people; but the priests have taken them, and made them the means of exalting themselves, and of oppressing the laity. It is impossible for any deliverance from this oppression to come but for the laity themselves; Parliament cannot protect them, nor any law which it can pass; and one bad part of this Bill is, that there were symptoms of the laity remonstrating against the decree of the Synod of Thurles, which this Bill has now prevented their doing.
With this power of excommunication to back them, they reduce the laity to be the most abject of all slaves. We have heard just now something about advancement in evangelical holiness; now let us see what these words mean in the mouths of Popish priests. They teach that—It is especially conducive to advancement—nay, even necessary—that all yield themselves to perfect obedience, regarding their superior, be he who he may, as Christ the Lord.All which" [i. e. certain exercises] "they shall do at the appointment and judgment of their superiors, to whom, as in the place of Christ, they owe subjection.And let every one persuade himself that they who live under obedience should permit themselves to be moved and directed under Divine 273 Providence by their superiors just as if they were a corpse, which allows itself to be moved and handled in any way; or as the staff of an old man, which serves him wherever and in whatever thing he who holds it in his hand pleases to use it. Thus obedient he should execute anything on which the superior chooses to employ him, in the service of the whole body of the Society, with cheerfulness of mind, and altogether believe that he will answer the Divine will better in that way than in any other which he can follow in compliance with his own will and differing judgment.Again—In the first place, you must not behold in the person of your superior a man liable to error and weakness, but Christ himself, who is highest wisdom, immense goodness, and infinite love; therefore you must receive the voice and commands of your superior not otherwise than the voice of Christ.The priests having reduced the laity to this degraded condition of slavery, inform us next how they mean to use these "corpses" and "staffs" in their hands.It hath seemed good to us—,to declare that none of these constitutions, &c., shall make obligatory any sin, whether mortal or venial, unless the superior may command it in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, or in virtue of the vow of obedience; and that he may judge it conducive either to individual good or to the universal well-being of the Society.It is truly ludicrous to hear men talking in this House about civil and religious liberty, if they shall have submitted to a slavery like this. They enjoy here civil and religious liberty, because it is Protestantism that secures both for them; out of a Protestant country they dare not utter the words. Cardinal Wiseman has lately published a translation of the Exercises of Loyola, in the preface of which he declares that—In the Catholic Church no one is ever allowed to trust himself in spiritual matters. The Sovereign Pontiff is obliged to submit himself to the direction of another in whatever concerns his own soul.Here, again, if this is quoted, the ready answer is, "that it is only spiritual matters:" now let us see how much truth there is in that excuse. In the thirteenth of these Exercises we find—That we may in all things attain the truth (that we may not err in anything), we ought ever to hold it as a fixed principle that what I see white I believe to be black, if the hierarchical Church so define it to be.This is the teaching which Cardinal Wiseman is come "out of the side of the Pope" to give us. Is there "spiritual" black and "spiritual" white? this is the "evangelical holiness" in which, according to 274 the Cardinal, the laity are to be perfected. Priests that inculcate such principles as these are the Thugs of Christendom. For what are Thugs?—murderers: yes, but all murderers are not Thugs. Thugs are not only murderers, but they commit murder as an act of worship: so these priests inculcate lying as an act of worship of the God of truth—inculcate the saying that black is white, when they know it to be black, as a thing well-pleasing to God: this is what constitutes Thuggee. Never was degradation of the laity who submit to them so low as this: the negro slave was not so oppressed; in all the debates in this House, in all the evidence of cruelty committed upon him, it never yet was said that he was obliged to say sugar was sour, and limejuice was sweet. Such slavery degraded man from his moral dignity as man. "An honest man's the noblest work of God"—not a quibbling theologian; and it matters not to what sect a man belongs, if he is taught and permitted to lie. The authoritative doctrine now taught by the priests from Liguori is this:—Although it is not lawful to lie, or to feign that which is not, it is, however, lawful to dissimulate that which is, or to cover truth with words, or with other ambiguous and indifferent signs, for the sake of a just cause, and when there is no necessity for confessing it.The country is aroused and indignant from one end to the other, and it is a dangerous argument for Gentlemen to use when they say that it has not yet expressed itself with sufficient unanimity. The people are a law-loving people: they do not boast, like some in this House, that, pass what law you will, they will set about breaking it: they are looking to the heads of their respective parties to lead them, and they are looking to this House for effectual legislation to beat back the aggression perpetrated by Dr. Wiseman and his priests: but if you disappoint them—if you will do nothing for them, you will compel them to take the law into their own hands. I am sorry that they should be driven to this; I am sorry that they should be excited upon such a subject, nor shall they be by me; but, excited or not, they shall hear the truth. I am no professional agitator—no trader in Conciliation Halls; I hate all such Whig principles and Radical practices; but do not fancy that Dr. Wiseman shall with impunity issue his edicts from the Flaminian Gate to establish Popish laws, and Popish practices, and Popish rule over the inhabitants of Surrey and Sussex, and 275 that I and others are not to examine those practices, and to challenge his authority. Of course, when a nation is excited, many motives combine in producing one result; but amidst them all, there is this one preeminent, which is a plain John-Bull love of truth and detestation of imposture, and of those who practise it. What! do you think that you can bring over here with impunity a cargo of blinking statues, of bleeding pictures of liquefying blood, and of the Virgin Mary's milk? [Shouts of disapprobation, cries of "Order!" and great confusion, which it is to be noted accompanied many parts of the hon. Member's speech.] Why do you call "Oh, oh?"
§ MR. O'FLAHERTY
rose to order. I most respectfully submit to the English House of Commons—a body which I have always understood to be composed of men of gentlemanly feeling, and who would not permit any portion of the Members of this House, or any portion of Her Majesty's subjects professing conscientiously no matter what creed to be insulted—whether, even at the present moment, there ought not to be on the part of the House, some expression of feeling with respect to the language employed by the hon. Gentleman whom I have called to order? [Cheers, and cries of "No, no!"] I think the language that Gentleman has used is as worthy pf his taste as it is of his judgment. [Cries of "Order!" and cheers.]
§ MR. SPEAKER
I must beg Gentlemen not to interrupt the regularity of the debate, and I hope that on a question of so much delicacy as that now under discussion, Members will abstain as much as possible from the use of all expressions tending to create excitement, or to offend the religious feelings of others.
rose, amid loud cries pf "Adjourn, adjourn!" An hon. Member last night (the hon. Member proceeded) pointed out to you that Cardinal Wiseman had specially selected as—
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
I rise to order. [Renewed confusion, and cries of "Chair!"] I wish to know if I am not in order, first, because I have moved the adjournment of the House; and, secondly, because an hon. Member having been reprimanded by you, is it not due to him 276 and to us that he should apologise to the House? ["No, no!" "Order!"] He is called upon by every sentiment of good feeling—[Loud cries of "Order!" and "Chair!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is himself guilty of a breach of order in the course he is now taking. I did not venture to reprimand the hon. Member for Surrey, nor did I venture to call him to order; I only took the liberty of expressing the hope that no Member, in the course of the debate, on a delicate and exciting subject, would say anything calculated to produce ill-feeling, and that every Gentleman would abstain from the use of expressions likely to irritate or offend. [Cheers.]
§ [The hon. Member for West Surrey attempted to proceed; but a great confusion arose, with incessant cries of "Order!" and "Chair!" At length]
§ MR. MOORE
was heard to exclaim—I speak to order. I do insist, with the greatest submission to you, Sir, that it is not merely a disrespect to a portion of this House and their religion that has been done, but that it is out of order in any Christian assembly to make—[Great cries of "Order!" and "Chair!"]
§ MR. GRATTAN
rose and said: I am an old Member of the House, and I call the hon. Member for Surrey to order in consequence of the improper expressions he has used. I have a right to move that his words be taken down. I ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and all the old Members of the House, and you, Sir, if I am not in order, and if there are not precedents for moving that the words of the hon. Member be taken down? [Continued cries of "Chair!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is mistaken in what he has now said. The hon. Member for Surrey is entitled, by the rules of debate, to use such expressions as he may think necessary, provided they do not convey any personal reflection on another Member, and are not disrespectful to the House. What I said to the hon. Member was no more than a caution—it was no reprimand.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL, Mr. MOORE, and Mr. DRUMMOND rose at once, and each attempted to address the House. [Great confusion took place, and at length, amid continuous cries of "Order" and "Chair!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, I must call on hon. Members to support me in the main- 277 tenance of order. [Great cheering.] I have already stated that the hon. Member for West Surrey is not out of order, and I trust he will now be allowed to proceed. [Great cheering.]
accordingly proceeded, observing that he was not out of order, and that he had not been reprimanded. He had been provoked by repeated and offensive interruptions to say things which, in the heat of argument, escaped his lips. He did not retract one word of what he had said; but if he had given offence, whether merited or unmerited, to any individual, be humbly begged their pardon. He continued:
Let us turn now to the purely political project which this aggression entails. My hon. Friend near me (Mr. Newdegate) has already alluded to Cardinal Wiseman having adopted Thomas à Becket as his model. Now, be it remembered that a long struggle had been going on between the priests and the king, respecting their being amenable to the king's courts; Becket was a meek, oily sycophant of the king, and the king, therefore, thought he would not go against him if he made him Archbishop of Canterbury; no sooner, however, was he there, than he espoused the party of the priests in endeavouring to withdraw them from the king's power. Dr. Wiseman says—Fear not that the interests of religion will be jeopardised in my hands, least of all where the cause of the Holy See is particularly concerned.We have seen that by his oath he is bound to fight for the Holy See against all others.Need I remind you or others of where or how I have been nourished in the faith—how from early youth I have grown up under the very shadow of the apostolic chair; how, week after week, I have knelt at the shrine of Peter, and there sworn fealty to him; how I have served as good masters successive pontiffs, in their very households, and have been admitted to confidence, and, if I dare say it, friendship by them? And is it likely that I should be behind any other, be he neophyte or Catholic of the ancient stock, in defending the rights of my holy Lord and Master under Christ? or that I can require the summoning to watch with jealous eye any attempt to infringe them?It was the rights of his holy Lord that Becket defended against the king, and which Cardinal Wiseman declares he will do also.The second altar at which I knelt in the Holy City was that which marks the spot whereon St. Peter cemented the foundation of his unfailing throne with his blood. The first was that of our own glorious St. Thomas. For two-and-twenty years I daily knelt before the lively representative of his martyrdom; at that altar I partook even of the bread of life; there for the first time, 278 I celebrated the divine mysteries; at it I received the episcopal consecration. He was my patron, he my father, he my model. Daily have I prayed, and do pray to him, to give me his spirit of fortitude to fight the battles of the Church—if necessary, unto the shedding of blood. And when withdrawn from the symbols of his patronage by the supreme will of the late Pontiff, I sought the treasury of his relics at Sens, and with fervent importunity sought and obtained the mitre which had crowned his martyred head, and I took myself from the shrine of the great Confessor, defender of religious rights, St. Edmund, a part of that right arm, which so often was stretched forth to bless your forefathers.Cardinal Wiseman, then, going forth in the spirit and power of Becket to fight for the Pope against all comers, is backed by a body of men who declare thatThat which seems to be the noble shout of offended British patriotism, is no more than the passionate cry of the spirit of darkness over that mighty demoniac of three centuries old, the established Protestantism of England. The Established Church is the great opponent of Jesus Christin this island. Add together all the dissenting sects, account their heretical tenets at the worst, number up the deeds of hostility against the Catholic Church—their crimes will be nothing in comparison with hers. She alone is the true embodiment of that sin for which Satan was cast out of heaven. The Pope comes forward and restores England to her place in the Christian Church. He makes no new claim to her obedience; he never yet ceased for a moment to demand the obedience of all baptised Christians.Having got then an obedient band of slaves, who will swear that black is white, and white is black, at his bidding, to carry on his war against everything established in England, the Pope's doctrine on temporals is well expressed in another letter in cipher to his legates in France, under the First Consul:—Not only has the Church continued to prevent heretics from possessing ecclesiastical property, but it has besides established, as punishment of the crime of heresy, the confiscation and loss of the goods possessed by heretics. This punishment is decreed regarding private property in the decretal of Innocent III., and for that which regards principalities, feoffs, it also is a rule of the canon law, in the chapter Absolutes XVI. of heretics, that subjects of a prince manifestly heretical, remain absolved from all homage, fealty, and obedience, (rimangono assoluti da qualunque omaggio, fedeltà, ed ossequio) towards the same; no one, however little versed in history, can be ignorant of the sentences of deposition pronounced by pontiffs and councils against princes who are obstinate in heresy. We are living in times so calamitous, and in such humiliation for the spouse of Christ, that it is not possible for her to use, nor expedient to mention, these most holy maxims of just rigour against the enemies and rebels against the faith. But if she cannot exercise her right to depose heretics from their princedoms, and to declare their goods forfeited, she can never formally permit principalities to acquire more, which would 279 be to be robbed herself. Such an occasion to divide the Church she will not give to the same heretics and infidels, who, insulting her grief, will say that they have at last found the means to make her tolerant.Such was the Pope's language in the lowest extremity under the First Consul, furnishing another proof that, whether in adversity or in prosperity, the Court of Rome had never lost sight of its ultimate object. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that the people are indignant and alarmed. Such language, and such plans, never will be tolerated, and let the consequences be what they may, the country will not submit to them.
There only remains now to consider the best way of resisting and throwing back upon the author this infamous aggression. The first words which I addressed to this Parliament were to call upon the noble Lord to fulfil his promises with respect to the Established Church in Ireland: this must be done. Secondly, there is no pretext for extending this Bill to Ireland; and to apply it to that country is manifestly uncalled-for and unjust. Thirdly, a law must be passed to prohibit the privy councillors of a foreign potentate from residing in this country without the license of the Crown. Fourthly, you must make all deeds done under the canon law null and void. Fifthly, you must extend the provisions of the Mortmain Act to all property of all sects, and take away from all priests the power of robbing men upon their deathbeds. I believe that you have come into such a position with regard to ecclesiastical affairs, that you cannot go on as you are. In that book which Papists are not allowed by their priests to read, there are several letters addressed to the laity, and two only specially addressed to bishops: to these bishops one of the first authorised teachers says, "Remember that the love of money is the root of all evil:" he does not say this in his letters to the laity, but only in those to the priests. I do not deny that in the early ages of Christianity good may have accrued to religion from the support of the State, but that day is gone by. I do not deny that even monkery may not have been a good way by which to plant Christianity in a heathen land, and to act as a missionary system in the country; but that end being once attained, monasticism is an unmitigated evil. The way to walk in the steps of our forefathers, and to imitate their example, is not to do all the things that 280 they did, but to do our duty in our day and generation, as they did their duty in their day and generation. It is not peculiarly against the priests of the Church of Rome that I speak, save as they afford more striking instances of that spirit of domination which is common to all, and which you can never counteract but by refusing to all sects alike the support of the civil power for all property belonging to religious or benevolent institutions; and I apply to the priests that which Cardinal Bembo said of the monks—"I meddle with reluctance in the concerns of priests, for I found therein, all human wickedness concealed behind a diabolical hypocrisy."
§ [The Speaker here left the Chair for a short time.]
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
I am glad, Sir, a short pause has taken place in our proceedings, and I hope nothing will fall from me that may tend to disturb the gravity of this debate, and the calmness with which the great subject now before us ought to be discussed. I bend, Sir, implicitly to your decision in every matter of order. I did not think it was possible, until within the last half-hour, that anything could have aggravated my sorrow on account of the revival of this painful discussion, in which the subject of religion is iuvolved; but I must say, that what has just occurred has far exceeded my most anxious apprehensions. I have seen a Gentleman—an accomplished Gentleman and a scholar—so much heated by the subject we are now discussing, as entirely to forget what was due to the feelings of a large body of Gentlemen sitting in this House on terms of perfect equality. I will not sully my lips by repeating the words that fell from him, with respect to hon. Members of this House, in reference to their veracity, and still less shall I think of repeating an allusion—which I shudder to think of—an allusion grossly offensive to the female relatives of those Gentlemen; to ladies who have devoted themselves to the service of their God, according to their consciences, in lives of seclusion and of chastity. The orders of the House may on this occasion not have been violated in the letter; but if Roman Catholic Members are to sit here and to take part in our debates, I must say that the rules and orders of the House cannot be said to be preserved in their spirit, if scenes like these we have just witnessed are to be repeated. I say that assertions of the kind that have been made, and the tone and manner in 281 which they have been made, must not be repeated, if decency in debate and the order or rules of the House are any thing more than a name.
The hon. Member said that he would enlarge the scope of this debate, and he proceeded to treat it as a subject entirely of a religious character. I shall venture also to enlarge the scope of our deliberations; but at least in the greater part of what it will be my duty to address to the House, I am happy to say I shall treat the subject as a political question. At the same time, Sir, I think that I should ill discharge my duty, considering the immense extent of field now open before us, if I detained you any longer by preliminary remarks, and I shall proceed at once to enter into the midst of the great subject we are called upon to discuss.
Having shortly addressed the House on a former occasion with reference to this subject, I shall, in what I mean now to address to you, repeat two admissions I made on that occasion. I am glad to make them, as they will help to clear the ground I intend to occupy. In the first place, I said, what I now repeat, that I do think that the language used by the Pope in his rescript, and by Cardinal Wiseman in his pastoral letter, was arrogrant in the extreme, and needlessly offensive to the feelings of the great Protestant community of this country. And I shall go further, and make this second admission, that it would have been extremely difficult for the servants of the Crown to have passed by in silence and contempt that offence, which so deeply wounded the Protestant feelings of a great majority of the people of Great Britain; and I do think it might have been necessary, and probably was necessary, in some authoritative way, to reassert those great Protestant principles which were fixed at the Reformation—which were vindicated at the Revolution—which were confirmed by the Act of Settlement—and which were ratified on two memorable occasions: first, by the solemn compact which united Scotland with England, and subsequently by that which established the union of Ireland with Great Britain. I will not now enter into the question that was raised by my hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford, as to the various modes by which this might have been done. I will not now discuss whether it would have been possible to have issued a Royal proclamation, asserting 282 strongly the supremacy of the Sovereign relative to all temporal matters; and also Her spiritual supremacy acknowledged by the members of the Church of England as established in these realms, and generally appealing to Her subjects to maintain the principles to which I have alluded, as having been settled at the Reformation, at the Revolution, and by the Act of Settlement. I will not, either, discuss whether it might have been possible to have proposed Resolutions for adoption by the two Houses of Parliament, to be embodied in an Address to be sent up by the two Houses to the foot of the Throne; nor will I discuss the third suggestion which the hon. Gentleman made, that the offence which was given should have been made matter of direct communication with the Court of Rome, through the medium of a special embassy. I beg to say, however, that there was one suggestion of my hon. Friend to which I could not in any circumstances give my assent after the experience of the last summer in the Mediterranean; that was, to meet the thunder of the Vatican by the more formidable thunder of Her Majesty's fleet, under the orders of Sir William Parker, in the offing either of Civita Vecchia or Ancona. The question before us is of a more narrow description, and to that question I shall endeavour strictly to confine myself.
The question is this—Is legislation the right mode of meeting this aggression? and, if so, is this the Bill by which that legislation should be carried into effect? And here I am met with a preliminary difficulty. I hardly know whether it is my duty to discuss the Bill in the shape in which I hold it in my hand, or in the amended shape which the authors of the Bill propose that it shall assume when it passes into Committee, provided the House shall consent to read it a second time. The strict rule of the House, I know, and the most proper rule, would lead me to discuss this Bill as it is, and I am very much confirmed in my decision so to do by what has already transpired; for I confess my own first impression, when I heard the alterations proposed to be made in Committee by Her Majesty's Government, was to entertain great doubts whether the preamble of this Bill, taken in connexion with the first clause, would not, in fact, and by implication, carry into effect the provisions of the second and third clauses. I confess that, as an unlearned person, I was strongly disposed to entertain this impression; I had 283 great doubt about it; but that impression was subsequently very much strengthened by the opinion quoted on a former evening by the hon. Member for Dundalk, which I hold in my hand, and which was given by three eminent counsel—Mr. Bethell, Mr. Bramwell, and Mr. Surrege. Those gentlemen, being authorities of the highest order, have given deliberately their opinion that the first clause, with the preamble, would in fact carry into effect all the provisions of the second and third clauses which Her Majesty's Government propose to exclude. That opinion was made known, before Her Majesty's Solicitor General addressed the House; but I never heard that he or any one of the law officers has grappled with this assertion. It was not levity, I am sure, that caused him to pass it over; and if it be not levity, our position is a remarkable one; for if this opinion be well founded, I apprehend Her Majesty's Government would be bound to vote against the second reading of their own Bill. The First Minister of the Crown said most frankly that the second and third clauses were contrary to the provisions they contemplated, and that they were clauses going further than they desired, and effecting purposes which they did not desire to carry into effect. He said, if I mistake not, that the second and third clauses interfered with ordination in Ireland, that they would interfere with collation to benefices, and would traverse bequests made to bishops and priests and their successors; and altogether would produce such changes as he neither contemplated nor desired, and that it would, therefore, be his duty to withdraw those clauses. But if the opinion to which I have alluded be sound—if really the withdrawal of the second and third clauses will have no effect while the preamble and the first clause stand; then, Sir, Her Majesty's Government must feel that it is impossible for them, acting under a sense of duty which prompts them to abandon the second and third clause, to maintain the first clause, which is the remainder of the Bill, if it have an effect which I apprehend they are not prepared to defend.
I shall now pass on to other considerations—to far greater and higher considerations. My principal objection to the Bill is—first, that it is an extension of penal enactments; and, in the second place, that it is the reversal of the policy we have been pursuing for the last twenty-two years, and calculated to produce the greatest evil.
284 Now, Sir, I am at once met by the serious difficulty which almost always meets us whenever we legislate in the vain hope, where a question of religion is concerned, of reconciling the conflicting interests of Great Britain and Ireland. And if I had any doubt upon this matter before I heard the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, I cannot now entertain the slightest doubt that there never was a question, as bearing strongly upon the peace and good-will of Ireland towards this country of more grave importance than the Bill we are now discussing. I must, however, before proceeding further, observe that I entirely agree with Her Majesty's Government in thinking that if, as they conceived, the rights of the Crown were affected by what is termed Papal aggression, and if it be necessary to legislate for the defence of the supremacy and rights of the Crown, it was impossible to deal separately with the case of Great Britain as contradistinguished from that of Ireland. I think, with them, that if legislation of this kind were attempted, it was absolutely necessary that it should be legislation embracing the whole of the United Kingdom. And a great additional objection to legislation as being the best mode of meeting this aggression, is, that it is absolutely necessary, if you legislate for England, to embrace Ireland also, and to deal with the whole of the United Kingdom. And observe what has fallen from the only law officer of the Crown who has yet addressed you. It is quite clear from what the Solicitor General has said, that circumstances that arose in Ireland have more to do with the real origin of this Bill than even the arrival of Cardinal Wiseman in England, or the intention to found a hierarchy here in place of vicars-apostolic. What was the circumstance on which he dwelt? He was pleased to designate the prelate who has been selected by the Pope to be placed at the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and to fill the office of Catholic Archbishop of Armagh, as "an ecclesiastic who, though an Irishman by name, is, in reality, an Italian monk." And, not satisfied with that, he dwelt upon the Synod of Thurles as one of the principal reasons why legislation was necessary; and what was the statement he made? He says, this Bill is effectual for the purpose of doing—what? These are his words; he says—They could not have an episcopal jurisdiction—they could not introduce the canon law—they 285 could not assemble any synod to frustrate, perchance, the decrees of the Imperial Parliament, unless they were bishops with territorial titles, and that this Bill effectually prohibited.Observe, by striking at the territorial titles, it is the intention of this Rill to put down the organised episcopacy of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and to deprive them of the power of meeting in synod; and the reason assigned is, that the Pope, the spiritual head of their Church, has selected as a person to place at the head of the prelacy, an ecclesiastic of the Church of Rome—a person whom he designates as "an Italian monk." Now, if this Bill be effectual for the purposes which the Solicitor General stated—though, I confess, that I doubt whether his law be sound, or his description of the measure correct—but, if his law be sound, and his description be accurate, then I say all that was done in 1829, admitting the Roman Catholics to an equality of civil rights, is rendered worthless by the blow you now direct against them. For 200 years—long before Catholic Emancipation—there was an organised episcopacy of the Catholic Church in Ireland; the canon law did prevail in Ireland unmolested and undisturbed by our legislation, and, whether designated as synods or not, the Catholic prelates of Ireland did assemble, and meet, and come to conclusions on all matters spiritually affecting the people of that country, and published their decisions; and these meetings for all practical purposes had the effect of synodical meetings. I say, therefore, that if the purpose of that Bill be what the Solicitor General has described it, and its effect what I believe he is wrong in stating it to be, then most undoubtedly the blow you are going to inflict is infinitely more severe than any fetter on the freedom of Roman Catholic worship in Ireland that existed under the penal code, and previous to the year 1829.
I must be permitted since this question presents itself to my mind in this aspect, and with reference to what will be the bearing of this measure upon Ireland, shortly to retrace our policy with regard to that country; and, Sir, I have lately been struck by reading a publication which within a short period has been given to the world—I mean the correspondence of the late Marquess of Londonderry, better known by the name of Lord Castlereagh. It contains letters written at the time of the Union, and there is amongst them a secret letter written by Lord Cornwallis to Lord Castle- 286 reagh in 1800, which appears to me to be full of wisdom and of warning. That distinguished man—distinguished for the great services he rendered to his country in every part of the world, had, at the time of writing the letter, been employed in discharging the melancholy duty of suppressing by force of arms a rebellion in Ireland. He had succeeded, and it was to be expected, that flushed by a contest of that kind, and recent successes, he would have been the very last to have counselled what is termed concession to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. But what was the lesson of wisdom which he taught? He said that if the Government of this country at that time promoted the Union, it should be promoted as the means of effecting a great end, and that great end was the emancipation of the Roman Catholics, the admission of laymen to perfect equality of civil rights, and some endowment for the Roman Catholic clergy. Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville on this side entirely coincided in opinion with Lord Cornwallis; so also did Lord Castlereagh, who was in Ireland. Lord Clare gave an unwilling consent to the Union; he came over to England and used his influence with Mr. Pitt to throw aside the conditions of immediate emancipation and endowment, and made his support of the Union conditional on the surrender of that portion of the policy of the Government. Lord Loughborough, the Chancellor of Mr. Pitt, betraying, as I think, the counsels of the Cabinet of which he was a Member, obtained the car of the King; and when his consent was asked to that portion of the policy, King Geeorgo III. positively refused his consent to emancipation. Lord Cornwallis was unwilling to remain in Ireland under such circumstances, but he wrote a letter to Lord Castlereagh—a secret letter—and, with the permission of the House, I will read a portion of it, simply asking the House to bear in mind that the rebellion had just been put down, that the British arms were victorious, and that Lord Cornwallis was the conqueror of the rebels. He says—Holding Ireland on our present tenure, how are we to make head against all Europe leagued for our destruction? Lord Kilwarden again spoke to Littlehales on the subject, and told him that the Catholics placed their trust in me, and insinuated that the object of my remaining in the Government, after the completion of the Union, was to carry the point for them. Whatever Lord Loughborough's opinion may be of the practicability of concession, he will, in a short time, or I am much mistaken, find it still more impracticable to resist."—(Vol, iii., p. 418.) "Timid 287 men will not venture on any change of system, however wise and just, unless their fears are alarmed by pressing dangers."—(Vol. iv., p. 20.) "The evil genius of Britain is the proscription of the Catholics."—(Vol. iv., p. 13.)Now, this is the source of grave reflection; but perhaps the House will allow me to refer to a subject of a more lively though not a less instructive character. Lord Cornwallis failed in being able to obtain any solid advantage for the Roman Catholics; but, failing in that, he did not withhold from them that which was courteous and soothing and gratifying to their feelings. Now, here is a letter, written in very familiar terms, by Mr. Cooke, then the Under Secretary of Lord Castlereagh. He says—"We had a dinner at the Castle yesterday." Now, observe how he designates the persons who were present. "The Titular Primate of all Ireland, the Titular Primate of Ireland, the President of Maynooth (and other noblemen and gentlemen whom he names) formed part of the company." He adds, "We were all very cheerful and pleasant, and the Lord Lieutenant made all the play." That is to say, that his Lordship being unable to gratify the Roman Catholics by procuring for them what he thought to be justly their due, did not hesitate to show them every courtesy in his power, and that not by the exhibition of cold viceregal splendour, but by inviting them to the Castle, by entertaining them with friendly hospitality, and by giving them their designations of "Titular Primate of all Ireland," and "Titular Primate of Ireland." Now, what was the opinion of Lord Grenville at this juncture? He writes also to Lord Castlereagh, and he says, "To neglect the Catholic clergy, or to depress them in their station, or lessen their influence with their flocks, must, I think, while so large a portion of the Irish nation profess the Catholic religion, be the very reverse of wisdom." But, notwithstanding all these warnings, until 1829 no concession was made to the Roman Catholics; on the contrary, a firm stand was taken on the penal code. I have said that Lord Cornwallis—a great general, and the conqueror of the rebellion in Ireland, had recommended at the time of the Union that the penal code should be abandoned, and large concessions be instantly made to the Catholics.
Now, what happened in 1829? Why, "the Conqueror of a hundred battles," the foremost man in all the world—the firmest in resistance to the Catholic claims, 288 until a sense of duty impelled him to abandon his opposition—the Duke of Wellington himself, in concert with Sir Robert Peel and Lord Lyndhurst, who had been the greatest opponents of concession on principles which they never hesitated to avow, and which they defended in Parliament with the greatest ability, without any change of opinion, yielding reluctantly to an overwhelming necessity, made this concession at last, which Lord Cornwallis and Mr. Pitt had wisely intended to make at the time of the Union. Now, was this done partially or hesitatingly by those eminent persons? It was my good fortune to be associated with the Duke of Wellington, Lord Lyndhurst, and Sir Robert Peel on the first occasion on which it may be said they really resumed and enjoyed power after the concession to the Catholics had been made. Did they ever hesitate to give effect in its broadest sense to the new policy which circumstances had compelled them to adopt? Some one said on a former occasion that the tenderness of Sir Robert Peel's Government in matters relating to religion was ever shown exclusively to Roman Catholics. I don't think the Protestant Dissenters will concur in the justice of that remark. They would be most ungrateful if they could forget the efforts made in their behalf by Sir Robert Peel's Cabinet. The Dissenters' Chapel Act cannot be forgotten; it ought not to be forgotten, because it was the occasion of the memorable speech of my late lamented Friend, Sir W. Follett, in proposing the second reading of the Bill; it was the noblest effort of Parliamentary oratory he ever made; it was his greatest speech—alas! it was his last. But with respect to the Roman Catholics, what was the policy of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel? Did they hesitate to give full effect to the policy of the Act of 1829? Did they cast a longing eye towards the revival of the penal code? I answer the question by referring to the Maynooth Grant, and the Charitable Bequest Act. I refer to those Acts as indicating pretty plainly their desire to conciliate the feelings of the Roman Catholics, so far as was consistent with the maintenance of the Established Church in Ireland, stopping short, however, of endowment, which the feeling of this country would not, perhaps, tolerate, and which, at all events, the Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy are not willing to accept. But these measures—these great and important Acts— 289 are not the whole case. What was the conduct of Lord Lyndhurst, the Lord Chancellor of that Government, acting with the full concurrence of the Cabinet of which my noble Friend Lord Stanley was also a Member? Did he not propose in the House of Lords the entire repeal of the Statute of Elizabeth which prohibited the receipt, in this country, of bulls from Rome? The House of Lords, it is true, passed the measure in a shape which has left the law in the anomalous state which was complained of by my noble Friend opposite, the First Lord of the Treasury. We proposed the entire repeal of the Statute; but the House of Lords would not consent to that, but repealed the penalties only, leaving the offence, without any penalty attached to it, still standing in the Statute-book. Now, this evening, when the House was not so full as it is at present, the hon. Member for Cork county (Mr. Roche) referred to what passed in 1829, when the clause imposing penalties upon the assumption of particular titles was inserted in the Relief Act, which this Bill now seeks to extend, and said an important proceeding took place in the House of Lords in Committee with respect to that Bill. This matter I will now venture to recall to the attention of this House. The clause, imposing a penalty of 100l. upon the assumption of titles derived from sees occupied by prelates of the Established Church was proposed by the Duke of Wellington, and when it was so proposed by him, he stated expressly that he did not tender it as any security whatever for the Established Church. I will read you his words; he said—"It is certainly no security; but it will give satisfaction to the United Church of England and Ireland." Now this declaration bears directly upon a most remarkable circumstance to which the hon. Member for Cork referred. In 1782 the Irish Parliament took a course exactly similar to that which Her Majesty's Government now calls upon us to take, and passed a sweeping prohibition against the assumption of any such titles by the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland. How long did that law remain in the Statute-book? Let the House observe the period when it was passed; it was in 1782, when we were still at peace with France, In 1793, circumstances were changed; Louis XVI. had been beheaded, and we were at war with revolutionary France: what then occurred? The right of voting was given to Roman Catholics in Ireland, and the Act 290 prohibiting the assumption of those titles, was virtually repealed. But, to return to the Committee in the House of Lords on the Emancipation Bill in 1829, the Duke of Wellington, having stated that he did not look upon the clause imposing penalties on the assumption of titles as any protection to the Established Church, proceeded to warn the House of the danger of proceeding too far in legislation on those points, and he says—This was one of the incidents which made it so difficult to legislate on this subject at all."—[2 Hansard, xxi., 560–1.]Her Majesty's Ministers are now well aware, I dare say, how prophetic that warning was. He says—He was aware this clause was no security to the Established Church, nor benefited it in any way; but it was inserted to give satisfaction to those who were disturbed by the assumption of those titles by the Catholic clergy.The Bishop of Durham, a most distinguished prelate of the Established Church, and the Divinity Professor at Oxford, repudiated this clause altogether; he says he docs "not desire it as any security; it is no security whatever, and, as far as he was concerned, on the part of the Church, he does not ask for it." [Ibidem, 261.] And the then Lord Chief Justice Tenterden, said that the clause would be inoperative, and proposed what would certainly have been operative—namely, making the acceptance of the forbidden titles, by whomsoever offered, a misdemeanour. The Duke of Wellington admitted that the enactment proposed by Lord Tenterden would be perfectly operative, but he nevertheless opposed it. Hear the reasons which he assigned for doing so:—The Duke of Wellington opposed Lord Tenterden's Amendment. He did not mean to say that it was not true that these persons were nominated as bishops, and were placed in the care of dioceses by usurped authority, But he did not, and he would not, recognise in any manner appointments of such a nature, because it was evident that these appointments were made by the power of usurpation. They knew nothing of that usurpation, nor of the assumption of those titles. It was true, as had been stated by Lord Tenterden, that the clause would have been more perfect if persons could have been prevented from using those assumed titles of archbishops and bishops in writing. But he begged their Lordships to advert, to the difficulty of carrying such a principle into effect. Let their Lordships look to their own proceedings. Let them examine their own journals, and they would find places over and over again where those titles were given in print to those individuals. It was impossible to deal with writings in such circumstances. All their Lord- 291 ships could do was to declare that those titles should not be assumed by those persons in future." [2 Hansard, xxi., 563.]The Earl of Malmesbury, a most strenuous opponent of all concession to the Roman Catholics, made a speech then which is an exact summary of the argument on this occasion. His Lordship said—That he had on principle always opposed Catholic emancipation; but, that point having been carried, he would not encumber emancipation with restrictions like these, which were of no use. To exclude Catholics from seats in Parliament would be a bonâ fide security; but to call these clauses securities was a joke, and worse than a joke; for they would only tend to keep up that irritation of feeling which it was the object of the Bill to allay." [Ibid. 560.]Does the case rest here? No; you are aware that the clause has been a dead letter, or nearly so, in Ireland. Dr. M'Hale has openly, I had almost said ostentatiously, transgressed the law. Has that passed unnoticed? Lord Lorton, in his place in the House of Lords, brought Dr. M'Hale's transgression of the law under the notice of that assembly, and called on Lord Melbourne to institute a prosecution. But Lord Melbourne after taking some time to deliberate, told Lord Lorton and the House that he was not prepared to incur the responsibility of directing any such prosecution to be instituted. The Duke of Wellington was present—the author of the penal clause, which, I think, was injudiciously inserted in the Emancipation Act. Did he stimulate Lord Melbourne to prosecute? Quite the contrary. He bestowed his hearty approbation on the prudence which had dictated Lord Melbourne's refusal to take any steps in the matter. I think that in arguing this question, there has been some confusion between the theological and the legal part of the question, as well as between the spiritual and the temporal, With regard to the theological point, though the Protestant portion of the House may think it a preposterous assumption of power, yet there can be no doubt that the Pope of Rome has, at all times, claimed spiritual jurisdiction over all baptised souls within this realm. This assumption bears date long before the Reformation, and was not then withdrawn. The asserted power of the Pope in this respect, stands unabated and undiminished from the earliest time down to the present moment. I conceive that whether this asserted power be exercised by vicars-apostolic, as in England, or by an organised hierarchy in Ireland—where an organised hierarchy, ac- 292 companied by the canon law, has existed uninterruptedly for centuries—is a question of secondary importance. The real question is, are you prepared to deal with the pretension itself? I say that our forefathers were wiser than to attempt it, and till I see you commit the error, I believe that you will be wiser than to attempt it. Why, this pretension lies at the very root of the Roman Catholic religion. Would you attack the very foundation of that religion? I feel that you will never do so; but should you attempt it, away with such a Bill as this! You must return to the blood-stained code of Elizabeth; and then what prospect of success would you have? That code so signally failed, that in my time, almost with common assent, all the greatest and ablest men in this House—men who agreed in nothing else—concurred in designating the penal code as a national disgrace, and made every effort to abolish it, because it had proved perfectly inefficacious.
Now, with respect to the confusion which appears to prevail between the spiritual and temporal part of the question, I am of opinion, that from the earliest time, in framing the statute law of this country, great care and skill have been expended in making and maintaining a strict definition between the temporal and spiritual power of the Pope. The Statutes of Provisors and Prœmunire were not framed in denial of the Pope's spiritual power, but in recognition of it. What have these statutes done? They say to the Pope, "You may exercise your spiritual power with our interruption, as far as spiritual power goes; but we will check you with respect to temporal power, and particularly with respect to the temporalities attached to bishoprics, and the civil effect of your spiritual excommunications." No attempt was ever made to deny, as incident to his spiritual power, the right of the Pope to appoint bishops. No denial was ever given to the spiritual effect of excommunication. But it was provided by these statutes that if the Pope should appoint or translate bishops without the consent of the Crown, then the temporalities should not follow the appointment, and that, without denying the spiritual effect of excommunications, that the courts of law should not be made subsidiary to giving them any civil effect. The appointment of bishops is an incident to the spiritual supremacy of the Pope; and the territorial division of this country into dioceses to give effect to those appoint- 293 ments of bishops is a necessary and inevitable consequence. The statute of Richard II. sought to confine the spiritual power of the Pope within defined limits, but left the utmost latitude to the Crown and the courts of law with respect to the temporalities and all civil rights. This statute of Richard II. is a remarkable statute. It is not a dead letter. It was framed in Catholic times, when the Catholic religion was in the plenitude of its power, and was the established religion of this country. In the reign of Henry VIII. Cardinal Wolsey was indicted under that statute, and was convicted by the Star Chamber. But since the Reformation, has that statute been a dead letter? In Ireland, in the reign of James I., so late as the year 1608, one Lalor, a vicar-apostolic, who exercised legantine power in Ulster, having exceeded his authority, and trenched on the temporal power, was indicted before a jury in Ireland, under the statute of Richard II., and was convicted. Now, in addressing the House the other evening, the Solicitor General put to us pointedly this question. He says—I want an answer to this question—Has the Roman Pontiff, in partitioning the realm of England into provinces and dioceses, and establishing therein archbishops and bishops, and organising a hierarchy for the government thereof, invaded the prerogative of the Crown, and outraged the independence of the country? Had those of Her Majesty's subjects who had lent themselves to the carrying out of this great scheme, and stood by and abetted him, departed from that undivided allegiance they owe to their Sovereign, violated the law of the land, and infringed the spirit of the constitution?Now, if they have trenched on the prerogative of the Crown—if they have violated the law of the land—if they have touched the regality—if they have injured the realm of England, then I say the statute of Richard II. most unequivocally applies; and I ask why you come to Parliament for new laws? Our Roman Catholic ancestors defended the regality of the Crown, they defended the rights and liberties of the subject; and they did provide remedies in those times, which were found adequate, and which, since the Reformation, even in Ireland, by the verdict of a jury, have been made applicable. But the language is remarkable in which the law officers of the Crown in Lalor's case assigned their reasons for preferring the indictment under the statute of Richard, in preference to having recourse to the more recent statutes of Elizabeth. The pre- 294 amble of the statute of Richard is in these words:—They, and all the liege commons of the realm, will stand with our Lord the King, his said crown and his regality, in all cases attempted against him, his crown and regality—in all points to live and to die. Prœmunire for purchasing or pursuing bulls, &c., from Rome, which touch the King, against him, his crown, his regality, or his realm.Now the subject-matter of inquiry is one that ought to go to a jury. It is for a jury to decide whether what has been done touches the regality, touches the Crown, or touches the realm. Now, what were the reasons assigned by the law officers of the Crown on the trial of Lalor for preferring the statute of Richard instead of the statute of Elizabeth? They said—1. We made choice to proceed upon a law made more than 200 years past, when the King, the Lords, and Commons, which made the laws, and the Judges, which did interpret them, did for the most part follow the same opinions in religion, which were taught and held in the Court of Rome. 2. These laws were made to uphold and maintain the sovereignty of the King, the liberty of the people, the common law, and the commonweal, which otherwise had been undermined and utterly ruined by the usurpation of the Bishop of Rome. For the Commons of England may be an example unto all other subjects in the world in this, that they have ever been tender and sensible of the wrongs offered unto their Kings, and have ever contended to uphold and maintain their honour and sovereignty. Their faith and loyalty have generally been such, as no pretence of zeal or religion could ever withdraw the greater part of the subjects to submit themselves to a foreign yoke—no, not when Popery was in her height and exultation; whereof this Act (16th of Richard II.), and divers others of the same kind, are clear and manifest testimonies.Now, Sir, I contend, to defend the sovereignty of the Crown, no new laws whatever are necessary. If that sovereignty has been invaded, you have the ancient laws, the unexceptionable laws, to which you may apply, and bring your case before a jury. But this I tell you, that if you seek to put down, directly or indirectly, the spiritual supremacy of the Pope of Rome over the Roman Catholic population of England, then, indeed, you must embark in a fearful contest. You must embark in that contest which disgraced England by shedding the precious blood of More, which has for centuries disturbed England, ruined Ireland, and inflicted indelible sorrow and disgrace on that unhappy land. An essential incident of the spiritual part of the supremacy is the right of appointing bishops to spiritual jurisdiction; and the division of this country into dio- 295 ceses, is the necessary concomitant; for the more perfect exercise of that spiritual jurisdiction has also, at least in Ireland, been co-extensive with the exercise of the right itself; and both the common law of England and the canon law, have always required that the jurisdiction of a bishop should be limited by place. Now, the Bishop of Rome claims as of right, that he is the Bishop of England, and is this a dormant right? It is only directly as delegates from the Bishop of Rome, that vicars-apostolic have ever exercised any power in England; how strange then that we should have become of late so strongly enamoured of vicars-apostolic. You are jealous of the direct interference of the spiritual power of a foreign prince; your object would naturally be to remove the subjects of Her Majesty from that direct influence of the Pope; and yet you desire to maintain that state of the Roman Catholic Church here in which the influence of the Pope is most direct. Now the vicars-apostolic are the creatures of his will and the subjects of his caprice; and from the vicars-apostolic, where is the appeal now? It lies only to the Pope of Rome in person; and when you appeal from the vicars-apostolic, the Pope is not bound by the canon law, but may exercise his caprice in any way whatsoever. In Ireland, with an organised hierarchy, the Pope can exercise no such power; and the people of Ireland are, in consequence, one degree further removed from the influence of the Court of Rome. And, with regard to the bishops; why the Pope in the very year of the Revolution of 1688, divided England for the purposes of church government into four districts; and again, in the year 1840, four additional districts were erected, making eight in all; and the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, according to the terms used in that statute, showed by what it excluded that it contemplated what was to be done. That Act declared that the names of existing sees in the Established Church were not to be assumed; there was, therefore, by clear implication, a power left to assume other titles. What took place in 1812? Did you not desire that the powers of vicars-apostolic should cease, and an organised hierarchy be established in England as in Ireland? Why, Sir, in 1812, Sir John Cox Hippisley, on the part of the British Government (the Pope then being under the immediate domination of Napoleon, our great enemy), stated that the British Government desired the people of 296 England should thus be emancipated in one degree from the direct control of the Pope; and Sir John Cox Hippisley was employed by the British Government to propose to the Pope that the vicars-apostolic should no longer exist, but that a regularly-organised hierarchy should be established in England. For reasons which, very likely, were not at all favourable to England, the Pope declined the proposition, preferring to keep the power more completely in his own hands through the vicars-apostolic, and refused to comply with the suggestion of the British Government, which was desirous that a hierarchy might be established in England as in Ireland. Sir, I would now say a word as to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oxford, whom I do not see in the House, and of whom I would not willingly say anything in his absence that I would hesitate to say in his presence—the hon. and learned Member for Oxford said the other night, "Is it not monstrous that a foreign Prince, such as the Pope, should exercise a discretionary power as to what shall be the organisation of a hierarchy in this country?" Sir, with all submission to my hon. and learned Friend, to that I think it may fairly be replied, that if the Pope be the spiritual head of the Roman Catholic Church, it is impossible with justice to deny to him the appointment of those bishops, through the agency of whom he is to carry on the spiritual superintendence of the Roman Catholics of England. It is not denied that it is and must be an aggressive religion. My noble Friend the Member for Bath (Lord Ashley) did not the other night deny that the Catholic religion, on a fair level, had the right of endeavouring to diffuse and propagate its doctrines, which are not only tolerated, but of which the free exercise is guaranteed by legislation in this country. But on the other hand, if it be an aggressive religion, surely it is, at all events, entitled to be a defensive religion; and there may be a disposition to make proselytes from it; and is it then extraordinary that the spiritual heads of the Church, who have a special care and a special charge as to the providing for the spiritual welfare of their Church, should be the persons to exercise this discretionary power? Who, if not Roman Catholic authorities, shall decide whether an hierarchy or vicars-apostolic are most conducive to the interests of the Roman Catholic religion in England? My hon. and learned Friend then went on to complain of the incidental effects of the introduction of this 297 hierarchy, and the character of the canon law. My answer is, that in Ireland they bare had that canon law for hundreds of years, and I am not aware that, amidst all the evils and sorrows of that unhappy country, any particular importance has been attached to the canon law, or any evil consequences traced to it. Then, my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. W. P. Wood) put forward another proposition, that more surprised me still, that we, as being in the main a Protestant Legislature, should provide for some supposed and contingent evils which might arise to lay members of the Catholic Church from the operation of the canon law, as affecting them; and he gave us the maxim, Sic utere tuo ut alienum non lœdas; but he knows there is another legal maxim, Volenti non fit injuria. What injury can there arise to laymen from the canon law? Their obedience to it is voluntary; and the moment they feel aggrieved by it they have only to withhold their obedience to it. This canon law is not recognised by the statute law, nor by the common law, nor is it directly recognised by any of our courts; but only incidentally, in reference to trusts, the courts of equity allow it. I speak as an unlearned person, but I am told that the principle invariably applied to this law by the courts of equity is this—does it trench on the polity of our law—does it violate any statute; is it at variance with the common law—or, is it opposed to any of the established principles of equity? If it be, then away with it! we have nothing to do with it. But if it do not violate any of these principles, then we apply ourselves to it to the modified extent of ascertaining by it that which, on principles of equity, may be considered the will and intention of the testator. This is the system which we have been following for 200 years in Ireland, and no evil has ever arisen from it. And, therefore, why there should be all this horror of the canon law in England, I cannot conceive. Sir, I would gladly here have dropped all further reference to the able speech of the hon. and learned Member for Oxford; but there was one observation of his which grieved me exceedingly, for anything falling from him injurious to the cause of civil and religious liberty must, considering his known attachment to it, be of great consequence. He will allow me to say I remember his venerable father, by whose side I fought in the great battle of emancipation, in 1829: and I was therefore the more astonished and grieved to hear those 298 observations from his lips. He told us that the Church of Rome was unchangeable, and that, being unchangeable, her doctrines were still as likely to be enforced as ever, and that they might be carried to the extent, occasion arising, of even dethroning sovereigns, or absolving subjects and soldiers from their oaths of allegiance! Why, Sir, these are the tattered remnants of the old arguments which I thought had been cast aside as filthy rags. When, in 1829, we consented to admit our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to perfect equality of civil rights and power, we were culpable beyond measure in coming to that conclusion if we believed one word of this unjust accusation, or thought that their allegiance was tainted, and of that dangerous description which the observation of the hon. and learned Member implied.
But now, Sir, as to these territorial divisions. Have we no authority on the subject?—authorities which would lead us to consider them more harmless than they are represented to be? Let me bring under the notice of the House what a Prelate of the English Church has lately said of them. Sir, I have seen with regret many of the addresses of the Prelates of the English Church which have been made amidst the excitement of this period. I hold, however, in my hand a most honourable exception—an address from the Bishop of Norwich to his clergy. I quote him with the utmost pleasure, because I cordially respect his character, and I think that the truth and frankness of such sentiments, proceeding from him, are worthy of the highest commendation. He says, speaking of this Papal aggression—This measure, apart from the manner in which it has been attempted, and the language which has been held officially and unofficially regarding it, and in certain well-known principles of Romanism which give significancy to what has been done and written—the measure itself is nothing of which we have any right to complain consistently with our toleration of Romanism. An Episcopal Church is not tolerated if we interfere with its liberty to appoint bishops, to determine their number and rank, and to bestow upon them any titles, provided they do not infringe on any existing rights.The very expression used in the Act of 1829, of which he calls for no extension—It might naturally have produced more of amazement than indignation to hear a functionary of Rome declare that he governs counties of England as ordinary thereof. Some territorial division, however, is necessary for every community of Christians in an Episcopol Church, and the term for a bishop's district is 'diocese.'299 That is high clerical authority; the opinion of one of the most eminent Prelates of our Church, and it is against this Bill. Have we no high lay authority? I turn at once to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Has he not recognised these territorial divisions? Has he not recognised them most remarkably? I blame him not, because I think the views which led him to write the letter I am about to read were quite consistent with his duty, and in accordance with that policy which was transmitted to him by his predecessors, and which he has most honourably and faithfully defended and maintained. But I think, somewhat imprudently, he entrusted to Bishop Nicholson a letter which was to be communicated to the Pope at Rome; and in that letter what are the terms in which he speaks of these territorial divisions? He had submitted to the Roman Catholic bishops certain new regulations for the government of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland, and had hoped to have been able by these regulations to remove the Papal objections to these colleges. What are the provisions he had made for the purpose of giving some influence to the hierarchy in Ireland in the government of the Colleges? He says—The list of visitors has not yet been settled, but I can have no hesitation in saying that it will include the Catholic archbishop of the province and bishop of the diocese in which the college is situated. As I entertain a profound veneration for the character of the Pope, and implicitly rely on his upright judgment, it gives me great pleasure now to ask your Grace to submit these statutes to the consideration of his Holiness, believing as I do it may be advantageously compared with those of any similar institution in Europe.Here is a distinct recognition of these territorial divisions, "province" and "diocese." Thus then I have cited an authority, from a Prelate of the Established Church, and from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in favour of these territorial divisions. Have I no other authority? What did the Prime Minister of England say in 1848? The very question of the letter of the Lord Lieutenant to which I have referred was brought under the notice of the House by the hon. Member for Oxford University; and it is right I should remind the House that at that time a question also had arisen whether there was not an intention at Rome to appoint Dr. Wiseman Archbishop of Westminster; and the question was asked by my hon. Friend upon that point. The noble Lord denied all knowledge of any such 300 intention, and said if his consent were asked to any such arrangement, he was not prepared to give it. But as to those territorial divisions of England, I really do not think any opinions can be stated so clearly and distinctly on this subject as in the words of the noble Lord himself, which I am about to read, representing as they do my own opinions exactly:—With regard to spiritual authority, whatever control is to be obtained over the spiritual authority of the Pope, can only be obtained by agreement for that end. You must give certain advantages to the Catholics, and then obtain from the Pope certain advantages in return; among which we may stipulate that the Pope should not create any dioceses without the consent of the Queen: or, on the other hand, you must say that you will have nothing to do with arrangements of that kind—that you will not consent in anyway to give any authority to the Roman Catholic religion in England. But then you must leave the spiritual authority of the Pope entirely unfettered. You cannot bind the Pope's spiritual influence unless you have some agreement. But although you may prevent any spiritual authority from being exercised by the Pope by law, yet there is no provision, no law my honourable Friend could frame which would deprive the Pope of that influence which is exercised over the mind, or which would preclude him from giving any advice to those who choose to attend to such advice. It is quite obvious that you cannot, by any means or authority whatever, prevent the Pope from communicating with the Catholics of this country. You may try to prevent such communications from being open; but I think it would be very foolish if you took any means of great vigour or energy for that purpose. If, however, such communication be not open, it will be secret; and, so long as there are Catholics in this country—so long as they acknowledge the Pope as the head of their Church—you cannot prevent his having spiritual influence over those who belong to that communion."—[3 Hansard, ci., 220.]Sir, I could not possibly express my own opinions better than in the words of the noble Lord. These are my opinions, and I subscribe to every word; but, by an odd coincidence, the Attorney General, within five days of that time, had also to discuss the question—the measure came down from the House of Lords—in reference to Diplomatic Intercourse with the Court of Rome Bill; and Mr. C. Pearson, the Member for Lambeth, moved an Amendment to the effect—That the diplomatic intercourse with Rome should be touching and concerning international, civil, commercial, and political relations.The then Solicitor General, Sir J. Romilly, opposed the introduction of these words—and observe his reasons. He says—If these words were inserted in cases where 301 there was the least ingredient of a spiritual character, it would be injurious. There are questions of a mixed character which might arise, as to which, though in result they were of a temporal nature, no diplomatic intercourse could take place. At present, the Pope might divide this country into bishoprics and archbishoprics; and, if the Amendment were agreed to, he might do so still: but if we had free diplomatic relations with him, the British Government might interfere to prevent such a division."—[3 Hansard, ci., 512.]Where, Sir, is the Solicitor General? Where is the assault upon the regality of the realm? Where is the interference with the rights of the subject? Where the insult offered to the Crown? The present Attorney General has declared, that, as the law now stands, the Pope may divide this country into bishoprics and archbishoprics; that if the Amendment alluded to were adopted, he might do so still; but that, if diplomatic intercourse were carried on with the Pope, the Government might interfere in that friendly manner to prevent it. Thus, then, in the opinion of the present Attorney General, we have no legitimate means of objecting to this Papal "aggression," except by amicable negotiation.
Well now, Sir, I have already observed that it is doubtful whether, by implication, the first clause does not carry fully into effect what in terms is to be enacted in the second and third; there is high authority for inferring that it is so, and I have put it to you, that if it be so, the Government must withdraw their Bill: but if it be not so, still, considering the social condition of Ireland, is this a question which ought to be left in doubt? Sir, I have the permission of Archbishop Murray to read to the House a letter on this question, pointing out how the measure would affect the whole social position of seven-eighths of the people of that country. The signal moderation which has so honourably characterised that prelate, entitles his opinion on the subject to the greatest weight:—Dublin, March 3, 1851.Our Church is essentially episcopal. Our sacred ministry could not be carried on without priests—we could have no priests without bishops—and no bishops but through the authority of the Pope. It is his business not only to name our bishops, but to point out the limits within which this jurisdiction is to be circumscribed. The portion, or surface, which contains the Catholic flock within those limits may be called a district, or a see, or a bishopric; and the individual appointed to ordain priests, and to carry on the other necessary functions of the ministry therein, may be a vicar-apostolic or a bishop in ordinary, with this difference, that the former is removable at pleasure, the latter is permanent, 302 and therefore one step removed from the immediate action of Papal influence. Except as Archbishop of Dublin, I could not ordain one of my own priests—I could not give a parish—I could not communicate with the Pope—I could not correspond with foreign bishops—I could not give letters dimissory, or ordination letters, or letters testimonial. I have laid my hand on an old letter of ordination, which was not forwarded to the individual for whom it was intended. It was written in 1828. Were I to issue that letter now, I should be liable to a fine of 100l. Though in many instances we were obliged to act in disobedience to this unjust law, we knew that Government was not disposed to act harshly towards us. The spirit which has suggested the proposed law seems to be very different. From a first view of Clause 2, it might be inferred that were a priest to depend on such a document as I enclose, he must appear before a court of law as a layman; a marriage which he had performed might, on that ground, be declared invalid; and a discontented husband might take to himself another wife without the imputation of bigamy. + "D. MURRAY.The ordination letter to which the Archbishop referred, purported to proceed from "Daniel Murray, Dei et Apostolicæ sedis gratia, Archiepiscopus Dubliniensis." It was issued under the seal of the Archbishop of Dublin, and it was signed not "Daniel Murray," but "Daniel, Archiepiscopus Dubliniensis."
Now, the remarks of Archbishop Murray applied to the Bill as it stood, and Her Majesty's Government, feeling the force of these objections, have notified their intention of withdrawing the second clause; which Motion, I understand, is about to be resisted upon this side of the House. But, suppose the Bill is allowed to assume its amended shape, and that Mr. Bethell and other eminent lawyers are right in asserting that all the evil consequences which would have ensued from the second clause will also follow from passing the Bill in its amended and mutilated form; then, in either case, the functions of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland will be impeded; the legal effect of the exercise of these functions will be questionable; and all the social relations of the great body of the people of that country will be dangerously disturbed. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (the Solicitor General) declared that the Papal brief was an invasion of the prerogative of the Crown, and the liberties of the subject. Well, if what has been done was illegal, why not go to the courts of law? With respect to the division into districts for spiritual purposes, analogous cases have been alluded to, in which Presbyterians, vicars-apostolic, and the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland, have alike created these divisions. But 303 if this were rightly called a territorial division, I am not aware that it gives any temporal power whatever; since nonconformity has ceased to be illegal, even Anglican bishops of our own Church do not exercise any power whatever over the inhabitants of their dioceses, who are not also within the pale.
But what is the real cause of the extreme jealousy and alarm and anger which has been excited on the part of the Established Church as to the episcopal platform on which the Roman Catholics have placed themselves? The hon. Member for Oxford let out the truth, and the real reason—it is, that we shall have Roman Catholic bishops side by side with the thrones of the Anglican Episcopacy. That is the secret but real cause of all this episcopal anger upon the subject. Something was also said by the hon. Member about setting a "foreign Prince" over an English Church. These are grounds, however, which were discussed before, and which were weighed in the balance and found wanting when you consented to Catholic Emancipation. If you weigh the religious and political tendencies of the Roman Catholic Church, and desire to restrain the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion on the ground that the Church of England is in danger—this, Sir, is not the legislation which will satisfy such principles, or avert such supposed danger. You must go much further, you must reverse the principle of the Toleration Act; you must repeal the Emancipation Act itself; and let the Dissenters of England look about them if once we have Parliament legislating in that spirit for objects such as these, and under the influence of such motives.
Sir, something was said about synods; and the danger of "synodical action." We have been told there is great danger from that source, and were informed that by the second and third clauses of the Bill, synodical action would be put an end to. But are you not fighting with names? or are you really fighting with the substance? While the liberty of assembling in public meeting exists in Great Britain and Ireland, show me how you will prevent the meetings of the Catholic hierarchy, duly organised, from exercising all their full spiritual power over the members of their own Church, under whatever name or form they may be convened. Sir, the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) recollects that it is not only the Synod of Thurles that has interfered in ques- 304 tions of somewhat secular character, such as the law of landlord and tenant; but, as was stated in the admirable speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), the effect of which I may only weaken by following—if there is to be any assembly of Catholic prelates, to discuss any question whatever, I can conceive none more germane to their functions, and more legitimately the subject of their consideration, than the question of the manner in which the youth of Ireland are to be educated. But, Sir, are Catholic prelates alone to be precluded from meeting, as all other classes do, to consider subjects even of a temporal nature? I see the hon. Member for Manchester in his place, and I think I remember, during the agitation which was organised by the Anti-Corn-Law League, a meeting at Manchester of the Dissenting clergy from every part of the kingdom, who resolved that on their return to their respective districts they would use all possible influence to procure the repeal of the corn laws. Now, if the Dissenting clergy were allowed to meet for these objects, I am not prepared to say that what is called synodical action on the part of the Roman Catholic prelates ought to be put down by force of law. I am satisfied if you once begin to legislate in that direction, you will be led step by step in a course fatal not only to religious liberty, but to civil liberty also.
Sir, I have hitherto taken this view of the measure—that it is really effective, and may be a formidable one. There is, however, another view of it—that it may be emasculated and rendered ridiculous by its impatience. Really when my noble Friend introduced the Bill, and occupied such high ground, and laid such deep and broad foundations, I trembled for the measure which was to follow. I asked myself, how is this to end? Quid tanto dignum feret hic promissor hiatu? Is he about to propose the repeal of the Relief Act? The noble Lord made a great speech, but brought forth a little measure. Serious disappointment was the consequence. It became necessary to turn the tables. Eight-and-forty hours did not elapse before the Attorney General, to show how large were its powers, how great would be its results, attempted to prove that it struck at the root of synodical action on the part of the Roman Catholic bishops; that it incapacitated if it did not entirely destroy the power of granting bequests to prelates in Ireland, 305 which were meant to support diocesan titles. Again, I began to apprehend that it was really a most formidable measure. But the Government became terrified at the spectre it had raised. They saw the consequences of their own measure, and the noble Lord stated his position so truly, that I cannot do better than repeat his own words. He said, "Language fails: when I seek to prohibit what I wish to prohibit, I am compelled to disallow what I do seek to disturb." Well now, that was a just description of the difficulties of legislation in such a case, and it is one of my principal grounds for objecting to this Bill. You are in a dilemma. If you cut down and reduce your measure, you cover it with contempt; and although it may be supposed, and unjustly supposed, that I have a leaning in favour of Rome, I should be ashamed to see the mighty legislative power of this country, from the utter and hopeless inefficiency of this measure, laid prostrate at the feet of the Roman Pontiff. On the other hand, if you seek to escape from that position, and to render your measure really effectual, you fall into the opposite evil, and will embark in a course of legislation in which you will be met by the spiritual authority of Rome, until, step by step, you will be led to the very point which you were obliged to surrender in 1829, and you will be compelled to re-enact the penal code in all its severity.
The dilemma is this. Impotence on your part is disgraceful. Vigour, in my opinion, is dangerous, and so dangerous, that I cannot dissemble it; the danger, as relates to Ireland, is no less than civil war. Now is that my word? Is that an empty threat? I have it on the highest authority. Have you looked back to the history of 1829, when the boldest and the firmest man—certainly the firmest man that ever held the reins of Government in our days—declared in the House of Lords, deliberately, that he had seen more of war than any man living, that he had seen it in all its horrors, that he had triumphed in its successes; but that, above all wars, the one most to be dreaded was a civil war, and he would rather lay down his life than expose his country to one month of this calamity. And he put this choice to them, either make the concession he then proposed, or be prepared for the other deadly branch of the alternative. [See 2 Hansard, xxi., 46.]
We have been told that this is a question of feeling. Well, then, let us treat it as 306 a question of feeling, if feelings are to be considered—it is said that the feelings of the people of England have been outraged; the language used by the Pope has been offensive. I admit it; but has there been no offensive language on our side? I will not follow the hon. Member for the city of Dublin into a comparison of the language which the bishops of the Anglican Church have thought fit to employ against the Roman Catholics. In the pamphlet from which he quoted there is a very apposite comparison: my neighbour by accident jostles me in the street—I seize him by the collar—I kick him—I knock off his hat, and trample it under foot—I spit on him—I roll him in the gutter—I bespatter him with mud—I set the boys on him to hoot him and to pelt him with stones; and then, breathless with anger and with my exertions, I call lustily for the police, and give him in charge for an aggravated assault. We have had even here to-night acrimonious language used with respect to the Roman Catholic religion. It may have arisen in the heat of debate; but the Prelates who have used this language have done so deliberately in addressing their clergy, and I think that they ought to remember that the religion which they so much denounce is, after all, the religion of at least the great majority of Christendom, and deserving some forbearance on that account. They ought not to forget—forget I cannot—that it is the religion which tempered the zeal of Fenelon, which warmed the eloquence of Massillon, which touched with fire the tongue of Bossuet, which inspired, from heaven, the thoughts of Pascal.
I am perhaps trespassing too long upon your attention; but it is necessary for me, in self-vindication, fully and frankly to state all the reasons which induce me to give the vote from which I cannot shrink. Now, Sir, it will be remembered that I was one of those who entirely objected to the Appropriation Clause. I did not think it was either right or feasible, or practical, politically, if there were no higher considerations at stake, to strip the Protestant Church in Ireland of its property, with a view to endow the Roman Catholic Church. And whatever might have been the policy of such an endowment at an earlier period, my own belief is, that the opportunity is gone by. You can offer to the Roman Catholic clergy of that country no solid advantages in the shape 307 of endowment. But just in proportion as you cannot satisfy them in that respect, I think the Roman Catholics, whether laity or clergy, if this be a matter of feeling, and reduced to a question of feeling, are entitled to peculiar consideration. There is a passage in that very publication to which I before referred, contained in a confidential letter from Mr. Knox to Lord Castlereagh, which is well worthy of your attention. Having succeeded in obtaining the Regium Donum, an endowment for the Presbyterian clergy of Ulster, he thus states the case of the Roman Catholics. The passage is so beautiful—in fact equal to anything in Burke—that, with the permission of the House, I will read it:—In addition to what your Lordship observes respecting the claims of the Roman Catholic clergy, it strikes me that there is a peculiar justice in their cause, which perhaps might be too delicate in its nature to be made a ground, but surely ought to be felt as a motive. My idea is this. The English owe their original possession of Ireland to conquest; but time and events have, with respect to individuals, wrought that possession into as complete a right of proprietorship as exists in the world. It must, however, be allowed on every ground of justice and humanity, that the vanquished have their rights, and the victors, of course, their duties. These, to be sure, are generally more apparent when substantiated by compact; but where there is no compact, still there is the great law of humanity requiring that to be done which reason says should be done for the vanquished as being now objects of pity, and to be done by the victors, as having now all the sources of relief. Nor can mere time annihilate such rights, if it does not change circumstances. It has completely changed them in Ireland in all civil respects; but there is, perhaps, an unexampled continuance of circumstances in the case of the vanquished Church. In a manner, perhaps, not to be paralleled in any other instance, the moral person of the ancient Church of Ireland presents itself before us this day with as much identity as any corporation can do, showing us at once the marks of its pristine grandeur and of our triumph over it. Our identity as victors is self-evident. We possess all the funds from which the ancient Church derived its emoluments and its magnificence. Thus respectively placed it is before us as substantially existent and as miserably destitute as if we had dismantled it but yesterday, and we no otherwise changed from that period, except in greater ability to be merciful. I ask, is there in such a case no moral claim on the one hand, no duty on the other?Is there no moral claim, I now too ask, on the one hand, no moral duty on the other? And I say, under the circumstances which this passage denotes, peculiar delicacy with respect to the feelings of the people of Ireland is, at all events, due from the Legislature of this country.
Now, from the substance of the Bill, I turn to the names on the back of the Bill, 308 and I confess I am surprised at what I find there. What is the first name? The name of Russell. Is that the Russell chosen by the city of London as the champion of civil and religious liberty? Is it that Russell whose name will go down to posterity identified with the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and who, true to his principles and to his noble calling, is even now striving to unrivet the last fetter of the chain of persecution which still galls the Jew in this land of freedom? What is the next name I see? It is the name of Grey. Who is he? Is he the nephew of that patriot nobleman who sacrificed the ambition of his life and the flower of his youth in the bold and uncompromising assertion of the claims of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects? He is like his noble relative in his eloquence, in his public virtues, and in his love of freedom; and I confess it grieves me to see the name of Grey on the back of this Bill. What is the third name upon it? It is the name of the Attorney General. And who is he? Is he not sprung from a family which sought England as an asylum from religious persecution, and is he not the son of that illustrious man who adorned by his genius and by his virtues the country of his adoption—the ornament of the Bar, the pride of the House of Commons—the untiring and unflinching advocate of civil and religious liberty in every clime and on every occasion?
But this Bill is not well framed—it is said in derision that it has been "botched." My noble and right hon. Friends opposite would have been unworthy of their character if they were not bunglers in framing penal laws—they have neither hereditary nor personal skill in such legislation—they are accustomed to unloose, not to impose, fetters; and God forbid they should ever become adepts in framing Bills like this! My noble Friend (Lord John Russell) referred the other night to the great names of the patriots with whom he had been associated. He referred proudly to the names of Mackintosh, of Romilly, of Horner, of Grey, of Altborp—ah! but there was one name he did not mention—he omitted the name of Grattan. I followed, with that noble Lord, amidst a crowd of mourners, the remains of Grattan, to Westminster Abbey—the noble spirit had fled—but his mortal body lies worthily interred by the side of Pitt, of Fox, of Canning, of Wilberforce; and I now ask the noble Lord, if in his heart 309 and conscience he believes that these men who, agreeing in hardly anything else, agreed cordially in their support of Emancipation, would they, or any one of them, have approved of this measure? [Lord John Russell signified his assent.] The noble Lord seems to think that they would. Then I appeal from the dead to the living. I ask, does Plunkett approve of this Bill? Does Brougham approve of this Bill? Does Denman approve of this Bill? I ask—and would that he were hero to answer for himself—does the great historian of the Revolution, who is deeply imbued with Protestant feeling, and almost, indeed, with anti-Catholic antipathies—does Macaulay approve of this Bill? I try it by the memory of the dead—I try it by the evidence of living witnesses, and I condemn this Bill. And I cannot condemn it more emphatically than in the words of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State (Sir G. Grey). He says, and says truly, that the Protestantism of England must not depend on Acts of Parliament, but on the warm attachment of Dissenters as well as of Churchmen to the principles of the Reformation, and to the right of private judgment. It is written in their hearts. There may have been some movement towards Rome on the surface of what are called the higher ranks, but the deep under-current of the feeling of this country is essentially Protestant. It is written in their very heart's core—and, what is more, it is written in those Bibles to which they have free access; and while they enjoy those privileges and possess those feelings we have no occasion for a Bill like this. I say there is no danger in England which justifies it—every feeling in Ireland condemns it. It is a brand of discord cast down to inflame the passions of the people; and, with confidence in the wisdom of Parliament, I hope, and confidently predict, that this Bill will never pass into a law.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
Sir, late as the hour is, I hope the House will indulge mo; while I make some observations in defence of the present Bill; and in defence of the general principle which is contained in the Bill. Sir, however this Bill may be designated as insignificant, or however its provisions may be described as inefficacious, the House will not have failed to observe that both on one side and on the other there has been the greatest zeal and the greatest perseverance shown in commending of in blaming this Bill as fit or as un- 310 fit to be adopted. The House cannot but infer that whatever the provisions of the Bill may be, when you examine into details, there is some great principle involved, some question upon which it behoves the Commons of England deliberately to pronounce. Sir, that question is in my view not less than this: For many years since the restoration of Louis XVIII., the Court of Rome has endeavoured to revive pretensions, to attempt domination, to restore supremacy, which many thought had been for ever abandoned. And indeed for some time those efforts were attended with so little success they might have been safely disregarded, if not treated with contempt. But of late years, and more especially since the democratic revolution which took place in the beginning of the year 1848, men seeking for some safety, for some plank by which they might escape in the shipwreck, have resorted to the authority, the influence, the power, and the name of the Church of Rome; and the clergy of that Church have seen in that circumstance an opportunity of reviving powers which, if they are successfully claimed, must be fatal to the liberty of every country in Europe, Look at the change that has taken place within the last two years. Look at the change, adverted to by the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, and by my noble Friend at the head of Foreign Affairs, that has taken place in Austria. You will see there a specimen and instance of that which we allege, and of the abandonment of the securities which had been wisely formed—of an arrogation of authority in the State which the State claimed to itself as indefeasible. You will see a surrender to the Church of Rome of that which had been carefully and pertinaciously withheld from her. Look to another instance, of which we had a valuable testimony the other night of one who bears a celebrated name, the name of a lamented statesman, and who in that effort gave a proof of talent and ability, and showed that he could relate to the House in the most vivid and expressive manner the experience he had himself obtained in another land, of the aspiring and intolerant character of the Church of Rome. Look to those instances, and I think you will not fail to be convinced that Europe, and the friends of liberty, whether in Germany or Italy, or in any other parts of Europe, must now be looking most anxiously to you; and if after all the Protestant feeling which has been exhibited throughout the country—if 311 after the sense of indignation which has been expressed, and when a Bill has been brought before the House by Government, professing to contain a resistance to aggression—professing to maintain the assertion of the supremacy of the Crown—this Bill should be at once rejected on the second reading, without any clear and definite substitute, but merely some hints of resolutions to be passed hereafter—merely some vague suggestions of admiration of the feeling which had been exhibited and opposed to aggression, do you think the friends of liberty will be consoled? I think the friends of liberty throughout Europe will conclude that in addition to all her other conquests, that in addition to all her other triumphs, the Court of Rome has obtained this great conquest, has obtained this most splendid triumph—the conquest and triumph over the minds of the men of England. My right hon. Friend who spoke last, referring to many celebrated persons who had been advocates of the Roman Catholic claims, quoted as first and most memorable of them all the name of Grattan. I will refer also to the name of Grattan, because like the right hon. Member for Ripon, I look to Grattan as a man who had studied this question most deeply, and as one who was not only most impressive in urging the claims of our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects to civil equality and to seats in Parliament, but one who had studied the genius of Rome, and had studied the nature of both Ireland and England. Now, what was Mr. Grattan's prediction on this question? In 1817 he said—I beg to observe that there is now every reason to hope—that there is no reason to doubt—but that securities may be had, and such securities as the House will perhaps think desirable. There may be domestic nomination—there may be a veto—there may be both. … … The question is, whether any securities whatever will be received? Let me tell you why. There is a communication between the Pope and the Catholic clergy, which must end either in an incorporation with the See of Rome, or a connexion with the Government of England; and if the latter be refused, it will be dangerous to the safety of England. You will have the Catholic clergy incorporated with the See of Rome, and the Catholic laity discorporated from the people of England."—[1 Hansard, xxxvi., 302.]Now, be it observed that Mr. Grattan, supported as he was on that occasion by the men of all parties of eminence in this House—by Sir Samuel Romilly and Mr. Ponsonby, by Mr. Brougham, by Lord Althorp, Lord Castlereagh, and Mr. Canning, and by many others who rose after- 312 wards to great distinction, said, "You will have one of these two things—you will either secure the domestic nomination of bishops, and a veto in the hands of the Crown, or, failing that, you will see the whole Catholic clergy incorporated with the See of Rome, and the Catholic laity discorporated from the people of England." Sir, recent events have shown there was too much truth in Mr. Grattan's prediction. You have neither the domestic nomination of bishops, nor have you the veto in the hands of the Crown. Those were the securities proposed in 1817; they were not proposed in 1829; and you have that now which did not exist in former times; instead of two very distinct bodies—namely, Roman Catholics who were Roman Catholics in religion, but who had no veneration for the Pope as a temporal Power, you have seen by the declarations of the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Beaumont, and Lord Camoys, that those men are few indeed who in these days will separate themselves from any pretensions of the Church of Rome, and who will not effect those pretensions, whatever they may be. Now let me again repeat to the House that this is the prediction of Mr. Grattan, the very man to whom my right hon. Friend referred, and rightly, as the greatest authority who could be quoted on this occasion. Now, if that be true which he predicted—that you have the Catholic clergy incorporated with the See of Rome, and that the Catholic laity are in a great degree discorporated from the people of England, I say it behoves us to see what is the danger that we are now incurring, and whether we can have any means of meeting that danger. I cannot but say I have been greatly struck by the theories that have been propounded to the House on the subject of religious liberty. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth, in his most able speech, told us that if you had religious freedom you must allow to those who claim that freedom that which belonged to their own religion—to their own Church; that if they had an ecclesiastical organisation you must permit that ecclesiastical organisation to be completed, and therefore you must allow, uncontradicted, anything which belonged to the faith which those persons maintained. Now, how far does this pretension go? Because the real question is—which the hon. and learned Member did not touch upon—who is to decide what is ecclesiastical, what is spiritual in these matters? Are Ro- 313 man Catholics, on the ground that it belongs to their ecclesiastical arrangements, to make any assumption they please—to claim any sway over this realm of England—to claim any supremacy over the Queen of England—and are we to be satisfied by their saying, "This is ecclesiastical—this belongs to our religion." Would the hon. and learned Gentleman be satisfied with any assertion they might make in this respect with regard to spiritual and temporal matters? My right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon seemed disposed to say that education is a matter connected with spiritual concerns, and therefore it is a spiritual matter in which the State cannot interfere with the proceedings of the Catholic clergy. Now suppose they should declare that in Ireland the National System of Education is dangerous to their faith, and that any person belonging either to the clergy or the laity who assisted in carrying that system into effect should be excommunicated and deprived of the rites of religion, that being a matter entirely spiritual—or suppose they go a step further, and say with regard to the police and military that a person cannot remain in the police or military under a Sovereign who countenances and sanctions such measures? [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members say "Oh!" and I hear one say that that should not be allowed; but that is exactly what I expected, because it shows that you cannot rest satisfied with the assertion of the Roman Catholic clergy, that such matter is spiritual or ecclesiastical, but that you must judge for yourselves whether it is so or not, and decide according to your judgment; and here another hon. Member says that cannot be done. Now, having read somewhat of history—not only of that history to which hon. Gentlemen thought it wrong to refer—that of the times of the disputes between Catholics and Protestants—but the history of most recent times—I must say, that trusting to the moderation of the See of Rome as to the distinction between temporal and spiritual is one of the worst securities you can have. It was only yesterday I was looking, cursorily indeed, at the correspondence, about the year 1816 or 1817, between the Secretary of State of the Pope, and the King of Naples, and the King of Naples said—I may be quite wrong in refusing you tribute—in refusing you certain lands which you claim, but certainly you can hardly be justified in men- 314 acing me with spiritual censures, because I opposed you in regard to a temporal matter.But such was the opinion of the Pope, that he thought that a temporal matter like the refusal of tribute was a matter of spiritual cognisance; and, if we were entirely to trust to the Papal authority in this matter, depend upon it we shall hear the spiritual jurisdiction is extended far beyond that of which we have any conception now. And one hon. Member said—and my right hon. Friend who spoke last has said, among the rest, in referring to what has been lately done—that the language of the Pope, and of the pastoral, is arrogant in the extreme, and needlessly offensive to the people of England. That is an admission to a certain extent; but the question is, whether it is an admission to the extent which is really required by the nature of the act? I must beg the attention of my right hon. Friend, who, although no doubt he has studied this question a good deal, seems, I think, to have mistaken some of the most material points of it. I must call his attention to what really is the character of this rescript of the Pope; and before I do so I must refer to a writing of Dr. Wiseman, in the Dublin Review, which I found referred to by Mr. Palmer, in his book on the Church. He says—The apostolic see, it is said, charges those who call themselves the archbishops and bishops of the Church established in England and Ireland with being intruders by favour of the civil power into the sees of those realms; inasmuch as they and their predecessors took possession thereof in spite and to the detriment of the patriarchal rights of that see, which from the canons and by immemorial usage, had been exercised in the nomination or approbation of all metropolitans and bishops. Up to the time of Henry VIII. this right was perfectly acquiesced in, when by his statute 25 Henry VIII., c. 20, the nomination was reserved by letters missive to the King, all the authority of the apostolic see being set aside … Such subversion of the rights long holden and admitted of this apostolic see, and such assumption of a power never admitted in any part of the Church, were clear infringements of the canons, and constitute an act of usurpation and intrusion which is null and void in all its consequences.That is an assertion to this extent. Not noticing at present the historical fallacies contained in the statement, this is an assersertion that that Act of Parliament of Henry VIII. is null and void in all its consequences: that the Archbishoprics of Canterbury and York, the Bishoprics of London and Winchester, and the other bishoprics of this realm, no longer exist, the appointments thereto being void. Upon 315 this follows the rescript of the Pope, in which, after naming all these new archbishops, it is declared at the end—And we decree that these our letters apostolical shall never at any time be objected against or impugned, on pretence either of omission or of addition, or defect either of our intention, or any other whatsoever; but shall always be valid and in force, and shall take effect in all particulars, and he inviolably observed; all general or special enactments notwithstanding, whether apostolic, or issued in synodal, provincial, and universal Councils; notwithstanding also all rights and privileges of the ancient sees of England.Now the former declaration is upon Dr. Wiseman's authority alone, but no doubt authorised by the See of Rome, and that is a declaration that our Protestant archbishops and bishops do not exist. This rescript is a substitution of the Archbishop of Westminster, of the Bishop of Southwark and others, for the bishops of the Protestant Church, who are thus declared to have been null and void, and to be entirely abrogated and annulled. Now, I ask, does this fairly come within the scope of a foreign Sovereign? My right hon. Friend answered the question at once, as if he had been taught by Dr. Wiseman himself; as if he had been brought up at the feet of his Eminence, or of the Pope, "that he had no doubt of the spiritual authority of the Pope to appoint all those bishops, and to make a division of all those dioceses." That the Pope has no authority as a spiritual function for the appointment of all bishops at all times is, I think, proved by various works, but by none more clearly than by Dr. Twiss, in his book on this subject, full of learning, and stated with great temper. I think nothing is more clearly proved than this, that the circumscription of dioceses must be consented to by the sovereign authority, and that the appointment of bishops is not a spiritual, but a temporal act. The consecration of bishops Dr. Twiss fairly considers a spiritual matter; but that bishops can be appointed without the consent of the sovereign authority, and an express agreement that the Pope or some other authority shall have the power to appoint them, is what I think all good authorities on this subject would deny; and they would deny it in common with the public law of Europe, and in common with the practice of every country in Europe. Let any man who goes to Protestant countries—let him refer to Prussia, Holland, or Saxony, which, though it has a Catholic king, has a Protestant people, and he will find in every 316 one of them that the royal authority would be used against such an appointment, against any such a circumscription of dioceses, and that it would not be permitted. If that is the case, I ask you to look at the nature of this aggression. It is, as it struck me at the very commencement, an assumption of power over the realm of England, at variance with the supremacy of the Crown, at variance with the rights of its clergy, at variance with and in contradiction of the independence of the nation. Some hon. Gentlemen say, let us have a Resolution; let it be in as stringent terms as you please, declaring that there is no right to assume such power, and that the Queen retains all her temporal authority and spiritual supremacy as it is by law established. That might be done; but I do not know that it would be wise of Parliament to come to Resolutions which, when they were produced in a court of justice, when a Roman Catholic clergyman appeared there as Archbishop of Westminster, and another Roman Catholic clergyman as Bishop of Birmingham, might be decided by the presiding Judge to be of no value in law—to be utterly worthless, and to be a declaration to which he, sitting on the bench of justice, could pay no attention. I cannot advise the House to take a course by which I think the dignity of Parliament would be compromised if they were to take a course which would expose their acts to be disregarded by a Judge sitting to administer the law according to the rigour of the law, and who would decide, if he did not find the law to bear out your course, that your Resolution was invalid. My right hon. Friend who last spoke goes to the other extreme. He says, "If regality is attacked, you have the case of Lalor, in which regality was asserted. Why does not the Attorney General proceed according to the case of Lalor?" My right hon. Friend hardly stated the case against Lalor as it actually occurred. He says that Lalor, having attempted to encroach upon the temporal privileges of the Crown, was, for that attempt, indicted and convicted. After that statement I must claim the indulgence of the House while I state what was actually the case against Lalor. The indictment was framed in the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland, and it charged Lalor that he had received a bull from the Court of Rome, giving him authority as vicar-general, which touched and concerned the King's authority within the realm, and that, 317 under pretext and colour of such vicar-generalship, and having taken upon himself the style and title of vicar-general, he had exercised, by appointments to benefices, by granting dispensations in matrimonial causes, divorces, and other matters, jurisdiction appertaining to the episcopal office, to the detriment of the authority, dignity, and regality of the Crown. On this indictment Lalor, after a consultation of half an hour on the part of the jury, was found guilty, and, I believe, sentenced. He was proceeded against under an Act of Richard II. He was proceeded against, in point of fact, for having usurped episcopal jurisdiction; not for doing anything by direct means against the authority or temporal power or legality of the Crown, but for exercising episcopal jurisdiction, contrary to the rights appertaining to and vested in the Crown. By that statute of Richard II., after the enumeration of offences comprehended under the usurpation of the episcopal jurisdiction, it was declared, that all persons committing these offences should be put out of the King's protection, should forfeit to the King their lands, tenements, goods, and chattels, and be imprisoned during the pleasure of the King. Now, it appears to me that very possibly some of these new bishops thus appointed by the Pope, may have done those very things which Lalor was found guilty of having done; that in causes matrimonial, appointments to benefices, and various other matters which appertain to the episcopal jurisdiction, they have used the powers for which bishops are ordained. Now, I conceive that it would have been a hard course on our parts, with such penalties before us—assuming we had got evidence—to have proceeded against Dr. Wiseman, and have endeavoured to convict him under that statute of Richard. Had we done so, what would, indeed, have become of that religious liberty in which we are charged with being wanting? Had we acted upon that statute, and obtained a conviction, by which Dr. Wiseman would have been deprived of his goods and chattels, and have been imprisoned during the pleasure of the Crown—would there not have been an outcry that we were harshly resuscitating for a particular purpose ancient statutes, which, not having been used for two centuries, might be considered obsolete, and certainly as oppressive to the subject; and would not that have been a restriction to a far greater extent upon religious freedom, than the measure which 318 is now proposed by us? We find that those Gentlemen who have spoken on this subject, to the effect that some public measures ought to have been taken, very much divided in opinion as to what ought to have been done, and they have suggested various courses which they conceive would have been better than the present Bill. Without going into all their suggestions, let me submit one observation to the House. Here is a point on which there is hardly any difference of opinion, that this Papal aggression itself is arrogant in the extreme. There has been no alternative proposed to the course that we propose, on which there has been anything like a general agreement, or which has been at all made out to be clearly preferable to the present measure. The course proposed by Lord Stanley was, that there should be a Resolution, but likewise that we should have an inquiry with reference to future legislation; and the noble Lord manifests his belief that we are not at present prepared for legislation on this subject, by declaring that he thought a year, or perhaps two years, might elapse before that legislation could be proceeded with efficiently. Now, although I might have preferred my own course, yet had that other course been proposed by Lord Stanley, as head of the Government, I might have been ready to adopt it in deference to the authority of the Government. But I now put it to the House: you have one course before you—a course proposed by the Government—and there is no other clear, definite course proposed as an alternative to that course. Is it not better, if you mean to do anything at all against this aggression, to agree to the course proposed by the Government—even though that course be not the best possible—rather than reject it in the vague hope that some other course may at some future period be proposed, to which a fuller and more general assent may be accorded? It has been said, among other matters, that what is now proposed falls far short of that which I indicated before Parliament met, and especially in that letter of mine which has been often referred to—my letter to the Bishop of Durham. Sir, I am ready to abide by all the sentiments contained in that letter. The letter has been so often referred to by others, that I may be permitted to refer to it myself. The representations which have been made of that letter have been greatly erroneous; it has been represented that in that letter I did 319 not look to public opinion for a cure of the evil complained of, but to some stringent law on the subject of this Papal aggression. Now, what I said in the letter was this; after describing the character of the aggression, I proceeded:—Even if it shall appear that the ministers and servants of the Pope in this country have not transgressed the law, I feel persuaded that we are strong enough to repel any outward attacks. The liberty of Protestantism has been enjoyed in England too long to allow of any successful attempt to impose a foreign yoke upon our minds and consciences. No foreign prince or potentate will be permitted to fasten his fetters upon a nation which has so long and so nobly vindicated its rights to freedom of opinion—civil, political, and religious.Now this was a clear appeal, not to the powers of the law, either as they exist now, or as they might be enacted to the purpose, but to that liberty of opinion, civil and religious, which this country has long enjoyed, and which I considered to be the great antidote against the attempt to fasten upon our consciences the yoke to which they had so long been strangers. With regard to any measures to be taken, either under the existing law, or in the way of enactment, I think hon. Gentlemen, when I have read the words I used, will allow that they were sufficiently guarded:—Upon this subject, then, I will say, that the present state of the law shall be carefully examined, and the propriety of adopting any proceedings with reference to the recent assumption of power deliberately considered.It does not even say that any proceedings at all were to be taken; it merely says that the propriety of taking any proceedings should be deliberately considered. And I say, therefore, that if, at the meeting of Parliament, the Government had declared that they did not think it necessary to introduce a Bill, or to institute any proceedings, whether such a course would have been wise or unwise, justifiable or not, at all events it would have been completely consistent with the assertion contained in that letter; and yet it has been represented that this measure falls far short of the intimations held out by me before the meeting of Parliament. Sir, I say still, that our main defence, our main security, consists in that liberty of discussion, in that liberty of thought, in that political freedom which we have so long enjoyed, and which we will maintain; but it does not follow from this, that it may not be necessary to have some legislative assertion of the supremacy of the Crown 320 and the freedom of the nation—it does not follow that, because our great security is freedom of opinion and the liberality of our institutions, that therefore it is unnecessary to frame any enactment on this subject. And I must say, that it has always appeared to me, from the very first, that, if any measure was to be proposed, it should be one of the mildest form, and that it would be far better to fall somewhat short of what the occasion might seem to justify, than to exceed, in any degree, the absolute necessity of the case; and, after all I have heard, after the proposal of sending a fleet to Civita Vecchia, and various other proposals that have been made, I am still of the same opinion, that it would be far better to fall short, than to exceed in stringency of enactment. After one assertion in particular, which has been much relied upon, I wish to call the attention of the House to what is actually the fact. Some of the Gentlemen opposed to the Bill represent it as one of persecution, and say, that the first clause contains within itself the enactments of the second and third; so that, whether we preserve or omit them, makes no essential difference in the Bill. Without entering into the question of law, on which, when in Committee, we shall, no doubt, hear enough from Gentlemen of the long robe, I will put this to the House: If the first clause makes it a persecuting law, how comes it that, for twenty years, the Roman Catholics of Ireland have submitted to the law, and that we have hardly heard a murmur against it—the only expression with regard to it being in 1830, when the Roman Catholic bishops thought proper to acquiesce in it? and so far from our table being loaded with petitions from the Roman Catholics, praying that this grievance may be removed, the Roman Catholic clergy and laity have been altogether silent with regard to it. For, observe, that what the Bill does, is to say, that not only the existing sees, but the diocesans within them, shall be protected from aggression, and that the Roman Catholic bishops shall not have titles from any town or place in the United Kingdom. Now, there is not a Roman Catholic archbishop or bishop who does not claim from that ancient see in which they live: under that title they have intercourse with their clergy; and, as has been stated over and over again, and as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon stated of Archbishop Murray, they take their title in that intercourse, though it is not publicly accorded 321 to them. They are subject, then, to all the consequences of the penal law, and they have been suffering in Ireland a dreadful persecution without being conscious of it; they have been attacked by a spiritual bigotry, and yet for twenty-one years they have suffered all these evils without knowing anything about them—like the gentleman who had been speaking prose all his life without knowing it. Now, can you conceive a whole people suffering persecution for twenty-one years, and all the time knowing nothing about it? This shows that the Bill, at all events, is not very oppressive. That questions may arise with regard to the execution of this Bill if it become law in England, I cannot well doubt. I believe that that is very likely to be the case; but my belief is, that when the Roman Catholics see that Parliament has agreed to this enactment, they will bow to the authority of Parliament, and will not attempt the assumption of those titles. But, Sir, other questions may arise; and I will not attempt to conceal from the House, any more than I have from myself, that you may not, by this Bill, meet every danger that we may be called upon to encounter. Now, I have it not in contemplation to frame any code by which all the relations between the See of Rome and the Crown of this country may be regulated; but this I say, that if that spirit which you have seen lately be not checked—that if it be checked by the great display of Protestant and national feeling that has been shown in this country—that if it be not checked by the simple and mild enactments of Parliament—if further aggressions should take place—if it be attempted, for instance, to deprive the people of Ireland altogether of the benefits of mixed education—if it be attempted to deprive Parliament of its power in this respect—and if those who serve the Crown are to be deterred by menaces with reference to their religious consolations if they attempt to carry out the system of mixed education which the Roman Catholics themselves asked for but a few years ago—then I do not deny that, in such a case, other measures may be necessary. And so, likewise, of similar aggressions. I differ altogether from my right hon. Friend, when he says, that this matter of education is one on which the Roman Catholic clergy may proceed unchecked to any extremity they may choose. I do not think that you would be right, or that you would be justified—having de- 322 clared that you meant national education in Ireland to proceed—I do not think you would be right in allowing spiritual weapons to be employed for temporal purposes in such a manner as to prevent the youth and children of Ireland from acquiring secular knowledge, because the Roman Catholic bishops chose to call it a part of spiritual instruction. I remember speaking with a very excellent and mild bishop of the Roman Catholic Church who undertook the superintendence of the Roman Catholics of London not many years ago. Speaking to him on the subject of granting aid from the Committee of Council to Roman Catholic schools, I said, "We shall leave your religious instruction entirely unfettered; we shan't inquire what it is, or how it is given." His answer was, "No doubt you intend to do so; but I don't believe you know the extent to which we carry that term, 'religious instruction;' history, for example, the whole of civil history, we comprehend under the term of 'religious instruction;' and we should not be satisfied with any part of the political or civil history of England being taught otherwise than under the superintendence of the clergy of our own Church." There was nothing arrogant or pretending about that excellent man. This was merely a statement of what the opinions and doctrines of his Church were. But I must say, if that doctrine were carried to any extent, that with regard to civil matters, and to matters of physical science, nothing could be taught to the youth of Ireland except under the superintendence of the clergy, and that nothing could be more for the benefit of the Roman Catholics themselves than that the State should step in and say that it would not permit any such a system to prevail. In this respect, as in all others, I believe that if what Mr. Grattan predicted should in time fail, this Bill would be no such great bar and security against such evils, and that the whole question is not between Protestants and Roman Catholics, but it is a question in one respect between the Crown and the people of this country and the See of Rome, but in another respect it is a question as regards the Roman Catholic laity and an attempt to impose upon it the favourite ultramontane doctrines of Rome. Now, I have observed that certain Gentlemen who have opposed this Bill upon the ground that no legislation whatever is required, have entirely failed in making this distinction, though it must be obvious and striking to every one who has read any 323 part of the history of Europe or of religious contests. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon referred to Bossuet and other high authorities; and many of those high Roman Catholic authorities of modern times, like our ancestors, while they were men of strict and undoubted Roman Catholic faith, were at the same time most spirited, most independent, most able, and most consistent enemies of the usurpation of the Court of Rome. Yet I perceive that the Protestants who now speak upon this subject, do not take the assertions of such men as Bossuet, or Pascal, but they take all the assertions that came from the See of Rome, which in former days, and down even to the present day, have been scouted by all the most able and most learned of the Roman Catholics. They take all these, I say, as the assertions of Roman Catholic doctrine, of Roman Catholic faith, and of ecclesiastical discipline. I think when we come, as I am afraid we must come, to discuss these matters a good deal further, that this distinction cannot fail to be made; and however it may have been obliterated for the time, I do feel confident that having passed the Act of 1829, that great charter of the Roman Catholic liberties, we shall see that the spirit of the laity will revolt against these pretensions. Sir, I have been always of opinion that it was not only for the benefit of the Roman Catholics themselves, but also for the security of the State, that the concessions made in 1829 should be enacted by an Act of Parliament; but I not only thought that, but that they should be carried out in spirit and in reality. For that purpose I thought that the Roman Catholic people of Ireland should have a large franchise allowed them, so that it should be clear that they should have the power of choosing their own representatives, and not at the dictation of their Protestant landlords. I thought it necessary, likewise, in order to carry out the spirit of that Act, that Roman Catholics should be chosen and named to civil offices for which they were capable as freely as Protestants; and I am persuaded that those things, under the present Administration, have been fully carried out. We passed last year an Act with respect to the franchise; and from the time that I came into office, so far as my patronage has been concerned, I have been always anxious that Roman Catholics should have a fair share of that to which their abilities entitled them. Now, I think that a great security; but it is upon this condition that 324 those Roman Catholics shall be as free to act according to their own opinion as Protestants would be in similar circumstances. And if you find that Roman Catholics have been, like Sir Michael O'Loughlin, the Master of the Rolls, and Sir Thomas Redington, loyal to the Crown, and anxious to do justice equally between all classes of Her Majesty's subjects, there can be no doubt but that rule of law should prevail; but if you found that these Papal masses are to rule in Ireland, and that these Roman Catholics were threatened by the priesthood for doing their duty fairly, it would compel those Roman Catholics to leave the service of the Crown, and to do that which would be a practical denial of all for which the Act of 1829 was given. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon has a very simple remedy for that. He says if a Roman Catholic be threatened with a spiritual sentence, such as the refusal of the sacrament, he has only to leave the Roman Catholic communion. But it is very possible that his conscience may not allow him to make that change. He may feel that the priest exercises an oppression upon him, as did that unfortunate man, Count Santa Rosa, at Turin; but his faith in his religion might yet be totally unshaken; and if that be the case, I say that it is for the benefit of the Roman Catholics themselves that you should assert the spiritual independence of this country, and should not encourage these assumptions of power on the part of the Court of Rome. My right hon. Friend, at the conclusion of his speech, referred to several men of eminence, some of whom are departed, and some are still alive, who fought manfully and successfully in favour of the Roman Catholics. I am but an humble follower of those men, and though I might not have taken a leading part at that period in the debates of this House, I have constantly fought their battle in the country, and have given my vote in this House in favour of these principles. Sir, I regret not a single vote that I have given. I rejoice that I was in any way instrumental in procuring their civil and religious liberty; but if I experience now, that you have not taken those securities which Mr. Grattan said you might take; if I feel some doubt—some suspicion—some apprehension—of the future proceedings of the Court of Rome, I am not without the authority of many friends of freedom who expressed similar fears and similar apprehensions. I do not know that I need be ashamed 325 of being somewhat more liberal than Milton and than Locke—I do not know that I need be ashamed of having somewhat of the temper which belonged to Hampden and to Pym, and to all those great men who asserted the liberties of the country in this House against the tyranny of Charles I.—I do not know that I need be ashamed of feeling somewhat of those doubts and apprehensions which influenced the calm and sober judgment of Lord Somers. Those men were the friends of liberty, many of them writers in favour of liberty of conscience and of toleration far beyond the opinions of their age; but they I felt, however, that the Roman Catholic faith might be held as well as any other faith, conscientiously and consistently with the enjoyment of power; still that there was something in the character of the See of Rome which made every friend of liberty jealous of its encroachments, and fearful of the establishment of its power. Sir, whatever I may have felt with regard to the particular measures that might be adopted, I have always maintained an opposition to the Roman Catholic supremacy, I remain still of that mind; and when I see that there are so few of the Roman Catholic body who feel that this aggression, made without the consent, of the Crown and against the will of the nation, is, whatever it may be for their religion, an aggression upon the supremacy of the Crown and the independence of the people, my apprehensions are not diminished; but, on the contrary, my jealousy is increased. While I remain a friend to religious liberty, as I trust I ever have been (as the Roman Catholics, at least, ought to admit, frequent as have been the rebuffs that I have met with in the course of popular elections, because I have said I was for the Roman Catholics)—anxious as I have been, and ever I shall be, for religious liberty, 1 will not confound that cause with the cause of Papal encroachment. I believe that the liberties of England and the liberties of Europe will be best promoted by its resistance.
§ Debate further adjourned till To-morrow.
§ The House adjourned at One o'clock.