§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [14th March],—Debate resumed.
§ MR. W. FAGAN
, having on a previous occasion expressed his sentiments at great length on the question before the House, would endeavour to compress into the shortest possible space what he had then to offer to its consideration, and he claimed its indulgence as a matter of justice. His religion had been assailed in every possible form, and it was made a subject for legislation, and therefore he felt confident that he would receive the attention of the House. He would in the first place refer to the speech delivered on Thursday evening by 429 the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drumraond). He was glad that it was not his fate to have addressed the House immediately after that hon. Member, for, participating as he did in the indignation and excitement which then prevailed, he might have used language which he would afterwards repent of. Now, however, he approached the subject more with feelings of pain and regret, that any one worthy, from his position in society, of a seat in that House, should not only have given expression to the gross language that hon. Member had used, but that a belief of the statement he had made should have found admission into his mind. No one was a greater advocate than he was of freedom of debate; but he must say, it was exceedingly hard that Members should be permitted, grossly and wantonly, to offend and insult, and to wound the feelings on the most sensitive of all subjects, and that if any one so insulted should get up in his place and say, that that statement was false and calumnious, such Member so acting as the occasion demanded, would be instantly called to order, and forced to retract what he had said. He thought justice and fair play required some alteration in that respect of the rules of decorum and debate. He congratulated the noble Lord at the head of the Government on that specimen of what his legislation had produced, and was producing, in the country. What had occurred in that House, was a sample of what was taking-place in every coterie throughout the length and breadth of the land: the worst humours were being excited—rancour and animosity and foul calumny were sweeping over the land; and all for a paltry piece of legislation that we are told means nothing. He would congratulate his countrymen also, who were so indignant with him (Mr. Fagan) for not voting against his political and most cherished principles, in order to place in power that party of which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Drummond) was a prominent Member, at their present escape. Had Lord Stanley succeeded in forming a Government, there would have been a Committee of Inquiry into subjects most dear and sacred to the Catholic mind; and the hon. Member and the Member for Bodmin would have been members of it, and there would have been examined before it, the M'Neiles, the M'Ghees, the O'Sullivans of Exeter Hall notoriety, and there would have been all kinds of ingenious devices brought before the world, and the most scan- 430 dalous and calumnious statements would have been made with the appearance of truth, and the whole kingdom would have been startled from its propriety, and kept in excitement until the pear was ripe, and the moment for a dissolution arrived. He would heartily congratulate his countrymen on that escape. He would not repeat the indecent language used by the hon. Member regarding those communities of ladies belonging to the first families in England, who associated in purity, innocence, and truth, to carry out the gospel counsels of St. Paul, which counsels no one who helieved in the Scriptures could sneer at or despise. He would now come to the subject immediately before the House. During that protracted debate, hon. Members could not avoid observing that, from the commencement, not one speaker addressed himself to the measure under consideration; and this remark applied particularly to hon. and learned Members belonging to the long robe. From the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford (Mr. W. P. Wood), to the hon. and learned Member for Newark (Mr. Walpole), who spoke with so much force and eloquence on Friday night, every one took a wide discursive range into subjects to which the Bill before the House could not possibly apply. He could only account for this by supposing that the House of Commons concurred with the country, and that it was not so much aggression by a foreign Power on the prerogatives of the Crown that was dreaded, as the spread of Popery. It was, as the lion. Member for Oldham (Mr. Fox) stated, the repression of the Roman Catholic religion the people called for; and it was that, judging from their speeches, that hon. Members in that House required. What, then, hon. and learned Members seemed chiefly to dread, was the introduction of the canon law, because, as they thought, it would give the Pope, not his subordinate clergy, temporal power and consideration within this realm. The learned Member (Mr. W. P. Wood) said that the temporal was so dovetailed and mixed up with the spiritual in the canon law, that it was found impossible to separate them; and the hon. and learned Member for Newark professed his unwillingness to interfere at all, only that the aggression touched temporal matters. It was really too bad, after the repeated denial, upon oath, too, of Roman Catholics, that such temporal power existed on the part of the Pope, as spiritual head of the Church, that these 431 statements should be over and over again repeated. The Roman Catholics of these kingdoms believe the declaration urged by the bishops of the Gallican Church in 1682, and drawn up by the celebrated Bossuet—they believe, as that declaration sets forth, that "St. Peter and his successors, vicars of Jesus Christ, and the whole Church itself, have received no power from God but over things spiritual and concerning salvation, and not over temporal and civil affairs." Though the declaration of the Gallican Church has not been formally received into the Church of Ireland, still the theology of Bossuet has been always taught at Maynooth, and the works of the eminent French theologians are the class books in that establishment. He was justified, then, in repudiating the allegation that the temporal power of the Pope and his subordinates were part and parcel of the Catholic religion, or were necessary to the spiritual government of the Church. These were allegations without proof, and neither of the distinguished lawyers to whom he alluded attempted to show how that temporal law was created or exercised. The Solicitor General, and also the Attorney General, did attempt to do so, but in his (Mr. Pagan's) opinion without success. The Solicitor General endeavoured to show it in this way. Every Catholic clergyman has a civil status as such in the country, and by reason of that status may be in the enjoyment of property, as, for instance, endowments in the Church; and that he was liable to be suspended by the bishop, and thereby lose his status. This, he maintained, was the exertion of temporal power and authority on the part of the episcopacy. The Attorney General said a considerable number of Roman Catholics in this country were very wealthy, and they were, as a body, richly endowed with respect to ecclesiastical benefices. There were claims of lay patronage on the behalf of Roman Catholic proprietors. The bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, as he believed, had always claimed the right of appointing the priests to those benefices. That claim had been hitherto successfully resisted by the laity. The prelates of the Roman Catholic Church being simply bishops, and not having any territorial dioceses, could not enforce that claim. But the moment they were made territorial, and had dioceses, by the force of the canon law the bishops would have the right to appoint, under certain circumstances, and under certain conditions, the priests to 432 those benefices. They would then come to the Court of Chancery, and the Court would enforce every one of these trusts; and upon proof of the fact of that being the canon law of the Church of Rome, the Court of Chancery would enforce the canon law, would remove the priest, and give the income of the benefice to the person so appointed by the bishop of the diocese. Now, would the House be surprised to hear that the power of suspension and removal was incomparably greater under a vicariate system than under a regularly-established hierarchy? The vicars-apostolic had absolute and unlimited power to remove and suspend without assigning any reason whatever. Thus Mr. M'Donnell, the distinguished clergyman many years resident in Birmingham, was removed from that city without any reason assigned; and so was Mr. Hearne from Manchester, where he was universally respected and beloved; whereas under the normal system of church government, through a regularly-constituted hierarchy, these gentlemen would have had a canonical institution, and could not have been removed without being found guilty, after due trial, of some canonical misdemeanour. Therefore the temporal power of the bishops, alluded to by the Solicitor General, did not arise from the introduction of the canon law, for it was far more extensive where that law had no existence. It might be true, as stated by the Attorney General, that under vicars-apostolic the lay patron of a benefice might refuse to pay the endowment to any clergyman not appointed by himself. But this was equally true that no person enjoying such benefice could officiate or discharge any functions without the authority of the vicar-apostolic, as in the case of the late Mr. Raphael, formerly a Member of that House. He built a magnificent church near Kingston-on-Thames; but as he wanted to have the entire control and authority over the minister and the church, no clergyman was appointed to the benefice, and very properly, because of the necessity of preserving the independence of the clerical character. It might be true, that under the authority of the canon law the bishop could legally induct into such a benefice a clergyman of his own appointment in spite of the patron. Well, if that were so, he thought it preferable to the present plan, where the bishop could suspend without reason, and where altercations between lay patrons and the bishop debarred, the Roman Catholic inhabitants of a place of worship. Under 433 the canon law, once inducted into a benefice or parish, the clergyman could not be removed; and, let him observe, that that was the chief reason why the establishment of a hierarchy was so universally looked for by the Roman Catholic laity and clergy. How could it be supposed that a sufficient supply of secular clergy could be found to meet the spiritual wants of a really increasing population, if when they entered on the ministry they found they had no rights—no protection from caprice—and were liable to be dismissed and deprived of all faculties at a moment's notice, and without cause? Did it not stand to reason that if you want a sufficiency of clergy, the only way to secure them is to give them the protection of canonical institution? and this can only be done by the establishment of an episcopacy with territorial titles. It was quite true that if matters remained as they were, and no further steps were taken, the clergy of Beverley would be quite justified in the statements put for-word in their address to Cardinal Wiseman. For, until by synodical action, canons of discipline are arranged and enforced, the secondary clergy have no canonical protection from their diocesan, while he himself is now comparatively independent of the Pope. But he had the very best reasons for believing that Cardinal Wiseman was most anxious to give the clergy their full rights; and were it not for the existing excitement, a synod would have already met to give effect to such portion of the canon law as was suitable to the peculiar circumstances of this country. No canon law incompatible with the municipal law of a country is binding on the conscience; and therefore not obligatory unless it is founded on the revealed word of God—that is, unless it is a canon of faith and doctrine. The Catholics believe it a matter of faith "to give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's.'" No portion of the canon law can be admitted in this country without the consent, in synod, of the bishops; and there is no doubt they will adapt the wants of the Roman Catholic community to the habits of society, and to the laws of the country. There is no danger of the introduction of bulls or canons of bygone ages having reference to the then existing state of society, when Popes were supposed as feudal chiefs to have absolute monarchical power over other sovereigns. These unfortunate times have passed away; and the spirit and principles which they generated are also gone, never 434 to return. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford spoke at great length of the bull In cœna Domini as likely to apply to this country after the establishment of a hierarchy. Now that bull has been scouted from every country in Europe, and never has been attempted to be introduced into Ireland. Dr. Doyle, in his evidence before a Committee of this House in 1825, is asked "Is the bull In cœna, Domini now in force?" He answers—There are portions of that bull that were in force from the time of Christ; but the bull, as a bull, is not in force, nor ever was in force in Ireland, and has been rejected by nearly all the Christian countries in Europe. If that were in force, there is scarcely anything would be at rest amongst the Catholic States of Europe; and they have been as solemn and as earnest in protesting against it as we have been at any time in England or Ireland,So much for that statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman as regards the danger to be apprehended from the bull In cœna Domini. Then he points to the dispute between the Pope and Sardinia as a specimen of the encroaching tendencies of Rome, and of the spiritual tyranny it exhibits even at the death-bed. Now in that case, if there were any encroachment, it was on the part of the King of Sardinia; for he was breaking through a regular concordat with Rome, in which many privileges were conceded to the Sovereign; and in return, these very immunities in dispute secured to the clergy. On the one hand, there was an attempt to enslave the clergy, and make them tools of the State; on the other, there was an endeavour to preserve their independence, and the Pope was right. As to the spiritual part of the affair, he believed there was gross exaggeration and misrepresentation on the subject. He at one time was fully aware of all the circumstances, but they were now sufficiently fixed in his memory to state them to the House. All he would say on the subject was this, that to the dying sinner truly repentant who seeks the consolations of religion, the sacraments cannot be refused. If he persists in impenitence, as did Mrs. Manning, for instance, denying her guilt to the last, though known to have committed murder, it would be sacrilege to administer the sacrament to him in such a state of mind, and it would increase his criminality. Something of that kind occurred in the case of the Sardinian Minister during his second and last illness, The hon. and 435 learned Member, when he had described the horrors of the canon law and of the ancient bulls and rescripts, then proclaims that Rome never changes—that she is inflexible. Now, the doctrines of the Catholic Church never change, and, he believed, never can change to the consummation of things; but the discipline of that Church was ever varying according to times and countries, and the necessities of religion; and the power exercised by ecclesiastics at one period of history, or in one country, was different from that employed in a more advanced state of civilisation. But, supposing the ecclesiastical system of government now introduced into England, bringing with it the canon law, produced the effects that these honourable and learned Members supposed, the question then arose, did that Bill now before the House meet the case, and prevent it? The Solicitor General says it did. Now, he would tell his right hon. Friend, that neither that Bill, nor any other he could introduce, would prevent the establishment of the hierarchy, the meetings of the bishops in synod, or the introduction of the canon law. King William the Third passed a law in Ireland, banishing from the country every Popish priest; and yet the priests, and their bishops, and the canon law, remained in Ireland in spite of the penal enactments. In 1782, that penal law was relaxed, with, however, this proviso, that the relaxation should not apply to those who assumed or had any ecclesiastical title or dignity; yet the bishops, and the hierarchy, and the canon law remained in Ireland. So it would be with this Bill, or any other of the same nature. He would defy them to bring it to bear to prevent the development of the Catholic religion. But there was another view to be taken of the Bill before the House from the opinion expressed by the Attorney General. When he (Mr. Fagan) heard the statements of the Home Secretary (Sir G. Grey), he thought, as the right hon. Gentleman himself thought, that the first and only clause now in the Bill was merely in extension of the prohibitory section of the Emancipation Act, as regards episcopal titles; and, to his unlearned mind, the force of Mr. Bethell's opinion was not at first apparent. But, now, looking upon that portion of Mr. Bethell's opinion with which the Attorney General concurred as undisputed law, he saw at once that this Bill, and also the Emancipation Act, went further than merely prohibiting, under a 436 penalty, the assumption of territorial titles. The Attorney General admits—If there was any act which could only be operative by reason of a person being bishop of a territorial see, and holding a prohibited title, then that act would be void, and could not be sustained in any court of law. Such an act would be prohibited by the first clause.Now, this clearly interferes with letters of ordination, and with endowments to parish priests under the Bequests Act; and, undoubtedly, according to this construction of the law, the letter of ordination by Dr. Murray, which the right hon. Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham) read the other evening, was an illegal document, and consequently void in law, under the provisions of the Emancipation Act. But, says the Attorney General—The Bill proposed to do nothing more than this—to say, if you make any new bishops in Ireland, they will be exactly on the same footing as the old ones; and if you make any new bishops in this country, they will be exactly on the same footing as the Irish bishops.To that he replied, It did. It proposed absolutely to re-enact that clause in the Emancipation Act which, since the Bequests Act, was gradually, by decisions in the Courts of Equity in Ireland being put aside. The Bequests Act, without absolutely repealing, put aside that penal clause in the Act of 1829, by recognising the Catholic bishops, and by allowing endowments in perpetual succession to the Catholic clergy. That being done, the Courts of Equity recognised these letters of ordination to prove title to an endowment, and thus allowed that which the Attorney General now admits is prohibited by his first clause; and thus the Bill does more than extend the clause of the Act of 1829. It actually re-enacts it again, and overrides the decisions of Courts of Equity. The Government, then, taking the law from the Attorney General, and standing by the pledge given by the Home Secretary, that it was not intended to interfere with ordination or endowments, is bound either to abandon the Bill altogether, or to add a proviso at the end of the clause to this effect. But let him not be supposed to admit that the first clause, with even that proviso, would satisfy the justice of the case. Far from it. In whatever shape it would pass the Legislature, it would always be considered an insult, gratuitous and wanton, on one-third of Her Majesty's subjects in these kingdoms. It has excited a shout and raised a ferment in Ireland that the noble 437 Lord (Lord J. Russell) little dreamed of. Indeed he (Mr. Fagan), knowing the prostrate condition of that country, never anticipated that they would be roused from the lethargy and torpor of despair in which they were. But their religious feelings were outraged, and that was sufficient to raise a storm in that country it would be difficult to calm. Even his (Mr. Fagan's) constituents, who were calm as the summer's sea, compared to the wild excitement elsewhere, had come to a resolution, requiring him to vote on every occasion, no matter what principle was involved, against the Government, so exasperated did they feel with the conduct of the noble Lord. Of course, he could not forfeit character or relinquish principle by consenting to such a course; and he preferred retiring altogether from his onerous duties, than to lose his own self-respect. He merely mentioned this to show how thoroughly and for ever the noble Lord had disgusted the people of Ireland. Thus had he in an evil hour broken up the great party of which he was the head. The right arm of his political power was Ireland, because she always looked upon the Whig party as the great advocates of religious liberty. What are they now? Its most determined opponents; and therefore it is the people of Ireland have turned against them. And why has the noble Lord thus shipwrecked his party? Can any one believe it was to avenge an insult put upon the country and the Queen by the Pope? Why, it was impossible there could be any insult intended, and therefore there was none given. At the time the system of hierarchical government for England was determined on, the Pope was very popular in this country; and it was in human nature that he should carefully not do anything to lose that popularity, and when it was suggested to him to erect London into a bishopric, he refused, for fear of giving offence to the Government of England; and he (Mr. Fagan) was satisfied the bishopric of St. David's was created by mistake, or that it was so called by a mistranslation of the Papal Brief. But the noble Lord the Foreign Minister says, why did not he, or Cardinal Wiseman, intimate directly to Government what he had in contemplation? There is a very plain answer to that inquiry, namely, that the Government of England ignored the Pope in his spiritual capacity. They recognised him only as temporal sovereign of the Roman States, and he was prevented sending any person 438 but a layman to represent him here. At the time the Diplomatic Relations Bill was passing through this House, he foretold what would be the consequence of the second clause of that Bill, and he voted against it because of that clause. Well, how could the Pope, whose existence as a spiritual prince was ignored—how could he communicate on spiritual matters with the English Government, or why should the noble Lord have expected it? His not doing so was no sign of disrespect. It was the necessary consequence of that unfortunate clause. Could any one believe that this Bill was intended to repeal an aggression on the prerogative of the Crown, which makes the Sovereign the sole fountain of honour? How did the appointment of Catholic bishops interfere with that prerogative? The word bishop, or, as the true translation of the rescript would make it, "Overseer," is no title to which the prerogative can have reference. It is merely a spiritual designation, which, even in the Established Church, the Queen herself has not the power to confer. Her bishops are named by the deans and chapters; and they had lately the case of Dr. Hampden, where the dean and chapter refused to elect whom Her Majesty had nominated. There was, then, no infringement on the Royal prerogative. Was there one on the Queen's supremacy? Surely that could not be maintained, for the Queen's supremacy extended only over the Established Church; and even this, above two thousand of the clergy, headed by the Bishop of Exeter, denied the extent of supremacy claimed for Her by other members of the same Church. In Scotland, too, the Queen's supremacy was unknown; and yet there the Bill extended likewise—proving that infringement on the supremacy was not the cause of this miserable legislation. Was it that the noble Lord thought he could best cover the position he had taken by his letter to the Bishop of Durham, by that piece of legislation? He believed the noble Lord incapable of such an act. Was it to satisfy the prejudices and passions of the people of England? It is clear that that Bill would never effect that object. What motive, then, was really at the bottom of this proceeding of the Government? He believed that it arose from that morbid prejudice against the Catholic religion which existed in the mind of the noble Lord, as well as with other educated men in this country. They believed that the 439 spread of that religion would be injurious to civil liberty and to human enlightenment, and therefore they were in their inward hearts for its repression. Mark the observations the other evening of the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Wigram). That hon. and learned Member, one would have supposed, had endeavoured, in reading history, to trace effects to their true causes. Now, in the first speech which he delivered in that House, he traced most unfairly the social, moral, and political depression of several Roman Catholic countries to the religion of the people—Italy, for instance. Now, could the hon. and learned Gentleman have forgotten that, during the period in the history of that country that the Catholic religion had most influence, and the power of the priesthood was greatest, Italy was, politically and commercially, great, and was the diffuser of literature throughout Europe, and the restorer and preserver of her ancient claims. So also with Spain: that country was both politically and commercially great, and had a high literary character, at a time when the Catholic religion was most powerful there. It was the incubus of absolute despotism that destroyed the energies of Italy—it was the baneful policy of the Bourbons that depressed the moral and political condition of Spain. So also with Ireland. When Ireland was wholly Catholic, and before an English foot was planted on her soil, she was, comparatively with other countries, enlightened and civilised. It is to England she owes her depressed condition. It was to the efforts for centuries made to root out the Catholic religion and plant Protestantism in its place, that you must trace the moral and social condition of that unfortunate country. It is to the difference of climate and of race, and not to the difference of religion, you must trace the relative condition of the different nations in America. Let him remind the hon. and learned Member that it was to his Catholic ancestors he owed some of the dearest liberties he possesses as a subject, and to them also the high educational establishments of the country. It is to the Catholic religion Europe owes any liberty it possesses, for in the early times it was the bulwark against feudal despotism, and the protector of the poor and the feeble. It was to the Catholic religion they owed the abolition of slavery in Europe, and that chivalry and honour which are still the boast of the aristocracy of this 440 country. The morbid prejudice in this country against the Catholic religion as opposed to civilisation, was without foundation—and therefore, on these grounds, the measure was not justified. The sole object of the Pope in what was done, was to supply the spiritual wants of the increasing Catholic population. But the right hon. the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Goulburn) asked, if that was the case, why, during the twenty-five years of Catholic agitation, the grievance of not having a regular hierarchy was never once mentioned. His answer was, that the agitation was for civil rights, and had nothing to say to spiritual matters. Besides, up till lately the want of a hierarchy was not so pressing. Under the vicariate system, the regular, having all the faculties of secular, clergy—which they could not have under a regularly constituted hierarchy—were found most necessary to the spiritual wants of the Catholics, more particularly to poor Catholics, because they were not wholly dependent on contributions from their flocks; but when the Catholics increased to nearly a million persons, and were now increasing by means of emigration from Ireland, and were increasing in wealth also, the regulars could not do the spiritual work, and an abundant supply of secular clergy—which could only be had through canonical institution—became imperatively necessary. Hence the chief reason for the recent change in their ecclesiastical system. But it is said, what has Ireland to do with that? and the Attorney General, addressing himself to Irish Members, tells them to beware lest the ultimate object was not to make the Irish Catholic Church dependent on the English; and he endeavoured to surmount their hostility by this statement. Now, all he would say to that was, that Ireland had no dread of the kind. Ireland showed before how she could maintain the independence of her Church when one and all, bishops, priests, and laity, they resisted the veto which Rome was inclined to grant to England; and that independence, under all circumstances, will be upheld, and it will be done by no one with more determination than by that truehearted Irishman, Dr. Cullen, who has been called by the law adviser of the Crown, "an Italian monk;" an appellation, however offensive, not quite as derogatory as that of "Christian unattached," which was applied to the right hon. Solicitor General himself. No; the Irish Members will not be caught by the 441 appeal of the Attorney General. They will fight this battle of religious liberty as they did those of Parliamentary and municipal franchises for England, and prove that as Catholics they were always at the side of freedom. He had repelled the accusations against his religion—he had shown why he objected against the Bill before the House. Pie opposed it because it was a retrograde step in legislation—he opposed it because it infringed upon the Emancipation Act, which was the charter of the Catholics—be opposed it because it abrogated the Charitable Bequests Act—he opposed it because it was but an instalment of increased severity in case the bishops presumed to interfere with the education of their people—and, finally, and above all, he opposed it because it infringed on the great principle of civil liberty.
§ MR. SMYTHE
I wish, Sir, to state as briefly as I can my reason for renewing my vote against what I cannot help regarding as a sham Bill, of sham pains and sham penalties, against a sham aggression. And, Sir, I entertain myself such strong opinions on this measure, that I am not surprised at the indignation of tone adopted just now by the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Cork (Mr. Fagan). Because, what are, after all, our relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland? It is in vain and idle to shrink from, or to blink, or to evade this question. It cannot be denied that within the last ten years the State, weary perhaps of a sterile, unpopular, and expensive helpmate, has contracted a left-handed and morganatic alliance, through the Charitable Bequests Act, and the Maynooth Bill, with the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland. And yet, on the very first occasion and opportunity, you now seek to insult and to repudiate the bride of your not illegitimate and certainly not impolitic bigamy. In a far different spirit the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in the spirit of a wise, a far-seeing, and a courageous statesman, overlooking the miserable scruples of a pedantic uniformity, has not hesitated to accord to the Roman Catholic prelates in the colonies those titles which Mr. Pitt would have accorded to them; and who, knowing probably from the routine of his office that we rule St. Lucie by French laws, Trinidad by Spanish laws, Demerara, Berbice, and the Cape, by Dutch laws, has seen no good reason why Malta should not have Catholic bishops, or why Catholic flocks should be deprived of epis- 442 copal superintendence in Australia. And why should there not be Catholic laws and Catholic bishops in Catholic Ireland? Nay, why not Catholic bishops and Catholic laws for Catholics in England? Now, what is it that the Pope really has done? He has accorded certain territorial titles, but no territorial faculties. The title of Archbishop of Westminster involves no more territorial faculties than the title of King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, as now borne by the King of Sardinia, or the title of King of Jerusalem, as concurrently borne by the King of the Two Sicilies, without umbrage one to the other, and without umbrage to that Grand Turk who de facto governs both Cyprus and Jerusalem in a sense far different from that in which Archbishop Wiseman proposes to govern Middlesex and Essex. The title of Archbishop of Westminster involves no more territorial faculties than the title of King of France, which was borne by three electors of Hanover in succession, Constitutional Kings of England. It involves no more territorial faculties than the title of King of England, when it was assumed by King James the Third, King Charles the Third, or King Henry the Ninth, Legislate as the Parliament did upon the subject—proscribe them, as did the Government of that day—they were still, in their own words, Dei gratiâ non voluntate hominum—Kings of England to the consciences of some at least among their subjects. Legislate as you may upon this subject—proscribe, as you are about to do, Cardinal Wiseman he will still be, Dei gratiâ non voluntate hominum, Primate of all England, to the consciences of some at least among his Catholic subordinates. The distinction is one which eludes and defies legislation, because it is, in foro conscientiœ, between man and God. It is that distinction which has been illustrated in the old doggrel of the Jacobites:—God bless the King—God bless the faith's defender!God bless—there is no harm in blessing the Pretender.But who is that Pretender, or who that King,God bless us all! that's quite another thing!But it has been stated by the hon. Member for the city of Oxford, that the Pope has accorded certain ecclesiastical rights, another term for spiritual faculties. Now, are you going to legislate against those spiritual faculties? Not directly; but you are going to legislate against territorial titles, because of and on 443 account of those spiritual faculties. I have a right, therefore, to think that spiritual faculties are the head and front of the offending. Now it seems to me that it would have been as reasonable for the Emperor Julian to have engaged in a persecution of the Original Sin, or of any other doctrine of the Christian dispensation; or for King Louis XIV. to nave indulged in a dragonade against the innate ideas of Cartesian philosophy; or for the Emperor of Russia to issue in these days an ukase against magnetic influences, against all things ideal, subjective, and impalpable, as for the Government of England to run a-muck against spiritual faculties. Because they are beyond man's volition and human control; or, if they are not beyond his volition and his control—if faith, as some metaphysicians pretend, does in some degree depend upon man's free will, that is precisely the very reason why you should not legislate on the subject. Not only because you thereby commit a Protestant community to the monstrous antithesis of prosecuting private judgment, but because the power rests with everybody of nullifying the Pope's authority. You have only not to believe, and the Pope's authority ceases and determines. Where there are croyans there is the Pope's jurisdiction, and there no legislation can affect it. Where there are mécreans—and the mécreans are many—the name of the mécreans is legion, the name of the mécreans is the people of England—there the whole thing becomes a farce. And it is as a farce that the noble Lord ought to have treated this most absurd affair, or as the noble Lord had himself described it in his first most eloquent speech, "as a blunder on the sudden"—as another characteristic of that untoward Papacy which has been paved with good intentions—as another proof of that sterile, inane, and unintelligent benevolence which will pass into a proverb for political disaster. The statesman who, in the heart of the nineteenth century, could dream of laying the foundations of spiritual unity in England, can only be the statesman who, in the same nineteenth century, could dream of laying the foundations of political unity in Italy—None but himself could be his parallel.Moreover, if the Pope's brief is, as the noble Lord says, a "blunder on the sudden," the machinery by which his Holiness wishes to carry it out, I think he will in the long run find out to be a blunder on the slow. Now, let me suppose, for the sake of argument, 444 that the Pope was really in earnest, which, God forbid! in a bonâ fide hostile aggression upon England. It must be obvious in this case that he has at his command a body of troops far otherwise and far more formidable than a cardinal and half-a-dozen suffragans—forces far more and far otherwise to be dreaded than the hordes of Russia, or the armies of the Empire. I mean those monastic orders by whom everything of practical use to Rome, in modern ages, has been effected—those monastic orders which are, so to speak, the Catholic Church in Committee. I mean one order in particular, which has been largely and lavishly abused, but which, as it has survived the Provincial Letters, so, I think, the provincial speeches of the winter of 1850 will hardly put it down. I mean that Order of Jesus, of which the wisest of Anglican philosophers (Lord Bacon) once used these remarkable terms:—"Being what they are, would that they were ours!" And being what they were, I find that the organisation of this order was, during the reign of Elizabeth and James (if secret), yet perfect and complete in England. Well, then, if, during that heyday of persecution—if, by the vicious perfection of the gallows, the thumb-screw, and the rack, it was impossible to keep out and withstand Jesuit aggression, I have a right to assume that the Pope would naturally, in any real bonâ fide hostile aggression upon England, have made use of agents as tried, as trusty, and as successful as were these. But you may say they are here already. Granted. But there has been no fresh intrusion, which is my argument. And the fact that they are here already, exposes the monstrous hypocrisy of your present legislation. If it is true—as it is true—that the Order of Jesus has been reconstituted in England since 1803; if they have divided—as they have divided—Great Britain into Jesuit provinces; if they have increased in power and in numbers since the adoption in the Act of 1829 of the absurd clause that was intended to operate against them; if the primary and secondary instruction of Catholic England is mostly in their hands—is it not monstrous that you should come down here and strain at this gnat of an episcopate, while you have so long swallowed, without one wry face, such a monastic order? But the Pope has not sent regulars to England; he has preferred to send seculars, and to found a particular Church. Now, herein lies the blunder in the slow. If there is one thing 445 which history teaches more than another—Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus—it is that the agency of Rome has been in all time thwarted by the agency of particular churches. In Venice, by heretical teaching; in Spain, by jealousy, which I Jed to confiscation and secularisation; in Portugal, by jealousy, which connected it-self with philosophic statesmanship; in France, by jealousy, which led to the four propositions of the Gallican Church, one of which has just been quoted by the hon. Member for the city of Cork; but, above all, in England by the Reformation, by the Revolution, by this very legislation—all the results and fruits of a particular Church. But, absurd and suicidal as I believe this brief to have been to the interests of Rome herself, I shall not hesitate to say that it is in one sense most meritorious—at once an example and a warning to ourselves. She has given the most signal, the most startling, the most transcendent homage to the voluntary principle. For the first time in history she has connected, by the side of an Established Church, the grandeurs of the Roman hierarchy with the voluntary principle. I remember to have read in one of the debates of the Long Parliament, in the speech of the Puritan Member for Kent (Sir Edward Deering), of a legend of the mediæval Church, which related that, when first Christianity exchanged the persecution of the Pagan emperors for the smiles and the favours and the monies of Constantine, the voice of an angel was heard crying and wailing in the air, Hodie in ecclesiam venenum infunditur—"This day is poison poured into the Church." Out of this mediæval myth Rome has extracted a profound political truth. What makes her so powerful novv-a-days—more powerful than at any time I have ever read of in the annals of the Church? So powerful, that ten thousand bayonets have been sent to her support by the universal suffrage of France—again the eldest daughter of the Church—at the cost of the universal suffrage of France. So powerful, that spontaneous restitutions of Church property are day by day taking place in Spain. So powerful, that in one second by one stroke of Prince Schwartzenherg's pen, the rationalistic bigotry and the Josephist spoliations of a hundred years have been annulled. One sole fact. That day by day, and bit by bit, and degree by degree, she is withdrawing herself from State connection and Erastian domination. Thus it is that she has been enabled to present to the world the unique spec- 446 tacle of a pauper hierarchy by the side of a largely salaried episcopate: that pauper hierarchy recognised, and prayed for, and sympathised in by universal Christendom; that largely salaried episcopate not recognised, and not prayed for, and not sympathised in, out of the British empire. At the head of that pauper hierarchy she has sent a Cardinal Prince of the Church—one, who, as the Earl of Powis said, in his admirable speech in Shropshire, would take precedence even of the Prince Consort in every Court of the Continent of Europe; but she has sent him with the wallet of the mendicant beneath the robes of the Cardinal, dependent upon the alms of those who choose to believe. In this Rome at least has effected this. She has gone far beyond the Government of England in the spirit of that '89, which decreed that none should pay for a faith other than his own. She has flung far downwards the shadow of a coming truth into a posterity which will be not ungrateful for the boon. She has gone further. She has read here in England the first banns of those free nuptials between liberty and faith—between modern liberty and ancient faith, which, in my conscience, I believe in no remote age will yet regenerate the West.
§ MR. M. MILNES
said, that it was not without great pain that he had come to the conclusion that it was his duty to support the measure which had been introduced by Her Majesty's Ministers. He had arrived at that conclusion after the closest investigation he could give to the subject, for he had found himself unable to deny the proposition patent upon the Bill—that there had been an assumption of ecclesiastical titles which it was right and just that Parliament should prohibit. He could not help feeling, when he heard the admirable speech of the hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. Roundell Palmer), that he could have concurred most heartily with that hon. Gentleman, both in his premises and conclusions, if he could have believed that they were justified in arguing in so abstract a manner upon this question. He could not discard all the historical bearings of the case, and reduce the question to the bare theory, such as was generally to be met with in works on political economy, which almost always set out with "Suppose a man alone on an island." Supposing the question stood by itself, without any historical associations or political incidents, the arguments of the hon. and learned Member would have been entirely 447 irrefragable; but he (Mr. Milnes) could not dissociate this question either from the past or from the present. He could not but see, when the Roman Catholics of this country took up the position of a voluntary sect, and told them they wished for nothing more than was given to the Wesleyans and Independents, that there was a certain hypocrisy in that representation, and that, as a body, they desired and claimed more. It was an historical fact that the question between Catholicism and Protestantism had been the subject of a great moral conflict in this country—a conflict accompanied by political confusion and distractions, accompanied by the death of one king, and the expulsion of another, and resulting in the end in a victory for Protestantism; but only by a change in the line of succession to the Throne, and by a revision of the institutions of the country. The hon. Member for Cork had told them what it was impossible altogether to deny, that there was among the people of this country a peculiar hatred of Popery. He (Mr. Milnes) would not call that feeling a hatred of Popery, so much as a strong suspicion of the adherents of the Roman Catholic faith, which he believed to be warranted and founded upon historical experience. Another element in the matter was well worthy consideration. There had been long growing up in the people of England, in a more decided form than the past had ever shown, a suspicion and dislike of hierarchical authority altogether. This feeling had shown itself strongly at the conclusion of the last Parliament, when the Government brought in a Bill to create, without any additional expense to the country, or any additional honour, a certain number of additional bishoprics: the very notion of an addition to the number of bishops was so ill received by that House, that the measure was all but abandoned by the Goverment. No doubt this feeling, combined with the feeling of the people against Roman Catholicism, had had a great deal to do with the late demonstrations. He did not think it possible to deny the spontaneous character of these demonstrations; and much as he objected to the letter of the noble Lord, on the ground that no Minister ought to make his private religious opinions part of his public policy—he did not believe that the letter had had any real effect in exciting the people of this country. The subject itself was of so exciting a character that had not the Government taken it up, the ques- 448 tion, instead of being tossed as it was like a shuttlecock from one side of the House to the other, would have become a standard of violent and factious opposition, and have been accompanied with greater danger and difficulty than was now experienced. He conceived the object of the Bill to be simply this—to assimilate the Roman Catholic bishoprics which had been established in this country by the Pope, in form and in legal condition, to those at present established in Ireland. The clause of the Act of 1829 had been sufficiently operative in Ireland for all purposes which were intended when that Act was passed. That intention was simply to prevent the overt and ostentatious use of those titles of the Roman Catholic bishops in public documents and forms, in open antagonism to the claims of the Protestant bishops in that country. That clause had perfectly answered the purpose. With the exception of that very able, but not very moderate, prelate the Archbishop of Tuam, no one had ever attempted, in any public document, to attach the titles of the Roman Catholic bishops in an illegal manner; and, in their late address presented to the Throne, they had not taken the names proscribed by law. The object of the Bill on the table was simply to apply the same principle to the new hierarchy established in England. Therefore it was a question of form; and it was solely as such that he agreed to it. In all these matters it was of the greatest possible importance that they should clearly understand what legislation could and what it could not do. The establishment of a hierarchy in England by the Pope was an act entirely in his spiritual power, and which we were totally without any means of preventing. But the publication of that act, the mode in which it was introduced, and its purposes and intentions, were brought before us so prominently and distinctly, and there were so many cases in which the manner had so much to do with the matter—and the mode of expression had much influence—that we were perfectly justified, with all regard to the principles of toleration, in examining how far the mode in which this act was done, called for legislation, or any demonstration on the part of Parliament. No one who had examined the documents connected with the establishment of that hierarchy, making every possible allowance for the Court of Rome, and for the persons to whom the act was entrusted, could fail to see that there pervaded the whole a distinct as- 449 sumption of territorial power—an assumption of something, historically and politically speaking, totally distinct from that which would follow upon the establishment of a new constitution of Wesleyans, Independents, or any other sect. The hon. and learned Member for Plymouth (Mr. R. Palmer) had said that the Roman Catholic Church required an absolute ecclesiastical development as a portion of its religious system, and that it could not be considered entirely religiously free, unless allowed to be ecclesiastically developed in any way or direction it chose. But in the recognition of ecclesiastical power, something more was associated than the mere religious ordinance. There were countries, as in America, where, from peculiar circumstances, it carried nothing with it but religious consequences and influences. There it was not uncommon for persons to leave the Roman Catholic Church and attach themselves to some other; there were also instances of congregations dividing, and becoming attached to another pastor or bishop. But such things were impossible here. The ecclesiastical domination of Rome was a fact in history which it was impossible to deny, and he could not see how it was possible to dissociate it from political influence, and to say that it was purely spiritual. Look at the present condition of the Papal Court; compare its apparent frail and feeble political organisation with the enormous real political power which it exercised over the world. Of course the Roman Catholic faith would have remained the same whether the Pope had continued at Gaeta, or returned to Rome; but the political feeling of the Roman Catholics of Europe did not permit him to remain at Gaeta, they brought him back to Rome, almost over the slain bodies of his own subjects; they established him, and still preserved him there in a very bad government. They did this because of the political influence connected with the condition of the Papacy, which it was impossible in that or in any other case entirely to ignore. Therefore, seeing the act of the Pope connecting itself with a certain political condition of Europe at that moment, they violated no principle of religious liberty in treating it as they were now doing. The manner also in which the new hierarchy had been established and announced, equally afforded justification for legislative interference. It was very possible to conceive that that estab- 450 lishment might have been so brought about as to offend nobody. Suppose that the Papal rescript, instead of assuming the power and influence which it did, had stated in some such terms as these: that the Catholics of England were desirous of possessing a more perfect organisation of their Church—that it was desirable to place them in a more independent position by means of an hierarchy—that the vicars-apostolic should be raised into bishops—that they should have certain districts assigned them under the name of local bishops, with an archbishop at their head. Had this been done unostentatiously and simply, in moderate and reasonable terms, none of the bad feelings or animosities now excited need have been provoked. But, instead of this, the Act was avowedly not one of assumption merely, it was one of resumption. The Pope represented himself as reclaiming and resuming his old ecclesiastical power in England; he declared the Acts passed even under Catholic sovereigns to be all repealed, and he treated England just as though there had never been a Reformation, a Revolution, or a civil war; he ignored them all. By that act he reassumed his full power in England, to the abnegation of our national Protestantism and our established hierarchy. Then the titles selected were the most ostentatious that could be conceived—they were selected as though purposely to create suspicion and aversion to the measure—Westminster, connected with all the greatest associations of this country, with Royal power and Parliamentary legislation, was chosen for the metropolitan see, and the ancient churches of the country which existed in Roman Catholic times, as Beverley and Southwell, were selected as the sees of bishoprics. By what agency had the act been performed? The eminent personage selected to execute this measure, so obnoxious and ostentatious, wanted no virtue or talent that could give dignity or power to his position; but the very fact that Cardinal Wiseman had assumed so delicate and difficult a task, only made it stranger how, in obedience to the Court of Rome, one of the most distinguished, most able, and best-intentioned men in the country could undertake a mission so unpatriotic and unpopular. Many Members of that House would recollect that for many years at Rome Dr. Wiseman received with kindness and courtesy English visitors, and distinguished himself, not more from his urbanity of 451 manner than for his liberality of opinion. He was at one time almost the only prelate who received with urbanity and courtesy those who were supposed to differ most widely from the Roman Court in political matters—amongst them, M. Montalembert, then proscribed by the Roman See, now the advocate for the most absolute Popery in France. The Bill was not without foundation; it was supported by the facts of the case, and by the public opinion of that House; and he could not but think that there must have been, in the introduction of the system at this peculiar moment, some influence which they were unable to fathom. He did consider it would be one which could bring nothing but confusion and difficulty to this country. Baron Nieumann, in a recent pamphlet, said that England was like, Carthage, and that she had found her Rome in Austria. Another explanation might be given of those words, very different from what the author intended. He doubted not that that Power which was now attempting throughout Europe to recover, by fair and by unfair means, all it had lost, if not directly engaged in this scheme, nevertheless looked upon it with considerable gratification, and would be extremely glad if it succeeded in disturbing the internal relations of this country, and exciting ill-will amongst its subjects. He must, however, say that he did not see why the Government should not have limited this Bill to Great Britain. The clause of the Act of 1829, which prevented Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland from taking these titles, was sufficiently effective for all practical purposes there, and rendered the introduction of Ireland into this Bill entirely supererogatory. There would have been no difficulty in confining its operation to Great Britain. This would have avoided a great deal of suspicion, ill-will, and superfluous energy on the part of Irish Members. There was one consideration to which Roman Catholic Members should pay some attention. The number of English Roman Catholics bore an entirely different proportion compared with the new hierarchy from that borne by the Irish people to their hierarchy; and there was wanting in England that public opinion amongst the Roman Catholic laity which was very useful in modifying the pretensions and power of the priesthood. The Roman Catholic hierarchy in England need not he regarded as so entirely essential as in Ireland; but to attempt to limit the opera- 452 tions of any hierarchy, in Ireland or elsewhere, by saying that on certain subjects they should not assemble or discuss, would not only be extremely unjust, but totally impossible. Synodic action meant nothing more than a set of gentlemen, invested with certain powers, meeting together and agreeing upon certain subjects. How that could be provented by law, he was unable to conceive. They might be driven to do in secret what otherwise they would have done openly; and if there were any danger, this would infinitely increase it. Much had been said about the Synod of Thurles: he believed that in no other assembly of the heads of any religious denomination in this country would there have been found so many advocates of secular education as had been found in the Synod of Thurles. He owned that this measure would in some degree affect the civil liberties of the people of this country; and on that ground it was essential that it should be founded on a broad basis. He could not bring himself to neglect entirely the opinions of his constituents, as was done by many hon. Members; and it was a curious phenomenon that those Members who appeared most to disregard the opinions of their constituents were the very Members who, on questions in which they happened to agree with their constituents, were continually referring to those opinions. Whenever he had felt it necessary to differ from his constituents, in declaring his own opinion he had always asserted theirs. After all, this was entirely a question of public opinion. He did not believe the Bill would satisfy the people of England, but it was all the Legislature could do, and all it ought to do, to satisfy them; to attempt more would be an entire delusion on the people. Suppose a measure were passed authorising the imprisonment or deportation of persons holding these offices under the Church of Rome. To say nothing of the extreme difficulty of obtaining a conviction where the sentence was so severe, the policy of the Court of Rome was such, that for every twelve bishops deported from the country, other twelve would present themselves. It was impossible to deal with this matter by violence; but with ostentatious titles prominently brought forward, they could and did deal. In this country titles were regarded very much as desirable things; in no country in the world were they so much thought of, or did they mean so much. How rarely did a man assume a 453 title to which he had not a perfect right: hence they always carried with them a certain amount of regard and respect. The number of titles was very limited here; and our diplomatic servants were not allowed to receive any titles or honours from foreign sovereigns. The noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had not been allowed to take the order of the Golden Fleece, the highest decoration of Europe, when it was offered him by Spain in gratitude for his services in establishing the constitutional government of that country; nor was the hon. Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey) allowed to come down to that House decorated with the order of knighthood of St. Gregory. There was great difficulty connected with the question of a person holding the rank of Cardinal living in a Protestant country. He was a prince of a foreign State, and was treated as "cousin" by all the sovereigns of Europe; here, he was not acknowledged by his own sovereign; thus placing everybody about him in the difficult position of feeling that elsewhere he would be entitled to honours which usage and the law denied to him here. Therefore, in legislating on titles they were legislating in a great measure about things, and were in reality conferring a benefit on these prelates themselves. The open use of these titles would continually expose them to painful and disagreeable circumstances, in their relations with the people of this country; it was much better for themselves that the use of the titles should be confined to matters of courtesy amongst their own communion; for it was, in truth, the public opinion of the country which must decide this question at last. This Bill would not content that public opinion, for it went far beyond anything the Bill could do. Should the result be, as he feared it would, a partial practical abrogation of the Act of 1829, and the exclusion from Parliament of men of the highest merit, excellence, and distinction, on account of their religious opinions, the blame must rest on this untoward act of the Court of Rome, which, by unreasonably provoking the public opinion of this country, would go far to prevent all the good which the Act of 1829 contemplated. This was a result which he contemplated with great pain, believing that it was only by a fair representation of all opinions, religious or otherwise, that the national welfare could be secured. He would beg to remind them of the observation made by Sir Ro- 454 bert Peel, in his last speech against emancipation, that very little would be done to reconcile the Roman Catholics, if they were rendered eligible without being elected. It was not by this legislation, nor even by excluding Catholic Members from Parliament, that the progress of the Catholic religion could be resisted—that question lay far deeper, in other regions of thought and intelligence. He had no doubt as to the ultimate result of the contest; but it would continue long, and could only be won by the extension of education, by the universal assertion of truth, and by clearing away everything that obstructed the progress of the human mind. Let the people of England appeal to those influences, and be with them content; and should this result be hastened by the unfortunate act of the Pope, instead of regretting, they would have reason to rejoice in it.
§ MR. SADLEIR
said, the hon. Member who had just sat down fell into merciful hands, for he was disposed to deal with him in a spirit of the fullest charity. The hon. Member, however, in proceeding to give his reasons for voting in favour of that Bill, relieved any person from the trouble of reply, for the hon. Member, during the course of his address, had fully answered himself The hon. Member said there was hypocrisy in the declaration of allegiance made by the Roman Catholic Members; but, with that exception, his speech was free from that bitter invective, that wretched spirit of religious recrimination, which had given this debate the character of a most humiliating discussion, and which had pervaded the speeches in support of the Bill. The hon. Member admitted that there existed a latent hatred of Popery in this country. No doubt. But the hon. Member had adduced no reason for legislating against it; and that hatred of Catholicism arose from that dismal dark religious fanaticism which had always prevailed in England above all the nations of the world, and which formed the great practical obstacle to broad and enlightened legislation for a nation comprising Roman Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, and other forms of religion. The hon. Member laboured to establish that the letter of the Prime Minister was harmless; but the letter of the Prime Minister had given the religious excitement of the country a character, form, and spurious dignity it never could have attained otherwise. For the full and free development of the 455 Roman Catholic religion, according to the sound principles of religious liberty and toleration, the hierarchy was essentially necessary. The twenty-fourth section of the Emancipation Act did not prevent Roman Catholics in Ireland from assuming titles of sees. It was a piece of dead-letter legislation. Dr. Murray, from time to time, signed documents as "Daniel Murray, Archbishop of Dublin," in the face of that Act. The hon. Member seemed to find fault rather with the manner in which the rescript of the Pope had been published, than with the matter of it. The fact was, however, that no offence had been meant, or could have been meant, by the authors of the change. Who published the rescript? Cardinal Wiseman solemnly declared that he, for one, knew not how that letter reached the columns of the public press. He had never been charged with giving publicity to that document, on the publication of which had been based a religious agitation. But the documents had been eagerly caught up by the promoters of religious discord, and made the basis of a violent religious agitation. It was preposterous to say that the Holy See had attempted or pretended to confer, in any one particular, territorial power on the new hierarchy. The hon. Member, like all those who made assertions of that kind, had carefully avoided to prove such propositions, either by facts or by law. It mattered not whether the rescript came from the hanks of the Thames or the Tiber, the Mississippi or the Mersey, the Shannon or the Seine. Was there a Roman Catholic in that House, in England, or in Ireland, who would not be foremost in resenting an insult to the Sovereign, or to repel any aggression attempted by any foreign prince or Pope whatever? Cardinal Wiseman, in the masterly appeal which he addressed to the country, had explained the circumstances under which his letter was written; and every one who knew him must he aware that he would be the last person to offer offence or provoke irritation amongst any portion of his countrymen. The hon. Gentleman said the Roman Catholics were too few and insignificant in this country to need a hierarchy; but let him recall for a moment the attention of the House to the real practical object of establishing that hierarchy. The vicars-apostolic were the immediate agents of the Pope, and it was to exchange their arbitrary spiritual rule for the regular government of bishops that the Roman Catholic 456 community had wished for the establishment of a hierarchy. If their numbers were insignificant, they had the more need to be relieved from the servility to which the conduct of a had Pope might expose them; for they knew perfectly well that there had been bad Popes, as well as men occupying the Papal chair who were distinguished among all nations for piety, genius, and benevolence. The spirit of independence was indigenous to England and Ireland; and it would be a mistake to suppose that the appointment of a hierarchy gave to the Roman Catholic body no greater security for their national church than the system of vicars-apostolic, who were the mere creatures and nominees of that person whom the noble Lord at the head of the Government would designate as a foreign Prince. The evidence of the late Dr. Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, a most learned and gifted prelate, in his evidence before the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Roman Catholic question, showed that Catholics would never allow their allegiance to their Sovereign to be interfered with by any foreign agency. Dr. Doyle stated that, in the event of a controversy arising between the Pope and the Sovereign of the united kingdom, the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy would exercise their spiritual authority by preaching to the people, and teaching them to oppose the Pope if he interfered with the temporal rights of their Sovereign. In answer to a question, if there was any difference between a bishop and vicar-apostolic, as regarded the obligation to publish a Papal rescript or mandate, Dr. Doyle said—I should think there is a material difference, because the vicar-apostolic depends, as to the existence of his office, upon the will of the See of Rome. He can be removed from it at the good pleasure of the Pope; the faculties which he exercises can be restricted, or limited, or modified, just as the See of Rome may please. It is not so with us bishops; we cannot be removed; we have a title to our place, our rights are defined from the Gospel and the canon laws—defined as well as those of the Pope himself. We could not be obliged to do anything by the mere good-will or pleasure of Rome.That was an independence which he (Mr. Sadleir) trusted would never be surrendered either by the laity or clergy of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland; that was a real independence which had been conferred by the liberal act of Pius IX, upon the laity and clergy of England, and which he prayed might never be surren- 457 dered. The hon. Member had dwelt much upon the insignificant number of Roman Catholics in this realm; but he had never noticed the extraordinary emigration of Roman Catholics into this country from Ireland. He had, at any rate, referred to the celebrated letter of the noble Lord, and in that letter this emigration was distinctly alluded to. He must, however, in passing, make a remark upon that letter. The noble Lord said, that in no passage of it did he intend to insult the Roman Catholics of Ireland. If that were so, he (Mr. Sadleir) very much regretted that that declaration had not been made a week or ten days after the letter appeared. Although the noble Lord's intentions were so good, he had looked on while the letter had been used as a text by every intolerant bigot, and it had figured side by side with the irritating declaration of the meek and moderate prelates of England, in which they described the religion of the great majority of Christendom as being composed of "practices repugnant to the word of God, blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits." That letter irrefragably proved the fact of a large Irish immigration into this country, and it was, among other reasons, for the benefit of those people, who had been charitably characterised by the First Minister as persons "steeped in heathen ignorance," that he wished to see the development of a hierarchy, so that they might possess the means of worshipping God according to the dictates of their conscience. He had received letters from men employed at railway stations in remote parts of the country, making complaints of their having been 12 and 15 weeks without being able to go to any place of worship, requesting him to endeavour to do something in their behalf, and offering to take half their present pay to be placed within reach of a place of religious worship which they could attend. It was, besides, an admitted fact, that there were millions in this country who adhered to no form of worship at all, and who attended no Christian minister whatever. Was it possible that there were Protestants in this country who did not wish to see the worthy clergy of both communions meet in a sacred and holy rivalry? Did they fear to see the clergy of the State Church encounter the test of a rival parochial clergy in this country? No Protestant who did could have any strong reliance upon the principles of his own religion. It was said that public opinion called for 458 legislation on this question. Now there were, no doubt, troubled spirits to be found in most of the towns and hamlets of the kingdom, who chose to call themselves the people, and who called for the intervention of the Legislature; but he was proud to say that, both in this country and in Ireland, he knew many, including some Protestant clergymen, as sincerely attached to the principles of the Reformation as any Member of that House could possibly be, who looked with the utmost scorn and contempt at the whole of the hubbub which had taken place, and which for weeks had occupied the attention of that House. The hon. Gentleman complained much of the appointment of a Cardinal in this country. Now he (Mr. Sadleir) did not think that this outcry at the appointment of a Cardinal was at all called for; and he admitted that the language used in the Papal documents had been commented upon by many so as to excite the religious feelings and prejudices of the English people. If such documents were issued merely to cause irritation, he would condemn them, for he held that every man was bound so to shape his language and conduct as to defer as much as possible to the religious prejudices of his fellow-men. So far as the opinions of the people of England had been expressed against what they considered to be an aggression or an assumption, no one had a right to complain of them; they were entitled to respect; but he did complain that, in the absence of law, of facts, and of argument, many of the speeches made in that House contained matter better adapted to the audiences which generally filled conventicles, or to those who attended debating societies, than to the place in which those speeches were delivered. That was not the proper tribunal for controverted theology—that was no place for disputes on nice points of international law—that was not the place to argue or determine upon the construction of common or statute law. All the requisite paraphernalia were wanting; they had no bigwigs, no minor wigs, and, more than all, no fees. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had stated that the Roman Catholics gave a blind obedience to the Pope. That was one of the hackneyed and battered calumnies that had been disposed of centuries ago, and he would not stop to refute it. The noble Lord had also stated that the Roman Catholic laity were opposed to the establishment of a hierarchy, and that they were desirous of 459 his penal Bill to shield them from the tyranny and intolerance of their own clergy. Now, he called upon the noble Lord, or the hon. and learned Member for Windsor (Mr. Hatchell), who had not yet favoured them with his views on this subject, to give the slightest evidence of the existence of such sentiments on the part of the Catholic laity. He believed the contrary to be the fact. He believed that the Roman Catholics of this country, as freemen and as Englishmen, desired the establishment of a hierarchy among them. He felt convinced that, as a body, the Roman Catholics of England not only did not call for that Bill, hut that they abhorred the principle upon which it proceeded. The Prime Minister intervened to keep the peace, as he said, between the Roman Catholic laity and their clergy; but he begged to say that no statesman ever committed a greater error than to use his influence in that House for the purpose of diminishing those feelings of attachment and fidelity that bound together the clergy and the laity of the Catholic Church in this country. The noble Lord said the restrictive clauses of the Act of 1829 were acceded to by the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. No doubt they were, for they had no alternative but to accept the measure which was passed by the Legislature; and he maintained that the Protestants who passed that Bill, and the Catholics who accepted it, were alike bound to oppose the measure now introduced by the Government. Neither was the noble Lord justified in the slightest degree in representing the Synod of Thurles as an assembly chiefly convened for the purpose of thwarting legislation on the subject of education, and with the view of exciting hatred in the minds of the peasantry against their landlords, and in stigmatising Dr. Cullen as an Italian monk. It was of some importance that the English people should distinctly understand that the whole practice with reference to the appointment of bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was regulated according to the documents he then held in his hand. In the documents treating of this matter—the selection of names to be transmitted to Rome upon occasion of any vacancy in any Roman Catholic see in Ireland—nothing was to be inserted implying election, postulation, or nomination, but simply recommendation; and the documents must be so conceived as from their tenour it should be manifest that it could be in no way inferred that any obligation rested on 460 the Holy See to elect one of those who were so recommended. The practice was simply this—that on the death of a bishop in Ireland, in the course of a month or two after his decease, the Roman Catholic clergy of the diocese proceeded, under the presidency of a bishop of the province, to select three names to be recommended to the Holy See. It was also the practice of the bishops of the province then to consider the three names, and to express their opinion with reference to the respective merits of those individuals, and then the Holy See proceeded to nominate an ecclesiastic to the vacant see. On the death of Dr. Crolly, the predecessor of Dr. Cullen as Primate of all Ireland, the parochial clergy of the diocese of Armagh proceeded to select three names. The bishops of the province assembled to consult and express their opinion to the Holy See with reference to the merits of those three individuals. The bishops could not agree. They were as divided as the parochial clergy. That was a most unusual circumstance; and, under that unusual and extraordinary state of things, it was manifest that the course of duty pointed out to the Holy See was to make such a selection as Would not give to any party an unseemly triumph, but one which would, at the same time, be in accordance with the national feeling, consistent with the preservation and independence of the national church, and most conducive to the cause of religion, charity, and education in Ireland. It would hare been impossible to have taken greater pains than the Holy See did to ascertain what man was best adapted to superintend ecclesiastical affairs in Ireland. The Holy See did not fail to consult some of the most eminent members of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, and sound them as to their feelings on the subject. And who was the man selected by the Holy See, after the most painstaking consideration? Who was Dr. Cullen? Was the hon. and learned Gentleman justified in designating that divine as an Italian monk? Dr. Cullen had a larger, a more respectable, and a more influential circle of friends and relations in Ireland than any other member of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. After receiving his earliest education in the county of Kildare, he proceeded to the college at Carlow, and then went to the Continent, where he completed his theological studies. He was afterwards placed as President over the Irish College at Rome—an office always filled by some distinguished Irish- 461 man—and at the same time was the representative in Rome of the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland. How improbable was it that that hierarchy, which had always evinced a justifiable jealousy of anything approaching to ecclesiastical aggression on the part of the Court of Rome, should have unanimously chosen an Italian monk to defend their interests, protect the independence of their national Church, and carry on in their behalf all those nice and delicate negotiations which from time to time arose between them on the one part, and the Court of Rome on the other? In selecting Dr. Cullen to fill the primatial chair, the Holy Sec had chosen one distinguished for great learning, great abilities, and an extraordinary aptitude for the administration of ecclesiastical affairs—one universally respected and beloved by the members of the Church over which he pro-sides, and admired for the moderation and the firmness which he has displayed, With regard to the National System of Education in Ireland, in the same proportion as he felt anxious for its success, was his regret that the blundering of the Government should have failed to compose those differences, and allay those doubts, by reason of which those collegiate institutions had hitherto failed of being so successful and useful as they might have been. It was impossible for any Irishman who had personal knowledge of the great advantages derived by the Irish peasantry from the system of national education, not to feel most anxious for the extension of sound educational institutions in Ireland. When first the question of the Queen's Colleges was agitated in Ireland, the Roman Catholic bishops were divided upon the subject. How were those differences to be composed? Why, according to the constitution of the Roman Catholic Church, by an appeal to some superior authority. That appeal was to the See of Rome; and, after carefully weighing the reasons for and against the colleges, the Holy See gave its decision. The noble Lord would lead the House to infer that the synod had been assembled only for the purpose of considering the question of these colleges. But it had met for a very different purpose. The syllabus of subjects to be considered at their meeting contained twenty-nine or thirty heads, which were subdivided into a still greater number. As stated in the Pastoral of the Archbishop of Cashel, "they were met to uphold the true faith, and to promote uniformity of discipline." 462 No question of a temporal nature entered into the consideration of the synod. It was true that the question of education was considered; but that question was of a mixed character, and it was the duty of the synod to consider it in its spiritual; bearings. With regard to the allusions made in the address of the synod to the unparalleled sufferings of the poor, he would ask whether such an assembly could have dispersed without making some becoming allusion to the wretchedness and sufferings of the poor of Christ? Had they so dispersed, would they not have been disgraced in the eyes of the people of this country? The bishops, so far from inciting the poor to deeds of insubordination, had enjoined upon them that resignation which was the first principle of religion, and that temperate forbearance which it became them as Christians and citizens to exhibit. The Rev. Mr. Osborne had made stronger allusion to the sufferings of the Irish poor than the Synod of Thurles, and no one ever accused him of wishing to promote hatred between landlord and tenant. The reference made to the subject was not stronger than that contained in the address which the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland presented to Lord Clarendon, praying him, as the representative of the Government, to take into his anxious consideration the sufferings of the poor in Ireland. They were not rebuked on that occasion, and Lord Clarendon said he held it to be the first duty of a Government to save the lives of the people. Now, one word to his hon. and learned Friend (the Attorney General for Ireland) with reference to the Bill. His hon. and learned Friend knew as well as any man in that House, that as a practical measure, to be executed and enforced in a bonâ fide spirit, it was of paramount importance to Ireland. Comparatively speaking, it was of little importance as regarded the English Roman Catholics whether the Bill was acted upon or not. But, as regarded Ireland, it was a measure that would have to encounter the resistance and the indignation of the whole people. It was there that the force, the efficacy, the soundness of principle, and the justice of this measure, would be most severely tested. Now, he appealed to his hon. and learned Friend to give his attention while he read the opinion of Mr. O'Hagan, Queen's Counsel in Ireland, on the first clause of the Bill as originally presented to the House:—As I understand the disciptine of the Roman 463 Catholic Church in Ireland, the provisions of this Bill, if rigidly carried into execution, would be wholly inconsistent with the free action and practical existence of the Catholic hierarchy. It forbids the 'assumption or use of the name, style, or title of archbishop, or bishop, or dean of any city, town, or place, or of any territory or district (under any designation or description whatever), in the United Kingdom,' by any other persons than the archbishops, bishops, and deans of the Established Church, and proposes to inflict on the persons offending by such use or assumption, a penalty of 100l. Now, the Catholic prelates of Ireland are not bishops in partibus—are not vicars-apostolic—but members of an episcopate, regulated by the settled law of the Roman Catholic Church, which requires that each bishop should be the bishop of a particular see in Ireland, and have a peculiar local jurisdiction. According to that discipline, each of them has his own local title, and must use it in discharging the functions of his office. If the contemplated enactment take effect, he cannot discharge those functions as his predecessors have ever discharged them, and as the constitution of his order requires them to be discharged. When he is consecrated as an Irish Catholic bishop, he assumes a local title; when he ordains a priest, he assumes a local title; when he appoints to a parish, he assumes a local title; and these assumptions he makes in simple accordance with the ordinary discipline of his religion. With that discipline this measure directly conflicts, and its policy cannot prevail unless the system of ecclesiastical government which has subsisted for ages in the Catholic Church of Ireland be essentially changed, and its hierarchy under go a virtual abolition. Such appears to me to be the probable effect of the first clause of the Bill, if it be enacted and enforced.That opinion has been corroborated by the opinions of other eminent counsel of the Irish Bar; among them were Mr. Scully and Mr. Close, men who had carefully and anxiously considered the question. He appealed to the Attorney General for Ireland as a constitutional lawyer, if the assumption of titles by the Roman Catholic hierarchy can be safely or justly declared to be null and void in Ireland? He protested against the recitals of the preamble of this Bill, which, incorporated with the first and now only section, would give that section a potency and operation which it would not otherwise have, and entitle the statute to be ranked with those measures which had been aptly described by Burke as the ferocious acts of faction. He protested against the Bill as tyrannical, unnecessary, heartless, intolerant—despotic. He denounced it as a retrospective measure, unworthy alike of the spirit of the present age, and the foregone history of the men who had introduced it. It would spread the flames of religious discord throughout Ireland, and paralyse the best efforts of the best men to regenerate and disenthral that ill-fated land. Whether it became of 464 practical effect, or was left a dead letter, it t would equally excite the contempt of the people for the laws of Parliament; it would oppress the Roman Catholics, who, from their rapidly increasing political and social influence, ought to he conciliated; it would drive into the arms of America and of other foreign States the most valuable of the Irish population still left in the country; and he would resist it, because he believed if it were placed upon the Statute-book it would but tend to prolong, in 1851, that state which had been described by a great living historian, when he said "that Ireland was cursed by the domination of race over race, and of religion over religion, remaining, indeed, a member of the empire, but still a withered and distorted member, adding no strength to the body politic, and pointed to reproachfully by all who feared, or envied, the greatness and influence of England."
MR. HENRY BERKELEY
observed, that it was with very great pain that he-felt himself compelled, upon the present occasion, to separate himself from the Irish Members. It had been his happiness to be associated with them for many years. He was sensible of their valuable services to the cause of civil and religious liberty, and he hoped they would do him the justice to admit that they had always had his; humble but sincere co-operation. He was also sorry to think that he should have to go into a different lobby from his hon. Friends of the Manchester school, who followed the leading of his experienced Friend the Member for Montrose. He was pained to think that he should be severed from persons for whose intelligence, and capacity, and character, he bad so unfeigned a respect; but it was consolatory to him to reflect that, upon this question, he had the masses and the millions at his back, to whom they so constantly referred. He looked upon the Pope's edict as an aggression on the supremacy of the Queen, both in Her spiritual and Her temporal capacity, and, as such, he, an Englishman and a Protestant, was prepared to resent it. He considered that an Act of Parliament on the subject was necessary to express the opinion of the people of England, and to prevent the recurrence of the offence. The measure was of light construction—that seemed to him an advantage; it contained no jot of religious restriction, and nothing like persecution. He did not believe that the open aggressions of the Pope, or the overt 465 attacks of the English Catholics, were to be seriously dreaded, and he, therefore, was of opinion that the measure, light as it was, would be quite sufficient for its purpose. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had steered clear of the bigotry of Exeter Hall, and had equally avoided the dolce far niente of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon: he realised the old adage, In medio tutissimus ibis. It seemed to him that the Church of Rome had been waiting for the last ten years with open mouth, expecting that the Church of England would drop into it like an over-ripe apple. The Pope, in the hope of accelerating what he believed to be an inevitable occurrence, had undertaken to shake the tree, but with no other effect than to bring down the unripe fruit upon his own head. The Pope, after all, had ample cause to exult in this hope, from the state of the Church of England. Much indignation had been expended upon that infallible personage and his hierarchy, who had only acted after their kind, and as it was to be expected that, under the circumstances, they should. There were two words which were now more frequently vexed than any others throughout England—they were Puseyism and Popery. The former was the more unpopular of the two, because every one knew that the Papal aggression was to be attributed to Puseyism. The people of England looked upon Puseyism as occupying the same position to Popery as the grub to the butterfly. They considered it to be the chrysalis of Popery, which bad nothing to do but to cast off its skin, expand its wings, and become Popery complete. From the extracts which the noble Lord the Member for Bath had read the other night from the writings of Cardinal Wiseman, and which might be termed "Wiseman upon Puseyism," it was evident that his Eminence contemplated an union of the Churches of England and Rome in the year 1841. The Cardinal then spoke with enthusiasm of the predilections which the members of Oxford University had manifested for the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion. He gloried in their increasing love—for what? For popes and saints; and he perfectly revelled in the anticipation that the Church of England, forsaking her errors, would take refuge in the arms of the Church of Rome. So he thought and wrote in 1841; and what conclusion must he have arrived at after ten years' contemplation of the in- 466 creasing symptoms of the disease? Had he not during that period seen Puseyite parsons going by droves over to the faith of Rome, and the introduction into Protestant churches of the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic religion? Had he not seen charity and mercy masquerading the streets in the costume of that church; and had he not seen that wherever the Puseyite fungi had grown up, those liturgies which had been heretofore known by the homely name of Morning and Evening Services, were denominated Matins and Vespers? This they all knew to be true in London; and he (Mr. Berkeley) was aware that it was also true in Bristol, Manchester, and Liverpool. Under these circumstances, was it to be wondered at that the Pope should have conceived the hope that the Church of England was about to forsake her errors and go over to Rome? The Archbishop of Canterbury, under similar circumstances, would have come to the same conclusion as the Pope. Suppose tidings had reached Lambeth Palace, that in the adjacent Catholic Cathedral of St. George, the candlesticks had been removed, that the fonts of holy water had run dry, that the acolyes had ceased to wave their censers, that the mysterious bell had ceased to ring at the offertory, that the priests had put away their splendid vestments, and adopted the simple surplice—the Archbishop of Canterbury would at once have concluded that the Cardinal was fast approaching the Church of England; and could he be blamed if he put forth his holy crook, and seizing the Cardinal by one of his red legs, had endeavoured to pull him into his own sheepfold? The boastful exultation with which the Roman Catholic hierarchy received the intelligence of the Pope's aggression, was a proof of the importance attached to it, and scarcely less remarkable than the precipitancy with which they assumed the tone of humble apology when they found that there was no serious intention on the part of the English people to embrace the faith of Rome. At first the tidings were hailed as an occasion for solemn prayer and songs of jubilation; and Dr. Ullathorne, using language which from the lips of Protestants would have sounded very like blasphemy, said that "Christ had burst a second time from the tomb." But no sooner was it evident that the country rose in its strength, indignant at the insolent step that had been taken, than Cardinal Wiseman changed his tone to 467 that of deprecation and apology, and uttered the most severe sarcasms against those members of the English Church whom he had at one time hoped to have locked within his fraternal embrace. In that there was nothing to be dreaded; but there was great danger to be apprehended when they found the holy men of each religion enfolded in each other's arms. There was nothing to be dreaded, but, on the contrary, much to be commended, when they saw an archbishop and a cardinal tilting at each other with their respective crooks. But it was far from wholesome to read in the papers that the Bishop of Exeter had been on a domiciliary visit to a fair devotee in the west of England, who keeps a kind of Protestant nunnery on the most approved Roman Catholic principles, and to hear of his exhortations, his pious ejaculations, his approbation and admiration of "ye lady superior," as she was called, when they found that Bishop surrounded by his beads, and rosaries, and crosses, and other symbols of the Church of Rome—then, indeed, was danger to be apprehended to the Church of England from the perfidy of her sons. The great distinction between the Protestant and Roman Catholic religions was, that the laity of the Protestant religion supervised the affairs of the Church, whereas the Catholics left everything to their priests. The Protestants of England would not be content with this Bill, unless it was followed up by some other measure. They would expect the noble Lord to act up to the spirit of his letter, and they called with one voice for a reform in the Church of England. The reform he desired was a simple one. They should give to the Protestant a defined rubric and ritual, and make it penal for any clergyman to endeavour to engraft the ceremonies and doctrines of any strange church whatever on the ritual and rubric of the Church of England. For advocating this measure he had the authority of a divine who was eminent for his learning and his piety—the Rev. Dr. Elliott, Dean of Bristol—a clergyman whose promotion to that office had been a subject of unmixed satisfaction to the Protestants of Bristol, on behalf of whom he begged to tender to the noble Lord the Member for London his thanks for giving them a divine so imbued with the spirit of Protestantism. Dr. Elliott, at a great public meeting, said it was the duty of the laity to stand forth and see that the clergy did their duty, and he made 468 use of this remarkable expression—"Let the clergy of all denominations understand that they are not the lords of God's heritage." This was the time when Protestants ought to do nothing that was ambiguous; and yet the present was just the time when the Bishop of Exeter was most irregular, and might be seen engaged in suspicious practices; when the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol was tanquam suspectus; and the Bishop of London, too, was not suspicione major. This was the moment to call upon the noble Lord at the head of the Government to act up to his letter, by giving them a salutary reform of the Church of England. He thought the Bill of the noble Lord was sufficient for the purposes it aimed at, and he would give it his support. The hon. Member then thanked the House for its courtesy in giving him their attention, and said he would merely add, that he could not help at that moment being attracted by the golden legend emblazoned on the Royal arms emblazoned above the Speaker's chair—Dieu et mon droit. Surely this was a time when hon. Members, laying aside party differences, might well respond to the appeal of the Minister of the Crown, when he called upon them to stand by their Queen, in the name of God and Her right.
§ SIR JOHN YOUNG
said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down had stated that the measure of the Government was supported by the millions of England; and he was not prepared to deny that it was supported by many intelligent persons in this country; but how did that argument apply to the country with which he was connected, where it was opposed by the millions of Roman Catholics? and with regard to the other great bodies, the Presbyterians and the other Protestants of Ireland, whose loyalty could not be doubted, let the House consider for a moment what their opinions were. The hon. Gentleman near him, in a maiden speech a few evenings previously, said that the province of Ulster was unanimously in favour of the measure. That might be; but nothing that had reached him could lead him to the belief that that statement was well founded. With regard to the organs of public opinion in that province, he found that the representative of the opinions of the Presbyterians—a paper of high commercial character and respectability in Belfast, and the representative of the Protestant democracy of Ulster, had both declared against the present legislation. 469 There had been a large meeting in the town of Belfast of noblemen and gentlemen who had struggled against the Emancipation Bill of 1829, who told the Protestants of Belfast that the same ruin was impending over the people of England that had for many years afflicted the Protestants of Ireland. But, notwithstanding there were 50,000 or 60,000 Protestants in and about Belfast, the room in which the meeting was held was not at any time half full. It was to be observed that the petitions emanating from the Presbyterians were always drawn up as from the ministers, elders, and congregations of such a place; but it so happened that not a single petition had been presented in favour of the measure from a Presbyterian congregation of the province of Ulster. He believed the general opinion among that class—and it was coincided in by many Protestants—was this, they looked not with favour, but, with dislike and suspicion, on the step that had been taken by Cardinal Wiseman, or those by whom he was instigated; but they looked with apprehension at the consequences of the present agitation, and were by no means in favour of it. His opinion of the step was, factum valeat, fieri non debet. With regard to the measure itself, he could not look Upon it as a measure of necessity, or as likely to be anything but mischievous and irritating. As it came originally from the brain of its author, it could scarcely be looked upon as any addition to those safeguards which the energies of the people and the wisdom of Parliament had raised around their liberties. Instead of being a defence, he believed it would be a broach in those liberties, to which a vast multitude of the people were opposed. Any measure which did not extinguish the spirit of opposition was sure to call forth further opposition, and would lead to further acts of repression. It was impossible to expect that the present measure would be effectual to extinguish opposition; he was unwilling to go further, and say it might lead to rebellion. If the measure was right, the fear of opposition should not of course prevent them passing it; but if it were not justified by necessity, then the attempt to enforce it would be found to lead to useless and exciting contests in endless and exhausting succession. That was a greater danger than could be apprehended to their liberties. They had been told that the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were still the same—that 470 none of them were abandoned. He dared to say that if any of the Protestants of that country went to a Roman Catholic ecclesiastic or a Roman Catholic layman, and said that the spirit of that religion was altered, and its doctrines modified, that they would take it as anything but a compliment. What the Roman Catholic religion boasted of, was the infallibility of her maxims, the unchangeableness of her doctrines, and the inflexibleness of her dogmas. What step, then, he asked, ought they to adopt to meet that ever-inflexible opponent? It was not by measures of restriction—it was not by penal laws. It was by the cultivation of the arts and the intellect, and by reinforcing those institutions by which the conscience would be protected, and under which that country had grown up to the maturity and greatness at which she had arrived. What Protestantism boasted of was, that it was open, and that it appealed to the intelligence and reason of the human race. Her strength lay in free discussion; and where there was free debate and the liberty of the press, religious liberty was safe. The danger which the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford apprehended, and which he foreshadowed, was the conversion of multitudes of Protestants to the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, and their alliance with some despotic Power in the State. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to a state of things that existed three centuries ago, and which he had no doubt proved fatal to the liberties of the people in many parts of Europe. The noble Lord, in the course of his speech, had pronounced a high eulogium on a writer with whom he (Sir J. Young) was personally unacquainted, but whose works he had perused with pleasure, and had quoted his opinions on that point. He begged also to refer to the opinions of Sir James Mackintosh, who said, that two religions, it was believed, were no more reconcileable than two governments in a country; and that recent events had demonstrated that men could not be taught to throw off the power of the priests without determining also the limits of kingly authority. Surely that fallacy had long been exploded. It had been found that two religions could flourish side by side, not only with advantage to each other, but with perfect safety to the State. The danger was the union of despotic power, apprehensive of its own safety, with ecclesiastical authority, alike alarmed for its 471 existence. That was the danger when Alva put to death heretics, as well as rebels, in the Low Countries. The hon. Member for Oxford said, that he had no fear for the Protestant Church—meaning that those who were attached to it were so from principle, conviction, and education; but then, he asked, supposing there was no fear, what became of the danger of which they had heard so much? If the people did not waver, Papacy was powerless—its power was only exercised over those who submitted to it. Then, again, with regard to the despotic power of the State, foreign countries had been referred to in favour of this legislation. But they should consider what were the peculiar circumstances of those countries. In Spain, before he could tread out the first spark of nascent reformation, Philip II. was obliged to take away the charters and immunities of the corporate towns; and, even in the Italian States, its principles prevailed, until they fell under the dominion of single individuals. In Holland, under free institutions, and complete toleration, the Reformation triumphed. In England, under free institutions, but without complete toleration, they all knew what the result had been. What was the lesson they ought to derive from this? Surely it was this, that, so long as they maintained free institutions, the rights of conscience would be respected. On these grounds mainly he rested his opposition to the measure. He believed that the Legislature, in taking this measure in hand, was going beyond its proper province. What appeared to him to be their duty, was, to maintain in dignity and respect the Established Church, and then to afford to all who dissented from its doctrines complete toleration. He believed that toleration was as essential to the safety of the Established Church as it was in accordance with its doctrines. The noble Lord told them, that if they did not pass the present measure, they would find themselves at the commencement of an arduous struggle. He hoped the concessions and alterations that had been made in the measure ten days ago would be a sufficient salvo to the honour of Dr. Wiseman, to induce him to recede, and give the country peace. He trusted that would be so, as he deprecated the continuance of such a contest—than which nothing could be more dangerous to the prosperity of the country. If he thought the measure was right or just, no fear of agitation or opposition would prevent him giving it his sup- 472 port. But he said, let those upon whom the heat and burden of the contest would fall, weigh all the consequences before they began it. In England, where the vast majority were Protestants, the contest might be light; but in Ireland the case was different: let the Protestants there, therefore, from their experience of the past, reckon up what might be the consequences in the future. Look at the struggle that had been maintained against the Roman Catholics in that country for nearly a century and a half. Every power of the State had been put in motion; and he ventured to say, that history did not record a more signal defeat than that of trying to coerce the Catholics of Ireland into a similar belief with the Protestants of England. The industrious classes in Ireland had been ruined by that struggle, and the very name and spirit of the Protestant religion was lost. Bishops had amassed large fortunes; but no glebehouses were built, and the sound of the gospel was not heard in the churches. Relatively, the number of Protestants was smaller at the close than at the commencement of the struggle. The Church was obliged to submit to the loss of half its property under the tithe arrangement; while the people were deprived of ten of their bishops. Such were the results of the struggle; and he warned the Protestants of Ireland not to enter upon another. Upon these grounds, he must withhold his support from the noble Lord. Although he had heard a great deal of ability in support of the measure, the justice appeared to him very dubious. Although he did not doubt that the measure was brought forward in all honour and good faith, at the same time, instead of adding strength to the cause it professed to advocate, it would bring weakness, and be an infringement of that complete toleration which, in his conscience, he believed, by being scrupulously acted upon, and firmly maintained, would, do more for the cause of true religion and the spread of spiritual truth, than all the defences that alarm could suggest, and all the safeguards which misguided but sincere enthusiasm could throw around it.
§ MR. GRATTAN
said, he quite concurred in most of the observations that had fallen from his hon. Friend who represented the county of Cavan. He (Mr. Grattan) looked upon the struggle now going on between the Government and the Catholics as a war in disguise—and the worst kind of war, inasmuch as it was sought to be 473 carried on against his Catholic fellow-countrymen under cover of an unjustifiable Act of Parliament. Already had the vituperation begun out of doors. The clergy and the universities had led the way. The language he had heard and read on the subject, made him fancy that the ghost of Dr. Duigenan had revisited the earth, or that Sir Richard Musgrave was renewing his attacks. But this contest was not unintelligible to people outside the House of Commons. They had expressed their opinion that this struggle was at an end. He could understand people outside of the House asking at the commencement of this debate what subject was being discussed within—he could understand a foreigner inquiring if it was science, or art, or religion? To all such interrogatories the reply must be "No;" and great must such a person's amazement be if he were told that the Parliament of England were merely abusing the religion of their fathers. He (Mr. Grattan) had heard in the course of this debate more affected knowledge of the canon law, more misapplication of the civil law, and more confusion of intellect, than had ever been exhibited during the memorable struggles in that House which preceded Catholic Emancipation. One hon. Member, in the course of this debate, had said that the Irish Members had the honour of presenting the greatest amount of opposition to this Bill. "The Irish Brigade" resisted the Bill on their own behalf and on that of their countrymen. The hon. and learned Member for Bath had said that the "Irish Brigade" had caused the death of the Prime Minister; but that was not the fact. The noble Lord had, by bringing in this Bill, committed political suicide. The Irish Members resisted the Bill with indignation, and they had a right to do so, for what had Ireland done that she should be included in such a measure? The statement in the very first line of the Bill was a public and monstrous falsehood. It spoke of the assumption of titles in the United Kingdom. Was that true? Hon. Members must know it was a direct falsehood. The Irish had not assumed those titles. It was done in England but not in Ireland, and, therefore, not in the United Kingdom. Were they then, to stultify themselves by passing an Act, the preamble of which contained a public falsehood? What were the Irish to do? If Catholic bishops in Ireland assumed the titles of real sees, they were to be fined; if they assumed the titles of pre- 474 tended sees, they came under the penalty inflicted by this Bill: in either case they would be under a penalty. Was that common sense or common justice? It had been said in the course of the debate that I this Bill, if passed into a law, would not be I enforced; but that was not the case. The; Act would be enforced. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had clearly intimated that this Bill was only the prelude to ulterior measures. He (Mr. Grattan) said again, this was a war, and a war in disguise. Did the House believe that I they could make people less Roman Catholic by this Bill? No such thing. They were Catholics, and Catholics they would remain, and the House could not change them by the operation of such a Bill as the one now proposed. What right had a Parliament to say you shall not have Catholic bishops? Was not the religion of every man his own? By continuing this agitation, the House was not only involving itself in a contest with the Court of Rome, but with the people of Ireland also—a contest which would be prejudicial to England, and most pernicious to Ireland. In France the attempt had been equally unfortunate. If we were to get rid of the Pope in Ireland, he hoped there was to be some better substitute than Socialism or regal decapitation, and some better change than the substitution of the writings of such men as Dumas, Michelet, and Louis Blanc, for those of Massillon, Fénelon, and Bossuet, the lights of a former age.
The hon. Gentleman then quoted the evidence of Dr. Doyle to show that the bishops would be less under the control of the Pope than the vicars-apostolic. He heard in these days a great deal about Protestant ascendancy, which brought to his recollection some memorable words of Curran. Speaking of Protestant ascendancy, Curran, on one occasion said—I have before mc the greasy emblem of stall-fed theology, with the graces of a lady's maid and the dignity of the larder—its loyalty the dregs of its patron's bottle, and its religion the dregs of its patron's understanding—brought into Ireland to devour, defame, and degrade.The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford entered into the question of allegiance, and hinted that policemen and soldiers might possibly be absolved from their allegiance through the intervention of Catholic ecclesiastics. That was the very thing that should have been kept a secret during such a debate as this, assuming that it might possibly result in a more 475 serious struggle. What would the Duke of Wellington hare said, if, when, at Waterloo, he gave the word of command, "Up, Guards, and at them," his men, acting on such a suggestion as that, had coolly laid down their arms? The hon. Member for the University of Oxford said, there were two ways of repelling this aggression—one was by proclamation, and the other by bombardment. As to proclamations, had not the people of Ireland had proclamations ad nauseam? Why were the objects of those proclamations names and not places? The hon. Baronet's next proposition was bombardment; he wanted to bombard the Papal States, standing with one foot on Ancona, and the other on Civita Vecchia, like the Maid of Saragossa, and do as much mischief. That would be no legislation against Papal aggression here, whatever injury it might inflict on the Pope in Italy. The hon. Baronet, the man of peace, the grave, respectable, moral character, came forward not to declare war, but to carry war, by way of revenging the recent rescript of the Pope. Then the noble Lord the Member for Bath would make a declaration not against the Pope, but against the Roman Catholic religion. He (Mr. Grattan) had never heard a more bitter or more bigoted speech than that of the noble Lord. The noble Lord said he hated and abhorred the Roman Catholic religion. He (Mr. Grattan) could not see why any man should "abhor" the religion followed by another, or the man who followed it. And the words were not used unintentionally in the beat of debate, for the noble Lord followed them up by expressing his disapprobation that Catholic priests were met with in the streets in clerical dresses with white bands round their necks—perhaps the noble Lord would like to substitute a band of another kind. But did not the Roman Catholics meet clerical gentlemen, especially in the neighbourhood of that House, dressed up in black silk stockings, black silk petticoat, and broad-brimmed hat, every day—and did they complain that they were thereby offended? The noble Lord, like Haman, was jealous of this Mordecai who sat in the gate, and whom he would have removed; but times might change, and the gallows sixty-feet high, which the noble Lord would erect to hang the Mordecai who offended him, might be found an inconvenient thing for the Haman who had provided it. The noble Lord next made an attack on his (Mr. Grattan's) friend, 476 Dr. Cullen, and in doing so he had never fallen into a greater mistake. The noble Lord stated that Dr. Cullen had settled the question at the Synod of Thurles against the Government system of education by his casting vote. Dr. Cullen did no such thing. He (Mr. Grattan) regretted that the Catholics of Ireland had not adopted the system of mixed education, as proposed; but, with regard to the casting vote of Dr. Cullen, the synod did not meet till 1850, whereas the question of the colleges was settled in 1847. Dr. Cullen came over to Ireland in 1849, and in 1847 the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland received a rescript from Rome, condemning the system of the new colleges. But what was the difficulty in regard to those mixed colleges? The Roman Catholics had no objection to send their children to be educated, provided the education was not made the means of conversion. They held that the attempt to convert their children under the pretence of educating was tyranny. Did the hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland know what was now going on in the west of Ireland? There, a body of men were employed going about from house to house with tracts—there were tractarians in Ireland as well as in England—and the business of these persons was to traduce and malign the Catholic religion. Their mode of making converts was this—they found out people who were in distress, and gave them a dinner, provided they changed their religion. This was the reason of the opposition to the Queen's Colleges. One of his own people had been led away in this manner; and he had himself known a case in which a Protestant clergyman had flourished a Bible in his hand, while he exclaimed, "This is the book which will show you that you are all going to the devil." It was stated that public feeling was strongly in favour of this Bill; but this was not the case, for if they would refer to the number of petitions which had been presented for and against the Bill, they would find that the total number of petitioners in favour of the Bill was only 198,000, whilst those against it were 500,000. Some hon. Gentlemen were for a more stringent measure—they would have all the terrors of prœmunire brought to bear against the aggression; but did they not know that the prœmunire was of no more worth than a piece of blank paper? For, whatever might be said to the contrary, it was a matter of fact that 477 the Pope had had intercourse both with the Crown and the Government of this country in times when religious liberty was not so advanced as at the present. Look at the letters that had passed in 1792 between his Holiness and Lord Grenville and George III. on the subject of the Irish oaths. Yes, and their admirals and generals held communication at the same time with the Government of the Pope; witness Admiral Hood's letters. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon had referred the other night to the letter of Mr. Knox to Lord Castlereagh. He (Mr. Grattan) might by the way observe, that on reading through that work from which the right hon. Baronet had quoted that letter, he was struck with the fact that whatever might have been the local prejudices of Lord Castlereagh, his correspondence showed that on great occasions he rose above those prejudices, and was equal to any task, however great, that might arise before him. In that book, however, there was a letter from Lord Cornwallis to Lord Castlereagh, dated February, 1800, in which he took credit, so sure was he of the result, as for a fait accompli, for having accomplished the Union, Catholic emancipation, and the restoration of perfect tranquillity in Ireland. Lord Cornwallis, though thus sanguine, was, however, disappointed—faith was broken with him, and the peace of Ireland was not maintained. So it would he again if they persevered in their present course; war, inevitable war, would be the consequence. In 1792, while Lord Portarlington was complaining in the Irish House of Commons that the Catholics were not grateful for all that had been done for them, and were fostering sedition, the Prime Minister was in communication with the Pope, and notwithstanding the Act of prœmunire, received a letter of thanks from the Vatican for his care of the interests of the Holy See and of the Irish people; and he believed that if the secrets of Downing-street were exposed, it would be found that the Minister had often been in communication with the Pope. It was manifest from the tenor of the documents received from the Holy See in the time of George the Third, that the appointment of the Roman Catholic bishops rested with the Pope; and yet, although we paid Her Majesty's Ministers for telling the truth, had they told the people of England the truth in the matter of the appointment of Cardinal Wiseman and his colleagues? It moreover appeared from the documents 478 to which he referred, that the canons and discipline by which the Roman Catholic Church was governed, were the same now as they had existed in all times and in all parts of the world, and as they had been laid down by the Council of Trent. If it were not so dark, he should like to survey the pallid cheeks of Her Majesty's Ministers, in order to see whether he had not succeeded in raising a blush. In the time of George III., the incomes of the Irish Roman Catholic archbishops and bishops ranged from 400l. down to 140l. per annum; whereas the archbishops and bishops of the Established Church in Ireland divided many thousands of pounds annually among them. He contended that legislation of the kind now under consideration was a farce; he, however, prayed the House to take care that they did not turn it into a tragedy. Let them bear in mind the proceedings which had taken place in Ireland in 1801, when a meeting was held at the Castle on the subject of Catholic emancipation. The parties who dined together on that occasion were Lord Kilwarden, Lord Donoughmore, Lord Hutchinson, and Dr. Brown, the latter of whom had voted for the Union, and lived long enough to repent bitterly of his conduct. On that occasion the Irish Secretary wrote as follows:—Some disloyal symptoms have appeared at the Theatre; the men in the galleries are very uproarious; they clap for Buonaparte.He feared that if this Bill were passed, disloyal symptoms would again be evoked; that the men in the galleries would be heard clapping for Mitchell and O'Brien, and that the language of the poet would be quoted:A high gallows on a windy day,For little John to swing away.He entreated hon. Members to recollect that Lord Castlereagh, as the representative of the King, had promised the Irish people Catholic emancipation as the means of restoring public tranquillity. That promise, however, was not fulfilled by the English Minister until thirty years afterwards, and therefore the compact made with the Irish people at the period of the Union had virtually been destroyed. He had a great many authorities on this point, but he should forbear from quoting them; he should simply state their substance. Before doing so, however, he wished to notice a remark made by one hon. Member, 479 to the effect that the Act of Catholic Emancipation must be repealed, forgetting that, if that Act were repealed, there would not be a war in disguise merely, but a war in reality. When Canning was told to re-fortify the constitution, he said the chief business of the Legislature should be, to prevent the outworks from being sapped and undermined. Swift was of opinion that the Roman Catholics, after haying suffered so much from the rebellion against Cromwell, ought not to be made partners in the loss which had resulted. He (Mr. Grattan) wished to prevent his fellow-countrymen from getting rid of England altogether. [Cries of "Divide!"] He knew that after a debate of six nights' duration, his speech must be tiresome, but he warned the House that if they passed this Bill, 40,000 armed men could not maintain peace in Ireland. [Laughter.] Gentlemen might laugh if they pleased, but in the evidence given before the Committee on Tenant Right, Colonel Handcock was asked what amount of men it would require to put down the movement, and he said, "I do not think that all Her Majesty's Army would be able to put down the Protestants of the north of Ireland;" and he (Mr. Grattan) said it with great respect, that all Her Majesty's troops would not be able to put down the Roman Catholics of Ireland, numbering as they did 6,000,000. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had referred to a Henry Grattan, who had once had a seat in that House. A comparison between the two Henry Grattans would not he appropriate; but he could tell the noble Lord that though Ursa Major was gone, Ursa Minor was still left; and as Ursa Minor had a tongue (he would not say teeth, for he did not wish to lacerate the noble Lord more than the noble Lord had lacerated himself), the Government and the House should hear what his (Mr. Grattan's) opinions were. The noble Lord had referred to illustrious names, hoping that the connexion of his own with these would save him from disgrace; but it had been suggested that the noble Lord should appeal to the living. The name of Plunkett had been mentioned; but he (Mr. Grattan) advised the noble Lord not to refer to that quarter. He did not deserve a character, and he would not get it. The Catholics of the south were loud in the expressions of their opposition to this measure; and as the Protestants of the north were becoming daily more in earnest on the question 480 of tenant right, he warned the House not to trifle with the people.
§ MR. GRANTLEY BERKELEY
did not rise to incumber the debate with any argument on any topic immediately before it. He repeated, he would attempt no fresh arguments in an exhausted discussion. He simply rose to repudiate a most unwarrantable attack which had been made a few nights ago, in that House, upon the Roman Catholic faith—an attack which he held to be most disgraceful to that House. He rose, as an indignant Protestant, to repudiate emphatically such aid as had been offered to their glorious Protestant cause by the hon. Member for West Surrey. He maintained that the speech spoken by that hon. Member was a disgrace to any cause that was ever brought under the deliberation of any assembly. Let the House for a moment inquire if that was a pure vessel from which such a stream of religious vituperation had been poured. Let the House understand whether that bird of ill omen, which had attempted to foul the nests of others, did not himself reside in a nest which would not bear being looked into. When the hon. Member for West Surrey delivered the unworthy attack upon the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom, he ought to have been perfectly certain that he himself did not reside in a glass house. The hon. Member accused the Roman Catholics of idolatry and of bigotry, and taunted them with their belief in alleged most ridiculous, miracles. Now, had the hon. Member himself never expressed a faith in supernatural agencies? Had the hon. Member never confessed a belief in the ghost which haunted Albury Park? Had the hon. Member never believed—perhaps because of the multiplication of mirrors in the rooms—that ghosts haunted his own mansion? Had not the hon. Member, in his belief of a ghost, gone the length of pulling down several of the old apartments? [Cries of "Question!"] He was speaking to the question—at all events, quite as much as the hon. Member for West Surrey had spoken to the question. The hon. Member for West Surrey was the last person that should read the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom a lecture on superstition. ["Question!"] If he were to be interrupted, he must adjourn the debate. Had they not heard of the haunted house where there were the golden knife and cord? The attack made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey against the Roman Catholics, 481 was as false as anything could be. If he (Mr. Berkeley) voted for the measure before the House, it would be simply on principle, not because he thought the measure efficient or competent to cope with the difficulty against which it was directed, but because he thought some legislation was due to the Protestant religion in this country.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
had no wish to put himself forward in the debate, as he had nothing new to suggest; but he felt himself bound to express his opinions on the subject, that his constituents might know what they were, and his reasons for entertaining them. In any observation that he should make, however, he deprecated the slightest feeling of asperity or unkindness, and would not willingly say a word to wound the feelings of any one. To his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen he would say, that, as far as religion was concerned, he could have no sympathy with them. There was a great gulf between them, which could not be bridged over. He had too firm an attachment to the pure and apostolic branch of the Catholic Church in which he had been reared, to entertain any such sympathy. But while he respected the convictions of his fellow-countrymen, at the same time that he differed from them, he could hold out the right hand of fellowship, and refer to the time when, within the walls of that House, he had fought with them side by side in defence of religious liberty. Mindful of the legacy left him by the great statesman whose name he unworthily bore, he was now proud to stand side by side with his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen on the same platform—the floor of that House—in defence of civil and religious liberty. It was with sentiments of gratitude he had heard that night, from one bearing the name of Grattan, justice done to the memory of Lord Castlereagh, in the acknowledgment that that eminent statesman had been the friend of civil and religious liberty. With regard to the Bill before the House, the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs expressed his surprise that any one could object to it, it being, he said, so small a measure. The noble Lord, however, was hardly a fair judge of that. The people of Ireland viewed it with feelings of great indignation. The House at first was anxious for a strong measure; but now it seemed disposed to accept anything. The voice of the whole people of Ireland were against the Bill, and surely the Govern- 482 ment could not be blind to what was going on in the House—they could not be blind to the manner in which the name of the noble Lord at the head of the Government was received in Ireland—they could not have lost sight of the demonstration made by the bar of Ireland, or of the public meetings that had been held in every quarter of the country. The measure appeared to him to satisfy no one; and there were circumstances connected with the mode of passing this Bill which rendered it peculiarly obnoxious to the people of Ireland. It was proposed by a Government which was kept in office solely and entirely for the purpose of carrying this measure. The Bill, taken in connexion with the position of the Ministry, was what the French would call the reactionary policy of a transition Ministry. The noble Lord, when taunted with leaving office, told the House that he had remained at the helm of affairs during the Irish famine and rebellion; but he could tell the noble Lord that if Catholic emancipation had not been granted some years previously, he would not have been able to govern Ireland. The language which had been used in that House in support of the Bill was greatly to be deplored. The way in which the people of Ireland had been spoken of—the whole tone and temper of the debate, were reasons why this vapid, ill-considered measure, should never have been proposed. What was the reason for passing the Bill? Simply that it was necessary to satisfy the Protestant prejudices of the people of England. But he warned them to beware of legislating simply upon that ground. They had long ago had experience of the effects of penal legislation in Ireland. It appeared to him that if this Bill passed, no Roman Catholic would venture to take office under the Government, no public functionary would venture to institute a prosecution under it in Ireland. He would beg to recall the attention of the House to the words of that distinguished man, Lord Brougham, who, with reference to penal enactments in Ireland, said—Ireland, with all those blessings which Providence has so profusely showered into her lap, has been under our stewardship for the last 120 years; but our solicitude for her has appeared only in those hours of danger when we apprehended the possibility of her joining our enemies; or when, having no enemy abroad to contend with, she raised her standard, perhaps in despair, and we trembled for our own existence. It cannot be denied that the sole object of England has been to render Ireland a safe neighbour. The greatest mockery of all, the most intolerable insult, the course of pe- 483 culiar exasperation against which I chiefly caution the House, is the undertaking to cure the distress under which she labours by anything in the shape of new penal enactments. It is in those enactments alone that we have ever shown our liberality to Ireland. She has received penal laws from the hands of England almost as plentifully as she has received blessings from the hands of Providence. What have these laws done? Checked her violence, but not stifled it. The grievance remaining perpetual, the complaint can only be postponed. We may load her with chains, but in doing so we shall not better her condition; by coercion we may goad her on to fury, but by coercion we shall never break her spirit. She will rise up and break the fetters we impose, and arm herself for deadly violence with the fragments.Upon this subject another great authority, now, alas! no longer amongst us (Sir Robert Peel), said March 5th, 1829:—I should implore any Government to pause before it enters upon the task of withdrawing from the Irish Roman Catholics privileges already granted. We cannot replace the Roman Catholics in the position in which we found them when the system of relaxation and indulgence began. We have given them the opportunities of acquiring education, wealth, and power. We have removed, with our hands, the seal from the vessel in which a mighty spirit was enclosed; but it will not, like the genius in the fable, return within its narrow confines to gratify our curiosity, and enable us to cast it back into the obscurity from which we evoked it. If we begin to recede, there is no limit which we can assign to our recession. We shall occasion a violent reaction—violent in proportion to the hopes that have been repeatedly excited. It must be coerced by new rigours, provoking in their turn fresh resistance. The re-enactment of the penal laws, even if practicable, would not suffice. The trial by jury must be abolished; at least the Roman Catholic must be incapacitated from serving as a juror. What would be the ultimate issue of this contest? A more marked separation of the people of Ireland into distinct and mutually hostile classes; a more complete monopoly of every civil right and franchise for the Protestant—unmixed and unqualified degradation for the Catholic."—[2 Hansard, xx.,747.]He would not longer detain the House. He had only to say that, convinced as he was of the impolicy of this measure, convinced that this country would not be satisfied with it, and that it would only irritate, annoy, and disturb the people of Ireland, he would not consent that his humble name should be found among the supporters of the measure.
MR. A. J. B. HOPE
would detain the House a very short time. Under ordinary circumstances, he would not have again addressed the House, after speaking on a former stage; but the whole history of this Bill had been so abnormal as to justify deviation from common rules. In all 484 the speeches delivered in favour of the Bill, hon. Members had been confused between the different views of the case, and had either praised it for being operative or inoperative. Many hon. Members commenced with an enumeration of the horrors of Romanism, and then sliding into praises of the Bill before the House, as just the thing—not too strong, not too stringent, but the precise remedy to check the progress of such a fearful thing as Roman Catholicism with an 100l. penalty. He was willing to allow, for the sake of argument, that the Pope had insulted us; but how was the insult proposed to be met? If there was any insult connected with what was called Papal aggression, the insult had come from the Pope, and not from the bishops—they were comparatively innocent parties. They must recollect, that if the Pope imposed any duty on the bishops, they were bound by their allegiance to him to carry it out. The country had lately been occupied with the barbarous law which gave pecuniary compensation for insults. He wished to call attention to the recommendations of the Divorce Commission on this head. The Bill before the House was an improvement upon that principle, for it inflicted the fine upon another and an innocent party. Again, the Bill was meant as a standing reprisal for an insult. Suppose, then, that for some reason an entente cordiale with Rome became necessary, would not Rome, or the more powerful nations that might be fighting behind and supporting Rome, say, we cannot enter into this entente cordiale so long as you have an Act on your Statute-book, which is a standing reprisal for what you consider an insult, that Act being in itself, therefore, an insult to us? Then, in what an absurd position this legislation would place the country, unable to stultify itself by repealing that Act—unable in consequence of it to enter into desirable diplomatic relations? All this confusion would arise from our not having treated a diplomatic and international question according to the fixed rules by which such questions are treated. But suppose the Bill were meant to be operative, how miserably would it meet the proposed expulsion and extermination of Romanism. This, however, was what many of the petitions prayed for—one, for example, by a clergyman, praised by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire in his erudite and polyglot speech—Dr. M'Caul, who prayed that the great Exhi- 485 bition might be postponed till England had been freed from a disgrace greater than any since the days of King John. These petitioners, absurd as their prayer was, were therefore a lesson to the House—they knew what they would do. To justify the first step towards the smallest instalment of persecution, Acts of Parliament were quoted of the time of Elizabeth, when England was but a small country, bounded by Scotland, then under Homan Catholic authority—by St. George's Channel, by the German ocean, and by the British Channel; and the policy and Acts of Parliament of that time were brought forward gravely to justify the policy now of this country, which had colonised America, which had colonised Australia, which was spreading over Polynesia, and had almost encircled the whole world with the great Anglo-Saxon race. Yet this great Anglo-Saxon race, which was spreading civilisation and science throughout the world, fearlessly holding the doctrine of toleration, was to be perilled, because they could not bear the organisation of a body of Roman Catholics in England! He would say nothing offensive to his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen; but he thought grave errors existed in their religion; at the same time they were numerically the largest bulk of those who bore the Christian name. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire had had the courage to appeal to Prussia about the persecution of some Bishop of Magdeburgh. Did that hon. Member forget that there had been a year 1848, when this selfish vexatious system, this Government-made religion, had almost produced a fearful crash? Having opposed legislation on the measure before the Bill was on the table of the House—having been prepared to oppose the three clauses which have since been removed from the Bill, he was now prepared to oppose the one clause remaining as a petty measure—a measure disgraceful to the magnanimity of this country—inconsistent with its true policy, discreditable to the civilisation of the Anglo-Saxon race, and at variance with the system of toleration, of which, whether we liked it or not, we had laid the foundation, and which we must follow up if we did not wish to be the lowest of nations—a nation dealing in expediency, fruitful in shams, and sterile of those great principles of policy which ought to guide any great nation.
§ MR. HOBHOUSE moved the adjournment of the debate.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
, said, hon. Members must feel that the debate had been carried on a sufficient time to enable the House to come to a decision. He found that twenty-six Members had spoken against the Bill, and twenty-two Members for it. They had heard the ablest arguments which could, he thought, be urged against further proceedings with the measure. He thought, if six days' debate were added to those which had been already gone through, they could not have more able arguments. He did trust, therefore, that if there were any hon. Gentlemen who wished further to address the House, that they would he heard now.
§ MR. MOORE
would take the liberty of calling the noble Lord's attention to the; great number of Members who still wished to speak. In the noble Lord's estimate, perhaps he had forgotten that the representatives of Ireland had occupied but a very small portion. They had not occupied above five or six hours of the whole I debate, and many Irish Members no doubt wished to speak. The House would recollect that at least twelve or thirteen hours had been occupied in support of the Bill; and the Irish Members having occupied so small a portion of time, he thought they had a right to an adjournment.
§ MR. SCULLY
begged to remind the House that the measure was one affecting the interests of 7,000,000 of Her Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects in this kingdom. There were some thirty-five or forty Catholic Members in that House, only seven of whom had spoken on the question; and he thought that was a sufficient reason for a further adjournment of the debate. The question was one which affected the Roman Catholics only, and they should therefore have the fullest opportunity afforded them of stating their opinions and arguments, before the House came to any decision. He thought it most desirable for the interests of the people of Ireland that the measure should be fully discussed; and the Government would be acting most wisely if they did not press the House to a division upon the Bill that evening.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, it appeared from the record kept at the table, that fourteen Irish Members had addressed the House upon this subject; and the time they had occupied, instead of being only 5 or 6 hours, had been 11½ hours. But the question was not what time they had occupied. 487 He would appeal to the House whether the question had not been fully discussed? Other opportunities would present themselves, when hon. Members who had not yet had an opportunity of addressing the House would be able to state their opinions fully upon the subject. A strong and reasonable desire had been expressed that the House should proceed with other business; but it was impossible to do so while this debate was hanging over; and therefore he trusted that the House would now come to a decision upon the second reading.
§ MR. OSWALD
had no wish unnecessarily to prolong the debate; but, as this Bill affected Scotland, and only one single Member for that part of the United Kingdom had addressed the House during the discussion, he was anxious to hear from some of the Scotch representatives who sat behind the Treasury bench their reasons for desiring that the measure should be extended to Scotland, where there had been no Papal aggression, and where the whole state of the case was very different from what it was in England.
MR. M. O'CONNELL
said, they had been told by the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary that which they knew very well, and of which they were determined to avail themselves, that those hon. Members who had not yet spoken would have opportunities of doing so on other stages of the measure. He had risen two or three times during the progress of the debate, but he had not been fortunate enough to catch the Speaker's eye, and he, as an Irish Roman Catholic Member, claimed his right to be heard. [Cries of "Go on!"] He would not—he would not address such a jaded audience at that hour of the night (half-past twelve), for if he were to do so he would neither do his duty to himself nor to the House. He did not think the Irish Members, particularly the Roman Catholic Members and those representing Roman Catholics, ought to bate one inch of any ground they could fight upon this question. He believed the Irish Members were with him upon that point, and if the noble Lord chose to try a division, or ten divisions, upon the question of adjourment, he would be met upon every one of them.
The EARL OF ARUNDEL AND SURREY
said, he agreed with the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that it was desirable that this debate should be brought to a close as soon as possible; but, at the same time, he must call on the noble Lord 488 to remember the great excitement that prevailed upon this subject, not only among hon. Members, but also throughout the country, and that out of thirty-seven Irish Roman Catholic Members, only seven had as yet spoken. When, too, the noble Lord considered the feeling that prevailed just now in the Irish constituencies, on the subject of this Bill, the noble Lord ought not to be surprised that the Roman Catholic Members from Ireland should be anxious to show that they represented the sentiments of those who sent them to that House, and who were so excited on this question. He could assure the noble Lord that there was a great desire, on the part of many hon. Members, to deliver their sentiments on this subject. He trusted, therefore, that he would not persevere in dividing the House against the Motion for the adjournment of the debate.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that when the noble Lord appealed to him not to divide against the adjournment of the debate, it seemed to him (Lord J. Russell) that there was but little chance of their coming very soon to that result which the noble Lord had himself admitted, and he (Lord J. Russell) agreed with the noble Lord was most desirable. He must remind the noble Lord that there were several notices of one kind or other on the paper, which it was desirable should; be considered; and as the seven Irish Roman Catholic Members who had spoken, had taken six nights to do it in, if the remaining thirty were also to speak, he knew not when the debate would terminate.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
begged to remind the House that the adjournment of the debate had been moved by an English, and not an Irish, Member; and that though the noble Lord had counted forty-eight Members who had spoken upon this subject, those who were opposed to this Bill had not been charged, up to that hour, with having offered any factious opposition to the measure. ["Oh, oh!"] He repeated that phrase. Now, the course that should be pursued that night would have the effect of deciding whether the Bill was to receive a factious opposition for the future. The principle of the Bill was to be discussed on the second reading. Let him, then, remind the House, that many Irish Members, themselves anxious to speak on this question, and yet equally anxious to hear the sentiments of English Members upon it, had given them the precedence in the debate. But, without recurring to all 489 those who were anxious to speak, or whom they were desirous to hear, let him remind the House that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford was expected to speak on this subject. Let him remind the House that an hon. Gentleman, professing the creed of the people who were to he coerced by this legislation, the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, was expected to be heard upon it. Let him also remind the House that an hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Windsor, and Attorney General for Ireland—he ought rather to say, the right hon. and learned Member—had not yet spoken. Let him remind the House, too, that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Drogheda, and Secretary for Ireland, had not yet delivered his sentiments on this subject. Let him remind the House that the hon. Member for the West Riding of York had not yet spoken. Let him remind the House that neither the right hon. Member for Manchester, nor his hon. Colleague, had yet addressed it; and that there was also an eloquent Lord of the Treasury of his own religion, the hon. Member for Louth, who had not yet spoken; and last, though not least, let him barely insinuate that it was just possible that an honourable, eloquent, and influential Gentleman, the leader of a powerful party in that House, the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, would speak upon that question. He had frequently listened with pleasure to the hon. Gentleman on other subjects, far from being so interesting to an Irishman and a Roman Catholic as the present one, and he should much like to draw him out on this occasion. But, passing from those whom, without intending offence, he would call minor stars—whose name was legion—let him ask the noble Lord who had counted hours against the opponents of this Bill, and who had, in so doing, been assisted by the right hon. Baronet near him, who said there were fourteen Irish Members who had spoken, and that they had occupied, not five hours and a half, but eleven hours—let him ask the noble Lord if they were now to be told that, on that account, when they were endeavouring to shield themselves against oppression and insult, they were to be forced to a division at half-past twelve o'clock, at the end of the first half-hour of the day. Let him, too, remind the noble Lord, who pursued this matter with such railroad rapidity, of this fact, that the delay that had occurred had compelled him, through shame, to 490 expunge the second and third clauses of the Bill. He wished to impress on the mind of the noble Lord, and of hon. Members, that the Roman Catholic Members were not thirty-seven; but that, with five English Gentlemen of that persuasion in the House, they numbered forty-two. ["No, no!"] Yes, he believed he was right; and that of that number, only seven bad yet spoken on this stage of the Bill—that they were discussing and combating a Bill which they were determined to oppose by every constitutional means; and that, if driven to a factious course, it would add another item to those debits, not easily written off, which were to be placed to the account of the noble Lord, and not to theirs.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the debate be now adjourned."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 64; Noes 414: Majority 350.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that the hon. Members who had just spoken seemed to be anxious to have the glory of conducting a factious opposition; but he saw no reason why the House should indulge them in that desire. The House had, by a majority of 414 against 64, very clearly pronounced that whatever might be the disposition of speakers to go on speaking, the listeners were quite satisfied. Having said this much, and declared his entire satisfaction with the expression of opinion which the House had just made, he would only add, that, as the debate had continued so long, he would not now oppose its adjournment till a later period of this day. [Cries of "Adjourn till Twelve o'clock."] As there seemed to he a general feeling in favour of an adjournment till Twelve o'clock, he would propose that the House should adjourn to that hour.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
would withdraw his Motion, on the understanding that the House should adjourn till Five, the usual hour.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed. "That the debate be adjourned till Twelve of the clock To-morrow."
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
moved as an 491 Amendment, that the House do adjourn till the usual hour, Five o'clock.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the words "Twelve of the clock," and insert the words "Five of the clock," instead thereof.
§ COLONEL RAWDON
hoped that the hon. Member for the city of Limerick would not persist in his Amendment. He had made this request, having been one of those who voted in the minority; and he had voted in the minority on the ground that this was the first time that a great question affecting the religion of the Roman Catholics had been mooted in that House since the Roman Catholics had seats there. He could not be accused of anything like factious conduct, when he stated that his intention was to vote for the second reading of the Bill. At the same time he thought it important that the entire Roman Catholic Members of the House should, if they wished it, be enabled to express their opinions on the Bill before the House, especially after the extraordinary expressions that had fallen in the debate, and more particularly from the hon. Member for West Surrey, on a point in the Roman Catholic religion on which they must be peculiarly sensitive; and these expressions, although apologised for, he was sorry to say had not been retracted. He therefore thought it but just—but courteous as Gentlemen at all events—that Roman Catholic Members should have an opportunity of defending themselves, and repelling these charges. He did hope, therefore, that the hon. Member for the city of Limerick would withdraw his Amendment, and allow the noble Lord to fix the hour of Twelve, as a full opportunity would, by that means, be accorded to every hon. Member who wished to address the House.
said, that it was then past one o'clock, and yet the Irish Roman Catholic Members were called upon to be there at Twelve o'clock to discuss a Bill which affected them so vitally. It was thus they were treated when their religion and their country were at stake.
§ MR. LAWLESS
said, that a great mistake was made by the noble Lord when he called the opposition now offered to his Bill a factious opposition. There were sixty-four 492 Members who had voted against the adjournment, and the half of them, at least, wished to speak on this stage of the Bill. He asserted that it was not allowing fair play to the opponents of the Bill thus to prevent them giving expression to their sentiments.
§ Question put, "That the words 'Twelve of the clock stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 306; Noes 43: Majority 263.
§ Question again proposed, "That the Debate be adjourned till Twelve of the clock To-morrow."
§ MR. KEOGH
thought that, upon a fair examination of the time which had been occupied, not only by the Irish Members, but by the Roman Catholic Members, who were peculiarly interested in this question, it would not be found that they had occupied an unreasonable time. On looking at a statement which had that evening been furnished to hon. Members, he found that those hon. Gentlemen who had spoken in favour of the Bill had occupied a much longer time than those who had spoken against it. He therefore put it to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whether it was reasonable or fair that, this Debate having lasted till half-past one o'clock, they should be called upon to meet again, in hot haste, at Twelve o'clock that morning, as if this were a Coercion Bill which the noble Lord was anxious to press. He (Mr. Keogh) had assisted the noble Lord in carrying measures when the necessities of the country demanded speed; but considering that the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and the hon. and learned Member for Abingdon, were expected to speak upon this question, and, not at all speaking in a jocular spirit, he might also add the name of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Windsor, as likely to speak—indeed, as the first Irish law officer of the Crown, the Irish Members had a right to demand the benefit of the legal opinion of the right hon. Gentleman; and in these circumstances he would venture to submit that the Motion of the noble Lord ought not to be agreed to.
MR. M. O'CONNELL
said, he had consented to withdraw his Motion, on the understanding that the debate should not be resumed until the usual evening sitting this day. He regretted that an advantage had been taken of the course to which he had consented. The noble Lord had accused his brother, the hon. Member for the 493 city of Limerick, and himself, as parties to a factious opposition to the progress of this measure.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
The hon. Member did not quite understand me. I understood the hon. Member for the city of Dublin to say, that unless the Debate was adjourned, he intended to make a factious opposition. The hon. Member might have said that he intended to propose the adjournment, but that he did not consider that conduct to be factious. With regard to what has been said by the hon. and learned Member for Athlone, I may observe that I merely desire that the Debate should be proceeded with this evening. From a I statement which was made to me, in the course of debate, I was induced to believe that it was the intention of the hon. Gentlemen to bring on their Motions this evening, so that the adjourned Debate should not come on. However, if it is understood that the Debate shall have precedence of other business, I have no objection to the House not meeting till the usual hour.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, the noble Lord was mistaken in supposing that he could be a party to a factious opposition. He begged also to state that the party with whom he acted had determined not to obstruct by a factious opposition the second reading of this Bill.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn; Debate further adjourned till Five of the clock Tomorrow.