§ MR. SPOONER
presented petitions from several places against any further Grant to Maynooth, and one from Manchester, in which the petitioners stated that they had always objected to the support given by the State to the Romish College of Maynooth.
§ On question that these petitions do lie on the table,
§ MR. LUCAS
, as a point of order, asked whether such a petition as the last referred to could not be fairly objected to on the ground of the disrespectful language in which the Roman Catholics were named? The hon. Gentleman, either in reading the prayer of such petition, or in describing it, bad used the word "Romish" in speaking of the Roman Catholics. That was a nickname which, he submitted, should not be used by any persons when speaking of a large portion of Her Majesty's faithful subjects. He certainly objected to the use of any such name to designate the sect to which he belonged, and he should suggest that the petition, if the expression occurred in it, should not be received until amended by the alteration of the offensive epithet.
would submit that the phrase was objectionable. It was not the first time he had seen it used. He had taken it on himself to strike out such objectionable phrases from any petitions entrusted to him. He thought that the hon. 414 Member for North Warwickshire should consent to have the word struck out.
§ MR. SPOONER
said, that he took a different view of the duty of a Member of Parliament to that of the hon. Member for Montrose. If he saw any objectionable phrases in a petition, he should certainly refuse to present it, but be would not take it on himself to alter a word of it. He did not see that this was at all an objectionable phrase, or that it would induce the House to object to the presentation of the petition. He thought that the word merely expressed the education of the Roman Catholics at Maynooth in a short way—"Romish College." He would certainly prefer to withdraw the petition rather than to alter one word of it.
said, that he, for one, would not give his sanction to the presentation of any petition that conveyed an insult to any religious body or sect, and would request his hon. Friend to withdraw the present one.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
reminded hon. Members that the rule was to receive all petitions unless such as contained language either disrespectful to the House, or libellous towards any individual or any party. Although petitions might be laid on the table of that House, they were afterwards liable to the inspection of the Committee on Public Petitions, with a view of preventing libel or any offensive matter contained therein being published. If the present petition were ordered to be printed, the Committee might, by order of the House, omit those parts which were considered offensive; but under the present circumstances he did not see how the petition complained of could be rejected.
§ Petition ordered to lie on the table.
§ MR. SPOONER
then rose to move the Resolution of which he had given notice:—That this House do resolve itself into a Committee, to consider the Act 8 & 9 Vict., c. 25, being An Act to amend two Acts passed in Ireland for the better education of persons professing the Roman Catholic Religion, and for the better government of the College established at Maynooth for the education of such persons, and also an Act passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for amending the said two Acts, commonly called the last Maynooth Act, with a view to the repeal of those Clauses of the said Act which provide Money Grants in any way to the said College.The hon. Member said, that when, during the last Parliament, he thought it his duty to bring under the consideration of the then existing House of Commons the sys- 415 tem of education carried on at Maynooth, he asked for a Select Committee to inquire into that system. He stated his reasons for so asking—namely, that he was prepared to prove that the education there carried on was injurious to society, detrimental to morality, completely subversive of due allegiance to the Sovereign, and antagonistic to the holy Word of God. He stated that such was his opinion; that he had read many of the books taught at Maynooth, and returned as such, and had examined them. He had then asked the House of Commons for a Committee of Inquiry, because he thought that very few Members had taken the trouble of investigating the system of education pursued in the college; and he knew that many Roman Catholics, both inside and outside the House, knew nothing whatever of the doctrines there inculcated. He had further stated, that one Roman Catholic Member of that House, who was not now a Member of it, when he quoted to him some of the contents of the books used at Maynooth, said to him (Mr. Spooner), "These are not my opinions. If these are taught in the College of Maynooth, the sooner the system is abandoned the better." He (Mr. Spooner) believed also that the public were not at all aware of that system of education, nor of the consequences that followed from it, when year by year they remained content under a charge of 30,000l for the support and encouragement of such a course of education as he then described. But how was he met when he called the attention of the House of Commons to the subject? He was met by no small amount of personal abuse—he was met by imputations of sinister motives—he was charged with endeavouring to raise an electioneering cry; but he was not met with one single denial of the truth of the statement which he had then made. There was no denial that those books from which he quoted were used in the college—there was no denial that those books contained the extracts he had made. And he said that such being admitted, that at once took away the necessity for further inquiry into the system. His charge was fully admitted—that those books were taught there, that that system of education was adopted, and with those admissions he felt that there was really no necessity for inquiry. He would say more; he then moved for an inquiry, not from any doubt respecting the necessity for that inquiry pressing on his mind, but with very con- 416 siderable doubt whether he was right in limiting himself to inquiry, because he feared that, by asking merely for an inquiry into details, it would be considered that he recognised the principle, and thought it was right if the details were correct. He opposed the grant in 1845 on principle; he was then a conscientious and regular supporter of the Peel Government. He held the same opinions now. He asked the House to do then-duty to the country, to do their duty to their Sovereign, and to do their duty to themselves. Each Member of this House was sworn to do the best in his power to support the established institutions of the country in Church and State. ["No, no!"from several Roman Catholic Members.] Then he would refer them to the oaths which they took on entering that House. ["Read, read!"] He would read them. Did any one deny that the Protestant oath was one to uphold the Protestant Church? The words are these which the Protestant Members swore:—I do swear that I will bear faithful and true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and Her will defend to the utmost of my power against all traitorous conspiracies, and all attempts whatsoever which shall be made, against Her person, crown, or dignity.What 'oath had they called on the Sovereign to take? Was She not bound to maintain the Protestant constitution in Church and State? Were they, then, performing their allegiance to the Crown if they neglected to support the Protestant constitution in Church and State? [A laugh.] He said that they might laugh if they pleased; but if there was any meaning in the words, "I will bear faithful and true allegiance" to the Sovereign, they were sworn to defend Her in the performance of those duties which the State imposed on the Sovereign; and one of those duties—the main duty of the Sovereign—was the observance of that upon which the very title of the Crown depended—namely, to support "the Reformed Religion established by Law." Well, what was the Roman Catholic oath?—I do swear that I will defend to the utmost of my power the settlement of property within this realm, as established by the laws. And I do hereby disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to subvert the present Church Establishment as settled by law within this realm. And I solemnly swear that I will never exercise any privilege to which I am or may become entitled, to disturb or weaken the Protestant religion and Government in the United Kingdom. 417 And I do solemnly, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do make this declaration, and every part thereof, in the plain and ordinary sense of the words of this oath, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever.He asked, did not every Member who took that oath solemnly swear that he would do his utmost to preserve the Protestant constitution in Church and State? He said, that if the Protestant Member swore to maintain due allegiance to the Crown, he must recollect that the Crown is bound by an oath to preserve "the Protestant Reformed Religion as established by Law." How then was a Protestant to preserve his allegiance, unless he did everything in his power to support the Sovereign in the discharge of that duty which She had solemnly sworn to discharge? And, as to Roman Catholics, the oath they took expressed in clear words their duty to preserve the Protestant Establishment in Church and State. Let them look, then, to the education taught at May-nooth—he would not go into many details; but he would boldly make this assertion, that the education carried on in the College of Maynooth did really and truly justify that conduct which they all so cordially deprecated—that violent, unconstitutional, and, he would almost say, rebellious conduct which had taken place during the recent elections in Ireland. He said that the education taught in Maynooth justified it; and if any man was brought up and tried for these overt acts of riot and disturbance, he might turn to the books of Maynooth, and say that that House had taught him such conduct—for it paid the priests for teaching him, and he had merely obeyed them. In those books this doctrine was laid down, that every thing must be sacrificed for the interests of the Roman Catholic Church—that an oath was no longer binding on the conscience than was consistent with the interests of that Church—and that no faith was to be kept with heretics, if the interest of that Church should require the obligations of faith to be disregarded. He had proved that these were the doctrines contained in the books of Maynooth; and then, he asked, whether he was using too strong expressions when he said that those who rebelled against the laws of the country were by the act of that House justified in their rebellion, owing to the system of education which they supported in the College of Maynooth? If he were told that further inquiry into the effects of the system taught at Maynooth was required, he answered— 418 Look to Ireland—see what had been going on during the recent elections in that country—mark how the priests had conducted themselves at all the hustings, and how they had boldly carried out the principles in which they were educated; and look to the subsequent declaration of the candidates on the hustings—and he was now speaking in the presence of Members who had sworn not to disturb the constitution in Church and State—did they not one and all declare that they would never be satisfied until they had equality in religion—that they would never rest satisfied while the incubus of the Protestant Church, and the property of the Church itself, existed in Ireland? He was speaking in the presence of hon. Members who had sworn to maintain the constitution in Church and State, and who now declare they will not place their confidence in any Government, unless, forgetful of the oaths they had taken—forgetful of the allegiance they owe their Sovereign, and forgetful of the high duty which they owe to Almighty God—they consent to adopt such measures as were utterly subversive of their most solemn duties both to their Church and the Crown of these realms. He had no hesitation in saying that he would be able to prove what he said. He would just lay before the House certain statements. He did not think hon. Members had a knowledge of many of the facts connected with the proceedings at the hustings during the last elections in Ireland. He would begin with the election for the county of Dublin. In the Evening Mail of the 16th of July last the following statement was made:—In the chapel of Lusk, the priest, addressing the people at mass, called every voter that was at the time in the chapel by name to the altar, and warned them of the strictly religious character of the struggle that was going on, in the face of the whole congregation. He cautioned them against voting under any influence or any circumstance against the Catholic candidate, and said he would be by no means surprised if those who despised his advice and the interests of their Church had their houses burned over their heads.He (Mr. Spooner) had made every inquiry into the accuracy of these statements, and he had not heard that they had been denied or complained of by any of the persons affected by them. Had such statements been published in this country affecting Protestant ministers, the Court of Queen's Bench would have been full of applications for criminal informations from the clergymen, denying on oath the 419 truth of them. There was not a single denial of these statements—on the contrary, they had appeared in the journals belonging to both parties, and where they did not exactly agree in the words, still the similarity of expression and idea which ran through them must lead every candid man to the conclusion that they were true. Moreover, not one of the priests to whom they related had come forward to deny them; and therefore he was bound, and the House was bound, to believe that the statements were accurate. The first extract which he had read had reference to what took place at Lusk, in the county of Dublin. Had any clergyman of the Church of England used such expression, would not the whole country have raised a cry of indignation? In reference to the county of Kilkenny election, the Kilkenny Moderator stated that the most determined persecution of those who voted against their Church had been carried on by the Roman Catholic clergy. It then went on to remark, that on the previous Sunday a man named Patrick Ryan, who had split his vote for Butler and Greene, was going to mass, and just as he dropped his money into the box at the chapel door he was collared, marched out by the direction of the priest, and was handed over to the tender mercies of a savage mob, by whom he was beaten and pelted home with stones. In the county Meath the most galling examples of priestly intimidation had been offered. The following specimen of altar denunciation was uttered on Sunday, exhibiting the way bigotry was carried on in Ireland. Now he (Mr. Spooner) was often called a bigot, but it appeared that bigotry was carried on in Ireland in an improved fashion. It was stated in a Dublin newspaper called Saunders's News Letter, that the priest from the altar of one of the chapels in Meath, addressing the congregation, said to the party addressed, "In the presence of the Most High—before the living God and the crucifix, will you not vote for Lucas? You, Jerry Martin, who will you vote for now?" Again, in the King's County, Saunders's News Letter stated, that the priests were busily engaged disturbing society, agitating the people by their endeavours to return their nominees, and uttering violent harangues, until matters had assumed an aspect that must be regarded with alarm by all who desired the peace of society. It was a crusade against law, and order, and the rights of property, from one end of the 420 country to the other. The most fearful anathemas were threatened on the heads of those who voted against their nominees. On one Sunday such violent language was used at a particular chapel, that the officer in charge of some Roman Catholic soldiers attending mass felt it his duty to order the men to retire from the chapel. Again, in the King's County, it was stated that, at the instigation of the Roman Catholic clergy, those who voted for the candidate opposed to their own nominee were hooted at and driven from their place of worship, and the priests publicly made it known that they would withhold the rites of their Church from those who voted for Captain Bernard. In the Queen's County the same thing took place. The Rev. James Maher, at the Car-low election, said the view into the other world of those electors who voted for Browne was one far from consolatory. But he advised the people to let them go and vote for him, and be damned. Nor was this an exceptional example in that country of the lengths to which men in the position of the Rev. Mr. Maher went on that occasion. More than one clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church in the Queen's County threatened the refusal of the rites of the Church to such of their flocks as voted against their wishes. One of them designated a Mr.—a "black sheep," and then said, "I don't mean to call down the judgment of God upon him; but if he should fall from his horse and break his neck, or if his house or haggard should accidentally take fire, I should not at all wonder." Here was an expression for a priest to use in respect to a man who merely exercised his franchise. He (Mr. Spooner) would next refer to the Water-ford Mail. This paper, quoting from the Carlow Sentinel, gave the exhortation of a priest in that county from the altar, at the period in question. [It was to the effect that every man who did not side with the Church by voting for the popular candidate should be a marked man, and that he should be shunned by all as a person infected—that the people should compel their friends and neighbours to vote, if they even dragged them out of their houses—for that the election was a battle between God and the Devil, and that if they did not win, the nunneries would be broken into, the saints of God ill-treated, and their chapels broken down.] But this was not all. The Carlow Sentinel made a public statement of the persecution to which persons, differing in political opinion from the 421 priests, were exposed. [This statement was, in substance, that two most respectable Roman Catholic policemen, named O'Dea and Mare, who had gone to the chapel at Donegal to hear mass, were received by the crowd with hooting and groaning—that they were prevented from entering the chapel—that they were violently assaulted, and that one of them (O'Dea) was severely injured by a blow of a stone on the head. This arose solely from the activity of these constables in preserving the peace at the election, and protecting the voters who were assailed. The same day, at another chapel, a tenant of Colonel Bruen was assaulted with stones, and bad to be escorted to the barracks by the police for safety.] The Galway correspondence of the Western Star furnished a still further proof of the prevalence of the system of persecution on the part of the priests against the voters who supported the candidates to whom they were op-posed. [This correspondence, which was also read at length by the hon. Gentleman, was to the effect that the Right Rev. Dr. M'Hale had declared no Roman Catholic could vote for Lord Derby's Government except under these circumstances, namely, except he wished Mr. Lacy to empower some fashionable Adonis to invade the sanctity and seclusion of the nunneries—except he wished to have the chapels of their religion wrecked—except he wished to see their priests in prison—except be wished to see the God of heaven, under the form of bread and wine, exposed to blasphemous and sacrilegious outrage, as happened on a late occasion—except he wished to see every procession permitted, save that of Corpus Christi, in which the God of heaven was adored—except he wished the God of heaven should hide his face—except he wished not to see their houses of worship preserved to the people—except he wished to see the bishops and priests undergo heavy penalties for violating an unrighteous law—unless they wished those things, Roman Catholics could not support Lord Derby's Government. On these extracts he (Mr. Spooner) grounded his argument against Maynooth; and he maintained that they afforded in themselves plain and unanswerable proofs that the endowment of that establishment had not answered in any respect whatsoever the purposes for which it was intended. The country and Parliament were then told how desirable it was that the priests, who were entrusted with the teaching of so 422 many millions of their fellow-subjects, should be educated at home in habits of loyalty to the Crown, and of intercourse with their Protestant fellow-subjects, and how advantageous it would be to the State that they should not receive a foreign education, which would necessarily alienate them from their allegiance, but a domestic education, which would make them loyal subjects and good citizens, and that when that was the case they would no longer be exposed to that system of bigotry which had been so long complained of by almost every Government that had attempted to rule Ireland. He asked, was that part of the case carried out in this instance? On the contrary, he argued, that as far as any expectation of good from Maynooth, of that nature, was in question, that expectation was a decided failure. He did not mean to quarrel with the views of those who had established Maynooth; he believed they were sincere, hut he also believed they acted in ignorance—at all events, what he insisted on was, that they had been most grievously disappointed in their views. If this was the fact—and he defied any other inference—then he submitted that a clear case was made out as against Maynooth; and, therefore, that Parliament was bound to withdraw from that establishment the support and countenance it had hitherto received from the country. But it was urged by some there was a compact, and that this compact should not be broken. Was that the fact? Did any such compact exist as between the Government of the day and the College of Maynooth on its first foundation? Let them look back to the history of that college. When Maynooth was first mooted, it was on a most respectful and most humble representation of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland to the Irish Government. They did not ask for money—they spoke not a word of endowment; all they desired was that they should be allowed by law to educate the children of their own faith, intended for the priesthood, at their own expense, in their own country, at their own college. The request seemed very plausible and reasonable; it was made with promises large, liberal, and abundant; and if it had stopped there no one would have a right to find fault with compliance. There was, however, it would be seen, no endowment then; therefore, no compact. But this would be perceived quite clearly from the Right Rev. Dr. Troy's-memorial, presented to the Earl of Westmoreland, 423 then Viceroy of Ireland, en the 17th of January, 1794, four years before the rebellion. That document ran thus:—MEMORIAL OF ROMAN CATHOLIC PRELATES, IRE-LAND, TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND, JANUARY, 1794.Under the laws which formerly existed, your memorialists were obliged to resort to foreign countries for education, particularly to the kingdom of France, where they had secured many valuable establishments. Four hundred persons were constantly maintained and educated therein for the Ministry of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland.In the anarchy which at present afflicts that kingdom these establishments have been necessarily destroyed.Your memorialists, therefore, are apprehensive that it may be found difficult to supply the Ministry of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland with proper clergymen, unless seminaries, &c, be instituted for educating the youth destined to receive holy orders according to the discipline of their own Church, and under ecclesiastical superiors of their own communion.And they beg leave further to represent (with all due respect and deference to your Excellency's wisdom), that the said institution would prove of advantage to the nation at large, and be a matter of great indulgence to Her Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion.There was no compact here—no title to a claim of any kind upon the forbearance of Parliament; it was asked as a matter of indulgence, and was granted as such; and yet it was now urged that inasmuch as a compact existed, it was not competent for Parliament to interfere in the matter with any semblance of justice. The memorial then went on to say, that though the mode of education in the University of Dublin might be good in itself, it was inapplicable to the instruction of ecclesiastics intended for the Roman Catholic Church in the ritual of their religion; and it finished by stating, that being advised that His Majesty's consent was necessary to the establishment of such seminary, they prayed, therefore, his Excellency to grant the Royal licence for it, under due ecclesiastical superintendence. It appeared that Mr. Pitt and the Government of the day received this application favourably, and were induced to grant the prayer of the memorial, which act of grace was received with the most grateful acknowledgments on the part of the memorialists, and reiterated promises of obedience, duty, perfect content, and, above all, of noninterference with the Church as by law established in Ireland. But things were altered now—he was speaking in the presence of hon. Members in that House who were pledged not to support any Govern- 424 ment until equality in religion was established; and among these was the hon. Member on the left (Mr. Lucas). He (Mr. Spooner) would next come to the Report of the Commission of 1826 and 1827, appointed to inquire into Maynooth; and, with the permission of the House, he would read a passage or two from that document (pp. 44. 46). The Irish Roman Catholic Prelates, the founders of Maynooth, haying informed the Court of Rome that the British Government had given a licence to found that college, the following reply was sent from the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda at Rome, July, 1794:—As the affection of the Sacred Congregation towards the ancient Church of Ireland was always firm and constant, so that whatever afflictions befel it our sympathy was great—drawn from our very heart—so now, in more happy times, as the, partners of your joys, the Sacred Congregation rejoices not less for itself than for you, congratulating you upon the good news which was lately signified to us by your letters, namely, upon the excellent and munificent liberality of your most potent and gracious King and his august Senate, in granting you the licence and faculty for erecting and instituting a suitable seminary, in order to prepare young men for the Ministry.Concerning this happy and prosperous event, whilst we are found in the first instance to render thanks to the great and good Dispenser of all benefits, yet at the same time it may be most anxiously expected of you (and which we doubt not you will be sedulous to perform), that, in the acceptance of this so great a benefit, you will prove yourselves worthy of the favour of all that dutifulness of the mind which is suitable to the occasion.For, whilst it would be wrong to be wanting in this duty, even towards those who have afflicted us, how much more is it due from us towards those by whose goodness we are thus relieved, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all piety. Taking good heed that the youth learn to be sober, prudent, chaste, modest—not covetous, not given to wine, not disposed to wrangle and quarrel (non litigiosi)—giving no offence to any one—preserving the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.And also you shall often and earnestly admonish them to be subject to princes and the higher powers, that their rulers may never repent of having conferred on Catholics such costly favours, but, on the contrary, may from time to time applaud themselves for having bestowed such benefits upon Catholics.And so much the more it becomes them, that they have implanted in them that homage of inviolable fidelity towards the higher powers, so congenial to the Catholic profession, and which is, divinely prescribed by apostolic demand, and which ye well know has been so sacredly and anxiously commended to his children in every part of the world by the Sacred College.The parties thus addressed (the trustees), being the Roman Catholic prelates, replied— 425It shall be in our heart, by every suitable indication of the mind, to prove ourselves worthy of the distinguished favours received from the munificence and liberality of our Most Serene King and his august senate, and also for so prosperous an event to render immortal thanks to the great and good Author of all benefits.But while promising these things, and while professing to instil those principles into the minds of the pupils, and to hold inviolate the Established Church—while they were expressing their gratification and pleasure at what had been done—would the House believe that in the very same document the College of the Propaganda called on the prelates of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, the founders of Maynooth, to teach, above all other doctrines in that seminary, the doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas. It only showed how careless men in power were at the period, or how little they suspected those with whom they had to deal in the matter; for he (Mr. Spooner) could not for a moment doubt that a knowledge on then-parts, however slight, of what these doctrines were, would have placed them on their guard, and interfered with the foundation of Maynooth—at least to the extent of preventing these doctrines being taught in that establishment. What said that most learned and most celebrated of the Roman Catholic casuists—that Angelical Doctor, whose works were of such high authority on points of faith and doctrine in the Roman Catholic Church? In the works of Thomas Aquinas (Secundœ Secundœ, Quest, xii., Art. 2), the discussion is raised—Whether a Sovereign, on account of apostacy from the faith, loses dominion over his subjects, so that they are not bound to obey him?(Strictly a case for the Roman Catholic subjects of the Queen.) To this he replies by citing negative reasons, which he supposes to be advanced, as—first, that Julian the Apostate had Christian soldiers in his army; secondly, that Joseph, Daniel, and Nehemiah served heathen princes; thirdly, that all sins, as well as apostacy, are departures from God, and no ruler is free from sin; and then he adds:—But opposed to all these (negations of the proposition) is that which Pope Gregory VII. (Hildebrand) says:—We, holding the statutes of our sacred predecessors, absolve, by apostolical authority, those Subjects (Popish) who are bound to excommunicated persons by fealty or by the sacrament of an oath. We absolve them from the sacrament of their oath, and by all means we prohibit them to observe faith towards thorn till they (the apostate sovereigns) make satisfaction.'426 And Thomas Aquinas continues:—But apostates from the faith are excommunicated, as also heretics, as the decretal says elsewhere concerning heretics (ad abolendam, &c.) Therefore, obedience is not to be rendered to sovereigns who are apostate from the faith.Having thus suffered the disputants to argue pro and con, he delivers his own decision as moderator of the discussion;—I answer by saying that, as is above stated, infidelity of itself is not repugnant to dominion, and that because dominion is established by the laws of nations, which laws are human laws. But according to the Divine law, there is this distinction between fidelity and infidelity, which does not take away or abolish human law. But yet any sovereign sinning by reason of infidelity may, sententially, lose the right of dominion, as well as on account of any other fault. To the Church, however, it docs not appertain to punish infidelity in those who never received the faith according to what the Apostle says, 'What have I to do to judge them who are without?' (outside). But the infidelity of those who have received the faith (which is done by baptism itself) may be sententially (or after sentence pronounced) punished, and most properly may such sovereigns be thus punished.He (Mr. Spooner) next came to the Papal bull called In Cœna Domini, on account of its being issued by the reigning Pontiff on the festival of the Church to commemorate the Lord's Supper, and sometimes called the Bull Pastoralis, from the first word of the document, which is considered to be in perpetual and peculiar force, being promulgated yearly, on Thursday in Passion week, at Rome, with great solemnity, and it may be also in Ireland and in England. It annually absolved Her Majesty's subjects from their allegiance. That this bull is deemed to be universally binding and in force is strongly urged by Reiffenstuel, a great standard of Maynooth on canon law, who states (p. 554, lib. v., tit. xxxix., sec. iv. No. 130), that the excommunications of this bull have a special importance—that any absolution from them is reserved to the Pope himself, both as to the regulars and all others—and that no one else Can absolve from the anathema and universal sentence, save in articulo mortis; and he twice states that no plea in any country, as to its not having been received, can at all avail, and he severely censures all who have delayed to put it in force; so that the pleas of Dr. Slevin and others, before the Commissioners of 1826–7, that it was "not received," "not published," "not in force," ? and Dr. Doyle's statement, on his oath, before the Lords' Committee—"We have never received it, and surely never 427 will," was in direct contradiction to their highest compiler and expounder of the canon law. In another place he calls it justissma et sanctissima. This hull excommunicates every Protestant in the world—anathematises him and all his friends and helpers—their state, grade, condition—their universities, colleges, books, and their printers, and more especially those who place themselves in hostility to the cardinals and the prelates of the Church of Rome. But it has been proved before the University of Dublin that this bull is received. Next, a canon of Pope Urban II. (canon 23) says: "We do not consider those as homicides who, burning with zeal for the Catholic Church against excommunicated persons, happen to have killed any of them." This should bring to the recollection of the House the declaration of Dr. Wiseman when he came into this country, that his main object was the re-establishment of the canon law. But who are those excommunicated persons? Who are those heretics? The Roman Catholic Church, as was shown in the evidence of the Maynooth professor, Dr. Slevin (p. 219), claimed all persons whomsoever, if once baptized Christians, in whatever denomination of Christianity they might be baptized, as members of the Catholic, that is, the Roman Catholic Church, and all such per-sons who, having been so baptized, thereafter did not continue of the Roman Catholic Church, were, by the Roman Catholics, regarded as heretics. Her Most Gracious Majesty came, of course, within this category; and, accordingly, from allegiance to Her Majesty, as being so heretic and excommunicate, all Her Majesty's subjects were annually absolved by this bull in Cœna. Even but for this reason alone he (Mr. Spooner) contended that the College of Maynooth, inculcating those doctrines, having these works as their classics, ought no longer to be permitted. It was a sufficiently great and crying sin with us that it had so long already been suffered to continue. Many persons were hardly aware of the law of the Roman Catholic Church as regarded heretics. The most learned and most pious Thomas further, in his Secundœ Secundœ, Quest, xi., Art. 3, discusses, in the usual method of the schools the question, "Are heretics to be tolerated?" On this he says very coolly—About heretics two things are to he considered; one on their part, and one on the part of the Church. On their parts is the sin (heresy), by 428 which they not only deserve to be separated form-the Church by excommunication but also to be excluded from the world by death.Let the House bear in mind what the Maynooth professor of ethics, Dr. M'Nally, who was examined by the Commissioners of 1826–27 says, page 144, Appendix of the Report, "In explaining parts of the course of my lectures I have occasion to direct the student's attention to a variety of books, principally the following—St. Thomas Aquinas, of whose Secundœ Secundœ I have often spoken in terms of the highest commendation, being in my opinion one of the best treatises on ethics." Thomas Aquinas proceeds:—On the part of the Church there is pity for the conversion of such as are in error, and therefore she does not immediately condemn. But at last, if he is found pertinacious, the Church, no longer having hope of his conversion, provides for the safety of others, in cutting him off by a sentence of excommunication, and finally relinquishes him to the secular magistrate to be exterminated from this world by death.He (Mr. Spooner) next came to another shining light and supereminent authority among the Roman Catholics, Cardinal Bel-larmine. His work, De Verbo Dei, is a. standard at Maynooth—his other works, though not on the list, may be supposed as approved. He is no worse than Aquinas on this point of heretics. Bellarmine discusses in his work about the laity this proposition—"That heretics can be condemned by the Church to temporal punishments, and even can be punished with death." This he attempts to prove—first, by Scripture; second, by the laws of Emperors; third, by the laws of the Church; fourth, by testimony of the Fathers; fifth, by reason. Leaving at present the other proofs, we will select that "by reason." On this he says—First, heretics may be justly excommunicated, as all acknowledge; and, therefore, may be put to death. The consequent is proved, because excommunication is a much greater punishment than death. Secondly, experience teaches us there is no other remedy, for the Church has advanced by degrees, and has tried every remedy. If you threaten them with pecuniary fines, they neither fear God nor regard man, well knowing that fools will not be wanting to believe them by whom they will be supported. If you throw them into prison or send them into exile, they corrupt their neighbours by their language, and those who are at a distance by their books; therefore the only remedy is to send them speedily to their proper place.Fifthly. There are three causes which teach us that such men should be put to death.The first is, that the bad may not injure the good.…. The third is, because it is 429 often useful to the condemned themselves to be put to death [how considerate!], since, indeed, they always become worse, and it is not possible they will ever return to a sound mind.Now, all these reasons," concludes the Cardinal, "convince us that heretics are to he put to death; for, first, they injure those they come in contact with; in the next place, their punishment benefits a good number…—and we daily-see this effect in those places where the Inquisition flourishes; finally, it is an act of kindness to obstinate heretics, for the longer they live the more errors they invent, the more men do they pervert, and the greater damnation they acquire to themselves.Referring to one plea suggested by the parable of the tares, "Let both grow together till harvest," he proceeds:—When, therefore, the Lord prohibits us to extirpate all the bad, he does not prohibit that this or that man should be slain; for that could not be done without great loss to the good. If, indeed, it can he done, they ought, indeed, undoubtedly, to be extirpated; but if they cannot, cither because they are not sufficiently known, or that the innocent should suffer for the guilty, or if they are stronger than we are, and there is danger if we attack them in war that more of us would fall than of them, then we arc to keep quiet.Such was the spirit and morality of the class-books of that college, for which England, for which the British Empire—paid. Earnestly, however, did he trust, fervently did he pray, that the Legislature would no longer continue in this course he had no hesitation in saying that such teaching as this was altogether destructive of sound morality, destructive of the principles of allegiance to the Throne, destructive of all true religion, and that it was a great national sin and a desertion of that Protestant character, the benefits of which we had been permitted to enjoy for so many years, when the rest of the world was convulsed with anarchy, to be a party to its encouragement. They might rest assured that as soon as Great Britain abandoned her faith, that moment she abandoned the highest privilege she possessed, and gave up all ground for expecting the continuance of the Divine blessing. He knew he should be termed bigot and enthusiast; but he could not help that. He should not thereby he deterred from performing what he conceived to be his duty to his God and his country. England owed much to her having been permitted te maintain her Protestant character; on the maintenance of that character depended the continuance of her right to hope in the blessings and providence of God, and he solemnly and religiously believed that it would be the greatest misfortune that could possibly be- 430 fall her, when as a nation she ceased to enjoy those privileges.
But he might be told that the works from which he bad read extracts were old school-books, which were not in use in the present day—that they were not the ordinary practice books of Maynooth; and Archbishop Cullen, who had done him the honour to notice him, said they were beyond his (Mr. Spooner's) depth—that Protestants must not imagine they understood the real meaning of these things, or that their reading of them was that of the Roman Catholics; and he had endeavoured to show that the plain English meaning was not their true meaning. It was not, however, the school-books alone that taught these doctrines; for he held in his hand a Roman Catholic review, called the Rambler, as great an authority with hon. Gentlemen on his left (the Roman Catholic Members) as either the Quarterly Review to Conservatives, or the Edinburgh Review to Whigs. What said the author of this work? Let hon. Gentlemen who had hitherto acted upon the principle of conciliation attend to it:—It is difficult to say in which of the two popular expressions—the rights of civil liberty,' or 'the rights of religious liberty,'—is embodied the greatest amount of nonsense and falsehood.How could Lord John Russell with any decency persecute the Catholics, unless he protested that he did it in this sacred name? [Liberty of Conscience.] And how could he, and the rest of the wealthy men who sit on the Treasury and Opposition benches, continue to make laws for the special benefit of the rich and titled, except by solemnly asserting that it was all done for the furtherance of 'the blessings of civil liberty, which are the inalienable birthright of every Briton?'Let this pass, then, in the case of Protestants and politicians. But how can it be justified in the case of Catholics, who are the children of a Church which has ever avowed the deepest hostility to the principle of 'religious liberty,' and which never has given the shadow of a sanction to the theory, that 'civil liberty,' as such, is necessarily a blessing at all? How intolerable it is to see this miserable device for deceiving the Protestant world still so widely popular amongst us; We say,' for deceiving the Protestant world; though we are far enough from implying that there is not many a Catholic who really imagines himself to be a votary of 'religious liberty,' and is confident that if the tables were turned, and the Catholics were uppermost in the land, he would in all circumstances grant others the same unlimited toleration he now demands for himself. Still, let our Catholic tolerationist he ever so sincere, he is only sincere because he does not take the trouble to look very closely into his own convictions. His great object is to silence Protestants, or to persuade them to let him alone; and as he certainly feels no personal malice against them, and laughs at their creed quite as cordially 431 as he hates it, he persuades himself that he is telling the exact truth when he professes to be an advocate of religious liberty, and declares that 'no man ought to be coerced on account of his conscientious convictions.' The practical result is, that now and then, but very seldom, Protestants are blinded, and are ready to clasp their unexpected ally in a fraternal embrace.They are deceived, we repeat, nevertheless. Believe us not, Protestants of England and Ireland, for an instant, when you see us pouring forth our liberalisms. When you hear a Catholic orator at some public assemblage declaring solemnly that this is the most humiliating day in his life, when he is called upon to defend once more the glorious principle of religious freedom'—(especially if he says anything about the Emancipation Act and the 'toleration' it conceded to Catholics)—be not too simple in your credulity. These are brave words, but they mean nothing; no, nothing more than the promises of a Parliamentary candidate to his constituents on the hustings. He is not talking Catholicism, but nonsense and Protestantism; and he will no more act on these notions in different circumstances, than you now act on them yourselves in your treatment of him. You ask, if he were lord in the land, and you were in a minority, if not in numbers yet in power, what would he do to you? That, we say, would entirely depend upon circumstances. If it would benefit the cause of Catholicism, he would tolerate you; if expedient, he would imprison you, banish you, fine you; possibly, he might even hang you. But be assured of one thing: he would never tolerate you for the sake of the 'glorious principles of civil and religious liberty.' If he tolerated you—and most likely, as a matter of fact, he would tolerate you—it would be solely out of regard to the interests of the Catholic Church, which he would think to be best served by letting you alone.Here, then, was what he found in this Roman Catholic magazine, and he hesitated not to say, that it answered well to the character of the hon. Member (Mr. Lucas) who vindicated the conduct of the Grand Duke of Tuscany on a former evening, and arraigned the Protestants of England for having lifted their voice in the cause of religious liberty. At the present moment in Tuscany, the Madiai had practical experience of these doctrines; and he (Mr. Spooner) charged Her Majesty's Government, responsible as they were to their country, the Crown, and, above all, to that Great Being to whom all men were responsible, not to trifle with this important matter, but to arrest their steps in that dangerous course which they had too long been pursuing. The interests of the country, of the Church, and of sound religion, all depended upon the policy they adopted in the present juncture. He implored them, therefore, to think of the tremendous responsibility that devolved upon them; to take the warnings of history, no longer submit to be deluded, and to throw a glance back at the deception which had been going on for, the last thirty years. 432 Let them remember that Maynooth was founded upon professions of pence, that it soon after became a claimant for money, and that in an evil day and hour that lamented statesman, Sir Robert Peel, yielded: the principle to which he had long adhered, gave up the outward bulwark of the Constitution which he had previously felt it his duty to defend, accorded the protection of this nation to the idolatrous system of the Catholic religion, and abandoned all the principles for which our ancestors had bled, in the vain hope that he was dealing with men who would be grateful for the benefits conferred upon them. Sir Robert Peel had yielded, in fact, that which he (Mr. Spooner) then asked the Government to take back. He would warn them that if they continued the present system they would do it at their peril; and they might rely upon it that one day they would be called upon to give an account of their conduct, not only to their country, but also before the bar of the Eternal Judge. The writer of the article in the Rambler proceeded to say that if Protestants were tolerated by Roman Catholics, it would be solely out of regard to the interests of the Catholic: Church, which they would deem to be best served by such toleration. That was the principle upon which their toleration was founded—the good of the Church—and it guided them in all their proceedings. Where the dignity, the honour, and the interests of the Church were concerned, everybody and everything was required to-be sacrificed by the Roman Catholic. This was no trifling or unimportant matter. It was one upon which the country deeply felt. The measure of 1845 was carried against the plainest, most forcible, and undoubted expression of opinion on the part of the nation, which had felt sore upon the subject ever since. It had rankled in the bosom of the public to this day; and he could tell them now, however much they might think that public feeling was asleep, that it still existed in the breasts of millions of their fellow subjects, and that sooner or later it would burst out. The right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty (Sir James Graham) would pardon him if he called to his recollection the reasons which had induced him to support the Bill of 1845, and the large hopes he then expressed of the happy results of that measure. On the 21st of May, 1845, the right hon. Gentleman said—But, more than this, notwithstanding their 433 sacred education and their devotion to sacred subjects, these priests, after all, are men; they partake of the passions and feelings of men; if you treat them unkindly they will and they do resent injury, oppression, and wrong. If you treat them kindly, it is not because they are pious and devout that I can believe that they will be ungrateful; and it is my strong persuasion that if by the liberality of this grant you alter the recollections of Maynooth—if, instead of the priests looking back to the period spent there as to a time of privation, while they were told that the State was making a provision for them, they shall look back to it as to a time of comparative comfort, duo to the liberality of the Imperial Parliament—my firm conviction is, that the priests will leave Maynooth with very different feelings towards the Legislature of this country; and whereas on many occasions they are now described as being political enemies, we may then hope in many cases to find them attached political friends."—[3 Hansard, Ixxx. 703.]Had that been the ease? Had not Ireland, ever since the year 1845, been day by day getting more and more difficult to manage—had it not been the burden and difficulty of every successive Government? Had they found the priests engaged in soothing the passions of the people—in teaching them obedience to the laws—and in impressing upon them the duty of preserving peace and order? On the contrary, it was the fact that the Roman Catholic priests had been frequently the main instigators to the mischief committed by the people; and when we remonstrated with the latter, uneducated men as they were, and seeing what was the nature of the language constantly emanating from the Roman Catholic pulpits in Ireland, could we wonder at it if the people turned round and said, "Why, you sent the priests here to teach us these doctrines; you have no business, therefore to find fault with us." They were, in fact, justified rebels—justified by the conduct of the Government. And what were the doctrines in respect to confession? In July, 1825, Dr. Doyle, the late Roman Catholic Bishop of Kildare, giving evidence upon the seal of confession, stated, in answer to questions put to him, that a priest could not take any measures to prevent the execution of a crime the intention to commit which was divulged to him in confession. Being asked, "When crimes, such as murder or treason, are revealed in confession, is the confessor bound to disclose it?" the reply of Dr. Doyle was, that he was bound not to disclose it, if it had been communicated to him under the seal of confession; that a confessor could not reveal a crime which he knew was about to 434 be committed; that he could not warn the object of the crime that he was about to be attacked; that after the crime was committed he could not divulge the name of the murderer, because all communications made to him in confession were inviolate. Could any social government continue if this doctrine were general throughout the country? Let them look to Ireland, where there were murders daily occurring which we could not prevent, and to the verdicts of juries who would not convict. He did not blame the unfortunate jurors, who were taught that oaths might be dispensed with, and that they were bound to speak the truth so far only as was consistent with the advantage of "the Church," for they had learnt from men whom we paid to teach them; and upon us rested all the blame, disgrace, and responsibility. A Roman Catholic priest was once asked to sign some address, and he promised to comply. But afterwards being assured by some brother priest that it would be for the good of the Church not to do so, he broke his promise. His defence was that he had not given a "solemn" promise, but a "serious" one; and in his justification he quoted the authority of St. Thomas Aquinas, who held that a man was not guilty of an untruth in such a case, because when he promised he intended to perform his promise; nor was he unfaithful to that promise, because the circumstances were changed. Thus, circumstances being changed, therefore that which was binding in some circumstances was no longer binding in others. Well, suppose the possibility of the Pope of Rome sending a force for the invasion of this country: the "circumstances are changed," and, according to this doctrine of St. Thomas Aquinas, the oath of allegiance itself might be dispensed with—all obligation to observe it would have ceased to exist, and men would no longer be bound by that which they had solemnly promised to observe. Again, he entreated them to look back to the whole history of this grant. It was first granted to the Roman Catholics when they were weak and poor. They were then suppliants at the door of Parliament. They pleaded only for "toleration;" and they told a plaintive story about their desire to educate their priests. After that, grants were made—but no endowment. There was nothing like an endowment until the year 1845, and not even an annual grant. Sometimes the grant was suspended, sometimes diminished, and some- 435 times increased; but there was nothing like what would lead them to suppose they were acting under a "compact." It was an annual concession, made most injudiciously; but no such reason as that was alleged for it by the Roman Catholics. If there were a compact, there must have been two parties to it, and when one gave, the other must have yielded something in return. But what did the Roman Catholics yield? The fact was that the concession was made upon promises which had been broken, and upon expectations that had not, and never would be, realised. Away, then, said he, with all idea about a "compact." There was none whatever in the case. If, however, the House would permit him to go into Committee, he would admit the existence of a compact so far as any case of personal grievance was concerned; such, for instance, as a professor at Maynooth who had resigned an income for the purpose of taking a professorship there, or other party who had a life interest, but nothing more. When the money was first granted, the Roman Catholics were poor, and it was represented that parents had not the means of providing for the education of their children. But could such a plea as that be put forward now? Where was the money found for building the Roman Catholic chapels which were springing up in various parts of the country? And then, as to the Queen's College, was not that institution positively laughed at by the Roman Catholics? Was that an indication of poverty? Wherever one went, in all the suburbs of our towns, in all our rural retreats, our picturesque lanes, in every direction, Roman Catholic convents or cathedrals were springing up. At this moment England was full of Romanist agents—full of men who were undermining the institutions of the country in the most Jesuitical manner possible. Acting upon the directions of Father Ignatius (late the Rev. Mr. Spencer), they were invading our very homes, and thrusting themselves into Protestant families—deeming no occupation too humble so that they might be considered true and faithful members of the Church by forwarding the interests of their blighting religion. He knew he should be told that in this House they had no business with such discussions. He confessed he hated them as much as any man; and it was with great reluctance he felt constrained to introduce them. He did not hesitate to say, however, that by supporting Popery we were supporting idolatry— 436 supporting those who deprived the people of the Word of God, and in its stead presenting the miserable delusion of the Romish Church, whose priests pretended to absolve from sins, administered extreme unction, and under the promise of diminishing the pains of purgatory got possession of the effects of men on their death-beds, and all this under the garb of religion. Unless the Parliament and people of England had the courage to stop them, these men would go on until, from being originally suppliants, they would become masters; then it would be seen and. felt, that whilst seeking toleration, and preaching civil and religious liberty, their sole object had been to exercise the most galling political and ecclesiastical tyranny. He called upon the Government and the House of Commons, therefore, to come forward and rescue the country from its impending danger, to stand fast by their Protestant principles, to throw themselves on the Protestant feelings of the people, and they might rest assured that they would be able to set at naught all opposition from whatever quarter it might come. They might depend upon it the people of England would not tamely submit to be placed under the Roman yoke. As good and loyal subjects, they had yielded much to our statesmen, hut to Rome and the Popery of Rome they would never bow the neck. In the present crisis they appealed to the Protestant Government of this Protestant country—the Protestant Ministers of a Protestant Sovereign—to adhere firmly to those principles by the maintenance of which the Throne had been kept in safety and security, and our blessed constitution in Church and State had been established and perfected. Let them fear God and do their duty. He would now propose the Motion of which he had given notice.
§ MR. JAMES MACGREGOR
would ask leave of the House to be permitted to state on what ground he seconded the Motion. He was an independent Member, bound to no party, determined to speak his mind, and tender his vote on all questions which, in his humble judgment, tended to the good of the, country. With these views, he presumed to offer to the House his perfect conviction of the necessity of an inquiry into the statements which had been advanced by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. He believed there was a large and an influential body in the country, belonging to the middle class like himself, who took a deep interest in the question, and who were exceedingly dissatisfied with the state of 437 things which existed at the College of Maynooth. If therefore they were wrong in the apprehensions they entertained, and if the hon. Gentleman was wrong in what he had advanced, the proper way to disabuse them of their error was, for the supporters of Maynooth to meet the case by inquiry, and to refute the charges by evidence—["Oh, oh!"]—but surely if hon. Gentlemen on his left (the Roman Catholic Members) shrank from inquiry, the House and the public would consider there was something behind the scenes which they did not desire should come to light. If a Select Committee was appointed, evidence would be obtained to show whether the House would be justified in adopting the course recommended to it. ["No!"] The hon. Gentleman, he understood, wished to put the Question before a Select Committee. [An Hon. MEMBER: There is no Committee proposed.] Well, then, whether the House determined to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, in order to meet the hon. Gentleman's Motion, or to have a fairly-selected Committee, the same end would be kept in view, that of determining by inquiry whether his hon. Friend's statements were or were not founded in truth. He was not afraid of the charge of bigotry on account of the course he now took. He was the friend of the principles of civil and religious liberty to all, and his vote should always be in favour of those principles. But he felt at the same time that such statements as had been laid before the House ought to be rebutted and shown to be false; and this could only be done through a Committee of Inquiry, before whom evidence was given. If the College of Maynooth was really that valuable place of education for the Irish Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty as its friends insisted upon, then there could be nothing in that establishment which those friends would not desire to see ventilated and made thoroughly public. But if, on the other hand, it was shown by inquiry that the tenets inculcated at Maynooth were not in accordance with the good government of the realm—if it was opposed to the rights of our Protestant Sovereign, and to a constitution founded on Protestant principles—it was due to the Crown, to the constitution, and to the country, that an inquiry should take place. He thought no one could fairly shrink from inquiry on those grounds, whether that inquiry were made by a Committee of the whole House, 438 or by a selected Committee. He must, however, avow he had a strong conviction there was but too much truth in the statements which had been laid before the House that night by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. He would state this conviction without fear, and at the same time declare he should be glad to learn that he was mistaken in that conviction, and that no doctrines were taught at Maynooth but those which were consonant with civil and religious liberty, and with the free enjoyment of the rights of conscience. He bad heard that much bribery prevailed at the recent elections in Ireland; but what bribery was so terrible as priestly denunciations and threats from the altar, which not only affected the voter here, but were also believed to affect him hereafter? There was no bribery so fearful, so terrible as that. If a Committee of the whole House were a proper course, then he trusted Her Majesty's Government would join in supporting the Motion. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Pal-merston) had enunciated to the House the other evening, in language that could not be surpassed, principles which could not be too much admired. He told the House what were the principles which had guided his public conduct in the conflict in Switzerland, and in the affairs of the little island in the South Sea. The same principles, he hoped, would induce the House to take up the present question, in order to ascertain whether the statements made by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire were right or wrong; and, if right, to take measures to correct the wrong, by withdrawing a grant which in that case it would be disgraceful to a country to continue, where free principles and freedom of conscience wore recognised. He begged leave to second the Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That this House do resolve itself into a Committee, to consider the Act 8 & 9 Vict. c. 25, being An Act to amend two Acts passed in Ireland for the better education of persons professing the Roman Catholic religion, and for the better government of the College established at Maynooth for the education of such persons, and also an Act passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for amending the said two Acts, commonly called the last Maynooth Act, with a view to the repeal of those Clauses of the said Act which provide Money Grants in any way to the said College.
§ MR. SCHOLEFIELD
then rose to move the following Amendment:— 439To leave out all the words after the word 'consider,' and to substitute the following words: All enactments now in force whereby the revenue of the State is charged in aid of any ecclesiastical or religious purposes whatsoever, With a view to the repeal of such enactments.'In moving this Amendment he congratulated himself that its terms did not call upon him to enter into the controversial topics which had formed almost exclusively the staple of the speech of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire on that occasion, as they had done on several former occasions. He willingly left those matters to he dealt with by those whose peculiar tastes led them in that direction, or by those who, from their connexion with the particular religion attacked, might deem it to be their duty to answer the statements that had been brought forward. But, whether those statements Were true or not—whether the Roman Catholic religion were all that the hon. Gentleman had called it or not—he maintained that the proposition embodied in his Amendment would be found equally true in either case, and equally entitled to the support of all who professed the principle of religious equality. And when he used the words "religious equality," he did not mean that equality which implied religious freedom in this country, and persecution in other countries. If there were any such claimants of religious equality present—and he confessed that, having listened to the debate the other evening, he did not think there were any professed advocates of such equality in the House—but if there were any such, either in or out of the House, he begged to says that he had no manner of sympathy with them, and no common opinions with them on the subject. But while he, in common with his hon. Friend (Mr. Spooner), desired to get rid of the Maynooth endowment, there were some points on which he did not agree with him. He did not by any means share in the unfounded fears which seemed to pervade the mind of his hon. Friend, as they did those of others, as to the danger of our Protestant institutions. He called upon his hon. Friend to discard those fears, and to have greater confidence in our Protestant institutions, which he believed would never be so secure as they would be when they abandoned the aid of the State, and relied entirely upon their own inherent strength and purity. He begged to say, also, that while he was as anxious as his hon. Friend could be to 440 see the Maynooth endowment withdrawn, feeling, with him, that the result of it was the promotion of error, yet he could not help remembering that what Was error to him was truth to others; and hare in lay the great difference between his hon. Friend and himself. His hon. Friend was always thinking of one set of consciences, namely, Protestant consciences. He never seemed to think that Acts of Parliament giving endowments and grants to Protest ants did quite as much violence to the con-sciences of Roman Catholics as this Roman Catholic endowment did to his own. He had yet to learn that the consciences of Roman Catholics did not deserve and demand as tender treatment at the hands of the House as the conscience of his hon. Friend himself. He (Mr. Scholefield) claimed religious freedom for himself; but, while he did so, he confessed he was quite as willing to give as to take. But his hon. Friend would probably say that he had no intention whatever of interfering with the full right of the Roman Catholics to carry-on their worship in any way they pleased—:that the law at present did not interfere with them—and that he did not propose to alter the law. He would not stop to dispute the matter with his hon. Friend, although he might point out to him that several statutes still existed which imposed upon the Roman Catholics disabilities of a. somewhat onerous character. He would assume, however, that his hon. Friend was correct, but he would remind him that the absence of penal statutes did not alone constitute religious liberty; for it appeared to him the principle of religious liberty was violated, though in a lesser degree, by the denial of equal privileges, as well as by direct acts of persecution. If the State encouraged one particular sect by endowments, it might be said, pro tanto, to persecute all the other sects from Whom they withheld similar encouragement; for, until all sects were placed upon one and the same footing, complete effect would not be: given to the great principle of religious liberty. It was upon that principle that the Amendment of which he had given notice was founded. The Maynooth endowment existed under the authority of a special Act of Parliament; but that was not the only endowment of a religious character which so existed. There were a large number of endowments of a similar kind; and this explained why, in speaking of endowments, he did not allude, either, in 441 his Amendment or in his present observations, to the Regium Donum. That grant did not come under the terms of his Amendment, for it was not founded upon any Act of Parliament, but upon an annual grant of that House, and was subject to yearly revision; and he sincerely hoped the day was not distant when it would be removed from the Estimates either by the Government itself or by the House, There were, however, a number of Acts of Parliament which were in the same position as the Act for the endowment of Maynooth. He held in his hand a return which was laid before the House last year upon the Motion of an hon. and learned Gentleman, who, he regretted to say, was not now a Member of the House. He meant Mr. Anstey, of whom he bogged, in passing, to say that he had done his part in the cause of religious liberty under circumstances of singular difficulty. From that return he found that there were a large number of endowments under Acts of Parliament, three or four of which he would take the liberty of reading to the House. He found, for example, that there was an endowment of 20,300l. per annum for the salaries and expenses of the ecclesiastical establishment in the West Indies; another of 3,000l. for the expenses of the office of the Commissioners for Building Additional Churches; another of 11,944l. for augmenting stipends to the parochial clergy of the Church of Scotland; and another of 5,040l. for stipends to Ministers of additional places of worship erected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in connection with the Church of Scotland; besides a large number of other items, smaller in amount, but equally vicious in principle. Some of them were charged upon the Woods and Forests, some upon the Consolidated Fund, some upon the Customs, and others upon the Inland Revenue. The object of his Amendment was to sweep all these away at once. He assured his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire that he did not make this proposition with any desire to evade the main question. His hon. Friend knew well that he had not hesitated to face a popular error, when he thought it was an error; and he did not intend to act differently on the present occasion. If his Amendment was lost, as he expected it would be, he should unhesitatingly vote against the Motion of his hon. Friend. He expected his Amendment would be lost. 442 because he remembered that a similar Motion, proposed by the then hon. Members for Finsbury (Mr. Duncombe and Mr. Wakley), in 1845, was supported only by the hon. Member for Ashton (Mr. Hindley), and Mr. S. Crawford. On the present occasion he should be satisfied if he gained nothing else than the advantage of showing the progress of opinion which had taken place on this subject. He had been asked by some of his own constituents, upon whose opinion he often relied, and he had also been asked by some hon. Members in that House, why, if he was anxious to get rid of religious endowments, did he not make a beginning with Maynooth? He begged to say that he had this very strong objection to that course—that he should consider the selection of the present endowment as the first object of attack as an evidence of an unjust and ungenerous policy—a policy which he, for one, was not at all disposed to adopt. If the question of religious endowments must be taken piecemeal, he would prefer attacking the richer and more powerful Churches first; he should not commence by attacking the Church which represented one-third of Her Majesty's subjects, and that one-third the most destitute of the number. His hon. Friend had quoted the language of the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Admiralty (Sir J. Graham). He (Mr. Scholefield) would take the liberty of reminding him of the warning words of another right hon. Gentleman—he meant the present Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gladstone), who, in his speech on the subject last year—a speech, he need hardly say, which was marked by his usual power and eloquence, said—If this endowment be withdrawn, the Parliament which withdraws it must be prepared to enter on the whole subject of the reconstruction of the ecclesiastical arrangements in Ireland."—[3 Hansard, exxi. 568.]Was his hon. Friend prepared for this reconstruction? Was he prepared to summon around the Church to which his hon. Friend and himself belonged new elements of danger, in addition to the many and complicated elements of difficulty which already existed? He had now placed this subject before the House, and he should leave it to be dealt with by more experienced hands. His object had been to remove the question from the narrow sectarian ground on which his hon. Friend had placed it, and to place it on the broad 443 ground of religious liberty, on which alone it could ever be treated with common justice, or consistently with the safety and good government of the country. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Amendment.
§ SIR WILLIAM CLAY
seconded the Amendment. It was important that the House should clearly understand the character of the Motion of the hon. Member (Mr. Spooner). It should be perfectly understood that this was not a Motion for inquiry, as the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment seemed to suppose, but for the abrogation of the grant to Maynooth without inquiry. It was put into the form in which it stood on the paper, namely, that the House should resolve itself into Committee to consider the Act in question, because the rules of the House only permitted certain questions to be discussed in Committee; but a Committee of the whole House had no opportunity of inquiry—they only discussed the general principle, whether the grant should, or should not, be continued. It should also be understood—and he hoped it would be understood by the public as well as by the House—that the present Motion was different to that which the hon. Gentleman had brought forward on the same subject last year. The hon. Gentleman's Motion last year was, that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the system of education carried on in the College of Maynooth. He (Sir W. Clay) had listened attentively to the hon. Gentleman's speech to see whether he assigned sufficient reasons for having changed the character of his Motion; but so far from finding any reason for that change, he had heard only statements, which, taking them at their utmost value, only constituted ground for inquiry. The hon. Gentleman had brought forward charges of the most serious kind, supported by what at best was merely primâ facie evidence for inquiry, precisely similar, in fact, to the statements by which he had last year supported his Motion for a Committee of Inquiry. If the Motion had been for inquiry, he (Sir W. Clay) should have voted for it; but for the proposition now before the House, he could not vote. It was no light matter which the hon. Gentleman asked the House to do, to repeal an Act of Parliament which had the character of a solemn contract between the Sovereign, the Parliament, and the people of the Kingdom on the 444 one hand, and the Roman Catholie subjects of Her Majesty in Ireland upon the other. He knew of no grant of money; not even the civil list of the Sovereign, that rested on a foundation more solid than did the annual charge on the Consolidated Fund for the maintenance of the College of Maynooth. He was not about to contend that grounds might not be laid for the repeal of that Act, and for the abrogation of that contract; but it was perfectly clear that unless sufficient grounds were stated, it would be a breach of faith on the part of the House to repeal that Act—a breach of faith which he, for one, would not consent to, and which he hoped the House would never consent to. He was disposed to think that an inquiry, such as that which was proposed last year, would not be an unfair course. The Act of 1845 was not preceded by inquiry. The Commission of Inquiry in 1827, though it investigated the course of study at Maynooth, did not inquire into those questions which now so greatly excited public attention with reference to the conduct of that institution. He was bound further to say that he thought that the feeling of the people of England on this head deserved the consideration and attention of the House. Serious charges had been brought, not only by the hon. Member, but by others, as to the course of education at Maynooth. True or false, these charges had been widely disseminated, and as widely believed; and it was desirable that they should be either substantiated or disproved. But the speech of the hon. Gentleman alone was not sufficient ground for the House proceeding to abrogate the Act. The hon. Member had alluded to the conduct of certain Roman Catholic priests, but he had produced no evidence to connect the proceedings of these men with the College of Maynooth. Something more was desiderated than the mere assertion that such men might have been educated at the Maynooth College. Before they could be justified in repudiating that which was intended as a solemn contract between the Government of this country and the Roman Catholic subjects of Her Majesty, they must have clear judicial proof, such as could be adduced before a, Committee of that House. For such an inquiry he should have voted, but for the abrogation of the contract without inquiry he could not vote. There could be no doubt that recent occurrences in other countries had had a great effect 445 on the public mind of England with respect to Roman Catholics, and also with regard to the maintenance of Maynooth. He disapproved as much as any man could do of the proceedings in certain Roman Catholic States; and no man could view with more horror than he did the persecutions in Tuscan}', and the treatment of the Madiai. But if others had done a grievous wrong, that was no reason why they should he guilty of a breach of faith. He held, therefore, that as respected the College of Maynooth they should be justified, in the first place, in inquiry into the system of education; and if malversation were found, or if it were shown that the objects for which the college was endowed had not been properly and honestly carried out then he conceived that Parliament would be justified in voting for an alteration of the system, or for its complete abrogation. He doubted, however, whether a belief in the existence of malversation was the main element in the feeling which had been created against the endowment. He believed that the people of this country were deeply attached to Protestant institutions, and that the feeling arose from their disapproval of propagating, by means of the public money, a form of Christianity which they believed to be entirely false. If he were told that there was a conscientious objection to supporting the Roman Catholic religion by means of public grants, he would state at once that to that conscientious objection he could find no argument in reply. He did not believe that any logical defence—any defence on abstract principles—could be given by Protestants for any ecclesiastical endowment whatever. He was himself a member of the Church of England, but he did not wish that the members of that Church should deceive themselves on that head. The corner-stone of their faith was the right of public judgment, and any ecclesiastical endowment was an infringement of that abstract right; for if they took the money of one man to support the religion of another, which he believed to be false, then they took the money of one who, according to their own admission, might be right, to support that doctrine which, on their own admission, might be wrong. There was clearly, therefore, no defence on abstract grounds for an endowment of the Church by the State in any Protestant country. But reasons of public policy might undoubtedly justify such endowment. It might be found that such endowments tended to peace and goodwill, and to create kindly 446 feelings among men who, though differing in religious belief, were united by the bond of a common allegiance. But if these endowments, instead of being the means of maintaining peace and harmony, were found to be the bitterest sources of discord, then it was impossible to deny that the grand reason for maintaining them fell to the ground, and that they should have to adopt the course referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last year, and revise the whole of their ecclesiastical system. He was not quite clear that, as respected Ireland, the time had not arrived for such a revisal. He did not say who were to blame in the first instance; hut he must confess that he did not look for peace in Ireland while any portion of the religious instruction of a nation so divided in religion as were the people of that part of the Empire, was paid by the State. At all events, they ought to consider the question fairly. He had endeavoured to put the question on fair grounds; as he had stated, he would be prepared to vote for an inquiry into the mode of education pursued there. If malversation were proved, he would, irrespective of any other ecclesiastical endowment in Ireland, vote for the abrogation of the grant. When the hon. Member for Warwickshire put the question on the ground of the grant being a payment for the propagation of falsehood, he would merely repeat what had been well said by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield), that what was false to one man was truth to another. He (Sir W. Clay), therefore, had put the question on the broader ground of ecclesiastical endowments generally. He would go further, and say that in any revision of the ecclesiastical endowments in Ireland, the Established Church in that country must be included, for he believed that all history contained no record of a greater wrong than the maintenance of the Established Church in Ireland. By the terms of the Motion the hon. Member reduced the question to whether Maynooth should receive endowment from the State; and, for his part, he would only consent to a consideration of that question if it was to be in common with every ecclesiastical endowment. The question was one of very great importance, and as it was one in which the large constituency which he represented took the deepest interest, he could not reconcile with his sense of duty to give a silent vote on the occasion. He would second the Amendment, and if that 447 were rejected, he would vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire.
To leave out from the word 'consider' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words * all Enactments now in force, whereby the Revenue of the State is charged in aid of any ecclesiastical or religious purposes whatsoever, with a view to the repeal of such Enactments,'—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed," That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he should oppose both the Resolution and the Amendment. He thought that if the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion had intended to excite religious animosity between different classes of Her Majesty's subjects, he could not have taken a course better calculated to effect his object. The College of Maynooth was established in 1795, in the reign of George III., and when Mr. Pitt was Prime Minister, by a Protestant Parliament, with the view of educating the clergy of the Roman Catholics of Ireland at home. In 1800, and subsequently, several Acts were passed with reference to the maintenance of the college, and in 1845 the late Sir Robert Peel brought in a Bill which placed the grant for the establishment on a permanent footing. Now, Parliament sanctioned grants for the instruction of Roman Catholics at Malta, Gibraltar, the Mauritius, and Canada; they paid Roman Catholic chaplains for attending the workhouses in Ireland; and he wished, therefore, to know on what ground any objection could be entertained to the grant for the College of Maynooth? It had been said that the grant had not answered its purpose; but if any persons had supposed that this grant would induce the Roman Catholics of Ireland to abandon their convictions, such persons entertained a very erroneous idea. The late Sir Robert Peel, in speaking on this question, had observed that he did not pretend to say that the measure of 1845 would; give permanent satisfaction to the Roman Catholics, or that it would induce the Roman Catholics to compromise a single principle. Sir Robert Peel further said, that while he did not guarantee that the grant to Maynooth would be a final and complete measure, he was satisfied that it would be regarded by the Roman Catholics as an honourable and liberal proceeding towards themselves. It was clear, 448 then, that by accepting this great, the Roman Catholics did not sacrifice a single principle. He (Colonel Greville) must say that he did not think the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was calculated to increase the loyalty of the people of Ireland, or to inspire them with confidence in the Legislature of this country, to which they could alone look for a redress of the grievances under which they laboured. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer had said last year, that if they withdrew the grant from Maynooth, the whole question of ecclesiastical endowments in Ireland must be considered; and he (Colonel Greville) could promise the hon. Member for North Warwickshire and his friends that the attack they had made upon the College of Maynooth would not end here. In 1845, the late Sir Robert Peel remarked, that by the measure for establishing the Maynooth Grant on a permanent foundation, he sent a message of peace to Ireland.
§ MR. MIALL
said, he trusted the House would extend to him the indulgence which was usually accorded to new Members, while he explained the grounds upon which he intended to give his vote upon the question under their notice. He thought that they would all be pretty well agreed that the debate in which they had been engaged had been, up to that moment, anything but a profitable discussion; that the feelings which it tended to excite were not the most genial, and that whatever might be the result, the country would probably not be proud of their proceedings that evening. Such would naturally be the consequence of the interference of that House in matters of a religious character. And whatever might have been the impatience of hon. Members under the infliction of ft speech so lively as that of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, it should at the same time be admitted that there were some precedents furnished by the past proceedings of that House for bringing controversial topics, of the nature submitted by the hon. Gentlemen that evening, under its consideration—until they got rid of them once and for ever. He was glad that the subject had been brought before them in a shape that would admit of his giving his vote upon it distinctly upon either of two principles. He understood that if he were to go into the lobby with the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) he would be affirming—granting that the State had a right to bestow endowments 449 for religious purposes—that such endowments could be bestowed in cases only where the religion was true, and that he would thereby be constituting the State—and that House as a part of the State—the judge between truth and error in religion. If be gave his vote in favour of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Scholefield), he understood that he would simply be marking his sense of the impropriety of sustaining religion institutions by State endowments. In the first case he would be aiming a blow at a certain form of religious profession; while in the latter it would only be expressing his objection to a particular mode of sustaining it. Now he would not so long as be was a Member of that House, and was the representative of so many persons differing widely in creed, consent to give any vote—authoritative so far as a single vote could be—pronouncing his decision upon the question of what was religious truth, or what was not. Deep as were his own convictions upon that subject, he did not choose to give any opinion in that House as to the comparative merits of religious systems. Let that question be settled elsewhere by such a process as would touch the matters in dispute—by reason and by persuasion—-by the minds of those who proclaimed these systems. Law did not touch those matters, and all that hon. Members could effect with respect to religious distinctions by the framing of now laws with reference to them, was to manifest their own intolerance. Truth was entirely independent of that House; and be must say that he had very little faith in that religion which did not embrace within itself the great principles of justice, and which did not exemplify in all departments, political as well as ecclesiastical, that great maxim, "Do unto others as you wish they should do to you." But if he were obliged to decide in that House upon the question of what was truth and what was error—if he were under the necessity of bestowing endowments either upon one side or upon the other—he confessed he should feel disposed to give the money of the State rather for the support of error than for the sustainment of truth. ["Hear, hear!"and laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen seemed to be startled by that logic. Let them see whether, upon examination, it would not be found to be just. He would rather support by external means a bad system, than, by the application of those extraneous aids, extinguish the vitality of a 450 good one. The very last creed he should consent to have endowed was his own. Why? Simply because he believed in it—because he had a strong faith in its own inherent and vital power. He would say to them, "Protect it in the exercise of its rights, but do not attempt to sustain it by endowments; do not interpose, either to nurse or feed it, but let it get its own living. If endowments must be given, let them be given to those who said that they could not do without them—to those who could not stand upon their own system, and who were afraid to trust their own creed." If he were obliged to give State support to some form of religious profession, he would prefer that it should be given, not to the truth, but to that which the truth had to overturn. He must say that he entertained the strongest possible objection to the Maynooth College Endowment Bill when introduced by the Government of the late Sir Robert Peel. He wished to do to that Government, and to all those who supported that right hon. Baronet, all justice. He believed them to have been influenced by motives that were patriotic and pure; that they intended that Bill to be a step towards religious equality; and that they intended it to soothe the irritation of the people of Ireland. He acknowledgedged the disinterestedness of their motives; but he believed the Bill itself to have been a mistake, and regarded it as having been demonstrated to have been a vital mistake by the events which had subsequently taken place. Properly speaking, it was not a step towards religious equality. Religious equality had been too often spoken of, not only in that House, but elsewhere, as if it meant simply that the professors and the teachers of every religious denomination should be placed upon the same footing in respect of the law, and in regard to the support they were to receive from the State. There was a much wider sense in which the term religious equality should be understood. He regarded religious equality as comprehending the relations of the laity and the priesthood. He had always looked upon it as an impolitic and a cruel course to put the people of Ireland in the power of the priesthood, and to have aided, by the endowment which Parliament had given to Maynooth College, in sharpening and strengthening that subtlety by which the priesthood had already wielded too great a power over the consciences of those who were under their control. He objected to the exercise of 451 such an influence in the Protestant as well as in the Roman Catholic Church. The office of a religious teacher was in itself one which exercised a great power over the minds and consciences of those with whom it came in contact, and required not the additional strength afforded by a State endowment to add to its influence. But he had regarded the Act of Sir Robert Peel as not only opposed to the freedom of religious equality; he was also of opinion that it was not calculated to soothe the irritation of the Irish people. He would not, however, go into that topic upon that occasion, but would simply confine himself to the more immediate grounds upon which he meant to give his vote upon the question before them. He wished to get rid of the endowment to Maynooth, as well as of all ecclesiastical endowments whatsoever; but he would not consent to mystify himself; and he wanted to know what end was to be gained by voting with the hon. Mover of the Resolution before the House? How could he (Mr. Miall) justify it to his own conscience to take such a step in reference only to one class of Her Majesty's subjects, while there were many more powerful classes enjoying to a large extent the benefits of ecclesiastical endowments? He could not consent to be severe to the weak, and to show clemency to the strong. He would not side with Protestants when they did wrong, and he was not at any moment ashamed of standing by the Roman Catholics when they were in the right. He desired to see both religions rest upon their own merits; and he did not wish that either should receive artificial support from the State. Let Protestantism as well as Catholicity rest upon their own inherent power and vitality—for both contained some portion of truth—and they would be enabled to bring their influence to bear upon the best interests of the people at large, quite independent of State endowments.
§ Mr. E. BALL
said, that one or two of the observations which had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House, induced him to trespass on their indulgence for a very few minutes. He did not know whether he had been sufficiently fortunate to have correctly understood the meaning of the hon. Gentleman, who had promised that he would not mystify the House. He (Mr. Ball) was certainly one of those imbeciles in that House who had not been quite able to comprehend what the hon. Gentleman had, in the 452 course of his address, meant to convey. He supposed, from what the hon. Gentleman had said, that he did not in-tend to insult the Roman Catholics; but he (Mr. Ball) contended that if the hon. Member were to follow up his speech that evening by voting against the Motion, he would cast a more severe reproach on the principles of Roman Catholics than would be cast upon them by anything that had been said by his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire. The hon. Gentleman had stated that if he had to maintain a religion at all, he would prefer to maintain a bad religion rather than a good one.
§ MR. E. BALL
That was precisely what he understood the hon. Gentleman to have said. The hon. Gentleman had told them that he would prefer to endow error rather than truth; and hence it was that he (Mr. Ball) maintained that in order to be consistent, the hon. Gentleman should vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire—because, if he were to support the endowment of the College of Maynooth, the natural inference was that he considered the religious system taught in that establishment to be an erroneous one. He would put it to the hon. Gentleman himself whether his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire had that evening thrown out any more severe imputation against the Roman Catholic system, than the inference to be drawn from the speech of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member had made another statement which he (Mr. Ball) confessed that he was not able perfectly to comprehend. He had told them that he considered the result of the debate that night would be such as the country would not be proud of. What did the hon. Gentleman mean by that statement? Did he mean that the feeling of the country being so generally Protestant, and the great mass of the people wishing that the grant should be withdrawn, that House, by voting for its continuance, would arrive at a decision of which the country would not be proud? He (Mr. Ball) could entertain no doubt that the country would feel very greatly displeased with such a result. The hon. 453 Baronet the Member for the Tower Hamets (Sir W. Clay) had adduced as an argument in favour of the continuance of the grant the fact that it had by means of a public compact been made permanent in the year 1845. Now, how easy it was when Gentlemen wanted to carry a point to use the same argument in support of directly opposite propositions. It was only the other night that the noble Lord the Member for London, who was no longer, he believed, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and who might be called the odd man in the Ministry—it was only the other night that the noble Lord, when arguing in favour of the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill, had told them that by the Act of the year 1840 the original agreement of the year 1791 upon that subject had been disturbed, and that there could be no reason why they should not, follow out that precedent and disturb in its turn the arrangement of the year 1840. That argument of the noble Lord afforded a complete and satisfactory answer to the reason assigned by the hon. Baronet the Member for the Tower Hamlets for the continuance of the grant to the College of Maynooth. He did not mean to weary the House by going at length into that point; and he should say that it appeared to him a young man in that House, that it was too much the habit of many hon. Members to speak at monstrous length upon subjects of every description. He was prepared to rest the whole of that case upon a single point, and that point was—had the grant which had been annually made to the Roman Catholics of Ireland, for the education of their priesthood, realised the expectations of its proposers? What was the purpose for which it had originally been made? It had been said by its promoters that it was desirable that Irish Roman Catholic clergymen should be educated at home, and not in a foreign country, where they might imbibe sentiments hostile to the best interests of the United Kingdom, and that the public money would be well laid out in creating among them kindly feelings towards England. Now, he would ask any Member of the House whether he could solemnly and deliberately declare that that object had been attained by the continuance of the grant? Had the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland displayed, of late years, generous and grateful feelings towards their English brethren? Or was it not true, on the contrary, that there was not in history anything so con- 454 trary to the Christian religion as the conduct of the Irish Roman Catholic priesthood during the late elections? But if the grant had not accomplished its purpose, was not that a very good reason why they should at length withdraw it? Were he (Mr. Ball) to record his vote on the question from feeling alone, he would undoubtedly vote against the Motion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, because he had always experienced more kindness from Roman Catholics than from Protestants; but as it was not a question of individual feeling, but of religion and morality, he felt bound to support the Motion.
§ MR. DUFFY
said, that as knowing something of the Irish newspapers, upon the extracts from which the hon. Member had so plentifully garnished his speech, he was ready to join issue upon the only portion of the evidence which had not been answered repeatedly in that House. The hon. Member had spoken of the influence of the Irish priesthood exerted in the last election in Ireland, and had quoted speeches which he said had undergone a double test, that of never having been contradicted by the speakers, and that of having been selected indiscriminately from newspapers of all parties, Now, having a full knowledge of the papers quoted, he (Mr. Duffy) declared them all to he thorough partisans against the priests of Ireland. To Irish ears it would be enough only to name them—Saunders' News-Letter, the Leinster Express, the Carlow Sentinel, the Western Star, the Kilkenny Moderator. If the speakers had not answered statements made in such journals, it was because they did not think it worth while. Those papers never circulated amongst the Catholic population; they had too long traded in lies and slander for any Gentleman to admit them into his House. The hon. Member bad quoted Head's Journey, but he had made some notable omissions. Sir Francis Head spent a week in Ireland, examining the country, and another week in pondering over the evidence he had collected, and then, in the book he held in his hand, he published the results of his fortnight's experience. Now, there was one chapter upon the published speeches of priests, and he had had an opportunity of testing some of those extracts. There was one extract filled with italics, and looking particularly ferocious, delivered by the Rev. David Bell, whose name would not be unknown to the Irish Members; but what would the 455 English Members think when he told them that he was not an Irish priest at all, but a Presbyterian minister of Ulster—who had lately fallen desperately in love with the Gentlemen on the Treasury benches, and was one of the tenant-league? Two other speeches were attributed to priests at Tyrone, namely, the Rev. John Howard and the Rev. A. Ferguson; but it turned out that they, too, were both Presbyterian ministers. Turning a few leaves farther, he came to a third instance in which the speech was so atrocious that Sir Francis had hesitated to give the speaker's name, but calls him the Rev.—priest of—. This priest, Sir Francis said, thus addressed a large congregation, "I am a descendant of farmers, and the time is coming, I trust, when it will be as hard for an exterminating landlord to get into Parliament as a camel to go through the eye of a needle." Now, he would take upon himself to say that was not the sentiment of the Rev.—,priest of—,inasmuch as it was an extract from a speech of his own. Who could say after these glaring examples, how many more of the extracts, if he had time to investigate them, would not turn out to be the production of the Rev. David Bell, or of laymen like himself? The hon. Member had also quoted an English periodical; but he protested against Irish Gentlemen being made responsible for what appeared in an English periodical. He had heard that the Rambler was a magazine of considerable ability, but he had never read an article in it. If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire were to set up a Protestant Rambler, would English gentlemen be held responsible for its contents? He trowed not; and how then could they be held accountable for this English periodical, of which they knew nothing, and which they never read? He, however, must add that he utterly repudiated the doctrines contained in the extract read from the Rambler. Those doctrines were not his—they were not Catholic. He had listened with great attention to the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Resolution, with the view of ascertaining what was the practical result he sought to attain—what there was the hon. Gentleman wished to be done? He was aware that the Resolution proposed, that the money granted to Maynooth should be withdrawn; but that could only be a first step. Did the hon. Gentleman expect that the withdrawal of this money would prevent the teaching of the Roman 456 Catholic religion in Ireland, or that it would put a stop to the training of Roman Catholic priests? If he did not, to what purpose was his Motion made? But if the hon. Gentleman did expect these things, then it behoved them to look at the facts of the case. When it was martyrdom for a Catholic priest not to teach only, but to appear at all in Ireland, there was no lack of priests to do their duty, and to take the consequences; and did they suppose the loss of a few accommodations at Maynooth would deter men who had faced martyrdom? Hon. Members who had so well studied the question might have remembered that when there was no Maynooth, priests were not only educated for Ireland by foreign Catholic sovereigns, but they were sent back endowed; and it was not quite impossible that the new President of the United States and the new Emperor of the French might renew their relations with Ireland. Sir F. Head seemed to be imbued with two opinions—one, that the most loving friend to England was the Emperor Napoleon, and her deadliest enemies the Irish priests. Perhaps it was intended by this Motion to force the Irish priests to go to the Emperor Napoleon for an entente cordiale towards England. What practical result could they hope to arrive at? If the Resolution passed, he could assure them the Established Church in Ireland would not long survive it. He would not give 10 per cent for the tithes of it. If this miserable pittance were taken from the Catholics, they would no longer tolerate the Established Church; for his own part, if it were withdrawn he would feel bound never again to pay 1s. tithes to the Church. And if they could not stop the education of the Catholic priests of Ireland, or the propagation of the Roman Catholic religion, what was the use of needlessly insulting the Catholics of Ireland by such a proposition, or to waste the time of the House year after year in discussing so impracticable a question? Nobody believed that the present Motion would pass; and, therefore, nobody ever thought it worth their while to stand up and answer the absurd charges which had been so often brought against the system of education at Maynooth. In history, in philosophy, in bibliography, in criticism, and in biography, the College of Maynooth had published books and essays that would be found valuable and permanent additions to the literature of the country. In truth, these men were not the persons whom the hon. Member for 457 North Warwickshire ought to assail, for he did not hesitate to say that the politics of most of the students at Maynooth were much more in accordance with the sentiments of the House of Commons than with his sentiments, or with those of the Gentlemen who sat near him. He was glad to see that Parliament had at last learned to consult the wishes of the people for whom it was to legislate; for it was only by consulting the wishes of the people to be legislated for, that legislation could have any success. This had been shown by their policy towards the Cape of Good Hope, and more recently towards Van Diemen's Land; and, to allude to a more striking instance still, he would mention the measures now pending for giving up the clergy reserves to the control of the Canadian Legislature. They had had experience in Canada; why not give Ireland the benefit of that experience? They had found out their mistake in setting the Lower against the Upper Province—the Celtic against the Saxon race. They found they produced nothing but rebellion, and now the Imperial Legislature seemed at length willing to do justice to the colony. They had discovered that no good had come of setting creed against creed; and what he now-wished was, that they would adopt the same system of reconciliation in their policy towards Ireland, and consult the feelings and wishes of the people of Ireland, as they wisely consulted the wishes and feelings of the people of Canada.
§ SIR JOHN YOUNG
said, he hoped that without offence to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, for whom be entertained the highest respect, he might be allowed to express the deep regret he felt that the hon. Gentleman should have brought forward the proposition before the House—a useless and irritating proposition, that could not be attended by any good consequences, and that could not fail to add to those feelings of alarm and discontent on religious subjects, and to those feelings of sectarian animosity which had already had such calamitous results in Ireland. He was not, however, surprised that the hon. Member should have introduced the question; for certainly a portion of the press in Ireland, and a number of gentlemen who took part in politics, had used language not calculated to smooth the asperities of the public mind in this country; but he was satisfied that these gentlemen represented a small minority of the property, loyalty, and independence of the Roman Ca- 458 tholics of Ireland. The hon. Member based his arguments on two grounds: he objected, first, to the principle on which Maynooth was founded; and, secondly, that if the principle itself was right, or the reverse, the Roman Catholic clergy had by their misconduct at the last elections disentitled themselves to any favour at our hands. The hon. Member considered that the policy of the Maynooth grant was subversive of religion, hostile to loyalty, and incompatible with the allegiance due to the Sovereign. He would, however, draw the hon. Gentleman's attention to the arguments in favour of that policy, summed up in a letter written in 1798 by a bishop of the Established Church to Lord Castle-reagh:—I should think it a most unwise measure to suffer the education of the Roman Catholic clergy to return to its old course, from which so much mischief has flowed to the empire. On that event they must either go for their education to countries hostile to England, where in addition to their religious prejudices, they will imbibe those civil prejudices, and that spirit of hatred and resentment, of which France and Spain have uniformly availed themselves, ever since the period of the Reformation, to raise a party for themselves, and excite domestic disturbances in Ireland; or they will be left to pick up such an education as they can find at home, amid all the poverty, ignorance, and low and vicious habits of the class from Which they are generally taken.The institution of the college was reviewed in 1800; it underwent ample discussion again in 1808, and was admitted under the Administration of Pitt, Perceval, and Lord Liverpool, whose Protestantism would not be doubted, down to 1845, when it was decided by Sir Robert Peel to place it on a new basis. On that occasion the Duke of Wellington uttered the following sentiments, which exactly agreed with the opinions of those who founded the college in 3 795. He said—I beg to recall your Lordships' recollection to the events of the last few years. You have seen, my Lords, disturbances in Ireland which created considerable danger and alarm; you have seen disturbances having for their object the obtainment, by tumult and threats, of the repeal of the union between this country and Ireland; you have seen the interest which these transactions excited in foreign countries; you have seen foreigners flocking to Ireland, in order that they might attend at those tumultuous assemblies; you have seen publications in foreign countries, and the interest felt in general in the transactions in Ireland relative to those supporting the question of a repeal of the union—can you, my Lords, then think, under these circumstances, that it is desirable that you should depend for the education 459 of ecclesiastics who are to administer the rites of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland—can you think it desirable that they should resort for their education to these foreign countries? I do not, my Lords, say that the Governments of any of these foreign countries had any relation with any of the persons who manifested an interest in these illegal transactions. No, my Lords, I do not imagine any such thing—I insinuate no such thing. I am convinced, my Lords, of the contrary; but I know the facility with which any Government can take up and employ instruments when once they commence to implicate themselves in such transactions. I warn you, my Lords, against the possibility of its being supposed safe that you should leave the education of ecclesisastics for Ireland to foreign countries."—[3 Hansard, lxxx. 1166.]It was, therefore, not on the ground of kindness to the Roman Catholics, hut on grounds of imperial policy, that Maynooth was established and enlarged; it was to prevent those priests who, in times past, in times present, and—even if you abolish Maynooth to-morrow—in times future, will still exercise great influence over the minds of the people of Ireland—it was to prevent them from requiring foreign impressions and Ultramontane opinions. He believed they would see that great effects had flowed from that policy. ["Oh, oh!"] Some of the greatest and most patriotic men Ireland ever produced, of whom Grattan was one whom no man exceeded, in his knowledge of his country, and his loyalty to the Throne, had been of that opinion. Sir Robert Peel found the endowment had become quite insufficient for the education of the requisite number of Roman Catholic clergy, and for the requirements of the country; and he justly considered that such a state of things was calculated to produce feelings of indignation rather than of thankfulness. He therefore gave an increased grant to Maynooth. It had been said that this grant had not been received with any gratitude; but Sir Robert Peel had reason to know that it had been received with as much gratitude as he expected—with as much gratitude as any one could have expected; for there were natures on which benefits could make no impression, and which could not feel gratitude or patriotism. But Sir Robert Peel felt he was doing his duty, and that if this feeling of gratitude was not awakened in the hearts of Roman Catholics, it ought to have been so. He (Sir J. Young) believed it had been awakened, and that there were tens and hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics whose pulse beat more warmly towards this country on account of the increased grant to Maynooth. On the 460 occasion of that increase of the great the Earl of Derby said—But, if they should still meet with disappointment, he should feel satisfied that they should regard the measure as a most useful one; and if agitation, after this and other measures, should still continue in a violent degree, he would suggest that wise maxim from a holy source—-' Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Regard not railing, nor be turned from thy course by it. They might depend upon it that ultimately ingratitude and suspicion must be overcome by constant kindness."—[3 Hansard, lxxxi. 114.]He firmly believed that opinion was wise and well considered; but without entering further into the consideration of the policy of supporting Maynooth, he would proceed to the hon. Gentleman's next assertion—that the Roman Catholic clergy had disentitled themselves to any favour at the hands of this country by their misconduct at the last elections. He was not prepared either to deny or defend the excesses which took place on the occasion; but he asked the House not to be too hasty to condemn, and to look to the circumstances under which the elections occurred. Great religious excitement had prevailed in England, and it raged with tenfold force in Ireland, amid a more excitable people. They had got a new franchise, and besides that, in several cases, and in more than one county, gentleman had come forward and had offered a useless and irritating opposition without the smallest chance of success, except by the most unconstitutional means, who ought to be considered morally responsible for all that had happened. Those who did so were morally guilty of any excesses that had occurred; and there were such men in more than one county in Ireland. There was also a Government in power which the Roman Catholics supposed to be hostile to them; and, just before the elections had appeared, a proclamation against the Roman Catholic Church, so ill-timed that many Roman Catholics considered it as nothing more than an electioneering squib. This was followed by the riots in Stockport, in which Roman Catholics had been grossly ill-treated. Roman Catholic houses were wrecked, and Roman Catholic places of worship broken into and demolished. Was it to be supposed the people of Ireland could be in a state of calmness after such events? No doubt, the excitement ran high. There were sixty or eighty elections, and some 3,000 Roman Catholic priests; and the hon. Member had produced ten or twelve cases out of the whole to support his views. If he meant to make 461 a charge against the whole body of the priests, the evidence was most insufficient. He (Sir J. Young) was not particularly disposed to favour the priests, but he was there to do justice as far as was in his power. But with these few cases against this large body, the hon. Member came forward as a religious instructor, and inculcated upon the House high moral feelings; and he quoted Scripture, and told the House about a small number being-saved out of many. But let the hon. Member remember that Scripture could be quoted against as well as by him. Let him remember, that when a great city had filled up its measure of iniquity, and vengeance was about to fall upon it, and the voice of an intercessor was heard, the human intercessor was weary of demanding mercy before the Divine Judge was weary of granting it. The hon. Member reversed the rule, and, instead of pardoning all because there was one good person, he was prepared to condemn all, because a few amid the mass had misconducted themselves. The hon. Member had argued as if the whole of the funds at the disposal of Parliament came from an exclusively Protestant source, and this was a free gift for purposes for which it should not be given. But let it he recollected that there were 3,500,000 or 4,000,000 of Roman Catholics in Ireland. [An Hon. MEMBER: More.] Probably there were 1,000,000; in England—5,000,000 altogether; and it would not be too much to say that they paid 10,000,000l. of taxes to the imperial revenue. Out of this large sum paid by their industry, paid by them in peace and honesty, the hon. Gentleman would grudge them so small a pittance as 28,000l. or 30,000l. for the education of the clergy whom they revered. But he (Sir J. Young) considered it not as a question of money, but as a matter of policy—a policy the utility of which had been proved by the experience of a long course of years—a policy sanctioned by some of the wisest statesmen this country ever produced—a policy voluntarily adopted by sagacious and far-seeing men, to their own honour, and to the great advantage of the country; hut a policy forced upon the bigoted and shortsighted in times of peril and hours of emergency to their own discomfiture and discredit, and to the great disadvantage of the country. The hon. Gentleman had surely trodden upon dangerous ground. He seemed to he walking on the same ground as the Tuscan Potentate, only that 462 he had not the same power. It was fortunate that it was not in the hon. Member's power to shut up a person in a prison in Ireland for disseminating his principles in a weekly newspaper; but he did not seem to want the will. It was not in his power to prevent Sir Robert Kane being the bead of a college there, and raising its and the whole country's credit and repute, by his scientific attainments. It was not in his power to prevent Chief Baron Pigot from being an ornament to the judicial bench; hut he did what he could—he went as far as he could, and would deny to the clergy whom they and millions revered, a pittance which appeared indispensable to enable them to receive a good education; and, as far as he could, he outraged and insulted the feelings of the loyal Roman Catholics of Ireland. Let it be supposed for a moment he should get the grant repealed—what then? Why should not the same principle be acted upon, and the case made out by the hon. Gentleman of misconduct on the part of some of the Roman Catholic clergy tell with tenfold force against the paid chaplains of the workhouses, the gaols, and the regiments? Would any man in his senses believe that the hon. Gentleman was going to put an end to the Maynooth grant, and then stop short? Of course not. This was the beginning of a retrograde policy—a policy which experience had condemned; for, if ever in the annals of the world there was a policy upon which the stamp of discomfiture and defeat had been broadly placed, it was that to which the hon. Gentlemans ought to recur, which existed in Ireland during the greater portion of the last century, and which he (Sir J. Young) firmly believed to be the cause of the greater part of the evils which now afflicted that unhappy country. It was undoubtedly right and natural, in countries where representative government prevailed, that the opinion of the majority should bind the minority; but it was not in accordance with just views of policy, or with a right feeling of what was due to our neighbour, or with any kind of justice or friendly feeling, that the majority should at all times, and in all cases, repudiate all regard to the opinions and feeling of the minority. But that was what the hon. Member wanted the House to do. As the Roman Catholics were the minority and the Protestants the majority, the latter, according to the hon. Member, were justified in disregarding the opinions and convictions of the former. He would only re- 463 fer in conclusion to the opinion of one whom every man in the country would deem not only the greatest warrior, but one of the wisest statesmen that ever adorned this country, and whom the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) would not hold to be deficient in loyalty. The Duke of Wellington, advocating the increased endowment of Maynooth in 1845, said in his place in the House of Lords, "There is a great Christian principle involved in this measure, the principle of abstaining from persecution." He said, "If you are strong, it is your duty to abstain from persecuting the weak. It is your duty to give effect to this Christian principle, and to abstain from even the appearance of persecution."[3 Hansard, lxxx. 1174.] Such were the words of the Duke of Wellington when enforcing the increase of the grant to Maynooth. He (Sir J. Young) would appeal to the Protestant representatives of this empire. The Protestants of this empire were strong in number, abounding in wealth, irresistible in their union, their energy, their intelligence. It might be that they had not met always with the gratitude they expected; it might be that they had received undeserved provocation. But let them not be turned from their onward course. Let them go forward conscious of their strength, walking in the glorious light of their own faith, and adopt the principle of toleration, not merely in profession, not merely in lip service, but as a reality. Let them avoid even the appearance of persecution by rejecting by a large majority—as he trusted the large majority of the House would reject—the unworthy and ungracious Motion of the hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. STANHOPE
would ask the attention of the House, at that hour, to only one point—whether the advantages that were held out to us in 1845 had since been realised? It was argued then that if there were evils at Maynooth, they proceeded from the system we had pursued; and he agreed very much that if we once allowed the principle of maintaining the College, it was bad economy to maintain it in a parsimonious way, so that those who were educated there should not have physical comforts, or obtain a sufficiently liberal education. We were told that, as we had given grudgingly, so they had received thanklessly, but that with a more liberal system they would change their policy towards us. But what had been our experience of the effect of Sir Robert Peel's measure from 464 1845 up to the present time? Parliament gave with liberality—a liberality they were well satisfied with at the time; but had that liberality been received with gratitude? He would not dwell upon upon the conduct of the rev. gentlemen at the elections; he would not inquire whether they had read the newspapers—though the accusations were certainly known all over the kingdom—nay, over all Europe. The Secretary for Ireland (Sir J. Young) had not denied their truth; but he said that considerable allowance was to be made for a time of excitement. He (Mr. Stanhope) was unwilling to take these cases, occurring at a period of excitement, and amid the tumult of election, as proving a case against the religion of these priests; but he did say we found rev. gentlemen, contrary to the rules of their sacred calling, inciting the mob to deeds of violence, and that conduct was not noticed by their superiors in the Church, nor reprobated by those who belonged to the same religion; that, in such circumstances, these exceptional cases must no longer be viewed on their own merits, but furnished strong ground of accusation against the Church to which these ministers belonged, and which did not condemn conduct so unfitting a sacred profession. But we had continually in the daily papers evidence that the working of Maynooth had not been to promote goodwill towards us. You could not take up the accounts from Ireland any week without seeing a letter from a rev. or right rev. gentleman, stating that, whatever was done, there could be no hope of the regeneration of Ireland till the Established Church was swept away, or its revenues divided. It had been said that if this grant were withdrawn, the College of Maynooth would still continue; but his answer to that was, that with the existence of the college, provided it was endowed from Roman Catholic funds, they had nothing, as Protestants, to do. At the present time,' objecting, as a great majority of the inhabitants of this country did, to this grant upon religious grounds, considering that the objects contemplated by the grant had failed, and that there had even been a closer connexion between the Church of Rome and that of Ireland than ever existed before—when they had witnessed, moreover, in this country a like attempt to form a similar connexion between the two Churches—he did think the Protestant people of this country had a claim upon the Legislature no longer to call upon them to pay. 465 for the support of an institution which was wrong in principle, founded in error, and not calculated to do good in Ireland.
§ Debate adjourned until To-morrow.