§ The MARQUESS of BREADALBANE
was about to present some Petitions, praying for the repeal of the Maynooth College (Ireland) Act, and had referred the question of which he had given notice as to the intentions of the Government with respect to the grant to the College of Maynooth, when
§ The MARQUESS of BREADALBANE
said, he was about to ask whether it would not be more convenient to their Lordships if he were to postpone his question until Monday?
The DUKE of ARGYLL
protested against their Lordships adjourning merely because it was seven o'clock. He was sure the character of their Lordships' House would suffer if they were not to proceed with so important a subject as the grant to Maynooth merely because seven o'clock had arrived.
§ The EARL of DERBY
thought it would be very convenient that the same question should not be asked more than once.
§ The MARQUESS of BREADALBANE,
after the remarks of the noble Duke, if it was his wish and that of the House, would go on.
The DUKE of ARGYLL
was not at all anxious that the question of the noble Marquess should be put at all. The same question had been asked of the noble Earl at the head of the Government on a former occasion, and he had given an answer, the only one which the Government could give, namely, that it was not, at present, his intention to make any change in the Act which gave the grant to the College of Maynooth. Circumstances might arise in the course of time which might compel the Government to make some change in that respect; but he understood that there was no present intention to make any alteration in the matter. He (the Duke of Argyll) should be as glad as any one to 874 get away from this debate; but if the question was to be put, he did not see any reason why it should not be asked now.
§ The MARQUESS of BREADALBANE
then said, that he had a great number of petitions to present on the subject of the grant to the College of Maynooth. These petitions emanated in a great measure from members of the Free Church of Scotland, some of them being founded on the principle of religious objections to Maynooth, and others upon views of general policy. He concurred generally with the opinions of the petitioners on this subject; and it was upon this ground that he had used his humble efforts to resist the Bill when it was brought in by the late Sir Robert Peel, for augmenting the grant to Maynooth, and placing it on a permanent basis. The convictions which he entertained at that time had been strengthened and confirmed by after experience. The grounds upon which the grant was made, appeared to him to have totally failed of realisation—no good result had emanated from that measure; on the contrary, while it did not conciliate the Roman Catholics of Ireland, it had caused great dissatisfaction to our Protestant fellow-subjects. He trusted that he might express these opinions without feeling the least ill will or hostility to the Roman Catholics. He had always endeavoured to regulate his conduct by the great principles of civil and religious liberty; and he hoped that in considering that there were serious objections to this grant, he was not compromising those principles. But he could not conceal from himself that most important questions were involved in this subject of the grant to Maynooth, and that if they should come to the resolution to withdraw that grant, they must also consider the case of other grants made to various religious bodies in this country. That would be the only just course to pursue, and he believed it to be also the course dictated by sound policy; for it would disconnect the State from the discussion of religious questions, which, as it appeared to him, it was not at all the province of the State to inquire into. He had ever considered that religious disagreements ought to make no difference with respect to the enjoyment of civil rights, provided they did not favour any religion whose principles were hostile to civil society or to sound government. Considering the various conflicting questions and claims that mixed themselves up with the various denominations of this country, he 875 believed it would be the best gradually and judiciously to withdraw all assistance given by the State to those religious bodies, and to maintain their religious establishments, endeavouring to strengthen and confirm them by correcting abuses, by enforcing efficiency, and, above all, by rendering them the teachers of the pure Christian faith. His remarks applied more especially to the case of the Established Church in Ireland, which was a Church overgrown, and quite out of measure with the Protestant population of the country. He thought that this view was one which was involved in the question of the withdrawal of the grant to Maynooth; and viewing the subject in this light, and knowing that great anxiety was felt on the part of the Protestant inhabitants of this country, who believed that their principles were compromised by the continuance of the grant, he would appeal to the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government to give a declaration of his opinions as to the policy which he intended should be pursued by his Government upon this great, difficult, and important subject, in order to afford some satisfaction to the people of this country, and to remove the doubts which still existed in the minds of many as to their intentions. No doubt a similar question had been previously asked in that House when a short discussion took place, and the subject had also been brought forward in another place; but still he must say that some doubt and uncertainty prevailed in the public mind, which was most prejudicial to the public interests of the country, and most inconsistent with the representative system which in this country had been established. It appeared to him, that whoever undertook the responsibility of a Government, and was placed at its head, should have his principles ready for their application upon all the great questions which agitated the public mind, and that he should have a decided course of policy marked out as that which he should pursue. Without that qualification he maintained that there could be no real government of the country, but it would be left to this or to that wind, and it would be impossible to know how to steer the vessel of the State. It was only consistent with their representative system that there should be no concealment of the policy of the Government. Having made these remarks without any feelings of hostility to the Government, he hoped the noble 876 Earl at its head would explain to the country the principles which he meant to apply, and the policy he intended to pursue, with regard to the grant and the Acts at present regulating the College for Roman Catholic priests at Maynooth.
§ The EARL of DERBY
I feel great difficulty in giving the noble Marquess any more information than I have already afforded on a former occasion, and which has been this night repeated by the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) opposite. This is the third, and I hope it will be the last time of asking. What I have stated before is, that Her Majesty's Government have no present intention of making any alteration in, or proposing any repeal of, the existing Act, by which an endowment is granted to the College of Maynooth. I do not concur in what appears to be the view of the noble Marquess, and certainly is the view of a considerable number of persons in Scotland—that this is a matter upon which there can be no question of policy, but that it is an act of mortal sin for a Government to make a grant of money to persons of a different religious persuasion from themselves. I do not sympathise with that view—I do not adopt that principle. I consider that the question of the endowment of Maynooth is one purely of policy; and as a question of policy the Government must he left free to act in such a manner as the circumstances of the time may justify, without reference to any specific principle of right or wrong, but merely as with regard to the public welfare, the maintenance of the public peace, and the general well-being of the country, they may deem it wise and politic to act. We must be left to act with per-fact liberty with regard to the College of Maynooth; and I have to state again, as I have said before, that we have no present intention of interfering with the grant to that establishment.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
My Lords, I am at a loss to reconcile the answer of the noble Earl here with the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the other House. If I understood the noble Earl rightly, he states that it is not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to interfere with the present grant to Maynooth, and that he considers the whole question to be purely one of policy. How then, my Lords, can that statement be reconciled with the consent which the Government has given in another place to an investigation not into a question of policy, but an investigation into 877 the principles and teaching of the College of Maynooth? If the noble Earl intends to make no alteration with regard to the College of Maynooth, and has already made up his mind on that point, how can the Government, with any reason or any propriety, consent to the appointment of a Committee which is to raise the whole question? I ask how they can consistently take that course, if they have already made up their minds, whatever maybe the report of that Committee, not to take any proceedings or make any alteration in the present state or condition of that college. Now, my Lords, I agree with the noble Earl that the question is one of policy. I must remind the noble Earl of his own words on a former occasion on this very subject. When the noble Earl in this House supported the additional grant, he justly defended it on these grounds—that it was required by the policy of this country, and that it did not matter at all whether the party to whom the grant was to be given met it with gratitude or ingratitude; that the policy of this country was straightforward, and that it being right to make the grant, the Government would not look to the effect it might produce on the persons to whom the grant was to be extended. The object of the grant was this —to give education to persons intended to be Roman Catholic priests. It happens that in Ireland you have a large proportion of Roman Catholics. So long as that is the case, it is necessary and requisite that they should have a certain number of priests. They must either pay out of their pockets for the education of men to fulfil the office of priest, or else the Government must do it for them. The Government wisely have undertaken on a principle of policy to relieve the people from this burden. Having once undertaken that burden, the Government have nothing further to do with the College of Maynooth than to see that it carries out the purposes for which the grant was made. That purpose was the education of Roman Catholic priests as Roman Catholic priests. Now, I maintain that the college has strictly fulfilled that object—that it instructs them merely as Roman Catholic priests, and nothing else. It gives them no other education but that which is suited to Roman Catholic priests. It confines itself narrowly to that sole object. In other words, it fulfils minutely and carefully the object of the grant. You have Commissioners appointed to visit this col- 878 lege. Their reports are confined to a certain number of simple questions, and they do not go into the result, or the end, or the nature of the teaching there given. They merely ask whether certain conditions are complied with; and hitherto the report has always been that those conditions have been complied with. The Government having this information, I maintain that it is not their business to investigate any further into the subject. It is idle and useless to make an investigation for the purpose of ascertaining whether certain books are used at Maynooth—whether those books contain doctrines—whether the teaching of certain doctrines must produce certain results on the minds of the scholars—or whether the reading of certain volumes may have an immoral or indelicate tendency, or questions of that nature. All that takes place in the establishment is the mere ordinary routine in all establishments where the object is solely to bring up persons for the priesthood; and knowing that, you know all you are entitled to know on the subject; and I maintain that all further investigation is not only uncalled for, but, I may almost say, is dangerous and impolitic. Yet it is to an inquiry of this nature that Government in the other House has consented. I can imagine perfectly well a Motion on the broad question whether it is right or wrong that the grant should be continued. That portion of the subject I allow to be a most legitimate subject of inquiry—that might be a very proper Motion or a proper matter to bring before Parliament. But as long as the Government maintain that it is right and proper that the grant should be continued—as long as they say it is not their intention to entertain any proposition to alter that grant—it is their duty to hesitate before provoking any unnecessary investigation into the matter. What can result from the report which such a Committee may produce? The Committee may examine into the studies adopted at the college—they may procure evidence, no doubt, in abundance, that the casuists are not the most delicate books—that there may be doctrines and opinions extracted out of the theologians which may be construed as not being calculated to promote feelings of loyalty or affection to this country. I have no doubt, on investigation, you will find such matters in isolated passages in the text books laid before the students; but, after all, the answer is, this is a part and portion of the 879 education of the Roman Catholic priests— these are the books which are adopted and studied in all colleges for this purpose— and you consented when you made the grant that they should study those books, and that, whatever might be the result of so doing, those books were a part of the necessary studies to be gone through. The question, therefore, resolves itself into this —that you are now pledged to the very system of education there adopted. When you made the grant, you did it with your eyes open. The same course of study which now exists was pursued at that time. It does not vary. Not a book has been omitted from those studies. You knew the books, and the doctrines contained in the books, and yet you freely, and willingly, and wisely made the grant. The proposed tiresome investigation appears to me to be—I am not fond of using an offensive word, but for want of another I am obliged to use it—it appears to me to be a sneaking out of the question—an evasion of the fair consideration of the subject. If there is any feeling in the public mind with regard to the question of Maynooth, it is as to the grant itself; and if you wish to investigate the question which is agitating the country, you must investigate the propriety of any grant whatever. But to adopt a sort of half measure, stating in one House that you are not prepared to make any alteration in the grant, and yet consenting in the other to a provoking inquiry, appears to me a line of conduct unworthy the Government of the country. However, I am not quite so much surprised at this as I might have been, because it is partly consistent with the only principle which as yet the Government has declared or adopted, namely, that everything in this world is a compromise, and everything being a compromise, I suppose they consider that the question of Maynooth must also be a compromise. Instead of taking a straightforward course, and saying, "We do not intend to alter our policy, and do not see the use of a Committee on the subject;" or, "We do intend to open the question, and will have the whole question considered as a matter of policy"—instead of taking this course, they are declaring one thing in one House, and acting differently in the other. In other words, they are making a compromise; and a compromise on a subject like this is totally unworthy of the Government of a great country.
§ The EARL of DERBY
My Lords, whilst 880 I entirely repudiate the doctrine of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Breadalbane), that it is contrary to all principle that we should give any assistance to the education of Roman Catholics, so also I repudiate the doctrine just laid down by the noble Baron, that whatever may be the education given at Maynooth, it is a matter of indifference to the Government. My Lords, I said we had no present intention of altering the conditions or repealing the grant. But I did not say (as the noble Baron supposes me to have said) that whatever might be the result of the inquiry as to the system of education pursued in Maynooth, or as to the extension of the fund or the due application of the fund voted by Parliament for the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood—I did not say whatever might be the result of those inquiries or disclosures, that the policy of the Government with regard to the grant must necessarily remain unaltered. Nor can I adopt the expression of opinion which I heard with some surprise from the noble Baron, that if in the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood there were doctrines taught which were either inconsistent with morality or subversive of loyalty—
§ The EARL of DERBY
If there are doctrines taught there subversive of loyalty, I cannot agree that this is a question with which the Crown has nothing to do. I understood the noble Baron to say, that the Ministers of the Crown had bound themselves to grant the money for what is necessary for the Roman Catholic priesthood, and that in his opinion the education of the Roman Catholic priesthood necessarily involves matters not consistent with morality, and subversive of loyalty. I-have a better opinion of the Roman Catholic priesthood generally, than to believe it essential to their education that they should be taught doctrines subversive of loyalty. If I find that the noble Baron gives a more correct representation of their views than I have hitherto been disposed to take, it would very materially alter my views with regard to the policy or propriety or expediency of the State supporting a system which inculcated doctrines subversive of loyalty and morality.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
My Lords, I never said there was anything necessary to the education of a Roman Catholic priest which was either subversive of loyalty or of morality. I said nothing of the 881 sort. What I said was this—that there are hooks of the casuists and other text books, from which might he extracted passages which would not he considered as tending to enforce the feelings of loyalty and affection to this country, and that in the writings of the casuists there were many passages which might he considered to he extremely indelicate, and that these are text hooks. But I never once stated anything approaching to what the noble Earl has put into my mouth—that it was necessary in the education of a Roman Catholic priest for him to adopt principles that were either subversive of loyalty, or which in any way tended to immorality. All I stated was, that passages of that sort are to be found in those books. There are passages of that nature to be found in the text books there, and it is necessary for a full study of the subjects taught that these passages, as well as passages of an opposite tendency, should be studied: these passages are essentially necessary to be studied, because without them an incomplete view of the conflicting opinions on controverted points would be obtained, but the principles contained in them need not be adopted. I should like to know whether in studying for another Church, it wa3 necessary to read only one side of the question. I ask if it is not necessary to investigate the whole matter; and if in their case there are not many books which they are required to study and become masters of, which contain passages which they would be extremely unwilling to adopt as the foundation of their own principles and conduct?
The BISHOP of OXFORD
My Lords, as the noble Baron has so pointedly appealed to the right rev. Bench, I will endeavour to give a very distinct answer to the question. There are no books in which the clergy of the Church of England are taught which have any tendency to subvert their loyalty or to destroy their morality.
The EARL of WINCHILSEA
said, that a very strong public feeling was manifested against the grant to Maynooth, when the question of its permanency was before their Lordships on a former occasion. Petitions praying for its abolition, signed by 1,500,000 persons, were presented on that occasion. He wished very much that the Committee of Inquiry which he had then moved for, and which was to have been composed chiefly of the Roman Catholic Members of their Lordships' House, had 882 been granted at the time. He should have been perfectly satisfied with its result; for he was convinced that the evidence which would have been brought forward would have fully established the fact, that a great many of the evils which have for a long period afflicted Ireland had been caused by the college of Maynooth. That inquiry would have shown that the college of Maynooth was the worst nest of Jesuits in Europe. The people of this country were now aroused on this subject, and the time was fast approaching when they would be able to speak out in the most unmistake-able manner. The votes which would be given at the approaching general election would speak in plain language. The next Parliament would not only demand an inquiry into the nature of the doctrines taught at Maynooth, but would raise the question of the change in the oaths administered to Members of the Legislature by which its Protestant character had been perverted. Such a course of proceeding was necessary, for the Church of Rome would never be content with equal civil rights for its members, but would do all in its power to obtain absolute dominion. He had been accused of being a bigot and a religious enthusiast; but most of the predictions he had made in 1845 had been completely verified. The Church of Rome would never be content until it had forced this country into a civil war by an attempt to aggrandise her temporal power in England. The next Parliament would demand in an irresistible manner an investigation, the grant to Maynooth, and the principles on which the college was conducted.
§ EARL FITZWILLIAM
said, that the noble Earl had pronounced a philippic against the Roman Catholics which, in his opinion, applied also to the Protestants. He (Earl Fitzwilliam) could not believe that the Protestants of this country, though temporarily excited by persons who desired to gratify their own ambition, would allow that excitement to become permanent, or that they would attempt to interfere with the liberties of their Roman Catholic brethren. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Breadalbane), who had originated the discussion, had expressed a wish not to do anything which might be injurious to his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects; but he (Earl Fitzwilliam) would seriously beg the noble Marquess to consider whether the course he and the great body whom he represented were taking, commencing with a pure and disinterested denial of certain 883 principles held by certain persons, was not likely—nay, certain — to degenerate into dislike of the persons holding them? He, therefore, regretted that they should enter into discussions which he feared this country would long rue; but even if this crusade against the College of Maynooth were successful, it would excite as much indignation in Ireland as the Papal aggression. Did the noble Marquess imagine that less excitement would be created in Ireland, than was created by what was commonly called the Papal aggression? The attempts to create or continue such an excitement were most unjustifiable. He was, however, quite satisfied with the answer given by the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) to the question of the noble Marquess. It was, indeed, most desirable that the country should know how the question stood. The noble Earl who spoke last told their Lordships that the next Parliament would speak out; but he (Earl Fitzwilliam did not doubt that the opinions of the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) would remain unchanged, whatever might be the opinions of certain constituencies. No doubt would have existed on the subject, if certain persons connected with Her Majesty's Government, making use of it for electioneering purposes, had not pledged themselves to vote for its repeal. With respect to those persons who believed that the Protestantism of England was to be overwhelmed by the College of Maynooth, he would simply ask whether the individuals who had lately distinguished themselves by their hostility to Protestantism were educated in that establishment? Dr. Cullen was not a member of Maynooth. It was not Maynooth that was to be feared, but Oxford, and the corruption of the aristocracy of the country. He did not much like that House; a great effect was produced on the minds of many persons by the magnificent mode in which the worship of the Church of Rome was carried on. He did not like the gorgeous churches which were built all over the country, but preferred the plain and simple edifices of the Free Kirk. He had no fear whatever of the Protestants being converted by the Roman Catholic priesthood, but he entertained a great apprehension that the aristocracy would be corrupted by the Romanising tendencies of Protestant clergymen.
The EARL of WICKLOW
expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the answer given by the noble Earl on the present as 884 well as on the two former occasions. No Minister could be expected to say more with regard to his intentions than the noble Earl had done, for it was impossible to foresee what circumstances might occur. It was certain, however, that persons connected with the Government did not speak so plainly as the noble Earl had; and when he found that a time like this, when the public mind was agitated and inflamed, was the opportunity chosen by a Minister of the Crown in the other House to consent to a Motion, the intention of which, with the animus actuating it, were shown from the very words of the proposer, he was not to be deceived by a speech, but must judge of the motive by the act. He wished well to the Government, and therefore the more regretted that they should have given cause by their conduct to the suspicion alluded to by his noble Friend, that they were desirous of availing themselves of a popular clamour on the subject of Maynooth, for the purpose of influencing the elections about to take place. And when they talked of inquiry, on what ground was inquiry demanded? The very same reasons which were now asserted had been repeated over and over again in Parliament by those who were rigidly opposed to Roman Catholics and the Roman Catholic religion generally, and had been met and resisted by the noble Earl himself as strongly as possible. Yet the Government were found yielding now to those arguments; and this was at least extremely suspicious, was at least liable to a suspicion which the noble Earl should endeavour to remove before a dissolution. What was it, he naturally asked, that had occurred just at this time to justify inquiry? It was impossible, indeed, to deny that at the present moment a strong feeling against Roman Catholics had taken root. But to what was that attributable? To anything on the part of the Roman Catholics of Ireland? He said it was a most foolish, a most impolitic Act of the Legislature, that had led to all this; that it was to that Act and to the letter of Lord John Russell to the Bishop of Durham that it was attributable; and that those who proposed that Act were responsible for it. He still hoped, however, that the people of this country would not be guided by sentiments of bitterness, or by clamour, but by a true sense of policy, and not only of policy, but of justice. Parliament had a right to inquire, and a right, as far as a physical right went, to suspend the grant to May- 885 nooth; but there was upon it a moral responsibility not to lay a finger upon that established grant, which, though not actually stipulated, was in truth involved in the conditions of the Union. It would he contrary to the principles of policy and of justice, and would, in fact, amount to a confiscation, for any Government to withdraw the grant upon the grounds hitherto shown. But, independently of this, were they to forget that Ireland was a Roman Catholic country—that she paid her full, if not more than her fair share to the expenses of the country? Were they to forget that while they had for a small portion of her people the Established Church in that country, they were in justice bound to establish a priesthood, and afford the means of a religious education for the vast majority? He hoped not; and he said that no Government of this country, with I out such cause as did not now and probably never would exist, could, without a breach of faith and an act of spoliation, touch this grant.
§ EARL GREY
concurred in the opinion expressed by the noble Earl who spoke last, that an Administration was not called upon to speak for more than its present intentions, and should decline to pledge itself as to the conduct it would pursue in circumstances not yet arisen. He would therefore be perfectly satisfied if he could understand the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government to say plainly and distinctly that his opinions were now the same with those he expressed with so much force and eloquence to that House as a member of Sir Robert Peel's Government in 1845—a period when probably he understood the Roman Catholic religion, and the nature of education given to the Roman Catholic priesthood, just as well as at present—if he (Earl Grey) could understand him (the Earl of Derby) to say that he adhered to those strong opinions as to the importance to the peace, and welfare, and union, of the Empire, of the settlement of this question, which he then expressed; if he stated that nothing had yet occurred to change those opinions, that no new circumstances had brought him to different conclusions, and that, except by possible future events, his sentiments would not be altered, then he (Earl Grey) would be perfectly content. But, unfortunately, he could not quite understand the noble Earl's answer in that sense. When, on a former evening, he (Earl Grey) asked the noble Earl whether he adhered to the opinions 886 he declared in 1845, the noble Earl absolutely denied his right to put such a question to him. The noble Earl, too, was particularly careful in having his words correctly quoted, and drew hairbreadth distinctions between the phrases "having no intention to do a thing at present," and "having no present intention to do the thing;" and the noble Earl had this very night risen three or four times to detect and expose shades of mistakes which had been fallen into with respect to his opinion. But an opinion so difficult to be precisely understood was calculated to excite no little doubt and difficulty; such hairbreadth distinctions must leave it a mystery what, or whether any, meaning was intended to be conveyed. At the same time it was a very significant fact that whilst the noble Earl in that House told them that he had no present intention of asking Parliament to rescind the grant to Maynooth, persons holding under him offices of the greatest importance were distinctly pledging themselves to their constituents to vote for the repeal of that grant. All these circumstances tended to create a suspicion as to the intentions of the Government, which it behoved the noble Earl, for his own honour and for the credit of the representative principle of government and the constitution of the country, to remove. A man of the high honour and feeling which should actuate a British statesman, would not consent to shelter his real intentions under equivocation and subterfuge. As to the remarks made by another noble Earl (the Earl of Winchilsea), the opinions of that noble Earl—sincere as they must be admitted to be—were such that they could not be held by a large number of persons of this country without endangering the permanent union of the three kingdoms. When they were told, in such language as had been used by that noble Earl, by hon. Members in another place, and by the Press, that the Roman Catholic religion was destructive of morality, and subversive of loyalty, it seemed to be overlooked that to act on this opinion would imply that one-third of Her Majesty's subjects can never be put on an equality with the rest, can never be treated with confidence and fairness. But if such a policy is to be adopted towards the Roman Catholics, they must know that those thus esteemed, and thus treated, must, as the very consequence of the circumstances in which they were placed, become disaffected? And if their Lordships were to 887 object to a grant to Maynooth because the Roman Catholic religion was false, as they were told, did it not follow that a principle would be recognised the adoption of which must lead to very serious consequences? If it was their duty not to assist in teaching doctrines that were, as they believed, false: it was obvious that it was equally the right and the duty of the Roman Catholic to object to contributing to the teaching of doctrines which are in his judgment false; therefore as the doctrines of the Protestant Church are considered to be false by the Roman Catholics, it would, on the principle of the noble Earl, be the duty of every conscientious Roman Catholic in Ireland to do his utmost to relieve himself of the Establishment there. Would not this be an end to religious peace in that country? He called upon the right reverend bishops to consider this part of the question, and to beware of encouraging an opposition to the grant to Maynooth on a principle which tended directly to render the maintenance of an establishment impossible. He would call their attention to the fact that already the arguments used against Maynooth were being pushed to their legitimate conclusion as against any Church establishment whatever. In his hand he held a petition, agreed to at a public meeting, not in Scotland, not in Ireland, but in Wallingford. It objected to the grant to Maynooth; but, on the same grounds, it objected to all religious establishments in Ireland; naturally, for to the voluntary principle they must come, if they were to support no religious establishment because it taught some doctrines in which they did not concur. For himself, he thought that every Christian Church taught doctrines the greater part of which were true and beneficial to the people, and he was willing that all portions of Her Majesty's Christian subjects should receive assistance from the public funds for the promotion of religion—assistance such as they at present received. Of course in expressing his approbation of the principle of giving, as they now did, assistance to different denominations of Christians, he did not mean to say that he approved of the existing arrangements with regard to the Established Church in Ireland, which were susceptible of considerable amendment. He was disappointed not to have heard from the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) a more distinct declaration on the part of the Government whether they adhered or not to the policy of which the 888 chief member of the present Administration was the principal advocate in 1845.
The DUKE of ARGYLL
considered it highly necessary that the public policy of the Government on this question should be clearly and fully explained; but while regretting the uncertainty which still existed on the subject, and not rising to support the Government, yet he could not agree with the noble Lord (Lord Beaumont) that the Parliament had not a clear right to inquire into the College of Maynooth, and the manner in which that institution was conducted. He would quote to the House a passage from a speech made by Lord John Russell on the Motion for leave to bring in the Bill for the endowment of Maynooth, proposed in 1845. In that speech the noble Lord said—But at the same time, I will say, that if you found you were doing that which was mischievous to the community, and that the religious scruples of the community would not allow of the continuance of this grant; or, with reference to civil and political reasons, you found that those you meant to be the teachers of religion had become the leaders and conductors of rebellion—if, I say, you found for any of these causes that there was ground sufficient to refuse this grant—then I can see no valid reason why any compact should restrain you, or why, upon strong grounds of this kind, the House would not be justified in declaring that it would give no further allowance.—[3 Hansard, lxxix. 91.]Those were the grounds laid down by Lord John Russell, on which an inquiry might be made into the colleges. But at at present there was no specific charge brought against Maynooth; the only charge brought forward involved the discussion of abstract questions. With all due respect for the noble Marquess who had brought this subject forward, and for the body which the noble Marquess represented, he (the Duke of Argyll) could not agree to the withdrawal of the grant to Maynooth, on the ground that all religious endowments ought to be abandoned. If that principle were to be acted on, they would not stop at the College of Maynooth; they would have to go farther than the noble Marquess had probably anticipated. All grants made by Parliament for educational purposes would have to be withdrawn, to the principle of which Parliament stood committed. The Scotch people certainly would not wish the principle they had laid down in their petitions to be carried out to that extent. He objected very much to the tone in which the matter was discussed, and to the time chosen for introducing it. Had he been called upon to vote for the 889 endowment of Maynooth, he should certainly not have done so, for he did not think any religious principle was involved in the education of the priesthood; but he trusted that when it became known what would be the result of carrying out the principle on which the withdrawal of the grant to Maynooth was required, that many of those: petitions would be withdrawn, because dangerous to the peace of the Empire. He thought the present aspect of the question dangerous, as likely to lead the Roman Catholics to think themselves treated unfairly, and to promote religious disunion between the two countries.
The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE
considered that, in point of fact, there was an inquiry into the College of Maynooth, and it had been shown that no change had taken place in the system of education pursued at that establishment since the grant was: first carried; he was therefore at a loss to understand why the Government had, in the other House, assented to a Motion for an inquiry into that system. He quite agreed that Parliament had a right to inquire if grounds could be shown for instituting an inquiry: but if grounds could be shown to exist, it was the duty of Government to institute an inquiry, and not to leave it to a private Member of Parliament. When they saw the Government assenting to such a Motion for inquiry, they must look at what was the avowed object of the Member who proposed it? Was the object proposed the amelioration of Ireland? They knew well that it was proposed by a Gentleman who had been the consistent, and, he doubted not, the conscientious opponent of these colleges from first to last —whose whole politics were, that this establishment ought not to last. There ought, therefore, to be a distinct understanding what were the objects of the Government in going into this inquiry, and the explanation should be given before Gentlemen went to the hustings. In 1842 the noble Earl declared that the consequences of inquiry would be incessant, constant, and daily increasing acerbity and religious rancour and enmity between the different communities. What did the noble Earl think now? At present the inquiry asked for could not he gone into before the dissolution, and he did not think that anything was really intended to be done except to obtain a good hustings cry. When the noble Earl assumed office, he announced his intention to oppose what he called the democratic tendencies of the 890 times; but the noble Earl could have done nothing more calculated to promote those tendencies than he had done since he assumed office. He quite agreed with the noble Earl in thinking that this ought to be the last question on the subject; but he (the Marquess of Clanricarde) must say that the answer to it might have been more clear.
§ Petitions ordered to lie on the table.