§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ The Earl GRANVILLE informed the House, That Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to signify that she had placed at the disposal of Parliament her interest in the several archbishoprics, bishoprics, benefices, cathedral preferments, and other ecclesiastical dignities and offices in Ireland.
§ Then it was moved that the House do now resolve itself into a Committee upon the said Bill.—(Earl Granville.)
§ THE EARL OF DENBIGH
said, he wished, before their Lordships' went into Committee, to reply to some criticisms which were passed on the conduct of the Catholics during the debate on the second reading. It was said, on that occasion, that the Catholics had shown, by their apathy, how little interest they felt in the Bill; that the Irish Catholics did not care for anything but the land question, and were profoundly indifferent to the Church question; and that the measure was fraught with danger to the peace of the country, since it would so exasperate the Protestants of Ireland as to make them waver in their loyalty, while the Catholic clergy, far from being propitiated, would only use it as a stepping stone for further demands, and would never be satisfied till their Church had won back all she once possessed. It was also said that the Catholics were acting in opposition to their principles in supporting a Bill which secularized Church property. Now, the silence of the Catholics could be easily accounted for, they having been struck with wonder and admiration at the extraordinary turn things had taken in their favour, 687 whereby their Protestant fellow-countrymen had condescended to propose to place them on an equal footing with themselves; they were anxious not to add any fuel to the excitement already existing in the country, trusting that the sense of justice and good feeling which had originated the measure would carry it to a successful issue. If, however, the country should after all refuse to pass the measure, there would be an opportunity of judging whether or not the Catholics were apathetic. As to the land question it was natural that men, when poor and miserable, should care more for the things which appertain to their temporal necessities than to their spiritual requirements or political privileges. At the time of Catholic Emancipation the cry always was—"We are naked and starving; give us shoes, give us bread; what will emancipation do for us?" No one, however, would pretend to say that the Catholics were indifferent to emancipation, and so it was in the present case. To Irishmen gaining their livelihood from the land, anything which would insure to them the fruition of their labours was no doubt a primary object, and, unfortunately, there did not exist in Ireland, as in England that public opinion which would prevent a whimsical agent or landlord from ejecting a tenant after he had laid out money on his property without compensation. As to the Irish Church it was an eyesore to the Catholics of Ireland, because it was the badge of conquest and of Protestant ascendancy, and the land question would not have existed had it not been necessary for the maintenance of that ascendancy to keep the rod of eviction in terrorem over the tenant, in order that he might vote as his landlord wished him. Happily, a better state of things and a juster feeling had obtained of late years, but the tradition of old times still existed. The Government had, in his opinion, done well in bringing forward this Bill, though he regretted that the land question had not been dealt with at the same time. This measure alone, indeed, would not satisfy Ireland any more than one swallow made a summer; but it would, at all events, show the feeling of England towards Ireland, and he might illustrate it by a homely illustration. John Bull might be said to have two families— a Catholic family by the first marriage, 688 and a Protestant family by a second, and the former, as not unfrequently happened, had suffered very severely from the conduct of their stepmother. They had had the rod, while the second family had all the sugar; the one had all the kicks and the other all the halfpence. Now, however, John Bull had come forward and had proposed, not only to lay aside the rod, but actually to give the Catholic children one halfpenny to share amongst them. Well, the Catholics, being very poor, were not indifferent to the money, but there was one thing which they valued much more—aye, more than if they had been offered a million of money — and that was the kindly feeling and the return of paternal kindness which had led to the change. If however, John Bull should put the money back into his pocket, and should hang up once more the rod in terrorem, the result would be a feeling of bitter disappointment, and the bitterness would sink deep into their hearts, so deeply that it would take years to eradicate it; for "hope deferred maketh the heart sick." The noble Earl on the front Bench (the Earl of Derby) had laid great stress on the danger which would ensue to the loyalty of the Protestants of Ireland if this measure was carried; but he had failed to consider the effect on the Catholics if it was not carried. Perhaps, however, he thought the Catholics had been so long used to disappointment that they would not take it to heart, like the traditional eels who had been so long accustomed to be shinned alive, that they rather preferred the operation. The loyalty of the Irish Protestants must, if this view were correct, be somewhat like that of a hardy plant which had been brought up in a hothouse and had grown rank and weakly in constitution, whereas it ought to be, like the loyalty of the Catholics, not a mere sentiment or political calculation, but an instinct and a religious duty. As to the Catholic Church claiming back its property, she formally renounced all claims to ecclesiastical property in England through Cardinal Pole, and in Ireland there was a tacit renunciation last year, when the Catholic Bishops met in Synod and solemnly renounced all participation in the revenues of the Established Church. As to the noble Earl's statement that in voting for this measure, which secu- 689 larized Church property, the Catholics were acting in opposition to their principles, he could not expect their Lord- ships to take the same view as Catholics; but it should be understood that, in their view, the property lost its sacred character when it was taken from the Catholic Church. Bearing the same burdens and liabilities, and shedding their blood on the same fields of battle as their Protestant fellow-countrymen, Catholics thought themselves entitled to a position of equality. The Irish heart was now chilled with the coldness and injustice of centuries; but Irishmen were not naturally cold-hearted, for the warmth of their affection and sensitiveness to justice were well known. Let them feel the fostering hand of a paternal Government, and be assured that henceforth the scales of justice would accompany the sword. Dark pages of Irish history could not indeed be blotted out as with an enchanter's wand, nor could they call the waters of Lethe to drown the bitter memories of past years of cruelty and wrong; but legislation in Ireland for the future must be that of inflexible justice steadily persevered in and accompanied by gentle charity, not that superficial charity which contents itself with an occasional dole, given with a more or less niggard hand, but by the charity described by the Apostle as gentle, kind, long-suffering, hoping all things, and thinking no evil. This, if steadily persevered in, would render Ireland, which through its turbulence, poverty, and dissatisfaction had become a byword and a weakness to the Empire, that which from the virtue of its daughters, the genius of its sons, and the warm feelings of the whole nation, it ought to be — namely, the pride, the glory, and the strength of the Empire.
§ Motion agreed, to: House in Committee accordingly.
§ Title postponed.
§ Then it was moved that the Preamble be postponed.
When I gave notice of my intention of proposing to negative this Motion, it was the impression of some of your Lordships that there was some irregularity in that course, and I wish, therefore, to point out that that is not the case. The very fact, indeed, that it is necessary to move the post- 690 ponement of the Preamble, and to take a vote upon it, shows that the House can proceed to consider the Bill as it stands, and your Lordships are aware that in our private legislation we invariably begin with the Preamble. It is true that in public business we usually postpone the Preamble, because in most cases that is the most convenient course; but it is perfectly competent for the House to begin with the consideration of the Preamble, and through the kindness of the noble Viscount (Viscount Eversley), who, having for so many years with great ability filled the Chair in the other House, is a high authority on the subject, I have been furnished with various precedents for considering the Preamble before the clauses. I will only mention that the latest of these, and the one most directly in point, is afforded by the proceedings of the House of Commons in June, 1855, with regard to a Scotch Education Bill. It was then by common consent agreed that the Preamble should be taken first, for the purpose of coming to a clearer understanding than had been arrived at on the second reading as to the principles to be adopted. Both the advocates and the opponents of a change in the Preamble agreed in the propriety of that course, and accordingly the Preamble was not postponed, but considered before the clauses, and, after discussion, an Amendment suggested in it was rejected by a large majority. That is a case strictly in point, and it is hardly possible to conceive a Bill in which it would be more conducive to the general convenience that we should begin with the Preamble than that which is now before us. The great object of the Bill, as I understand it, is to remove a long-standing source of discontent in Ireland by redressing the injustice and inequality, involved as I think, in supporting a Church Establishment for the exclusive benefit of a small minority of the population. I cordially agree in that object; but the Bill proposes to arrive at that result by entirely stripping the Protestant Church of every shilling which it now possesses, beyond what it is absolutely necessary to give it under the strictest construction of the requirements of vested interests. Beyond what is so given to vested interests, and which could not be withheld, not 1s. is given by the Bill as it stands for the maintenance of the Church 691 when the existing interests expire. That is followed up by providing that the property thus taken from the Church shall be applied for the benefit of the people of Ireland, but with the proviso that it shall on no account be given for the maintenance of any clergy, or for any religious teaching. Now, that, in my opinion, is a mistaken and erroneous policy; but it is impossible to raise that great question of principle in the discussion of clauses, for we do not come till nearly the end of the Bill to the application of the surplus. It is only on the 68th clause that we shall be called upon to decide what is to be done with the property obtained by stripping the Church, and, in considering any Amendment which might be moved, the Committee would rather have its attention directed to any particular measure among a great variety which might be suggested for a different application of the money than to the principle which is at stake. Nor is that all. Before we come to the 68th clause there are a great variety of Amendments of which notice has been given—especially those to be moved by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury—our decision upon which ought, in my judgment, to depend upon the manner in which your Lordships deal with the subsequent question of the application of the surplus. It is, therefore, on all accounts convenient that before proceeding to the discussion of the separate clauses we should settle more clearly than we were able to do on the second reading the principle which we mean to adopt. Do we mean to adopt what is commonly called the voluntary principle, or do we mean to adopt the principle that it is fit and right that some public provision should be made for teaching religion to the people? These are the great principles at issue. Now, had my noble Friend (Earl Granville) consented to begin by the consideration of the Preamble, and that had been done by common agreement, as in the House of Commons in 1855, that question would have been raised in the most direct and convenient manner by my moving the omission of the words declaring that the property is not to be applied to the maintenance of any church, or clergy, or to the teaching of religion. Although, however, he is not prepared to accede to that course, it comes to very much the same 692 thing, for as I ask your Lordships to begin with the Preamble for the mere purpose of moving this Amendment, you will, in deciding whether or not you will postpone the Preamble, be really deciding whether or not you are favourable to the Amendment. Having stated thus much with regard to the question of form, let me now call your attention to the grounds which I venture to contest the policy on which a great part of the Bill is founded, and which is expressed by the words in the Preamble to which I object, and my reasons for holding it to be inexpedient to lay down the rule that no public provision whatever shall be made for religious instruction. In my opinion the principle commonly known as the voluntary principle is, as a general system of policy, a mistaken one; and, I regard its application to Ireland, in the present circumstances of that country, as liable to special objection. With respect to the general principle of policy, that no provision whatever ought to be made for the teaching of religion to the people, I cannot refrain from observing that, of late years, we have heard much of an exultant tone of triumph on the part of the advocates of that principle, and a sort of contumelious assumption that they only are right, and that those who hold the opposite opinion are benighted adherents of exploded notions; but when I come to ask what there is to justify this assumption of superior wisdom on the part of these modern philosophers, I cannot help concluding that their bold assumption of the soundness of the principle they maintain rests upon an exceedingly slight foundation of general reasoning, and that their attempts to support it by appeals to experience have been signally unsuccessful. As far as I have been able to understand the arguments of those who contend against any public provision for religious instruction, they resolve themselves into these —They say that those who require religion ought to pay for it; that it is not just to make those who may be indifferent to, or who may disapprove the religious instruction which is afforded bear any share of the expense; that it is unfair for one denomination to be encouraged at the expense of the others; and that just as men can be left to provide for their other wants, so the demand for religious instruction will produce the supply. Now, I submit that in such argu- 693 ments some material considerations are left quite out of sight. We all admit that Governments exist to promote the welfare of those who live under them, and that the great object of Governments is to promote, as far as possible, the happiness and welfare of those over whom they rule. Well, has religion, I ask, nothing to do with that welfare? I am not speaking of the benefit of religion to individuals, but I am speaking of it as a means of maintaining civil society. It is not only one of our greatest ecclesiastical writers, who has said in a well-known and eloquent passage that there is "a politic use in religion;" all statesmen and legislators, including those caring little for religion personally, have with one voice expressed the same opinion, and have declared that for the security of civil society, for the welfare of States, it is of the first importance that there should exist among men a general conviction that they are not subject only to human laws, which they may hope to evade or break with impunity, but to a law of higher authority, a law which they cannot hope to break with any chance of escaping a just retribution. That has been the opinion of all statesman and legislators; and I ask, then, whether the State has not a great interest in the diffusion of religion, and whether it is not just that a part of the general property under the control of the State should be applied to this purpose? We do not exempt a man who professes to be fond of filth from the payment of rates for the cleansing and sewerage of a town; and it is equally just that all men, whether they value religion for themselves or not, should concur in a system by which a part of the wealth under the control of the State is applied in instilling into the minds of the population a belief in God, a sense of religion, and a firm conviction of the existence of those Divine laws which they cannot break without danger to themselves. To provide the means of teaching religion, which is acknowledged to be the only sure foundation on which order and civil society can rest, is as legitimate an object for the employment of part of the wealth belonging to a State as any other purpose of general utility. As for the argument that it is unfair to one denomination of Christians to give it less encouragement than others, I could never see the force of it. I quite admit 694 that no part of the population ought to be subject to any disabilities or any disadvantages on account of the religious opinions they may entertain; but how are men, who are allowed to seek religious instruction for themselves, wronged if, by some public provision, means are taken to supply instruction to the poor and indifferent, who would not seek such instruction for themselves? There is no injustice whatever in this, and it appears to me to be an argument not creditable to the true Christian feeling of those who use it that any Christian sect should say—"We would rather have the great mass of our fellow-subjects left in ignorance and indifference to all religions than they should be taught Christianity in a form which we do not entirely approve. Though we admit that the essentials of Christianity are the same in all sects, though we admit that the great moral law is reverenced equally by all, still we would rather that a number of our fellow-subjects should be left in ignorance of the most elementary truths of the existence of a God and of responsibility in a future state, than that they should be taught those great essentials of religion, accompanied with some speculative opinions in which we do not entirely concur." That argument is totally contrary to the true spirit of Christianity. But we are also told that there is no necessity for the State to interfere, since the want of some religious instruction is so deeply felt by mankind that you may trust to their supplying themselves with it, just as they attend to their physical wants. Now, that argument appears to me to be contradicted by all experience. There is no danger of men forgetting their physical wants. The danger is rather of their being too anxious for those things which are necessary to supply those wants, and to gratify their animal inclinations, and of their attempting to obtain those things by means which are not justifiable. But with regard to their spiritual wants the case is otherwise. We know that those who are in the greatest want of religious instruction are precisely those who are most ignorant that they want it. It is necessary, therefore, that some means should be taken to arouse them, and to call their attention to the perilous position in which they are placed by neglecting their spiritual welfare. When, moreover, the argument in favour of 695 voluntaryism is attempted to be supported by a reference to experience its fallacy is still more obvious. The most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) demonstrated beyond all contradiction on a former evening that the manner in which the experience of Scotland had been quoted in support of that system was altogether fallacious; but what has made the greatest impression on my mind is the experience of that great Republic which is commonly brought forward as a triumphant proof of the success of the voluntary system.
Let us consider what the effect of leaving religion entirely to voluntary efforts has been in the United States. I have never visited that country, and cannot judge by experience of my own; but it is fairer and safer to judge by what we can learn from native than from foreign authorities, and it appears to me that if there could be any doubt of the advisability of having some means of religious instruction beyond that provided by the voluntary principle, that doubt would be removed by appealing to the experience of the United States, as its results are described to us by the Americans. Judging exclusively from what is to be gathered from American authorities, I do not doubt the great religious activity which exists in the United States, that there are many churches and many clergy; but I venture to say, that if you look carefully at the accounts given to us of the state of religious instruction in that country, you will find reason to conclude that it is chiefly provided for the rich and for those who are anxious for it, while the poor and the indifferent are to a great extent neglected. Your Lordships have probably seen from time to time in American newspapers, accounts of a singular proceeding which annually occurs in a place of worship in one of the principal cities of the United States. The seats in that church are put up to competition, and are bought for prices, I believe, as high as people pay in this country for opera boxes. Now, it is not exactly in accordance with our notions of religion that the services of the greatest preachers in that country should be devoted in this manner to those who can afford to pay most for them. I may also refer to the exclusive and unchristian practice of not admitting coloured men to seats in their best chapels, and I was very much struck by the argument 696 offered by an American, who gave as a reason for being so exclusive that coloured persons were excluded from clubs in England. That is not exactly my notion of the way in which the word of God should be taught to the people. I think that a system under which there are chapels where the select and wealthy classes exclusively enjoy the advantage of the instructions of a most able and eloquent divine is not to be preferred to ours, where we see the special services in St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey attended by a vast crowd, as large as those buildings will contain, and where, without payment or favour to any, all who desire it can receive the instruction of the most eminent preachers of the day. I prefer a system by which in every parish in the land there is a person whose special duty it is to search out the indifferent and careless, and to urge them, as they value their future happiness, to receive religious instruction—a system by which instruction is freely offered to the parishioners, to one by which instruction is only given to those who pay for it. I may be told, indeed, that I am describing a state of things which does not exist, and that free instruction is not provided in every parish for all the parishioners. But why is that the case? Simply because our system of endowment is not in proportion to the growing wants of our population; not because the system is wrong, but because it is incomplete. The theory of our system is right, and though, unfortunately it is not carried into complete operation, that theory and system are, to my mind, infinitely to be preferred to those of the United States. Moreover, the inadequacy of the instruction provided under the voluntary system is not its worst element. My Lords, it is impossible to read the accounts which appear in American newspapers of the manner in which public worship is conducted in that country without being struck by the fact that the entire dependence of the clergy on their flocks has had an injurious effect in various ways. I could easily give quotations in proof of this, but I am anxious to spare your Lordships' time, and, therefore, instead of reading extracts from books and newspapers, I will only mention the substance of what may be learned from them. We are told that the natural effect of the system of competition by which the clergy are paid is that the services of the 697 Church are made as attractive as possible to the congregation, and it is notorious that the pulpits of America are degraded to the purposes of party warfare in a manner to which, even in times of the greatest excitement, we are happily strangers in this country. Week by week, in the pulpits of the United States, political harangues are delivered under the guise of sermons, and, what is still worse, the clergy shrink from denouncing, as they ought, with the independence and severity which they ought, those sins to which the people are most prone. There is one remarkable instance of that, which is so undoubted, that I cannot refrain from calling your Lordships' attention to it. I refer to the conduct of all the Churches in America, with hardly an exception, with regard to slavery previous to the outbreak of the great civil war. I challenge anyone to contradict me when I say that for some years previous to that outbreak nearly all the Churches avoided expressing that opinion on the subject of slavery which, as Christians, it was their duty to declare. My Lords, slavery is a state of things so clearly and palpably contrary to all the precepts of Christianity that, in my opinion, it is utterly impossible to find any excuse or palliation for those Churches which have tampered with so great a sin; yet we know that many Churches in America deliberately and elaborately defended slavery, with its worst abominations, as it existed in America, and that those which did not defend abstained from condemning it as they ought. And, my Lords, this was by no means confined to the South, where slavery actually existed, but it extended to a great extent through the North, where the profitable trade carried on with the South by merchants and manufacturers, through the continuance of slavery, made them unwilling that the system should be abolished. Whether, therefore, you look to general reasoning or to experience, you have a right to conclude that it is for the general good of a nation that there should exist some provision for the teaching of religion to the people, so that its ministers may not be left entirely dependent on their flock; and if that is true as a general system of policy, it is more especially true with regard to Ireland. The withdrawal from Ireland of that public provision for the teaching of religion which has 698 hitherto existed would be attended with very unfortunate results.
In the late debate I called attention to some of these results, which I need not recapitulate. I shall only say that I endeavoured to show that if you were entirely to withdraw from the Established Church the means which she now possesses, the probable effect would be that, in the course of a few years, when the present incumbents had died out, the scattered Protestant population of Ireland would be reduced to this position— they would be unable to obtain any religious ministrations, and would have to choose between dispensing with such ministrations altogether, conforming to the Roman Catholic religion, or emigrating, any one of which would be a grave misfortune for Ireland. This is what would be most likely to happen; but I am willing to admit the possibility that, by subscriptions in this country means would be found of continuing, to a great degree, the religious instruction of the Protestants of the South and West of Ireland. But supposing this to be accomplished, it would by no means remove the objections to which I have been referring, —leaving the Protestant Church entirely destitute of any endowment — because your Lordships must remember that, in order to obtain those subscriptions which would be its only resource, it would be absolutely necessary that means should be taken to keep up a high degree of religious excitement. This would be done by addressing the controversial passions and feelings of the Protestants as against the Roman Catholics, and I do not think that that would be for the benefit of the people of Ireland. Already a very large sum has been subscribed for the purpose of carrying on Protestant missions in the West of Ireland, and I do not hesitate to say that, strongly as I adhere to the Protestant religion, I deeply regret that this should have been done. I cannot but deplore, with the late Rev. Mr. Robertson, of Brighton, in a very beautiful sermon, the existence of "these fierce associations which think only of uprooting error," for, as he remarks—There is a spirit in them which is more of earth than Heaven, short-sighted, too, and self-destructive. They do not make converts to Christ, but only controversially and adherents to a party. They compass sea and land. It matters little whether fierce Romanism or fierce Protestantism wins the day, but it does matter whe- 699 ther or not in the conflict we lose some precious Christian truth as well as the very spirit of Christianity.I am persuaded that to extend this system—that to encourage in this country the collection of subscriptions for this purpose—and that to make the supply of religious instruction to the scattered Protestant population of the South and West of Ireland depend on the keeping up of a state of religious excitement both in England and Ireland, would be disadvantageous alike to Roman Catholics and Protestants, and, above all, to Christianity. I am, therefore, firmly of opinion that, when proceeding to remove the real grievance of the Irish people— the maintenance of a wealthy Church Establishment for the exclusive benefit of a small minority of the population— we should not go further and entirely deprive that Church of all its means for the teaching of religion in the future. I say this because, with the exception of a paltry sum of £6,000 a year from private endowments, nothing whatever is left by the Bill for the maintenance of the Church when the present incumbents die out. [The Marquess of SALISBURY: Hear!] To that I entirely object. For more than forty years I have been an ardent advocate of reforming the present state of things in connection with the Established Church of Ireland. I said what I am now saying, when those who are now foremost in leading the attack upon the Church, andarecrying—"Down with it, down with it; let not a stone be left," were foremost in the fight for maintaining all its abuses and inequalities. I said so then; I say so now. But I have always been for reform, and not for destruction.
My Lords, with that feeling I, for one, shall be prepared to support in Committee Amendments which may be proposed with the view of preserving to the Church, after its connection with the State has ceased, some fair and moderate provision for the continuance of its religious teaching. With that view I shall support, if they are moved, the Amendments of the most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Canterbury); but I would suggest for his consideration that it is doubtful whether these provisions go quite far enough, and whether they could not be made to assume a more convenient form. I doubt whether if all the Amendments of the most rev. Pri- 700 mate were carried we shall leave to the Church necessary means for continued usefulness, and I see much danger in those Amendments. I confess to a dislike for the provisions of the Bill—and I shall not dislike them less after the Amendments of the most rev. Primate are carried—which declare that all private endowments shall remain belonging to the Church. When I consider the difficulty of determining what are private endowments, especially if we are to look back not only 200, but 300 years— when I consider that extreme difficulty and the probability of much litigation through appeals to the Court of Chancery provided for by the Bill, I cannot help fearing that these provisions may in the end turn out to be more profitable to the legal profession than to the Church. I would suggest to the most rev. Primate whether, in the clauses relating to private endowments, it would not be better to provide that out of the surplus which it is supposed will remain to the Church, after paying vested interests, a certain sum should be set aside to cover all these private endowments. Whether this be done or not, however, I trust your Lordships will insist before this Bill leaves the House that it shall contain some provision for the Church, so that it shall not be left in a state of absolute destitution when it ceases to be established. And, my Lords, what I say for the Established Church I say also for the Presbyterian; nay more, I say when I look at the small grant known as the Regium Donum, and think of the good it has done, and the great benefit Ireland has derived from the instruction of the Presbyterian Church, which, without the continuance of this wise system, could hardly be expected to be maintained, I, for one, altogether deny the policy or expediency of the provisions in this Bill, which go to destroy the system of the Regium Donum. To use the language of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) in his able speech the other night, I regard this as a truly shabby proceeding. But if we are to take this course —if we are to show our disinterested regard for religious equality in Ireland by putting into our own pockets what we have hitherto paid under the name of the Regium Donum for the Presbyterians, then I say out of the property of the Church we must in some 701 way or other make provision for the Presbyterians as well as for the Church of England.
My Lords, I hold it to be, as I have said, absolutely necessary for the good working of this measure, that we should provide in some manner for the continuance of the Protestant Churches; but let me add, I advocate this upon one condition. I could not be a party to making an increased grant to the Protestant Churches unless the same principle is extended to the Roman Catholics. My Lords, if you shut out the Roman Catholics you will neutralize all the good you may expect your Act to produce. You would do more than this. The Roman Catholics, under the present state of things, acquiesce from custom in what has long prevailed, and offer slight remonstrance against the injustice which they feel is done them by keeping up the rich Protestant Establishment, and paying the Presbyterians out of the Parliamentary grant. But if we begin afresh in this course; if we re-enact this injustice; if we, on abolishing the existing state of things, once more revert to the unjust principle of exclusion; if in putting an end to the Establishment of the Protestant Church we make some permanent provision for both the great Protestant Churches, and altogether exclude the Roman Catholics from any similar advantage, I believe the sense of injustice will be far greater than it is now. Therefore, greatly as I should lament to see the Bill pass in its present shape, still I believe it would do less injury if passed unamended than if we were to amend it in the narrow spirit I have been deprecating. However, I believe it will be quite impossible for your Lordships to do so. I cannot for a moment believe that the other House of Parliament will consent to such one-sided Amendments as would endow the Protestants and do nothing for the Catholics. They would say, and say with truth'— "You have destroyed the whole utility of the Bill," and proceeding to deal with the Amendments, I am persuaded they would reject them. And what is more, I say they ought, under such circumstances, to reject them. I insist, therefore, that if we are to make provision for the Protestant Churches, we must not neglect the Roman Catholics. But quite independent of this consideration, quite independent of the desire to secure some 702 better permanent provision for the Protestant Churches—I consider it to be of the highest degree of importance that something should be given to the Roman Catholic Church. It is stated in the Preamble that "the property of the said Church of Ireland, or the proceeds thereof, should be held and applied for the advantage of the Irish people." That, I believe, is a sound and just principle; but if it be adopted, we must consider how the property may be best applied to the advantage of the Irish people; and if you consider the question in this light you cannot help giving something to the Catholics. You ought, I maintain, to afford to the poor people of Ireland some assistance towards the maintenance of their Church. My Lords, I am told by those who have carefully inquired into the matter that the maintenance of their clergy at this time forms one of the heaviest burdens of the people of Ireland. I am told that the payments which they are expected to make amount, in the case of even a poor person, to no less than 1½ per cent of his earnings, and this deduction has to be made from the miserable pittance which he is able to obtain for his own maintenance. With regard to some of the more wealthy, a case was mentioned to me in which the payment made by a farmer to the Church amounted to no less than 5 per cent upon the profit which he got from his farm. It would, therefore, be a great assistance to the poor of Ireland to give something towards the support of their clergy. How it should be done is another question.
In the Amendments placed upon your Lordships' table a plan is suggested of providing for building parsonage houses and purchasing small glebes for the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland out of the proceeds of the Church property. My Lords, I entirely agree with that proposition. I believe it would confer, at a moderate expense, and in a manner most free from objection, the greatest benefit upon the Roman Catholic clergy and people. Considering the self-denying habits of the clergy, and how little is necessary for their maintenance, a small plot of land on which they can feed a cow and grow potatoes will be a most valuable addition to their incomes. But this is only one out of several modes of granting assistance to the Roman Catholic Church which have been 703 suggested, it will be a question of great importance and some difficulty which of these modes should be preferred, and this is not the right time for considering it; but I venture to put it to your Lordships that it is our duty not to let this Bill pass without including in it some provision for the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, and also for the clergy of the Protestant Churches in Ireland. I am persuaded that this is a policy which would be best for the future peace and welfare of Ireland; but let me point out that it is hardly less important with reference to British interests. Some of the noble Lords who have taken part in this debate have treated with scorn the notion that the passing of this Bill would bring danger to our own English Church. They have said, and said truly, that there is a difference between the positions of the two Churches; but while I fully recognize that difference, and I concur in the opinion that it would be possible to alter the existing arrangements in Ireland without inflicting any injury upon our own Church, I deny that this would be true of the measure proposed to us. I submit to your Lordships that the Bill, as it now stands, would carry with it an element of serious danger to the English Church.
Let me remind your Lordships of the able argument adduced on a former evening by a right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough), who showed, in a manner which to my mind was conclusive, that while the Bill professes to establish religious equality it fails to do so. He told you that while you professed by this Bill to accomplish the object of relieving the Roman Catholics of Ireland from the grievances under which they had hitherto laboured, you fail, and for this reason — in England the religion of the majority is provided for by the State; in Scotland there is a provision for the religion of the majority; but in Ireland, where the majority is Roman Catholic, there is no such provision for the clergy. The right rev. Prelate further said, and said with truth, that this Bill would not be long in operation before the Roman Catholics of Ireland would urge, with irresistible force, the doctrine that what was good for Ireland was good for England, and that if in Ireland the majority was Roman Catholic and nothing was given to them in aid of religious instruction, the 704 same rule ought to be applied to England, where the majority is Protestant, and, indeed, the Bill would leave the Irish Roman Catholics under the same stigma of inequality as they had been placed in hitherto. That argument is to my mind irresistible. When I consider what the state of things at present is—when I consider how certain it is that an attack is about to be directed upon our own Church in England, when I look at the declarations of the Liberation Society and of Mr. Miall as to the objects they have in view — I confess it does appear to me to be a suicidal policy to put into their hands the fatal advantage of being able to appeal to a Parliamentary declaration in favour of the voluntary principle, and at the same time to assure them for their allies the majority of the Irish population, the Catholics and the Presbyterian Protestants, who will be all alike left destitute, who will regard the Bill as an unmitigated evil, and will have the strongest temptation to join in dealing out to us the measure we have dealt out to them. They will join with the voluntary party in enforcing upon England the rule we have enforced upon Ireland. This danger is, to my mind, the more serious, because I cannot forget that a person of great power and influence in this country—no less a person than the present Prime Minister —in a very remarkable pamphlet which he published not long ago, entitled A Chapter of Autobiography, has laid down principles and stated arguments which, if followed out to their natural and logical conclusion, necessarily would lead to an attack upon the Established Church in this country, and to the establishment of the voluntary principle here as well as in Ireland. When I consider how rapidly that right hon. Gentleman's political and religious education has gone on, and that it is but a few years since he entertained very different views upon this subject, I can hardly doubt that, if we pass this Bill in its present shape, before many years have gone by—probably before many months have gone by — we shall see that right hon. Gentleman at the head of the same combined force which he now leads, in which Catholics are united with anti-Catholics, pupils of Cardinal Cullen and Archbishop Manning, with followers of Mr. Miall, and of the Liberation Society, and he will, at the head of that 705 somewhat motley party, conduct an assault upon our Church similar to that he has made on the Irish Church. This is why I cannot assent to the passing of this Bill in the form in which it gives these advantages to our opponents. Look, my Lords, how different the case will be if you consent to amend this Bill in the manner which I venture to suggest; if you strike out of the Preamble those obnoxious words, and then introduce clauses and provisions which give something to all the three great religious communities in Ireland. If you do that, how totally reversed our position will be. Instead of having a solemn Parliamentary affirmation of the voluntary principle, you will have furnished a Parliamentary declaration that it is right a portion of the public wealth should continue to be employed in the teaching of religion. Instead of having opposed to you, with the voluntary party, the whole of the Irish population, you will, in all probability, have a great part of that population interested in maintaining the principle that is opposed to the voluntary one; and you will have them for allies instead of opponents. I ask you whether that will not make a material difference?
Upon these grounds I venture to press upon you, not only for the interests of Ireland, but also for those of England and Scotland, that we should amend this Bill in the manner I have pointed out. I am sanguine enough to believe that a majority of your Lordships concur in the opinion I have expressed as to what would really be the best mode of dealing with this question. Those of your Lordships who watched the course of the late debate must have been struck by this circumstance—that there was hardly any noble Lord who spoke, whether against the Bill or for it, who did not either directly assert or indirectly imply this opinion—that the Bill would have been better if it had made some provision for the various Churches in Ireland. That opinion was generally implied by noble Lords, not excluding some of my noble Friends on the front Bench opposite. Unhappily, that opinion was coupled with another, that, while undoubtedly it would be better to do something of this kind, it was impracticable. I venture, however, to submit that if your Lordships are satisfied that a different arrangement from that pro- 706 posed by the Government would be essentially better for the public interests and the public welfare, it is your duty not too hastily to assume that that better arrangement is impossible. No step has yet been taken to prove that it is impracticable, and I do hope that if we are now to refuse this policy of giving something to the different religious bodies in Ireland, its impracticability will be more completely shown. As far as I can infer from some obscure hints in the speeches of noble Lords, I believe that it has been considered impracticable, because it is assumed that the Roman Catholics of Ireland would not accept anything from the property of the Church; that the Protestants of Ireland would not approve of the offer being made; and, lastly, that the people of England and Scotland are so decidedly opposed to such a policy that it would be impossible to carry it out. I venture to question all those assumptions. I do not believe they are any of them true. I am quite aware that the Roman Catholics have declared that they would not accept stipends for their clergy from the State. Formerly they would gladly have done so. When the House of Commons, in the year 1825, resolved that such a provision should be made, the Roman Catholic prelates and laity were prepared to acquiesce in the arrangement, as part of the plan of emancipation then proposed. Unfortunately, that arrangement was defeated by the rejection of the Emancipation Bill by this House, and for many years past the feeling of the Roman Catholics of Ireland has been decidedly against accepting any stipend. But though it is quite certain that they would not consent to their clergy becoming stipendiary, it is equally certain that, as yet at least, neither the Catholic Prelates nor the laity have expressed any such opinion against accepting houses and glebes. And I would say further, that if we were certain that the offer would be declined, it would be no less our duty to make it, because the fact of our distinctly placing these glebes and houses within reach of the Roman Catholics would remove any difficulty which there might be in the way of making provision for our own clergy. The Roman Catholics have a perfect right to say—"There must be equality between the two religions;" but they have no right to say that that equality 707 is to be arrived at by reducing both to a common destitution. If they refuse to accept a been which will not in the slightest degree affect the independence of their Church, they have no right to object to our making a similar offer to the clergy of the Established Church. I know it is true that many of the Prelates, the clergy, and the laymen of the Church in Ireland object to any such arrangement. I know that the feeling against it is very strong in the North of Ireland; but even on this point I know that there is great division of opinion. There are still many persons among the Protestants of the North of Ireland who believe that some provision for all the Churches would be the most desirable and the fairest way of arriving at a settlement of this great question. That I believe to be a growing feeling; and I am persuaded that, after the heat and excitement of the conflict have subsided, the bulk of the Protestants will be far better contented if they find some moderate provision made for their own religious instruction, even though a similar provision should be made for the Roman Catholics also, than they will be if they should be left, as this Bill proposes to leave them, in a state of entire religious destitution. I am so confident of the opinion of the people of Ireland upon this point, that I would willingly leave it to their decision. I am sure that their votes would be in favour of giving something to all the Churches, instead of leaving them all destitute. But then, my Lords, we are told that it is impossible to do this—that the feeling of the people of England is too strongly against such a proposal to hope that it would be successful. I would venture to answer the objections of those who make use of this argument by quoting the words of a very high authority—the w6rds of Mr. Bright himself—The Nonconformist people of England and Scotland should bear in mind that the whole of this property which is now in the possession of the Established Church of Ireland is Irish property. It does not belong to Scotland or to England; and it would be a measure intolerable and not to be thought of that it should be touched or dealt with in any manner that is not in accordance with the feelings, and the interests of the people of Ireland."—[3 Hansard, cxc. 1661.]Now, I say it would be indeed intolerable, and not to be thought of, that an arrangement which has for many years been advocated by the most enlightened 708 friends of Ireland—which at this moment the vast majority of your Lordships know in your hearts to be best calculated to bring back religious peace to that country—that such an arrangement should be rejected because a portion of the people of England and Scotland choose to say— "We will not endow error," as they are pleased to call the religion held by their fellow-subjects in Ireland. This argument is used by men who clamorously demand a Bill which is confessedly a measure of revolutionary violence, because they say it is necessary to establish the great principle of religious equality. But I would ask what respect for the rights of conscience is shown by these men, who are not ashamed to denounce as idolatry a religion which is held by three-fourths of their Irish fellow-subjects and by a majority of the Christians throughout the world? For it must not be forgotten that the Roman Catholics acknowledge the same code of morality and the same first principles of Christianity as we do. I am no less firm in my adherence to Protestantism than any of your Lordships, but I condemn those who denounce the Roman Catholic religion as idolatry, not because I agree with the Roman Catholics, but because I hold that they have as good a right to their opinions as we have to ours. I say that if you desire to adopt any other principle as the basis of your legislation you ought never to have repealed the Penal Laws. It is utterly impossible that the representatives of Ireland and England can sit in the same Parliament, and work together harmoniously in passing laws for the common good, if you are in legislating to act upon the assumption that the Roman Catholic religion is false and idolatrous. I say it is now too late to adopt that principle. You have for years recognized and encouraged the Roman Catholic Church in Canada and the colonies; you have for years provided out of the funds of the British Treasury for the appointment of Roman Catholic chaplains in the Army, the Navy, the prisons, and the workhouses, and it is now too late to say that, in dealing with this great question of the Irish Church, you must act upon the assumption that the Roman Catholic religion is false and idolatrous, and that it would be wrong for you in any way to connive at its support.
709 My Lords, I venture to say that, after all, the truth has never yet been put before the country. The constituencies have never had it put before them to decide whether it is just or not, in dealing with Irish property, to consult the feelings of the Irish people. That is a plain question; but neither party has had the moral courage to put it to the constituencies. On the contrary, both sides have imputed to each other as a crime the intention to make some concession to the Irish Roman Catholics. Last year, with a view to the approaching election, it seemed to be a contest between the two parties which should go furthest in imputing to its opponents and in disclaiming for itself a disposition to do justice to the Roman Catholics. Each party sought to affix as an indelible reproach on the other the contemplation of such a thing. I am persuaded that if a more honest course were adopted —if it were put before the people of England that justice to Ireland and the true interests of the Empire required that the question should be settled in this way—the answer to that appeal would be a satisfactory one. And, my Lords, I have so much reliance on their sense of justice and on the inherent force of truth that I feel convinced that if we legislate upon the principle I am advocating the people will ratify our legislation. In conclusion, my Lords, I have only to say that by adopting my Amendment you will merely declare that your Lordships do not concur in the propriety of laying down as a principle that no part of the surplus funds of the Irish Church ought to be applied to religious purposes. I have thought it my duty in moving my Amendment to state how, in my opinion, that surplus ought to be dealt with; but, if you adopt my Amendment, it will not follow as a consequence that you concur in my opinion as to the particular mode of disposal. The only thing you will decide, in adopting my Amendment is that you do not think it right to declare that the whole of the surplus property of the Irish Church, after meeting the demands for vested interests, should be employed for secular purposes, and not for the higher object of religious instruction. The only decision you would give would be that it is desirable the property which has hitherto been given for the great object of promoting the religious in- 710 struction of the Irish people should still' though by other modes, be applied to that object.
§ Amendment moved to negative the Motion for postponing the Preamble.— (The Earl Grey.)
§ EARL GRANVILLE
My Lords, your Lordships may be aware that I labour under a difficulty as to the conduct of your Lordships' business in this matter. I am painfully sensible of the fact that Her Majesty's Government do not command a majority; but, even if they did, I should still be desirous to take that line which, in form and manner, would be most convenient for the greatest number of your Lordships. But, my Lords, as far as I have been able to gather, the course which the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) proposes we should take is not felt to be the most convenient for your Lordships. My noble Friend has had an opportunity, before your Lordships are fatigued by a discussion of clauses, to repeat arguments which you have often heard from him on a question in which he takes a great interest. I think, however, that if there was doubt in your Lordships' minds before the noble Earl commenced, the speech he has just delivered is not very much calculated to make any change in your Lordships' impressions on the subject. I put aside the question of imputing unfairness in their motives to both sides of the House; but I think the arguments used by my noble Friend in support of his Amendment were not such as to induce many of your Lordships to support him in this political conjuncture. I know that many of your Lordships have strong opinions on the subject of the Amendment of which my noble Friend the noble Duke on the cross-Benches (the Duke of Cleveland) has given notice; but I believe that there are noble Lords who would support that Amendment, but who will not be inclined to follow the noble Earl in the course he proposes to take. On the part of her Majesty's Government I must enter my strongest protest against the description which the noble Earl has given of the Bill, and I must add that the line he has taken, after the manner of the ancient astrologers, in casting the horoscope of the present Prime Minister is not very well calculated to enlist us in support of his proposition. The noble Earl at considerable length went into the 711 question of concurrent endowment of the different creeds in Ireland. I shall not shrink from stating the reasons which make it impossible that Her Majesty's Government can agree with my noble Friend in that principle. When I do so I will use simple and plain arguments, which I think will be considered intelligible even by those who do not agree with us. I will not make use of arguments such as some of those employed by my noble Friend, and which seemed to have been put up merely for the purpose of being knocked down again. I think your Lordships will agree with me that if there be any mode of clearing our proceedings with reference to this Bill it would be desirable to adopt it. Your Lordships dealt with the Bill as a whole on the second reading; but on looking through the Amendments, and taking them in the aggregate, I think that they not only go to every part of the Bill—to all its provisions—but also to its principle. Now, with regard to these endowments, I saw it stated in a paper the other day that the deductions from the surplus fund which would be made if all the Amendments were adopted would amount to something like £4,000,000. Since then I have had the curiosity to go through the Amendments, for the purpose of ascertaining the actual amount. I find that the deductions proposed by the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Cairns) would amount to £400,000; those of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) to £352,000; those of the noble Earl who spoke the other night (the Earl of Limerick) to £500,000 —making£1,252,000. Then, coming to the Episcopal Bench, the proposition of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) would take £830,000; that of the most rev. Primate near me (the Archbishop of Dublin) £600,000; that of the most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) £930,000; and that of the most rev. Prelate who presides over the Northern Province (the Archbishop of York) £1,375,000. With what we propose these deductions would absorb £13,000,000 out of the £16,000,000 which constitute the entire of the funds of the Irish Church. We then come to concurrent endowment. The noble and learned Lord behind me (Lord Westbury) proposes to take) £3,000,000, which just disposes of the entire of the surplus; "but my noble Friend at the table (Earl 712 Russell) proposes to take £4,500,000. If his alternative plan should be adopted, when my noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Shaftesbury) comes to propose his loans for the Irish peasantry he will find a deficit of £1,500,000. [A laugh.] Well, there seems to be a difficulty here, and I do not think the proposition of the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey) will help us out of it. I hope we shall learn in the course of the debate the Amendments that will be supported, to give to the House, and through the House to the country, some guide respecting our proceedings and the probable result. I agree with the noble Earl that it is quite in our power, though it is not the practice, to at once deal with the Preamble; but I do not think we ought to do so, unless it is shown to us that there would be a manifest advantage in our doing so. I must say that I do not think the case of Private Bills, in respect of which the object is to save money to the promoters, is one which should influence us when we are dealing with a great Bill, such as the one now before your Lordships. The noble Earl says it is very desirable to know what principle we are to go on, and he says that if we have before us the question whether concurrent endowment shall or shall not be adopted, that will make everything intelligible. It is all very well for the noble Earl to tell us so; but if I recollect rightly, that portion of the Preamble was as much opposed by noble Lords who object to concurrent endowment as by those who strongly support it. A division, therefore, upon that point would not advance us in any degree in ascertaining what the feelings of your Lordships were for or against concurrent endowment; and besides, there is this great disadvantage of which your Lordships will, I think be sensible. It was urged by noble and learned Lords that we should be very careful as to the mode of our proceedings. And I can conceive nothing less conciliatory towards the House of Commons, than at the very outset, to destroy one of the principles of the Bill, instead of discussing the merits of particular Amendments when we come to them. I do not think it necessary to say more to show my objection to the course proposed, and to express what I think is the feeling of the House. I hope my noble Friend will consent to withdraw his Amendment.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
I think your Lordships' House and the country are very much indebted to the noble Earl (Earl Grey) for the speech which he has made. The noble Earl thinks for himself; he has the gift of expressing his thoughts in vigorous English language; and he has the courage to say "what he thinks and what he desires to say. I think, therefore, that we owe him a great debt for having brought before this House, and through this House before the country, one most important view of that great question which is now before us. I cannot say that I agree with the noble Earl in thinking that it will be convenient to divide upon the issue that he has raised. I earnestly trust the noble Earl will listen to what has fallen from the noble Earl (Earl Granville) behind me; and while he perceives that, in bringing before the House and the country, at so early a stage of the Committee's deliberations, this great and important proposition, he has gained the only point which he can now attain, he will likewise see that in forcing a division he will really make his own defeat almost certain, and will not truly ascertain the opinions of your Lordships. Upon the great issue, however, which your Lordships care most about, I would ask permission to say a few words. If you consider that the question of the disestablishment of the Irish branch of the United Church is not settled, then, I should say, there is a fundamental objection in limine to any proposal for dividing its property with other religious bodies. But I agree with what was said in such eloquent language by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Peterborough) the other night, that the decision of the country upon that point has been taken, and is irreversible. But, admitting the right rev. Prelate's propositions, I come to a different conclusion as regards my vote. When your Lordships were kind enough to allow me to urge my view with regard to the Suspensory Bill, I endeavoured to impress upon the House that the issue then to be decided and to be sent for that purpose to the constituencies was nothing less, and could be taken for nothing less, than whether we should maintain an Established Church in Ireland or not. I then urged every objection that occurred to my mind against such a course, and I retain every objection which I then urged. I believe 714 that the disestablishment of the Irish Church will not tend to appease Irish discontent; but instead of doing so will give to Irish opposition to the Union with Great Britain the increased violence which comes from a taste of success without the satisfaction of the appetite. But the question of disestablishment, according to my humble view, is a settled question. I maintain that it was the question which was referred to the constituencies; it was to it that the answer of the constituencies was returned; it was so far confirmed by the resignation of the late Government; it received additional sanction by the appointment of the present Government; and, therefore, in point of fact—let us who dislike the conclusion deny it as we may—it is a settled matter. Holding that opinion, I wished very much to have it stated upon the second reading of the Bill. It may be known to many of your Lordships that it was my intention to do so; but the accidents of debate shut me out from the opportunity of making this statement, and, therefore, I held myself incapacitated, as a Bishop of the Church of England, from giving the vote I should otherwise have given, no opportunity of stating the grounds on which I did so having presented itself. Holding disestablishment, then, to be a settled point, one great difficulty is removed out of the way of considering the main proposition of the noble Earl. And what is the difficulty which remains? There was one argument upon which the noble Earl touched, but it did not seem to me a very convincing argument—the disinclination of many very good, very wise, and very resolute and determined men to yield assent to any manner of endowment of what they consider erroneous doctrine. Is that a sufficient answer? I ask your Lordships to consider what appears to me to be the fundamental difference between an established religion and that which is merely endowed. I hold that establishment consists in its essence, not in the payment of the clergy, higher or lower, but in the recognized form of teaching which the State has assumed to be its representative in the religious instructions of the people. Then I say, while a Christian country could not consent, without the deepest guilt, to establish any erroneous form of teaching, and could not consent to let 715 itself be represented as a teacher of religion by anything which it did not in itself believe to be the teaching of the true religion, because it would otherwise be making its own representative in religious teaching one whom it denied to be a true religious teacher, the consideration whether we ought to give to different religious teachers sums of money, even from the State funds, stands upon wholly a different footing. We are all perfectly familiar with the fact that in our great Eastern dominions the State administers funds belonging to heathen chapels. And the State does right, for Christianity does not call upon you to commit injustice to a man because he is a heathen. It would be the greatest weakness if we made these men official exponents of religious teaching, if we authoritatively instructed the people in their own falsehoods. But it is not mixing ourselves up with falsehood if we let them have that to which the rules of justice entitle them, although these may entitle them to teachers who shall instruct them falsely. And then apply this rule to your Roman Catholic brethren in Ireland. There is no Member in this House who feels in his own religious convictions a deeper sense of the evils of that part of the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which differs from the teaching of our own Church; but, still I say this —that teaching is, in its main element, the teaching of our common Christianity; and if our Roman Catholic brethren will not be taught in the purer form, that I, for one, should desire, but will only receive it in the form that they themselves choose to accept, then, I say, the second great objection to dealing with this question as proposed by the noble Earl seems to have no real basis. But, is there not, on the other hand, a great deal to recommend it? If disestablishment is settled, as I believe it to be, then I think it follows that it is impossible for us to give the whole of what now belongs to the Established sister Church to the disestablished Church. And while I differ greatly from this Bill, as to the amount which I should wish to see given to that Church, while I agree that the amount proposed is altogether beneath her just claims, and while I assert that every principle of right ought to lead us to be more generous to her, I cannot forget those words 716 of Lord Bacon, in which he says— "They have deprived Christ's wife of a great part of her sustenance; it were reason, then, they made her a competent dowry." I think that principle applies eminently in this case. Even if the case were one of a common separation of those who have been united in marriage, you never suffer the husband to send his wife away and not to consider what is a just return for the past sodality, or without providing for her as a wife differently from what he would do for one who had no claim upon him. I maintain that upon every principle, not upon liberality alone, but even of right, there should be a larger allowance by far than is given to the sister Church. But you cannot, I think, assert that disestablishment has been agreed upon, and at the same time give to the sister Church the whole of her present endowments; there must be more or less a residue, and the question is, how this is to be disposed of. A great deal, undoubtedly, is to be said in favour of such a scheme as that put forward by the noble Earl in opposition to a mere scheme of secularization. We have heard a good deal about sacrilege; but I cannot help agreeing with my right rev. Brother that there has been a good deal of mystification. We have heard much about St. Ambrose, and probably those of your Lordships who do not profess to be adepts in this class of studies may have thought they were passing through a dose of the Fathers. But the question does not turn as it seems to me altogether on the authority of St. Ambrose. A greater than St. Ambrose has said—"I will have mercy and not sacrifice." A greater than St. Ambrose justified David and his companions, when, in their dire necessity, they ate the shew bread which it was not lawful for any man to eat but for the priest alone. I think, therefore, that if nothing more is meant than that this law of mercy in its highest exercise may justify the State in taking from the direct endowments of religion for other merciful works, that which has been set apart for the direct service of religion, it is what every one of us must admit, and it is what Hooker has laid down, when in the abundance of his argumentation he pointed out in what the great sin of sacrilege consisted. But if we go beyond that, and say that there is no such thing as sacrilege, no such thing as the giving 717 of goods to God—that it is nothing more or holier than any ordinary act of charity—that money given to the poor is really given to God—that there is no such thing as sacrilege, from all that I entirely differ. I would remind your Lordships how Hooker goes on to show that they are great introducers of sacrilege who, by means of gentle palliatives, lead men unawares to commit it; and I am afraid that those who have listened to nothing but our late debates may be led to imitate rather Belshazzar in his treatment of the golden vessels of the Temple than St. Ambrose. Take from the present Established Church in Ireland a portion of its property, and, instead of applying it to secular apply it directly to religious uses; give, as has been suggested, manses and glebes to those who minister, not according to our rites, but who are our fellow-Christians in Ireland, and I believe you will be adopting a far safer course to keep this country aloof from the dangers of sacrilege than if you were to devote to entirely different purposes that which has hitherto been set apart for the worship of God. I feel indeed that the deaf, and the idiot, and the blind stand in the forefront, and seem to ask of us some part of this surplus; but at their back are the owners of the broad acres of Ireland, whose duty it now is to minister to their necessities, and who—if the funds of the disestablished Church are appropriated to spiritual purposes — would still have to put their hands into their own deep pockets towards their support. I cannot help thinking, therefore, that the proposition made by the noble Earl tonight is well worthy of the consideration of this House—worthy of being discussed to the uttermost — and that you should not decide what your own course about it will be without having weighed thoroughly all that is to be said on the matter. And that makes me the more anxious that the noble Earl should not hasten to a division upon it; but that time should be given to allow the present discussion to sink into the public mind. Then, at a later stage in the progress of the Bill, when it becomes a practical measure, the proposal of the noble Earl may be put, and the opinion of the House with respect to it pronounced with greater advantage. It seems to me to be for another reason a 718 matter of considerable moment that your Lordships should adopt this course. I was deeply anxious that we should give a second reading to this Bill, because I wished to see this House do that which I think it is eminently qualified to do—lead the public opinion of this great country. Now, that function it cannot perform if it sets itself diametrically in opposition to public opinion whenever it happens to have pronounced its verdict on any great question. But it seems to me that it is almost impossible to limit the power that it has of leading the opinion of the country upon anything upon which that opinion is not irreversibly pronounced — if only it will take its own place, calmly, deliberately, and without any hurry let the country know the reasons with which it it is actuated, and the motives by which it is swayed. This House I believe to be in some respects more eminently representative of the nation than the other House of Parliament; more eminently representative, though, perhaps, it may seem paradoxical to say so, because it is less immediately representative. It represents more perfectly, it appears to me, the general resultative opinion of the country. Those who are returned to Parliament by different constituencies, to a certain extent, no doubt, represent the opinions of those constituencies. They give to them an overbearing representation in the other House, in consequence of which that House is not representative in the same degree as this of the nation at large. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the town representation in the Lower House wholly overshadows the opinions and representation of the entire country besides. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that a House composed like that of your Lordships—of men possessed of the highest education, of men who have passed through various learned professions, who have had personal acquaintance with commerce—is in a better position to represent the resultant and deliberate opinion of the Nation than the immediate representative House itself. In order that that should be so, however, it is necessary that you should not set yourself in direct opposition to the decision of the country; that you should not be biassed by any threats, and that you should deal with the great questions submitted to you in a brave, calm, and 719 deliberate spirit. In taking this course you will, I think, best consult, the interests of the country, the honour of this House, and, at this moment, the future welfare of that true Church which we shall, I trust, see arise in Ireland. It will, in my opinion, be far easier to secure to that Church a due share of her present revenues if you listen calmly to such arguments as have been laid before you to-night than if you hastily decide that such a course is impossible. For my own part, I look to the future of the Church in Ireland with every hope. I cannot join in the despairing language concerning it which is used in some quarters. I feel the greatness of the shock impending over her — the greatness of her loss in being disestablished. I am no advocate of Free Churches, and it must, I am confident, be a heavy blow to a Church not starting in the freshness of its youth, but which has long learnt to lean to a great degree on State aid, to have her endowments suddenly withdrawn. I can understand the sinking of heart among her people, but I do not doubt, at the same time, that there is besides all this in store for her a great resurrection. The difficulties of the Church have hitherto been too frequently the secret of her history to permit me to entertain any fears upon this grant. Never have riches flowed in upon her so abundantly as when she has not asked for them and has laboured for her God in poverty. Nor do I think, my Lords, there is anything in the Irish character which need make us apprehensive for the future of the Irish Church. Is there not, on the contrary, everything in that character which should lead us to hope for her success? Have they not a natural devotion of spirit to anything that they undertake? Has not Ireland been of old known as the Island of Saints; and may we not rest satisfied that the disestablished Church will make good its claim to its apostolic parentage? This, at all events, my Lords, is my hope for the Church of Ireland. I do not for a moment suppose that the gentry and the owners of the property in that country will suffer her to sink merely for the want of those temporal advantages which are necessary to help her on in her mission. I trust that we may yet see brighter days for our sister Church, bound to us as she will still be 720 by every tie of Christian brotherhood— one in doctrine, one in discipline, one in instinct, and that we and they, in the several spheres God has committed to us, may labour and labour successfully in our great cause. One thing seems to me to be clearly an advantage. If this trouble were to be prolonged—if it were to be repeated month after month and year after year—if, mingling with the striving to spread the truth there were also to overtide the Irish Church the lust of a mere worldly victory—then we might well despair of her future. But I trust that when this crisis is passed her future may be clear. I see —and I trust your Lordships see—the dangers that must beset the Reformed Church if she were to be engaged in long political struggles; how, necessarily, there must grow up out of such a struggle party zeal, and contest for preeminence, and how her Protestantism might thus degenerate into dogma and form, and therefore I do trust that this amendment of the measure—if such, in your deliberate judgment, you should esteem it —which may leave our Irish brethren with larger resources of their own, and with less of antagonism and hatred from the other side than would otherwise have been possible, may be adopted by your Lordships, thereby really strengthening in her difficulty this our sister Church. There is one thing of which I am convinced — that while an Establishment is to a particular Church in many ways a blessing unspeakable, no Church which cannot stand without an Establishment is worth being established. I, for one, refuse at once and altogether to believe such an imputation against the Irish Church. Much as I lament that which has come upon her, I believe that she will prove —when all has been done which can be done to lighten what I consider a most unhappy blow — I still believe she will prove herself to be the true Catholic Church of Ireland, rising in the greatness of her love, and leavening, more than she has yet done, the bulk of the population.
THE BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S
Perhaps your Lordships will allow me to explain that, in the remarks I made on the second reading of the Bill, I not only never denied the greatness of such a sin as sacrilege, but that I have a very distinct notion of its nature; and that, 721 as the question has been publicly asked, I believe that in the course of a very few days it will receive a public answer. My Lords, I cannot refrain from regretting that a most unfortunate accident deprived me of the company of my right rev. Brother (the Bishop of Oxford) in the Lobby at the late division; but I am delighted to hear that he was present with me in the spirit, though not in the flesh. Before sitting down, I cannot help expressing my deep sympathy and entire agreement with the sentiments of the noble Earl on the cross-Benches (Earl Grey); and I may, perhaps, be allowed to remind your Lordships that it is now a little more than twenty-four years since the principles so ably enunciated and maintained by the noble Earl were really, in substance, sanctioned and adopted by your Lordships' House, on the occasion of the grant to Maynooth. In that debate I had the honour to take a part; and it will be always a satisfaction to me to remember that I then faintly and poorly, but very earnestly, expressed the same sentiments. I have never since changed that opinion; and I believe that there is in the country a very strong and a growing current of thought in the same direction. I am aware that, although there is this strong current of thought in its favour, there is also a strong feeling against it; but I am quite sure that the one is only temporary, and that the other is likely to be permanent. I agree with my right rev. Friend, in thinking that there is one great mistake in the measure. I entirely approve it, so far as it was intended thereby to establish religious equality in Ireland; but I wish that it had been an equality of power and advantages, and not an equality of general destitution. Before sitting down, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to read a short extract from a letter written by a gentleman who signs himself "A Catholic Priest," who is said to be a most distinguished theologian of the Church of Rome, and who deals with almost every part of this question. In a few sentences, he expresses his opinion on the subject of voluntaryism and endowment. He says—To cast suddenly adrift from her moorings the Protestant Church of Ireland would fling her into a "sea of troubles." About that, as a Churchman of another creed, I may, perhaps, be supposed to be indifferent; but I am not. I do not think that state of things would be the slightest 722 advantage to us — probably, quite the reverse-while, on the other hand, it would be too likely to produce such spasmodic efforts in righting herself, and to create by the severe tension such a fanatical spirit as would very mischievously disturb the calm and peace of the country, and which, were it only on that account alone, a wise statesman would avoid.
§ LORD CAIRNS
I do not rise now to recur to any of the topics which were germane to the discussion on the second reading of the Bill; nor would it be convenient that, in stating my view of the Amendment of the noble Earl (Earl Grey), I should now deal with his arguments—stated, I need not say, with his usual ability—in support of the proposition which he desires your Lordships to adopt. I rose rather for the purpose of facilitating the progress of business in Committee, and of offering what appears to me a sufficient reason why we should not accept the Amendment of the noble Earl. I fear that the noble Earl has not been the only person who has departed from the usual practice of the House on this occasion, because the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville), in objecting to the postponement of the Preamble, took the opportunity of going rapidly through all the Amendments on the table, and of making for your Lordships' convenience a calculation as to the amount of money which would be required to satisfy every one of these Amendments, coming as they do from various quarters of the House. Well, I can only say, that if the calculations of the noble Earl in respect to the other Amendments are not more accurate than what he has made with regard to those that stand in my name, he will find that his arithmetic is extremely deficient. In one respect I think that the noble Earl will be gratified. He hoped that the Government would know what Amendments would be supported in this House, and I have not the least doubt that before the discussion closes he will ascertain that. With regard to the present Amendment, we are asked to depart from the usual practice of postponing the Preamble. But it seems to me that if we depart from that practice we may be in a position of considerable difficulty. The noble Earl (Earl Grey) says that an alteration in the Preamble will not be sufficient, and must be followed up by clauses with reference to the disposal of the surplus property of the Church. But suppose 723 that your Lordships assented to the proposal of the noble Earl, and, after altering the Preamble, decided against an alteration of the clauses in the sense contemplated by the noble Earl, what would be the consequence? The House would have altered the Preamble in the expectation of clauses which were to follow, and then would have rejected these clauses. We should be unable to go back to the Preamble because we had passed it, and should send out of Committee a Preamble which was not consistent with the clauses. It seems to me that that is quite a sufficient reason for adhering to the usual practice on the present occasion; and I hope that the noble Earl will not think that I am going beyond my province if I suggest to him that, at the commencement of a discussion which will last for a certain length of time, it will be desirable not to divide the Committee upon the proposition he has made.
§ EARL RUSSELL
I hope the Amendment of my noble Friend (Earl Grey) will be withdrawn, though I by no means regret that the subject has been brought under the attention of your Lordships. But a departure from the usual course of postponing the consideration of the Preamble till the clauses had been settled would be productive of considerable inconvenience. I should be glad to know on what data my noble Friend (Earl Granville) bases his calculations with regard to the Amendments proposed. After satisfying the claims of the Irish Church, it was estimated that there would remain a surplus of some £7,000,000, and I proposed that in that case a portion of the surplus should be expended in providing glebes and manses for the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic clergy. What is especially wanted for the government of Ireland is moral influence. No one can deny that in this country there has been for centuries a reliance on the just and impartial administration of the law. In Ireland, however, this was far from being the case. Not many years ago no person could be appointed to the office of sheriff unless he were a Protestant; and it was well known that the Protestant gentry were hostile to the Roman Catholics, and that the latter believed there could hardly be a fair trial in a court of justice. Now, moral influence is always connected with religion in Ireland. Nay, I even go fur- 724 ther, and maintain that moral influence prevails not only in the Established Church, but in the Roman Catholic Church also; for, although the clergy of the latter communion may sometimes preach disaffection, they also likewise preach moral doctrines, which are of the greatest use for the support of authority. I hope, my Lords, that when we come to the clauses in which these questions arise you will not despise the question of moral influence in the government of Ireland. I feel quite sure that there is nothing more needed in Ireland than that influence, and if you take away— as you will do by the disestablishment of the Church—an influence which, as far as it goes, is a good influence, on behalf of morality, you ought not to disregard altogether the advantages to be derived in the same direction from another religion. In conclusion, I have only to express a hope that my noble Friend will not press his Amendment to a division.
THE EARL OF DALHOUSIE
I also hope my noble Friend (Earl Grey) will not think fit to take a division upon his Amendment. In his speech my noble Friend adverted to one subject which has pervaded to a considerable extent the debates in this House as far as they have hitherto gone. I allude, my Lords, to the slur which has been studiously thrown upon the voluntary principle for the maintenance of religion which prevails to so considerable an extent in this country. I think the noble Earl who opened this debate expressed his opinion that it was a most dangerous thing to leave the religious teaching of a people to the voluntary efforts of individuals, and he stated, moreover, that such a proceeding, when recourse had been tad to it, had been invariably found to entirely fail. I differ entirely from the opinion of the noble Earl, and I differ, not only from his opinions on the matter, but from the opinions expressed the other night by the most rev. Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, when he told us that the efforts to maintain religious ordinances by means of voluntary contributions from the people had entirely failed in that portion of the country with which I am more immediately connected. I believe I am the only member of the Free Church of Scotland who sits in your Lordships' House, and I should, indeed, deem myself a recreant 725 member of that Church if I did not repudiate a condemnation which I not only know to be unjust, but which I think I can even convince the most rev. Primate himself is some what ungenerous. The Free Church of Scotland has been cited as an example of what voluntary efforts can do by the Prime Minister in one House of Parliament, and by my noble Friend below me (Earl Granville) in the other, but to the tribute which he paid to the voluntary exertions of the Free Churchmen of Scotland the most rev. Primate undertook to give a most stern and steadfast denial. Now, I wish to ask the most rev. Primate whether he founded that denial upon an account contained in a pamphlet which was widely circulated? That pamphlet contains, as was stated by the noble and learned Lord opposite, (Lord Cairns) a speech which was delivered in the Presbytery of Glasgow, and the noble and learned Lord very naturally asked why that speech was not answered. Now, the noble and learned Lord was a Member of the House of Commons before he took his seat here, and I would ask him whether he has never seen some wearisome and tedious speaker get up in the course of a debate, whereupon Member after Member would vanish from the arena, while even the reporters closed their note-books. Such was the fate of that speech in the Presbytery, and in revenge it was published by the individual who made it, and circulated with a preface by another member of the Free Church. Such is the history of that speech, which contains one of the most unfair attacks I ever read upon the Free Church of Scotland. I will not now make, except from documents which cannot be contradicted, any statements with regard to what that Church has done in prosecuting the principles for which it parted from the Establishment and in maintaining and furthering its views of religion. From these documents it will appear that instead of being an utter failure, the Free Church of Scotland has been a signal success, and, therefore, the Irish Church, if disestablished and disendowed, need not despair of being able to do what the Free Church had done, not only in Scotland, but over the whole of the Queen's dominions. In 1843 a number of ministers of the Church of Scotland determined, for reasons into which I will not now enter, to sever their connection with 726 the State, and to surrender the endowments which they were receiving from the State. At that period the number of established ministers in Scotland was between 1,100 and 1,200, and of these no fewer than 474, led by men of the greatest repute, thought fit to go out from the Established Church, and, deserting their livings and foregoing their endowments, to form the Free Church of Scotland. Since 1843, the number of ministers has increased to 740 upon the rolls of the Church, and 204 not upon the rolls, while in the same period 900 churches, 650 manses, and 600 schools have been erected. The Free Church have also built and furnished, with a full professorial staff, three Colleges for training men for the ministry, and established a library containing many thousands of volumes, some of them of a very rare description. They have also built a hall for meeting in their General Council— an edifice which is second to none in the great City of Edinburgh. All these are facts which cannot possibly be denied. But I wish also to bring under your Lordships' consideration the means which the Free Church has subscribed for the purpose of carrying out her objects. Since 1843, that Church has subscribed for her different objects no smaller a sum than £8,500,000. So far from her revenues decreasing, they have been year by year increasing. In 1863–4 those revenues amounted to £343,000; in 1865, they were £380,000; in 1866, they were £369,000; in 1867, they were £395,000; and. last year they were £421,000. That Church shows not only an increase of yearly revenue, but a gradual increase of her ministerial charges, which I think ought to be an encouragement to all who may be called upon to maintain the ordinances of religion by voluntary efforts. But, in addition to all that, we have belonging to the Free Church at this moment property or assets to the amount of very nearly £2,000,000. We have funded for the uses of our various schemes £350,000, and we have—by the organization which it was the good fortune of the Free Church to receive at the hands of Dr. Chalmers—not a single interest in that Church, whether it be the widows, whether it be the aged and infirm ministers, whether it be the working clergymen, whether it be missions at home or missions abroad—we have 727 not one of those various interests which is not better attended to than when they were joined to the Establishment. Now, these facts, I think, entitle me to say that, so far from being a failure, this instance of a Church being erected by the voluntary efforts of those who belong to it is a proof of what men can do if they will only do it for the maintenance of their religion; and no Church that cannot support, and so justify, its own religion will ever thrive or ever command respect, whether it be in connection with the State, or whether it stands on its own responsibility. Within the pale of the Free Church of Scotland hundreds of thousands of the people of that country at present worship the God of their fathers according to the Reformed faith, and what is more, that Church has extended itself to foreign climes, to India, and to the colonies under Her Majesty's dominions. Her best blood is devoted to missionary labours, and her work abroad is not less valuable than that which she does at home. I trust, therefore, that it will not go forth to the public that this effort on the part of the people of Scotland has been an entire failure. I deny that it has been so in any respect whatever. I am afraid that those who have an interest in traducing that Church have imposed upon the most rev. Primate by a one-sided statement; and I trust that these facts, every one of which is taken from the public records of our Free Church, will convince him that he has, unintentially I am sure, cast an unjust stigma upon her. Why, the most rev. Primate has himself appealed to the voluntary exertions of his people. He has instituted in London one of the noblest schemes for Church extension which modern days have witnessed. What would he have said of me if, on the authority of a pamphlet published by some grumbling curate, and prefaced by some bilious rector, I had condemned his scheme, and told the world that it was an entire failure, when, by searching the public annual records, I might have found evidence of the contrary? I think the most rev. Primate would have said that I had been led away by erroneous information, and was mistaken in my conclusion, and I trust that he will make to me the same admission that I would have most readily made to him in that case. I trust, my Lords, that the ex- 728 ample of the Free Church of Scotland will not be lost upon the Church in Ireland when she may be disestablished and disendowed. I am quite certain that if the members of the Irish Church will but earnestly prepare themselves for the change that is coming they may place themselves in a position which will command the respect of all who shall behold them in their disestablished state. I am convinced, my Lords, that if they will only put their shoulders to the wheel, and do that of which my countrymen have set them the example, the alarm as to their not being able to stand or exist as a Church without the aid and support of the State will be found to be wholly groundless.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My noble Friend who has just sat down has shown that which I was quite aware of—namely, that the Free Church of Scotland has made extraordinary efforts, that she has realized a large sum of money. This I most cordially grant; and I should be very sorry if the remarks I made on a former occasion should have given offence to my noble Friend or to the Church to which he belongs. But when I said what I did I held in my hand a pamphlet which was published with a preface by one of the leaders of the Free Church and one of the original seceders with Dr. Chalmers. That pamphlet contained two statements; the one was that the Free Church had drifted altogether away from the principles of Dr. Chalmers, going into the voluntary principle, instead of maintaining, as nearly as possible under altered circumstances, the principle of establishments as held by that distinguished divine. The other statement was that this gentleman, one of the original seceders, and still a leader of the Free Church, was of opinion that the voluntary principle, whatever it might do in large towns, however large might be the sums which it drew from the people, was unable to to sustain the ministers in poor and scattered parishes, and therefore the voluntary system failed where its help was most needed. What has just fallen from my noble Friend does not disprove these statements. What I want to say now, however, has reference to the postponement of the Preamble. I wish to bring forward one point which I think has not yet been touched. There is a difficulty about 729 this Preamble because it declares a thing which is not true. We are not entering upon the Preamble, and, therefore, I shall not dwell upon this matter; but I would allude to the fact that all through this discussion it has been taken for granted that, if the policy advocated by the noble Earl (Earl Grey) is not adopted the money must go to purely secular purposes. Now, my Lords, that is not correct. The surplus money, according to this Bill, is to go, in the first place, for the maintenance of the College of Maynooth. Is that a secular purpose? £500,000 is to be appropriated for this purpose. Therefore, so far as the Preamble says, that none of the money is to go for the purposes of religion, it is false. Again, an enormous amount of the residue of the Church's property is to be devoted to the instruction of deaf and dumb people, and the like. Who teaches these deaf and dumb people? Some of the money is also to go to reformatories. What is the number of these reformatories which are distinctly under the management of Roman Catholic priests? I say the question has altogether drifted away from that which we were at first led to suppose it was. The question now is, whether the Bill as it stands before us, proposing to give £500,000 of the Church's money for the maintenance of the College of Maynooth, and to distribute many millions for the maintenance of asylums, Colleges, and reformatories, almost all of which are under the management of the Roman Catholic clergy, is the best way of dealing with the funds of the Church, or whether some better plan may not be devised — such as the noble Earl has sketched out, or such as the other noble Earl (Earl Russell), or the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland), are going to propose—namely, that the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian clergy shall at least have houses to live in—the question is, whether there is any religious objection to doing that when you have got over the religious objection by giving a large portion of the funds to Maynooth and other institutions now under the management of the Roman Catholic clergy? If you are going to give this money to the Roman Catholic clergy, pray say so, and do not pretend that it is not going to them when, in fact, it is proposed by the Bill that it shall be placed under their direction. For 730 these reasons I shall be prepared to support the Amendments of which the noble Duke and the noble Earl have given notice.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I rise merely to put the most rev. Primate right upon one point. He observed that in compensating Maynooth the Bill did that which is inconsistent with the Preamble; but what does the Preamble say? It says—That after satisfying, so far as possible, upon principles of equality as between the several religious denominations in Ireland, all just and equitable claims, the property of the said Church of Ireland, or the proceeds thereof, should be held and applied for the advantage of the Irish people, but not for the maintenance of any Church, or clergy, or other ministry, nor for the teaching of religion.Now, I maintain that, according to this, you are to satisfy on principles of equality all just claims of the several denominations of Ireland, and the Government say that one of the just and equitable claims which must be satisfied before you dispose of the surplus is compensation for the grant to the College of Maynooth, a proposal which is not inconsistent with the Preamble of the Bill.
§ THE EARL OF BANDON
rose to make a few observations, as he had been prevented from making a speech on the Motion for the second reading.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
remarked that, although the noble Earl was of course at liberty to make what observations he pleased, he was not in Order in announcing that his remarks referred to the Mofor the second reading.
§ THE EARL OF BANDON
said, he had no intention of making the speech he intended to deliver on the second reading, but he wished to say a few words on behalf of the Protestants of Ireland. He held this to be a measure of the greatest injustice, for it transferred the funds of the Protestant Church to purposes which would be placed under the management and control of the Roman Catholic clergy. The noble Lord (Lord Dalhousie) who lately spoke, had given them a glowing description of the work of the Free Church of Scotland. But there was a great difference between the condition of the Free Church—who, believing that they were treated with injustice, had voluntarily gone and left the Church—and the Church of Ireland, who had their churches taken from them, and who were left altogether desolate. He referred to a speech made 731 formerly in the House of Commons by the present Prime Minister, to the effect that the tithes were the local funds of the Church, given to maintain religion in each particular parish; and that anyone who took them for other purposes was, in his mind, little better than a public plunderer. He might quote many other opinions to the same effect. His sole object, however, in rising was to say that he had had the honour to preside at two large meetings of the Protestants in Ireland, and he could assure their Lordships that the Protestants of Ireland felt that the greatest injustice was done them by this Bill, and the greatest injury. Although it was true, as they had been told, that the Protestants had not so expressed themselves last year, they were most decided in their denunciations of the Bill now; and the reason for their comparative silence last year was that they could not believe Parliament would do them the injury Government contemplated by this Bill. The right rev. Prelate said disestablishment had been agreed to by the country; but what did the country mean by disestablishment? Was the question at present at issue clearly put before the country? Was it put before the country that the disestablishment of the Church implied the undoing of the work of the Reformation in Ireland, and that the practical effect of disestablishing the Church of Ireland would be the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in that country? It was all very well for noble Lords who took part in the debate to talk as they did of the state of Protestantism in Ireland; but let those who possessed property in that country, without the advantage of seeing it, contrast their position with that which would be the position of the Protestants in Ireland if this Bill passed. They would hear the last toll of a bell which would tell them of a departed minister, and that the parish church, connected with all their dearest associations, would be closed for ever. They were constantly asked—"If you reject this Bill, what will you do with Ireland?" He had often said in that House—"Pray leave Ireland alone.'' Ireland would not be conciliated if this Bill was rejected—the Protestants regarded it as a measure of injustice, and the Roman Catholics cared nothing about it. The Roman Catholic clergy might desire the destruction of a rival 732 Church, but the country did not care about it. ["Question!"] In conclusion, he would implore their Lordships, as they valued the future peace of Ireland, to bear with him while he cited the opinion of an illustrious Prince who was once heir to the proudest throne in Europe. The late Duke of York, upon his lying bed, called upon us to develop the resources of Ireland, to depise agitators, and give her the Bible.
§ LORD WESTBURY
There are one or two minor points which I will shortly notice before I enter upon the important question which your Lordships will have to consider. We have heard a long episode in reference to the Free Church of Scotland. I have heard that question dressed up with great pomp of oratory. It is said—"Look at the Free Church of Scotland; they went out of the Establishment, and they prospered; let us send the Irish Church out of the Establishment, and it will prosper." Such is the logic of Her Majesty's Government. The Free Church sustained a great injury, but its energy enabled it to surmount its difficulties. Do the like injury to the Irish Church, and depend upon it it will show like energy. There is another topic on which I will only touch. There has been a long controversy touching the conduct of St. Ambrose, and whether in applying the vessels of the Church to secular uses he had been guilty of sacrilege. What might be the opinion respecting St. Ambrose in the days when he lived I do not know; but, I must say, with the modern ideas of property, that if St. Ambrose had been brought before me in equity I should not have hesitated to find him guilty of a breach of trust, and to make him refund the property. I will, with great deference, remind your Lordships of an old proverb which says —"You must not steal leather to make poor men's shoes." That is what the Government are doing; they have stolen the leather of the Church of Ireland, but, sensible of injustice, they propose to cut it up into poor men's shoes. I pass on to say I think we are much indebted to the noble Earl who initiated this debate (Earl Grey). I am for this reason—there are several circumstances which will govern the consideration of many of the Amendments your Lordships will have to discuss; and I think we shall make short way with some of 733 them if we first ascertain and understand properly the principles on which we are to act, and then endeavour to discover the true mode and extent of their application. That was the object of the noble Earl in proposing this substantive Motion on the Preamble. True, it is usual to postpone a Preamble; but why? Because" it generally runs thus —"Whereas, it is expedient to make an alteration in the law, or expedient to enact certain provisions;" and. whether a man can assert that it is expedient or not must depend upon the provisions of the Bill. Of necessity therefore you refer to the provisions of a Bill before you say whether it is expedient to pass it. But have we got such, an innocent and unpretending Preamble here? The Bill is consistent throughout. It begins with a Preamble of extraordinary injustice, and, I will say, wickedness; and, having commenced in that character, it preserves its consistency to the end. The words which the noble Earl has selected contain a substantive proposition such as is not generally found in a Preamble, the object of a Preamble being that you may determine whether it be right or not to accept the principle involved in the Bill, and, when you have discussed it, that you may proceed to the consideration of the clauses of the Bill. In this instance there are three things involved in the terms of the Preamble—firstly, that the Church of Ireland shall be reduced to the voluntary principle; secondly, that the Church of Ireland shall be deprived entirely of her property, and that that property shall be applied to uses inconsistent with the objects of the donors of it —namely, to secular uses; and thirdly, —and this is the most important, and but for it I would not have risen—whether we are not bound to fulfil an honourable obligation, and to make some provisions for the Roman Catholic clergy. On the question of the voluntary principle I need not detain your Lordships. How we can possibly think it would be wise or fitting to strip the Church of Ireland in order that she may pass through the fire of the voluntary principle is something I cannot at all understand, nor have I heard one reason, either of justice or policy, why this should be done. I want to pass away from that to what we have now the opportunity of doing, and that is fulfilling the moral obligations which those who 734 went before us deliberately constructed —namely, to make a State provision for the Roman Catholic Church. I will go no further back than 1792, when a proposition was made, for the first time, to endow the Roman Catholic Church at the expense of the State. That proposal was rejected by him with indignation. But what Mr. Burke shrank from is now adopted by Her Majesty's Government. His mind revolted from the proposition that you should take away the property of the Church, even if you did so with a good object. The matter remained in that position till the year 1799. In that year, on the consideration of the treaty for the Act of Union, Lord Castlereagh obtained the consent of the Prelates of the Roman Catholic Church, on the stipulation that they should receive a provision out of the funds of the State. They gave their assent and the Union was complete, but the promise on your part was never fulfilled. Now, my Lords, that stands recorded. You have now a glorious opportunity of redeeming the promise that was then given. Are you not now bound to do so? Was it not expedient and just at the time of the Union, and is it not still more just now, when you have the opportunity to fulfil the promise which you then made and from the performance of which you then slunk away? Now, the matter stands beyond possibility of doubt. You will find from a speech of Lord Castlereagh, in 1801, and from the Parliamentary debates of 1810, that Lord Castlereagh obtained the generous forbearance of the Roman Catholic clergy upon the renewed promise that the original contract should be completed. Testimony was borne to that fact over and over again in Parliament Lord Castlereagh, in a speech in 1810, said—Upon the ecclesiastical part of the arrangement, he was authorized, in the year 1799, to communicate with the Catholic clergy. It was distinctly understood that the consideration of the political claims of the Catholics must remain for the consideration of the Imperial Parliament; but the expediency of making some provision for their clergy, under proper regulations, was so generally recognized, even by those who were averse to concessions of a political nature, that a communication was officially opened with the heads of their clergy upon this subject."—[1 Hansard, xvii. 193.]It was true that the clergy at that time refused to receive this provision, because they said it must be accompanied by Catholic Emancipation, but that did not 735 release this country from the engagement which they made. Upon this subject Lord Sidmouth said—He was clearly in favour of a provision for such of the priests as would accept it; and he thought that there was a time when they would have received it from him (alluding, no doubt, to Lord Castlereagh's negotiation in 1803). He considered that it would effectually bind them over to keep the peace, and prove themselves faithful subjects.My Lords, have you forgotten that, in the year 1821 the House of Commons passed a vote in favour of State provision for the Roman Catholic clergy by a large majority, and although that State provision has never been made, the policy then declared by the House of Commons has never been met by any counter declaration? I wish this matter had been taken up by the noble Earl on my right, because he would have enriched it with the personal knowledge which he has had the opportunity of gaining during his many years' acquaintance with the principles and sentiments, the settled opinions and the firm persuasion of the leading political men of the time. Now, these are things that ought to be borne in mind when we are coming to the discussion of a variety of clauses in which the principle of making State provision is dealt with in a very niggardly way, and sometimes in a way which will, I am afraid, scarcely answer the purpose intended. What is the purpose intended? Is it not that you should satisfy the Roman Catholic clergy that they are being dealt with justly, in a manner that will exempt them altogether from the debasing obligations which they now so frequently incur in their relations to their flocks? Now, anybody looking at this Bill would naturally say that the Government did not know what to do with the money at their disposal. They seem to have poured it into channels where, to say the least, it is superabundant, unnecessary, and uncalled for; but if we examine the matter more closely we shall find that this plan has been selected because it holds out so many inducements to refrain from offering opposition. I do not, however, wish to dwell upon this. What I desire to dwell upon is that you have now a glorious opportunity to redeem the national honour by placing your Church and your country in a state of religious peace. This is preferable to the encouragement of those charitable objects to which you 736 are about to give these enormous sums of money in the most uncalled for manner. Now, I have a few other observations to make with reference to the taking away of the property of the Church. I entirely agree with the definition which the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford) gave of the word "established." Establishment does not imply any Church, building, or glebes, but establishment implies the religion, the form of faith, the mode of worship, the doctrine, the discipline, and the ordinances of the Church which the State selects to be the means of affording the consolation of religious worship and teaching. But when we are told that the country assented to disestablishment, I ask did the country agree to the abolition of the Protestant religion and the Protestant form of worship? I maintain that the country did not so understand the word. It mixed up with the real question of disestablishment the taking away of the material possessions of the Church. In that sense I grant that the country did pronounce a verdict that the quantity of the goods which have been gotten in the hands of the Irish Church should not remain there, but should be made the subject of a more just and equal distribution. That I believe really to have been the decision of the country, and if you carry it out in that spirit all good and religious men will second your efforts. Now, I venture to offer an observation with regard to the great fallacy that pervaded the speech of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford), who spoke of the property as if it were the property of the existing Church. But the property belonging to the Irish Church, save only those gifts made to her in her present form, is no less the property of Christianity in Ireland. I pray you again to permit me to protest that the Church's title — that is, the title of Christianity to the property originally given for the maintenance of Christianity — is an indefeasible title. Nothing consistently with justice can take it away as long as there is a Christian population in the country. You may have misapplied it; you may have misappropriated it, but the title remains, the right remains, and the duty of Parliament remains to redress the inequality—to take away that which a particular body has gotten, but which 737 does not belong to it, and to distribute and appropriate it equally. "Equally" does not mean in equal amounts, but in amounts proportionate to the just claims of the different religious denominations in Ireland. If you recognize that principle, you recognize a true one. It is the one constantly acted on in courts of justice in the analogous case of bequests to charities. If that principle be recognized, undoubtedly the Roman Catholics are entitled to a very considerable portion of those funds; the Protestants of the Established Church are also entitled to a very considerable proportion of them; and the Presbyterians are entitled to a considerable portion of them. Does not this principle of distributing these funds among the different religious denominations recommend itself to every right-minded man, and may not your sense of justice and your feeling of charity be abundantly gratified by such a distribution? The reformatories and asylums to which it is proposed to give the funds of the Irish Church may be very good institutions; but first of all do justice by distributing the property according to right; and, if you have more than is wanted for purely religious purposes, dedicate the balance to those institutions if you like. My Lords, I have to complain that in this debate undue prominence has been given to the clergy when the distribution of the property has been spoken of. I am sure I should be doing great injustice to the right rev. Prelates, and great injustice to the clergy as a body, if I were to suppose for a moment that they claimed the property for their own sakes. I am sure they regard themselves as what they are—the media through which this property is applied for the benefit of the people. The members of the Episcopal Church in Ireland want to have churches to worship in; they want to have the consolations of religion administered to them by their clergy, and they want to have their churches and their clergy maintained out of funds which, not the State, but the piety of men in former times, supplied in order that the people might have those religious consolations. The clergy are the ministers and servants of the recipients of that money. The hierarchy are not opposing this Bill because you are taking their property, but because you are robbing their flocks, and taking from those flocks the benefits to which 738 they are justly entitled. I have spoken on this subject because I believe it to be the question really before the House. The noble Earl by his Amendment asks that the Preamble shall not be postponed, and he does so in order that the vote of the House may be taken on the propriety or the impropriety of certain principles asserted in that Preamble. I think your Lordships are under a deep obligation to the noble Earl for having given an opportunity of discussing these matters at so early a period in Committee on the Bill
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
The noble Earl who moved the Amendment (Earl Grey) stated that the people of England are in favour of concurrent endowment; but the right rev. Prelate who spoke after him (the Bishop of Oxford) stated, and I think with equal confidence, that the people of England were not in favour of concurrent endowment. I only rise to express my great regret that we had not the benefit of both their votes in favour of the Amendment of the Motion for the second reading of the Bill. If that Amendment had been carried the people of England would have been afforded an opportunity of expressing an opinion on concurrent endowment.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, in the first place, I do not wish to allow this discussion to come to a close without making an observation on the remarkable calculations which at an earlier period of the evening proceeded from my noble Friend on the Treasury Bench (Earl Granville). What my noble Friend did was this—He took a number of independent Amendments, several of them rival ones—in which proposals are made for dealing with the surplus, and putting them altogether, he naturally brought out a sum in excess of the whole of that surplus. Taking the result, he said—"See how unreasonable the House of Lords is! "I do not know whether my noble Friend has ever had the misfortune to hear a debate on a Budget. If so, he must have heard rival financiers make proposals all of which taken together would have disposed of an amount equal to four or five times the amount of the national revenue. If my noble Friend's calculations were applied in such a case, all the proposals of all those financiers would be condemned as he has condemned the Amendments this evening. Another 739 fallacy which, the Government seems to have laid hold of is this, that what is given by the Bill as a pure matter of justice—as an inevitable act of justice— in the way of compensation for life interests, and what the most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Dublin) and I myself propose to have given to the curates, ought to be set down as so much given to the Church. The Government do not seem to remember that the clergy are not the Church, but the servants of the Church. If it should ever happen, in the vicissitudes of political affairs that the distinction now drawn between corporate property and private property should be found too flimsy, and that proceedings should be taken to disendow my noble Friend himself, and if he should set up in mitigation that he is no longer a young man and ought not to be turned out on the world, he may be told that life interests have been scrupulously regarded, that his gamekeepers will receive a pension, and that his butler will be taken care of. My noble Friend may then remember with regret the arguments now used by himself and his friends against the Irish Church. I thought it right to enter my protest early, because no doubt we shall have a great many calculations from my noble Friend; and though I can hardly hope to do anything towards his education, I will venture to express a hope that in future he will avoid that sort of arithmetic. I trust he will avoid the obvious fallacies of such calculations. I entirely demur to his estimate of the financial results of the Amendments on the Paper. I believe it to be enormously exaggerated. Of course, the schemes of concurrent endowment are rival schemes, and I believe that the amount involved in the Amendments would not reach more than half the sum estimated by my noble Friend. I quite concur with my noble and learned Friend (Lord Cairns) that this is not the most convenient opportunity for expressing an opinion on concurrent endowment; but much has been said on the subject in the course of this discussion, and as I think that in a crisis like the present each man is bound to contribute his opinion, I shall not shrink from stating what is mine. I differ entirely from the noble Duke who has just sat down. As long as the property of the Church was preserved to the Church, I would have opposed any endowment 740 of the Roman Catholics, not because the money would have been paid to the Roman Catholics, but because it would have taken from the Church; but now that it seems to be agreed that a considerable amount of property is to be taken from the Church, I think that whatever good there is in this measure—and there is very little good in it—will be destroyed except something of that kind is agreed to. In the first place, as to the matter of title. The title of the Protestant Church is a title derived from a possession of three centuries, and from prescription; but you have in part set it aside, and what title comes next? The title that preceded that of the Protestant Church. I cannot accept the justice of the phrase "concurrent endowment." That phrase would convey to others the idea that we, a Protestant State, were prepared to tax ourselves and out of our own resources to contribute to the support of that which we believe to be error in religion. Now, that is not my impression of the operation which we are invited to perform in the present instance. The property of the Irish Church is not the property of the State in the sense in which the taxes levied by Parliament are its property. The money with which we are dealing is rather trust money to be applied to trust purposes. If you swept all this money into the Exchequer, and paid the soldiers and sailors of your Army and Navy out of it, there is no moralist in this country who would deny that you would be doing a great wrong. That being so, the framers of this Bill have sought, as far as they thought possible, to apply it to purposes analogous to those for which it was originally intended, and it is clearly therefore admitted on all hands that the funds of the Irish Church are not the property of the State in the sense that you may devote them to any purposes which you may please. They constitute property which you feel bound to apply within a somewhat narrow grove, and in applying it you are not dealing with the property of the people of this country, or endowing either what you deem to be truth or error. You are applying it according to your conception of the trusts under which it is held, and the only question, it seems to me, which we have to consider is, whether it is more for the benefit of the people of Ireland that a portion of it should be devoted to 741 the support of lunatics or of Roman Catholic priests? If the question were put to me, I frankly confess that I should prefer that the money should be applied for the benefit of the Roman Catholic priests instead of being given to lunatics. I may add that a question of the gravest policy seems to me to underlie that which we have been discussing to-night. You tell us that this Bill is a great message of peace to Ireland. What is the use of a message of peace, if you refuse to apply this money for the religious purposes most acceptable to a large portion of the people? It would be equivalent to telling the Roman Catholics—"We are willing to strip your rivals of their property, but so utterly do we detest your religion that we prefer having recourse to any sort of device — to invent imaginary lunatics — to adopt any sort of fantastic expedient, rather than apply any part of it to the support of the ministers of that religion?" I quite understand the feeling of the Roman Catholics, as expressed by my noble Friend (the Earl of Denbigh), but you must regard rather their ultimate feelings than those to which they give expression at the present moment. When they remember the way in which this Bill was framed, do you think they will be disposed to look upon it as a message of peace to Ireland from England? I cannot help fancying they will be of opinion that it is a very Irish mode of conciliating Ireland. But there may be one cause for congratulation amid the many causes of sorrow and dismay which the passing of this Bill will bring with it, and that one is, that it may make the Roman Catholics of Ireland a contented people, if the Roman Catholic priests, as is done by the priesthood of every other religion, will only exert themselves to render them loyal to civil government. For my own part, I would give up many privileges to attain that end, and those who would refuse to introduce into the Bill any provisions calculated to secure that object would, in my opinion, deprive themselves of the only good excuse for bringing it under our consideration. As to the particular scheme which should be adopted, I would merely observe that that of the noble Duke (the Duke of Cleveland) seems to me to possess the greatest advantages. But on that I shall say nothing further now. I would merely, in conclusion, 742 express a hope that the noble Earl (Earl Grey) will not press his Motion to a division. It is always inconvenient to take a division at one and the same time on a question of form and principle. In doing so you may rank against yourself in the same Lobby those who differ from you in principle as well as those who object to your Motion in point of form.
THE MARQUESS OF CLANRICARDE
expressed his entire concurrence in the opinion that the Preamble of the Bill was open to objection. The words which he proposed to omit from it simply amounted to a statement that there being a certain surplus out of the property of the Established Church at the disposal of Parliament that surplus might be appropriated to any other purpose in Ireland except the teaching of religion. Now he, for one, could not see what advantage there would be in setting out with such a statement as that, and he could not help regarding it, to say the least, as being entirely uncalled for. For his own part, he might add, he had always endeavoured to promote, as far as lay in his power, religious equality in Ireland; but it had never occurred to him that that desirable end was to be attained by the wholesale destruction of the Protestant Church in that country. When the question was broached last year, he did not, he must confess, understand—nor did he pretend yet to understand—the full scope of the word disestablishment; but he certainly thought that the scheme which was brought forward would have been somewhat more in consonance with the expressed wishes of the Irish people. He quite admitted that in order to place the inhabitants of Ireland on an equal footing there could be no more simple mode of proceeding than to take from all of them everything they possessed; but then he should have expected to have found more ingenuity displayed in a measure dealing with a great subject. Of statesmanship or ingenuity he saw, however, no evidence in the present Bill, although much labour had, no doubt, been expended upon its details. The voluntary principle once adopted could not be confined to Ireland, and every argument used in the course of the present or former debates was in a sufficient degree applicable to the Church in England. When it was asserted that the Roman Catholics or Presbyterians in Ireland would not ac- 743 cept glebes for their clergy, he could not bring himself to accept the statement implicitly. No doubt a very large and energetic body in the North of Ireland supported the principle of "No surrender;" but every man of experience or judgment in Ireland, for several years past, had been of opinion that some provision for the Roman Catholic clergy would be the best possible mode of meeting existing difficulties. Everybody to whom he had spoken admitted that such an arrangement ought to be made; but some said it was impossible, and others that it was too late. He should like to know why it was either impossible or too late to do that upon which the great majority of educated people in England who had paid attention to Irish affairs were agreed in opinion. Various Amendments had been suggested, contemplating the same object which he himself had in view, but adopting different methods of procedure. When the proper time came he should gladly fall in with any arrangement which was best calculated to effect the common object. Of this he was persuaded, that the present was the best and probably the only chance which would be offered to the House of conciliating the people of Ireland, and he sincerely trusted that it would not be allowed to pass.
said, he still retained the opinion that the proper time to declare whether the surplus funds of the Church should be applied to secular or wholly to religious uses was upon the Preamble of the Bill; but, as it appeared to be the prevailing opinion that the convenience of the House would be best consulted by raising the question at a later period he should not press his Amendment.
§ On Question? Resolved in the Affirmative: Preamble postponed accordingly.
§ Clause 1 (Short title) agreed to.
§ Clause 2 (Dissolution of legislative union between Churches of England and Ireland).
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
moved the Amendment of which he had given notice for extending the time at which the operation of the Bill would commence from 1871 to 1872. This course, the most rev. Primate said, he adopted at the instance of those who best understood the position of the Irish 744 Church. It was hardly possible to suppose that the formation of a new Church could be accomplished within so limited a period, and some time would also be necessary for effecting an alteration in the law of marriage.
§ Amendment moved, line 27, to leave out ("one") and insert ("two.")—(The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.)
I perfectly admit that the date ought to be as far off as is absolutely necessary; but I likewise feel with the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford), who spoke earlier in the evening, that delay in such matters is calculated to be very disadvantageous to the Irish Church. In all ordinary matters much less energy is shown where there is any long interval to elapse than when pressure is immediately felt, and I think this observation especially applicable to the state of the Irish Church. The future of that Church must depend upon the cordial feeling of the laity acting with the clergy; and if that feeling is allowed to cool down for two years and a-half the result, probably, will not prove as favourable as if we adhered to the date, which was not adopted without very grave consideration on the part of Her Majesty's Government. As to any arrangements which may have to be made with regard to the marriage laws, it seems impossible to believe that this could not be accomplished in the course of the next Session of Parliament.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, the principle of this measure having been determined upon, the time fixed for the actual disestablishment ought not, in the interests of the Church, to be postponed longer than is really desirable. But, then, the question is, what is the really desirable period to fix? In this respect I do not think the Government stand committed, for the right hon. Gentleman the First Minister stated that, although the Government after consideration had arrived at the conclusion that January, 1871, was the best period to fix, they would not object to alter it if any reason could be advanced for doing so. Having considered the reasons given for altering 745 that date, I am bound to say that they are not only satisfactory to my mind, but that great weight must be attached to the opinions entertained by the Irish Churchmen themselves upon the point. These persons, while not desiring to postpone the date unnecessarily, are in favour of the Amendment of the most rev. Primate, and that ought to weigh with your Lordships. One point which weighed with the members of the Irish Church, in causing them not to seek to postpone the date of disestablishment unnecessarily, is this — No vested interests can be created after the passing of the Bill, although there will be a clause providing for the commutation of those interests which are vested. Consequently, the longer the period of disestablishment is postponed, the larger the number of existing interests that will fall off, and the fewer will be the vested interests remaining to be commuted. A desire for delay, accordingly, is not one which is likely to be rashly entertained by the friends of the Church, since it must operate financially against its interests. Your Lordships must remember that the first work which the Church will have to undertake—a work which cannot be spoken of in too serious terms —is the re-construction of itself as a free and disestablished Church, a work only to be undertaken after mature deliberation, consultation, and advice, and after ascertaining the opinions entertained not merely by some central body, but through the various dioceses of Ireland. For myself, I do not think it possible to suppose that the whole of that can be done satisfactorily or completely in a shorter space than a twelvemonths. But it is not till after the central body has been constituted that this body will be in a position to deal with the Commissioners and incumbents as to the commutation of life interests. It is all-important, when the day arrives for the final disestablishment of the Church, that all the arrangements should be complete, so that the new Church may spring into action with whatever re-construction over the face of the country as to incumbencies may be agreed on. For the purpose of dealing with the various incumbents, who are something like 2,000 in number, another space of twelve months is absolutely necessary. Thus, the interval of two years asked for by the Amendment of the most rev. Primate, 746 would seem to be not only reasonable, but, in the interests of the Church, absolutely indispensable.
protested that the vote to postpone disestablishment till 1872 did not bind him to support disestablishment. He regretted very much that some of the Spiritual Peers had admitted the principle, and he felt certain that if the country were appealed to that this measure would not be approved of by those capable of judging. When, in 1866, the Reform Bill was objected to by a distinguished Member of Her Majesty's Government (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), in "another place," because the franchise went so low as £7 rental, the right hon. Gentleman—whom he had just seen on the steps of the Throne — had expressed his fear that Bishops, the oldest part of the Constitution, would be excluded from the House of Lords; but he (Lord Denman) felt confidence in the constituency who, according to the franchise proposed to be given to Leeds in 1821, after Grampound was disfranchised, should pay scot and lot —not be paid for by their employers, but of their own free will—and he was sure, judging from the speeches in debate, that even if Bishops should each say Nolo Episcopari, that the Irish Spiritual Peers, of whom possibly one now on the English Bench (the Bishop of Peterborough) might have been one, would be greatly missed in this House. The question would be raised in Committee, but he was sure from what he had learned in travelling about lately, and from the fact that several most influential and experienced Members of the late Parliament had lost their seats, some having been rejected more than once, that the sense of the country was against disestablishment.
THE DUKE OF LEINSTER
I trust that no alteration will be made in the clause as it stands, for the result will be only to keep the country for another year in hot water.
THE EARL OF CARNARVON
I will endeavour to compress my ideas on this clause into almost as few words as those of the noble Duke. I own to considerable doubt as to the wisdom of this Amendment, because I do not think it advisable to prolong a period of difficulty and of pain to the Irish Church. At the same time I am staggered by what I have heard—namely, that it is the de- 747 sire, the strong desire, of the Irish Church to have a little further extension of time in order to complete its arrangements; and I am assured, on authority which I can hardly doubt, that that anxiety proceeds not from any desire to embarrass the progress of the measure, but from an honest desire to give effect to the provisions of the Bill when it shall become law. For this reason, in spite of my own doubts on the subject, I should not be prepared to say "No" to the Amendment of the most rev. Primate.
§ On Question, That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause? their Lordships divided:—Contents 74; Not-Contents 130: Majority 56.749
|Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)|
|Cleveland, D.||Dacre, L.|
|Devonshire, D.||De Tabley, L.|
|Leeds, D.||Fingall, L. (E. Fingall.)|
|Somerset, D.||Foley, L. [Teller]|
|Granard, L. (E. Granard.)|
|Camden, M.||Hastings, L.|
|Normanby, M.||Hatherton, L.|
|Albemarle, E.||Keane, L.|
|Camperdown, E.||Leigh, L.|
|Clarendon, E.||Lismore, L.(V. Lismore.)|
|Cottenham, E.||Lurgan, L.|
|De Grey, E.||Lyveden, L.|
|De La Warr, E.||Methuen, L.|
|Denbigh, E.||Monck, L. (V. Monck.)|
|Ducie, E.||Monson, L.|
|Effingham, E.||Mont Eagle, L.(M. Sligo.)|
|Granville, E.||Northbrook, L.|
|Kimberley, E.||Panmure, L. (E. Dalhousie.)|
|Minto, E.||Petre, L.|
|Morley, E.||Poltimore, L.|
|Russell, E.||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.) [Teller.]|
|Spencer, E.||Romilly, L.|
|Suffolk and Berkshire, E.||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Falmouth, V.||Seaton, L.|
|Halifax, V.||Seymour, L. (E. St. Maur.)|
|Leinster, V. (D. Leinster.)|
|Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Torrington, V.||Stafford, L.|
|Belper, L.||Sudeley, L.|
|Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)||Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.)|
|Camoys, L.||Taunton, L.|
|Carew, L.||Truro, L.|
|Charlemont, L. (E. Charlemont.)||Wentworth, L.|
|Canterbury, Archp.||Durham, Bp.|
|Dublin, Archp.||Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.|
|Marlborough, D.||Llandaff, Bp.|
|Northumberland, D.||London, Bp.|
|Richmond, D.||Rochester, Bp.|
|Rutland, D.||St. David's, Bp.|
|Wellington, D.||Tuam, &c, Bp.|
|Bath, M.||Abinger, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Bateman, L.|
|Tweeddale, M.||Blantyre, L.|
|Winchester, M.||Bolton, L.|
|Brodrick, L.(V. Midleton.)|
|Bandon, E.||Cairns, L.|
|Bathurst, E.||Castlemaine, L.|
|Brooke and Warwick, E.||Chelmsford, L.|
|Brownlow, E.||Churston, L.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Clarina, L.|
|Cawdor, E.||Clinton, L.|
|Devon, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Ellenborough, E.||Colonsay, L.|
|Ellesmere, E.||Colville of Culross, L. [Teller.]|
|Feversham, E.||Crewe, L.|
|Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)||Crofton, L.|
|Grey, E.||Denman, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||De Ros, L.|
|Harrington, E.||De Saumarez, L.|
|Harrowby, E.||Dunboyne, L.|
|Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire.)||Dunsandle and Clanconal, L.|
|Home, E.||Dunsany, L.|
|Jersey, E.||Egerton, L.|
|Lauderdale, E.||Fitzwalter, L.|
|Leven and Melville, E.||Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)|
|Macclesfield, E.||Gage, L. (V. Gage.)|
|Morton, E.||Grantley, L.|
|Mount Edgecumbe, E.||Grinstead, L. (E. Enniskillen.)|
|Portarlington, E.||Hartismere, L.(L. Henniker.)|
|Romney, E.||Headley, L.|
|Rosse, E.||Heytesbury, L.|
|Scarbrough, E.||Kesteven, L.|
|Selkirk, E.||Lawrence, L.|
|Shaftesbury, E.||Leconfield, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Lilford, L.|
|Strange, E. (D. Athol.)||Lyttelton, L.|
|Tankerville, E.||Moore, L. (M. Drogheda.)|
|Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.||Northwick, L.|
|Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)||Penrhyn, L.|
|De Vesci, V.||Redesdale, L.|
|Doneraile, V.||Rivers, L.|
|Exmouth, V.||Saltersford, L.(E. Courtown.)|
|Hardinge, V.||Saltoun, L.|
|Hawarden, V. [Teller.]||Scarsdale, L.|
|Hill, V.||Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)|
|Templetown, V.||Sherborne, L.|
|Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)|
|Derry and Raphoe, Bp.||Sinclair, L.|
|Skelmersdale, L.||Templemore, L.|
|Sondes, L.||Walsingham, L.|
|Southampton, L.||Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)|
|Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)|
|Talbot de Malahide, L.|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER AND BRISTOL
said, he had given notice of a proviso to be added to the clause, to the effect that nothing contained in the Bill should prevent anyone now or hereafter to be ordained by the Irish Church from holding preferments in England and Wales, if he should have obtained the consent in writing of the Bishop of the diocese and of the Archbishop of the province. He had, however, received excellent counsel on the subject, and it was his intention not to move the proviso until the bringing up of the Report, when he should be able to present it in an altered and improved form.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
suggested the desirability of inserting in the clause some description or definition of the formularies of the Church of England, for it was very uncertain what formularies the new Church of Ireland would adopt.
§ THE DUKE OF RUTLAND
said, he had given notice of a Motion to omit this clause altogether, because it did away entirely with the Queen's supremacy; whereas, in his opinion, it was of very great importance that the Queen's supremacy should be maintained in all cases, ecclesiastical as well as civil, throughout her dominions. He also held that the Queen's supremacy was necessary, in order to regulate and control the new Church, which was to be founded upon the ruins of the old Church. The right rev. Prelate who had addressed their Lordships this evening, had expressed a hope that the new Church would be one in discipline and in doctrine with the Church of England. He also hoped that such might be the case; but, in order to attain that result, it was of very great importance that the Royal supremacy should be preserved as the great security for the unity and oneness of the United Churches of England and Ireland. He further objected to the clause, because its Parliamentary language destroyed the union between the two Churches. But it could only do that by dissolving the 5th Article of the Act of Union, which Article was, in his 750 judgment, an essential part of the Act itself. This had been already stated to their Lordships by himself and other noble Peers, and no answer had yet been given to the objection. He wished to enter his protest against the clause; and, if there were any chance of success, he would certainly divide the Committee against it.
THE BISHOP OF LICHFIELD
expressed a hope that the noble Duke would divide the Committee, in order that those who, like himself, felt strongly upon this subject, might have an opportunity of recording their vote against it. The clause was, in reality, contrary to the very principle on which the Bill professed to be based; for the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland would destroy the equality which existed between the different denominations in Ireland, and would establish the Church of Rome more firmly than it was established at present. The Church of Rome was already an established Church in that country, in all essential particulars. What, he would ask, were the essentials of an Established Church? First of all, there was supremacy, which, unquestionably, existed in the Church of Rome. The second essential of an Establishment was the appointment of officers. Now, everyone was aware that, in spite of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, of 1850, the Pope had continued to appoint in this country officers with territorial titles, from cardinals downwards, and these officers occupied a more independent position than any Archbishop or Bishop of the Established Church. Well, would any Roman Catholic assert that the Established Church was degraded by Her Majesty's appointment of Dr. Trench to the archiepiscopal see of Dublin, any more than his own community would be degraded by the Pope appointing Dr. Manning to the archiepiscopal see of Westminster? The two cases were, indeed, strictly parallel, for in Ireland the Protestant Church was in a minority, while in England the Roman Catholic Church was in a minority. He wished to speak, more by way of protest, than of argument; but he would point out that the third point of an Establishment was the right of appeal. It was well known that every Roman Catholic could carry his cause to Rome, as the final court of appeal; and at the present time, the Prelates, clergy, and laity of the 751 Irish Established Church could carry their appeals to the Queen in Council. The Bill would, however, take away that right. The professed object of the Bill was to secure the equality of all religions in Ireland; whereas, this clause established the most fatal inequality of the Protestant Church. The Church of Rome would be like the ivy, which would continue to cling to the wall to which it had clung for centuries; while, in the case of the Protestant Church, it was proposed to tear down the ivy from the wall, and bid it to grow up for the future without any support.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
said, if his right rev. Friend intended his speech as a protest, he might have chosen a better form of protesting, while, if it was intended as an argument, it was an entirely fallacious one. He differed from his right rev. Friend on this point, although he agreed with him that the disestablishment of the Irish Church was a great misfortune. When he heard the argument of his right rev. Friend he was lost in astonishment, for according to it the Roman Catholic Church was at the present moment the Established Church of England, Ireland, and Scotland. But what was the meaning of an Established Church? It was a Church with which the State had so identified itself that the courts of that Church were the courts of the Queen. How, then, could it be said that after the passing of that Bill the Roman Catholic Church would be the Established Church of Ireland? It would be so in no sense whatever. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland would be enabled to appeal privately to Rome; but the sentence of no one of its courts would be taken up by any court of Great Britain and administered as being the decision of a court. The disestablishment of the Irish Church was a great evil; but to tell them that the evil of it was that it would leave the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland as an Established Church was nothing more than a play upon words, and was simply trifling with their Lordships.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said, he hoped the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Lichfield) would not divide the Committee on the clause. After the second reading of a Bill was affirmed, it was usual to go into Committee to consider the clauses, and amend them if amendment was desirable, but not to attempt to defeat the 752 very principle of the Bill. He felt that so strongly that, although for reasons which were satisfactory to themselves, he and others had refrained from giving any vote on the second reading, yet if the right rev. Prelate persisted in dividing the Committee, he would most assuredly give his vote for the retention of the clause.
THE BISHOP OF LICHFIELD
explained that he had not said he would divide the Committee against the clause, but that if the noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland) did so he would go into the same Lobby with him.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, he felt as strongly as any of their Lordships on the proposed disestablishment of the Irish Church, and had expressed his objections to it in the debate on the second reading. But the House having decidedly affirmed that principle by its vote on the second reading, he thought it would be most improper now to agitate that question again.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
said, the view of the noble Duke and those who agreed with him seemed to him to be the very essence of Erastian tyranny, because while it would deprive the Irish Church of every advantage of establishment, it would leave her subject to all the disadvantages, all the bondage, and all the fetters arising from establishment. He hoped the Irish Church when disestablished would enjoy entire freedom to unite herself with, the Church in England or not as she might choose.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he hoped his noble Friend would even yet change his intention. If there was anything whatever decided by the division upon the second reading it was the question that was contained in that clause, and he must certainly enter his protest against taking over again upon single clauses divisions on questions which had been already decided on the second reading. For himself he agreed in most of that which had been said against the clause; but if a division upon it were pressed by the noble Duke he could not accompany him into the same Lobby.
§ THE EARL OF COURTOWN
said, that he, in common with many other Irish Churchmen, while deeply deploring the separation of Church and State in Ireland, was strongly of opinion that if that 753 separation took place it must be thorough, and that they should be entirely free from any State control. He had before him a Resolution which was passed almost unanimously at a large meeting of the Standing Committee of the Irish Church Conference, which expressed those sentiments.
§ On Question, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill?
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ Constitution and Powers of Commissioners.
§ Clause 3 (Appointment of commissioners).
§ THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY moved, in line 11, after "person," to insert "being a member of either of the said Churches, or of the said United Church."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 4 (Quorum of commissioners).
§ VISCOUNT MONCK moved, in line 24, to substitute for "two commissioners at least," "the three commissioners," with a view to insure that the Commissioners should have the assistance of the legal member of the Commission in hearing appeals.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 5 (Appointment of officers) agreed to, with verbal Amendments.
§ Clause 6 (Salaries and expenses).
asked whether Mr. Justice Lawson was to receive a salary of £2,000 a year in addition to his salary as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland?
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, that all the expenditure would be under the control of the Commissioners of the Treasury, and all persons appointed by the Commissioners, as clerks, actuaries, surveyors, and to other similar offices, would be so appointed subject to approval by the Treasury.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, he had not the slightest confidence in the Commissioners of the Treasury as controllers of expenditure which did not come before the House of Commons in the annual Budget.
remarked, that the Commissioners would have their accounts overhauled by the Board of Audit as well as by the Treasury.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
said, the Board of Audit would not check the accounts; it would see only that the officer appointed was not paid more than the salary fixed by the Bill. He had the greatest respect for the Commissioners; they were, as they had been described, very respectable men, and received very respectable salaries; but, that there might be some cheek upon them, he moved the rejection of the fourth sub-section of the clause, which provided that "all incidental expenses of carrying this Act into execution" should be paid by the Commissioners.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said, the better course would be to postpone the clause until the information as regards salary was furnished. He moved that the clause be postponed.
VISCOUNT MONCK moved an addition to the fourth sub-section of Clause 4, making it read as follows:—
All incidental expenses of carrying this Act into execution, including such outlay as the Commissioners may deem reasonable incurred by any person in proving his claim under this Act.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Question put, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
§ Several noble LORDS declaring themselves Not Content,
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said that, considering the majority which appeared on the last division, he would not trouble their Lordships to divide. He appealed to their Lordships to consider whether they would reject the clause altogether when all the information that was desired could be supplied on the Report?
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, they were really fighting about nothing. A question had been put which required an explanation to be given, and he understood the noble Earl was not in a position to inform the Committee as to the official position of one of the Commissioners and the arrangements that were to be made as to his official salary. They could 755 well pass the clause with the understanding that a satisfactory explanation should be given afterwards.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 7 (Powers of commissioners.)
§ LORD WESTBURY moved, in line 8, leave out ("they may deem it expedient or") and insert ("it may be"). Line 10 after ("the") insert ("due"). The noble Lord commented upon the character of the court that was to be created, and the extent and variety of the jurisdiction it would possess, and he expressed the opinion that the noble Lord who was to be one of the Commissioners (Viscount Monck) would accept the proposed limitation of the almost unlimited and uncontrolled discretion of the Commissioners.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, the clauses were taken from the Encumbered Estates Act, which constituted a peculiar tribunal for trying cases which were limited in their duration. It was, of course, expedient that the powers of this Act should expire within a short time and if the noble and learned Lord thought the words necessary which he proposed, he could see no objection to them.
§ Amendments agreed to.
§ LORD WESTBURY
proposed to amend the clause by striking out from the matters with respect to which the Commissioners should have the powers of the High Court of Chancery in Ireland, the power of punishing persons "guilty of contempt."
§ LORD PENZANCE
reminded their Lordships that every court in the kingdom which was a court of record, and had the power of investigating questions by the examination of witnesses, required to be furnished with the means of preserving order. The power of committing for contempt was inherent in every court of law in this country. It was not conferred by statute, but was in the very nature of things. It was now intended that the Commissioners should enforce the attendance of witnesses, conduct their investigations with all the solemnity and decency attaching to a judicial tribunal, and yet his noble and learned Friend proposed to deprive them of a power which was possessed by every coroner and every quarter sessions in the kingdom. He trusted their 756 Lordships would not consent to the Amendment.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, he could not agree with his noble and learned Friend. The power which was proposed to be conferred on them did not extend only to the preservation of order within the court, but to the publication of a libel. Now, it was quite possible that the proceedings of the court might occasionally be the subject of observations which might not be agreeable to the Commissioners, and which they might consider to be contempt. If that were to happen and an individual were committed for contempt of court, he would not have his ordinary relief of Habeas Corpus, for the court before which the writ was moved would have no means of inquiring into the nature of the contempt. They must take the contempt on the authority of the Commissioners. He was therefore unwilling to give this new court the power of committing for contempt.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
reminded the House that this was a court instituted to administer justice between several parties, and if the House were to refuse it the power which every other court in the kingdom possessed they would place it in the position of not being able to discharge those duties which they were all anxious it should discharge. He would remind their Lordships that among the Commissioners was one eminent Judge who, from his experience, knew well what was the proper exercise of that power, and two others who were all members of the Church of England. It was surely going too far to say that these gentlemen would exercise their power in an arbitrary manner; that they were not to be trusted with a power with which every other court in the kingdom was trusted; that it would not be safe to put into their hands powers without which the due administration of their functions could not be carried on. His noble and learned Friend (Lord Chelmsford) had suggested that they might commit for contempt on account of remarks made in a newspaper. Now, undoubtedly, foolish remarks did sometimes appear in the newspapers, though he thought the Judges were more foolish who took notice of them. But he would put a case which might more frequently occur, and which would be much more detrimental to the interests 757 of justice—he meant the use of improper remarks tending to excite prejudice against suitors in the court. He had himself occasion more than once to commit parties for that offence in the Court of Chancery, and he would appeal to their Lordships if that was not much more likely to happen in Ireland. But, besides that, the Commissioners ought to have the power of preserving order in their own court, and it would, indeed, be singular if their Lordships were to refuse to these Commissioners the power which was possessed by every coroner in England.
§ LORD ROMILLY
said, he wished to add his opinion to that of his noble and learned Friend. He would remind their Lordships that this was not a question which affected the merits of the Bill. It did not go into the question of disendowment or disestablishment; it was only to give the Commissioners a power without which it would be impossible for them to execute the duties which this House was about to impose upon them. It should be remembered that the proceedings of the court would be all in public, and this would be a security for their proceeding with decency and propriety. If this power were not given it would be in the power of parties to insult them, to describe their conduct as prejudiced and partial, and they would have no power to put an end to these discreditable scenes. He could not therefore vote for the Amendment of his noble and learned Friend.
THE BISHOP OF PETERBOROUGH
said, he would not say a word on the question of law, but he must make a few remarks on behalf of those for whom he was deeply interested—he meant the clergy. Their Lordships must remember that this was a court of a peculiar kind. In ordinary cases the Judges had to decide between two opposing parties, having no interest themselves in the trial. But in the present case it might well be that the suit to be tried was between a clergyman on the one side and the Judges themselves on the other, as the Commissioners would be anxious to secure as much property as they could for the surplus. In the place of the present Commissioners they might have others who might possibly attempt to enforce harsh decisions. They might also construe into contempt the conduct of a curate from the country, who too strongly pressed 758 his case. It should also be borne in mind that this power of commitment for contempt might be exercised in private as well as public. The most rev. Prelate, for instance, might be summoned before a Commissioner in the back parlour of an inn, and if anything were said that was displeasing to the Commissioner the Archbishop might be committed for contempt. He most earnestly, but respectfully, protested against the granting of such a power.
§ LORD CAIRNS
agreed that it was a very serious thing to confer such a power without knowing who the future Commissioners might be. It had been said that the Encumbered Estates Court had such a power; but the members of that court were lawyers of considerable experience. Their business also was really judicial business, and it was a court sitting in the face of day. The Commissioners, however, would not for the most part of their time really be a court at all, and their principal business would not be forensic but official business. The noble and learned Lord opposite (the Lord Chancellor) had stated that the power of committal would have the effect of keeping a check on letter writing to the newspapers whilst a case was pending, and that a coroner's court possessed the same power. He (Lord Cairns) denied that any coroner had the power of committal that would affect a person who wrote to the press, and that was a power that he should not like any coroner's court, or the proposed Commissioners to possess. He would propose that if the power were given at all, the contempt for which there could be a commitment must be committed in the face of the court whilst sitting as such.
§ LORD WESTBURY
observed that there was no obligation upon the Commissioners to sit in public, and any one of them might sit and commit for contempt persons who appeared before them. It would be a very serious thing to give power to commit for words written or spoken out of court, and especially if any one Commissioner could exercise that power.
§ LORD PENZANCE
suggested, as a solution of the difficulty, the Amendment of the clause by the insertion of words giving the power to commit for contempt "in the presence of the Commissioners, or any of them, sitting in open court."
§ Amendment agreed to.759
§ LORD WESTBURY
suggested that there should be an appeal from the Commissioners to the Court of Chancery.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
opposed this, on the ground that it was desirable that these matters should be settled with as little delay as possible. If an appeal to the Court of Chancery were allowed, it would imply an appeal to their Lordships' House, and this would involve much delay.
§ LORD CAIRNS
thought it desirable that the view of the noble Lord (the Lord Chancellor) should be adopted.
§ Clause, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 8 (Forms of application, and general rules).
§ LORD WESTBURY
moved, in line 42, after the word ("same") insert—("Any person aggrieved by such general rules, or any one of them, may apply to the Lord Lieutenant in Council, by Petition to be served on the Commissioners, and the Lord Lieutenant in Council may annul or vary such rules, or any of them.")
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that these clauses were taken from the Encumbered Estates Court Act.
§ LORD CAIRNS
said, his noble and learned Friend was in error in supposing that the clause in the Bill had been taken from the Incumbered Estates Act. That clause distinctly provided that any rules made by the court should not come into force till they had been approved by the Privy Council, and enrolled in Chancery.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, he was not previously aware of the words read by his noble and learned Friend, but he had no objection to adopt them.
§ Clause amended accordingly, and ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 9 (Duration of office, and restriction on sitting in Parliament).
LORD WESTBURY moved in line 7, to leave out "ten" and insert "five;" and in line 9, after the word ("Parliament") insert—
("But Her Majesty shall have power, by Order in Council, to direct that the Commissioners shall continue to hold their office for a further period not exceeding five years.")
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, the question had been carefully gone into as to the probable length of time required for the work of the Commission, and it was believed to be utterly impossible that the affairs of the Commission could be wound 760 up in so short a period as five years. The Commissioners had undertaken to do their best in dealing with a most difficult question, and his conviction was that, after the business was really over, they would not wish to prolong the duration of the Commission.
§ LORD CHELMSFORD
said, it was agreed on all hands that the Commissioners could not have been better chosen, and there need be no hesitation in retaining their services as long as was thought necessary.
§ Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 10 (Prohibition of future appointments) agreed to.
§ House adjourned at half past Twelve o'clock A. M., to Thursday next, half past Ten o'clock.