« EdellinenJatka »
of the Established Church, which Church, and not the Pope, he contended, had been the aggressor in this case. This Bill would be an aggression upon the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom, whom it would deprive of the benefit of the legislative compact in 1829; it would, therefore, directly violate that compact, and it was especially unjust in being applied to Ireland, where it would be a Bill of pains and penalties, creating discord and disunion.
The Attorney-General explained the general scope and effect of the proposed Bill, and the specific offence which it was intended to meet. The offence consisted in the introduction of a bull, by which certain persons were authorized by the Pope to assume the titles of Bishops in England, with jurisdictions defined by territorial limits. It was a sound maxim in politics that you ought not to introduce a larger remedy than sufficed to meet the evil complained of, and he believed the proposed measure would effectually attain the object in view. The act of the Court of Rome was resented by the country because, first, it was an insult offered to the British Crown; secondly, it was an injury inflicted upon certain classes of its subjects. With respect to the insult, he thought it would be sufficiently repelled by the opinion expressed throughout the country and in that House, and by words introduced in the Bill. The injury —which affected the Roman Catholic classes of the community—was of a two-fold nature, spiritual and temporal. With the spiritual effect of the bull the House had nothing to do; but its effect in temporal matters would be to give to the Bishops having territorial jurisdic
tion a power of dealing with religious endowments made by parties who had not intended that they should be so administered; and whilst he was not aware that, in respect to spiritual matters, Vicars Apostolic, who were Bishops in partibus, had less authority than territorial Bishops, it was important to stop persons dependent upon the Pope of Rome from interfering with the rights of British subjects. The Bill, therefore, in the first place, extended the provisions of the Roman Catholic Relief Act, which imposed a penalty of 100*. upon the assumption of the title of any existing see, to that of any title whatever from any place in the United Kingdom. But it did not stop there. In order more effectually to prevent the assumption of territorial titles, the Bill would make every act done by persons assuming such titles, by virtue of them, absolutely void; and, in addition, in order to hinder parties from making gifts to persons assuming such titles, the Bill would declare the endowment of such pretended sees illegal, and the gifts would be forfeited to the Crown, to be disposed of as Her Majesty saw fit—a course which was deemed better than that of declaring such gifts void, since the Crown could distribute them equitably. By thus preventing persons from assuming territorial titles, and preventing the existence of the dioceses or sees themselves, the Bill would effectually remedy the mischief complained of; and it was very desirable that it should not be extended to cases which might not arise, or which the existing law was competent to reach, or which, being of a spiritual character, could not be effectually dealt with by legislation, and must be left to the good sense and judgment of the Roman Catholics themselves.
Lord Ashley said that the question was.whether ecclesiastics of the Church of Rome were to be allowed to occupy a position in this realm which they had never occupied in their most palmy days; and whether the civil and religious liberties of the people of this country were to be protected. The question did not affect the Church of England merely; it affected Dissenters of all denominations, and touched the civil and religious liberties of Roman Catholics themselves. The measure proposed had been objected to because of the weakness of the Pope; but his spiritual power was vast. Then it was said to be a restriction upon religious liberty, and to intrench upon the Act of 1829; but this was not a question of taking anything from the Roman Catholics, but of allowing them to take something from us. Lord Ashley then considered whether a hierarchy was necessary for the development of the Roman Catholic religion in this country, and whether it was consistent with the rights of the Crown and the civil and religious liberty of its subjects. On the first head he showed that territorial titles were unnecessary, and on the second head he cited the testimony of Dr. Wiseman himself, who had declared that the object of the hierarchy was to obtain synodical action, which was repugnant to the rights of the Crown and to the liberties of the people. The Roman Catholic laity would be thereby subject to the canon law (extracts of which he read) for the first time in England. Lord Ashley concluded with an impressive warning to those within our own Church who, he believed, had invited this attack,
against the further results of their proceedings, amongst which might be, he feared, a collision betwixt the clergy and the laity, which would go very far to purify the Church.
Mr. Grattan, in a very discursive speech, opposed the motion.
Mr. Page Wood denied that any feeling of bigotry had been manifested in the country upon this subject. There had been no desire to advocate a return to the penal laws. There had, indeed, been great earnestness, and a sense of aggression attempted by a power, lately dormant, which our ancestors had always resisted. It was said that this was a dispute about names ; but Mr. Wood showed the essential difference between a Vicar Apostolic and a Bishop of a diocese, in respect to ecclesiastical (distinguished from spiritual) jurisdiction. The erection of sees, he argued, was an act of sovereign right. In England no attempt had ever been made to erect a see except by royal authority, nor had the Pope ever been allowed to erect a see in any continental State. The attempt to erect sees was, he contended, an offence at common law, and under the statutes of 16th Richard and 13th Elizabeth; therefore the bill was no expostfacto law. This was not a solitary indication of the designs entertained by the Pope and his advisers; they had endeavoured to extend the Papal authority in like manner over the East, where it had encountered the like resistance. The object of Dr. Wiseman was, to introduce into England synodical action and the canon law, which, declaring that the laws of the State were subordinate to those of the Church, placed Roman Catholics in the dilemma of a double allegiance. Mr. Wood concluded with an in
dignant denunciation of the conduct of certain of our clergy, who, whilst Romanists in their hearts, continued to administer the offices and receive the emoluments of the Church of England.
Mr. Keogh warmly opposed the measure in question, because he disputed every one of the grounds upon which it was based. He denied that the Queen's prerogative had been interfered with, that there was an assumption of territorial power, or that an insult had been offered to the Sovereign or her subjects. There was nothing in the common or statute law to prevent the creation of sees, or that made the act of the Pope an invasion of the prerogative. That act was no assumption of territorial power, at least beyond what was sanctioned by precedents, several of which he cited; and he complained that the Government, for a series of years, had been leading the See of Rome to believe that the act would be acceptable. With regard to the details of the measure, he asked the noble Lord whether he had considered maturely the effect of the Bill in Ireland, the practical working of which would be, he believed, to stop the ecclesiastical functions there. Was he prepared to rouse the fell spirit of religious hate? Did he intend to execute the law, and to prosecute the Roman Catholic prelates of that country before an Irish jury?
Sir G. Grey said, notwithstanding the inconvenience of the present discussion, arising upon a preliminary question, he did not regret it, since it had cleared the ground for future debate by establishing certain propositions. It was clear that the Government were acting on the defensive, in obedience to
the call of the country, when provoked by those who now complained of the course which the Government had been driven to. It was clear, too, that the act which had rendered this measure necessary was an illegal act. It had been likewise established that that act was not a spiritual act of a merely spiritual authority, but was an act of ecclesiastical authority by a power exercising mixed temporal, ecclesiastical, and spiritual power, which not only invaded the Queen's prerogative, but ignored the very existence of any other Church or religious denomination in this country, over which it claimed universal dominion. Sir George then replied to the three charges which had been brought against the Government—namely, giving titles of honour and respect, such as "your Grace," to Roman Catholic prelates; addressing these prelates by titles prohibited by law; and, lastly, that a member of the Government had a previous knowledge of the intentions of the Court of Rome. He did not deny the first, and declined offering au excuse for it. He did deny the second charge, and declared that the letter of Mr. Disraeli, in which it was preferred, was full of blunders. He also corrected an error on the part of Lord St. Germans with reference to this point, which had crept into the work of Dr. Twiss. With regard to the last charge—that, prior to the promulgation of the bull, R direct communication upon the subject had been made by the Pope to Lord Minto—Sir George referred to the distinct denial of his Lordship; and, with respect to the statement of Abbate Hamilton, quoted by Mr. Roebuck, he admitted that the Abbate had written upon the subject to Lord Minto, who, in return, had acknowledged that he had received an intimation of an intention to confer upon Dr. Wiseman archiepiscopal rank, but repeated that down to the promulgation of the bull he had been in total ignorance of any design to establish a hierarchy. In conclusion, he vindicated the manifestation of public feeling from the imputation of bigotry; it was a national demonstration against an attempt to force upon us a foreign domination, which our ancestors had successfully withstood.
Mr. P. Howard, Mr. C. Anstey, Mr. Hume, Mr. Oswald, and Mr. A. B. Hope opposed the Bill as involving an infringement of the principles of religious liberty. Col. Thompson and Mr. Spooner gave it their support. Mr. Napier spoke in favour of the necessity of legislation against the encroachments of Rome, but suspended his judgment as to the provisions of the proposed Bill. Mr. F. Peel made an impressive speech against the measure. The Bill seemed to him not entitled to the merit of being a permanent and comprehensive settle
ment of the questions agitated; and especially he doubted if it would not wholly fail as a weapon to prevent or control synodical action: it would only afford another illustration proving how utterly powerless the heavy arm of temporal power is in dealing with the voluntary submission of the mind — with those questions of opinion and belief as they have been called, which reside within the precincts of the conscience.
The House was addressed by a great number of members in addition to those already named, during the discussion of this preliminary stage of the measure, which was protracted throughout four nights by successive adjournments. The limits of our space, however, preclude more detailed notice of the several speeches. At length, on the 14th of February, after more than one ineffectual attempt to close the debate, the House was brought to a division, when the numbers were as follow:—
For the introduction of
Against it . .63
Majority for Ministers 332
Agriculture And Protection—Mr. Disraeli's motion in favour of Belief for Agricultural Distress—His Speech—The Debate is continued for two nights by adjournment—Answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—Speeches of the Marquis of Granby, Sir James Graham, Mr. Booker, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Cayley, Mr. Cardwell, Mr. Cobden, and Lord John Russell —After a Reply from Mr. Disraeli, the Motion is negatived by a majority of 14. Parliamentary Franchise, And Defeat Of Ministers—Mr. Locke King moves for leave to bring in a Bill to extend the Franchise in Counties to lOi Occupiers—His Motion is supported by Mr. Hume and Mr. Cobden, and opposed by Lord John Russell, but is carried against the Government by 100 votes against 52. The Budget—First Financial Statement of the Year made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the 17th of February —His Propositions respecting the Income Tax, and partial Repeal of the Window Tax—The Statement is very unfavourably received by the House—A diverse Criticisms from various Members. The Ministerial Crisis—On the 20th of February the Resignation of Lord John Russell', Cabinet is announced in the Newspapers—Reasons generally alleged for this step—On the meeting of the Houses on the 2lst, the Ministerial Leaders propose Adjournments till the 24th—On the 24-th Explanations are given in both Houses—Statement of the Marquis of Lansdowne in the House of Lords—Remarks of Lord Stanley— Similar Statement by Lord John Russell in the House of Commons— Remarks of Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Roebuck—Further Adjournments till the 28th are proposed and agreed to—On that day the Marquis of Lansdowne, in the Upper House, enters into a detailed account of the Negotiations carried on for the Reconstruction of the Ministry—He announces that the Queen had had recourse to the Duke of Wellington for advice at this juncture—Speeches of the Earl of Aberdeen and Lord Stanley relative to the parts taken by them in the late transactions —In the Commons, on the same evening, Lord John Russell enters into a full Statement of what had occurred—Important Speech of Sir James Graham—Remarks of Mr. Disraeli, Mr. Hume, Sir R. Inglis, and other Members—Ultimate adjustment of the Ministerial Crisis, and Reinstalment of the late Cabinet announced on the 3rd of March— Discussions in both Houses on this occasion—Declarations by Irish Members of determined hostility to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill — Remarks of Lord John Manners and Mr. Wakley.
NE of the most important de- of this session took place on a mobates at the commencement tion made by Mr. Disraeli, which