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the Duke of Argyll's misapprehension that he had advised that the aggression should be passed over without any notice; on the contrary, he particularly mentioned, in the few words he addressed to their Lordships the other night, that he thought it might properly engage the attention of Her Majesty's Government, and even the attention of Parliament; and in saying so, he referred to the view he had expressed to Lord Stanley before the meeting of Parliament, that in his opinion the proper mode of dealing with this subject was precisely that which had been recommended by Lord Brougham— namely, by resolution on the part of both Houses of Parliament carried to the foot of the Throne; but that he did not think it was a fit subject for legislation. He was much mistaken if the experience of their Lordships and the other House of Parliament did not convince them of the difficulty of legislation on this subject. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had already proposed to alter the Bill very materially; and Lord Aberdeen believed that, as further advances were made in the prosecution of the measure, it would be found, as in all cases of the kind, that greater difficulties would daily arise.
In the House of Commons, on the same evening, Lord John Russell spoke as follows:—
"Since I last addressed the House, the public has been put in possession of a statement made by Lord Stanley with respect to his attempts to form a Government, and the reasons why those attempts were not successful. It is not my intention to make any comment on those reasons; but I feel it right—especially after the rumours
which have been spread on this subject—to say that it appears perfectly clear that Lord Stanley had full power and opportunity to form a Government, and that no request he thought it reasonable to make was denied him in the progress of his negotiations. I stated on Friday last, that Her Majesty had been pleased to send for the Duke of Wellington, in order to learn his opinion on the present state of affairs. The Queen saw the Duke of Wellington on Saturday, and late yesterday evening Her Majesty received a written communication from his Grace. I had the honour of an audience of the Queen this morning; and Her Majesty having received the opinion of the Duke of Wellington, that, in the present state of affairs, the best course Her Majesty could pursue was to invite her former Ministers to resume office, Her Majesty was pleased to desire that her former Ministers should resume their offices accordingly. After what has occurred—after the failure of the repeated attempts which have been made to form a Government, as has been stated to the House—I and my colleagues thought that we could not perform our duty to Her Majesty and the country otherwise than by accepting the offer which Her Majesty had been pleased to make. Having entered so fully the other day into the subjects which have recently formed matter of debate, I will only say now, that I trust the House will allow us an adjournment for a few days before proceeding with matters of public debate; by which means we shall have an opportunity of considering the various measures we purpose introducing, and the state of public business generally. I purpose proceeding with the Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Bill on the 7th instant; and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on moving the second reading of that Bill, will state what amendments and alterations it is intended to make in it when it shall go into Committee. I therefore propose that the second reading of the Bill shall be fixed for the 7th of March, with the intention of taking it as the first order of the day. Before, however, proceeding with the orders of that day, I will state the course which the Government mean to pursue with respect to other business before the House—as far, at least, as fixing the time at which it shall be brought under consideration. On that occasion I will answer the question put to me the other day, which I was not then in a position to answer, as to the time at which we shall proceed with the Budget. I shall be prepared to state the day on which the Budget will come on, and the course which we are prepared to pursue on that subject . I now move that the order of the day for the second reading of the Ecclesiastical Titles As
sumption Bill be postponed to the 7th of March."
Some observations were made in the course of a desultory discussion that followed respecting the position of the Government and the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. Some of the Irish Members, Mr. Keogh, Mr. Moore, and Mr. Reynolds, threatened that measure with a protracted and vigorous opposition. Lord John Manners assured Lord John Russell that his policy would encounter no factious or unnecessary opposition from his friends the Protectionist party. But he added, that if no relief were proposed for the agricultural distress, the Member for Bucks, Mr. Disraeli, would probably ask the opinion of the House on some measure for its mitigation. Mr. Wakley thought the pledge that there should be no factious or unnecessary opposition from the Protectionists, considering the decapitated state of that party, was not worth much. He extolled, however, in very high terms, the candour and manliness of Lord Stanley's conduct in the recent crisis.
Ecclesiastical Titles Bill—The Bill is reintroduced by Sir George Grey on the 7*A of March, with the omission of the second and third Clauses—Remarks of Mr. Stuart, Mr. M. Gibson, Sir R. Inglis, Mr. Batikes, Mr. Gladstone, Lord C. Hamilton, and Lord John Russell— The Debate on the Second Reading of the Bill commences on the 1 Sth March, and is continued for seven flights by adjournment—Summary of the leading Speecltes, including those of Lord Arundel and Surrey, Mr. Roundell Palmer, Sir Robert Peel, the Solicitor-General, Mr. Goulburn, Mr. CardweU, Lord Ashley, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Mr. H. Drummond (whose remarks excite a violent commotion in the House), Sir James Graham, Lord John Russell, Mr. Walpole, Mr. Roebuck, the Attorney-General, Mr. Fagan, Sir John Young, Mr. Grattan,Mr. Hume, SirF. Thesiger, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Disraeli, and Sir George Grey—On a division the Second Reading is carried by 438 to 95 —Proceedings on the Committal of the Bill, —Protracted discussions and numerous Amendments proposed, but without success—The Bill does not pass through Committee till the end of June—On bringing up the Report Sir F. Thesiger moves three important Amendments of which he had given notice—A large number of Roman Catholic Members walk out of the House, and the Amendments are carried against the Government by considerable majorities—On the Third Reading Lord John Russell attempts to induce the House to rescind Sir F. Thesiger's Amendments, but is again defeated—The Third Reading is carried somewhat unexpectedly by 263 against 46, and the Bill is sent up to the Lords—The Second Reading is moved by the Marquis of Lansdowne on the 21st July, when a spirited discussion takes place, which is continued for two nights—Speeches of the Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Beaumont, the Duke of Wellington, who supports the measure, the Earl of Malmesbury, Viscount Canning, the Duke of Argyll, the Bishop of St. David's, the Earl of Winchilsea, Lord Lyndhurst, the Duke of Newcastle, the Marquis of Clanricarde, Lord Monteagle, the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of St. Germans, the Earl of Minto, and Earl Fitzwilliam—The Second Reading is carried by 265 against 38—The Bill passes through Committee unaltered—On the Third Reading a further Debate takes place, when the House is again addressed by the Earl of Aberdeen, the Bishop of Oxford, the Duke of Argyll, and other Peers—Lord Monteagle moves an Amendment, which is negatived, and the Bill becomes Law.
UPON the resumption of office the brief interval of their retireby the Whig Government after ment, Lord John Russell had an
nounced their intention of modifying in some respects the measure which he had obtained leave to introduce with respect to the ecclesiastical titles assumed by the Romish clergy. Accordingly, on the 7th of March, on the order of the day being read for the second reading of that Bill, Sir George Grey proceeded to explain the alterations which, after careful consideration, the Government had determined to propose. Reviewing the various objections which had been taken to the Bill, he pointed out, in the first place, the inexpediency of Lord Stanley's proposal, simultaneously with a resolution of Parliament, to refer the whole subject to Committees of Inquiry, which, instead of allaying, would keep agitation alive. Another proposal, that Ireland should be excluded from the Bill, had been reconsidered by the Government, and that reconsideration had only confirmed them in the conviction to which they had previously arrived, that it would be wholly inconsistent with their duty to consent to such exclusion. At the same time, he admitted that there was a wide practical difference between the circumstances of Ireland and those of England and Scotland; and it was this distinction, he observed, which constituted the main difficulty of the Government in dealing with this subject. Owing to the peculiar circumstances of Ireland, the Bill, as it now stood, would, without intending it, interfere with the purely spiritual practices of Irish Roman Catholic prelates in relation to ordination and collation of priests, and, in regard to bequests, with practices which had been long sanctioned; and, this being the case, without attempting make alterations in this part of
the Bill, which might create new difficulties and yet fail in the desired object, the Government had come to the conclusion to propose in Committee the omission of the second and third clauses altogether. The Bill would then be an unambiguous declaration of Parliament, embodying a national protest against the assumption of these titles. After a few further explanations upon subordinate points, Sir George, purposely refraining from a discussion of the merits of the measure, moved that the order of the day be deferred until the 14th instant.
Mr. Stuart contended that the Bill thus mutilated would not correspond to the wishes of the country, or even to the object proposed by Lord J. Russell when he brought the subject before the House; and he arraigned the manner in which the insult offered to the Crown had been met, not by a proclamation, or any of the constitutional modes of vindicating the dignity of the Sovereign, but by a letter addressed by the First Minister, as an individual, to another individual, and published in a newspaper.
Mr. M. Gibson explained his views respecting this question, which Sir G. Grey, he said, had misapprehended. He did not wish that there should be any inquiry; but if legislation was desired, he thought it was better to legislate with information than without it. « His plan was to do nothing in this matter, and he was glad to perceive that this Bill was approximating to his plan.
Sir R. Inglis was very much of the same opinion respecting the Bill. Although he was willing to take M. in the pound rather than nothing, he warned the Government that the country would not
be satisfied with such a composition. Mr. Bankes considered that the Bill, if it passed in its mutilated state, would be a disgrace to the Legislature. This strange disappointment of the demands of the country required a fuller explanation. The Bill would add nothing to the law as it now existed. Mr. Gladstone, reserving for the present the expression of his opinion regarding the Bill, suggested that the preamble and first clause, as they would stand, should be reprinted. Lord C. Hamilton thought it would be a mockery to apply the measure, altered as proposed, to Ireland. Lord J. Russell, in reply to Mr. Bankes, repeated what he had said on introducing the Bill; that the Government had consulted the law officers of the Crown, who did not think that the assumption of new titles was contrary to the common or statute law; so that it would have been futile to have directed a prosecution for such an act. But they said that, ifit could be proved that bulls or writings from Rome had been introduced for the establishment of sees, this would be an offence under the statute law; but the Government thought it would have been oippressive to prosecute for this o ence, and not for the other. The essence of the offence which had been committed was the insult offered, and the direct way of meeting that insult was to bring in a Bill to forbid and prevent the assumption of such titles. In the particular circumstances of Ireland, though the mischief arising from the synodical action of the Roman Catholic hierarchy went beyond
the mere insult, so much difficulty existed in discovering terms which would meet the evil without trenching upon spiritual authority, that he was of opinion that legislation should be confined to the absolute assertion of the sovereignty of the Crown in this matter. Mr. Newdegate and Mr. Stanford condemned the Bill and the conduct of the Govemment. Mr. Plumptre thought the omission of the second and third clauses would deprive it of all practical utility. Mr. W. Fagan denied that any intentional insult had been offered by the Pope, whose object, he alleged, was purely spiritual. The motion of Sir G. Grey was then agreed to. On the 14th of March commenced the debate on the second reading of this much-contested measure, which, though curtailed by the alterations made by its authors within the shortest limits, yet afforded matter for opposition that occupied Parliament almost throughout the session. It would be impossible in the short space allotted to us to give more than a very brief sketch of these reiterated and protracted discussions, in which the same arguments were again and again advanced and combated, until the subject in all its bearings was thoroughly exhausted, and the public mind wearied with the incessant repetition. The second reading was not carried, although the majority in favour of the Bill was overwhelming, until seven nights had been consumed in the discussion. A short notice of the more important speeches delivered on either side, will suffice to exhibit the main features of the controversy. The opposition to the Bill was opened by the Earl of Arundel