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habitants of other parts, had passed a resolution calling on him to vote against the Government on every occasion, no matter what the principle that was involved. Of course, a regard for his own character had not allowed him to adopt such a resolution; but the resolution afforded evidence of the great excitement that prevailed in the least excited places. But Ireland had formed the right hand of Lord John Russell's political power, and how could he get on without her? The Irish Members had supported him as the strenuous advocate of civil and religious liberty, and he knew that without them he could not be sustained; Why then had he adopted this course? Mr. Fagan opposed the measure as a retrograde movement; as an infringement of the Act of Emancipation and the principle of religious liberty; as an abrogation of the Charitable Bequests Act; and as an instalment of a stronger measure, a precursor of another and more severe blow against Ireland. Sir John Young spoke as an Irish Protestant Member to the Irish Protestants, in grave warning against raising a new religious warfare in their country by this Bill. Let them weigh well the consequences of such legislation; for upon them, and upon the Protestant Church in their country, the heat and burden of the contest would fall. Recall the experience of the past, and count well the cost. A long struggle had been waged against the Roman Catholics in Ireland, which had lasted for a century and a half. A few great families, and their sycophants and adherents, had divided the plunder of the land; and what had become of the Protestant middle and lower classes? Their industry had been neglected, their
manufactures annihilated. How fared it with the Protestant Church? While bishops were occupied in amassing large fortunes —while wealthy rectors were passing their time at English wateringplaces, and glebe-houses were untenanted, the sound of the Gospel was unheard. Then came a period during which the Protestant Church passed through a season of great tribulation. The Church of Ireland would have had now a very different story to tell if she had always been as spirituallyminded as she was at present. The issue of this long struggle was, that the Protestants of Ireland were fewer in number than when it commenced; and the Church was obliged to submit to the spoliation of half its property, the abrogation of the church-cess, and the demolition of ten bishoprics. He warned the Protestants of Ireland who supported this measure, that its results would be disastrous to Protestantism and to the Protestant Church in Ireland. The justice of this measure seemed to him extremely dubious; the struggle would lead to bitter and protracted animosity; and it would, he feared, long retard the recovery of that unhappy country. Instead of adding strength to the cause of Protestantism, it only brought weakness. It was an infringement upon that complete toleration which, if scrupulously acted upon, would do more for the cause of real religion and the spread of spiritual truth than all the defences that alarm could suggest, and all the safeguards that a sincere but mistaken enthusiasm could surround itself with.
Mr. Grattan uttered a vehement declamation against the Bill. Lord Castlereagh declared that, while between him and his Roman Catholic countrymen there was a religious gulf that could not be bridged, he respected their conscientious feelings: the measure had been brought forward in a manner peculiarly objectionable to them, and was now pushed on by a Government kept in office solely and entirely to carry it. The Bill, taken in connection with the position of the Ministry, was what the French would call the reactionary policy of a transition Ministry. It was feeble, ill-considered, should never have been proposed, and should not have the support of his humble vote. Mr. A. B. Hope denounced the measure as petty and disgraceful to the magnanimity of this country, and discreditable to the civilization of the AngloSaxon race.
Mr. Hume considered this one of the most unfortunate occurrences during his long Parliamentary life. It revived recollections of discussions thirty years back. It was degrading to see the House engaged upon such a subject, which was likely to derange the whole proceedings of the session. It was painful to find that Lord J. Russell should, by an unhappy blunder, be the person to commence this retrogressive policy. Civil liberty, Mr. Hume contended, in opposition to Mr. Muntz, depended not upon a particular form of Christianity, but upon public institutions. What, he asked, had been the aggression in this case? Vicars apostolic had been permitted to regulate the religious affairs of the English Roman Catholics ; at their suggestion, and for their benefit, bishops were substituted, since without them their religion would not be complete. Where was the insult or
aggression in this? The Queen's supremacy, which was said to be invaded, was not recognised in Scotland; the Free Church there had synods, and divided the country into districts, without restriction. There was, therefore, neither justice, principle, nor reason in this Bill, which was an oppressive measure; it would not be confined to Roman Catholics; Dissenters would ultimately come in for their share. He opposed the Bill because it interfered with the exercise of private judgment, and was a retrogressive step in our legislation. Sir F. Thesiger observed that in this discussion Protestants, on the one hand, thought there had been an unjustifiable aggression on the part of the Pope; Roman Catholics, on the other, considered that the measure introduced for the repression of that aggression was an invasion of civil and religious liberty. It was out of this collision of opinions that the reasons for legislation must be deduced. He had been anxious for some explanation as to the mode in which the proposed measure would either repress the present or raise a barrier against future aggressions. If there was an inconvenience from the existing state of the law, the obvious remedy was to change it; but it was not enough to ward off a blow, the assailant must be disabled from further mischief. What, then, should be the object in legislating here? What had led to the aggression? No Roman Catholic had explained that there was any religious necessity for the change made by the Papal bull. Dr. Wiseman had alleged that it was to introduce the complete code of the Church; but he believed there were other motives, and that the Pope inferred from certain indications in our Church, that the period had arrived when he might intrude his authority. He had come to the conclusion that there was no religious necessity for the change, and that Parliament was called upon to resist this aggression by legislation. Sir Frederick, remarking that there was a great misapprehension respecting the law as to ecclesiastical titles in Ireland, investigated this point, and then examined the law in regard to the introduction of bulls. He next criticised the course taken in this matter by Lord J. Russell, who by this Bill had, he argued, left the law in its former unsatisfactory state. The Papal power being compounded of temporal and spiritual authority intimately blended, the object of the bull, he was convinced, was to extend a sovereign power over the kingdom of England, for the complete development of the Roman Catholic Church was nothing short of universal dominion. This being the case, what did the Bill propose to do? To prevent the assumption of ecclesiastical titles. But Sir Frederick showed how easily the penalty might be evaded: he doubted whether it would prevent synodical action, and he showed the confusion in which the alterations to be made in the Bill would involve the whole measure. He should nevertheless vote for the second reading, because he thought legislation absolutely necessary; because, bad as it was, he would rather have the minimum of legislation than none at all, and because he would endeavour in committee to amend it.
Mr. Gladstone said the views of Sir F. Thesiger were formidable indeed, and it was desirable, before
the House entered upon a new path, that it should at least understand the direction in which it tended. He had talked of benefits abused and of defences surrendered, and it was too plain that, in his judgment, those defences should be repaired by restrictions upon religious freedom. His (Mr. Gladstone's) vote would be governed by a regard to principles of imperial policy, and to the welfare of the entire community, with reference to the interests of the Church of England. He believed that our Constitution was strong enough to resist any aggression whatever by any power in the world. The Chureh of England was not in such a position, but the power of the Church could not be defended by temporal legislation, which had been tried before, and had utterly failed. If it could be shown that the Papal authorities had interfered with our temporal affairs, which was not permitted by any other religious body, legislation was not only just, but called for. Until, however, that line was passed, we had no right to interfere. He admitted that the language of the Papal documents was not only unfortunate, but of a vaunting and boastful character, of which complaint might justly be made; but was it just to pass a proscribing Act affecting our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects on account of language for which they were not responsible? We must look to the substance of the act, and by that stand or fall. If the law of nations had been broken, nothing was more disparaging to the country than to proceed only by Act of Parliament imposing a penalty. There was nothing to prevent our representing the wrong to the party who had done it, and demanding redress. The Bill, however, was before the House, and the question was what to do with a measure which no one had said was adequate for the purpose. Mr. Gladstone then pointed out various deficiencies and anomalies in the Bill, which, he said, did not defend the territorial rights of the Crown; and with respect to Romish aggression, there 'was a preliminary question—whether the rescript of the Pope had a temporal character. That the Roman Catholics recognised the Pope as their spiritual head, did not justify the withholding one jot of religious freedom. It was not enough that bishops were appointed by a foreign authority; it must be shown that they were not spiritual officers, but appointed for temporal purposes. If the appointment of bishops per se was a spiritual not a temporal act, why interfere with the Roman Catholic bishops? If it was per se a temporal act, why exempt the Scotch bishops? There was no proof, as to any of the details of ecclesiastical machinery, that there was any temporal character in the rescript distinct from that incidental to the disciplinary arrangements of every religious body, and without such proof there was not a shadow of ground for the Bill. In the forgotten corners of the law might be found doctrines of Royal supremacy which might make this act of the Pope an aggression; but if we fell back upon these doctrines, he protested against their application to one religious body alone. There was a part of this question which, Mr. Gladstone remarked, had not been adverted to in this discussion, namely, the effect which this measure would exert upon the two parties into which the Romish
community was divided. For 300 years the Roman Catholic laity and secular clergy—the moderate party—had been struggling, with the sanction of the British Government, for this very measure, the appointment of diocesan bishops, which the extreme party—the regulars and cardinals at the Court of Rome—had been all along struggling to resist. The present legislation would drive the Roman Catholics back upon the Pope, and, teazing them with a miniature penal law, would alienate and estrange them. Religious freedom was a principle which had not been adopted in haste, and had not triumphed until after half a century of agonizing struggles; and he trusted we were not now going to repeat Penelope's process without her purpose, and undo a great work which had been accomplished with so much difficulty.
Mr. Disraeli rose to express his sentiments and those of his party upon the general question and the particular measure. They had been informed by the Minister that there had been an aggression against the supremacy of the Sovereign and the honour of the nation, by a Prince of no great power. But whatever opinion might be entertained of the aggression, it was not wise to despise the foe that committed it. He denied that he was of no great power; he was of very great, if not the greatest power, his army consisting of a million of priests. And was such a power to be treated as a Wesleyan Conference, or associated with the last invention of Scotch Dissenters? If the interpretation of religious liberty given by Mr. Gladstone and Mr. R. Palmer was correct, on what plea could the same principle be refused to the Church of England? Why should she not have synodical action? Why should she acknowledge the supremacy of the Queen? The" inference from their doctrine was, that they were opposed to the alliance between the Church and State. With respect to the Bill, which in six weeks had undergone countless transformations, he objected to it, first, because it declared by implication the conduct of the Cardinal not to be illegal. If legal, it was no offence; if illegal, why was it not dealt with by law, which, though ancient, was not obsolete? He objected to the Bill, secondly, because it was an attempt to legislate against titles only. Believing it would be utterly inefficient, he should nevertheless vote for the second reading, solely for the reasons assigned by Sir F. Thesiger. Mr. Disraeli concluded with a severe and pointed criticism upon the course which had been pursued on various public questions by Sir J. Graham.
Sir G. Grey agreed with Mr. Gladstone, that this measure should be defended upon the ground of imperial policy, and that no attempt should be made to fetter or restrain religious freedom. As an Imperial question, there were two points for consideration: first, had there been such an aggression upon the sovereignty of the Queen and the independency of the nation as called upon Parliament to interfere? and next, was this a measure which Parliament should adopt? Upon the first point, he replied to the objections of Mr. Palmer, Mr. Herbert, and other opponents of the Bill, and insisted upon the fallacy of assimilating the case of the Roman Catholics with that of the Wesleyans, between which there was this essential dis
tinction, that the former was an organized body under a foreign Prince, who exercised a mixed spiritual and temporal jurisdiction, who claimed universal dominion, and who had appointed these bishops without sanction by or communication with the British Government—a condition in all the proposals for substituting vicars-apostolic for bishops in ordinary, referred to by Mr. Gladstone. The Bill was no departure from the Act of 1829; on the contrary, it was in harmony with its spirit. He defied the opponents of the Bill to show that it was hostile to the principles of religious freedom, or that it in the slightest degree interfered with the exercise of their religion by the Roman Catholics. In reply to an insinuation that the agitation had been got up by clergymen, Sir George referred to the different classes of religionists from whom petitions had been received, who had felt, he said, as Englishmen that their independence had been assailed. The territorial titles alleged to be only empty names, were the badges and symbols of a jurisdiction claimed to be exercised by the sole and undivided authority of the Court of Rome, and the House was asked only to place the brand of illegality upon them.
Mr. P. Howard indignantly protested against a supposed imputation upon the Roman Catholic body by Sir G. Grey, who obviated the misapprehension, and the House having divided the numbers were— For the second reading . 438 Against it 95
Majority .... 343 We must pass over very briefly the discussions which took place duringthe progress of the Ecclesiastical