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allowed for its consideration in the new shape. Lord John Russell assented to this arrangement.
On the day fixed for the third reading, the 4th of July, Lord John Russell attempted to induce the House to reverse the decision which it had pronounced in favour of Sir F. Thesiger's amendments. The noble Lord first moved the omission of the clause making it penal to introduce or publish the bulls, as well as to assume the titles. The Solicitor-General backed the Premier's arguments, and Mr. Roebuck also spoke on the same side. Sir F. Thesiger skilfully defended his amendments, and on a division, Lord J. Russell's motion was defeated by 208 to 129. Again, on the second amendment moved by the Prime Minister, to omit the words enabling common informers to sue for penalties, the Government were defeated by 175 to 124. In these divisions the Irish Roman Catholic Members, took no part, standing aloof from the proceedings altogether. The amendments being disposed of, the Speaker put the question, "That this Bill do now pass." No Member rose, and after pausing for a time, he put the question, and the division was taken. The numbers were— For the motion . . . 263 Against it 46
Majority .... 217 No sooner was the division over than the House seemed to awaken from a surprise. It had been intended and expected that a discussion would have taken place at this stage, but by some accident the opportunity had slipped by. A number of Members in succession expressed their surprise and vexation at the result. Mr. Serjeant
Murphy said he had come down on purpose to speak, but he did not hear the words, "That this Bill do now pass." The Speaker, however, was on all sides exonerated from having had any share in the contre-temps. Sir James Graham expressed his regret—with some self-blame for the oversight—that he had not himself proposed to adjourn the debate, in order that those who were absent, and who had been taken by surprise by the turn of things, might have had the expected opportunity of joining in one more discussion on the' principle of the Bill. But he thought there would now be more dignity and propriety in abstaining from further division. The further progress of the Bill would be under the guidance of Her Majesty's Government: that responsibility was very grave; and he felt confidence that the civil and religious liberties of the country would be safe in the hands of the noble Lord at the head of the Government.
Lord John Russell then made his explanations. He considered himself irresponsible for the result. He had nothing to do but to move the third reading, and that the Bill pass. The opponents of the Bill chose to absent themselves. "You then, Sir," said Lord John to the Speaker, "most fairly and particularly put the question that the Bill do pass. I certainly was surprised that no one rose; and for the moment I was disposed to rise myself, in order to introduce the debate; but it just occurred to me, that, if I spoke then, some of the gentlemen who have opposed the Bill, and who might rise to speak afterwards, would not fail to bring charges against me of one kind or another, and then I should be precluded from answering them. Besides, it was obviously the business of those who opposed the Bill to raise the question before the House, and to say whether or no they had any objection that the Bill do pass." The responsibility he incurred was this—could he recommend it to the House to pass the Bill in the shape it took as altered by Sir Frederick Thesiger's amendments —altered as they had been from Mr. Walpole's amendments, and further made more temperate than in their original shape? Having maturely considered them, he believed that there was nothing in them or in the Bill as it stood which militated against religious freedom. He therefore felt the responsibility of recommending the House to pass the Bill, less than that of leaving those who had invaded the rights of the nation to triumph over the people, whose wishes, sentiments, and general expectations, would thus be baulked by the failure of the only measure before Parliament to resent the insult put on the country.
Mr. Gladstone joined in the expression of regret at the position in which the House was placed; and sincerely apologized to the House if, in consequence of what he had suggested the day before, [the arrangements as to the expected "final discussion,"] he had been, however indirectly, the cause of that position. Reviewing the topics introduced by Lord John Russell, he refuted the argument founded on the assumption that all baptized persons are subject to the Roman Pontiff. A more important declaration, and one more pregnant with fatal meaning, he never heard from the Minister of the Crown. Why, this "new assumption" had always
been an open, avowed, notorious, and legitimate principle of the religion of the Roman Catholics, which we professed to tolerate. And this new definition of the aggression only showed the confusion of ideas under which the House had been legislating. Following the advice of Sir James Graham, he should now content himself with a solemn protest against the Bill, as hostile to the institutions of this country, more especially to its established religion—because it would teach it to rely on other support than that of the spiritual strength and vitality which could alone give it vigour— because its tendency was to undermine and weaken the authority of the law in Ireland—because it was disparaging to the great principle of religious freedom on which this wise and understanding people had permanently built its legislation of late years—and, lastly, because it would tend to relax and destroy those bonds of concord and goodwill which ought to unite all classes and persuasions of Her Majesty's subjects. (Loud cheering.)
An amendment, which had been moved by Mr. Grattan, to alter the titlo of the Bill to this style—" A Bill to prevent the free exercise of the Roman Catholic Religion in the United Kingdom," was then negatived without a division, and the Bill was ordered, amidst loud and hearty cheers from all parts of the House, to be carried up to the House of Lords.
The period of the session which had now arrived left but a small remnant of time to that assembly to deal with a measure which had for nearly five long months afforded occupation to the House of Commons. Happily, however, the House of Lords needed but a short time to dispose of this already exhausted
subject . Two nights of debate served them to discuss the principle of the measure, on the second reading, but the reputation of the House was well sustained on that occasion by several lucid and impressive speeches. The Marquis of Lansdowne, commencingthe discussion on the 21st of July, recapitulated the well-known circumstances which had led to the introduction of the Bill into the other House, observing that the Bill being very short and simple it was not necessary for him to enter at large upon the general character of its enactments, or the ground on which its preamble had been framed. Nothing could be further from his intention than to enter into any doctrinal discussions, or to recommend any proceedings calculated to interfere with the perfect religious freedom justly belonging to every British subject; on the contrary, the Bill had no other object than to assert and enforce the hitherto undisputed right of the Crown to prohibit the use of titles conferred by foreign potentates, and to resist the slightest approach to the exercise of territorial jurisdiction. Having referred to Lalor's case, to the Roman Catholic Relief Act, as well as to many of the arguments already put forth in the Lower House by the supporters of the measure, he declared that in urging those considerations he was influenced by no fear that the Protestant religion in this country had been endangered, yet it was not the less necessary to announce what were the prerogatives of the Crown in this matter, and to recognise the necessity of their full maintenance.
The Earl of Aberdeen, in referring to the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, expressed
his conviction that it became law against the wishes of a numerical majority of the people of this country, and thought the strong and unanimous sentiment on which the promoters of the present Bill justified its introduction might be regarded with rejoicing, as a noble manifestation of Protestant spirit; yet he contended—fortifying his opinions with some historical instances—that the demands of a mere numerical majority were not sufficient to justify any direct or violent interference with religious freedom. In the measure now under consideration he feared that the Government attempted to accomplish objects beyond their control. Did they intend to deny to their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects the advantage of bishops regularly consecrated?. If so, it amounted to a refusal of toleration. To perfect toleration he held that the Roman Catholics were fully entitled, though he demanded for them no greater privileges than were enjoyed by every class of Dissenters throughout this realm. Upon the history of the Bill he thought it right to make a few observations, it appearing to him most extraordinary and mysterious that the Ministers should have introduced a measure containing some strong provisions, should then submit to have those enactments struck out, and subsequently should allow them to be restored with additions of still greater stringency. In passing from that line of argument he quoted several authorities to show that the change recently introduced amongst the Roman Catholics of England had long been desired by them, and appeared in their judgment to be necessary to the government of their Church. As to the late proceedings of the Roman Catholic prelates in this country being a violation of the existing laws, he denied that position altogether, and argued that the appointment of vicars-apostolic was fully as illegal as that of bishops, if either could be so considered. The Bill was a measure which he regarded with alarm, seeing that its enactments would invalidate every act done by Roman Catholic bishops in this country; and though it might be carried, he attached very little weight to the arguments by which it was supported, and nothing in his opinion could have less justification than the appeal made to the loyalty of Englishmen, under a pretence that by the proceedings of Rome the integrity of the British Crown was assailed. In going through the details of the measure he pointed attention to the clause relating to the Protestant bishops in Scotland, saying that the footing on which they were established was exactly that on which he desired to see the Roman Catholic prelates placed. With reference to the complaints made against the arrogance of the Pope, they amounted to a complaint against his existence, but there evidently was no intention on the part of the Pope to offer the least offence to the Crown of England. Although those considerations, as objections to the measure, well deserved attention, yet be had always opposed, and should continue to do so, any attempt to introduce a Popish Nuncio into England. There were many persons who had just reason to complain of the Bill, but none had greater cause than the Pope; for the declarations of Lord John Russell and other Ministers laid a trap from which he could scarcely be expected to escape. If the Bill
continued to be anything but a dead letter, there never again would be peace in Ireland; and on such grounds he concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.
Lord Beaumont pointed out to the House that all those acts of Rome bearing the names of bulls and rescripts were deemed by Roman authorities to be of a spiritual nature, but he denied that they all ought to be so considered, and he doubted whether the language in which they were couched could be endured by any independent community, for he regarded such language in many cases as nothing less than an infraction of the law of nations. In reply to the statement that the Pope had sacrificed some portion of his authority in substituting a regular hierarchy for vicars-apostolic, he showed from the appointment of the Most Rev. Dr. Cullen that the Pope had assumed an arbitrary power in Ireland, which he was prepared also to exercise in England, by the absolute appointment of all the Roman Catholic prelates. These recent proceedings of the Court of Rome were evidently intended for the purpose of drawing over to ultramontane opinions all the educated and free-minded Roman Catholics who in this country had declared their adhesion to liberal institutions. The further purpose of those proceedings he fully believed was to influence popular education, and, amongst other things, to destroy the greatest boon ever conferred on Ireland, the Queen's Colleges. Finally, his cordial support should be given to the Bill, regarding it as a great national protest, which the necessity of the case had rendered unavoidable.
Tho Duke of Wellington had
always endeavoured to support the provisions of the great measure of 1829, but, when the recent proceedings of the Court of Rome were brought under his notice, he felt at once that they could not be passed over without legislation. The Pope had appointed an Archbishop of Westminster,—had attempted to exercise authority over the very spot in which the English Parliament was assembled,—and under the sanction of this proceeding Cardinal Wiseman made an attack upon the rights of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. That this was contrary to the true spirit of the laws of England no man acquainted with them could doubt, for throughout the whole of our statutes affecting religion we had carefully abstained from disturbing the great principles of the Reformation. If in their legislation upon this subject they did what was necessary for protecting the religious liberties of the people, and no more, they might rely upon the cordial support of England and of the better portion of Ireland. He should therefore give his vote without hesitation in favour of the motion that the Bill be then read a second time.
The Earl of Malmesbury supported the Bill, but nothing would induce him to do so if he thought it could be fairly considered as an interference with the religious freedom of any Roman Catholic.
Viscount Canning feared that the Bill might jeopardize the great principle of religious freedom; and when they founded legislation of that character upon a belief that the Pope had been guilty, as regarded this country, of an act of usurpation, the proof which they offered ought to be of the most perfect kind; but whatever doubt
might exist as to the question of usurpation, he was ready to admit that an insult had been offered, not to the Crown or the people of England, but to the Church.
The Duke of Argyll reminded the House that they had two documents to deal with—the rescript of the Pope, and the pastoral of Cardinal Wiseman; and if the party to which Lord Aberdeen belonged were in office, they could not, consistently with their avowed principles, do otherwise than direct their legislation against the pastoral, for they argued strenuously that the rescript was expressed in the terms always used upon such occasions. In reply to the argument against the Bill founded on the necessary consequences of toleration, he pressed upon the House the position, that because they tolerated the faith of the Roman Catholic, they were not therefore bound to permit everything that the Court of Rome chose to call the requisite developments of its ecclesiastical system; and with regard to the Charitable Bequests Act, he had always held that there was nothing in that statute which at all precluded them from legislating upon this subject in whatever way the necessity of the case might seem to require: further, he would maintain that Parliament had done nothing to deprive itself of the right and power to control any part of the ecclesiastical system of Rome which in the least degree interfered with the freedom or independence of this country.
The Earl of Airlie briefly supported the Bill.
The Bishop of St. David's said he should vote for the second reading of the Bill; but he would not pretend that he was completely satisfied with it. It was one, and