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we should think of withdrawing the rights and privileges we had given to our Roman Catholic fellow subjects, of going back to the practical oppression they had been for many centuries subjected to in this country. If all that the Pope had intended in his bull was to assume a spiritual jurisdiction over Roman Catholics only, why was that not expressed? There was no difficulty in chalking out that course, or in finding words to express that object. This proceeding had issued from a power remarkable for its attention to forms and to words; and if ho saw that throughout the document in question the rights of the Crown and the existence of the Protestant hierarchy were studiously and carefully ignored, no person would persuade him that it was by accident, and that the inference of nothing more than spiritual dominion over Roman Catholics being intended was to be drawn. He hoped, therefore, that their Lordships would entertain the measure that would shortly be introduced on this subject.
The Earl of Roden concurred generally in the Address, but was disappointed that it contained no stronger expressions respecting the Protestant religion.
The Address was then agreed to unanimously.
In the House of Commons the Address was moved by the Marquis of Kildare, who briefly adverted to the topics alluded to by Her Majesty.
The motion was seconded by Mr. Peto, who dwelt upon the successful results of our present commercial policy, and justified upon political rather than religious grounds the restraint of Papal aggression.
Mr. Roebuck expressed the pain he felt at finding an administration calling itself liberal about to take a backward step, and at a time, too, when the Minister put into the mouth of the Sovereign congratulations upon the prosperous state of the country, the result of the removal of restrictions. He briefly reviewed the history of RomauCatholic emancipation,and the principles on which that measure was founded, which, ho contended, were violated by legislation against religious distinctions granted by a bishop, called the Pope. He charged Lord John Russell with dealing falsely with the country. This so-called territorial aggression was 110 new thing; it began years ago, and had been sanctioned by the noble Lord himself; so far from being an aggression, it was a retrogression on the part of the Pope. Where was the aggression upon Her Majesty's prerogative because Dr. Wiseman choose to call himself a cardinal, and put on a large hat and red stockings? This was an exercise of spiritual authority, and the noble lord had heretofore declared that the Pope's spiritual power must be left untouched. The Roman Catholics had been led to believe by the acts of the Legislature and of the Executive Government that what had been done could be done legally, and all had been planned and published years ago. After they had been thus lured on, was it wise or worthy of the noble Lord, so long the advocate of civil and religious liberty, to aid a cry which had its source in some of the vilest passions, and lend the sanction of his great name to the old puritanical bigotry of England?
Sir R. Inglis replied to Mr. Roebuck, insisting that no country in Europe would have submitted to such an act as that by which the Pope had usurped the prerogative of the Sovereign, and treated the people as a nation of heretics. Resistance to such an aggression was not new in our history, though he admitted too large concessions had been made by the present Ministers, in Ireland and the colonies. He appealed to the extraordinary unanimity of the nation upon this subject, and trusted that the Government would not be deterred from acting up to the spirit of Lord John Russell's letter to the Bishop of Durham.
Mr. J. O'Connell vindicated the act of the Pope in substituting a regular hierarchy for vicars apostolie, which, though not sanctioned by, was known to, the Government of this country.
Mr. Hope, representing not the Church of England, but an English constituency, was bound to uphold liberty of conscience. In 1829 we had granted emancipation to the Roman Catholics; everything we know now we knew then, and had provided for; and he thought the Church of England, if left to itself, was strong enough to contend against such an act as the appointment of thirteen men, with certain titles, by the weakest prince in Europe.
Mr. Anstey could find nothing in the Address to which he did not heartily and fully subscribe. As a Catholic, not of the Court, but of the Church of Rome, he was not ashamed to call the act of the Pope an aggression; it was an aggression upon the Roman Catholic laity, who had struggled against their subjection to the undue power of the prelates. The letters apostolic would deeply effect the civil rights of the laity, and make
our courts of equity the instruments of injustice. Legislation, however, must not stop at the barren question of title.
Mr. Plumptre took the same view of the subject as Sir R. In- glis, and hoped the Bill of the Government would meet the case; otherwise the feeling of the country would manifest itself with redoubled energy.
The Earl of Arundel was prepared to oppose any measure of persecution, or any attack upon the constitutional liberties of Roman Catholics.
Mr. W. Fagan dissented from the views of Mr. Anstey; he denied the right of the Legislature to interfere, by any act of coercion, with the Roman Catholic Church, which was not an endowed church, with reference to a measure most salutary to that church.
Mr. Hume drew the attention of the House from the subject of the Papal aggression — his observations upon which he should postpone until he saw the promised Bill — and noticed some other topics in the speech. He regretted the occupation by the Austrians of the free town of Hamburgh; he rejoiced at the projected reform of the Court of Chancery, which he wished to see abolished, and at the prospect of a system of registration; but he lamented that nothing was said in the Speech on the subject of a reduction of taxation, the state of the representation, and the colonies.
Colonel Sibthorp arraigned the whole policy of the Ministers with respect to Rome, agriculture, free trade, and the Exhibition.
Mr. G. Berkeley adverted briefly to the condition of the labouring classes, of the tenant-farmers, and of the colonists.
Mr. Grattan combated certain statements made by Mr. Peto concerning the state of Ireland, and protested against any attempt to fetter or coerce the Roman Catholics of the United Kingdom by reopening a question which was settled in 1829.
Mr. Bankes, on the part of the agricultural interest, thought it was his duty to make some remarks upon that part of the Speech which referred to the condition of that interest, whose "difficulties," it was said, would be diminished by the "prosperity of other classes." He contended that if the producers of the food of our labouring classes were foreigners, it was a fallacy to suppose that increased consumption could benefit British farmers, who were desponding and alarmed. Agriculture must have relief, and the only shape in which it could be afforded was by a fixed duty on foreign corn.
Lord John Russell, after expressing his satisfaction that there would be no division upon the Address, justified the course pursued by the Government in respect to foreign affairs; and, in allusion to the suggestions of Mr. Bankes, observed, that although a temporary fixed duty upon foreign corn, adopted in 1840 or 1841, might have prepared the agricultural interests for an inevitable change, he did not believe it could have been maintained as the foundation of a permanent system. Be that as it may, however, the Legislature had adopted another course, consonant to the great interests of the country, and tending, in his opinion, to its political and moral tranquillity. Lord John urged various arguments against the policy of a protective system, and in favour of
that of free trade, which, he observed, must be considered as a whole, and as a whole the prosperity of the country proved that it was a system grounded upon sound principles. He, therefore, gave Mr. Bankes and his friends no hope of a 5s. duty upon foreign corn, which would be only valued by the farmer as a sympton of a return to a system which would abridge the material comforts enjoyed by the labouring population. Addressing himself, then, to the subject of the Papal aggression, Lord John delicately reproached Mr. Roebuck for the low motives he sometimes imputed to public men. Not doubting the sincerity of Mr. Roebuck in his opinion that the matter was one only of the use of titles, and one of perfect indifference, Lord John Russell expressed his strong opinion, on the contrary, that the Court of Rome, as distinguished from the Church of Rome, is ever wishing for opportunities of making aggression, not merely on the spiritual but on the temporal interests of the kingdoms with which they have concern. It had been represented as if the Protestants of the country, and himself among the foremost of them, were filled with a rage for persecuting the Roman Catholics: Lord John met this charge by rapidly recalling the recent current of concession and consideration to the Roman Catholics, especially in Ireland. Indeed, this conduct was cited on the other side as the most reprehensible part of the policy of the Government. Of one instance of favour shown to the Irish Roman Catholics he did not till lately know the history. It was stated that in the Lord Chamberlain's department the Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ireland had entree, as such, to the Queen's draving-room: that was inserted in the Gazette by a subordinate in the hurry of the Queen's reception; and he was not prepared to defend the giving to Roman Catholics honours to which they were not entitled.
In the midst of every token of a spirit the opposite of persecuting, what could induce the Court of Rome to issue an edict declaring that this country was to be divided into bishoprics under an Archbishop of Westminster, of all places, who immediately proclaimed, "We govern and shall continue to govern the counties of Middlesex, Essex, and Hertfordshire?" Was that a spiritual charge? The answer was given by Mr. Newman, the loss of whose learning and talents to the Protestant Church all must deplore; and by the usual organs of the Roman Catholics both in this country and in France.
"The honourable Member for Kent \Mr. Plomptre) has warned me," continued the noble Lord, "that in dealing with this subject I should bear in mind the very strong sentiments which are entertained with regard to it, and should not foil short of the expectations of the people of this country. I shall be prepared to propose a measure as strong as my own convictions li .u 1 me to consider necessary—I shall not hate any part of what I think necessary; but, on the other hand, I cannot introduce measures which I consider to go beyond the occasion, or which would in any way trench upon what I think doe to the religious liberty of all C classes of Her Majesty's subjects. I shall not deem it necessary on this occasion to say more on this topic
than that I consider the present authority possessed by Parliament is fully sufficient to deal with the whole of these transactions, and the questions arising out of them. I believe that the specific measure I shall on a future day propose for the adoption of this House will be found to tend to the establishment of harmony and good feeling among all the various classes and professions of Christians in this country. That measure will be general in its application to the whole United Kingdom. I know it has l>een doubted whether, after what has taken place, this would be so; I know it has been surmised that one portion of the United Kingdom would be excluded from it. But such is not the fact. It never has been in the contemplation of Government to observe any such limitation.''
Lord John Russell briefly justified his letter to the Bishop of Durham, and vindicated himself from the charge of having insulted the feelings of his Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. "I beg to declare that I have never insulted the feelings of my Roman Catholic countrymen. I made some observations which had reference not to those to whom the honourable Gentleman would apply them, but to a section or body of the Church to which I myself belong. The matter of those observations may have been right or it may have been wrong; I do not conceive that any candid Roman Catholic, on perusing them, would feel that they were intended to apply to him: but it is sufficient for me to state, that in making them 1 used no stronger terms than I had beard the bishop of my own diocese employ in speaking of the same body in our own church."
Declaring his conviction that Parliament would not listen to the proposition that had been mooted tor the arrangement of these affaire by the sort of treaty called a "concordat," Lord John concluded, "I am firmly persuaded that we have already, in our own public feeling, our own polity, our own public discussion, and in the existing law and authority of Parliament, sufficient to protect the integrity of that civil and religious freedom that all classes of Her Majesty's subjects are so earnest to maintain against all aggressions of this kind that may be attempted upon them. After all that has arisen to call forth the expression of that feeling, it is upon that feeling that I rely with the greatest confidence. It is on the attachment of the people to those institutions, on their deep and earnest feeling for all that regards their welfare and integrity, that I look for the surest protection of this kingdom against the machinetions and aggressions of the Court of Rome, or of any other foreign power, spiritual or temporal, whatever."
Mr. Disraeli, after a passing reference to foreign politics, dwelt at some length upon the depression of the agricultural class, observing that there must be some cause deep-seated in the constitution, why all classes but one should be in a flourishing condition; that class, in fact, contributed the capital by which the other classes prospered. In discussing the motion of which he had given notice, he should consider the subject of agricultural distress with reference to the whole of our system of taxation, and show that whilst the policy of the Government had destroyed an artificial
system, it had left the artificial burden. Upon the question of the Papal aggression, he criticised the letter of Lord J. Russell, which he thought had not been provoked solely by the appointment of Dr. Wiseman—an act, not insidious, but frank almost to indiscretion, nor insolent, for it was fully expected, and was in daily operation in Ireland; but it was connected with the existing state of our relations with the Court of Rome.
The motion was then agreed to.
On the first evening of their meeting, each House was called upon to pay a tribute of acknowledgment to the name of a valuable officer lately removed from its service. In the House of Lords the Marquis of Lansdowne announced that the Earl of Shaftesbury had, from the weight of advancing years and infirmities, resigned the post of Chairman of Committees. Lord Lansdowne paid a high compliment to the integrity and ability of Lord Shaftesbury, and intimated the neutrality of the Government on the choice of his successor, by stating that he did not wish that there should be any discussion on the subject. Lord Stanley added his tribute of sincere admiration for Lord Shaftesbury, and moved that Lord Redesdale be his successor. The Duke of Wellington mentioned, that some years ago, in anticipation of the present resignation, he had recommended Lord Redesdale to devote himself to the Committee business of the House: he believed there was now no person more capable of the duties of Chairman. Lord Lansdowne concurred. Lord Redesdale was unanimously chosen, and suitably acknowledged tho honourable appointment.