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religious ceremony; and the vast majority of them were unwilling that they should be deprived of the sanction which religion gave, or appeared to give, to these contracts.
Sir Robert Peel's Bill was suffered to /all with his Administration. But Sir R. Peel's failure as well as the abandonment of his own measure in the previous year had convinced Lord John that no solution of the question could be found until a general civil registration was substituted for the ecclesiastical registers which alone existed up to that time. As early as March 1834, indeed, he had said that the House would never see the end of the evils until they established a system of national registration; later on in that year he had declared that there was no sacrifice which the country ought not to make in order to get rid of the present imperfect system of registration. On the introduction of Sir Robert Peel's Bill he at once expressed his doubt whether any measure would succeed which did not establish a national registry; and after acceding to office, in declining to proceed with the Bill, he expressed his opinion that the first measure that ought to be adopted, with a view both to the Dissenters and the inhabitants of the country at large, is one to establish a civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths.1 In accordance with these reiterated opinions, he introduced two measures at the commencement of 1836, one establishing a national registry and the other providing for Dissenters' marriages, in the presence of the registrar, in their own chapels.
The conduct of these Bills fell almost exclusively on Lord John. One of them, the Registration Bill, involved only slight discussion. The Marriage Bill did not escape without serious amendment. In the Bill, as it was originally introduced, it was Lord John's object to assimilate as far as possible the marriage in the chapel to the marriage in the church; and in each case he accordingly required that the same notice should be given to the registrar. Peer and prelate revolted against a provision which deprived the ceremony of asking banns of any real significance, and the Bill was accordingly amended. Lord John accepted the amendment, which he disliked, for the sake of securing the passage of his Bill. But his own views were enlarged and strengthened by the experience of a long lifetime, and he lived to record his opinion that—
1 Hansard, xxii. 400, xxiii, 950, xxvi. 1092, xxix. 12.
It will be matter for consideration whether the future law, instead of recognising the marriage registers of every Christian communion and every Jewish synagogue, should not be founded on the same principle as the laws of France and Italy, constituting civil marriages the only bond recognised by the State, and leaving to the parties concerned to add any religious ceremony or ceremonies they may think proper.
These three great measures, the Tithe Commutation Act, the Registration Act, and the Marriage Act, would have reflected credit on any Government or on any Minister. In the same year, in which the Marriage Act was passed, another grievance under which Nonconformists lay was partly removed ,/ by the establishment of a new University at London with power to grant degrees.1 Thenceforward, if religious tests still barred the way to distinction at Oxford and Cambridge, men of every tone of thought were able to graduate in London.
While Lord John was thus endeavouring to satisfy the just demands of the Dissenters, he did not ignore the claims of the Church. In 1836, carrying out the recommendation of a commission which Sir Robert Peel had instituted and which Lord Melbourne had continued, he introduced three Bills— one equalising the Bishops' incomes, combining some old sees and constituting some new ones; another applying the surplus income of capitular establishments to the general purposes of the Church; and a third discouraging pluralities. The first of these measures was passed in 1836; the two others became law in 1838 and 1839- In carrying them, Lord John might fairly claim that, if he had done more to satisfy Dissent than any statesman since the days of Nottingham, he had done more to strengthen the Church than any Minister since the days of Godolphin.
1 Lord John wished to go much further. Lord Melbourne wrote to him on December 15, 1836: 'Rice tells me that you want a Bill for the admission of Dissenters to the Universities. Is this absolutely necessary? Is not the charter of the new London University enough for the present? If it is not absolutely necessary, I am sure that it is not prudent to stir this question. There is none upon which prejudice is stronger or more violent. Many of our own friends are in their hearts against it. It is also a very difficult question, and one of which it is almost impossible to find a satisfactory solution. The Universities are so framed upon the principle of their students being members of the Church of England, that Dissenters can hardly be admitted without a complete change of their forms.'
Well might Lord Western write to Lord John on the 20th of August—
I congratulate you on the termination of this most arduous session. I think you have had more difficult cards to play than ever fell into the hands of any leader of the House of Commons, and I do sincerely think that you have done yourself immortal honour in the struggle. I have experienced great satisfaction in contemplating the course you have taken upon each successive very difficult question that has arisen, and carried through with so much discretion, temper, and ability.
But, though an English statesman or an English nobleman might contemplate the session of 1836 with satisfaction, no Irish politician could regard it with the same feelings. For it was unfortunately true that, if Ministers had experienced a great success in carrying their English measures, their Irish measures had met with a different reception. And, while from an English standpoint the statutes of 1836 could be accepted with pleasure, from an Irish standpoint the statutes of 1836 were not worth the paper they were printed on.
Lord John was, of course, the member of the Government directly responsible for Irish administration. In 1835 tne Lord Lieutenant virtually acted under the Home Office, and the Chief Secretary was essentially Secretary to the Viceroy. The Home Office was the pivot on which Irish policy and Irish administration continually turned; and both on questions of policy and questions of administration Lord John was in favour of a change of system. The lessons which he had learned during his short visit to Ireland in 1833 had not been lost on him; and, while he was eager to do justice to religion by curtailing some of the surplus revenue of the Church of the minority, he was equally anxious to do justice to Protestant and Catholic, landlord and tenant, by enforcing the ordinary law without resorting to exceptional measures of coercion.
The state of Ireland in 1835 was sufficiently anomalous. Roman Catholic Emancipation had been carried. six years before. But, with the exception of Mr. O'Loghlen's appointment in the previous autumn, no Roman Catholic had ever been placed in a prominent office. From the Castle to the constabulary all officials were tinged with Orangeism. It was the custom to hoist the royal standard at the Castle not only to celebrate great days of public rejoicing like the birthday of the King or Queen, but also days of 'Orange' triumph, such as the battles of the Boyne and of Aghrim.1 Politicians in England watched with alarm the progress of the formidable association over which Mr. O'Connell presided. Politicians in Ireland regarded the Orange lodges as branches of a more, formidable society. At the head of one association was Mr. O'Connell, Member of Parliament and barrister at law; at the head of the other was the Duke of Cumberland, the King's brother.
The first thing, then, to do to satisfy Irishmen was to show them that the Castle was no longer affected by a distinctly 'Orange' policy. Much was done in this direction by the selection of Lord Mulgrave and by his conduct as Viceroy. But Lord Mulgrave saw from the first that a still greater change was required, and that it would be necessary to remove the Under Secretary. He endeavoured to secure a colonial appointment for him: he finally obtained for him the post of Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Commons; and he chose, as Sir W. Gosset's successor, Mr. Drummond, an Engineer officer, whose views were as broad as his capacity was large, and who is still recollected as the only official who has filled the post of Under Secretary and given complete satisfaction to the Irish people.2
1 Letter from Lord Mulgrave to Lord J. Russell.
2 Mr. Drummond, who, subsequent to his appointment, married the young vOL. i. S
Mr. Drummond's appointment was only one symptom of a change of system. Up to 1835 troops had been sent in aid of any tithe-owner who apprehended disturbances in collecting his tithes. In 1835, Lord John expressed his formal concurrence with the views of the Irish law officers that 'the assistance of the military and police ought to be reserved for those cases where the attempt to collect tithe has produced riot or breach of the peace.' He went on to say that, where soldiers had been sent in England in aid of the civil power, he had 'specially warned the Lord Lieutenant and the Commander-in-Chief not to allow the troops to be brought within sight of the people unless actual rioting took place.' About the same time other steps of equal significance were taken, with Lord John's approval, by Lord Mulgrave: (1) Roman Catholics were no longer excluded from the lists from which the sheriffs were chosen; (2) a due proportion of Roman Catholics were Selected among the solicitors appointed to conduct local prosecutions; and (3) pronounced Orangemen were removed from the constabulary.
The last of these three measures was exceptionally necessary. Nothing in Ireland was more deplorable than the organisation and activity of the Orange lodges. There were said to be 50,000 Orangemen in London, 350,000 in the United King.dom, and 12,000 in Canada.1 Still more alarming was the circumstahce that lodges had been instituted in thirty or forty regiments on the authority of warrants from the Grand Lodge. At the close of the session of 1835, Mr. Hume had drawn
lady who was intended to carry the umbrella at Lord John's wedding, is chiefly recollected for his famous apophthegm, ' Property has its duties as well as its rights.' How necessary such a saying was in Ire'and may perhaps be seen from the following extract from a letter written in October 1835 by Lord Duncannon to Lord John: 'The county of Carlow is perhaps in the worst state in this part of Ireland. The contested election and an Orange gentry have evoked
an excitement quite unparalleled. This has not been improved by Lord .
[1 suppress the name] having turned off his property to-day 63 families, about 300 souls, on the single ground that they are Catholics. They had all paid their rent and were good tenants, but had voted for Vigors and Raphael.'
1 Sir R. Blennerhasset in The Keign of Victoria, i. 535. Sir R. Blenner. basset thinks that historians have not paid sufficient attention to tin's remarkable organisation.