Imágenes de páginas

a great many Irishmen-who believe at ence to Scotland. Some years ago I had this moment that it is of the very first im the pleasure of spending some days at the portance that the propositions of the right house of the late Lord Aberdeen, after he hon. Gentleman the Member for South had ceased to be Prime Minister. He was Lancashire should be carried. Now, I am talking of the disruption of the Church of not going to overstate my case. I do not Scotland, and he said that nothing in the say that all of them are of that opinion, or course of his public life, he thought, had that half of them, or that one-fourth of given him so much pain as that disruption them are. I state no number; but of this and the establishment of the Free Church I am certain, that there is an influential, in that country. But he said he had lived a considerable, and, as I believe, a wise long enough to discover that it was one of minority, who are in favour of distinct the greatest blessings that had ever come and decided action on the part of Par- to Scotland. He said that they had a vast liament with regard to this question. But increase in the number of churches, a corif you ask the whole of the Catholic popu- responding increase in the number of lation of Ireland-be they nobles or be manses or ministers' houses, and that they commoners, landed proprietors, ma- schools had increased, also, to an extraorgistrates, merchants, shopkeepers, tenant- dinary extent; and there had been imparfarmers-perhaps, of the whole number of ted to the Established Church a vitality and Catholics of Ireland, being, I do not know energy which it had not known for a long how many times-I suppose eight or nine period; and that education, morality, and times the number of the Episcopalians, religion had received a great advancement these are probably, without exception, of in Scotland in consequence of that change. opinion that it would be greatly advan- Therefore, after all, a change of this kind tageous and just to their country if the is not the most dreadful thing in the world propositions submitted on this side of the not so bad as a great earthquake-or as House should receive the sanction of Par-many other things that have happened. I liament. Now, if some Protestants and am not quite sure that the Scottish people some Catholics are agreed that they should themselves may not some day ask youremove this Church what would it be if if you do not yourselves introduce and pass Ireland was 1,000 miles away, and weit without their asking-to allow their were discussing it as we might discuss the same state of affairs in Canada? It we were to have in Canada and in Australia all this disloyalty among the Roman Catholic population, owing to the existence of a State Church there, why the House would be unanimous that the State Church in these colonies should be abolished, and that perfect equality and freedom in such matters should be given. But there is a fear in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that the malady which would exist in Ireland across the Channel should appear in England; that, in point of fact, the disorder of getting rid of the State Church in Ireland, like any contagious disorder, should cross the Channel the west wind - lodging first in Scotland, and then crossing the Tweed and coming to England. I think the right hon. Gentleman went so far as to say that he was so much in favour of religious equality that if it were insisted on that it should exist in Ireland by the disestablishment and disendowment of the Protestant State Church, that he would recommend the same policy for England. Now with regard to that, I will just give the House an anecdote which has refer

State Church to be disestablished. I met only the other day a most intelligent gentleman from the North of Scotland, and he told me that the minister of the church he frequented had £250 a year from the Establishment fund, which he thought very much too little, and he felt certain that, if the Establishment were abolished, and the Church made into a free Church, the salary of the minister would be advanced at least £500 a year. Well, that is a very good argument for the ministers, and we shall see by-and-by, if the conversion of Scotland makes much advance, that you may be asked to disestablish their Church. The hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. B. Cochrane) last night quoted something which, I dare say, he did not recollect accurately--something which I had said respecting the Church of England; but the fact is that the Church of England is not suffering from the assaults of the Liberation Society; it is suffering from a very different complaint. It is an internal complaint. You have had it before one of the Courts of Law within the last few days, and a very curious decision has been given that candles are lawful, but incense is something horrible and cannot be allowed;

that were found at the time to be of great difficulty, but have been found to be very wise and good afterwards. When I came into this House, nearly twenty-five years ago, our colonial system was wholly different from what it is now. It has been altogether changed-Sir William Molesworth and his friends were mainly the authors in Parliament of those changes. Well, all our colonies, as we all admit, are much more easily governed and much more loyal than they were in those days. Turning then to our financial system-and I really do not want to offend anyone by mentioning this-you know that our financial system, since Sir Robert Peel came into office in 1841, has been completely changed, aud yet the Revenue of the country is larger, which I regard as a misfortune and not only larger, but more secure by far, if Parliament requires it, than it was at any previous period of our history. Take the old protective system, which the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) and some others have not forgotten. Free Trade, I believe, was a frightful monster. But the protective system is gone; and now every candid man amongst you will admit that industry, being more free throughout the country, is better rewarded; and that the land, which you said would go out of cultivation, and become of no value, sells for a higher price in the market than it ever brought before. There are two other points on which I wish to add a word. One was mentioned last night after most of the Members had gone home. The balance of power was once considered

and then the newspapers tell you on the very next Sunday there is more incense in that particular church than there ever had been before. I will tell hon. Gentlemen opposite what it is that endangers the State Church now-I mean a State Church like this in England, against which there is no violent political assault. It is the prevalence of zeal. Whenever zeal creeps into a State Church, it takes naturally different forms-one strongly Evangelical, another strongly High Church or Ritualist, and these two species of zeal work on and on in opposition, until finally there comes a catastrophe, and it is found that it is not Mr. Miall and the Liberation Society-although they have prepared men's minds not to dread the consequence when it really does happen-but it is something wholly different, within the Church itself, that causes the disruption of the Church. The Scottish disruption did not take place from any assaults from without-it took place from zeal and difficulties within; and if you could keep the whole of the Church of England perfectly harmonious within its own borders, it would take a very daring prophet who would undertake to point out the time when it would be disestablished. We will confine ourselves, therefore, to Ireland, and I will ask hon. Gentlemen this: I believe hon. Gentlemen opposite do not usually reject the view which we entertain, that the abolition of the State Church in Ireland would tend to lessen the difficulties of governing that country. I think there is scarcely an hon. Gentleman on the other side who has not some doubt of his previous opinions, somewhat shall I say?-the very beginning slight misgiving on this point, and some disposition to accept our view of the case. Well, why should you be afraid? Even children, we know, can be induced, by repeated practice, to go into a dark room without fear. You have always, somebody said the other night, lions in the path; but I will not dignify them with the name of lions-they are hobgoblins. Now, when you have seen and handled them, as you have a great many times since I have been in the habit of speaking opposite to you, these things are found, after all, to be only hobgoblins; you have learned, after all, that they are perfectly harmless; and when you thought we were doing you harm, and upsetting the Constitution, you have found that, after all, we were doing you good, and the Constitution was rather stronger than it was before. Let me point out for a moment some of those changes

and ending of our foreign policy; indeed, I am not sure that there are not some old statesmen in the other House who believe in it even yet. What was done last night? Why, the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), who comes up from Scotland brimfull of enthusiasm for impossible projects, proposed to put in words which had been rejected from the Preamble of the Mutiny Bill relating to the preservation of the balance of power. [Lord ELCHO: I only proposed to re-insert them.] What did one of your most distinguished Ministers, the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for War, say in reference to the proposition? He said he thought it singular that the hon. Member for Chatham (Mr. Otway) should have proposed to remove the words, because they really meant nothing; but he was still more surprised that the noble Lord should

[ocr errors]

have asked to have them replaced. Well, That is greatly to the credit, not only of thus you see that this balance of power his head, but of his heart. We have seen is gone, and yet England, I will under- even amongst you on that side of the House take to say, under the national and fair a progress in many things-a progress administration of Foreign Affairs by the which I say is most gratifying to menoble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, though that, of course, is a very small is just as much respected by all foreign matter-and it is also a very wholesome Powers as ever it was when we were indication that the minds of men are beready to meddle in every stupid quarrel coming more open to the consideration of that arose upon the Continent of Europe. great principles in connection with great Now, there is only one other thing to public questions. And this lets us see which I will advert the question of the representation. You know, in 1830, there was almost no representation. There were a few towns in which there was almost universal suffrage, and many scores of rotten boroughs in fact, the whole system had got into such a state of congestion that it could not be tolerated any longer, and we had a small, but which might have been a very large, revolution, in amending that state of things. Last year you, who had seen this hobgoblin for years, who had thought, I have no doubt-many of you that I was very unwise and injudicious in the mode in which I had proposed to extend the suffrage last year you found out that it was not so monstrous a thing after all, and you became absolutely enthusiastic in support of the right hon. Gentleman's Reform Bill. Well, you believe now, and the First Minister, if this was an occasion on which he had to speak about it, would tell you not to be afraid of what was done. He would tell you that, based on the suffrage of a larger portion of your countrymen, Parliament would henceforth be more strong and venerated by the people than ever it had been before. If that is true of Parliament, what shall we say of the Throne itself after all these changes? I will venture to say that, whatever convenience there may be in hereditary monarchy, whatever there may be of historic grandeur in the Kingly office, whatever of nobleness in the possessor of the Crown, in all these things is it not true that everything is at least as fully recognized by the nation as it ever was at any previous period of our history? I do not mention these things to reproach anybody here. We all have to learn. There are many in this House who have been in process of learning for a good while. In fact, I am not sure that my right hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire did not admit to me that on this very question of the Church his opinions have been greatly expanded, and have been ripening for a series of years.

that in future we shall have-as, no doubt, we shall have a Government more in accordance with public opinion and public interests than we have had in past times. Now, in my opinion, the changes that are made in our time are the glory of our time. I believe that our posterity will regard them as the natural and blessed fruits of the growth of intelligence, and of the more comprehensive justice of this age. I mention these things to ask you not to close your ears to the arguments, nor to close your hearts to the impressions of justice which must assail you with regard to this question which is now being debated so much in Great Britain and Ireland. I might appeal to a right hon. Gentleman who perhaps is in the House the Member, I think, for the county of Limerick-who was at a very remarkable meeting held the other day in Limerick on this very question. I have heard from sources which cannot, I think, be questioned, that it was a very remarkable meeting-one of the most remarkable that has been held in Ireland, I will venture to say, for the last twenty years, or, perhaps, I might say for a longer period; that there was a far more healthy tone of mind, of expression, of conduct, of feeling, of everything we wish to see, than has been known there for a very long period. believe and know-because I am told by witnesses who cannot be contradictedthat that change arose from the growing belief that there was a sufficient majority in this House-that the general opinion of Parliament was sufficiently strong, to enable this measure of justice and reconciliation to be passed. Now, I ask you, if, after what has taken place, you are ableunhappily able to prevent the progress of the movement which is now afoot for the disestablishment of the State Church in Ireland; are you not of opinion that it would create great dissatisfaction, that it would add to the existing discontent, that it would make those that are hopeful despair, and that men-rash men if you like


-strong and earnest men, would speak to those that hitherto have not been rash, and have not been earnest, and would say, "You see at last; is this not a proof convincing and unanswerable, that the Imperial Parliament, sitting in London, is not capable of hearing our complaints and of doing that justice which we, as a people, require at their hands?" Do not imagine that I am speaking with personal hostility to the right hon. Gentleman who is your Chief Minister here? Do not imagine for a moment that I am one of those, if there be any, who are hoping to oust hon. Gentlemen from that (the Treasury) Bench in order that I may take one of the places occupied by them. I would treat this subject as a thing far beyond and far above party differences. The question comes before the House, of course, as all these great questions must, as a great party question; and I am one of the Members of this party. But it does not follow that all the Members of a party should be actuated by a party spirit, or by a miserable, low ambition to take the place of a Minister of the Crown. I say there is something far higher and better than that; and if ever there was a question presented to Parliament which invited the exercise of the highest feelings of Members of the House, I say this is one of those questions. Then, I say, do not be alarmed at what is proposed. Let us take this Irish State Church, let us take it not with a rudeI am against rudeness and harshness in legislative action-but if not with a rude, still with a resolute grasp. If you adopt the policy we recommend you will pluck up a weed which pollutes the air. ["Oh, oh."] I will give hon. Gentleman consolation in the conclusion of the sentence

I say you will pluck up a weed which pollutes the air; but you will leave a free Protestant Church, which will be hereafter an ornament and a grace to all those who may be brought within the range of its influence. Sir, I said in the beginning of my observations that there were the people of three kingdoms who were waiting with anxious suspense for the solution of this question. Ireland waits and longs for it. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell); I appeal to that meeting which he can describe, and perhaps may describe, to the House; and I say that Ireland waits and longs for a great act of reconciliation. I say, further, that England and Scotland are eager to make atonement for past

[blocks in formation]

Wednesday, April 1, 1868.

MINUTES.]--SELECT COMMITTEE -On Grand Jury Presentments (Ireland), Lord John Browne discharged, Colonel French added. PUBLIC BILLS-Ordered- Electric Telegraphs; United Parishes (Scotland).*

First Reading-United Parishes (Scotland) * [81]; Electric Telegraphs [82]. Second Reading-Religious, &c., Buildings (Sites) [18]; Libel [3]. Committee-Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings [1]-R.P.; Industrial Schools (Ireland) * [6]. Report-Industrial Schools (Ireland) * [6].


86TH REGIMENT.-QUESTIONS. MR. BARCLAY said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether any steps have been taken by the Mauritius Government, since the renewed outbreak of fever, to promote sanitary reform in the town of Port Louis; and, whether any instructions have been sent, or are about to be sent, by the Home Government, empowering either the Governor or the General Board of Health to enforce the sanitary measures required?

MR. ADDERLEY, in reply, said, the latest information from the Mauritius was dated February 16, and arrived on March 18. It stated that the fever was on the increase in Port Louis, and had spread to the interior. At that time the chief medical officer stated that the fever had assumed a much milder form, and was better understood; while the attacks were in a considerably smaller proportion fatal. He also stated that there was now an ample supply of quinine and other drugs, which there had not been at first, and which were most useful in meeting the attacks. With respect to the second portion of the Ques


(Mr. Hadfield, Mr. Bazley, Mr. Leeman,
Mr. Akroyd.)


Order for Second Reading read.

tion of the hon. Member, measures had in carrying out sanitary measures in the been taken to increase the number of town of Port Louis. medical officers available. Application with this view had been made by the Government to Madras for English doctors, and two had been sent as well as a foreign doctor. His noble Friend (the Duke of Buckingham), immediately on receipt of the last intelligence, had given directions that two additional English medical men should go out from this country by the first mail. The Duke of Buckingham had also called the attention of the local Government to the apparent want of concert and efficiency of the municipality of Port Louis in relation to sanitary matters, and suggested alterations in its constitution with a view of increasing its efficiency. The Board of Health would be increased by the addition of the Officer in command of the troops, the commanding Officer of the Engineers, the Assistant Military Secretary, and an Officer of the Royal Artillery. Everything had been done that could be done in such

a case.

MR. WHALLEY said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, What measures have been taken for the removal of the 86th Regiment from the Mauritius, and within what period it may be expected that the Regiment will, by this or other means, be rescued from its present perilous condition; and, with reference to the General commanding in the Mauritius and the Colonel of the Regiment, whether any steps have been taken or are intended to fix upon those officers respectively the responsibility for the disastrous results of their having landed the said Regiment, in disregard of instructions and in defiance of the express warning of the local authorities?

MR. ADDERLEY said, the circumstances of the landing of the 86th Regiment would be better stated by his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, who was at present absent from the House; but he might, in the meanwhile, observe that circumstances had been very much misunderstood, and much greater precautions had been taken as to the landing and disposal of these troops when landed than had been supposed. He believed little bad result had followed. There had been some sickness, but only one death in that Regiment. The measures which had been taken with a view to the reformation of the municipality of Port Louis did not affect the officers to whom the Question of the hon. Gentleman referred. They simply had reference to the efficiency of the municipality

MR. HADFIELD, in moving the second reading of this Bill observed that it was very nearly in the words of a measure which last Session passed through the House without a dissentient voice. Two Members of the Cabinet expressed their opinion in favour of that measure, and a like opinion had been expressed by two Chairmen of Committees appointed to consider the Mortmain Act, 9 Geo. II., c. 36. He was not aware that on the present occasion there was any real opposition. The late Lord Chancellor (Lord Cranworth) had stated that he could see no possible objection to the Bill. Its provisions extended to all sorts of charitable and scientific, as well as religious societies, and it really only conferred on them the same powers as was given by the Companies Act, 25 & 26 Vict. c. 89, s. 21, to joint-stock companies

namely, power to acquire two acres of land for the purpose of building for any charitable institution which they might require. By the provisions of the Mortmain Act, certain restrictions were imposed on such institutions, and the Bill proposed that whenever land was purchased for the purposes of such an institution there should be no necessity for incurring such an enormous expense as was at present required to obtain a proper conveyance of land. The Mortmain Act contained two sets of provisions: the first was that no person should devise land for charitable purposes, and that when any gift was made by deed, the deed must within six months be enrolled in Chancery, and the donor live twelve months after the execution of the deed; and the second was, that every conveyance for a charitable institution should be void (see Section 3) except it were duly executed and duly enrolled six months after execution, although a full and valuable consideration should have been actually paid for the purchased property. It was with the latter only that he wished to interfere. He did not object to the enrol ment of deeds and the consequent expense, in the case of large and rich institutions; but the present regulations ope

« AnteriorContinuar »