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" this measure does not decide the question of the payment of the “Roman Catholic priests, yet that it removes the religious objecutions to that question."

4. On the 14th, spoke Col. Thomas Wood, one of the members for Middlesex. He said, that “He, for one, did not believe that " the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland could "invalidate the integrity of the Protestant church in that country, “ but he believed that it would promote harmony between the two "churches, and tend to the general benefit of the country; whereas " at the present time Ireland was the only country in the world "wherein the two churches could not exist in harmony together."

5. On the same day Mr. Charles Wynn said, “ He had always “ looked upon it as being the misfortune of Ireland, that the church of seven millions of her people was founded on the volun"tary principle.”

6. But, last of all, the prime minister himself was in some degree forced to throw off a portion of his customary reserve, and to develope, in part, at least, his views on this momentous question. Several of his colleagues having spoken of the Maynooth-Endowment Bill as a first-step,-a commencement,—Sir Robert Inglis put a question, on the last night of the debate, to Sir Robert Peel, in the most pointed and emphatic manner. “He asked the right hon. baronet if “ he would be pleased to state whether this measure was to be the "end, or the beginning ;-whether it was intended as a measure " for the education of 500 priests alone, or to lead directly to the " endowment of the church of Rome in Ireland.” “He thought " no great statesman who had been four years in the uncontrolled

possession of government could object to state whether it was " his intention-in other words, whether it was consistent with his " principles, to entertain such a proposition.”

Thus called upon, Sir Robert Peel fenced with the question with all his usual adroitness. “ The present measure was not part of a “preconcerted scheme.” It was not brought forward with a "design of facilitating the endowment of the Romish clergy by “the state.” Further : “ With reference to endowment, there " were very great objections.” It appeared improbable that the priests would consent to receive such an endowment. And from the feeling recently exhibited in the country, it was clear that there would be difficulties here also.

But then, added Sir Robert, “ I will not hamper or embarrass “any future government by a declaration that the difficulties are " altogether insuperable." "" And I cannot say that I think there is a decided religious objection to such a measure.' Thus, then, we learn Sir Robert Peel's mind. He speaks of the endowment of the priests as a desideratum, but sees some difficulties in the way. Yet he will not allege that the difficulties are insuperable. If only the priests could devise a plan, by which they could receive the money without losing the incomes they now derive from their flocks; and if the people of England would cease from their clamour, and submit in silence, then, the difficulties would not be insuperable; and the whole tenor of Sir Robert Peel's language implies most distinctly, that, if the difficulties could be overcome, the arrangement would be most desirable.

We have, then, all the evidence it is possible to obtain, short of a ministerial declaration of a fixed intention, that the endowment of Maynooth is only the first step to an endowment of the Romish priesthood throughout Ireland. In fact, there is no rationality in any other view. What can the nation have to do with the education of a body of priests of whom it knows nothing when educated? If the state feels no interest in the Romish priesthood of Ireland, why should it specially endow, as no other and similar institution is endowed,--a college for their maintenance ? But if this matter be one of national interest, then on what principle can the whole existence of that priesthood be left uncared for through all their future years ? In fact, eschewing the voluntary principle, as both Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell do, and making the education of the Romish priesthood a national affair, they are bound to proceed further ;--they would not be justified, on their own prin. ciples, in leaving that priesthood without provision in their after course.

Some few mistaken “ Conservatives ” here interpose with a grand mistake. They say, “ Let it be so,-let the priests be endowed, out of the consolidated fund, and they will be the more closely attached to the government, and the better disposed to relax their hostility to the Established Church.” The Established Church, however, whether in England or Ireland, does not depend on the good-will of its sworn foes. It must rest upon some intelligible or defensible principle ; and except it has such a basis, its continuance is worse than doubtful.

Now we must plainly declare, that if Romanism be deliberately declared by the state to be a religion worthy of support,-if it be a system in furtherance of which the public money is to be voted, —then the only solid foundation on which the Church of Ireland can rest, is taken away; and its defence on any rational principles will become impossible.

Up to this period, the state has upheld the faith of the Reformation to be The Truth, and has declared Popery to be “superstitious and idolatrous.” Placed on this footing, the Church of Ireland might defy attack. But abandon this ;-speak of Romanism as a sister faith,—as only a little less pure or true than Protestantism; and in a moment you become quite unable to meet the argument of those who exclaim against the enormity of keeping up a church-establishment of £600,000 a year for 800,000 people, while 6,000,000, professing a kindred creed, in the same country, receive no aid from the State.

Against Truth, the arithmetical argument is utterly powerless : but abandon this ground, and admit Popery to be a system which the state may properly patronize and support, and immediately the objection from comparative numbers becomes irresistible. Í have no right, merely because I think my religion a little purer than the Papist's, to claim all the ecclesiastical revenues of the realm for my own communion, and to deny him a fair share. Abandoning the vantage-ground of Truth, I have no ground left, on which to defend the Irish Establishment.

To us, therefore, it appears, that in taking their present ground, Ministers are destroying the only legitimate defence of the Church of Ireland, and will assuredly find themselves helpless in any future contest in her behalf. Indeed, we cannot imagine that men possessed of the abilities of Sir Robert Peel and Sir James Graham -can fail to see this. For what, then, have they been contending, for more than ten years past ?

Why resist so resolutely, the proposals of the Whigs, in 1835 and onwards, to reconstruct the Irish ecclesiastical system? Why arouse and embody the Protestant zeal of the whole nation, to withstand the supposed inclination of Lord Melbourne, to conciliate O'Connell and the priests, at the expense of the Irish church? We must say, that a great part of the vigorous castigation administered by Mr. Macaulay, in the following passage, appears to us to have been fully merited.

“We ought to receive the measure for its intrinsic merits, whatever may be the opinions we may entertain of its authors. Yet for those authors it may be our duty, too, to speak in censure of their conduct; and in such terms of censure I feel it to be my duty to speak now of her Majesty's ministers. I have no feeling of personal hostility, and I trust that the political hostility I shall avow by no means precludes me from admitting that the right honourable baronet at the head of the government has many of the qualifications of an excellent minister-great talents for debate, for the management of this house, and for the transaction of public business, great industry and knowledge, and I doubt not he is sincere in his wishes to promote the interests of the country. But it is not at the same time easy for me with truth to deny that there is too much ground for the reproaches of those who, in spite of bitter experience, have a second time trusted, a second time raised him to power, and now find themselves a second time deceived. It is not easy for me to deny that it has been too much the practice of the right honourable baronet to use when in opposition passions with which he had no sympathy, and prejudices which he could not but regard with the most profound contempt. Then when in power it is seen that a change-a change salutary, indeed, for the country-takes place in the right honourable baronet : the instruments he before used are thrown aside; the ladder by which he rose is struck away. But this is not a solitary instance. I am compelled to say the same course has been pursued by the right honourable baronet in some cases before ; but I do not intend to enter largely upon this topic. Of the events of 1827 and 1829, I will say nothing more than this, that one such change is quite enough for one man. But again the right honourable baronet changed, and again he and those with whom he acts have returned to office. I will not now go through the course of his opposition and the measures of his government. I will only ask, whether there be one single class of men which then rallied round the right honourable gentleman, which does not now declare itself bitterly disappointed ? Some of those points of disappointment and disagreement I will leave to the management of the landed gentry, and I shall confine myself now to the subject immediately before the house. I ask you what was the cry raised against Lord Melbourne's government ? It was 'No Popery,' and I defy any one to deny that it did more injury to Lord Melbourne's government than any other cause. Why, as the honourable member for Northamptonshire said, and as the Noble Lord the member for Down also said,—is there a single person in this house who believes, that if, four years ago, the government of my noble friend had brought in this very bill, word for word, identical, it would not have been opposed by the whole party now in office ? Four years ago we were discussing a very different bill. At that time the party in opposition had brought in a bill which was simply, although under another name, to disfranchise the Roman Catholic electors in Ireland by tens of thousands. They brought it in, representing it as essential to the good government of Ireland and to the moral character of the Irish people. It was said, it must be carried out—we must purge the House of Commons of the minions of Popery that infest it. We urged, but urged in vain, that it would destroy the principle of representation. Then we entreated for delay. Wait, said we, until another session, and do not thus precipitate such a measure. No, not a session, not a month; the thing must be done, and done immediately. In this way the Registration Bill was pressed upon the house. But a change took place from opposition to power. The instruments of the right honourable gentleman were needed no more. He gained a Parliament which would undoubtedly have passed that Registration Bill. Where is that Registration Bill gone?-a bill now positively pronounced by its author to be a bill so destructive to every thing like a representative system, that no minister could venture to propose it. But then I again ask, if the bill be gone, where is its substitute ? It is to be found in the bill now before you for the endowment of the College of Maynooth. Did ever man hear of such legerdemain ? Why! that bill was held out to honest, eager, hot-headed Protestants in Ireland as a bill in their favour, and as against the Roman Catholics. They started forward to grasp the gift; they thanked you, and were about to snatch the boon from your hands, when it was suddenly withdrawn from them, and they were left to endure the pangs of disappointment. Is it strange then, that proceedings sueh as this should excite irritation? Can we wonder that petitions against the present measure should now pour upon your table ? Is it possible that the people out of doors should not feel some indignation, when they see men who when in opposition voted against the old grant to Maynooth, now whipping in their numbers to vote for an increased grant ? Can you wonder that all those fierce spirits you taught to barass us should now turn round to worry you ? Exeter Hall sets up its bray.---Mr. M‘Neile is horrorstruck at seeing a still larger grant proposed for the priests of Baal at the table of Jezebel. The Protestant operatives of Dublin are calling for an impeachment in exceedingly bad English. Did you think when you called up the devil of religious animosity, that you could lay as easily as you had evoked him ? Did you think, when you went on, session after session, clamouring and flattering the prejudices and passions of those you knew to be wrong, that the day of reckoning would never come? The day of reckoning has come, and now, and upon that bench, you must pay for the disingenuous conduct of years. If that be not so, then clear your public fame before the house and the country; show some clear intelligible principle with respect to Irish affairs that has guided you both when in office and in opposition. Show us how, if yon are honest, now in 1845, you were honest in 1841. Explain to us why, when out of place, you stung Ireland into madness, in order to gain with you the prejudices of England, and now, when in power, you light up England in a flame in order to ingratiate yourself with Ireland. Let us hear some argument to show that if now as ministers you are right, you were not the most factious and unprincipled opposition that ever sat in this place.”

2 R

1845.

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