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of the Catholic church.
Mr. Goulburn and Mr. Peel again insisted upon danger to the Constitution, the Church, and the State, but without proving, any more than their predecessors had done, that whatever danger there might be would be in any wise increased by Catholic emancipation. Mr. Peel illus trated his general argument by a particular example; he put the case of a Catholic king, who, by the bill before the house, would have it in his power to appoint a Catholic ministry. The contingency is somewhat distant, as well as somewhat improbable: but suppose it certain and near at hand; unless a majority in Parliament were Catholics too, what harm could be done by a Catholic king, though backed by a Catholic ministry? If such chimerical terrors are to be listened to, what dangers are we not exposed to al
Dr. Doyle certainly did say so. He also said (what Mr. Brownlow did not mention) that these doctrines never had been doctrines of that church; by which latter assertion he took away the whole value of the former. If, according to Dr. Doyle, the temporal authority of the Pope is as much a doctrine of the Catholic church as it was when a Gregory or a Boniface fulminated their excommunications and sentences of deposition against kings and emperors; if the power of dispensation is as much a doctrine of the church as it was when indulgences were openly sold from one end of Europe to the other; of what consequence is it that, in the opinion of one man, or of two men (Dr. Doyle and Dr. Murray), these powers were not authorized? Their not being authorized did not prevent their being acted upon then, nor could it pre-ready! What is there to hinder the King vent them, if an opportunity offered, from being acted upon now. If individual opinions were wanted, we had opinions already; opinions of foreign universities, at least as high authority as Dr. Doyle. As for the Pope, we can hardly conceive any thing more ridiculous than to talk of danger from him. The real danger is from the power of the priests, whether concentrated in one man, or diffused through a great number. If they place the supreme direction in his hands, it is for their own purposes: and if they do not, it is for the same reason. His power is only their power and does Mr. Brownlow really think that either priests or any other sort of men ever give up any power which they can possibly keep; or are withheld from resuming it by any other reason than because they cannot?
We shall pass slightly over the remainder of the debate. Mr. Dawson brought forward several arguments against emancipation, the chief of which were, that Mr. O'Connell and Dr. Doyle were temperate before the committee but turbulent in Ireland: that the Catholics, in 1824, petitioned parliament for a reform in the temporalities of the Irish church, and that a Catholic parliament treated the Protestants in 1687 pretty much as Protestant parliaments have treated the Catholics ever since. Sufficient answers having been given to these objections, either by the speakers who followed, or in the former part of this article, we shall not waste our readers' time and our own by going over them again.
from turning Presbyterian, and filling every office in the ministry with Presbyterians? yet is this very likely to happen? or where would be the harm if it did? Has the King, with or without a ministry of his choice, the power to change the established religion, against the will of his people? If so, he can as well change the constitution itself; whatever advantages we owe to it, exist only by his sufferance, and the government of this country is in reality despotic. But if not, what becomes of the imaginary danger?
We must now need say something (much we need not) on the celebrated speech of the Duke of York. What there was objectionable in it has been sufficiently exposed by others; and the station of the royal speaker has drawn down animadversions more severe than the speech, if delivered from other lips, would probably have called forth. piece of argument, it cannot be spoken of seriously; indeed, it scarcely laid claim to that character. With the exception of what Mr. Canning called "the idle ob"jection of the coronation oath," it only offered one reason, which turned upon the oddest of all equivoques. No clergyman can sit in the House of Commons; therefore (said his Royal Highness), the Protestant church, meaning the clergy, is not represented; ergo, the Catholic church, meaning the laity, ought not to be represented either. Considered merely
Ante, p. 261. See also, ante, p. 9: Fallacy of Vows.
as a declaration of opinion, we have not much to say against this speech: his Royal Highness was as well entitled, as any other person, to choose his side. It may be questioned, however, whether it would have been in any way discreditable to his Royal Highness, if, in testifying his attachment to the opinion he had chosen, he had remembered that even the Heir to the Throne is not infallible, and that it was just possible, that the opinion, to which he was thus solemnly vowing an eternal adherence, might be wrong.
In the interval between the second and third reading of the Catholic bill, two auxiliary measures were introduced into the lower house, which have excited much discussion, and occasioned much difference of opinion, both among the supporters and among the opponents of the Catholic claims.
The question of a state provision for the Catholic clergy does not seem to us encumbered with many difficulties. Such a provision certainly is not per se desirable. To a Protestant, it must of course appear desirable that there should be none but Protestants, in which case there would be no Catholic clergy, and consequently no need of paying them.There are, however, Catholic clergy, and they exercise great influence over the people. We should be very glad to see that influence weakened: but, in the meantime, the question is, whether every thing which can be done ought not to be done, towards rendering it as little noxious as possible.
rals*. We make no invidious insinua tions; we will not ask, whether the priests have given direct encouragement to those early marriages, which have co-operated with bad government to make the Irish people what they aret; but we say that nothing can be more impolitic, nor can shew a greater ignorance of human nature, than to admit of the continuance of a state of things in which it is their interest to do so.
Whenever, therefore, a public provision shall be granted to the Catholic clergy of Ireland, we hope that the act conferring it will contain a clause, providing, not for the discontinuance of the fees on marriages and baptisms, but for their being regularly handed over to some officer, for the benefit of the public revenue. To reconcile the priests themselves to this transfer, we would suggest that a portion of their stipends should be in name as well as in reality a commutation for their fees. Under this arrangement they would no longer have an interest in encouraging im provident marriages, while the money received on account of fees would in part contribute to defray the expense of the stipends.
Another reason for paying the Catholic clergy, is to diminish the interest they now have in proselytism. Believing, as
* Mr. Dennis Browne says in his Evidence before the Commons' Committee, that the priests have not, at an average, in his part of the country, 1001. a-year, and that they get for a marriage sometimes half-a-guinea, sometimes 15s., never less than half-a-guinea; independently of the collections made at the wedding among the visitors, which, according to Dr. Doyle, have been known to amount to 401. The Rev. Malachi Duggan, parish priest of Moyferta and Killballyowen, who stated his annual income to be about 2001., deex-clared himself to have celebrated in the preceding year about fifty marriages; whereof about thirty produced pounds or guineas each; thirteen produced various sums from 21. 10s. to 61.; four produced various sums from 58. to 10s. ; and three, to the best of his recollection, were gratuitous. Out of an income, therefore, of 2001., nearly 901. were derived from the fees on marriages alone. [Rev. M. Duggan's Evidence before the Commons' Committee of 1824.]
By the admission of all who know any thing of Ireland, one of the greatest evils of that country is, a deficiency of employ ment compared with the numbers of the people, or, what is the same thing, an cess of numbers, compared with the means of employment. As the best established general principles forbid us to expect that any measures, having for their object to provide employment for the people, can afford any thing more than a temporary palliation to the evil, whilst their numbers continue to increase at the piesent rate-there is nothing to be done without correcting the prevailing habit of early marriages and heedless increase of families. But to the introduction of any change in this respect, no state of things can be more adverse than one in which the priests derive their chief emoluments from marriages, baptisms, and
+ See, however, the evidence of Mr. Frankland Lewis, before the Lords' Committee of 1825, who says [p. 41], "I believe it is known that the priests avow that they do recommend early marriages;" and the evidence of Mr. Leslie Foster [p. 66], "I believe it is a matter pretty well ascertained, that the Roman Catholic clergy are in the habit of suggesting marriages to young persons, and not merely recommending, but enjoining them." See also the evidence of Mr. Justice fune-Day [ibid. p. 554] to the same effect.
we do, the Catholic religion to be a bad one, we of course think it undesirable that proselytes should be made to it. The motives to proselytism will be but too strong, without the aid of pecuniary interest: but when the priest's emoluments entirely depend upon the number of his flock, those motives are at the highest pitch. Surely.all Protestants should wish this to be at an end.
It deserves notice, that of all hose who advocated this measure in the House of Commons, there was not one who placed the expediency of it upon the right grounds. One reason assigned was, that the Catholic clergy were a meritorious body. Another, that it was desirable they should be connected with the state; a proposition in which, if, by connexion with the state, is meant dependence upon the government, we are so far from agreeing, that if the stipends were to be put upon such a footing as to create any such dependence, it would shake our confidence in the expediency of the measure itself. Another reason was, that it was desirable that a portion of the higher classes should form a part of the Catholic clergy. We do not exactly see why; or how the higher classes could be drawn into it by changing the source of its emoluments; unless at the same time an increase were made in the amount, which would be objectionable on another score.
If the reasons given for the measure were bad, the reasons against it were still
The first was, that no provision is made for the clergy of any of the dissenting sects. But there is no other sect, for the payment of whose clergy there are the
The second was, that the Catholic clergy, if paid at all, ought to be paid out of the superfluous property of the Established Church: and if the payment could not be made in that way, it ought not, however desirable, to be made at all.
The third was, that the measure tended to undermine the Established Church. Of this tendency no proof was so much as pretended to be given. But danger to the church is that sort of thing which persons of a certain stamp are accustomed to see in every thing which they do not like.
The fourth was, that the house ought not to establish a Papal Church, armed with all the jurisdiction belonging to Papacy. Who would not have supposed
• Solicitor-General, ante, p. 223.
that the question before the house was whether there should be a Catholic church in Ireland, or not?
The fifth was, that it would diminish the influence of the Catholic clergy over their flocks. This objection was brought forward in the House by nobody but Mr. Goulburn; in whose mouth it seems to be any thing but appropriate: but it is the objection which we have heard oftenest urged in other places. It has not, however, being proved by any sufficient evidence, that the Catholics would like their priests the less for being no longer a burden on them; that they feel the burden most severely, is well known: that the priests' fees were a subject of complaint with the discontented, almost equally with tithes and rents, has been given in evidence by several witnesses before the Committees*. Further, if it were made out, that the influence of the priests would be diminished by a public provision, we should not consider this an evil, but a good; it appearing to us to be any think but beneficial, either to religion or morality, that a body of priests should exercise any such influence over the people, as is exercised by the Catholic clergy: and the influence of the priests having besides afforded to the enemies of emancipation their most plausible topic of alarm.
The proposed alteration of the elective franchise in Ireland appears at first sight a measure of greater delicacy. To those, however, who look to things rather than names, there is no great difficulty in the question.
The forms of liberty, are one thing; the substance another. These two things are often confounded; and the consequence is, that the substance is very often sacrificed to the forms. There is a certain set of politicians, who maintain it as an established principle, that the substance always ought to be sacrificed to the forms; the form being in their estimation every thing, the substance nothing. It is, according to them, not only useful, but essential to good government, that the body of the people should, at every election, go to the poll, and vote for somebody; because this contributes exceedingly to the generation of public spirit: but once there, it is not of the slight
See the evidence of Mr. Blake, (p. 40);
of Dr. Murray, (p. 237); of Dr. Kelly, (p. 259), before the Commons' Committee of 1825; and the evidence of Major Willcocks (p. 118), before that of 1824.
est consequence whom they vote for; at | least, it is not necessary that they should exercise any choice; or rather, it would be of the most fatal consequence if they did. Elections, according to them, are on the best footing, when there are but two or three real choosers; the two or three thousand, who are the nominal choosers, discharging no other functions, in regard to the favoured candidate, than that of committing to memory his name, and repeating it at the hustings, to a person stationed there to hear it.
This class of politicians find in Ireland a system of election management to their heart's content. Droves of electors, driven to the poll often without knowing, till they reach the spot, the name of the candidate whom they are to vote for; themselves the property of their landlord, a sort of live stock upon the estate, whom nobody thinks of canvassing, and who would probably stare on being told that the franchise (as it is ironically called) was regarded as a privilege to themselves. In one or two instances of late years, when the state of misery to which they were already reduced rendered ejectment from their wretched tenancies an event scarcely to be dreaded, they did, in considerable numbers, break through their subjection, and from being the tools of their landlords, became the tools of their priests: in consequence of which defection they had to endure all the sufferings which the rage of their thwarted taskmasters could inflict upon them*.
It is true, as was justly observed by Col. Johnson, than the proper remedy for these evils is not disfranchisement, but vote by ballot. Vote by ballot, however, there was no chance of obtaining. Disfranchisement there was a chance of obtaining: it could do no harm, and might do good; by taking away from a few lords of the soil the power of bringing their thousands and tens of thousands to the poll, it would tend to give at least somewhat more importance to the small number of electors who can choose for themselves, without drawing down upon their heads inevitable ruin. It is no mark of wisdom to reject what is good, because you cannot have what is better.
On the other hand, we agree with Lord Milton, that the good effects of this measure have been much exaggerated. It has been assumed, as it appears to us on scarcely any evidence, that the desire of making freeholds for electioneering purposes, has been a great cause of the minute subdivision of lands. That it may have been so in one or two instances we do not deny; indeed it is sufficiently proved that it has. But, that, as a general rule, such political influence as the landlords of the predominant party might acquire by splitting farms, over and above what they might have had without it, could act upon them with sufficient force to counterbalance the direct and obvious interest which they have in the good cultivation of their estates, is a conclusion not to be founded on one or two, or even on ten or twenty, instances. That the lands should be parpre-celled out in small farms, was no more than is natural in a country where, till of late, scarcely any tenants had capital enough to occupy large ones. Now, when capital is flowing into the country, the landlords are rapidly clearing their estates of the wretched cottier tenantry; uniting numbers of small farms into one, and introducing a better system of cultivation. Observe that the church lands, on
It is moreover well established, though in the lamentable ignorance which vails in this country with respect to Ireland, it seems not to be generally known, that, of those who are called, and give their votes as, forty-shilling freeholders, it is a very small proportion indeed who are really so; the remainder consisting of persons who not only have not an interest to the value of forty shillings in the land, but who pay to their landlords a full, and more than a full rent; and are registered as freeholders by the grossest perjury on their own part, and the grossest subornation or rather compulsion of perjury on that of the Irish gentlemen, their landlordst.
See particularly the evidence of Mr. Leslie Foster before the Lords' Committee of 1825, (p. 79). “There have fallen, within my own knowedge, frequent instances of the tenants having been destroyed in consequence of their having oted with their clergy."
† Sce the evidence of Mr. Blake, (p. 43); of
Dr. Kelly, (p. 252); of Col. Currey, (pp. 303-4); of the Rev. Henry Cooke, (p. 372); of the Rev. Thomas Costello, (p. 416); of Mr. Rochfort, (pp. 435-6); of Mr. Barrington, (pp. 577-8); and of Dr. O'Brien, (p. 588), before the Commons' Committee of 1825; the evidence of Mr. Justice Day (p. 263), before the Commons' Committee of 1824; of Mr. Leslie Foster, (p. 78); Mr. Blake, (p. 106); the Bishop of Derry (p. 290 ); Mr. Kelly, (p. 492); Mr. Justice Day, (p. 534); and Mr. Dominick Browne (pp. 586-7), before the Lords' Committee of 1825, &c.
Ante, p. 214.
which no freeholds can be created, are just as minutely divided as the rest; while in England, where political influence is fully as much valued as in Ireland, the land is generally let in large farms why? because there are farmers possessed of sufficient capital to occupy them; and because it is in general of much more importance to a landlord that his lands should be cultivated by persons of capital and intelligence, than that he should gain a few votes, by means which are equally open to the opposite party, if they are willing to make the same sacrifice.
We, therefore, do not claim for the proposed bill, the merit of giving to Ireland a "sturdy and independent yeomanryt;" we bound its pretensions to those of diminishing, in some small degree, the power of the aristocracy, and putting an end to a great amount of perjury. Though, even for these purposes, we are much inclined, with Mr. Leslie Foster and Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, to think that it did not take a range sufficiently wide, and that to produce any very sensible improvement, the disfranchisement ought to have extended to freeholders in fee, as well as to freeholders for lives.
In the debates on this question, it may be remarked, that the extremes both of Toryism and of Whiggism were found on one side, and the more moderate of both parties on the other. This anomaly appears to us to have naturally arisen out of the circumstances of the case. The thorough-goers on both sides, in their opposition to this measure, will be found to have been perfectly consistent with themselves; while the more moderate have on this occasion made a sacrifice of party principles, from an honest desire to promote the public good.
Every Englishman who knows any thing of the manner in which the legislature of his own country is formed, knows perfectly well that the great mass of the electors, though they have somewhat more of the form, have as little of the reality
See the evidence of Col Currey, (p. 304); of Major-Gen. Bourke, (p. 318); and of Mr. Rochfort, (p. 437), before the Commons' Committee of 1825; the evidence of Mr. Blacker, (p. 78); of Justice Day, (p. 264); of Mr. Macarty, (p. 320); of Mr. Simpson, (p. 406); of Mr. Lawler, (p. 442); and of Dr. Church, (p. 450), before the Commons' Committee of 1824. Mr. Leslie Foster, indeed, is of a different opinion: see his evidence before the Lords' Committee of 1825, p 81.
+ Mr. Plunkett, ante, p. 200.
of a free choice, as their degraded brethren, the forty shilling freeholders of Ireland. If all the English electors were disfranchised, who dare not vote but according to the bidding of their landlords, or customers, so few would be left that there would be no semblance of a popular choice, and the real amount of the aristocratic power would be made universally apparent. This would not suit either section of the aristocracy: neither the stronger section, who are now the absolute masters of the government, nor the weaker section, who hope to become the stronger, and by that means to become the masters of the government in their turn.
In confirmation of the above remark, so far as it affects the Whig party, it may be observed that the various plans which have been proposed by that party_for putting the election of Members of Parliament upon a different footing, have been of a nature to add to the aristocratic power, not to diminish it: and to add to it, too, in the very manner to which the principle of the Irish freeholders' bill is most directly hostile, viz. by giving the franchise to a set of electors who are irre. sistibly under aristocratic controul. One of these plans is to take away the franchise from the electors of the rotten boroughs who do exercise a free choice, though from their small number they are interested in making a bad one, and to give an additional representation to the county electors, who are almost all of them under the absolute command of their landlords, and who are the very same class of electors whom the Irish freeholders' bill would disfranchise. Another of their plans, is to extend the elective franchise to copyholders; who would be every where under exactly the same influence as the freeholders.
The more consistent, therefore, and clear-sighted among the Whigs, perceived that it was impossible for them to give their support to this measure, without departing from the principles on which they had constantly acted, and to which they were determined to adhere. Mr. Lambton's declaration, then, that he oppose Catholic emancipation in order to frustrate this measure, appears to us perfectly consistent, and, on his own principles, proper.
The consistent Tories had exactly the same interest in opposing the measure, as