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Committee, and to accept the Amendment, in a direction the very opposite of that which the hon. Member for Clonmel (Mr. which it took two years ago. In 1860 Bagwell) had put upon the paper, extend- the Motion for adopting the age of twelve ing the age to eight years. He trusted was carried by seventy-one to ten, and that that arrangement would prove satis- among those who voted in the majority factory to hon. Gentlemen; and he could were Mr. Brand, Sir W. Dunbar, Mr. only express his regret if he had in any Hugessen, Mr. M. Gibson, Mr. Lowe, Mr. way been the cause of an angry discussion. Whitbread, Lord Palmerston, and many MR. MONSELL said, he hoped the other Ministers. compromise offered by the Chief Secretary would be adopted by the Committee. The Irish Members felt that they had been fighting against the individual opinion of the right hon. Baronet. It was not to be supposed that the rest of the Government, all of whom, including the noble Viscount himself, had in 1860 voted for the limit of twelve years, had had any reason to change their opinion. They must have simply desired to support their colleague, although his knowledge of Ireland was not so great that they should be governed by his mere ipse dixit.
VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, that allusion having been made to the members of the Government, and especially to himself, he must observe that he had not a very distinct recollection of what passed on that subject in 1860. But the opinion he had formed that night was founded upon the arguments which he had heard on both sides of the question; and certainly, after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Mayo (Lord J. Browne), he must think the decision of the Committee with respect to the difference between the ages of five and twelve was quite right.
MR. BRADY said, he hoped the compromise would be satisfactory to the people of Ireland.
MR. WHITESIDE said, he thought that if the proposed compromise was to be carried out, the words "or otherwise" ought to be omitted. There would be great dissatisfaction if guardians were to levy rates for the erection of orphanages outside workhouses, and for the maintenance of children in those separate institutions.
MR. H. A. HERBERT said, he had not changed his opinion on the question of age; but after the division that had been taken, if the compromise was to be adopted, he thought the words "or otherwise" ought to be retained. He hoped, therefore, that the Chief Secretary for Ireland would not adopt the suggestion of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin. If the guardians, in the exercise of their discretion, should think fit to place children in Roman Catholic institutions-[Mr. WHITESIDE: In convents.] Yes, if the guardians should think that in certain cases the health of the children would be better preserved in convents, he would say, "Let them act as they think fit." He hoped there would be no misunderstanding on the point, and that the Government would be firm on it.
MR. NEWDEGATE said, he would
MR. HENNESSY said, he rose to ex-remind the Committee that the division to press his willingness to accept the conces- which the hon. Member for Cork had resion of the right hon. Baronet in the same ferred took place at two o'clock in the spirit as that in which it had been offered. morning. He apprehended that the real He believed that concession would not only purpose of the provision was that the chilterminate an angry discussion, but would dren should be put out to nurse. If that much improve the Bill. were to be so, let it be clearly understood; but let them not exonerate the guardians from what was their obvious duty. If the Committee chose to accept the compromise, it was not for him to divide against it at that time.
MR. VINCENT SCULLY said, he did not wish to disturb the harmony of the Committee; but he regarded the compromise offered by the Chief Secretary as a miserable one, and thought the Committec ought to have insisted on the limit of twelve years. The noble Viscount said he had been convinced by the arguments that had been used that night. It was really wonderful how the members of a Government were all convinced like a pack of hounds, and all ran upon the same scent. The pack was now found running
MR. BEAMISH said, he was still of opinion that the maximum age ought to be twelve years, but for the sake of good feeling he hoped the compromise would be accepted.
MR. KER was in favour of altering the wording of the clause, so as to meet the objection to the words "or otherwise."
the rule of five years, in cases where it was certified that outdoor relief was necessary to preserve the health and life of the child. His right hon. Friend still stood on "five years" as the general rule, except in cases where it was certified to be necessary that outdoor relief should be continued.
SIR GEORGE BOWYER said, they would never get on with business if they went on in that way. It was now too 86 or late to discuss these famous words otherwise." He trusted the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland would make no reply to the objections that had again been urged.
MR. VINCENT SCULLY said, that hon. Members opposite could, if they chose, move to omit the words "or otherwise" on the report. The hon. Member (Sir E. Grogan) must, however, understand that there would be no surrender" on that side of the House. If Roman Catholic children were educated in convents, there were, on the other hand, excellent Protestant establishments for orphans of that persuasion. When the report was brought up, it would be found that hon. Members had forgotten all that had been said in the present debate, and there would not be a word of it in the newspapers.
Amendment agreed to.
MR. O'BRIEN said, he hoped that the right hon. Baronet would give the hon. Member for Dublin no information on the subject. The hon. Member had shown no great anxiety to strike out the words to which he now so strongly objected until he heard that the Government agreed to adopt the age of eight years instead of five. SIR EDWARD GROGAN said, the Committee had lost five hours on a single question, which might have been disposed of in as many minutes. The poor rates were to be levied from the entire property of the kingdom, and were the Irish people to pay for the maintenance of orphans and deserted children in establishments, or, as it was avowed, in convents over which no control could be exercised by the State? The hon. Members on the Opposition benches had accepted the clause on the distinct understanding that the Chief Secretary for Ireland would not swerve from the period of "five" years. The right hon. Gentleman had since thrown over his friends and accepted "eight" years. Could the right hon. Gentleman expect to carry on the Government of Ireland in that shilly-shallying manner? Let the Committee have one single line of policy before it. There were now great doubts whether the Bill would pass or not. The Committee had abandoned the Poor Law, and had now no single principle to guide them. The Chief Secretary had been the sole cause of the obstruction, and he (Sir E. Grogan) would, for one, be no party to the compromise that had been agreed to.
VISCOUNT PALMERSTON said, that his right hon. Friend had by no means abandoned the principle ho had laid down. He had departed from the strict principle of the Poor Law, for the purpose of preserving the lives of the children. It was exactly on that ground that his right hon. Friend had agreed to make eight years, not the general rule, but the exception to Mr. Ker
Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clause 10 (Religious Education of Children, the Religion of whose Parents is not known).
MR. WHITESIDE said, that hon. Members on his side of the House wished to understand the position in which they now stood. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland had yielded to the arguments of hon. Members who represented one important interest in that House, but had conceded nothing to those who represented an interest equally important. He wished to know whether the right hon. Baronet would reconsider the subject on the report, so as to give the House the benefit of what had been stated by the Home Secretary.
SIR EDWARD GROGAN said, the question before the Committee simply was, whether they were, or were not, to repeal the law of the land which made the country Protestant. The law of the land declared that, where the religion of the parents was not known, the children, if de
serted, should be reared in the religion of the State. A case in point had occurred in the Celbridge Union, in 1841. A difficulty arose as to what religion the child should be registered of; the matter was referred to the Poor Law Commissioners, and by them laid before the present Lord Justice of Appeal, Mr. Blackburn. The reply of that eminent lawyer was—
"I am of opinion that the guardians in such a case as as this should cause the child to be educated in the religious creed of Protestantism, the religion of the State."
In 1854 a similar case arose, and the then Attorney General, Mr. Brewster, gave an opinion exactly the same as that of Mr. Blackburn. But by the Bill of the right hon. Baronet, any one who might find a deserted child, even a common policeman, might determine of what religion the child was to be. That was the first time that such a proposition had ever been submitted to that, or the other House of Parliament. There were two reasons why deserted children should be brought up in the religion of the State-the one, because it was the religion of the State; and the other, on social grounds, because it would deter Roman Catholic parents from deserting their children. If the clause were passed, an inducement would be held out to many parents to abandon their children; and the question was, were they to encourage Roman Catholic parents to do so. There were many parents in Dublin at present, who were deploring the loss of their children, who had been kidnapped and put into institutions such as those which the right hon. Baronet would establish by the Bill. It was said that the words "lawful possession" had been introduced into the clause to exclude such cases; but who was to tell whether children, who were said to be deserted, were stolen or not. He should therefore move to leave out all the words after " case in line 19, and insert "such child shall be registered of the religion of the State."
In line 19, to leave out from the word "case," to the end of the Clause, in order to add the words "such child shall be registered of the religion of the State."
which the hon. Baronet had referred, related entirely to a past sta tcof things, for they had been founded upon the old foundling law of Ireland. That law had led to such constant heartburnings and disputes, that in 1859 he had brought in a Bill, which passed a second reading, and which provided that the question of registration should be left to the decision of the board of guardians. It was proposed at another time that the child should be registered according to the result of the religious census of the country, but that system had been found to be unsatisfactory. He hoped the Committee would give its sanction to the provisions of the present measure, which he believed was the most ready way of dealing with the subject, and in a manner which would be acceptable to the country.
SIR GEORGE BOWYER utterly denied that the law of the land presumed that every deserted child was of the religion of the State. The law presumed that to be the case, which was the most probable, unless the contrary were proved. It was, of course, among the poorer classes that the desertions of children most frequently occurred; and as in Ireland the great majority of the poorer classes were Roman Catholics, the presumption, in most cases, would be that a deserted child was of the Roman Catholic religion.
MR. WHITESIDE said, that the question before the Committee was very important. The result of the proposal was, that whatever might be the religion of the policeman who happened to find a deserted child, the child must be brought up in that religion. According to that view, if a policeman were a Mahomedan, or a Unitarian, any child he might happen to find must be brought up in that creed. Now that was, to say the least of it, a very novel proposition. The practice hitherto had been to register deserted children in the religion of the State. In support of that view, the opinion of Judge Blackburn, when Attorney General, was conclusive. The exact point was laid before him; and the decision of the learned Judge was clear, that in the case where the child was deserted by the father and by the mother, the guardians had no alternative than to bring it up in the State religion. That seemed to him to be a more reasonable course of proceeding than the rough and ready mode advocated by the hon. Member for Galway. He would admit, that if the religion of the
MR. GREGORY said, there had been a great number of discussions on the subject in that House, and in a vast number of unions in Ireland the guardians had been brought into collision with the central Board, in consequence of the present state of the law. The legal decisions to
mother could be ascertained, the child | educated in the religion of the State. ought to be registered in that religion. Now, the State religion in Ireland was With regard, however, to the principle Protestantism, and hence it followed, on laid down by the hon. Member for Dun- the showing of the opponents of the clause dalk, that in the absence of any such guide themselves, that all the illegitimate and the child ought to be registered in the deserted children in Ireland were the offreligion of the majority of the population spring of Protestant parents. He thought -which he granted was in Ireland the the proposition of the Government was the Roman Catholic-he must contend that it best and fairest that could be adopted. would be of very unfair application in Ulster, where the presumption would be that the deserted child was the offspring of Presbyterian parents.
SIR ROBERT PEEL said, no doubt the law of the land was that which had been stated by the hon. and learned Gentleman; but still it had never been enforced, and could not be enforced. The question was undoubtedly a very difficult one. The Government, however, had, in making the proposal on which the right hon. Gentleman animadverted, submitted to the House what they deemed to be the best solution of it. He might further observe that the right hon. Gentleman need not be apprehensive that any child would be registered as a Mahomedan, inasmuch as there was no member of that persuasion in the police force in Ireland; nor did he think it could be justly imputed to the force that it contained men who would be ready to change their religion to suit the views of the Government of the day. The clause had been adopted on the recommendation of the Select Committee, and therefore he hoped it would be retained.
MR. VANCE said, the question was one of principle, and one that, as a Protestant of Ireland, he could not consent to give up. The Court of Queen's Bench had decided that a deserted child should be educated in the religion of the State. Such was the law of the land, and the boards of guardians in Dublin had always acted upon that principle. He regarded the clause as a most dangerous attempt to abrogate a long-established law, and a first step towards separating the State from the Church in Ireland.
MR. VINCENT SCULLY said, that the objection was that the clause altered the law of the land. Why there was not a clause in the Bill that did not more or less alter the law of the land. The whole business of the House of Commons was to abrogate bad laws; and if they did not do so, they might as well shut up shop altogether. The great argument on the other side was that deserted children should be Mr. Whiteside
SIR HUGH CAIRNS said, he hoped the Committee would proceed on some more rational principle than that which seemed to have actuated the framers of this clause. Let them, for a moment, discard all question of Roman Catholic and Protestant. He had a great respect for the Select Committee which sat upon the subject; but anything so extraordinary as the conclusion at which they had arrived in point of principle he never heard. The clause said that a deserted child should be brought up in the religion of the person, whoever he might be-perhaps a tourist-that took him to the workhouse. He thought that proposition altogether irrational, and he trusted the Committee would not adopt it. He concurred in this, that where they had not the parents or surviving parent they should adopt the guardian or guardians of the child, or, if there were no guardians, the godfather or godmother for the purpose of determining in what religion the child should be brought up. In absence of these the Government might step in; but what he would propose was that the guardians of the district should pro hâc vice become guardians of the child. If the population of the district were Roman Catholics, the guardians elected by them would be Roman Catholic; and they, he had no doubt, would take into consideration all the circumstances of the child's case in determining what should be his registered religion.
MR. CARDWELL observed, that the proposal of his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Hugh Cairns) had entirely overthrown the argument of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. It also disposed of the proposition of the hon. Baronet the Member for Dublin (Sir E. Grogan). The proposition of the last-named Gentleman, that in a country the majority of which, and especially of the poor, to which class these children belonged, were Roman Catholics, every deserted child should be entered in the Protestant religion, was so manifestly repugnant to justice that he was not sur
MR. GREGORY said, that the question that the guardians should stand in loco parentis to a deserted child was proposed by him in 1859, and the proposition was strongly opposed by the hon. and learned Member for Belfast and the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin. He thought, that if they endeavoured to register the children in Ireland in a way contrary to the general religion of the country, they would be doing nothing less than endeavouring to make converts; and he was surprised to find hon. Members on the other side of the House endeavouring to give a power to guardians which they found it impossible to give when the Bill of 1859 was before the House.
prised that the hon. and learned Member | religion of the State to that of the person for Belfast threw it overboard. The case, taking him to the workhouse. The Law however, was one of real and great diffi- Officers had given their opinion, and the culty. The law had provided distinctly law of the land should prevail. for the religious education of all pauper children in Ireland. They were to be brought up in the religion of their parents if they could possibly be discovered. If, being without parents, they had guardians, they were to be brought up in the religion of their guardians. But there might be others who had no guardians, and for whom it was necessary to provide. His hon. and learned Friend said, "Let the guardians of the district settle in what religion they should be educated." Now, that seemed a most simple propositiona great argument in its favour-and he felt at first inclined to adopt it. But on a little further inquiry it turned out that that proposition had already been under consideration in the House, under the auspices of the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Gregory), but had not been approved; and his hon. Friend himself had, he believed, abandoned it. It had also been considered by the Committee; but the Commissioners strongly urged them not to adopt that proposition. They said they had overcome great difficulties in Ireland; they had introduced a system of local government in the relief of the destitute poor; they found the boards of guardians, though composed of persons of different religious opinions working admirably; and they said to the Government, "Whatever you do, don't introduce into boards of guardians an element which must inevitably produce all the evils of religious discord, by permitting those boards to determine in what religion a child should be brought up." By a large majority the Committee resolved to adopt that view, and he believed the noble Lord the Member for Cockermouth (Lord Naas) voted in favour of the proposition before the Committee. The question had been mixed up with a good deal of banter and ridicule which had nothing to do with it. The guardians in Ireland, and those excellent public servants the Poor Law Commissioners, said, when a deserted child was brought to them for relief, "Furnish us with a guide-parents where there are parents, a guardian, where there is a guardian, and in the absence of these, let us bring up the child in the religion of the person that brought it to us."
MR. GEORGE said, he would prefer having a destitute child brought up in the
SIR GEORGE BOWYER said, his own argument was in reality strengthened by the case cited by the hon. Member for Dublin; for, by a report of the case, it appeared that the court discharged the conditional order for a mandamus against the guardians.
MR. VANCE replied, that by the decision of the court the child was to be educated in the religion of the State.
MR. NEWDEGATE said, that, according to the proviso of this clause, of which some hon. Gentlemen seemed to approve, if a gipsy stole a child and brought it to the workhouse, that child must be brought up in the religion of a gipsy. The only intelligible reason given by the advocates of the clause was, that there was a strong disposition in Ireland to resist the present law. Inasmuch, however, as the State maintained the poor, was it not natural that the children, who were made the children of the State by being brought up under the Poor Law, should be brought up in the religion of the State? Concession upon the point under consideration would neither satisfy the people of Ireland nor England, it would be far easier to maintain the principle of the present law than to adopt any compromise; and a more miserable compromise than that which the clause suggested he could not conceive. The result of passing the Bill with the present clause would be that there would be a perfect scramble for these unfortunate children. It had been suggested that the police would bring most of these children to the workhouses; if so,