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GLADSTONE VIEWED FROM THE OTHER SIDE., Issue 7993, 23 August 1889
GLADSTONE VIEWED FROM THE OTHER SIDE.
At the meeting of the Protestant Institute, held In Milton Hall on Wednesday evening, toe 21st Inst., Mr R. N. Adams delivered a. lecture in reply to tho one riven a week before by the Rev. P. W. Isitt on 'Mr Gladstone, the greatest living Scotchman.' Probably owing to the many other attractions the meeting was not large. The leoturer said a man was only in a proper sense great in proportion as he was faithful to the trust reposed in him. In many respects Mr Gladstone might be said truly to be a great man—one of the greatest of the age; as, for instance, his scholarly attainments, his oratorical power, his ability as an author, his skill as a political leader—iu all these he was far above the average; but the question was: Is he great in his method of fulfilling his duties to the nation—has he been faithful ? To answer that it was first necessary to define the character of the ttust the nation had placed in his hands, and then to review how he had set himself to its accomplishment It was the. duty of a statesman to guard the interests of the people of his own country in all tilings which were honest and just. The British nation was one whose onstitution was founded on three propositions which were inseparable from each other in the composition of a concrete whole : (1) A Protestant monarch ; (2) a Protestant legislature ; and (3) a Protestant electorate. The experience of those who laid this basis was that that no Roman Catholic monarch wa3 ever a supremo authority in his own realms—he had a superior in the Pope ;no Roman Catholic legislators could legislate (or a freo people, for they were under the direction of the Romish hierarchy ; and no Roman Catholic constituents could give full allegiance to either King or Parliament, for the church claimed their implicit obedience in defiance of the civil lav/, A nation ou auy other principle v/ai one with two kings and two codes of laws—one native, the other foreign, the latter being the superior and inexorable. The settlement in 1688 had discarded this foreign king and code of laws, and had disabled all who supported or personally accepted it from taking part in the political life of the nation. Men were free to hold any opinions they chose. They wore not put to any personal or legal inconvenience for conaciencc' sake. They were guaranteed the same protection and liberty that all other citizens enjoyed, but they were refused to exercioo any political influence, because they were in reulity subjects of another and inimical power. That was the characteristic of the national constitution of which Mr Gladstone was made a custodian. The duty cast upon him was to conserve the interests of that national Constitution, and by eolcinu oath he undertook the task. Mr Isitt had spoken of Canning having been a friend of the elder Gladstone, and to have been an important factor in the formation of the character of the younger. That might, perhaps, account for some of the peculiar changes that had made Mr Gladstone's life so inconsistent. In 1813 Cauning had urged that if the Roman Catholics were to receive political enfranchisement they must be bound under such rigorous guarantees as to prevent any danger to tho Constitution from this power. He" drew up a set of regulations, and demanded that if the Catholics were not satisfied with them they should be sent out of the kingdom. In 1825, during the discussion of the Emancipation Bill, which had not one of his important securities, he strongly supported it, boasting that he was "no security grinder," Twenty examples of like conduct on tho part of Ah Gladstone were then recited, showing that he had in so many instances first opposed and then defended certain measures, or first defended and subsequently opposed them. Of the Slave Emancipation Bill Mr Gladstone had been a resolute opponent until pressure was brought to bear on the Government, and LI 18a 4d above the average was pi-onii:ed as the price that should be paid for tiie slaves belonging to his father. He then voted for the passage of the Bill, whereby the family received between L 50.000 and LGO.OOO as compensation for the liberation of the slaves on their estates in the West Indies. Although Mr Gladstone had no part in passing the Roman Catholic Em anuipation Act it was necessary to notice its bearing upon the politics of tho time, for by its operation subjects of smother power became legislators. That position was gainsd by falsehood and deceit, both priests and prelates declaring that all that they would ever seek was equality with Protestants, and that they would never attempt to interfere with the P.ottstant foundation of the nation. The Pope was not recognised by them in any matters political, and so would not influence their actions. No sooner, however, did Daniel O'Counell and his followers secure seats in the House of Commons than they made the very Act of Emancipation a grievance, and priests as well as general agitators began to work in the political interests of the Church of Rome. Every pledge given by them in reference to the Emancipation Act has been broken, and the conditions of the Act set at defiance, until now nothing remains of the old Protestant settlement of 16S8 but the Protestant succession of the Crown, at which Mr Gladstone in ISG6 struck a first blow, which wa3 averted by Disraeli. Mr Gladstone bad rendered help to every movement for the removal of Protestant ascendancy, which he had named "a tree of noxious growth," and he had supported every movement for theextonsion of the power of the Papacy. He had thwarted the repeated efforts of the House of Commons to have the land held in mortmain inquired into and managed or supervised by a commission of the House, and had succeeded in so working the scheme at last that the Roman Catholic Church had gained facilities for acquiring such lands aud in securing them from the power aud knowledge of the Government. It should also bo remembered that land in mortmain was untaxable. Tho State could derive no income from it whatever. It was literally transferred away from the State, and could be used only by those who received the revenue for their own purposes. Mr Gladstone had aided in effecting this arrangement. By the Act of 1829 it was illegal for Romish Church Ordeis to be located iu Britain, but through Mr Gladstone's efforts their residence was recommended to the House of Commons in 187°, and now the land is full of them. In 13/8 he sanctioned their entrance into Scotland, and now they are in full operation there also. In 1850 the event known as the Romish aggression took place. The Pope divided England into provinces, and appointed an Archbishop aud bishops to take possession of them as his agents. Those men were not sent into the couutry as preachers of the Gospel, but as the magistrates of the Pope. They were the prefects of Rome, not the ministers of Christ. The country was thrown into a state of excitement, and Parliament took up tho matter. It was illegal by the Act of 1829 for any person to assume any ecclesiastical title except those of the Protestant churches, and for the provinces of those churches, but no penalty was fixed for the misdemeanor. Lord John Russell thereiore brought in the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, fixing the penalty at LIOO for any such offence. Mr Gladstone opposed the Bill, which was, however, carried by a large majority, but remained ineffective until in 1872 it was at Mr Gladstone's instance repealed as obsolete and offensive. When iu 1566 the Government, of which Mr Gladstone was chief, brought in its Reform Bill for the emancipation of "unenfranchised miliions," he made a special bargain with the Romish party to repeal tho "obnoxious Protestant oath " if they would support him in his Bill. The rssnlt was that he brought in a Bill which, had it passed as he framed it, would have at one blow struck away not only tho Protestant oath, but also the Protestant succession of the thione and the Queen's supremacy. The first and last did go, leaving the baro stem of the succession to be attacked at another lime. In 18C8 came Mr Gladstone's great Irish Protestant Church disestablishment scheme. No fault was found with that so far as disestablishing was concerned. The evil lay in the fact that the Protestant Church was so disestablished, and the funds thuß derived were partially used to grant what amounted to an establishment of the Church of Rome, iu accordance with what Mr Gladstone had said in 1867 at Southport, " I must express to you my firm convictionjthat the principles of religion mu6t be established in Ireland." And so he took a
large sum of the money to endow the College of Maynooth, in which the " prinoipleg of religion," aocording to Jesuit authority, are lnouloated in Ireland, no other church sharing in the spoil. Romish sohools were now in receipt annually of a sum of money amounting to L 250.000, and to the Church of Rome generally for various purposes sums amounting to L 1,052,240 were paid every year out of the State funds. When the Publio Worship Regulations Bill was being disoussed in Parliament Mr Gladstone opposed is " because it was contrary to the opinion of the canonists of Christendom." That simply meant that it was not in agreement with the regulations of the Popes and Councils of the Church of Rome, A few specimens of the canons of Christendom were read, showing the claims of the church and the disabilities of the State : that in everything the church claimed to be superior to the laws of all nations, and not in any sense amenable to the enactments of national councils, though holding the light to annul and reverse them.
After referring to Mr lath's attack upon Lord Robert Montague aud Mr Newdegato, it was pointed out that Mr Gladstone held that no body of Christians was a church unless its ministers possessed apostolic succession. Nonconformists of England and Presbyterians of Scotland were all unchurched. Mr Gladstone had shown great favoritism to ritualism and ritualists, and conferred on them the best appointments of the church. He had also taken a prominent part in securing a seat in the Commons for the leader of atheism, Mr Bradlaugh. From firdt to last Mr Gladstone had supported whatever was anti-Protestant. Had he, then, been faithful to his charge?
GLADSTONE VIEWED FROM THE OTHER SIDE., Issue 7993, 23 August 1889
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