HC Deb 11 August 1836 vol 35 cc1137-43
Lord John Russell

said, that the question before the House was, that they should disagree with the Lords' amendment, and it should not be necessary for the Welsh Bishops to understand the Welsh language. He believed in the diocese of Llandaff, that language was not spoken to any great extent, and therefore it was unreasonable to make it a necessary qualification there; he thought also, that it would be an improper restriction on the prerogative of the Crown, to make such a rule as to the selection of Bishops, and in some cases, it would be found to operate in a most inconvenient manner.

Mr. Aglionby

had not heard any reason to induce him to assent to the Lords' amendment, striking out the provision that the Welsh Bishops should understand the language of that country. As soon as the English became the vernacular language of Wales, then it would not be necessary that either the Bishops or Clergy should be acquainted with Welsh, but until that time, some restriction of the kind was necessary.

Mr. Goulburn

believed, that the number of persons who were in other respects qualified to act as Bishops, who were well acquainted with the Welsh language, was very small, so that if this restriction was adopted, the choice would be very limited. He did not conceive that it was necessary that the Bishops should understand that language, although this might be the case with the great body of the Clergy in Wales, and there could be no doubt that all the Clergy understood the English language. If this rule were acted upon, they might get very incompetent persons appointed Bishops, and that merely because they spoke the Welsh language

Mr. Hume

imputed the great preponderance of Dissenters in Wales, to the ignorance of the vernacular language of that country on the part of the clergy. In reply to the observation of the right hon. Gentleman, he would ask whether resident Bishops ought not to be required to be acquainted with the language of the country in which they were called upon to act? Was it not the duty of a Bishop to preach to the people of his diocese? He declared that a Welsh Bishop, who could not speak the Welsh language, was very incompetent to perform his public duties, for he should not only be able to preach in a language which could be understood by his auditory, but he should be able to hold communication with the inhabitants of his diocese. The truth was, that it was the Bill of the Bishops, and was not a measure of reform.

Mr. George F. Young

observed, if the hon. Member for Middlesex regarded the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an anti-Reformer, because he supported the clause in the Bill as it stood, he should also view the noble Lord in the same light. The hon. Member might also call him an anti-Reformer. He was perfectly ready to be designated by that name by the hon. Member, for no doubt he was an anti-Reformer in the estimation of the hon. Gentleman; but he (Mr. G. F. Young) felt satisfied, that he was not regarded in that light, either by his constituents, or by the enlightened portion of the public.

Mr. Ewart

said, he should support the amendment of his hon. Friend, for, in rejecting the amendment of the Lords, he considered he should be only maintaining the principle of common sense, that the superintendents of the Church should understand the language of the people over whom they were set.

An hon. Member

said, he could assure the House that they were little aware of the prevalence of the Welsh language in the principality. He believed, four-fifths of the inhabitants spoke it: he should give his vote for the amendment of the hon. Gentleman, because he considered it of great importance that the dignitaries of the Church should be able to converse with and address those over whom they presided.

Mr. Borthwick

said, he should support the amendment of the Lords on two grounds, first because he considered it was of great importance that the widest possible range should be allowed to those who had to select persons to fill the episcopal office. And, secondly, because although unquestionably he admitted it was desirable that the Bishop should know the lan- guage of those over whom he presides, he did not consider it the highest qualification. If you enact that no person shall fill a Welsh see who is not fully conversant with the Welsh language you necessarily greatly narrow the limits within which the choice must be made. Surely the hon. Member would not contend that the language was so difficult to acquire that any learned and rev. person nominated to a Welsh Bishoprick might not easily acquire a knowledge of it in the course of a few months after his appointment. The first qualifications of a Bishop were prudence, a deep knowledge of divinity, thorough acquaintance with theological and general literature, and unlimited knowledge of the constitution of his Church. That he should understand the language of the people over whom he has to preside, is a great and desirable qualification; but it is still of comparatively minor importance and in his (Mr. Borthwick's) opinion, might be safely left to his own conscience and sense of duty, if he really possessed the others. Therefore, though he did not agree with those hon. Members who contended that all the duties of a Bishop might be efficiently discharged without a knowledge of the language of those whose spiritual interest he has the care, and though he hoped and expected that Prelates appointed to Welsh sees would feel it their duty to acquire the Welsh language, he could not vote with the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Hall) for making it a necessary preliminary to their selection.

Mr. Mark Philips

said, that really many of the arguments of those who supported the amendment of the Lords appeared to him to go the length of proving that Bishops were not wanted at all. He would not then maintain that proposition (though it was well known he was a Dissenter) but he did say this, that the duties of a Bishop could not be efficiently discharged without a knowledge of the language of those over whom he presides, so as to be able to converse with and address them. What would be said of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, if he were to send out as envoys to Continental Courts, men who were altogether ignorant of the language spoken in those countries? Was there no similarity in the cases? Was it not inconsistent with the religious and moral interests of a community that their spiritual superiors should be unable to hold any communication with them? He certainly should vote for the proposition of his hon. Friend, the Member for Monmouth (Mr. Hall).

Mr. Trevor

had supported the motion of the hon. Member for Chester (Mr. Jervis) for enacting that all clergymen appointed to livings in Wales should be fully conversant with the Welsh language; but he did not consider the same reason which held good in the case of clergymen held good in the case of a Bishop which would justify him in placing the same restriction upon the choice of persons who were to fill Welsh Sees. He did not consider it necessary to urge as a sine qua non for a Welsh Prelate, that he should be fully conversant with the Welsh language and he should, therefore, support the amendment of the Lords.

The House divided on the motion, that the Lords' amendment be agreed to:—Ayes 51; Noes 45: Majority 6.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Sir C. Lynch, A. H.
Barclay, D. Marjoribanks, S.
Baring, F. T. Morpeth, Viscount
Borthwick, P. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Bowring, Dr. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Bramston, T. W. Palmer, G.
Brownrigg, S. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Campbell, Sir J. Praed, W. M.
Chapman, A. Price, G. S.
Chetwynd, Captain Pusey, P.
Dalmeny, Lord Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Donkin, Sir R. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
East, J. B. Russell, Lord J.
Elley, Sir J. Seale, Colonel
Etwall, R. Smith, R. V.
Fergusson, rt. hn. R. C. Steuart, Robert
Fleetwood, P. H. Tancred, H. W.
Gladstone, Thomas Thompson, rt. hn. C.P.
Gordon, Robert Thompson, Col.
Gordon, hon. W. Townley, R. G.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Trevor, hon. A.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Howard, P. H. Wood, C.
Howick, Viscount Young, G. F.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. TELLERS.
Loch, J. Maule, hon. F.
Lowther, J. H. Stanley, E. J.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Butler, hon. Pierce
Alsager, Captain Chalmers, P.
Bewes, T. Codrington, Admiral
Biddulph, R. Crawford, W. S.
Blamire, W. Duncombe, T. S.
Boldero, Henry G. Elphinstone, H.
Bridgeman, H. Harvey, D. W.
Brotherton, J. Hector, C. J.
Browne, R. D. Hindley, C.
Buckingham, J. S. Hoskins, K.
Hughes, W. H. Rippon, Cuthbert
Hume, J. Robinson, G. R.
Hutt, W. Ruthven, Edward
Kemp, T. R. Thompson, Alderman
Leader, J. T. Thornley, T.
Lennard, T. B. Tulk, C. A.
Lennox, Lord G. Villiers, C. P.
Morrison, J. Wakley, T.
Oswald, J. Ward, Henry George
Pelham, hon. C. A. Wilks, John
Philips, Mark Williams, Wm.
Potter, R. TELLERS.
Pryse, P. Ewart, William
Richards, R. Hall, B.

Lord John Russell moved, that the Lords' amendment in Clause A be agreed to.

Mr. Hume

hoped, that the noble Lord would not persist in continuing in the Bill the clause which had just been adopted by only a majority of six. He objected to the Bill altogether. It was a reflection on the Bishops that they appeared so anxious to get so much for themselves, and proposed to leave so little to the working clergy. The Bill had been brought from the other House, and if it had been a sound measure it would have encountered much more opposition than it did in its passage through that place. He thought that the House would only do justice if they postponed this Bill until they got some really good measures through the Lords. It must be evident, from what had taken place elsewhere, that they had little to expect from the other House in the shape of Reform. He hoped that the noble Lord would consent to postpone the further progress of the Bill until next Session, and he should propose an amendment to that effect. Anything that tended to reform abuses was sure to be rejected elsewhere, and the Commons were almost treated with indignity. He was not prepared to let Peers sit in that House while he and other Members had to stand if they wished to listen to the debates elsewhere. Even at the conference that had just been held they had been treated in a manner which he thought the House should not submit to. It was degrading to the Commons of England that the managers on their part had to stand uncovered, while the managers on the part of the Peers were seated and covered.

Mr. Arthur Trevor

rose to order. The observations of the hon. Member had nothing to do with the provisions of the Established Church Bill.

Mr. Hume

did not know what the hon. Member's opinion of order was, but if he had called the hon. Member to order whenever he (Mr. Hume) thought that hon. Gentleman spoke irrelevant to the subject matter of debate, he should have had a great deal more to do than would have been agreeable to him. He repeated, that the conduct pursued at the conference—

Mr. Arthur Trevor

again rose to order, and appealed to the Chair.

The Speaker

observed, that the hon. Member for Durham must be quite aware that it was extremely difficult to define on any occasion the exact limits within which an hon. Member must confine himself not to be out of order. At the same time, he must admit, that it did appear a little strange to urge as a reason for rejecting the Lords' amendments to this Bill that they had rejected the Commons' amendments to another Bill.

Lord John Russell

reminded his hon. Friend that this Bill had been sent up from this House to the House of Lords, and they had added certain clauses to it which were now under discussion. The question then was as to how they should deal with these clauses?

Mr. Hume

repeated, that the Members of the House of Commons who attended the conference had been obliged to stand, and had been driven into a corner like a parcel of sheep. He also wished to know why a Peer should sit with his hat on while a Member of that House was obliged to stand with his hat off, so that it was not possible for the Commons to do their duty.

The Speaker

observed, that the question before the House was, whether the amendments made by the Lords in the Bill should be read a second time?

Mr. Hume

said, that the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly correct, and so was he. His motion was, that the farther consideration of this amendment should be postponed until the next Session.

Lord John Russell

thought the clause a very proper one. To agree to the proposition made by his hon. Friend, the Member for Middlesex would be, eventually, to reject the whole Bill.

Mr. Robinson

opposed the motion, and added, that although he had a great respect for the hon. Member for Middlesex, no man wasted more of the time of the House than that hon. Gentleman. Government had a right, instead of being impeded, to all the facilities which could be afforded them in the completion of their measures.

Mr. Ewart

held an opinion different from that of the hon. Member for Worcester. No man had done more good in that House than the hon. Member for Middlesex. There were some men who wasted a great deal of time in a little way. [Hear, hear!] He perceived by that ironical cheer, that the hon. Members opposite took that observation to themselves. He allowed that all due facilities should be afforded to his Majesty's Government; but, at the same time, the House ought to have a sufficient opportunity of deliberately considering every measure submitted to them.

Lord John Russell

apprehended that, although the immediate effect of the motion of the hon. Member for Middlesex would be only to postpone the clause, yet it would place the House in the difficulty of being unable to pass the Bill until that postponed clause had been considered. He was willing, therefore, to take the division on his hon. Friend's motion as if it were a division on a motion for postponing the Bill altogether.

The House divided on the original motion:—Ayes 66; Noes 31: Majority 35.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Sir C. Hughes, W. H.
Alsager, Captain Hutt, W.
Barclay, D. Jackson, Sergeant
Baring, F. T. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Boldero, H. G. Lennox, Lord G.
Borthwick, P. Loch, J.
Bramston, T W. Lowther, J. H.
Brownrigg, S. Morpeth, Viscount
Burrell, Sir C. Murray, rt. hon. J. A.
Campbell, Sir J. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Chapman, A. Palmer, G.
Charlton, E. L. Palmerston, Viscount
Codrington, Admiral Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Corbett, T. G. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Dalmeny, Lord Perceval, Colonel
Donkin, Sir R. Praed, W. M.
East, J. B. Price, S. G.
Elley, Sir J. Pusey, P.
Etwall, R. Rice, rt. hon. T. S,
Fergusson, rt. hn. R.C. Robinson, G. R.
Fleetwood, P. H. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Gladstone, T. Ross, C.
Gordon, R. Russell, Lord J.
Gordon, hon. W. Sandon, Viscount
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Seymour, Lord
Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. Sibthorp, Colonel
Smith, R.V.
Howard, P. H. Stuart, R.
Howick, Viscount Tancred, H. W.
Hoy, J. B, Thompson Alderman
Thompson, Colonel Wood, C.
Thomson, rt. hn. C. P. Young, G. F.
Townley, R. G. TELLERS.
Twiss, H. Bernal, R.
Vere, Sir C. B. Lushington, Dr.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Kemp, T. R.
Bowring, Dr. Leader, J. T.
Bridgeman, H. Lennard, T. B.
Brotherton, J. Oswald, J.
Browne, R. D. Philips, M.
Buckingham, J. S. Potter, R.
Butler, hon. P. Rippon, C.
Callaghan, D. Ruthven, E.
Chalmers, P. Trevor, hon. A.
Crawford, W. S. Tulk, C. A.
Duncombe, T. S. Wakley, T.
Elphinstone, H. Warburton, H.
Hall, B. Wilks, J.
Hawes, B. Williams, W.
Hector, C. J. TELLERS.
Hindley, C. Ewart, W.
Hoskins, K. Hume, J.

The remaining clauses were agreed to.

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