HC Deb 12 July 1836 vol 35 cc149-61

Lord John Russell moved the order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee on the Established Church Bill.

Mr. Maxwell

begged to be permitted to move the second reading of the Hand-loom Weavers' Bill.

Lord John Russell

could not consent to the motion,

Mr. Maxwell

must then move as an amendment, that the order of the day for the second reading of the Hand-loom Weavers' Bill be read.

The House divided on the original motion: Ayes 65; Noes 51;—Majority 14.

List of the AYES.
Alston, R. O'Brien, W. S.
Bannerman, A. O'Connell, M. J.
Blamire, W. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Buller, C. O'Loghlen, M.
Campbell, Sir J. Parker, J.
Chapman, L. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir. H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Parry, Sir L. J.
Clements, Viscount Pechell, Captain
Divett, E. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Donkin, Sir R. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Fergusson, rt. hn. R. C. Philips, M.
Forster, C. S. Potter, R.
French, F. Poulter, J. S.
Grey, Sir G. Price, Sir R.
Harcourt, G. G. Pryme, G.
Hastie, A. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Hawkins, J. H. Russell, Lord John
Henniker, Lord Russell, Lord Charles
Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J. Seale, Colonel,
Seymour, Lord
Horsman, E. Stanley, E. J.
Howard, P. H. Thompson, right hon. C. P.
Hume, J.
Jervis, J. Thornely, T.
Knox, hon. J. J. Townley, R. G.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Tulk, C. A.
Lambton, H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Lefevre, C. S. Warburton, H.
Lennard, T. B. Wilson, H.
Lushington, C. Wood, C.
Lynch, A. H. Wood, Alderman
Maher, J. Wrightson, W. B.
Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS.
Mullins, F. W. Steuart, R.
Murray, rt. hn. J. A. Smith, V.
List of the NOES.
Agnew, Sir A. Mathew, G. B.
Baines, E. Nicholl, Dr.
Bowes, J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Brocklehurst, J. Perceval, Colonel
Brotherton, J. Plumptre, J. P.
Buckingham, J. S. Plunket, hon. R. E.
Cayley, E. S. Praed, W. M.
Chisholm, A. W. Price, S. G.
Dick, Q. Rippon, C.
Eaton, R. J. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Elley, Sir J. Scarlett, hon. R.
Estcourt, T. Sibthorp, Colonel
Fielden, J. Stewart, Sir M. S.
Fremantle, Sir T. Stormont, Viscount
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Stuart, Lord J.
Hamilton, G. A. Tennent, J. E.
Hardy, J. Thomas, Colonel
Harland, W. C. Trevor, hon. A.
Hawes, B. Twiss, H.
Hay, Sir J. Wakley, T.
Hindley, C. Wodehouse, E.
Hogg, J. W. Wyndham, W.
Hope, J. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Yorke, E. T.
Law, hon. C. E. TELLERS:
Lowther, hon. Colonel Maxwell,—
Lowther, Viscount Forbes, W.

The Order of the Day for the Committee on the Church Bill was read. On the motion that the Speaker leave the Chair,

Mr. Jervis

rose to make the motion of which he had given notice relative to the principality of Wales. It was notorious to every one who knew anything of that part of the country, that dissent had very much increased of late years; and he (Mr. Jervis) believed that that increase was mainly owing to the fact that the great majority of the clergymen and dignitaries of the Church in that district were Englishmen, and consequently alien in blood, in manners and in language from the great bulk of the population. To show that he was not without some foundation for this belief; he would beg the House to attend to the following short statement. In the seventeenth century, during a period of forty years, the Diocese of St. Asaph was occupied by four Welchmen; for a like period in the last century the same see was filled by four Englishmen. Let the House mark the different results which followed in the two cases. In the first period, one of the Bishops translated the Bible,—another the Testament into Welsh, and the other two were prelates of great learning and piety. In the second interval, one bishop was appointed because he had been tutor to a nobleman; and another was non-resident. During the earlier period, the population were converted from popery to Protestantism; during the later period, they were drawn from the Church to Dissent. He (Mr. Jervis) did not trace this difference of effect solely to difference of language. The difference of manners between the English and the Welsh clergy would have great influence: the English were grave, serious, unaccustomed to gesticulation, while the Welsh were lively, active, and, acting upon feeling—were to be reached only by energetic and impassioned appeals: it might, therefore, be easily perceived, that the English mode of preaching was not likely to be so effective in the principality as the preaching of native teachers. But in fact the appointment of Englishmen to Welsh livings and sees, rendered him utterly incompetent to discharge some of the most important duties of their offices. The parishioners were deprived of the instructions of their pastors, which, under other circum-stances, were so beneficial; and the rites of the Church confirmation, for instance, were obliged to be performed through an interpreter. Now if this was not in direct contravention of the Articles of the Established Church, it was, at least, contradictory to their spirit. In the 24th Article, it was plainly requited that the Word of God should not be dispensed, nor the sacraments and the rites of the Church administered, in a language not understood by the people. He (Mr. Jervis) was not without authority and precedent on his side. In the reign of Henry 2nd or 3rd the Archbishop of Canterbury sending English Bishops into Wales, the Welsh people petitioned the Pope, saying, that the Archbishop sent them bishops who were ignorant of their language, who could not preach the Word of God to them, not administer the sacrament but through the medium of an interpreter; and the complaint was then attended to. It was his (Mr. Jervis's) object, in the motion which he was about to make, to place the Established Church in Wales on a sure and firm footing, by identifying it with the great body of the people. The only objection he could anticipate to his motion was, that it would then be impossible to find men in sufficient numbers competent to discharge the duties of the pastoral office in Wales. But that was confounding the cause with the effect. It was because of the practice which had so long existed, and which he was endeavouring to abolish, that great numbers of eminent Welsh clergymen had been driven from the Church to dissent. And let the House remember this: that it was not so much men of classic learning, or of high reputation for erudition, who were required in Wales, as men of piety and respectability indeed, and devotion to the duties of their sacred calling. What more absurd than to set over Welsh parishes clergymen deeply read in classic lore, but unable to converse with the people of whom they have the charge. All that was wanted in Wales was, a body of clergymen who could communicate the great truths of religion, and dispense the sacraments of the Church, in a language in which they would be understood by their flocks. He begged to move that it be an instruction to the Committee that they have power to receive a clause that no clergyman not fully conversant with the Welsh language be appointed to any see or benefice in the principality of Wales.

Sir Love Parry

most cordially seconded the motion, he thought the House bound either to assent to that motion, or to establish a general system of education to teach the Welsh the English language.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, before the House required it as an absolute condition of induction into any living or see in Wales that the clergyman or ecclesiastical dignitary should be acquainted with the Welsh language, they should be quite certain that the proportion of those who did not understand the English language was sufficient to justify such an enactment — which would so restrict the choice of persons best qualified for discharging the duties of the pastoral office in Wales.

Sir Love Parry

could assure the House there were immense masses of population, in Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Caernarvonshire, &c, who could not understand a word of the English language.

Mr. Hume

said, that having presented several petitions from Wales on this subject, praying for such an enactment as that proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Chester, he should feel it his duty to support that proposal to the utmost of his power. At all events he agreed with the hon. seconder, that the House was bound either to make the proposed enactment, or to establish schools throughout Wales, to instruct the inhabitants in the English language.

Mr. Buckingham

supported the motion. He could bear testimony to the fact, that the English Church suffered much in Wales for want of pastors who understood the language of the people.

Mr. Wynn

said, it seemed to be assumed that Clergymen in Wales were, generally ignorant of the Welsh language; and that the service was generally performed in the English language, whereas, as the law now stood, no clergyman could be appointed to a parish in which the Welsh language was prevalent, who was not conversant with that language; and he believed it was usual for the Bishops of Welsh sees to have a Welsh chaplain to examine candidates for institution into parishes so circumstanced. He (Mr. Wynn) could not consent, however much he was attached to the language and the customs of his ancestors, to go the full length of the proposal made by his hon. and learned Friend: for there were large districts in Wales in which the English language was almost universally diffused; and many in which the Welsh and English being pretty nearly equal, it was found advantageous to have an English and Welsh service alternately.

Lord John Russell

was not disposed to vote for the motion of the hon. Member for Chester. His chief objection to it was, that it would in his opinion tend to widen the separation between the two countries. It was undoubtedly desirable that parishes in which the Welsh language prevailed, Welsh clergymen should be appointed; and he was not aware that under the present system such was not the case in the majority of instances. But to enact positively that no person who did not understand the Welsh language should be presented to any living or benefice in Wales, he (Lord John Russell) believed would draw a line of separation between the Welsh clergy and the English clergy, which he for one did not desire should be drawn. If this motion were carried, what should prevent the same principles being extended to the case of Judges going upon Welsh circuits. Indeed the argument was stronger in that case, than in the case of a Bishop. And so the argument might be carried through a variety of other cases,—thus gradually widening the separation between the countries which all must wish to see removed. He (Loyd John Russell) was much more inclined to accede to the latter alternative of the hon. Baronet who seconded the Motion, and educate the Welsh in the English language, than to agree to the proposal of the hon. Member for Chester.

Lord Robert Grosvenor

said, that though he did not feel it necessary to go as far as the hon. Member for Chester, he was favourable to his motion to a certain extent, because he believed the great increase in dissent of late years had been mainly owing to the general appointment, as pastors of the Welsh Church, of men who were not conversant with the Welsh language. It was true, indeed, that the evil had been remedied in particular cases by the discrimination and good sense of the Bishops of some of the Welsh dioceses. But it was necessary to provide for cases in which that discrimination might not exist, still he should certainly not vote for a provision which would extend to the case of a district in which the great proportion of the population were conversant with the English language.

Mr. Paget

thought no measure would so much tend to promote the success of the Church of England and Wales, as the proposition of the hon. Member for Chester, and he would give it his cordial support.

Lord Granville Somerset

thought, that the best remedy for the evil complained of by the hon. and learned Member for Chester, was in the exercise of a sound discretion, and not in the compulsory and absolute provision which he proposed to make, and which entirely precluded all discretion. There might be cases in which it would be inconvenient and improper to take the qualification he suggested as a test of the fitness or unfitness of a clergyman for a Welsh living, as well as cases in which it would be beneficial and proper so to do. There might be cases in which a bad Welshman, but a good clergyman, would be more desirable than an indifferent clergyman, though well versed in the Welsh language. He (Lord G. Somerset) agreed with the noble Lord, the Home Secretary, that it was exceedingly undesirable to keep up any such distinction in religious matters which might widen the separation between the two countries, as this motion would produce. Altogether, he had rather, as he said, that the remedy should be sought in the exercise of a sound discretion than in any legislative enactment.

Mr. Rice Trevor

believed the great increase of dissent in Wales, was entirely owing to the absence of a sufficient number of clergymen acquainted with the Welsh language. And he thought it a very desirable provision which was proposed by the hon. Member for Chester. As to what had been said about its tending to widen the separation between the countries, if he (Mr. Trevor) thought it would have that effect, he certainly would not support it. But he did not think it at all likely that the result would be such as had been anticipated. On the contrary he believed the surest mode of binding the Welsh people to this country was the encouraging in them respect and veneration for the Established Church, and the surest method for effecting that object was the sending them clergymen who would teach them its doctrines, and administer its ceremonies in a language which they could understand. He, however, did not think it necessary that all the Bishops of Welsh dioceses should be conversant with the Welsh language, because they could appoint chaplains who understood it, to examine into the fitness of the clergymen claiming institution into livings in Wales.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that agreeing as he did in the principle advocated by the hon. Member for Chester, and believing that the majority of the House conceded to that principle, he hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not divide the House upon his motion, because, as there appeared to be certain difficulties apprehended in the way of carrying his object into effect in the manner which he suggested, a wrong construction might be put upon the feeling and opinion of the House; and it might be supposed that the House did not agree in the principle of the hon. Gentleman, because they did not accede to his proposition: although he (Sir Robert Peel) could not go along with the hon. Gentleman in making it an absolute condition upon induction into a living or see in Wales, that the person inducted should be conversant with the Welsh language, he cordially agreed that the object he wished to attain was a very desirable one. He (Sir Robert Peel) owned that he was not influenced in his opinion upon this subject by being told that if this motion were carried, it would be impossible to resist another motion for extending its principle to the case of the Judges who went the Welsh circuits. He was not quite sure whether that would not be advantageous; and whether justice would not be much more satisfactorily administered, when the judge himself could understand the evidence of the witnesses directly from their own mouths, than when that evidence must be received through the medium of an interpreter. Neither could he agree with those who apprehended from this motion being carried, any tendency to widen the separation between the two countries. He believed it would have a contrary effect. Depend upon it that by sending into Wales clergymen who would be able to converse with their parishioners in their own tongue, so far from producing a greater separation between the countries, you would be taking the most effectual means for promoting the disuse of the Welsh, and the prevalence of the English language, because you would thereby inspire the Welsh people with confidence in the English Government, and assure them that their interest were considered in this House. On the whole, although he hoped and believed the Bishops of the principality would see the advantage of exercising a proper discretion in the appointment of clergymen to Welsh parishes, and though he believed this debate would go some way in promoting the object of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he (Sir Robert Peel) hoped the hon. Gentleman would not by dividing the House upon a proposition to which he for one could not agree, give rise to the supposition that the House, in negativing his motion, did not adopt his principle.

Mr. Jervis

explained, that he had no intention to make his clause compulsory, in the case even of a parish in which the bulk of the population did understand the English language. All he desired was, that the Commissioners should have the power of requiring that the clergyman should be conversant with the Welsh language, in cases in which his parishioners could speak that language. If the House adopted the principle of his instruction, there could be no difficulty in framing a clause which should meet both cases.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that there could be no doubt as to the desirableness of the object which the hon. Gentleman wished to attain; but he (Mr. Goulburn) would rather that, if possible, it should be attained without legislative enactment. That object might be secured in two ways: by taking care that persons intended for the ministry in Wales should be acquainted with the Welsh language, or by providing that persons acquainted with that language should be educated as divines. The hon. member for Chester seemed to prefer the former course. Now that method was sufficiently provided for at present. For there was at this moment in Wales, an university for the express purpose of educating young men intended for the ministry in Wales, in the Welsh language. This was in his (Mr. G.'S) opinion the best mode by which the evils the hon. Gentleman complained of could be removed—it furnished the bishops of Wales, who would (he was sure) be disposed to exercise a sound judgment on the subject, with the means of appointing to these benefices in which the Welsh language was spoken, pious clergymen conversant with that language. Thus every object which the hon. Member could wish to attain, would be reached under the present system, without involving the House in the difficulties attending the adoption of his motion.

Mr. Guest

knew one parish in Wales, in which there was not one person who spoke English, and he certainly would support the motion.

Mr. Chisholm

also approved of the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Chester. Nor could he see the distinction in this case between the bishops and parochial clergy.

Mr. Jervis

withdrew his original proposition, and, after amending it moved: —"That it be an instruction to the Committee, that they have power to receive a clause, empowering the Commissioners to make regulations by which no clergyman, not fully conversant with the Welsh language, shall be appointed to any see in the principality, nor to any benefice in Wales, the inhabitants of which are not acquainted with the English, language."

The House divided:—Ayes 74; Noes 64; Majority 10.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Guest, J. J.
Agnew, Sir A. Hamilton, G. A.
Alsager, Captain Hardy, J.
Alston, R. Harland, W. C.
Biddulph, R. Hastie, A.
Boldero, H. G. Hay, Sir J.
Bowes, J. Henniker, Lord
Bridgeman, H. Hindley, C.
Brocklehurst, J. Horsman, E.
Brotherton, J. Hume, J.
Brownrigg, S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Cayley, E. S. Jones, W.
Chalmers, P. Lambton, H.
Chichester, J. P. B. Leader, J. T.
Chisholm, A. W. Lennard, T. B.
Dillwyn, L. W. Lowther, hon. Col.
Divett, E. Lushington, C.
Eaton, R. J. Mackenzie, S.
Egerton, Sir P. Mathew, G. B.
Elley, Sir J. Parker, J.
Estcourt, T. Parry, Sir L. P. J.
Euston, Earl of Pechell, Captain
Ewart, W. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Forbes, W. Phillips, M.
Forster, C. S. Plumptre, J. P.
Gladstone, W. E. Plunket, hon. R. E.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Potter, R.
Poulter, J. S. Trevor, hon. A.
Pryme, G. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Pusey, P. Tulk, C. A.
Rippon, C. Vesey, hon. T.
Russell, Lord C. Wakley, T.
Ruthven, E. Wallace, R.
Scarlett, hon. R. Warburton, H.
Seale, Colonel Wilson, H.
Stuart, Lord J.
Thomas, Colonel TELLERS.
Thompson, Colonel Jervis, J.
Thornely, T. Hall, B.
List of the NOES.
Acheson, Viscount Lynch, A. H.
Adam, Sir C. M'Namara, Major
Baillie, H. D. Meynell, Captain
Baines, E. Morpeth, Viscount
Baldwin, Dr. Murray, rt. hn. J. A.
Bernal, R. Nicholl, Dr.
Bowring, Dr. O'Loghlen, M.
Buller, C. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Buller, Sir J. Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.
Campbell, Sir J. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Chapman, L. Perceval, Colonel
Clerk, Sir G. Power, J.
Donkin, Sir R. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Ebrington, Viscount Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Egerton, W. T. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Fergusson, rt. hn. R. C. Russell, Lord J.
Fitzroy, Lord C. Sandon, Viscount
French, F. Seymour, Lord
Gordon, R. Sibthorp, Colonel
Goulburn, rt. hn. H. Smith, R. V.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Somerset, Lord G.
Grimston, Viscount Sturt, H. C.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Harcourt, G. G. Vere, Sir C. B.
Hawes, B. Wilde, Sergeant
Hay, Sir A. L. Williams, R.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Wood, C.
Hogg, J. W. Wyndham, W.
Knox, hon. J. J. Wynn, rt. hn. C. W.
Law, hon. C. E. Yorke, E. T.
Lefevre, C. S.
Lefroy, A. TELLERS.
Lemon, Sir C. Stanley, E. J.
Lincoln, Earl of Steuart, R.

The House went into Committee.

On Clause 10,

Mr. Lambton moved as a proviso, that no portion of the revenues of the see of Durham be devoted to other ecclesiastical purposes, until provision is made for the spiritual wants, and moral instruction of the inhabitants of that diocese had been adequately provided for out of those revenues. Durham possessed a numerous population, and their spiritual wants ought to be first attended to. There was the evidence of the Lord Chief Justice of England, that crime abounded in that county. Now, if religion was to be upheld, and that the superabundant revenues of the bishopric was to be directed to the uses of religion, they could not be better applied than to the moral and religious instruction of the people of the county The whole body of the people of the county of Durham concurred in the principle of the proviso, and he trusted, therefore, that it would meet with the approbation of the Committee.

Lord John Russell

thought, that his hon. Friend was mistaken as to the effect of the Bill. When he addressed the House on the subject of this measure on a former occasion, he stated that there would be a sum of money derived from the bishoprics, as well as about 129,000l. from the suppression of certain offices in the Church, which surplus was to be devoted to the increase of the incomes of the holders of the smaller benefices and to the promotion of the religious instruction of the people. In the diocese of Durham there were some rich canonries, the holders of which had no duty to perform beyond that connected with the cathedral. It was proposed by the Commissioners, that after provision had been made for the service in the cathedral, that the remainder of the revenues of these canonries should be applied to the increase of the incomes of the holders of the poorer incumbencies, and otherwise to the making provision for the religious instruction of the people. There were undoubtedly many populous places in Durham, where there was not at present adequate provision of the latter kind; but when he stated that the surplus accruing in this way was to be devoted to the objects which he had described, it was not fair to suppose that no care had been taken to provide for the religious instruction of the inhabitants of the diocese of Durham. He denied, that one of the chief objects of the Bill was to take a considerable proportion of the revenues of the see of Durham away, with a view of creating two new bishoprics. There were certainly to be two new bishoprics, but these were to be created in substitution of two others in a different part of the country, which were to be suppressed. In short, it was proposed that there should be a new territorial distribution of the dioceses. It could not, therefore, be fairly stated that they intended to take away a large share of the income of the diocese. With respect to the object of the Bill, he should wish his hon. Friend to consider what were the intentions of the Commissioners with respect to the diocese of Durham. The Commissioners proposed to do away with what had been long a reasonable source of complaint—that such rich bishoprics existed in one part of the country which might be contrasted with such poor ones in other districts—that to one bishopric there was annexed a superfluity of income which was not justifiable, while to another bishopric, in order to afford an adequate revenue, they were obliged to annex some prebendship or other office of dignity, or a benefice which then often had not proper care devoted to it. He felt the wants of the holders of benefices in the diocese of Durham; but when the Commissioners stated that they should, by the arrangement now proposed, be able to increase the revenues of those populous parishes, and to administer to the instruction of the people, he did not think that it would be proper or expedient to stop at the threshold, as was proposed by his hon. Friend, and to make an essential alteration in the plan for the benefices of the diocese of Durham. The Commissioners said, and he agreed with them, that it would be better to take up the subject and deal with it as a whole, and to apportion and divide the whole revenue that would be placed by this arrangement at their disposal, in such manner that each clergyman having the cure of souls might have an adequate income, and that above all, the revenue of the bishops might be placed on a more satisfactory footing than it was at present. As he went into great detail on this subject the other night, he would not detain the Committee by repeating what he then said. He could not help observing, however, that if they at once proceeded to apply themselves to the wants of each local case, and to the spiritual demands of each benefice, that the result would be that the plan of Church Reform now proposed, or any other which was likely to be proposed, would not be successful, and the hopes of those who now anticipated a beneficial change in the Establishment would be disappointed.

Mr. Arthur Trevor

stated, that the greatest apprehension had been excited in the diocese of Durham in consequence of the recommendations of the Commissioners, and the measures which had been brought forward founded on them. He contended that adequate attention had not been paid to the wants of the population of this large and important diocese.

Mr. Harland

only rose for the purpose of stating, that there existed on this subject a very strong feeling in the Bishopric of Durham. A great portion of the reve- nues of the see had already been devoted to purposes of general education, and he was surprised that the present measure, which was a violation of Church Property, should be supported by those who opposed the appropriation clause of the Irish Church Bill. He would certainly support the clause proposed by his hon. Friend.

The Committee divided. Ayes 8; Noes 88; Majority 80.

Original clause agreed to.

The remaining clauses were severally agreed to.

The House resumed; the Bill to be reported.