§ Lord John Russell moved the Order of the Day for the adjourned debate on the Established Church Bill. The noble Lord said, although I shall not attempt to take this opportunity of speaking to the subject of this Bill, unless, perhaps, in case certain facts are stated which require explanation, and when I hope I may be allowed the indulgence of the House in giving an explanation of them, I do think that it will be for the convenience of the House, as well as it is the duty of the Government, to give some intimation of the course which is intended to be pursued with respect to the Bill on which I have moved the Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate; and with respect to the other Bills relating to Church matters before the House. It is my intention with respect to the Bill relating to the Established Church and the division of sees, to move the third reading to-night. As I have said, I will not now enter into a debate on this question, but merely take occasion to repeat what I have often said before, and what, I regret to say, has not made such an impression as so notorious a fact was calculated to do, namely that this Bill does not increase the number of Bishops, but retains the same number exactly as there was before its introduction. With respect to the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill, which relates to the deans and chapters, and the distribution of a great part of their revenues to the cure of souls in populous parishes and districts, there has been, I am sorry to say, so much opposition raised to this Bill, that, at the present advanced period of the Session, I do not feel confident that I should successfully carry it through the House; and when I say, that I do not mean to imply that if I pressed it I should not have a majority of this House to support me; I certainly do mean to say, that there is, from various quarters, so much opposition made to the Bill, that undoubtedly, at this advanced period of the Session, we should be compelled to sacrifice a large 524 portion of time in order to succeed in getting it through Parliament. That opposition has arisen from different quarters; one of the quarters whence it has arisen is those from some of whom the noble Lord opposite (Lord F. Egerton) has presented a petition this evening. This petition follows up a former petition, in which complaint was made of the provisions of that Bill in no very measured terms. And the present petition prayed, without going into any discussion of the present provisions of the Bill, to postpone its consideration for another Session. In treating of that Bill, I must say, that I cannot consent to postpone it without stating, that I do not attach weight to the statements made in the former petition, nor the principles on which it was founded. The statement there made is this—that there are certain rights of patronage which they consider the same as a vested interest in other property, and that Parliament ought not to interfere with them. This is in many respects a new claim. I do not remember when one similar to it was made; I am sure it has been very often the practice of Parliament to deal with patronage, to make a different distribution of offices, and to deprive persons and bodies of patronage which they otherwise would have enjoyed, without making any compensation, or having their right to deal with such matters questioned. But besides the unsoundness of the principle thus laid down, I do not think it was altogether gracious on the part of these dignitaries to lay before the House such a ground of opposition to a measure of this nature. It has been the consequence—it will be the consequence—of the measures taken for the Reform of the Church, that a very considerable degree of patronage must be sacrificed by the Crown, not only with respect to prebendaries and sinecure preferments, but also with respect to the patronage which resulted from the inequality of the bishoprics, and which made the patronage of the Crown more valuable than it will be for the future. There has not been on the part of the Crown any, the least, reluctance to make whatever sacrifices were considered advantageous to the Church, or likely to render it more efficient and more grateful and acceptable to the people at large. With respect to the patronage enjoyed by the Bishops, I must remind the House of what has been a good deal overlooked, namely, that they have given up some most valuable patronage which was in their gift, and relinquished their right 525 to nominate to certain prebendaries and preferments for the purpose of placing at the disposal of Government funds which might be better applied for contributing to the efficiency of the Church. I may mention one instance on authority which cannot be doubted. The Bishop of London alone has preferments in the cathedral of St. Paul's, and sinecure preferments, to the amount of 10,000l., the whole of which he has expressed his willingness to relinquish. I say, then, that such being the disposition on the part of the Crown—such being the disposition on the part of the Bishops—I do think that those prefer the accomplishment of their object to the advancement of the general good of the Church who interpose the objection of a vested right in patronage in the way of a measure of Church Reform. Sir, there is another opposition to this Bill, which comes from a very different quarter, and which is in the spirit of the petition which has just been presented by the hon. Member for Manchester. It is an opposition grounded on the opinion that these reforms are not of the kind or extent of reform which ought to take place, and more especially on a decidedly strong feeling evinced by a great portion of the Dissenters, that some step should be taken for making the funds which may accrue from the abolition of sinecure preferments supply the place of Church-rates. Sir, as I stated that I do not agree to the opinions expressed by the deans and chapters, or of those who signed the petition on their part, so likewise I must say that I do not agree in the views stated by the latter class to whom I have alluded. It is not, in my opinion, possible for Parliament in the next or any other Session of Parliament to find in those perferments funds sufficient to replace Church-rates. It is my opinion that the wants of the Church are such, that supposing the House to say it is better that these wants should be attended to in the first place, and the service of the cathedrals altogether neglected—even in that case the wants of the Church with regard to the populous districts are such, as to disable Parliament from making any portion of its revenues a substitution for Church-rates. Sir, that being my opinion, the only ground on which I can consent to the postponement of this Bill, and that with respect to the discipline of the Church, is, that, instead of now meeting with general concurrence and approbation with which, I must say, this plan of reform was received when proposed by me on a former occasion, 526 and when it met with such general support—in which the hon. Member for Middlesex and my hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets joined—that an hon. Member on the opposite side of the House got up and declared he wished to say nothing which would disturb the unanimity which prevailed in the House—I say, therefore, that instead of the general approbation and concurrence which were then expressed, it has appeared, on farther inquiry, that those who agreed in that opinion have considered these Bills to be liable to great objection, and to require much farther investigation. I certainly am of opinion, much as I regret that I should have occasion to express it, that it is not desirable, at this very late period of the Session, to enter into a discussion which would give rise to considerable delay and opposition, and that we shall be enabled to come to a more unanimous decision on these questions, by the postponement of them, than we should do by forcing them on the consideration of Parliament. Sir, allow me to say, likewise, that although I do not consider the payment of Church-rates any sufficient ground for the postponement of this measure on the plea which has been urged—that cathedral property may enable us to find a substitute for them—yet I must say, that the object which we have looked forward to from the beginning of the session—the settlement, at the present time, of the whole of these questions, will not be perfectly attained until that question of Church-rates is disposed of. Sir, it was my opinion, and I belive I may say it was the opinion of my colleagues, at the commencement of this session, that we might, if we had sufficient time, put an end to most of those questions which have been the cause of difference, and vexation, and hostility, which ought not to prevail between the Established Church and the Dissenters, as well as the lay members of the Church itself in this country. One question, for instance, with respect to which the Dissenters felt themselves aggrieved, is the imperfection of registry, and being obliged to conform to the rites of the Church of England with regard to marriage. We have brought in a measure to meet this evil, the result of which will be, to leave the Dissenters free and unfettered in the enjoyment of the same rights as those possessed by the members of the Church. As to another and a very great question (tithes), with respect to which the Bill which we brought forward has been returned from 527 the House of Lords, there is no doubt that there did and does exist on that subject ground for frequent occasions of disgust and quarrel between the clergyman and his parishioners—But, Sir, that Bill will, I hope, put an end to all occasion for quarrel. With regard to Church-rates, they have been the occasion of the most vexatious and harassing disputes in different parishes between the members of the Church and the Dissenters. With respect to these Bills now under the notice of the House, I am of opinion that they are calculated to remove many of those defects and abuses in the Establishment, which gave rise to much imputation against the members of the Church. I did certainly believe, that by submitting measures for the reform of the Church, in which the leading members of the Church itself were willing to abide by the decision of Parliament and the public opinion of the country, we should place the Church in a state of security which it has not hitherto enjoyed. In saying this, I do not mean to deny, that there may not hereafter be ground for introducing other changes and reforms—though for myself I do not see any reason for thinking such a proposition may be necessary; but I do say that the members of the Church now giving an earnest of their wish and intention to purify it from all defects, there will not hereafter occur any of those questions which are the most dangerous, and with respect to which a peremptory demand is made on the one side and a peremptory refusal given on the other. As soon as you get rid of that state of things, as soon as you bring the question to one of degree, from that moment you free the institution itself from danger, and you show it to be such an institution as that it rests on the good and sound opinion of the community. So likewise with respect to the Dissenters, I do not think that they will be ever contented unless placed in such a situation that they do not feel themselves harassed or aggrieved, or interfered with in their spiritual concerns by the Established Church. Now, our great object has been the reform and security of the Church, and the complete freedom and civil equality of the Dissenters. There is one other Bill which I shall mention. It has been brought from the House of Lords, and relates to residence and pluralities. I do not think there can be any objections to the details of the Bill. I hope it will be formed into a law during the present session. I have now concluded; and I shall only express a hope, that if there be 528 any misunderstanding with respect to a measure of such importance, and on which so much excitement prevails, I shall be allowed an opportunity of correcting it.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that having been personally alluded to by the noble Lord who had just sat down, he hoped to be allowed to offer a few words to the House. He had prepared a series of resolutions to move as an amendment upon the motion of the noble Lord, but as the noble Lord had intimated that it was not his intention this Session to press certain Bills he had mentioned, he (Mr. Hume) thought he should best consult the convenience of the House, as well as act most in accordance with the feelings of those around him, if he did not move those resolutions. The noble Lord, however, ought not to have been surprised at the opposition entertained by him (Mr. Hume) and others who thought with him to this Bill. The noble Lord had spoken of the necessity of providing for the wants of the Church, instead of applying certain revenues as a substitute for Church-rates. By the term "wants of the Church," did the noble Lord mean the providing for the inferior Clergy? If so, how could he reconcile to himself the justice of a measure which gave to twenty-six individuals 148,000l. per annum, while to 2,026 working Clergy only 141,000l. a year was allotted? Again, it appeared that five Bishop's sons, and sons-in-law, being ministers of the Church, would receive as much money annually as, under this Bill, was appropriated to 300 curates doing active duty. With provisions like these, the Bill, he contended, had no regard to the wants of the Church to which the noble Lord was so desirous to afford a supply. He wished to see every clergyman resident in his parish and maintained in it, at all events, with decency; and for this he did not believe any man, in or out of that House would refuse his sanction and support. But the noble Lord was most unreasonable in asking the House to concur in this most unequal, appropriation of the ecclesiastical revenues. He denied, that he had ever assented to the Bill; for, on the contrary, he never opened his mouth upon it until it was in Committee, when he asked the noble Lord to consent to postpone it. The noble Lord had no right to bind him for his silence when the subject was first mentioned, for at that time the reports which the House had a right to expect, and upon which only they ought to act, were not then nor now on the table. He had no wish to oppose his Majesty's Ministers, but 529 this Bill was most inconsistent with the principles he had always advocated. The Bill was not consonant with those principles, inasmuch as it did not provide for the inferior clergy, and was silent on the subject of Church-rates. He did not wish to manifest any vexatious opposition, but still he should feel it his duty to take the sense of the House on the motion for the third reading of the Bill, in order to record his opposition to the measure. Even if the noble Lord introduced any modification in respect to the constitution of the Commissioners, or to lessen the amount to be paid the Bishops, still the Bill was one which ought not to receive legislative sanction. He repeated, that though he was determined to take the sense of the House on the third reading, he did not think it prudent or proper in him to move any amendment, for he had to consider the general policy of the Government, particularly with regard to Ireland, and whether that policy might not be endangered by his further opposition to this Bill, throwing that country into other and less friendly protection.
§ Mr. Lennard
, rose principally for the purpose of expressing the satisfaction he felt at the announcement which had been made of the intention of his Majesty's Government to bring forward some measure of relief in regard to Church-rates. At the same time, the noble Lord having stated his apprehension that Church-property would not be applicable nor sufficient to the reducing, much less to the removal of those rates, he felt bound to say, that if upon inquiry it should turn out that there was not more than sufficient Church property in this country to satisfy the real wants of the Church, he perfectly concurred with the noble Lord, that we must look to some other source from which the Church-rates should be reduced, and thus relief be afforded to the Dissenters. But before arriving at that conviction, there must be a careful inquiry entered into as to the true amount of the property of the Church. At present, the only account we had was rendered by the members of that Church, and we had no means of judging of its correctness. He (Mr. Lennard) would therefore suggest to the House, whether it would not be advisable to follow, in this instance, the plan recommended by Lord Brougham in respect of charities, viz., the issuing of a commission, which should carefully investigate the value of Church property. That being done, the House would be enabled to judge correctly as to 530 the sufficiency or insufficiency of that property to answer all the real wants of the Church. And if, as the noble Lord had stated, the latter should be found to be the case, the House would then look elsewhere for funds out of which to relieve the Dissenters, by reducing or removing the Church-rates. To show that the returns were erroneous, he need only mention, that the late holder of a Welsh see had left his family upwards of 100,000l., though the revenues of the see were remarkably small. It was but justice to add, that those revenues depended on mines which at times were productive, but at other periods the reverse; but still it was essential that a correct average of the value of the see should be ascertained, in order to enable Parliament justly to legislate.
§ Mr. A. Trevor
Will the hon. Member for Maldon state to which of the Welsh bishops he referred as having left his family 400,000l.?
§ Mr. Lennard
I said 100,000l. I decline naming [loud cries of " Name" from the Opposition, answered by cries of "No, no" from the Ministerial benches].
§ Mr. Chas. Buller
I cannot help saying a few words, Sir, upon some remarks which were thrown out the other night, and upon the present occasion also, by the noble Lord, as to the stage at which the opposition to this Bill commenced. I agree with him, that that opposition should have commenced at an earlier period than it did. I think the attention of the public should have been called to the subject as soon as that Report was laid upon our table. But still, as great advantage has been attempted to be taken of the comparatively late stage at which (as the noble Lord says) our opposition to this Bill commenced, let the House know what opposition has been given to this Bill since it was brought in. On the second reading, an opposition to it had been announced by the motion of the hon. Member for Ashburton. In Committee a division actually took place on the question of the translation of bishops, and on the Report two divisions took place, one of very considerable importance; and I must say, that when the opposition to a Bill has been announced on the second reading, continued in Committee, and carried on to the Report, the noble Lord has no ground for charging us with unfairness in not announcing our opposition. Sir, I have 531 taken a strong part against this Bill ["Hear, hear" from the Chancellor of the Exchequer], which I do not regret, though I should be very sorry if, in doing so, I expressed myself in language too plain and severe. I have heard with great satisfaction the announcement of the noble Lord's intention to withdraw two of the Bills forming part of the proposed Church reform, and I only regret the noble Lord has not included in his withdrawal the remaining two Bills. It does appear to me, that the noble Lord puts himself in a worse position by withdrawing two, than he would be in if he persisted in carrying through all. There might be some reason in going on with this Bill when it was part of a general measure of Church reform; but now, when the two other Bills are withdrawn, by insisting upon the Bill before us, and the Pluralities Bill, the Government will lay themselves open to the imputation of proposing a really inefficient measure of reform, especially when it is seen that all that this Bill does is to chop and change in some degree the incomes of the bishops, but by no means to equalise the stipends of the dignitaries of the Church. Sir, the grounds on which I oppose this Bill are, first, because I believe it to be most inefficient as a measure of Church reform. Nor am I satisfied with the reason which the noble Lord suggests for going on with it, viz., that it involves the concession of a most important principle, that Parliament has a right to deal with, and legislate for, Church property; for I consider it a most monstrous and atrocious presumption, on the part of the Church, to imagine for a moment that Parliament has not that right. But still farther, I believe that this Bill, if carried into a law, will not only be utterly inefficient as a measure of Church reform, but that it will work positive mischief. This Bill establishes a permanent Commission for the purpose of carrying its provisions into effect. I before expressed my opinion, that it is a very bad precedent to establish—the delegating the power of legislation to a Commission. But that is not my only objection. I object to the entrusting such great powers as are conferred by this Bill to a permanent Commission not responsible to Parliament like his Majesty's Ministers; but more especially do I object to that Commission, as being composed of persons who have been the most consistent opponents of 532 all liberal government. If a Commission was necessary and advisable at all, surely Ministers might have placed among its members men who had the confidence of the House of Commons and of the country, as well as of the Church, or at least men whose names and popularity would have been a safeguard against the pursuit of a course of conduct opposed to liberal principles. Sir, I am glad my hon. Friend has announced his intention of dividing against this Bill on the third reading, and that he will not press his opposition further. What I wish to show to the country is, that we have carried our opposition as far as we properly could (though, I admit, that it should have been commenced earlier). I am sorry that his Majesty's Ministers have taken ill the expression of sentiment on this side of the House. I myself certainly have declared those sentiments very plainly, and without, Lacknow ledge, mincing the matter—as perhaps is decorous in such cases; but it seems to me that it does good sometimes, more particularly for that party to which I belong, to express their opinions loudly and explicitly. Having no opportunity of expressing those opinions except in this House, I think it is necessary that when they do come forward they should speak out in terms which cannot be misunderstood. I should be extremely sorry if any opposition which I and those who think with me, may feel called upon to give to this Bill, should prove detrimental to the stability of the Ministry or conduce to the success of their adversaries. I can only assure them, that no act on my part is dictated by hostility to them; and that if they were to bring forward a real and substantial measure of Church reform, based upon the principles upon which they took office, there would not be one of those who on the present occasion view their measure with distrust and dissatisfaction, who would not unite in giving them their most strenuous support.
§ Lord J. Russell, in allusion to a change in the constitution of the Commission, said, that it was intended to assimilate it to the Ecclesiastical Commission of Ireland, and render certain members removable by the King in Council.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, that some intended modifications of the present Bill had been spoken of; and it was desirable, before they gave their consent to the third reading, that they should know what they 533 were? Perhaps, as the noble Lord must have made up his mind on the subject, he would state them.
§ Lord J. Russell
said, that the only alteration which he should propose was this—that whereas the Commission being composed of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, and certain others, he should propose that the two last-mentioned Bishops, and the three last-mentioned lay Commissioners, should be at all times removable by his Majesty in Council, by warrant under the sign manual. There was no other alteration intended.
§ Mr. Estcourt
said, that before proceeding to the order of the day, he wished to take notice of some observations which had fallen from the noble Lord in reference to some parties who had petitioned the House that evening, through the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire (Lord F. Egerton), and other Members.—The noble Lord had been pleased to animadvert with some severity upon the conduct of those petitioners, as having been actuated by selfish and interested motives. Now the House not being in possession of the subject matter of those petitions: he (Mr. Estcourt) for one, not having seen them, and knowing nothing whatever of the parties,—it was too much for the noble Lord to assume that they had been influenced by unworthy motives in the course they had pursued: and he (Mr. Estcourt) had just as much right, in the absence of all information upon the subject, nay, more right, to assume that these individuals had been actuated by motives as honourable and patriotic as any which could influence the human mind.
§ The Order of the Day read.
§ The question was put, that the Bill be read a third time.
§ Mr. A. Trevor
regretted being obliged to support any motion emanating from the hon. Member for Middlesex; but as he considered the Bill would have a very prejudicial effect upon the interests of his constituents, he felt he should not discharge his duty if he availed himself of the only alternative. He opposed the measure on the grounds that it was introduced without sufficient inquiry, and that, as well in principle as in details, it was likely to become a most dangerous and fatal precedent. He should, therefore, vote with the hon. Member for Middlesex; 534 but it was not to be supposed that, because he did so, he concurred in any of the propositions that hon. Member or his party were likely to bring forward in respect to the Church.
§ Mr. Ewart
observed, that if the hon. Member for Durham proposed in future to take up that course of politics which a sense of duty to his constituents was likely to dictate, it was more than possible he would often be found voting with his hon. Friend, the Member for Middlesex. The hon. Member, who was very indistinctly heard in the gallery, then proceeded to say, that it would be with something like regret he should record his vote in favour of the hon. Member for Middlesex's amendment. He had been hitherto a constant supporter of the Government, and he had hoped that nothing would occur to make him alter his opinion. He regarded the measure as a most clumsy piece of legislation in the first place, and in the second as a very unnecessary abandonment of principle on the part of Ministers. It professed to be a measure of equalization, but it was no such thing. All the gradations of episcopal income from 15,000l. to 5,000l. a year, were preserved, and the only alterations consisted in the arrangement and subdivision of the sees. To the proposed Commission he objected, on the ground that the controlling power over its proceedings was not vested in the people, through the responsible organs of the Government. He wished to see the Ministers take the question of Church reform into their own hands, instead of adopting the reforms suggested by their opponents. It was manifest that in the division about to take place there would be a great split in the hitherto compactly kept Ministerial ranks, but he trusted that it would merely extend to the present question, and that no permanent division of sentiment would from thence follow.
§ Dr. Bowring
said, that he hoped the House would bear with him while he endeavoured shortly to express his opinions on the measure before it. But he was bound to state that his opinions were not likely to obtain the support and concurrence of those who thought that rich and gorgeous establishments were likely to advance the great interests of truth and Christianity. From his cradle he had been taught to believe that it was 535 not worldly pomp and power—not the possession of inordinate opulence—but the quiet, unostentatious exercise of clerical duty that was most acceptable to the religious principle. From the costly and opulent establishment he turned to the Dissenting principle. The Dissenters asked for nothing from the State—nothing from the public purse. Were their children less carefully educated? Was there less of religious zeal or religious conduct among their professors? Indeed, his objection to the Bill went far beyond most of the objections that had been urged against it. He thought the Church of England did not answer the objects for which it was professed to be established. It was over-encumbered with wealth; its opulence was its bane; its enormous revenues were all barriers to its usefulness. It was in sad contrast to primitive Christianity. Of what was the Com-mission composed who were charged with the great duty of Church reform? Was it not of those most interested in Church abuses? Were not the changes in the episcopal system delivered over to the hierarchy of the archbishops and the bishops? The public eye had not been inattentive to the fact that the primary object of the bishops had been to provide for themselves—to set aside enormous and unnecessary revenues for their own good service. They had acted wisely in their generation. But there was another principle in the Bill which he could not sanction. The Church of England called itself the National Church; but in the nation immense numbers came not within its pale. Was that a reason they should be excluded? He thought not. Yet the Bill had a declaration that shut out every individual not a member of the Establishment from being a commissioner. This was not fair nor just. The Church was paid by all, and all had a right to inquire into its concerns. Opinion would never sanction the enormous appropriations which were made by this Bill. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, called them the necessary support of decent and decorous dignity. He saw in them nothing but the graspings of worldliness and antichristian rapacity. And why, again, were the elements of discord to be introduced into Manchester and Ripon? Did Manchester and Ripon desire to be favoured with bishops? Did the inhabitants believe that their presence 536 would lead to religious peace and harmony? Far from it. On these and other grounds he was compelled, but with grief and pain, to vote against the third reading of the Bill. It was not in hostility to the Government, but in harmony with the principles he cherished and felt bound to maintain, that he was compelled to join in the opposition to its progress.
§ Mr. Grote
wished to say a very few words respecting this Bill, before it reached its final stage; and as he entertained the far from gratifying conviction that those words, however few, would prove unacceptable to a set of Gentlemen for whom he entertained the very highest respect, it was almost unnecessary for him to observe that they would be expressed with much pain. Upon one point, however, which had been raised, he was fortunate in not being obliged to apologise. If any blame was attributable to any quarter for having deferred opposition until the Bill had reached its final stage, in that blame he did not participate. It so occurred that he had not been present at any of the previous stages upon which a discussion had arisen; and from all he heard of what had then taken place, he had laboured until very lately under the not unnatural conviction that any opposition he should attempt to give the measure, would only go forth as the record of his individual opinion. He had so little to approve of and so much to object to in the measure, that it was impossible for him to vote for the third reading. His principal objection to it was the one which had been already expressed—he meant the truly exorbitant and improper scale on which the episcopal income were to be measured. He looked upon the proposition of giving an income of 15,000l. a year to the Archbishop of Canterbury as one entirely indefensible on every ground. If he were prepared to say that the Archbishop of Canterbury ought to have an income of 15,000l. a year as remuneration for his services, he could not refuse a proposition for giving to the Premier, or Lord Chief Justice, an income of 30,000l. a year. Why, was it possible to conceive any set of duties which could be more easily or tranquilly performed, or which were more exempt from all those difficulties that required labour, assiduity, and talent to surmount them, than those allotted to the Archbishop of Canterbury? Hon, Gentle- 537 men opposite might think differently; but he had expressed his firm belief, and he repeated the assertion, merely adding, that in making it he had no intention to speak disrespectfully, either of the individual who now filled the see of Canterbury, or of the duties attached to his position. In his humble opinion, the lowest of the scales proposed would suffice for the highest see named in the Bill; and that without incurring the smallest risk of throwing the episcopal department of the Church into the hands of unsuitable persons, the Government might convert the now proposed minimum into a maximum of remuneration, and thereupon preserving the proportions, form an excellent scale of income. Had it been found that, because of the diminished incomes, the poorer sees were occupied by an inferior class of men? He had never heard that such was the fact, and he, therefore, with the more confidence, recommended to the Government to reconsider this portion of the measure. Another ground of objection to the manner in which the episcopal incomes were fixed by the Bill originated in the comparison it was impossible not to draw between those incomes and the miserable stipends allotted to the working clergy. It was said 100l. or 150l. a year was a sufficient income for a curate. On what principle, then, could it be contended that the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, whether in regard to education, position in society, ability, or general usefulness, was not the superior of the humbler individual so remunerated, required to have an income of 15,000l.? The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had evinced great anxiety to prove that there was no surplus revenue in the case of the Established Church in England. Could it be expected that any Dissenter would believe that there was no surplus, when he found such a rate of income allotted to the bishops? Certainly he never would. He contended, that it strongly behoved the State to regulate the incomes of the ministers attached to the Established Church upon the principles of the utmost sobriety and moderation. Unless this point were attended to, those who derived no benefit from that Establishment never would, and, he would add, never ought, to be satisfied. But, in considering the income of the bishops, was the amount received in money to be alone considered? Was there not attached to each see a valuable mass of patronage, by which large additions were made to the incomes of the bishops? Com- 538 ing from a Ministry, liberalin other respects, he must say, that it appeared to him to be a most defective measure, possessing no good quality that counterbalanced those which were objectionable. On the whole he should feel it his duty to vote with the hon. Member for Middlesex against the third reading of the Bill.
§ Mr. Baines
maintained, that the provisions of the Bill were in many respects wholly inconsistent with its principles. The Commission which it proposed to establish would be worse than a revival of the Houses of Convocation: for its powers would be greater. For his own part he perfectly coincided with the monarch who said, that he thought the bishops and the clergy could in no way so effectually serve a state as by praying for it; and he was by no means desirous that they should be invested with temporal authority, and become legislators. He deprecated the ascendancy of the clergy in secular matters. Under the superintendence of the noble Lord at the head of the present Government the exercise of such power might be pure; but it might not be so under future Ministers. To clause 11 he especially objected; for he was desirous that the measure proposed by the Ecclesiastical Commission, before they assumed the character of laws, should be submitted to the consideration of the King in Council, and should afterwards receive the ratification of Parliament. At present there were three estates of the realm, King, Lords, and Commons. The Bill proposed the establishment of a fourth estate, a measure highly objectionable at present, and which might become very injurious in future. By the Bill the average income of a bishop would be rendered seventy-six times as great as the average income of a beneficed clergyman; and the income of the Archbishop of York would be two hundred and seventeen times as much as that of the greater number of his clergy. The complaints of the Dissenters of England and the Catholics of Ireland had at length been, to a certain degree, listened to in that House. With reference to the former, the Registration Bill had been passed. But how had it been treated in another place? Every one of its details had been objected to by the highest authorities in the Establishment. Ireland had asked 50,000l. from the surplus of Church revenue, to dedicate to the purposes of education and religious instruction. That, however, was grudged; while twenty-eight bishops 539 shared among them no less than 150,000l. It did not appear to him to be at all necessary to press the Bill during the present Session. The beneficed clergy were sufficiently provided for, and could not be hurt by delay. A great error had gone abroad to the effect that the division on this Bill was intended to be injurious to the existing Administration. Nothing could be more groundless. Was it possible to suppose that there could be any wish on his side of the House to change an Administration under which the country was going on so prosperously, under which trade flourished, under which agriculture was in so satisfactory a state that the Committee had not been able to discover a sufficient quantity of evils to give them a decent pretence for making a Report? He should vote against the third reading of the Bill. Having done that, he should leave it in the hands of those by whom it had been introduced, and he hoped it would always be in such good hands.
§ Viscount Howick
said, that with respect to the constitution of the Board of Commissioners, and the expectations mentioned by the hon. Member as to the possibility of a Laud arising to wield despotic power as head of the Church, and a Stafford as the head of the Government, he thought if the hon. Member looked at the power actually given to these Commissioners by the Bill, he would find that they had really no power independent of Parliament, no power beyond what might be necessary for arranging the practical details of the measures committed to their care, the limits of which were strictly defined by the Bill before them; so that no possible abuse could result from an opportunity of an arbitrary application of the principles it embodied. With respect to these powers, it might be asked, what was the necessity of leaving any thing to the discretion of the Commissioners? This was easily explained. The existing bishoprics were all held under the old distribution of sees, and it would be impossible to interfere with them in any new distribution of duties, revenues, and boundaries, with a due regard to all the interests concerned, without separate references and legislative proceedings—all which would lead to considerable delay and embarrassment, unless such a discretionary power was lodged in the hands of the Commissioners as the Bill specified. For instance, it was proposed to readjust the dioceses of Lincoln, Ely, and Peterborough. Without this power great 540 delay, and indeed injustice, would accrue from separately dealing with each; but by the provisions of the 11th clause the Commissioners would be enabled to consider the wants and claims of each and all immediately, and provide for their rearrangement simultaneously and efficiently. The hon. Member for Leeds had besides what he termed his positive objections to the measure, some negative ones, which required a few words in reply. He had asserted that in this Bill certain measures which the country expected had not been introduced, and certain steps not taken for the better distribution of the church revenues, in which the interest of the bishops appeared to be primarily considered to the exclusion of the working clergy. The objection might have some force in it if the Government were about to add to the income of the Bishops. The Bill however did not add a farthing to their incomes; on the contrary, it went a great way to remedy the existing inequalities, and would nearly, if not entirely, put an end to the practice of translations, as well as the holding of sees in commendam, by way of additional incomes. In future it would be impossible for the bench of Bishops to share among them anything but their actual incomes. He concurred with the hon. Member for Weymouth that a greater amount of Church reform would be both desirable and useful; but it was also still more desirable to proceed with these reforms in agreement with the heads of the Church, who were at present not disposed to go further, but who, he hoped, when they saw how well the proposed reform worked, would be prepared to go further with them, and accede to any useful step in their labours for the provision of the religion they had all so much at heart. Another objection was taken to the apparent inequality which the Bill allowed to continue in the incomes of various bishoprics. This, however, was more nominal than real. Some sees required greater provision than others. If the bishopric of Durham, for instance, were placed on an equality with the bishopric of Chichester there would be a decided injustice done to the former, which was much larger, required greater exertion and, being at a greater distance from London, was a more extensive bishopric; whereas the Bishop of Chichester resided in a diocese so near the metropolis that he was able to come up and attend his Parliamentary duty and go back again to Chichester. Looking to the provisions of 541 the Bill, and the circumstances under which it was proposed and presented to the House, he was at a loss to account for the acrimony that had been displayed by certain hon. Members, but which he hoped had now gone by. The House had full notice and experience of its provisions, and could not complain of being taken by surprise. They had no less than four divisions on its principles and details—1st, when the hon. Member for Ashburton moved, on its introduction, an address to the Crown to put an end to translation, which proposition was negatived by a majority of 124 to 44. Next, in Committee a division took place which showed a majority of 79 for the Bill over 21. On a third division there appeared in its favour 86 to 8; and on the last, which took place on the motion for the amendment of a clause by the hon. Member for Liskeard, there appeared a similar majority of 80 to 44. He therefore felt that Ministers would only be acting consistently in persevering in the support of a Bill already so fully discussed and so thoroughly understood on previous occasions.
§ Mr. Brotherton
said, that the chief point left unsettled by the Bill, although of greatest importance, was that of Church-rates. The Ministers seemed themselves fully to feel, that this was the case; and one of their arguments for the passing of the Bill was, that so much of Church affairs might be settled, and a way prepared, that Church-rates might be taken off, as a continuation of the measures of Reform, if possible. His objection, however, to the passing of this Bill at present was, that there might, thereby, be time allowed for the preparation of a complete measure, and in order that Church-rates might be abolished at the same time that the incomes of the clergy were regulated. Indeed, if Church-rates were abolished in the first instance, he should confess, that afterwards he should not feel any great anxiety respecting the secondary objects provided for in the present Bill; and, if the noble Lord would give his word to abolish Church-rates next Session, his opposition to the present measure would be very considerably diminished. The noble Lord had spoken of the necessity of paying the Church-rates out of the Consolidated Fund, if their present source were relinquished, but the Dissenter of Yorkshire would never consent to that. It would be entailing the burthen in a new, 542 and, perhaps, a more severe shape. He could not believe, that a people who said, that their religion and their Church was the best in the world, would allow that Church to want if left to itself. It was not so in the olden time in England, when an appeal to the charitable feelings of the people was always sure to bring an abundant supply to the wants of the Church and its ministers. He felt convinced, that so long as true religion existed in the land, the Church would never be suffered to want for proper support. There ought not to be any compulsory assessment in the Church of England. It was a disgrace to a Christian Church. Even the Jews of old did not resort to such a system of oppression towards the Gentile populations they ruled over. At the same time, he did not wish to be understood as advocating a separation between Church and State. That was another question; but he thought the Church of England well able to support itself, and the people need not be taxed for that object. Where one thing connected with the Church was obtained by compulsory assessments, a hundred would be obtained by voluntary contributions. In proof of this statement he would instance the case of the erection of a church in the borough for which he was a Member (Salford), where there was only one church, supported by compulsory enactment, and 100 places of public worship supported by voluntary contributions. In Salford, too, a few years ago, a church which cost 10,000l. was erected by voluntary contributions, and it had now a large congregation and a handsome endowment. That proved abundantly that if people were sincere in their belief of any religious doctrine, they would spontaneously come forward and furnish the means of diffusing it.
§ Mr. Harvey
found it difficult to reconcile the course which had been pursued by certain hon. Gentlemen that evening, with his recollection of what had occurred the last day the Bill was before the House. Either they were in error then, and acted upon over-heated feelings, or they were now pursuing a suspicious course. The Report made to his Majesty by the Church Commissioners was said to offer as large and comprehensive a system of reform as was practicable; and from the grave and protracted consideration which was given to that Report before the present measure 543 was introduced, such might be supposed to have been the case. But certainly the fact was, that the Bill before the House was, as a measure of Church reform, utterly contemptible; and was so considered throughout the country. It would give great peace to his mind, and no doubt would afford much comfort and satisfaction to the country, to hear from any Member of the Cabinet that this was but an infant measure, or that it was the first and feeblest of a series of measures to be introduced for effecting a reform in the Church; but, unfortunately, it was presented to Parliament, and now urged upon the House, as a complete and perfect measure of Church reform. There were three classes of persons in this country who took widely different views of almost all questions relating to the Established Church; and to one of these classes, probably, the present Bill might be perfectly satisfactory, but the other two would regard it with the contempt it deserved. Little attempt, indeed, appeared to be made to defend the Bill upon its own merits; but they were told, "Oh! if you do not take this measure, trifling and insignificant though it be, contemptible and worthless as you may well think it, the present excellent Government will fall to pieces, and then what will happen to us?" This appeared to be almost the sole argument on which the House was asked to give its consent to the measure. But if on any occasion there happened to be a difference of opinion between the Government and some of its usual supporters, they were to be threatened with the retirement of the former; it was impossible to see where such a mode of argument would cease, or on what trifling and insignificant occasions it might be resorted to. It was not his intention to enter into an examination of the details of the Bill, but why, he would ask, as the principle of appropriation had been so stoutly and strongly contended for in the case of the Church in Ireland, why should not the same principle be insisted upon as respected the Church in England? To call this a measure of Church reform is an insult to the understanding of reasonable men, and, if it be carried it, will prove a grievous disappointment to the expectations of the people.
begged, when inconsistency was attributed to the hon. Gentle-men who expressed a strong dissent on 544 Thursday last, but now intimated an intention of not opposing the Government, to appeal to the House and the public, whether, when a large body of men were united in opinion, that a Government should be supported with energy and effect, it was not often necessary, without abandoning any principle of their own, that they should agree not to press their particular opinions upon a particular subject in opposition to the Government with a feeling of bitter and unyielding opposition. But, of all quarters in the world, a charge of inconsistency came with least grace from the hon. Member for Southwark, since it must be in the recollection of every one whom he was addressing, that at a time when all parties in that House seemed disposed to unite to effect the pacification of Ireland, the hon. Member for Southwark was found to be a deserter from his ranks. He trusted that those who now supported the Government were more faithful to their principles, and that when they saw it necessary to surrender a portion of their sentiments for the sake of preserving the stability of the great principles they advocated, they would have the good sense to make the smaller sacrifice, rather than run the risk of one which must necessarily be much greater. He admitted that this Bill did not go to the full extent that he thought a measure of Church reform ought to go to; but, at the same time, he fully appreciated the difficulties by which any Government must be surrounded who sought to improve the ecclesiastical establishments of the country; and he trusted he should at all times be prepared to sacrifice his own individual opinions when he saw that they stood in the way of any advantage that might be conferred on the country. As regarded the question of Church-rates, he might observe that he had always been an advocate for the remission of them as regarded Dissenters; but because he found no clause for the remission of them in that Bill, it did not, therefore, follow that he should reject it altogether; at the same time, he sincerely trusted that early in the next Session of Parliament his Majesty's Government would see the propriety of introducing a measure to relieve the Dissenters from the payment of this most obnoxious burthen.
§ Mr. Hutt
thought, that the Dissenters had good reason to complain that in the present Session, no steps were taken to 545 relieve them from the burthens imposed on them by the Established Church, and he could not help taking this Bill as a declaration on the part of the Government that they had no intention to relieve the Dissenters from the payment of Church-rates. As an honest and conscientious man, he must refrain from giving his support to this Bill, unless there was a declaration on the part of the Government, that they were prepared to introduce next Session a measure to relieve Dissenters from Church-rates. If such a declaration were made, he would not oppose the third reading of this Bill.
§ Lord John Russell
stated, that it was the intention of Government to bring forward a measure next Session for the abolition of Church-rates.
§ Mr. Villiers
fully agreed in what had fallen from hon. Members, as to the extent of the evil occasioned by the question of Church-rates remaining unsettled, but he could not deny, that the present measure was an improvement upon the present arrangements of the Church Establishment. At the same time, he protested in the name of himself and many of his constituents, against its being considered a measure at all adequate to the evils which existed; and if he was not more anxious upon that account than he really felt, it was simply from reflecting upon the circumstances under which reform of the Church at all had been obtained. The Prelates, he knew, could always have proposed a reform similar to the one they were now considering: Governments could always have instituted similar inquiries into the abuses of the Church; but, interested as both were in the maintenance of those abuses, they never did, nor never would voluntarily have promoted inquiry or reform. His satisfaction, then, was derived from reflecting that public opinion had rendered reform of the Church irresistible, and he could not believe that, if there was public spirit and good feeling sufficient in the country to call for the correction of these abuses, and under the more equal distribution of political power which now existed, the means to compel inquiry, the people would stop short of demanding complete and effective reform. The evils and abuses connected with the Church were well understood, and the people had now to examine the remedies which were proposed for their cure; and, certainly, if the people did trace all the evil to the Bishops having too little—some too little 546 revenue and some too little patronage—why, the measure before the House was the most complete and searching measure that could be proposed to it; but, on the other hand, if people thought that much of the evil sprang from the capricious and irregular distribution of the property of the Church—from the uncertain allotment of reward to merit, or of punishment for neglect—from the great temptations offered to political subserviency—why then he was afraid that this would not be regarded as a measure of that suitable or satisfactory character, which he hoped his Majesty's Ministers would have proposed if they had thought they could have carried it. He knew, that it was impossible to do every thing at once, and certainly nobody would charge this Bill with not giving that theory a fair trial. But the quarrel with this Bill, he thought, was as much in kind as in extent: he believed that the wishes of his constituents and of the public, were entirely misapprehended in considering that the Bishops had too little—that idea, he believed, never crossed their minds—they believed that the real source of the Bishops' influence ought to spring from the excellence of their lives—from a vigilant attention to their duties—from an active superintendence over their clergy—and a constant residence in their sees; and that their power in the country would be far greater, derived from such causes, than from great wealth, great station, and great political influence, which they now heard of, and were told, were so necessary for the maintenance of their credit in the country. If he understood the wishes of those who would reform the Church, it was to see an efficient parochial clergy distributed throughout the country, and adequately rewarded for the performance of duties properly defined; and if this could be obtained by no other means, why they would be glad to see devoted to such a purpose, some of the emoluments of those deaneries, canonries, and prebendaries, and other dignitaries, of which we read so much in the reports; whose duties he could not well understand, and whose importance appeared to him rather to refer to the adornment of cathedrals, than the promotion of religion. People would judge of institutions in these days by their utility, and if experience offers little in defence of those that were examined, while the circumstances of the country exhibited lamentable deficiencies in the accomplishment of their object, extensive reforms would be called for; and in this case, it would be found 547 that the demands of the country were not unreasonable. People justly ask, if the cathedral towns were more moral or more religious than other places, and if it could not be discovered that they were, and if it were observed that the miserable pittance awarded to many of the working clergy would not enable then to perform their duties efficiently, why it was natural in reason that people should require that the revenues of the Church should be distributed and allotted, in a manner more likely to attain the end for which every Establishment existed. He objected to the Report, that no principle was laid down or asserted, on which (after regarding all existing interests) the revenues of the Church were to be applied. Now, when the Church had once recognised the right of the Legislature to deal with Church property, and they once began to distribute it, some rule ought to have been laid down. He wished that more stress had been laid upon placing the clergy than they had now, under circumstances where they could become more efficient. This it was, then, that made him declare, as he expected further reforms, that public opinion would not be satisfied until the Establishment was rendered suitable to the wants of an intelligent and religious community, such as we might boast in this country. In the full expectation, then, that this Bill would not be final, he should be glad to avoid adopting any course which would be likely to disturb that harmony among the liberal party, which had hitherto existed so much to the advantage of the country.
§ Mr. Robert Palmer
wished to know if the whole episcopal property were to be thrown into one fund and parcelled out amongst the different Bishops?
§ Lord John Russell
said, that the mode in which it was proposed to diminish or increase the emolument of any diocese was this:—Taking the Bishopric of Durham as an instance, under the provisions of this Bill, the income of that see was to be fixed at 8,000l.. a year. Supposing it to be ascertained by the Commissioners, that the present income of the see of Durham was 19,000l., the Commissioners would then be required to pay over 11,000l. from the income of that see, towards the increase of other bishoprics which had not the requisite sum.
§ Mr. Robert Palmer
was satisfied with the answer; he only hoped, that whatever amount was to be transferred from one see to another, would be conveyed in real pro- 548 perty, as he felt that the security to the Church would be very small, if the incomes of its chief dignitaries were made in any degree dependent upon a vote of that House.
§ The House divided: Ayes 175, Noes 44—Majority 131.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adam, Sir Charles||Egerton, Lord Fran.|
|Alford, Lord||Estcourt, Thos. G. B.|
|Alsager, Captain||Etwall, R.|
|Angerstein, John||Fielden, W.|
|Arbuthnot, hon. H.||Fergusson, rt. hn. C.|
|Ashley, Lord||Fitzroy, Lord C.|
|Astley, Sir J. bt.||Folkes, Sir W.|
|Bagshaw, John||Forster, C. S.|
|Baldwin, Dr.||French, F.|
|Ball, N.||Freshfield, J.|
|Bannerman, Alex.||Gladstone, W. E.|
|Barclay, David||Gordon, Robert|
|Barclay, C.||Gordon, hon. W.|
|Baring, F. T.||Goring, Harry Dent|
|Barnard, E. G.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Beckett, Sir J.||Graham, Sir J.|
|Bellew, Rich. M.||Greisley, Sir R.|
|Benett, J.||Grey, Sir G.|
|Berkeley, hon. C. C.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Bernal, Ralph||Grimston, hon. E. H.|
|Blackburn, I.||Gully, J.|
|Blamire, W.||Hale, Robert B.|
|Bonham, R. F.||Halford, H.|
|Borthwick, Peter||Harcourt, G.|
|Brabazon, Sir W.||Hardinge, Sir H.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hardy, J.|
|Brownrigg, J. S.||Hastie, A.|
|Bruen, Col.||Hay, Sir A. L.|
|Buller, Sir J. B. Yarde||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Bulwer, H. L.||Hobhouse, Sir J. C.|
|Bulwer, E. G. E. L.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Burton, Henry||Hogg, James Weir|
|Campbell, Sir H.||Horsman, E.|
|Canning, Sir S.||Hotham, Lord|
|Cave, R. O.||Howard, R.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Howard, P. H.|
|Chetwynd, W. F.||Howick, Lord|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Hoy, James Barlow|
|Churchill, Lord C. S.||Jones, Theobald|
|Clerk, Sir G. bart.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Codrington, Sir E.||Labouchere, Henry|
|Corbett, T.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Lawson, Andrew|
|Crawford, W.||Lees, J. F.|
|Curteis, Edward B.||Lefevre, Charles S.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Denison, W. J.||Lennox, Lord J. G.|
|Dillwyn, L. W.||Loch, James|
|Donkin, Sir R.||Long, Walter|
|Duffield, Thomas||Lowther, Lord|
|Dundas, J. D.||Lushington, Dr. S.|
|East, James Buller||Lygon, hn. Col. H. B.|
|Egerton, Wm. Tatton||Mackenzie, J. A. S.|
|Macnamara, Major||Sanderson, R.|
|M'Taggart, J.||Sandon, Lord|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Sanford, E. A.|
|Maule, hon. Fox||Scott, Sir E. D.|
|Maxwell, John||Scrope, G. P.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Seale, Colonel|
|Murray, John Arch.||Seymour, Lord|
|Nagle, Sir R.||Sheppard, T.|
|Nicholl, Dr.||Smith, Robert V.|
|North, Frederick||Steuart, R.|
|O'Connell, D.||Stewart, John|
|O'Ferrall, R. M.||Stewart, P. Maxwell|
|O'Loghlen, M.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Oswald, J.||Stuart, V.|
|Paget, Frederick||Tancred, H. W.|
|Palmer, Robert||Thomson, C. P.|
|Palmer, Geo.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Palmerston, Lord||Thompson, Colonel|
|Parker, M.||Townley, R. G.|
|Parker, John||Tracey, Charles H.|
|Peel, Sir R. bart.||Trench, Sir Fred.|
|Penruddock, J. H.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Perceval, Colonel||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Pinney, William||Twiss, Horace|
|Poulter, John Sayer||Tynte, C. J. K.|
|Praed, W. M.||Vere, Sir C. B.|
|Price, Sir Robert, bt.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Price, Richard||Walter, John|
|Pusey, Philip||Welby, G. E.|
|Rice, rt. hon. T. S.||Wood, Alderman|
|Richards, J.||Wrightson, W.|
|Roche, W.||Young. G. F.|
|Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Russell, Lord John||Stanley, E. J.|
|Russell, Lord||Wood, C.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Inglis Sir R. H. bart.|
|Attwood, Thomas||Langton, Wm. Gore|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Leader, J. T.|
|Baines, Edward||Lennard, T. B.|
|Beauclerk, Major||Lushington, Charles|
|Bish, T.||Palmer, Gen. C.|
|Bowes, John||Parrot, J.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Phillips, Mark|
|Bridgeman, H.||Potter, R.|
|Brotherton, J.||Rippon, Cuthbert|
|Buckingham, J. S.||Ruthven, Edward|
|Buller, Charles||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Clay, W.||Thornley, T.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Tooke, William|
|Elphinstone, H.||Trevor, hon. A.|
|Evans, G.||Tulk, Charles A.|
|Ewart, W.||Wakley, T.|
|Fielden, J.||Warburton, H.|
|Grote, G.||Ward, Henry George|
|Harland, W. Charles||Williams, W.|
|Harvey, D. W.|
|Humphery, John||Hume, J.|
|Hutt, W.||Hindley, C.|
§ Bill read a third time.
§ Mr. Estcourt
said, that by the Bill it was proposed, that the Commissioners should make arrangements for carrying 550 into execution the intention of the late Bishop of Durham, to augment the small livings of that diocese. The words of the Bill were, that out of the property of the see of Durham, provision should be made for the completion of the augmentation of the poorer benefices which the late Bishop of Durham had agreed to grant. Now, what he wished was, that the name of the Bishop should be introduced into the clause, in order that posterity might know who was the individual to whom the Act referred. He would, therefore, move, that the name of the right rev. William Van Mildert, be inserted in the clause.
§ Lord John Russell
assented to the proposition, and suggested, that after the words "Bishop of Durham," the words, "meaning thereby the right rev. Bishop William Van Mildert" be inserted.
§ Words inserted.
§ On the question that the Bill do pass,
§ Sir Robert Inglis
wished to state before the Bill was passed, that although he had voted differently from those with whom he was in the habit of acting, yet the reasons for which he had given that vote, were by no means those which had induced hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House to vote in the same manner.
§ Mr. Tooke
had given a very reluctant vote this evening. He had come down to the House with the intention of voting in favour of the Bill; but after hearing the declaration made by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), that it was his intention to postpone any measure of relief during the present session with regard to Church-rates; and further, that when any measure on that subject should be brought forward, he (Lord John Russell) did not expect it would be satisfactory, he (Mr. Tooke) was at once determined upon the expediency of doing what he could towards postponing any measure of Church relief, in order that, at all events, the two measures of relief might go on, pari passu, and that all prospect of redress with respect to the Church-rates might not be cut off, by hermetically sealing up the revenues of the Church.
§ Mr. Arthur Trevor
had voted against the Bill, but he wished to say, it was not from the same motives as the hon. Member for Middlesex and his supporters.
§ Mr. Hume
wished to ask the noble Lord whether it was intended that the incomes of the Bishops should be limited to the sums now set down for them? Doubt had been expressed upon this point, 551 and he wished that a proviso should be introduced, to the end that the incomes of the Bishops should not in any case exceed the sums stated in the Bill. If, for instance, the Archbishop of Canterbury derived 17,000l. a year, he would by this Bill have to pay back 2,000l. But if, in the course of years, the 15,000l. should be increased to 20,000l. or 25,000l. a year, it did not appear that he would not be entitled to retain the whole of it.
§ Lord John Russell
said, that perhaps the best answer he could give to his hon. Friend was, by stating the contents of a letter which he had received from the Bishop of London upon the subject. The letter states, that in truth the Bishop of London, under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, received only one-third of the ground-rents of the estate to which allusion had been made on a former night; and that the leases now existing would not fall in, in less than fifty or sixty years. But that whatever the addition might be, it would not go to the Bishop, because the Bill provided, that the Commissioners should make new returns, and should from time to time make fresh arrangements, so that the amount fixed by the Bill should not be exceeded. This was the impression on the mind of the Bishop of London, and was also the impression on his own mind.
§ Bill passed.