HC Deb 05 December 1837 vol 39 cc601-2
Sir Robert Peel

rose to put a question to the noble Lord (John Russell), on a subject on which great anxiety was felt, particularly in that portion of the United Kingdom which took more especial interest in it—he meant the subject of the Church of Scotland. Some months ago, indeed he might say years ago, a Commission was appointed by the Government to inquire into the state of Church accommodation in Scotland, and into the means of affording religious instruction to the people of that country. One Report had been already made by the members of that Commission. He thought that he understood the noble Lord, on a former night, to say, that another Report, completing the inquiry into the condition of Glasgow, had been recently received by the Government. He trusted that the general inquiry of the Commissioners was then so far advanced, that Parliament might shortly have the advantage of the whole of their important labours before it. The particular question which he wished to put to the noble Lord, had reference to the condition of Glasgow, for he could not help thinking that if they had the Report of the Commissioners on two such important towns as those of Edinburgh and Glasgow, they might take a tolerably comprehensive view of the whole subject of church accommodation in Scotland, and that any measures which might be wanted, needed not to be deferred from the incompleteness of the inquiry. He understood the noble Lord, on a former occasion, to say that the Report on the state of Glasgow, had been actually presented to him; and he, therefore, could not refrain from expressing his earnest hope that the noble Lord would present, as soon as possible, to the House that Report, along with the evidence on which it was founded. It was a subordinate reason for presenting that Report as speedily as possible to the House that a Committee had recently been appointed to inquire into the state of the poor, so far as regarded their means of education in all the large towns of the United Kingdom. It would facilitate the inquiries of that Committee to have a full Report on the state of church accommodation, and of the means of religious instruction in two such large towns as Edinburgh and Glasgow. But independently of that consideration, and with reference to the subject itself, he had once more to express his earnest hope that the noble Lord would present the House, on an early day, with the Report of the Commissioners on the state of Glasgow.

Lord John Russell

had stated, on a former evening, that Government had received a copy of the Report of the Commissioners on the town of Glasgow. The only reason why he had delayed presenting it to the House was, that he had acceded to a proposition of the Commissioners that their Report should be printed in Scotland, and not in this country. They had sent to him three or four printed copies of their Report, but not a sufficient number for distribution among the Members of the two Houses of Parliament. He would, that evening, give directions that the Report should be sent down to the House, and he would himself present it to-morrow. He concurred with the right hon. Baronet in thinking that, as they had the Reports of the Commissioners on the towns of Edinburgh and Glasgow, they might fairly draw an inference from the state of those towns as to the general state of church accommodation throughout Scotland

Subject dropped.