HC Deb 12 June 1837 vol 38 cc1384-435
Lord John Russell

I rise, Sir, to move for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the mode of granting and renewing leases on the landed and other property held by bishops, deans, and chapters, and other ecclesiastical bodies in England and Wales, and into the probable amount of any increased value which might be obtained by an improved management, with a due consideration to the interests of the Established Church, and the present lessees of Church property. It is but right that I should state, as the House probably will have concluded, that I am proposing this motion in consequence of the division which took place the other evening on the question respecting the abolition of Church-rates, and the substitution of a plan, in which, by a different and more advantageous arrangement, an increased value should be derived from Church property, which was proposed by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Sir, the consequence of that division was to affirm, by a small majority, the resolution that Church-rates ought to be abolished, and that other means of repairing the fabric of the Church ought to be provided, in the manner proposed by my right hon. Friend. That is the resolution as it now stands on the journals of the House, and which the House has confirmed. It would not, therefore, I think, be proper, even if my own opinion were not so strong as it was in favour of the plan that the Government has proposed to this House, or even if we were less anxious than we are to persevere with it, to consent to the abandonment of the plan. At the same time, the majority on that question, while, perhaps, it was not smaller than might be expected, considering the obstacles and objections that stood in the way of the adoption of that plan, was not such as would justify us in the hope or expectation that a Bill founded upon that plan would obtain the assent of such a majority as to enable it to pass into law during the present Session. It was to be considered, that the plan, as proposed, came into Parliament and the country altogether as a novelty—that it appeared to be a plan somewhat complicated in its arrangements, and dealing with a vast mass of property, in which a great number of persons, many of them of great weight and influence, were interested; and moreover, there seemed to be a totally unjust imputation thrown upon another part of the plan, that it proposed to abolish the means of keeping in repair the fabric of the Church without substituting any adequate substitute. Considering these objections, and the short time the plan had been considered in the country before the adoption of the resolutions by the House—considering also that many opinions had already been made up upon anticipatory representations of it before the plan itself was known—considering all these objections, the majority, though small, was still considerable testimony in favour of the plan. I think it would not have been astonishing, considering the novelty of the plan, the interests which it involved, the means which were taken to defeat it, and the activity and organization of misrepresentation which had been used for that purpose—it would not have been wonderful had there been a considerable majority against entertaining the plan at all. But the result having been that the introduction of the measure was sanctioned by only a small majority, and it being consequently deemed impossible or unadvisable to proceed with it during the present Session, there are reasons to consider whether, being on the one hand resolved not to abandon the plan, and on the other not to proceed with it this year, it remains to be considered whether it would not be advisable to inquire into the means of putting that plan upon a more mature and better footing. Therefore, I propose that a Committee should be appointed to inquire into the latter part of my right hon. Friend's plan, for I do not wish it to inquire whether Church-rates should be abolished or not, that being a question of state policy for the House alone to decide. I propose, therefore, that the Committee which I move for should restrict its inquiries to the present mode of leasing Church property; and therefore confining myself also to that particular subject, I shall endeavour to lay before the House some considerations which, in my opinion, would justify the institution of an inquiry of that sort. It is to be remembered, that it was objected by some of those who spoke against my right hon. Friend's plan, at the commencement of the discussion on the question, that a sufficient surplus could not be obtained for the purpose for which it was devised, even according to the calculations of my right hon. Friend; and on the other hand it was said, that even if there were a sufficient surplus derivable, it should not be applied in the way proposed, but should be devoted to the religious instruction of 2,000,000 of the people, who, it was alleged, were destitute of religious instruction. Afterwards it was urged against the measure, that it should not be adopted under any circumstances, because it would prove, in its very principle, destructive of the independence of the bishops, deans, and chapters, and other holders of Church property, and injurious to the lessees. On these grounds, therefore, I propose this inquiry to be appointed; and if I cannot urge enough to ensure the immediate adoption of such a plan as we have submitted on this subject, at least, I think, I shall show that sufficient reasons exist for an inquiry, and that a very strong prima facie case exists, that the present mode of dealing with Church property is not for the interests of the Church, nor for those of the lessees, nor for the benefit of the community at large. These are the propositions which the opponents to my motion will have to contend with: those who said on a former occasion, that if any improvement were feasible, it would be of a very trifling nature; and that if there were any it should be appropriated for the benefit of the Church, of the lessees, and of the community at large. Church lands are at present let either on leases for lives, or terms of years, and fines are taken at certain periods for renewal. Leases for twenty-one years are generally renewed at the end of every seven years; and leases for lives sometimes expire at the end of a single life, and sometimes, and, I believe, until very recently, very generally, are kept up by exchanging an old life for a younger one. I am informed, that in a majority of cases the old life is not suffered to expire before the exchange is made. Now, the operation here performed is in fact no other than this, that the person in whom the property vests, namely the lessor, borrows a sum of money on condition that he sells a certain prospective interest in his estate, to commence, say, in the one case, at the expiration of fourteen years, in another case at the dropping off of two lives. This sum of money being advanced on reversion—which to most persons could not be called a desirable species of investment—was advanced sometimes at the rate of five per cent., and in other instances at seven, eight, or nine per cent. Adam Smith stated, that "the landlords, instead of raising their rents to the proper value of the land, took a premium from time to time for the renewal of their leases, which was the expedient of a spendthrift to raise money, and that the result was generally hurtful to the landlord, and injurious to the tenant and to the community at large." I believe those opinions to be so sound, that no landowner who had not occasion to incur a particular expense, who did not stand in need of a large sum of money beyond his ordinary outlay, would resort to such a mode of dealing with his property, but, on the contrary, would continue to let his land for a certain rent, at its fair average value. But this is not generally the condition of those who hold Church property; and whatever might have been the case in former times, they now find themselves unable to take the prudent course which a landlord with property would take—namely, letting the leases expire, and renewing them for a certain term of years upon more favourable conditions. I will first refer to the laws under which these landlords are able to act in this manner—I will not attempt to explain all their complicated details, but merely to give a general statement of their bearing. A gentleman has made a chart, in which the laws relating to different descriptions of property of this nature are distinguished by different colours. They are classified into—those relating to archbishops and bishops, those relating to ecclesiastical corporations sole, not being parsons and vicars, and those relating to parsons and vicars and eleemosynary corporations. The 32nd of Henry 8th enabled archbishops and bishops, &c., to let their lands on leases binding to their successors, but under certain conditions, for a period not exceeding twenty-one years or three lives. By another statute, they were disabled from letting any lands during their own lives, except to the Crown, other than for twenty-one years or three lives, with an exception only as to concurrent leases. From the exception as to concurrent leases, deans and chapters were also excluded; they could not resort to them. There are various other acts also on the subject—one rendering the chief lease good on renewal, without the necessity for surrender, and another in the time of Elizabeth, which was a most useful provision, reserving a third of the payments in corn-rents. The consequence of these Acts has been, that from time to time, Church lands have been let on leases, some for lives, others for periods of years, and that certain fines have been paid by the lessees whenever it became necessary for renewals. Of course, the result has been what is already mentioned, that the landlord does not get the full value for his property. Let us consider the situation of a bishop who has newly come into possession of property of this description. He is, generally speaking, a person at an advanced period of life, not used to the management of such property. When he came into possession, he would naturally wish to be informed whether such an income was attached to it as, without embarrassment to himself, and the probability of inconvenience to his family, would enable him to keep and bring up his family in the way he could desire; and he then comes to learn that he must expect to derive half his income from the fines payable on the renewal of leases. If he refused to renew a lease in one case, of course he could do so; but the effect would be, that he would immediately receive a smaller sum from another for a concurrent lease. He is, therefore, placed in a condition of considerable difficulty, if he wishes to maintain to himself the income which his predecessor enjoyed. Such are the disadvantages of the present system, as regards the lessor. The disadvantages as regards the lessee, are of a different description. Whilst he has an expectation that the lease he holds will be renewed, he has no certainty, no security, and he is unable, therefore, in common prudence, to lay out such an amount of capital upon the land, as he would if it were an estate which he could call his own, and had a reasonable certainty of leaving to his family. Therefore, it appears, that whilst the lessor does not get the full value of his land, the lessee does not lay out upon it the amount of capital which would be required to keep it in full and proper cultivation. This is a point which is well stated in a pamphlet written by a Mr. C. Heneage Elsey, a passage from which I will read to the House:— For this annual payment, (he says) the lessee will have an estate of freehold of inheritance, entirely at his own disposal, which he may lease, or sell, or mortgage, to whomsoever he pleases, subject to the rent-charge; he will be free from all apprehension of having to bargain for renewals from time to time, and from all the trouble, anxiety, and expense attendant thereon: he will no longer be liable to be called upon to raise the money for the renewal, when it may be very inconvenient for him to do so. He will, likewise, be rid of the dignitary's valuer, solicitor, steward, bailiff, woodcutter, and gamekeeper; he may plant a tree and water it, with the certain hope that he and his son, and his son's son, may sit in the shade thereof; he may drain, cultivate, and improve his fields, without fear of the dignitary's valuer making him pay twice over for his improvement, by an increased fine at the next renewal. In short, what seemed to be his own will then be his own. I will now put the question as regards the Church in general, and the community in general. As regards the Church in general, I must submit, that even before the changes effected by recent Acts of Parliament, the position in which this system placed the heads and dignitaries of the Church, was by no means a desirable one. It depended in a great measure upon the difference of character, of temper, and of age of the person himself, in what condition he would be in respect of his property. I will put the case of a young man succeeding to a bishopric. He may propose, perhaps, to run life for life against the lessees, and so become possessed of the leases to his own use. I will put, then, the case of a man at a different period of life, and therefore in a different condition. This person may be obliged to take any terms that are offered, and so he must be manifestly at a disadvantage. I will then put the case of a person removed at once from a university to a bishopric; a man who, most probably, will be so totally ignorant of the peculiar nature of his prospects, and of what would properly tend to his advantage, that he can hardly help being a loser. If I were, then, to put the case of a man of considerable worldly ability, but of a grasping and selfish disposition, he, by endeavouring to make good bargains for himself and his family, without regard to the interests of his successors, or of the Church in general, might expose the one to loss, the other to considerable odium. In fact, in different cases, the operation of the evil principle will vary, but the result will still be pernicious in all. With respect to the case which I have last alluded to, I cannot avoid quoting the observations of Bishop Burnet on the subject. If they (speaking of bishops), not content with educating their children well, and with such a competency as may set them afloat in the world, think of building up their own houses, and raising up great estates, they will put the world on many unacceptable inquiries. Wherefore is this world made—why are these treasures continued to men who make such an ill use of them—and why is an order kept up that does the Church so little good, and gives it so much scandal? This is an evil which may much more easily happen where a bishop has the power of trafficking in these leases, and of building himself up a great house, and a great property out of them, than if he were not concerned at all in the management of this description of property. Whatever were the disadvantages of the position in which the bishops and lessees have been hitherto placed, those disadvantages have been very much increased by certain recent Acts of Parliament resulting out of the Reports of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. On a former occasion I mentioned, as an instance of this, the case of the Bishop of Durham, who is obliged to pay 11,000l. a-year out of his income to the Ecclesiastical Commission. I know a person who has been long intimately connected with this subject, who has assured me, that it would not be safe out of the property of the see of Durham, having a due regard to the safety and interests of his family, for the bishop to continue liable to an annual payment of 11,000l. The consequence, therefore, I need hardly say, may be very inconvenient, if not ruinous, under the present system of fines; for a bishop, whose income is 4,000l. this year, may only have 1,000l. next year, and from 20,000l. one year, may next year be reduced to 4,000l.; yet being subject to a constant and unvarying yearly payment, he may be obliged to borrow money sometimes, to make these payments good; and if he only survive a year or two afterwards, he may leave his family unable to liquidate the debt incurred. I will not go into more individual particulars, except in one case, in which the Bishop of Ely held a correspondence with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and by publishing the particulars, has furnished me with the facts. The Bishop of Ely maintained, that the income of a bishop could not be in the nature of a salary, consistently with the dignity of his office. In the course of his correspondence with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he found he would have a payment to make out of his income to the amount of 4,000l. It was, in all cases, a matter of great nicety and difficulty for the Commissioners to determine what sum ought to be contributed out of his income of this description, and event ally they reduced the payment of the Bishop of Ely to 2,500l.; but even then the bishop said, it was more than his see was able to pay. From the present mode of letting Church lands, there is a great uncertainty both to the possessor and the lessee. In a number of cases, for instance, after fourteen years have run out, the interest of the tenant ceases; and, perhaps, as it might not be con- venient to renew while the lease was in operation, then the lessee might not judge it for his advantage to pay the fine demanded, or renew the lease on certain terms; or perhaps the bishop may have some other person in view, and be inclined to show partiality to another person, to the prejudice of the late tenant. For reasons such as these, the bishop says he wishes to adopt the proposition made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and accept a fixed income of 5,500l., paying over the surplus of 2,500l., to be disposed of, as these Commissioners might judge convenient. He adds, that though opposed to the abolition of Church-rates, he sees no other alternative, because he thereby leaves to himself and successors 5,500l., and becomes exempt from charges that, under other circumstances, would have been made upon him. The bishop concludes by declaring, that the most just way of settling the question, and that though, according to all his former notions, he objected to a fixed income, yet he finds that the existing Acts of Parliament would be so injurious to him and his successors, that he begs that the Church lands may be charged for an income fixed by Act of Parliament. Now, that is not the only diocese respecting the funds of which the same arguments may be used; for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of London, Worcester, Winchester, and Salisbury, will have to make similar payments for the future, and, in consequence of these payments, their incomes must be uncertain. It, therefore, appears to me, that some plan like that of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if not exactly similar, should be adopted, by which a fixed sum would be received out of the estates for the bishops; and the estates also be managed, not only for their benefit, but for that of the community. Let it also be borne in mind, that this proposition, which has been so much objected to, has received, to a certain extent, the consent of the archbishops and bishops, and that they have considered it expedient to receive out of the Church lands a fixed income, varying only in consequence of any erroneous calculations that may be made by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. In fact, such a plan will not change the amount of income, but it will render it more fixed and certain. There is another Act to which I wish to call the attention of the House—the Act for the renewal of Church leases. That Act was drawn up on the recommendation of the Commissioners; it was introduced in the other House by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and I had the honour of carrying it through this House. By that Act, a considerable change was produced, not only as regards bishops' lands, but also the lands of deans and chapters. It is necessary to keep in view, that not only the property of the deans and chapters is to be touched, but also that there is to be a diminution in the number of these dignitaries. If, for instance, the number is to be reduced from twelve to four, there must also be a diminution of income. Only four parts out of twelve will go to them, and the remaining eight parts will go to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, for purposes of religious instruction. Much has been said about the change which the Church-rates Bill would produce as regarded the interests of the lessees, and opposition has been made to it on that account. Now, that very Bill to which I have adverted also made considerable changes as regards the lessees. Formerly it was the custom for lessees to change lives, in order to give the lessees the power of selling out for their own interests, or the particular interests of other parties; but, by that Act, the power of so doing was taken away from the lessees, and an interference with their tenures as direct as that proposed by the Church-rates Bill was adopted, with the consent of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. There is another clause in that Bill which deserves the attention of the House, because it afforded an opportunity of answering those who say, that there are no abuses in the mode in which leases of Church lands are granted, and that we may safely trust to the Church, and the lessees for conducting the transactions fairly. If such is the case, what occasion for the clause which declares, that parties to the execution of a lease, who shall insert in it what they knew to be false shall be guilty of a misdemeanour. That shows that Parliament is not disposed to trust to the parties. But there is another part of the question which deserves the attention of the House, and which shows how desirable it is that any change in Church property, any change as to the mode of letting the lands or receiving fines, should be made under the sanction of Parliament, not by private but public bills. In many instances, bills have been introduced for the purpose of allowing the bishops or deans and chapters to sell lands, or grant particular leases, by which the property might be greatly improved. One consequence of that is, that in place of leaving Church lands in their present state, and preventing buildings being erected on them, the interests of the Church and the community have alike been consulted, and an improved management has taken place. Some improvement, it must be allowed, has been made in several instances, but in others the reverse has been the case, and both the Church and the community have suffered. From the year 1750 to 1834 thirty-three Acts of Parliament have been passed for the management and leasing of particular Church estates, and in several instances the fee-simple has been conveyed away, or leases for ninety-nine years, or some other considerable period, have been granted, not for the benefit of the Church or the community, but for public bodies or private individuals. It is not my intention to go into particular cases, because in most instances the bargain may have been fair and proper; but I submit that it is not fit and right that these transactions should be left to local Acts of Parliament, and that no general provisions should be laid down for Acts of this kind. It is fit, therefore, that there should be a Committee of inquiry into cases of that kind. It is not, however, my wish or intention to go through them all, because, though some of them may appear to have been unfairly carried into effect, yet, possibly, an explanation might be given which would remove the suspicion with which they are at first sight viewed. I will refer only to one case, and that, probably, may receive an explanation. The case occurred in 1765, when the dean and chapter of the cathedral of St. Paul's conveyed away certain Church property in the manor of Finsbury. It appears that the Corporation of London being desirous to acquire certain property in Finsbury, obtained the sanction of Parliament, and, in consequence, a lease of sixteen years was cancelled, with the consent of the Bishop of London, into a lease for ninety-nine years, the moiety of income of the property to go to the corporation, the other moiety to Dr. Wilson for life, and at his death two-thirds to go to his heirs; the consequence of which was, that only one-sixth went to the Church, and the other five-sixths to the city and Dr. Wilson's heirs. Thus, it appears, that five-sixths of the estate were alienated, and only one-sixth left to the Church. I do therefore submit, that transactions of this kind, in place of being carried into effect by private Acts of Parliament, should be submitted to some supervising power, though the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln will probably object to the remedy. I think that a Committee of some kind should be appointed to see that the Church received the full benefit of the property, and that the community in general did not suffer. There are several other instances which I could quote to show that Church property had been made matter of sale; but the greatest sales which have occurred have taken place since the Land-tax Redemption Act. Between March 1790 and June 1837 there have been 3,679 sales, and the amount received has been 1,460,010l. for the property. This shows that Parliament may in certain cases approve of a sale of lands; and that these sales may be advantageous to the property and advantageous to the Church. Having made these remarks with regard to a general mode of letting Church lands, and the benefit that might be derived from a public Bill embodying general provisions, I will next advert shortly to the benefit that would be obtained by some common tenure. In the first place, by the present mode of tenure the bishops and dignitaries of the Church are placed in a position by which, from carelessness or want of knowledge, their interests may suffer, or they may settle on their families property which ought to belong to the Church. In such a case, a remedy is necessary not only for the lessor, but for the Church. In the next place, if a proper law was passed, the lessee, instead of uncertainty and the vexation which he now experiences, would have a security for the tenure of his property. I must also remark, that the expense of renewing leases was very considerable. The ordinary expense for the renewal of a lease is 30l. or 40l.; but it may be 200l., 300l., or 400l., and it may afterwards require to be amended for even omissions of a trifling nature. Besides that, the lessee is afraid to build, or plant, or renew a lease, as he may be subjected to some additional charge; but by such a plan as that proposed he would be allowed the full profit accruing from any change, and great benefit would also accrue to the public, because the general property as the law now stands cannot be let on advantageous terms. Due profit cannot be obtained from the productions of the land, nor can the tenant cultivate it in a way the most likely to benefit himself. Wonder has been expressed that a law may be made by which two parties can be gainers. Now, I think it may be shown that both sides may be gainers. You may buy a house, or a horse, or a carriage, and gain may be made by both parties. I can easily conceive this: the one party gets rid of what he does not want, and the other gains the commodity of which he stands in need. I will not go into particular cases to show that fraud may be practised under the existing arrangement, but satisfy myself with expressing a conviction that a general plan may be adopted by which both parties may gain—the one obtain a secure title, and the other have a certainty of his income. With respect to the manner in which changes of this kind are effected, I certainly remain of the same opinion, that the proposition of my right hon. Friend is one founded on fairness and justice, and conducive to the interests of both parties. No doubt there may be cases which will form an exception to the general law. There may be cases of a complicated nature, such as property in mines, and other property; but I am convinced that by the plan proposed great gain would accrue to the lessees, as well as to others, by which the title of the property would be more secure, and both parties would have a more certain object in view. I do not know on what grounds the proposition can be opposed. I can see if the present mode of letting Church lands is not unobjectionable, that the lessors may require a probable amount for the increase of the value; but I will not go into the proposition if there will be any increase of value, because that matter is so evident that attempting to discuss it would only throw a doubt on the resolutions to which the House has already given its consent. I only wish to call the attention of the House to the probable amount that the value of Church lands may be increased, and to the mismanagement of the property. Many persons objected to the measure because the interests of the dignitaries of the Church would be injured by it; but I think I have shown that no such result would be the consequence; on the contrary, that by the change the property would be greatly improved and better secured. It has been urged against me that the proposition of my right hon. Friend had been proposed and unanimously negatived in the Church Commission. I certainly was one who negatived the plan, and I did it on the ground that large sums might be advanced to make up private incomes and let the leases expire. It was stated as an objection, that those who advanced the money would be gainers; and that though there would be an increased value of the whole property, no advantage, no portion of that increase, would go to the Church by the adoption of such a plan. I own that these appeared to me well-founded objections; but on consideration, I can see no inconsistency in opposing and supporting the resolutions agreed to by the House. If you say the State shall advance the sums, and the State shall have all the advantage, the State or the parties advancing the money shall be the gainers; but if, by an Act of Parliament, the State alone is to advance the amount required, and to receive the amount of the increased value, then I say Parliament may dispose as it pleases of the surplus. I therefore think that such an objection as that urged to the Commission is not a sufficient ground for rejecting a plan of this kind. Objection has also been made on the part of the lessees, but I think that is owing rather to the particular plan proposed; because no lessee denies that there will be an increased value, though it may not be so large as the increase in the rent which the lessor might be disposed to ask. I do not, therefore, see why some plan may not be adopted by which the lessees may be gainers with the rest of the community. I know no good ground for objecting to inquiry, nor can I conceive how any one can object to inquiry unless he knows of something which he does not wish to meet the public eye. I am willing to resort to that test of the proposition made by my right hon. Friend. We are not afraid of any light that can be thrown on the question by inquiry. We thing there should be inquiry; and accordingly have taken care that all papers and documents relating to the subject should be ready to be laid before the Committee, should the inquiry be gone into. I do not think any blame can be imputed to those who propose to submit a great plan to the test of inquiry. It will be for the House to say, after the Committee have reported, what plan they will adopt, and what is to be the application of the surplus, which must be considerable. I consider the best application of it will be as a substitute for Church-rates, in accordance with the resolutions of the House. I cannot see any possible better application. Others say, if there be a surplus it ought to be devoted to religious instruction; and those who say so ought to strengthen themselves by supporting the motion for inquiry; for if they can prove that the surplus that may arise from the increased value of the land should be set apart for religious instruction, in preference to the abolition of Church-rates, then we ought to have their support. I therefore do not see what objection can be made to the measure. It is for the interests of the Church, it is for the interests of the community; and those who object to it only betray their unwillingness to have facts exposed to public view; and although some object to it, I think unnecessarily, because it may lower the pride and dignity of the heads of the Church, I prefer rather the good of the Church, the harmony of the community, and the religious instruction of the people. The noble Lord concluded by moving for the appointment of a "Select Committee, to inquire into the mode of granting and renewing leases of the landed and other property of the bishops, deans, and chapters, and other ecclesiastical bodies of England and Wales, and into the probable amount of any increased value which might be obtained by an improved management, with a due consideration of the interests of the Established Church, and of the present lessees of such property."

Mr. G. Palmer

said, that the noble Lord very clearly developed the objects he had in view—objects, however, which, in his opinion, were nothing more nor less than the total alienation of church property, and the converting into mere stipendiaries the bishops and other dignitaries of the establishment. According to all ancient custom, church property could not be sold. If they looked to the grants made to the church by pious individuals some nine or ten hundred years ago, they would find the principle laid down that no proposition for selling the estates of the church could be made without incurring the vengeance of Heaven; and he firmly believed, that if that House suffered the alienation of church property to take place, they would be thereby destroying the foundation upon which every species of property in the country rested. There was no description of property held by so sacred or so ancient a tenure as that which belonged to the church, and if it were destroyed what security had they for property of any other description? The principle now advocated by the noble Lord had been once before put forward in this country, on which occasion they had been combated by a very eminent statesman, and one too who was a great advocate for the liberties of the people—he meant Edmund Burke, who had spoken as follows:— What is that cause of liberty, and what are those exertions in its favour, to which the example of France is so singularly auspicious? Is our monarchy to be annihilated, with all the laws, all the tribunals, and all the ancient corporations of the kingdom? Is every landmark of the country to be done away in favour of a geometrical and arithmetical constitution? Is the House of Lords to be voted useless? Is episcopacy to be abolished? Are the church lands to be sold to Jews and jobbers? Are the curates to be seduced from their bishops by holding out to them the delusive hope of a dole out of the spoils of their own order? They were told that the bishops of the church no longer possessed any real property, that they ought to be nothing more than stipendiaries upon the country; but they might depend on it, that if once they became stipendiaries, they would cease to be bishops.

Sir Harry Verney

wished to ask the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down whether his Majesty's Government had injured the property of the Church by the Tithe Bill of last year? So far from it, that Bill had very much improved church property. Receivers had been greatly benefitted by it, and payers had been greatly eased. He should vote for the proposition of the noble Lord, certainly; but he should not consent to apply the surplus to any but an ecclesiastical purpose, while the church remained so inadequately provided for.

Mr. Goulburn

would give to the noble Lord's motion all the opposition in his power; because he conceived, notwithstanding the noble Lord's statement, and indeed, in consequence of that statement, that it was fraught with danger to the property of the church, and with danger to every other description of property He did not stand there to maintain what the noble Lord called the pride and dignity of the church; but he did stand there to maintain the right of the church to enjoy in security the property assigned to it by the law, and to enjoy the power of employing it in the dissemination of religious instruction. It was impossible to listen to the noble Lord's speech without feeling that the House were again called upon to pronounce upon the same question which had been so recently under their consideration. The noble Lord had, indeed, told them that he had abandoned the measure which it had been the intention of Government to introduce this session into Parliament, and at the same time that he was highly gratified by the reception the question had met with in that House, and that, in his opinion, the very smallness of the majority by which this resolution had been carried was a proof of the approbation of the country. He confessed he felt somewhat surprised at the expression of that opinion. He, however, hoped that the noble Lord, in submitting measures of a similar nature to Parliament, would be henceforth furnished by that House with increased grounds of gratification; for, as the noble Lord had felt so much at the smallness of the late majority, how much greater should be his ecstasy on finding himself in a minority. It had been said by a poet, speaking of a different subject, my wound is great because it is so small, and it had been wittily replied, it would be greater were it none at all. On the same principle, the noble Lord, rejoicing as he did in the extreme minuteness of his majority, would, he doubted not, be the happiest man in the House if ever he should find himself in a minority, and he hoped that all who were anxious to gratify the noble Lord's wishes would endeavour to vote in accordance with them on the present occasion. The noble Lord had told the House that he proposed this Committee in order to prepare the way to carry into effect the Ministerial plan regarding church-rates in a manner more convenient to the Government, and better calculated perhaps, he might add, to secure the support of those who would oppose it in a less disguised shape. He did not oppose the motion, because he thought it impossible to introduce an improved system of managing the property of the church consistently with the maintenance of its interests—for he had always considered that property to be capable of gradual improvement, and of affording increased means for the supply of religious instruction and pastoral superintendence—but because the Committee which the noble Lord proposed was both unnecessary and calculated to defeat the objects which he professed to have in view, and to produce results fatal to the well-being of the establishment. If the noble Lord wished to effect an improvement in the management of the church lands, it was his duty to bring forward the measure on the sole responsibility of the Government. When the object was to improve the Crown lands, was a Committee appointed to investigate the rights of the Crown to hold them, and the nature of the interests of the tenants and lessees? The noble Lord ought to tell the House why, having first brought forward a scheme on the responsibility of Government, he now called on them to institute an inquiry into its details and principles, seeking to divest himself of the responsibility which belonged to him, and to shield himself behind the recommendations of a Committee of his own selection, under the pretence that they were really the opinions of an impartial Committee. It could not be said, that the Committee was necessary in order to conduct the inquiry in a satisfactory manner, for the noble Lord had already at his disposal sources of information as ample as any which the Committee could supply. The noble Lord, with other Members of Administration, was one of a Commission appointed by his Majesty to devise the safest and most equitable means of applying the revenues of the church to the increase of pastoral superintendence and religious instruction. That Commission formed an instrument of inquiry, without danger of injury to existing interests, and would enable the noble Lord, if he really wished to settle this great question with a just regard to the safety of property and to the usefulness of the church, to frame a measure that might be productive of lasting benefit, and to submit it to Parliament on his own responsibility. The noble Lord could not say that he would be overpowered by the ecclesiastical Members of the Commission, for they were inferior in number to the laymen comprised in it. Here, then, was a body admirably adapted to attain the object which the noble Lord proposed by his Committee. Surely, if the noble Lord, desired to have the inquiry fairly conducted, he would intrust the care of it to the Commission already sitting, which had been long occupied with kindred investigations, instead of proposing a Committee who were to inquire into matters not at all essential to the main object. The noble Lord alleged, as a reason for consenting to this Committee, that the Acts passed last Session with reference to the established Church had caused great inconvenience and embarrassment, and that the inquiry was necessary to remove the difficulties to which they had given rise. Why, the noble Lord had recommended these Acts to the House on the ground that they were expressly destined to strengthen the establishment and increase the security of property. With what consistency, then, did the noble Lord now tell them that these measures had produced evils which could only be removed by undertaking an inquiry with a view to a total alteration of the tenure of church property, and the system of managing it? He could not shut his eyes to the danger of such a proceeding. Committees of inquiry were generally the instruments by which oppositions attempted to impede the course of Government, and many Gentlemen entertained the idea that they must necessarily always be beneficial, unless it was desired to conceal from the public all information on the subject to which they related. This opinion however, was merely a delusion, for he might appeal to all who had any practical experience whether such inquiries were not frequently productive of the most injurious consequences, in exciting groundless expectations in the public mind, or leading to rash and hasty conclusions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had more than once resisted the appointment of a Committee on general taxation, not from a desire to maintain a vicious system of finance, but, he believed, in the well-founded opinion that the consideration of a subject so important by a Committee of the House of Commons would injure the public revenue, hurt the domestic prosperity of the country, and interfere with the pecuniary transactions of individuals. The noble Lord had told the House distinctly, that the proposed Committee was to have for its object the application of the surplus revenues which might be derived by transferring the Church lands to the management of Commissioners, to form an equivalent for Church-rates. Towards the close of his speech, indeed, the noble Lord had held out some faint prospect of allowing the application to be an open question, intimating that it might afterwards be considered whether the surplus should not be devoted to increase the means of religious instruction; but it was manifest, from the tenour of the noble Lord's observations, that he wished to apply the surplus to relieve the landed interest from the payment of Church-rates. The Committee was first to ascertain the amount of the sum which might be derived from the altered system of managing the Church lands. This information could only be attained by comparing the sums at present received by the archbishops, bishops, and dignitaries of the Church, with the income at present enjoyed by the lessees. Every one who considered the varied nature of ecclesiastical property, consisting of lands, mines, tithes, and other possessions, must see that specific inquiries as to each of these kinds must be made, in order to form any just judgment on the subject. How then, would these inquiries affect the interests of the Church? He could state as a positive fact, that already the agitation of the question had considerably affected the stability of Church property. Tenants of Church property hesitated to renew their leases; and persons who had advanced money on Church property were anxious to recover their loans. Of course, the appointment of such a Committee as that proposed by the noble Lord would aggravate the evil. Of the whole amount of the property of the deans and chapters, which was about 430,000l., 260,000l. depended on fines received for a renewal of the leases of Church lands. After the expectations on the subject which the noble Lord had held out, was there a rational man who could suppose that any tenant would, during the next year, be disposed to pay a fine for the renewal of his lease of Church land? What, then, would be the situation of the higher branches of the Church? Fines constituted two-thirds of their revenue. Deprived of these, the whole intention of the proceedings under the Ecclesiastical Commission would be entirely defeated. Was the present a time when it was expedient to divest the dignitaries of the Church of the means of promoting useful establishments, of diffusing religious instruction, and of contributing to other benevolent objects? Yet, the certain consequence of appointing the Committee proposed by the noble Lord would be to cut off the funds applicable to such purposes. To do their duty, the Committee must inquire into the profits of the lessees of Church lands; they must examine into the private affairs of those lessees; they must see how far they had already improved the property, and of what further improvement it was capable. How was all this to be effected; especially when it was recollected that the object in view was adverse to the pecuniary interest of the persons whose situation was to be investigated? The inquiry would, indeed, be of the most complicated and difficult nature. It would go to the development of all the private affairs of the individuals concerned, and would in many cases be exceedingly injurious to them. The immediate repayment of sums advanced on the security of Church property would be demanded, and the effect would be ruinous to immediate, and detrimental to future interests. If he failed in his opposition, he should propose, as an amendment to the motion of the noble Lord, to limit the application of whatever funds may be derived from this inquiry to the purposes to which he thought they were strictly applicable, namely, the increase of religious instruction, and the augmentation of pastoral superintendence.

Mr. Gally Knight

said, that as he could not deny the right of Parliament to interfere with Church property for the purpose indicated in the motion, and as he was desirous to see an increased value given to that property, if it could be effected with a due regard to the interests of the Church and of the lessees, he should not oppose the motion of the noble Lord. If Ministers made the proposition with any sinister designs, the suspicion of those motives could not attach to those who, like him, wished for the prosperity and permanence of the Established Church.

Colonel Sibthorp

said, it was a most extraordinary proceeding on the part of the noble Lord to come down to the House at the eleventh hour of the Church-rate Bill, and propose the appointment of a Committee to inquire into that with which he ought to have been well acquainted before he presumed to bring forward the Bill itself. He would not call it a shuffle, but it certainly appeared to him to be a mere Ministerial trick to impose on the public out of doors, for it was impossible for the noble Lord to impose upon the House. The noble Lord now asked for a Committee to inquire whether there was any surplus fund belonging to the Church, when only a few nights ago he brought in a Bill founded on the assertion that such a surplus was in existence, and available for the purposes of his plan. He would not question the noble Lord's attachment to the interest of the Church, but he thought, if that noble Lord, instead of proposing any measure to reduce the property of the Church, would endeavour to restore that which had been taken away, and set the example himself by giving back the Woburn estates, he would prove himself to be a friend of the Church indeed. The noble Lord knew that the Church was robbed of property of the value of upwards of 50,000,000l. to satisfy the feelings of a most malevolent tyrant; and if the noble Lord would take measures to restore that property, there would be no occasion to rob the Bishops of their rights at the present day, to find means for supporting the fabric of the Church. He should feel it his duty to vote against the noble Lord upon this and every other motion of a like nature. Should the Committee be appointed, however, he would immediately move for a return of all the manors, lands, estates, and revenues which belonged to the various abbeys, monasteries, and religious houses of this country before they were disturbed and taken away by Henry 8th, and also for a return of the names of those individuals to whom that property, or any part of it, had been given, the date when, and reason why.

Lord John Russell

said, that, as the right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Gentlemen had referred to the Church Commission, perhaps, though not strictly correct, he could save the time of the House if he made a short statement. He would not say whether this inquiry had better be conducted by the Church Commissioners or by a Select Committee—he would not say which he should prefer. Circumstances had occurred since the Cabinet had agreed to the abolition of Church-rates, and the treatment of the property of the Church as proposed, which, having been communicated to some of the members of the Church Commission, they had raised strong objections to. They felt that they could not agree to the means proposed to be adopted; but afterwards, when the plan was brought before Parliament, the Commissioners not belonging to the Administration, both lay and ecclesiastical, stated, that though they could continue to act as Commissioners under the Act of last Session, they differed so much on the plan of Church-rates, that they suspended all opinion as Commissioners on that part of the inquiry.

Mr. G. H. Vernon

was astonished at the statement made by the noble Lord, because it seemed to implicate the Church Commissioners in a manner which they did not deserve. The course taken by the Commissioners was clear and correct. They had considered themselves appointed to advance the religious instruction of the people, and they were ever disposed to attend to any thing which could promote that object, but he considered that the plan of the noble Lord would have the effect of depriving them of the means of doing so to a great extent, because it would divert a large portion of the Church revenues from their original design. That was their objection to going into the question of Church-rates. In bringing forward that measure the Government had acted on their own responsibility, and in the belief, or the alleged belief, that the funds on which they calculated were in existence. It could not be supposed that they would really pretend to be so stultified as not to know that which every lawyer in the kingdom knew. His Majesty's Ministers, of course, were well acquainted with the whole subject, and did not require any fresh information; but then there were many hon. Members who were ignorant of the real state of this question, and therefore a Committee might be the means of affording them some instruction and illumination. He was quite astonished at the ignorance which some hon. Members had displayed in the course of the debates on this subject. But then it was the duty of the noble Lord to set those hon. Members right, and to remove the cause of the egregious blunders which they had committed. He must say, that he had heard with the utmost surprise the erroneous statements put forth by some hon. Members, not only on this question, but on other topics connected with the Church. He had thought the hon. Member for Leeds was better informed until he heard him speak. The same want of correct knowledge was exhibited by other hon. Members who travelled into the sub- jects of tithes and Church leases. He considered the present question was one which lay in a very small compass. He rested his opposition to the motion of the noble Lord on two simple grounds. First, he thought that the Government itself, independently of any Commission or Committee, ought to be able to bring forward such a measure as would be advantageous to the public generally; and secondly, and this was a more imperious duty, they ought to propose such as would be beneficial to the Church, for the good of the entire population was connected with the welfare of the Church Establishment. The position of the noble Lord was rather inconsistent, seeing that he was a Church Commissioner himself. He hoped he would withdraw this motion, and summon the Church Commissioners together again. The noble Lord had thrown out a bait in the concluding part of his speech to entrap the hon. Member for Weymouth and the hon. Member for St. Andrew's, who had expressed it as their opinion that the increased value of Church property might be realized, but objected at the same time to any diversion of the funds of the Church from their original purpose. The noble Lord was therefore perfectly aware that he would not be able with a majority of five only to carry his Bill through the House, and therefore he sought by a sort of side wind to put it off to the end of the Session, and delude the Dissenters and their friends into a belief that he really had attempted a good and safe plan. But in doing that he was only intercepting the good that might be done, and preventing the accomplishment of a just and proper settlement of the question. The noble Lord might increase his majority by the course he was taking, but if he did it would be only in support of little else than a mere name.

Lord John Russell

felt it incumbent on him to say a few words after what had been imputed to him. He begged the House to recollect that he did not offer any statement on the Church Commission till it had been urged that this inquiry should be prosecuted by the Church Commissioners. He thought the objection of members of the Church Commission, except those of the administration, was, that they were opposed to the application of the Church funds to the abolition of Church-rates, and secondly, to placing the management of the property in a central Commission, as proposed by the Government. Upon these two points they entirely differed from the Ministry, and he must say that, having stated that difference so broadly, they could not act with the Government, and he agreed with them that it was totally useless that there should be any meeting at all on the subject.

Mr. Harvey

denied that any misrepresentations had been made on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, as to the amount and value of the resources of the Established Church. But if the hon. Gentleman were not satisfied with his (Mr. Harvey's) assurance upon the point he would read to him an extract from the Report of the Church Commissioners themselves, which would show that the Church of England, instead of being, as the hon. Gentleman opposite would lead the House to believe, an exceedingly poor and impoverished Church, was in fact the richest and best paid Church in the world. The Church Commissioners divided the revenues of the Church into three parts—first, the revenues of the cathedrals and other ecclesiastical corporations; second, the revenue received and appropriated by the bishops; and third, the amount of the livings throughout the country. In making their Report, the Commissioners very studiously distinguished between the gross and net amount of the revenue of the Church; and, after making every possible deduction, they admitted the net revenue per annum to be 3,441,156l. That was the net amount admitted by the Commissioners in their Report; but over and above that amount there was another sum also admitted by the Commissioners, received and applied to the repairs and support of the Church, amounting to not less than 50,000l. or 60,000l. per annum. Was the hon. Gentleman opposite prepared to impeach the statement of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners? and did not the admission of the Commissioners themselves bear him out in the assertion that the Established Church of England, however much its supporters might endeavour to prove its poverty, was, in fact, one of the richest, if not the very richest, churches in the world? He believed, however, that the real value of the resources and revenue of the Church had been very much underrated by the Commissioners. He had no more doubt than he had of his own existence that if the value of the whole ecclesiastical property were tho- roughly investigated before an impartial tribunal it would be found to amount to very little short of 5,000,000l. a-year. In the proposition now made by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) he thought there was very little ground for the alarm to the Church lessees of which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Vernon) opposite spoke. On the contrary, he thought, from the mode in which the motion was framed, from the regard which it expressed and insisted should be observed towards all existing interests, that the lessees under the Church might find abundant comfort from the course proposed to be pursued. He owned he could not distinctly understand from what had taken place whether the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) intended to yield to the insidious suggestion of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, to refer this matter back to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners instead of to a Committee of that House. If such were the noble Lord's intention, he surely could not so far blind himself as not to perceive that the whole of the proceeding would be utterly valueless; because one of the chief objects, nay, he should almost say the only object, of another inquiry was to ascertain whether the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were correct. At the same time he doubted whether the mode of inquiry proposed by the noble Lord was the best that could be adopted. Looking at the experience of the past, and well remembering what took place upon a motion of his own for a Committee upon Crown lands—three years elapsing before a report was made—he could not help regarding inquiries before a Select Committee of that House as often indefinite, and commonly protractive. Considering, too, the time of year, it appeared to him highly improbable that any inquiry before a Committee could be expected to terminate within a period that could be fairly presumed as belonging to the present Parliament. If, however, an inquiry were to take place in the manner proposed, he hoped it would not be limited merely to the ability of the Church to provide funds for defraying the amount of Church-rates, but that it would be extended in such a manner as to ascertain whether, independent of such a charge upon its revenues, it did not also possess ample funds that might be appropriated to the moral instruction of the people, and to other useful and necessary national purposes. If the matter were to be referred to a Select Committee at all, why should it not be referred in this manner: to consider of the amount of Church-rate paid by the different properties of Churchmen and Dissenters throughout the country, fixing the amount of Church-rate hereafter to be paid by the former; and as regarded the latter, taking the amount for which they were at present assessed, continuing them liable to the payment of it, but converting it into a fund that should be applied, not to the repair of the Church, but to other useful national objects not connected with the support or maintenance of the Church. Thus he would say to the members of the Established Church, "You who have paid such an amount of Church-rates up to January last, shall have that converted into a fixed charge upon you for the support of your Church;" and to the Dissenters he would say, "Having paid such an amount of Church-rate up to such a period, you shall have that amount converted into a land-tax, to be applied to the purposes of education, or to other useful national objects." The great body of the Dissenters did not object to the amount of the rate; they objected only to the object to which it was applied; and if such a course as that which he supported were adopted, he believed they would all cordially concur in it. For his own part, he did not see why the land, which ought to bear all the primary burthens of the country, whether it were in the hands of Churchmen or Dissenters, should be relieved from the charge of furnishing the country with the means of religious and moral instruction. He regretted, therefore, that the noble Lord did not propose to pursue the course which he (Mr. Harvey) had pointed out. The inquiry would then have had a rational and attainable object in view, and would not have been open to the objections which might now be urged against it. He thought that the Protestant Dissenters had great reason to complain of the low tone of support which they received from the present Government, which was anxious to be regarded as the warmest friend of religious liberty; and also from some Gentlemen in that House who had rather assumed, or had conferred upon them, the high distinction of being the organs of the dissenting body in that House. By the latter it had been repeatedly asserted, that the Dissenters had no objection to the Established Church—on the contrary, were most anxious to support it. If that were correct, how could they object to the payment of Church-rates? The true statement was this: the Dissenters do not object to the amount of the rate; they object only, but object most strongly, to the purpose to which it is applied—a purpose to which they contend they ought not in justice or equity to be called upon to contribute. That was the view which he, as a Dissenter, took of the subject; and although he did not arrogate to himself the title of a Dissenting leader in that House, he believed it was a view in which nine-tenths of the dissenting body concurred. Knowing many of that body, lay as well as spiritual, he should not be doing justice, either to them or to his own feelings, if he were to suffer some of the remarks made on a former occasion to pass without notice. It had been said by some of the Gentlemen opposite that the uneasiness or excitement of the Dissenters upon the subject of Church-rates was merely of modern growth, and that they were constantly seeking; under the name and guise of religion, to advance certain political objects. Against the truth of that assertion he (Mr. Harvey) protested in the strongest manner; and in order that the House might be aware of the real feelings of the dissenters, he would fortify his own remarks by the authority of some of the most eminent divines—men whose names, he believed, would be respected and venerated by every one who heard them mentioned. The hon. Member read extracts from the writings of Robert Hall and others, to show that the Dissenters had long been unanimous in their disapprobation of any Established Church whatever: conceiving it to be inconsistent with the religious liberty for which they contended that any class in any body of men should prescribe rules and forms of worship to be observed by all. It had of late been fashionable to underrate the importance of the Dissenters—their numbers had been doubted, and their wealth disputed. Upon that point he would refer the House to an authority which he thought none would be disposed to dispute or doubt. He held in his hand a Report collected with great care, and sent into the world with the sanction of the leading dissenting divines of this metropolis, in which they enumerated their annual expenditure under four different heads, First, they stated, that for the maintenance of the ministers in all the Protestant dissenting congregations, including the funds given to charities, the amount levied and paid annually was 925,540l. That for building, repairing, and enlarging chapels and Sunday schools, the purchase of ground, legal expenses, insurances, parochial rates, and various other incidental charges connected with the maintenance of their places of religious worship, they expended little less than one million. They further stated that they subscribed to various local religious and charitable institutions to the amount of 168,240l. a year; and that they also subscribed for the theological academies and congregational schools the sum of 30,000l. a year, making their annual contributions amount to2,098,240l. beside their liberal contributions to various other societies to which, in common with other classes of persons, they subscribed: He thought after this statement, setting forth an annual expenditure equal to one half of the Ecclesiastical revenues of the country, it was too much to impute to the Dissenters either ignorance or selfish views, or to assert of them that they were insignificant in number, and were not entitled, either by their respectability or wealth, to the kind consideration of the Government and the Legislature. This example on the part of the Dissenters ought not to be lost sight of by the House in considering the question which appeared to be gradually opening upon it, namely, that the Established Church must fall unless it were sustained by compulsory means. Could there be any libel conceived so piercing in its nature as that? That the great body of the people belonging to the Established Church, connected as that Church was with all the ancient institutions of the country, which institutions they considered to be identified with religious observances and religious obligations—even supposing they were animated by no purer motive than the protection of their own interests—should fancy that if that Church were left to its own resources it would sink and crumble into dust, was an imputation which the Dissenters might make, but he owned it was singularly strange to him that any member of the Established Church should say so. It was true the Dissenters disputed the principles upon which the Established Church was founded, and differed widely from it with respect to Church government; but it was equally true that the Dissenters had repelled as often as it had been expressed the imputation that they were aiming at the subversion of the Church with a view to a participation of its resources. He had never heard the Dissenters express any other sentiment than that they wished the Church to remain in the undisputed possession of whatever revenues could be fairly shown to belong to it. All that the Dissenters wished was this, that they might not be compelled by coercive means to contribute to the support of a system from which they conscientiously dissented. It was not of the doctrinal views of the Church that the Dissenters complained, because in the greater part of those doctrines they agreed with the establishment; but they denied the right of the state to impose articles of faith, or in any manner to bind the consciences of men. Entertaining these views, he felt it was his duty to move an amendment upon the noble Lord's motion. He believed it was the intention of the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln to propose a motion which if it came from the Ministerial side of the House would no doubt be designated as having a revolutionary tendency, namely, that the House should inquire into the nature of all the livings possessed by the House of Bedford. It was well known that that House as well as many others shared very largely in the scramble for Church property at the time of the Reformation and, for his (Mr. Harvey's) part, he should not object to such an inquiry. It was an inquiry which he thought might tend to good. But, as he believed, if it were moved it would not be granted, he was left to propose an amendment of his own, which would be by way of an addition to the motion of the noble Lord. He was led to do so in order to assure the Dissenters that this discussion was not really a delusion; because, as matters were going on at present, the Dissenters did not stand in so favourable a position as that they formerly occupied. Instead of their object being gained, it was removed farther from them, because the noble Lord had said that he would not connect the proposed inquiry with the subject of Church-rates, that subject not being to be considered by the Committee. If it were not a fact always to be recognised that the Government, however it might be composed, was never in the wrong, he should venture to think that no course could be so clumsy as that adopted by the noble Lord on this occasion. By that course the Government were bringing together a greater body of resistance to the abolition of Church-rates than existed at present. If the Ministers had confined their proposition to provide for Church-rates out of the Church property, instead of having the lessees against them they would have had them on their side. The effect of this clumsy substitute now proposed would be to throw this question for years into abeyance. All parties agreed in paying this honourable homage to the principle of dissent, namely, that Church-rates ought to be abolished; but then that measure was now to be deferred until some speculative contingency should be realized. Was this statesmanlike? Was it just to those who sought relief? What he desired, therefore, was to take the sense of the House, in order to ascertain who was sincere in the wish to abolish Church-rates. One party must not run away with a reputation for sincerity at the expense of another. He would try them both. AH who were for the abolition of Church-rates instantly, and without reference to any particular mode of substitution, must vote for the amendment he should propose. He wished at all events to let the Dissenters know who were their friends. Let it not be said at the next general election by Gentlemen opposite—"We had no opportunity to show our anxiety to serve the Dissenters; we were turned out so soon that we had hardly time to receive our salaries; but only let us come into office again, and we will give you full testimony of our sincerity" Now he did not mean that those Gentlemen should have the chance of using that language. All parties should know who, in this House, were the friends of the abstract proposition that Church-rates should be abolished. You, Gentlemen on the other side, are for repealing Church-rates, and for a substitute of one kind or other. You, Gentlemen, who are now in the cabinet are also for a repeal of Church-rates, and for a substitute of one kind or other. Here are other Gentlemen who have not made up their minds as to what shall be the substitute; but, at all events, they have made up their minds to this—that Church-rates ought to be abolished. This being the state of things on all sides, I will, without troubling the House any longer, take leave to move, by way of amendment, that there be added to the motion of the noble Lord these words— "And further, that whatever may be the result of the proposed inquiry, it is the opinion of this House that after a time to be fixed the payment of Church-rates in England and Wales ought wholly to cease."

Colonel Thompson

said, he rose to second the amendment, among other reasons, for the same that had been given by the mover, because, in spite of many attempts, he had failed in getting an opportunity of expressing his mind before. He thought there had been a succession of mistakes and the first mistake was with the Dissenters, in having said that they resisted church-rates for conscience sake. He believed he could prove to them, that they resisted for a reason much more appropriate to the case. If a Dissenter was stopped on the highway, however much it might be against his conscience to promote the purposes to which the robbers would probably apply his spoil, he would never make the mistake of saying he resisted for conscience-sake, he would say he resisted injustice. Try then, the injustice by taking another instance. Take the circumstances in which our forefathers, who finally obtained the name of Protestants, began to resist the domination of a Church which had previously been universal. If, at that period the demands of justice could have been heard, what would they have been but that our Protestant forefathers should have carried away with them the portion that befell them, of every kind of property the state had set apart for the maintenance of religion? If this could have been done, it would have saved the struggle and the loss which afterwards ensued. Exactly the same was the case of the Dissenters now. He had heard hon. Members opposite call the church-rates a just debt, and stigmatise as dishonest all who ventured to oppose them. He had heard it stated, if he was not mistaken, and he much wanted to ascertain the fact, that he might put it into his museum that the church-rates were paid by everybody, and therefore were paid by nobody. Surely the fact that the value of everybody's property was lessened by them, was not intended to be brought as the evidence that nobody was the loser. How long would such pleas have been admitted by our forefathers? And had the Dissenters no property to be diminished in value by the church-rates? Whole justice to the Dissenters was to give them their portion of the property provided by the com- munity for religious purposes, the tithes included, for maintaining their religious worship; half justice was to give them nothing and leave them to find themselves; whole and complete justice was to take money and leave them to find themselves besides. The Dissenters knew all this, as well as anybody else; and it was this injustice they came, or ought to come to complain of, and not the violation of their consciences, which was, in fact, non-existent when their money was taken away from them by force. Another party who were under a great mistake, were the Government, if they thought that they were ever to prosper by thus bringing forward the wrong reason instead of the right; and he hoped it would not be long before both parties would present themselves with a claim more likely to get beyond the majorities of five, or six either, as had been the fate of the last.

Viscount Howick

said, he should undoubtedly oppose the amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Southwark. He should do so, because he had never professed a wish to abolish church-rates unless an efficient substitute could be found for them; and he further did so, because it appeared to him that although he believed that this Committee by showing to the House that such a substitute might fairly and legitimately be provided, would remove a great difficulty in the way of the future abolition of those rates, still in the appointment of the Committee they ought to keep perfectly distinct all consideration of the purposes to which any fund that might arise from any measure that should be adopted, in consequence of the inquiry now proposed might hereafter be applied. For the same reason, he should also oppose the amendment which the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the University of Cambridge, in the event of the original proposition being carried, intended afterwards to submit to the House. He thought the appointment of the Committee was desirable, in order to satisfy the public, and satisfy the minds of hon. Members of this House of the propriety and expediency of adopting an improved system of management of church property, whereby a surplus fund might possibly be realised. But he entirely concurred with his noble Friend, that to a Committee of this description the important question of the application of any fund so realised ought not to be confided. Whatever might be the object connected with the interest of the Church, to which the money thus realised might be applied, it must be obvious, that an improvement in the system of management of church property, would be in itself an object, of the very greatest importance. He should confine the few observations which he proposed to make, strictly to that point, and to the question whether the proposed inquiry was or was not expedient. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had intimated his dissent, and said, that if the Committee should recommend a measure of the description already proposed by the Government, the inquiry would be wholly unnecessary, because it was the duty of the Government to press that measure upon their own responsibility. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it was the duty of the Government to propose on its own responsibility the course which, upon a great subject of this kind, the Committee might recommend to the House and the country; but the Government having already brought forward their measure—having stated what their views were upon this great subject, and having failed in accomplishing their object—when they were told, as they had been by the hon. Member for Bassetlaw, that there prevailed very great ignorance on the subject, and that doubts were entertained as to the practicability of many parts of their scheme, it was perfectly consistent with their taking upon themselves the responsibility of such a measure that they should submit it in all its details to a Committee of this House. His firm conviction was, that when the Committee should examine into the details of this question, and see the condition of the property of the Church, the necessity of an improved system of management, and the advantages both for the Church and the lessees which could be derived from an improved system—he believed that when the facts were brought before the public the Government would be enabled by public opinion to carry that question which had, at present, met with an unfriendly reception. The right hon. Gentleman had also said, that even if they were to have an inquiry, the inquiry ought to be made by the church commissioners; and the hon. Member for Bassetlaw had repeated that opinion. He entirely differed from those Gentlemen. Even if the members of the Church Commission who were not connected with the Government, had refrained from expressing any adverse opinion from that which the Government entertained on this point, still he thought, that that body was not so well calculated as a Committee of this House to obtain those ends which were proposed to be effected by the inquiry. He did not think that an inquiry before a Commission, which must necessarily be a private inquiry, and which therefore could not lead to the same canvassing of opinions that took place in a Committee of the House, would have the same effect which was anticipated from an inquiry before a Committee of this House, in bringing public attention to the real facts and arguments alleged in support of the measure proposed by his Majesty's Government. But, more than that, it appeared, that upon the terms on which that Commission was appointed, the duties of those Commissioners were much more properly confined to an inquiry into the best mode of distributing the existing revenues of the Church, and of providing for the duties to be discharged by the clergy, rather than taking a review of the mode of managing the Church property. The former branch of the inquiry necessarily required the advice and assistance of the ecclesiastical Commissioners; but with respect to those details relating to the management of the property, he thought that the opinions of others would be fully as good, and in many respects, indeed, were to be preferred. Those were subjects which could not so properly be submitted to the investigation of the ecclesiastical authorities as to others. But even if he had no doubt upon the question as to which would be the best and most expedient method of instituting this inquiry the Church Commissioners themselves had removed all that doubt from his mind; because they had distinctly objected to the plan proposed by his noble Friend, on two grounds:—First, on account of the application which was contemplated to be made of the surplus revenue to be derived by the operation of the measure which was intended to be brought forward;—and they objected to it in the second place, and put forward that objection distinctly in a statement made to the other House of Parliament, and also in other documents, on this ground, that they were not prepared to consent to any measure by which the control of their property was to be removed out of the hands of the individual dignitaries of the Church. In the first place, then, he would say that his Majesty's Ministers could not be fairly called upon, in instituting this inquiry, to pledge them- selves against that contemplated appropriation of a surplus. He was perfectly willing—and his noble Friend had adopted that course—that the question, "To what purpose that surplus can be applied with most advantage to the Church itself?" should be left out of view until they had certain proof of a surplus; but he was not prepared to pledge himself, and he for one should undoubtedly resist pledging himself against that particular mode of applying that surplus fund, a mode which he firmly believed would eventually turn out to be better calculated to promote the true interests of the Church and of religion than any other mode of application that could be suggested. But the second objection taken by the Church Commissioners, and which he had already mentioned, was still more decisive, against applying to them for their assistance upon this subject, because the very essence of the plan proposed by his noble Friend—the very essence, he believed, of any plan by which the property of the Church could be really improved, consisted in taking the management of that property out of the hands of those who had only a temporary and fleeting interest in what was derived from it, and putting it into the hands of those who would look only to its permanent productiveness, and to the amount which for a long series of years might result from it. If the House were to lay down as a principle, that they were not under any circumstances to deprive the individual dignitaries of the Church, of the management of the property which they now held, he would say, it was utterly impossible they could effectually improve the administration of that property. And why did he say this? Let them look at the progress of past-legislation upon this subject. First, the property was committed, with little discretion, to the person who held the dignity to which it was attached. Then it was found necessary to prevent the abuses which inevitably arose from that system, and to restrain the persons holding the property from creating any interest in that property, longer than that which they themselves possessed. Having done that, the legislature soon found, that by so restraining them, they were unable to Jet that property upon advantageous terms. They could only grant leases limited to the extent of their own lives, so that they could not let it to any person who would endeavour to improve it. The consequence of that was, that the Legislature were obliged again to alter the powers of the parties, and to enable them to grant leases for the term of twenty-one years, or for three lives. The first objection which the right hon. Gentleman had urged was, as to the enormous extent of the inquiry, for the right hon. Gentleman seemed to conceive that the Committee would be forced to go into the details of the case of each individual estate belonging to every bishop or dean and chapter, and that, consequently, the inquiry would be interminable. He by no means concurred in this apprehension. The right hon. Gentleman, too, was apprehensive lest the lessees should refuse to renew, and the owners of the property be thus injured. He could not help thinking, that here again the right hon. Gentleman had fallen into a great mistake. He believed, that the tendency would be, not so much to avoid renewals as to hurry them on, pending the inquiry. The difficulties which the lessees must all, to some degree, be subjected to during the period of doubt, rendered it essential that that period should be made as short as possible. But this, instead of being an argument against the Committee, was an argument in its favour, because, by means of that Committee, the inquiry which it would institute, afforded a prospect of arriving at a speedy settlement of this great question. Further, the right hon. Gentleman had argued as if, in what fell from the noble Lord respecting the manner in which private Acts had been obtained bearing upon Church-property, there was conveyed an intention of looking into these Acts with a view of setting aside any titles created in them. Nothing was more foreign from the intention of the noble Lord than such a proposition. It was, indeed, quite right—it was, in fact, essential—that the Committee should have before it some of the facts as to the mode in which these private Acts had been obtained, because the examples of what had taken place in times past in this respect would the more strongly impress upon the House, and upon the public, the necessity of taking some security which did not now exist against the future similar waste of Church property. It was notorious to every one who had looked into the subject, how little check there at present was to acts of this description. It was well understood that hitherto, in almost every instance, no one but the parties immediately interested in the transaction, knew anything about what was proposed in these Acts, till they were passed; and the consequence was, that the Church had, of late years, been by this means deprived of much property which it ought to have continued in possession of. He was aware, that this subject had already been very often discussed; and he would not, therefore, take up the time of the House longer than he could possibly help. But he really must say a few words as to the necessity which existed of effecting that improvement which the right hon. Gentleman himself had not denied to be desirable, and which, in his (Lord Howick's) opinion, could only be attained by means of the proposed inquiry. It was desirable, in the first place, for the purpose of giving to Church property that security which it did not possess. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were always so much interested in preventing the Church from suffering any loss, might still not be aware to what an enormous extent the waste of Church property was at this moment carrying on. He would state to the House one instance, among many he was acquainted with, to show in what manner the property which ought to be realised for the benefit of the Church, was at this moment wasted. There was a particular lease of property belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Durham, which consisted for the most part of coal-mines. That property was leased to the Marquess of Londonderry, and, since the year 1819, his Lordship had paid in fines for renewals of the lease a sum exceeding 100,000l. The fine for a renewal made in 1834, was alone not less than 40,000l. At least seven-eighths of this sum were derived from a lease of coal property, a property which, it was obvious, when once worked out, was for ever gone. The surface property of this estate was exceedingly limited in value. The effect of the system which had hitherto been pursued, therefore, was, that this large capital, instead of being vested in the funds for the benefit of the Church at large, whose property it really was, had been shared among the members of a particular corporation; and thus, under the existing system, the Church had lost, in all time to come, an income of at least 3,000l.or 4,000l. a-year. This abuse it was utterly impossible to guard against, except by placing that species of property in the hands of some party having no interest in the immediate amount received. He had intended to have gone into some other points, but he would not trespass upon the impatience so generally manifested by the House. He would merely repeat his conviction that it was for the interest of the Church itself that the system of managing this property should be entirely altered, and that he saw no mode of effecting this improvement, except by appointing the proposed Committee.

Sir Robert Peel

was in no way surprised at the impatience exhibited by the House, considering that the subject had already been debated for five nights. In the few observations he begged to be allowed to make, he should strictly confine himself to the immediate point before them, namely, whether it was fitting that a select Committee should be appointed to consider this question. He well knew how plausible a proposition the appointment of a select Committee was. He knew well that if he had merely some political object in view, it would be much better to acquiesce in the proposal. He was aware that many persons, seeing how their property was situated, in consequence of the ministerial proposition on Church-rates, whatever their original objections to the appointment of a Committee, were now almost ready to assent to it, as offering them a means of putting an end to their embarrassments. But he considered the proposition so objectionable—as involving so bad a precedent—that, whatever the decision might be, he for one was determined not to acquiesce in the proposal to appoint a select Committee to perform the duties of the Executive Government. This would be a precedent which Government might be very glad to avail itself of whenever it became desirable to escape out of a political dilemma. The subject had undergone a more close discussion than any other this Session; greater numbers had divided on it; in the second instance, the division was entirely on the principle of the measure, it was a division on no question of detail, but turned simply on this point, whether or no, assuming that there was any available surplus, that surplus should be applied as a substitute for Church-rates, or to purposes immediately connected with the diffusion of religious instruction. On this great principle Ministers had a majority of five. Why, then, did not Ministers proceed with the measure; But no? they would neither do this, nor let it alone for this Sesssion, but now, for the first time, suggested the reference of this important question to a select Committee of its own nomination. This was a precedent, which at any time, and under any circumstances, might be adopted, if it were allowed to become a precedent at all. It would always be a very easy thing for Government, when it despaired of carrying a measure in the usual way, and when it had not the manliness either to persevere in it in the ordinary mode, or give it up at once, to get out of the dilemma for the time by a proposition like this. The proposal, was, in fact, neither more nor less than the appointment of an ecclesiastical cabinet, not by the country, but by the House of Commons, for the purpose of relieving the executive Government from all further responsibility and trouble. He hoped they would take care not to have too numerous a cabinet. An hon. Gentleman had desired to have the names of the new cabinet stated to the House. He would not go so far as that, but he thought it would be desirable to have the name of its chairman mentioned. The simple course then would be, for the new premier to appoint his colleagues himself, for it was of great importance to secure unanimity of opinion in the new cabinet. A conflict of opinions among its members would obviously destroy all the good effects anticipated. Of course the question would not, like the ballot, be left an open one, and yet no other course was practicable if a conflict of opinions was admitted into this new cabinet, by the selection of its members from the opposing sides of the House. The noble Lord said, he did not want the Committee to decide on any great principle, but such was, notwithstanding the case. By the express terms of the reference proposed to be made to it, it was called on to consider a great principle. The Committee was called on to decide on the amount of any increased value which might be obtained from this property by an improved management, and with a due consideration of the interests of the Established Church, and of the present lessees of the property. The consideration of these interests was the proper subject for Government alone to take up, but these two great questions were committed to the proposed Committee. The noble Lord might talk of Government retaining its responsibility, but the clear fact was, not only that it devolved on this Committee a duty properly its own, but that it precluded itself from offering any advice to the Crown on Church affairs so long as the Committee existed; and what limit was put to the duration of this Committee? The Committee had not to inquire into the existing mode of granting and renewing leases. On this point there was already ample information, but it would have to determine what instances of abuse existed under private Bills, and when this part of its duty was discharged, it would have to consider the other and much more important matter, namely, what was the probable amount of the increased value of this property under improved management, and with a due consideration of the interests of the Established Church and of existing lessees. To ascertain this point, it would be essential to institute local inquiries all over the country, and for the Committee to perform their duty honestly and fully, this part of their labours must necessarily be greatly protracted. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that further inquiries were necessary, these inquiries, in his opinion, might be conducted with infinitely greater effect by the Executive Government, which had the means of commanding better information than any Committee of that House. In the case of the Municipal Corporation inquiry the inquiry was first intrusted to a Select Committee of the House; but the delays and difficulties which took place in consequence of the local nature of the whole of the investigation very speedily convinced the Committee of its insufficiency to fulfil the object; and on the recommendation of the Committee its duties were transferred to a commission. He remembered, too, that when the right hon. Member for Bute, about this period of the year, made a proposition that a Committee should be appointed to inquire into the state of religious instruction in Scotland, he was told by Government that no progress could be made in such an inquiry by a Committee; that the inquiry, being necessarily local, could be conducted with much greater effect by a commission; and so a Committee was refused. If the Committee now proposed were granted the only thing would be that after sitting some time, the executive Government would find it necessary to appoint a commission, and until the report of this commission everything in connexion with Church-rates must be kept in suspense. How, therefore, those gentlemen who considered the speedy settlement of this question indispensable could on this 12th of June consent to the appointment of this Committee he was quite at a loss to understand. Had Ministers openly stated that on account of the smallness of their majority on this question they would not persevere in it this session, but, adhering to its principle, sought further information on points not considered sufficiently clear, with a view of reviving the bill next year, such a course would have been perfectly intelligible. He further objected to the appointment of this committee because he considered that, after what had past in reference to the ecclesiastical commission, such a proceeding would be tantamount to a breach of faith. He did not think that commission ought to have been renewed without government having distinctly apprised them that it contemplated the finding a substitute for Church-rates in an improved management of Church property. That Commission was appointed by his recommendation, and on Lord Melbourne's accession to office was renewed, the original Members of it who held office then resigning their situations, and persons holding office under the new Government were appointed in their stead. The ecclesiastical Members of that commission had subjected themselves to much misconstruction and obloquy from the Church for at all acquiescing in the Commission, but an overwhelming sense of duty, and a sense that the real interests of the Church were involved, induced them to lend their aid to the work. They proposed the division of the country into new Episcopal districts. This measure reduced the incomes of some Bishops and transferred the property annexed to some sees to supply the deficiency of others. The noble Lord, when he introduced the Bill for affecting that object, said that no measure of Church reform would be satisfactory unless it was previously approved of by the heads of the Church. The noble Lord on that occasion dwelt with evident satisfaction on the friendly agreement of the bishops in his plan. The noble Lord had stated that if they disapproved of the present plan they ought never to have agreed to the slightest innovation. The noble Lord came forward and declared that, after assenting to the Bill of last year, they must consent to this measure divesting the Church of its property. The noble Lord said if they remained as before, and resisted all reform, the Bishops might have retained possession of all their property, and he could understand the principle on which they resisted; but having consented to the measure of last year, they must consent to the present plan involving a total alienation of their property. What motive was this to them to go on with the reform in the Church which they had commenced. The Bishops were told, that if they consented to assist in the work of reform, a virtual obligation would be contracted with them that they should be protected from other measures; but the year afterwards the noble Lord proposed a measure which was dangerous to the interest of the Church; and he said they must consent to this plan because they had agreed to the reforms which he proposed last year, and which he said he now wished to extend by making the Bishops stipendiaries. The noble Lord then said "With respect to an Archbishop or Bishop, he was placed, according to the constitution of the Church—and that constitution he did not wish to alter—among persons having a large revenue derived from the property of the country. He was placed in a certain house which required a certain establishment to be maintained, and that there should be observed certain duties of hospitality; he was placed in a situation in which even more was required from him than from men of the highest rank and great landed property on account of charity, a large expense being incurred. In all these respects his situation was totally different from that of a Chief Justice of the King's Bench, or a First Lord of the Treasury, who received an official salary, out of which he paid the expenses consequent on the performance of the duties of his office, and nothing else." This was avowed by the noble Lord when he brought forward his measure of Church reform last year, which he stated he considered a most useful measure of practical reform, and pre-eminently so because it had the sanction of the Bishops. In 1837, however, the noble Lord proposed a plan not only at variance with their opinions and wishes, but which would, in operation, make the Bishops merely stipendiaries. On these grounds, namely, by the appointment of the Ecclesiastical Commission, by the course of proceedings adopted by the Commissioners, by the obligations which the Government had contracted towards that Commission he objected to transferring the consideration of this question from the executive Government to a Committee of the House of Commons. If the noble Lord had told the Bishops that the consequence of their consenting to the Commission and the bills of last year would be that he would plead their acquiescence as an argument for the measure on Church-rates, which they considered destructive to their order, and to the interests and stability of the Church, he never could have extorted from them the first step to reform the Church. If the noble Lord had told the bishops that he intended to propose that a Committee of the House of Commons should be nominated for the revision of the mode of granting leases of Church property, and for the revision of the whole mode of management, with a view of obtaining a surplus to be directed to other than strictly ecclesiastical purposes, he would never have obtained their consent to the measures he had introduced. It was possible that some hon. Members—but he did not believe that there were many, seeing the dangerous position in which Church property was placed—might be led to agree to the motion in the belief that a better distribution and management of that property might be effected. He could not, however, yield up his strong objections to the nomination of this Committee; he would rather, after what had passed, that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had not been appointed, foreseeing the effect that their objections to this plan must have in obstructing the course of reform in the Church. He would rather be in a minority of ten on this question than agree to any course of proceeding like the present; but he trusted that by the vote of the House that night they would escape the inconvenience which would arise from adopting the motion. To agree to this motion, it was evident that Gentlemen must have more Confidence in the Committee of that House than in his Majesty's Government, supposing that the House should agree to the appointment of the Committee. He hoped some Gentlemen in favour of the appointment of the Committee would state their views in favour of the appointment with clearness and distinctness. He hoped that the lessees would see the ad- vantage which were likely to result to them from the appointment of this Committee, if they went into the Committee, however, the noble Lord would do so with the view of supporting a foregone conclusion. It was absolutely necessary that they should find that there was a surplus of 250,000l. If they could not supply this 250,000l. by this means, then there was an end of their present measure of Church-rates. If there was only a surplus of 100,000l. they must obtain the remainder from some other source—they must trespass on some other fund, and thus they must touch the principle which the noble Lord said he could not agree to. If they obtained only an indefinite surplus for instance 10,000l. or 100,000l. or 150,000l., or other sum, the question would still be left open for farther consideration. After having occupied the House at such length he would not enter into the discussion of the principle of the plan, for that had already occupied the attention of the House for five nights; he repeated, however, he opposed the appointment of the Committee because it would lead to unnecessary delay, because the duties which were to be referred to the Select Committee of that House proposed to be appointed belonged to the executive Government, and, above all, since the Ecclesiastical Commission had been appointed there was no ground for the appointment of this Committee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that he would at once apply himself to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman as to whether or not this was a proper case for the appointment of a Select Committee of that House. He had no doubt as to his being able to make out a sufficient case for inquiry before the Committee; for if one case more than another, by reason of the object in view, called for the legitimate proposition of a Select Committee, this was that case, and this indeed was the only obvious and clear mode of proceeding. He trusted, however, before he proceeded farther, that he might congratulate the right hon. Baronet on the new light opened on him as to the appointment of Select Committees. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the appointment of a Select Committee was to take from the Executive Government the responsibility they ought to incur. He rejoiced that the expressions and arguments of the right hon. Gentleman were affirmed by hon. Members opposite, as he had no doubt he should be able to induce them to change their opinion on the subject. The proposition that night made was, that the whole subject should be referred to a Select Committee. The right hon. Gentleman said, that this was shifting the responsibility from the Executive Government to a Select Committee. It happened while he sat on the other side of the House, during the period of the Government of the Earl of Liverpool, that one of the most difficult of all questions—a question most peculiarly incumbent on the Government to take up and act upon—was referred to a Select Committee. What he alluded to was, the referring the whole state of Ireland to a Select Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman and himself were Members of that Committee. If there was any thing in the argument of the right hon. Gentleman of shifting responsibility, was there not a difference between referring a matter involving calculations of figures to a Committee, and a question as to the mode of governing a country? He did not hesitate to say, that it was improper to refer the question of the Government of a country to a Select Committee which was done by an administration of which the right hon. Baronet was a Member; and this was a very different thing from sending to them a disputed matter of calculation; and notwithstanding this, the right hon. Baronet comes forward and reproves the present Government for doing so in the latter instance. As far back also as 1816, where certainly they would not look for any measure revolutionary in principle, the subject of English tithes was referred to a Committee with a view of inquiring as to the mode in which they were levied, and whether an improvement might not be effected to the benefit of the landlord as well as the clergyman. This proposition was brought forward at a period of very great agricultural distress, when it did not suit the Government to meet the views of their agricultural friends, and therefore, it was thought proper to refer this question of English tithes to a Committee up stairs. The right hon. Gentleman was a member of that Government as well as of the Committee. He also found on it the names of Sit William Scott and Sir John Nicholl, who was chairman. The right hon. Gentleman took part in the debate on the appointment of the Committee; and so far from thinking the ap- pointment of the committee improper, he, then Secretary for Ireland, expressed his anxiety that the subject of tithes in Ireland should be made a matter of inquiry before the Committee; and in consequence of this the motion was amended to meet the right hon. Gentleman's views. Again, in 1828, when the right hon. Gentleman was a member of the Government, the great interests of a colony were referred to a Select Committee. Mr. Huskisson proposed the appointment of the Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman would not say, that Mr. Huskisson wag a man who would shrink from responsibility. He thought that he had given sufficient instances to show that by moving for a committee it was not intended to save the Government from any share of responsibility. If, however, there had been no precedent, if there never had been a Select Committee of the kind appointed, the present would have been sufficient to justify them in taking such a step. For his own part, as the proposer of the measure on church-rates he did not shrink from any share of responsibility. He did not feel inclined to abandon it, because he knew, that sooner or later this question would be carried. He knew that bringing forward the Government measure on this subject had done more to set at rest this long-agitated question than could have been expected, and that it would take more effectual hold of the public mind the more thoroughly it was investigated and understood. The right hon. Gentleman must excuse him for saying that the bait he threw out for the Dissenters in 1835, by saying that he was disposed to remove the payment of Church-rates from them by transferring it to a public fund, was any thing but satisfactory; but the Government now proposed to deal with the question on a higher principle. The principle of their plan was this—that while they gave greater security for maintaining the fabric of the Church than at present existed, they would do full justice to the feelings of the Dissenters. It had been said that they could not proceed without injury to the lessees. If that were the case the best mode of ascertaining that point and preventing the evil was by investigating the matter before a Commission. A number of arguments had been raised against the financial details of the plan. The best mode of seeing whether the hon. Gentleman opposite or himself were right was to adopt the present proposition. Because they wished to have a full inquiry into the whole subject, were they to be taunted with wishing to throw from themselves the responsibility of the measure. The right hon. Gentleman said that the plan was taken from the executive, and transferred to a new cabinet in the shape of a Committee of the House of Commons; and that, if fairly appointed, there must be a great difference of opinion on it. They had had experience before of the evils of divided cabinets; and he thought in that instance they might well profit by the wisdom of their ancestors; for they knew by experience, that when a cabinet was divided on the principle of a matter of great importance, it led to the greatest inconvenience. He could not help feeling that, to say the least of it, there was great awkwardness in a Home Secretary sitting in the same cabinet next a Foreign Secretary of opposite principles to himself;—one thinking that the destruction of the country was involved in the principles advocated by his colleague, while that colleague deemed the carrying out these principles essential to the welfare of the country. The remark came well from the right hon. Gentleman, but they had taken warning from their predecessors. He would take care to avoid such inconveniences. The object stated in the resolution was to inquire into the mode of granting leases of bishops' lands, and the lands of ecclesiastical bodies, and with the probable amount of any increased value which might be obtained by an improved management, with a due consideration of the interests of the Established Church, and of the present lessees of such property. The right hon. Gentleman complained of the latter part of the resolution. Now, if the words were not there, he would have retorted in an indignant tone of language that no allusion was made to the interests of the establishment. The right hon. Gentleman said, that regard to the interests of the lessees was a good objection to the measure, but it had never been brought forward but with a due regard to the interests of the church as well as the interests of the lessees; and if he had not regarded those interests he should have hesitated to ask for the support of the House, and he was sure that he should not have obtained the support of many of the Gentlemen around him. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to making the bishops stipendiaries. At present, however, several of the bishops were stipendiaries, not to the receipt, but to the payment of money. The right hon. Gentleman, how- ever, seemed to object to the word stipendiary. If he looked to a high authority on the subject, namely Johnson's dictionary, he would find among the meanings of the word, some in connection with the church, and not one interpretation was used in a bad or invidious sense. The right hon. Gentleman said, that he objected to the appointment of the Committee on the terms in which it had been moved, because they proposed to appoint a Committee to inquire into a foregone conclusion—he should protest against the appointment of a Committee for this purpose. If they wished to come to the conclusion that they would devote the whole of the surplus to the purposes of the Church, this would be a foregone conclusion; but they might inquire whether by better arrangement a surplus might not arise, which, if it should be found to be the case, they would have to deal with hereafter. Those who thought that the present system was perfect as it stood he was not entitled to ask for their votes. He had no doubt that he could show them that a large increase would accrue from this source, and this be should be able to prove from what had taken place in the lands belonging to a single chapter. He referred to the Chapter of St. Paul's, and also to the Stalls of the Moor, Finsbury, and Tottenhall. But because he asked Gentlemen to vote for the Committee, he did not ask them to declare that any surplus that might arise should be appropriated in lieu of Church-rates. All that he then asked for was inquiry. He contended the proposed plan was just for the interest of the Church, and for the interest of the lessees, and so far from shrinking from inquiry, he was anxious that there should be the most searching investigation. He had brought forward the subject in good faith, and he asked for inquiry to prove to the world at large that the plan would bear examination, and that any surplus, that might accrue could be dealt with hereafter as the House pleased. He would not occupy the time of the House at greater length, but he would add, if a Select Committee was necessary in a case of this kind, they had the authority of the right hon. Baronet and those hon. Gentlemen who voted with him in support of that opinion. Those who looked to a different appropriation of the surplus to what he did might also on principle support the motion.

The House divided on Mr. Harvey's Amendment:—Ayes 58; Noes 489: Majority against the Amendment 431.

Mr. Goulburn

wished that the debate might be adjourned upon the Amendment he had to propose.

Lord John Russell

was anxious that the debate should be concluded that night. He thought that the course adopted by the right hon. Gentleman, in proposing a further amendment, appeared to him to be extraordinary. The question on which they were then dividing was, whether a Select Committee should be appointed; and the right hon. Gentleman proposed beyond that question likewise, a motion to conclude the House to this—that any revenues which might be derived from an improved management of Church property should be applied to a particular purpose. The proper time to make such action was, when his right hon. Friend had positively affirmed what would be the effect of an improved management of Church property, and the manner in which it ought to be dealt with. But when the question was before the House, and that an amendment had been moved for a different appropriation by the hon. Member for St. Andrew's, the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and those who supported him, refused to accede to that resolution. The question that was now to be disposed of was, not the absolute application of revenues, but for a Committee to examine as to the sources from which funds might be derived. The proper opportunity for the amendment of the right hon. Gentleman was when the funds were to be disposed of. He thought the amendment ought most properly to follow the resolution of his right hon. Friend; but it was a singular, and, he thought, an inappropriate course to pursue on the present occasion.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that after what had fallen from the noble Lord, he took it for granted that the House was prepared to come to an opinion upon both questions. Whether the course he had taken upon the present occasion was inappropriate, appeared to him to be a question on which he, perhaps, was as well qualified to judge as the noble Lord. He could only say, that it appeared to him to be essentially necessary, on entering into the inquiry for the purpose of discovering whether they could have a surplus revenue out of the management of Church lands, that they should lay clearly down beforehand, that that inquiry should be with a view of applying that surplus, if a surplus were found, to remedy the evils felt from the want of religious instruction, from there not being a sufficient number of pastors of the Established Church. He would only add, that he did not desire to continue the debate. The words of his Amendment were taken from the second Report of the Commissioners, to which the signature of the noble Lord, and his right hon. Friend were to be found. The House divided on the original Motion.—Ayes 319; Noes 236: Majority 86.

A division then took place on Mr. Goulburn's Amendment, to add the following words, "with the view of applying such amount to the gradual diminution of the evils which flow from the deficiency in the means of religious instruction and pastoral super intendance by ministers of the Established Church."—Ayes 265; Noes 291: Majority 26.

Original motion agreed to; the Committee which was not nominated; to consist of twenty-one Members.

The Ayes on Mr. Harvey's Amendment:—
Aglionby, H. A. Humphery, J.
Beauclerk, Major Lister, E. C.
Blake, Martin Jos. Lushington, Charles
Bowes, J. Marsland, Henry
Bowring, Dr. Molesworth, Sir W.
Brady, D. C. O'Brien, C.
Brocklehurst, J. Ord, W.
Brotherton, J. O'Conor, Don
Browne, R. D. Pease, J.
Codrington, Admiral Potter, R.
Collins, W. Rippon, C.
Crawford, W. S. Roche, William
Crawley, S. Roebuck, J. A.
Denistoun, A. Ruthven, E.
Divett, E. Scholefield, J.
Duncombe, T. Smith, B.
Dundas, hon. J C. Strickland, Sir G.
Dundas, J. D. Tooke, W.
Elphinstone, H. Trelawney, Sir W.
Evans, G. Vigors, N. A.
Fielden, J. Wakley, T.
Fenton, J. Wallace, Robert
Gaskell, Daniel Wemyss, Captain
Gillon, W. D. Williams, W.
Grattan, H. Williams, Sir J.
Grote, G. Wood, Mr. Alderman
Gully, John Wyse, T.
Hawes, B.
Hector, C. J. TELLERS,
Hindley, C. Harvey, D. W.
Holland, E. Thompson, Col.

It will suffice to give the list of the Ayes and the Noes on Lord John Russell's original motion. We have taken means to enable the reader to ascertain who voted on Mr. Goulburn's Amendment, the third division, without repeating all the names. Those Members with prefixed, voted with the "Ayes" on the third division, and those with a † prefixed, were absent on the third division. The following, who were absent on the second division, voted against Mr. Goulburn's Amendment on the third division:—Mr. E. T. Bainbridge, Mr. J. Fielden, and Mr. R. Wason.

The AYES on the Original Motion.
Acheson, Viscount Byng, George
Adam, Sir C. Byng, G. S.
Aglionby, H. A. Callaghan, D.
* Agnew, Sir A. Campbell, Sir J.
Ainsworth, P. Campbell, W. F.
Alston, Rowland Carter, B.
Andover, Viscount Cave, R. O.
* Angerstein, John Cavendish, hon. C.
Anson, Colonel Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Anson, Sir George Cayley, E. S.
Astley, Sir Jacob, bt. Chalmers, P.
Attwood, T. Chapman, M. L.
Bagshaw, John Chetwynd, Captain
Baines, E. Childers, J. W.
Ball, N. Churchill, Lord C.
Bannerman, Alex. Clay, W.
Barclay, David Clayton, Sir W.
Baring, F. T. Clements, Viscount
* Baring, T. Clive, Edward Bolton
Barnard, E. G. Codrington, Sir E.
Barron, H. * Colborne, N. W. R.
Barry, G. S. Collier, John
Beauclerk, Major Collins, W.
Belfast, Earl of Conyngham, Lord A.
Bennett, J. * Coote, Sir C.
Bentinck, Lord W. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Berkeley, hon. F. Crawford, W. S.
Berkeley, hon. G. C. Crawford, W.
Berkeley, hon. C. C. Crawley, S.
Bernal, R. Crompton, Samuel
Bewes, T. Curteis, Herbert
Biddulph, Robert Curteis, Edward B.
Bish, T. Dalmeny, Lord
Blake, M. J. Denison, W. J.
Blunt, Sir C. Denison, John E.
Bowes, John Denistoun, Alex.
Bowring, Dr. Denistoun, John
Brabazon, Sir W. D'Eyncourt, C. T.
Brady, D. C. Dillwyn, L. W.
Bridgman, H. Divett, E.
Brocklehurst, J. Dobbin, Leonard
Brodie, W. B. Donkin, Sir R. S.
Brotherton, J. Duncombe, T.
Browne, R. D. Dundas, hon. J. C.
* Brownrigg, S. Dundas, hon. T.
Buller, Charles Dundas, J. D.
Buller, E. Dunlop, J.
Bulwer, H. L. Ebrington, Viscount
Burton, Henry Edwards, Colonel
* Buxton, F. Ellice, right hon. E.
Ellice, E. * Lawson, Andrew
Elphinstone, H. Lee, John Lee
Etwall, R. Lefevre, Charles S.
Euston, Earl of *Lemon, Sir C.
Evans, G. Lennard, T. B.
Fazakerley, J. N. Lennox, Lord G.
Fellowes, N. * Lennox, Lord A.
Fenton, John * Lewis, David
Fergus, J. Lister, E. C.
Ferguson, Sir R. Loch, James
Ferguson, Robert * Long, Walter
Fergusson, R. C. Lushington, Dr. S.
Finn, W. F. Lushington, Charles
Fitzroy, Lord C. Lynch, A. H.
Fitzsimon, C. Macleod, R.
Fleetwood, Peter H. Mactaggart, J.
Folkes, Sir W. Maher, John
Fort, John Mangles, J.
Gaskell, Daniel Marshall, William
Gillon, W. D. Marsland, Henry
Gordon, R. Martin, T.
* Goring, H. D. Maule, hon. F.
Grattan, J. Melgund, Viscount
Grattan, Henry Methuen, P.
Grey, Sir G. Molesworth, Sir W.
Grey, hon. Charles Moreton, A.
Grote, G. Morpeth, Viscount
Guest, J. Mostyn, hon. E.
Gully, John Mullins, F. W.
Hallyburton, Lord D. Murray, right hon. J.
Handley, Henry. Musgrave, Sir R.
Harland, Wm. Charles Nagle, Sir R.
Harvey, D. W. O'Brien, C.
Hastie, A. O'Brien, W. S.
Hawes, B. O'Connell, D.
Hawkins, J. H. O'Connell, J.
Hay, Sir A. L., bart. O'Connell, M.
Heathcoat, J. O'Connell, M. J.
* Heathcote, G. J. O'Conor, Don
Hector, C. J. O'Ferral, R. M.
Heneage, E. Oliphant, L.
Heron, Sir R., Bart. Ord, W. H.
Hindley, C. Paget, Frederick
Hobhouse, Sir J. C. Palmer, General
Hodges, T. L. Palmerston, Viscount
Holland, E. Parker, J.
Horsman, E. Parnell, Sir H.
Hoskins, K. Parrott, J.
Howard, Philip Henry * Parry, Sir L. P. J.
Howard, R. Pattison, James
Howick, Viscount Pease, J.
Hume, J. Pechell, Captain
Humphery, John Pendarves, E. W.
Hurst, R. H. Philips, G. R.
Hutt, William Pinney, William
James, William Ponsonby, W.
Jephson, C. D. O. Ponsonby, hon. J.
Jervis, John Potter, R.
* Ingham, R. Poulter, John Sayer
*Johnstone, Sir J. Power, James
* Johnstone, J. J. H. Power, John
* Johnston, A. Poyntz, W. Stephen
King, Edward B. Price, Sir Robert
Knight, H. G. Pryme, George
Labouchere, H. * Pusey, P.
Lambton, Hedworth Ramsbottom, John
Langton, Wm. Gore Rice, right hon. T. S.
Rippon, Cuthbert †Townley, R. G.
Robarts, A. W. Tracy, C. H.
Robinson, G. R. Trelawney, Sir W. L.
Roche, William Troubridge, Sir, T.
Roebuck, J. A. Tulk, C. A.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Turner, William
Rooper, J. Bonfoy Tynte, C. J. K.
Rundle, John * Verney, Sir H., bart.
Russell, Lord John Vigors, N. A.
Russell, Lord Villiers, C. P.
Russell, Lord Charles Vivian, J. H.
Ruthven, E. Wakley, T.
Sanford, E. A. Walker C. A.
†Scholefield, Joshua Walker, R.
†Scott, J. W. *Wall, C. B.
*Scourfield, W. H. Wallace, R.
Scrope, G. P. Warburton, H.
Seale, Colonel Ward, Henry George
Seymour, Lord Wemyss, Captain
Sharpe, General Westenra, H. R.
Simeon, Sir R. G. Westenra, J. C.
Smith, J. A. Whalley, Sir S.
Smith, hon. R. Wigney, Isaac N.
Smith, R. V. Wilbraham, G.
Smith, B. Wilde, Sergeant
Speirs, Alexander Wilks, John
*Spry, Sir S. Williams, W.
Stanley, W. O. Williams, W. A.
Stewart, P. M. Williams, Sir J.
*Stuart, Lord D. Williamson, Sir H.
Stuart, Lord J. *Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Stuart, V. *Wilson, H.
Strangways, hon. J. Winnington, H. J.
Strickland, Sir G. Wood, Charles
Strutt, Edward Wood, Alderman
Talbot, C. R. M. Woulfe, Sergeant
Talbot, J. Hyacinth Wrightson, W.
Talfourd, Sergeant Wrottesley, Sir J.
Tancred, H. W. Wyse, Thomas
Thompson, C. P. *Young, G. F.
Thompson, Paul B.
Thompson, Colonel TELLERS.
Thornley, Thomas Stanley, E. J.
Tooke, W. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Alford, Viscount Blackstone, W. S.
Alsager, Capt. Boldero, Henry G.
Arburthnott, hon. H. Bolling, Wm.
Archdall, M. Bonham, R. F.
Ashley, Viscount Borthwick, P.
Ashley, hon. H. Bradshaw, James
Bagot, hon. W. Bramston, T. W.
Bailey, J. Bruce, Lord E.
Baillie, H. D. Bruce, C. L. C.
Balfour, T. Bruen, F.
Barclay, C. Buller, Sir J. B. Yarde
Baring, Francis Campbell, Sir H.
Baring, H. Bingham Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.
Baring, W. B. Cartwright, W. R.
Barneby, John Castlereagh, Viscount
Bateson, Sir R. Chandos, Marquess of
Beckett, Sir J. Chaplin, Colonel
Bell, M. Chapman, Aaron
Bentinck, Lord G. Chichester, A.
Beresford, Sir J. P. Chisholm, A.
Blackburne, John I. Clive, Viscount
Clive, hon. R. H. Hayes, Sir E. S., bart.
Codrington, C. W. Henniker, Lord
Cole, hon. A. H. Herbert, hon. Sydney
Cole, Viscount Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Compton, H. C. Hogg, James Weir
Conolly, E. M. Hope, hon. James
Copeland, W. T. Hotham, Viscount
Corbett, T. Houstoun, G.
Corry, H. Hughes, Hughes
Crewe, Sir G., bart. Jackson, Sergeant
Cripps, J. Jermyn, Earl
Dalbiac, Sir C. Inglis, Sir R.
Damer, D. Jones, Wilson
Darlington, Earl of Jones, Theobald
Dick, Q. Irton, Samuel
Dottin, Abel Rous Kearsley, J. H.
Dowdeswell, William Kerrison, Sir Edw.
Duffield, Thomas Knatchbull, Sir E.
Dugdale, W. S. Knightley, Sir C.
Dunbar, G. Law, hon. C. E.
Duncombe, W. Lefroy, A.
Duncombe, hon. A. Lefroy, right hon. T.
East, J. B. Lincoln, Earl of
Eastnor, Viscount Longfield, R.
Eaton, Richard J. Lopes, Sir Ralph
Egerton, Lord Francis Lowther, Colonel H.
Elley, Sir J. Lowther, Viscount
Elwes, J. Lowther, J. H.
Estcourt, T. G. Lucas, E.
Estcourt, T. H. Lushington, S. R.
Fector, John Minet Lygon, hon. General
Feilden, William Mackenzie, T.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Mackinnon, W. A.
Ferguson, G. Maclean, Donald
Finch, George Mahon, Viscount
Fitzroy, H. Manners, Lord C.
Fleming, John Marsland, T.
Foley, Edw. Thomas Martin, J.
Follett, Sir W. Maunsell, T. P.
Forbes, William Meynell, Captain
Forester, hon. G. Miles, William
Fox, C. Miles, P. J.
Freshfield, J. W. Miller, Wm. Henry
Gaskell, James Milnes Mordaunt, Sir J., bt.
Geary, Sir W. R. P. Morgan, Chas. M. R.
Gladstone, T. Neeld, John
Gladstone, W. E. Neeld, Joseph
Glynne, Sir S. R. Nicholl, John
Gordon, hon. W. Norreys, Lord
Gore, Wm. Ormsby Ossulston, Lord
Goulburn, H. Packe, C. W.
Goulburn, Sergeant Palmer, Robert
Graham, Sir J. Palmer, George
Greene, Thomas Parker, M.
Griesley, Sir R. Patten, J. Wilson
Grimston, Viscount Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Peel, Colonel J.
Hale, R. B. Pelham, John C.
Halford, H. Pemberton, Thomas
Halse, James Penruddock, J. H.
Hamilton, Geo. Alex. Perceval, Col.
Hanmer, Henry Pigot, Robert
Hanmer, Sir J. Plumptre, J. P.
Harcourt, G. S. Polhill, Captain F.
Hardinge, Sir H. Pollen, Sir J., bart.
Hardy, J. Pollington, Viscount
Hawkes, T. Pollock, Sir F.
Powell, Colonel Townsend, Lord J.
Praed, Winthorp M. Trench, Sir F.
Price, S. G. Trevor, hon. A.
Price, Richard Trevor, hon. G.
Rae, Sir Wm., bart. Twiss, Horace
Reid, Sir John Rae Tyrrell, Sir J.
Richards, J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Rickford, W. Verner, Colonel
Ross, Charles Vernon, Granville H.
Rushbrooke, Colonel Vesey, hon. Thomas
Rushout, G. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Russell, C. Walpole, Lord
Ryle, John Walter, John
Sanderson, R. Welby, G. E.
Sandon, Viscount West, J. B.
Scarlett, R. Weyland, Major
Scott, Lord J. Whitmore, Thomas C.
Shaw, Frederick Wilbraham, hon. B.
Sheppard, T. Williams, Robert
Shirley, E. J. Williams, T. P.
Sibthorp, Colonel Wodehouse, E.
Sinclair, Sir G. Wood, Colonel
Smyth, Sir H., bart. Wortley, J. S.
Somerset, Lord E. Wyndham, Wadham
Somerset, Lord G. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Stanley, Lord Yorke, E. T.
Stanley, Edward Young, J.
Stewart, John Young, Sir W.
Stormont, Viscount TELLERS.
Sturt, Henry Charles Fremantle, Sir T.
Thomas, Colonel Clerk, Sir G.

The following Members paired off on the question of appointing a Select Committee on Church Leases:—

Bellew, Sir P. Bethell, R.
Butler, P. Calcraft, J.
Chichester, J. P. Cooper, E. J.
Fitzgibbon, hon. R. Davenport, J.
Fitzsimon, N. Egerton, Sir P.
Gisborne, T. Egerton, T.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Fancourt, C.
Hodges, T. Grant, Colonel
Leveson, Lord Hamilton, Lord C.
Maxwell, J. Hay, Sir J.
Macnamara, M. Hoy, Barlow
Phillips, C. M. Mandeville, R.
Philips, M. Maxwell, H.
Pryse, Pryse Noel, Sir G.
Roche, D. O'Neil, General
Sheil, R. Owen, H.
Tynte, Colonel Peel, Ed.
Vivian, J. H. Pringle, A.
White, Samuel Richards, J.
Winnington, Sir T. Smith, T. A.
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