HC Deb 20 March 1838 vol 41 cc1112-3
Mr. Barron

moved for leave to bring in a Bill to consolidate the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts in Ireland.

Mr. Goulburn

availed himself of the opportunity to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Home Department what had become of the Bill, which had been introduced some time ago by her Majesty's Ministers for the purpose of regulating and consolidating the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in England. If her Majesty's Ministers were not prepared to bring in such a Bill for England, what probable chance of success was there for such a Bill affecting Ireland? How could the noble Lord give his assent to the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Waterford, when he was not prepared to introduce a similar Bill for England? But perhaps the noble Lord was prepared to take up the subject so far as regarded England?

Lord John Russell

rose for the purpose of answering the question which had just been put to him by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The Bill respecting the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts in England, had certainly occupied the attention of her Majesty's Ministers for a considerable time, and when last noticed in Parliament, was under the consideration of the House of Lords. The Bill was much considered in that House; various suggestions were offered for its improvement; and beyond a doubt it was amended in many parts. Still, it was the general opinion in that House, that the Bill ought not to be proceeded with, except a Bill for the better discipline of the clergy could be carried at the same time. The frame of such a Bill had been drawn out, but he must candidly confess that he was not entirely satisfied with the measure proposed, and the Bill for the better discipline of the clergy was, in consequence, postponed. There were other bills under the consideration of Government relating to ecclesiastical jurisdictions one of which he intended immediately to bring forward. When those bills were disposed of, the Government would proceed to the consideration of a Bill for regulating and consolidating the various ecclesiastical jurisdictions of the country, and would introduce a Bill for the better discipline of the clergy. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that it was not likely that either House of Parliament would pass this Bill for Ireland without knowing what was intended as to the two Bills respecting the ecclesiastical jurisdictions and the better discipline of the clergy in England.

Leave given.