HC Deb 08 July 1839 vol 49 cc1-3
Lord John Russell

said, that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, had asked him a question regarding the renewal of the patent for printing the Bible in Scotland. He had then informed the right hon. Baronet that it was the intention of her Majesty's Government to constitute a Board for the purpose of superintending the printing and publishing of Bibles in Scotland, and that the Lord Advocate and Solicitor-general were to be Members of this Board. But as it was now intended to make some additions, he might as well state what they were. It was now the intention of her Majesty's Ministers to give power to certain parties to apply to the Lord Advocate for the time being, to print copies of the Bible on their subscribing a declaration that the person making the application was to act as editor, and entering into bond that they were to print according to the authorized version, transmitting a copy to the Lord Advocate, and sending the proof sheets to the Secretary to the Board. This permission was proposed to be granted to Bishops of the Scotch episcopal Church, or clergymen authorized by them, or Dissenting ministers sanctioned by Presbyteries, or Independent or Baptist clergymen, recommended by the ministers of their respective persuasions. These persons would have permission, on entering into the securities which he had explained.

Sir James Graham

was much obliged to the noble Lord for the information he had given him on the former occasion, which he believed had given satisfaction to the Established Church of Scotland, and he thought it unfortunate that any notice of alteration should have been postponed to this late period, as the patent expired on the 17th of this month, so that there were only nine days to make objections. He was not prepared to state any opinion on the change that was proposed. He did not think, however, that the securities would be efficient. Spurious editions would be printed, and the penalty forfeited under the recognizances, although a punishment to the party would be no security to the public. He had little doubt that the alterations would meet with great objections on the part of the Established Church in Scotland.

Lord John Russell

said, the right hon. Gentleman had somewhat misunderstood the nature of the change that was intended. It was not to depend merely on the recognizances, but to be accomplished chiefly by application to the Lord-advocate. The proof sheets were to be sent to the Board, and the publication would proceed under such inspection as the Board might think proper to order. With respect to what the right hon. Baronet had stated relative to the short time to elapse before the expiration of the present patent, it so happened that some of the leading Members of the Church of Scotland were now in London on other matters connected with that Church, with whom a consultation might immediately take place, and their opinions on the subject be thus ascertained. A Committee of the General Assembly had signified their satisfaction with the former plan, and he believed they would also be satisfied with the present one, notwithstanding the opinion expressed by the right hon. Baronet.

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