HC Deb 15 June 1840 vol 54 cc1175-202

Lord J. Russell moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Canada Clergy Reserves Bill. On the question that the bill be now read a second time,

Mr. Goulburn

feared it was scarcely possible that he should obtain the attention of the House in its present state of excitement, but the course he intended to take was one which would dispense with the necessity of entering at large into the details of the bill. It was not his intention to oppose the second reading, but he had not arrived at that determination without feeling great difficulty as to the course most expedient to pursue. A bill for settling the question of the clergy reserves in Canada was an expedient, he might almost say a necessary accompaniment of the bill for effecting a legislative union, to which he had intimated his assent on a former occasion. On the other hand, he must say, when he looked at the particular enactments of this bill, they appeared to him far beyond what the necessities of the case required, and at variance with principles which he regarded as of great importance. The title of the bill was to provide for the sale of the clergy reserves, and the distribution of the proceeds. To that title, modified as it might be, he could agree without hesitation, and he would have no objection to the preamble; but he gave notice to the noble Lord that there his acquiescence in this bill in a great degree must cease, and he only intended on the present occasion to assent to the second reading, because he was unwilling to have it supposed, that he was not as anxious as any Member of the House to make a settlement of this important question by the Parliament of the United Empire, contemporaneously with that of the legislative union, and not to leave it for future settlement by the provincial assembly. That was the only ground on which he could assent to the second reading, and he was anxious, that it should pass this stage without the expression of a contrary opinion here, which might have consequences more serious in the colony than we in this country were accustomed to suppose it. He claimed from the noble Lord full power at a future stage to enter into the discussion of the various objections he felt to the details of the measure; and he would express a hope that those who felt in common with him the necessity of altering them would concur with him on the present occasion, when discussion was scarcely practicable, in giving a qualified assent to the second reading.

Mr. Gally Knight

I feel the greatest reluctance to acquiesce in the second reading of this bill. It may, perhaps, seem extraordinary that I, who expressed the opinion that the Canadas would not long remain a part of the British Empire, should take any deep interest in this bill; but I do think that, so long as the Imperial Legislature frames laws for those provinces, it is our duty to provide for their welfare, whether they remain a part of this empire or not; it is our duty to sow such seed, and only such, as will produce salutary fruit. I confess I am not a little disappointed by the bill which is now before the House; I did hope that, after the opinions which have been expressed on this subject, and the ample opportunity which has been afforded, I did hope that the noble Lord would have made this bill less objectionable than its illegal predecessor; but this bill is a very counterpart of the former, as if the noble Lord were resolved to show, that he was not to be influenced by anything that has been said, as if he were re- solved to show his utter disregard of the opinions which have been pronounced, and of the persons who pronounced them—encouraged, I conclude, by the precepts of her Majesty's Solicitor General, who exhorted him to send up bills without any regard to the feelings, or opinions, of those to whom they are sent. The question of the clergy reserves is one of those questions which change their aspect with the temper of the times; of small dimensions, whilst the Canadas remained in a state of tranquillity, it has swelled into a morbid importance, in proportion as disaffection increased; for above thirty years not a voice was raised on the subject. It was not till 1821 that the Church of Scotland, for the first time expressed a wish to be allowed to participate. Since that period other claimants have come forward, one claim leading to another; at length, when the British yoke was to be shaken off, those who wished to promote that object saw that something was to be made of clergy reserves, and it was not long before clergy reserves became, in this way, a cry as well as responsible government. I do not say that no feeling existed previously on the subject, but I do say, that the intensity of the feeling is chiefly to be ascribed to political agitation. Of latter years the subject has repeatedly been brought before the provincial Legislature; sometimes a claim was put in for more parties; sometimes for not so many: sometimes it was proposed that the whole proceeds of the clergy reserves should be appropriated not to church purposes, but to education: sometimes that they should be distributed amongst the sects recognised by the laws of the province; at one time, that they should be allotted to the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the Wesleyan Methodists; at another time, that the whole subject should be referred, as it is now, to the Imperial Legislature; finally the bill was passed which was sent over this year, which assigns the proceeds, as does the bill which is now before the House, to all denominations. If this had been the uniform, unvarying demand of the provincial Legislature—if their cry had always been "this bill, and nothing but this bill"—then, perhaps, the noble Lord might have been justified in the course which he has pursued—but the House of Assembly has never come twice to the same decision: the decision of the House of Assembly has varied every year; we have, therefore, no reason to believe, that the people of Canada will acquiesce in no proposition but the present. Such is what may be called the history of the case—and now with regard to the rights of the case, I have no doubt that the clergy reserves were originally intended for the Church of England alone. I have no doubt that the opinion of Sir Peregrine Maitland is the right one, who says, that the expression of "Protestant Clergy," was in contra-distinction to that of "the Roman Catholic clergy," of whom mention had been previously made; and this opinion is confirmed by the fact that, for above thirty years, no claim was set up by any other party. This opinion is perfectly compatible with the opinion pronounced by the Crown lawyers, and recently by the judge; because if the original intention of the grant were once lost sight of, and the only question asked should be, "what do you understand by the words 'Protestant clergy?'" I freely admit that those words are large enough to comprehend other than the clergy of the Church of England. Indeed, it might be contended that the Church of England was altogether excluded, because the Church of England never protested. I am far from meaning to push the argument so far; I am only showing how far it might be carried if the letter of the law were alone to be considered, and the spirit and intention of the law, wholly disregarded. The opinion of the Crown lawyers was taken in 1819. They gave it as their opinion that the words would include the Church of Scotland, but could only apply to such churches as were recognised and established by law. The opinion of the judges, delivered the other day, equally admits the claims of the Church of Scotland. But the whole subject is now referred to the Imperial Parliament; and now comes the question, in what manner under all these circumstances it is the duty of the Imperial Legislature to act? I am far from wishing that the clergy reserves should be retained for the Church of England alone. I admit that in a colony we cannot plant a single dominant church; and, in the Canadas, which are soon to be united, which are soon to be one country, as the Roman Catholic Church is already established in a part of that country; least of all in the Canadas, should I wish to see only one Established and one do- minant Church. But that about which I am anxious is, that the future happiness of the Canadas should be carefully provided for, and, with this view, I am anxious not to perpetuate in the Canadas the disturbance and distraction of a multiplicity of sects; not to teach the people to be indifferent about religion by giving them reason to believe that we are indifferent about it ourselves. It is not that I presume to limit salvation to any particular shade of Christian doctrine, but that so much heart-burning and strife arises from the multiplicity of sects, that I would do nothing I could help to establish in the Canadas so great an evil. I therefore, object to this bill not only because it deals severely with the Church of England, but because it leaves everything open—because as it now stands, there is no variety of creed that a future Governor-general might not endow—no number of sects which may not have chapels in every village. What I earnestly wish is, that the clergy reserves, originally intended for one, should at any rate be confined to a few. In this desire I am borne out by the opinion expressed in a resolution of the provincial Legislature, at a time when the dispute was the hotest. The words of this resolution are "that it would be impracticable, and, for many considerations, inexpedient to distribute the money arising from the clergy reserves amongst all denominations." An additional reason for restriction is the inconsiderable amount of the fund (as compared with the object to be effected), which the sale of the reserved lands can be expected to produce. It appears that the whole of the clergy reserves cannot be expected to produce, from first to last, much above a million of money; not much above 40,000l. a-year for the salaries of all the Protestant Ministers, and the building of all the Protestant Churches in a country which exceeds the British islands in extent. But, then, we must give satisfaction. Can we ever hope to satisfy all the world? Is it our duty at any cost, to give satisfaction to those who have been in arms against us? May we not be content with doing what is right, and giving satisfaction to moderate and reasonable men, and to those who are still friendly to British connexion. Looking to all these considerations, looking lo the original distinction of the grant, looking to the amount of the income, looking to the future welfare of the Canadas, I should esteem it by far a wiser course to be guided by the resolutions which, only a year ago, were adopted by the House of Assembly, and which, therefore, cannot be supposed to be of a nature very distasteful to those for whom we are about to legislate. These resolutions were—1st., Out of the proceeds of the clergy reserves to pay to each clergyman of the Churches of England and Scotland 100l. a-year. 2nd. To pay the ministers of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Canada, in connexion with the English Conference, 100l. a year. 3. To expend the surplus interest in aid of the erection of Protestant places of worship. I think this would be a liberal interpretation of the Act of 1822—would square with the probable amount of the proceeds—and would consult the future welfare of the colony—I am aware of the claims of the Roman Catholics to assistance. I know that so large a number of our Irish brethren have migrated, and are, every year, migrating to Upper Canada, that they ought not to be left in a state of spiritual destitution. All I say is, that we cannot provide for the Roman Catholics out of this fund. In the face of the words, "Protestant Clergy," after being doubtful whether even the Church of Scotland is entitled to participate, how can we conscientiously admit the Church of Rome? To assent to this would be as imprudent as it would be wrong; for if men make it too apparent that they are utterly devoid of principle, they lower themselves in the opinion of the world, and lose no small portion of the power and influence which they possessed. Could we even surmount our scruples, the amount of the fund is an invincible obstacle of itself. There will never be more than will be absolutely required for Protestant purposes. But the clergy reserves are not the only lands. The Crown has a considerable extent of other lands in the Canadas, and the faith of the Crown might be pledged to continue to pay the Roman Catholic clergy, as they are paid now, out of the territorial revenues. This is the way in which I think, the vexata questio of the clergy reserves ought to be settled. This is the way in which I think, it might be settled. But I protest against the undefined, and indefinite latitude of the bill, as it stands at present; and to it, in its present shape, it is impossible for me to give my support.

Sir R. Inglis

, after alluding to the non-attendance of hon. Members on that important subject, contrasted with the full attendance which had characterised the discussions upon the Irish Registration Bill of his noble Friend, said, that nine-tenths of the Members within that House were as ignorant, he was afraid, of the merits and demerits of the bill then under consideration as were the persons outside. It was difficult, nay, it was almost presumptuous, in him to expect the attention of the House; yet so strongly did he feel the importance of the subject, that he felt, whether the House then passed the Bill with or without, a division, that it was a duty which the House owed to itself, and to those for whom they legislated, not to decide hastily or without consideration. Two months ago he doubted whether such a principle as that contained in the bill before the House could or would be entertained by that House; much less could he suppose that it could pass almost unnoticed and unobserved. Great indeed was the excitement which prevailed when the Government announced their intention of interfering with the clergy reserve lands of Canada, and the bill which had been submitted to Parliament was drawn up in direct contradiction to the opinions of the judges. There never was any doubt that the clergy reserves in Canada were the exclusive property of a Protestant Church, and it was only considered possible that the Church of Scotland might be entitled to share in the proceeds, but, in his opinion, the terms of the Act 31st George 3rd, which spoke of various orders of clergy, rectories and parsonage houses, must have reference exclusively to the established and episcopal Clergy. When, however, he found that the Government was not content with admitting the church of Scotland to a participation in those revenues, but proposed to extend the same right to the Roman Catholic clergy, he must say that the absurdity of the scheme was only equalled by its atrocity. It was an infraction upon the rights of property, with the full possession of sixty years to legalise the title. His right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Cambridge, had said, that if he looked to the clauses only of this bill he should regard it with unqualified disapprobation; but, he would ask, what had his right hon. Friend to look to on the present occasion? Not to the clauses, but to the principle of the bill. The bill was to provide for the sale of the clergy reserves in the province of Upper Canada, and for the distribution of the proceeds thereof, and the preamble recited that it was Expedient to provide for the final disposition of the lands called clergy reserves, in the province of Upper Canada, and for the appropriation of the yearly income arising or to arise, therefrom, from the maintenance of religion and the advancement of Christian knowledge within the said province. Now, he held that this was not merely a crime, but a needless crime: it was a robbery without an object. It would be far better to lease than to sell the lands; and here he would observe, that the whole colonial policy of this country, for many years past, in selling the fee simple of the Crown lands instead of granting them on lease, was radically wrong. Had the Government proposed to lease the colonial lands for ninety-nine years instead of disposing of them in perpetuity, they would obtain an equal amount of money, with the advantage of having the reversion to this country of those lands in a cultivated and improved condition after the lapse of one hundred years, which would contribute very largely to defray almost the whole expense of our colonial administration. Were this principle applied to the Canada clergy reserves a similar benefit would result. It had been stated that the lands were at present valueless. That could be obviated by letting the lands in lots, say for seven years at first, a condition annexed that a certain portion (one-third of these lots) should be cultivated, and on the expiration of the first septennary to re-let them for a second septennary with a similar condition, with a small annexed rent. By that means after the lapse of twenty-one years the whole of the lands would be cultivated, and the Government would obtain more in the course of these twenty-one years for the lands than they were now likely to obtain for them by their unconditional scale. By this bill the Government deprived the clergy and themselves of these lands, and by so doing committed a crime without an object. More could be obtained by letting than by selling these lands; besides, that House or her Majesty's Government had no more right to appropriate to other than clerical purposes the proceeds of the sale of these lands than they would have to appropriate or sell the property of the municipality of Montreal or of any town in the empire. By depriving the Protestant clergy of the Church of England of the produce of the sale of these lands, they established the right of the strongest. The distribution of their proceeds to the clergy of other denominations was contrary to the policy and principles of those who established these reserves; and he could not see with what justice or consistency the House should consent to the appropriation contained in the preamble of the bill. The judges of the land had decided that the clergy of the Church of Scotland were comprehended in the act which established these reserve lands, and were included in the name of "Protestant;" but they said that they were not asked whether or not other bodies were included also in the 31st George 3rd. Now what said the bill? The bill declared that "the residue of the fund should be applied for the support of the ministers or other religious teachers of the other religious bodies or denominations of Christians now receiving any stipend or allowance out of the revenues of Upper Canada." His hon. Friend, the Member for Droitwich, sought to obtain a list of the other denominations who were to be comprehended within this description. That list his hon. Friend could not obtain. But as the clause was worded, it comprised not only Roman Catholics eo nomine, but those who could not be denominated Christians. This was contrary to the opinion of the judges, who declared that there were but two classes—the members of the Churches of England and of Scotland were alone included in the Act of 31st George 3rd. For these reasons he trusted that the House would not pass that bill or recognise its principle, and that they would not deprive the clergy of those Churches of that provision which the enactments of the Act of 31st Geo. 3rd intended and provided for them.

Mr. Hume

remarked that the bill was divided into two parts—one for the sale of the reserves, and the other for the distribution of the proceeds. He was of opinion that the sale of the clergy reserves was a proper measure; to that extent be would go, but no further with the bill. The hon. Baronet opposite disapproved of the distribution of the produce of the sale amongst any persuasion but the members of the Church of England; but he must admit that the English judges had gone a little further than that, and had stated that the Scotch Church according to law had a right to a share in it. This subject had been a source of con- tinual discontent and strife for the last twenty years in Canada. He would not say that it was the cause of the insurrection which had taken place in Canada, but according to the communications of Mr. Thomson and others who were the best acquainted with the state of popular feeling, it was one of the main causes of that revolt. To carry this bill would be to force on the people of Canada that which they did not require and which they wished to avoid. The Government would be deceiving the people of Canada, for they had made promises which now they were about to violate. For several years past petitions had been laid on the table of that House, praying that the clergy reserves might be sold, but at the same time that no part of the produce should be applied to the aid of any religious persuasion in Canada where there was not more than one person in ten belonged to the Church of England. They wished the money to be appropriated to some general purposes of improvement, and not to the support of any single religious establishment. If the bill passed, therefore, in its present shape, it would go to set up religious establishments in opposition to the general views and wishes of the people who desired that the voluntary system should be maintained, as it was in the United States. Those who lived to see the operation of this bill should it pass, would find that it had sown the seeds of future discord and confusion. He objected to the bill, not because it did not give all the money to the Protestant Established Church, but because it gave any to any church. The people of Canada wanted no appropriation of the money to any religious class, whether Protestants, or Roman Catholics, or Dissenters. They had recorded that opinion and desire in the petitions which they had presented during the last six or seven Parliaments. It rested with the noble Lord the Minister for the Colonies to say whether he would sow the seeds of future peace or future discord. The noble Lord might think that an expression of opinion in favour of the principle of this bill on the part of the British Parliament would create a change in the public mind in Canada. Why he ventured to caution the noble Lord on a former occasion when, the noble Lord thought that an expression of a large majority of that House would have that effect. But what did the Canadians do? That House expressed an opinion, which was confirmed by 600 Members to fifty-four, against the opinion of the Canadian people. Why, the Canadians laughed that opinion to scorn. They were not to be dragooned considering the neighbourhood in which they lived, into a compliance with every measure the noble Lord chose to bring forward. He entered his protest against the appropriation of the revenues which might be derived from the sale of the clergy reserves in the manner proposed. The Canadians themselves were the parties to whom the appropriation of the money should be left, for they were the best judges in the matter. He should, however, agree to let the bill go into committee for the purpose of making that alteration which he deemed to be necessary.

Sir G. Clerk

said, he rose chiefly for the purpose of calling the attention of the noble Lord and the House to the manner in which it was proposed to deal with the the ministers of the Church of Scotland in this bill. It was a matter of great gratification to him, and no doubt to every native of Scotland, that the claim which had been put forward for so many years by the Church of Scotland had been confirmed by the judges of the land. But he regretted that it should be attempted to give effect to that decision of the judges in a manner which could not but give pain to the Church of Scotland; he alluded to the description which was given of that Church in the bill. He did not disapprove of the sale of the clergy reserves, nor of the proposition that a share of the produce should be given to the Churches of England and Scotland; but he regretted, that in disposing of that portion of the reserves which was to be devoted to the Church of Scotland, there should be mixed up with that Church a great number of persons who had no connexion whatever with it. They were told, that the clause of the bill allotting one fourth to the Church of Scotland, was To be taken to mean and include as well the Presbyterians in connexion with the Church of Scotland, as the Presbyterians of the United Synod in Upper Canada. He would not enquire now whether too large or too small a portion of the funds was to be given to the Church of Scotland, but he asked whether they were right in allowing other persons to take part in the benefits intended professedly for that Church? It was not necessary that a man to be a Presbyterian should adopt the particular forms and creeds of the Church of Scotland, or that he should subscribe to the confession of the Westminster assembly of divines. Under the term "Presbyterians" there were many sects who held doctrines quite opposed to the doctrines of the Church of Scotland, both in this country, in the United States, and in Canada. If the Church of Scotland was to be considered entitled to a share in the clergy reserves under the Act of 1791, and yet to be mixed up with the other Presbyterians, what was that but throwing the Church of Scotland into the same position as other sects, and making them equal with her? The bill went on to make the most extraordinary provision for erecting a General Assembly in Canada, totally different from that General Assembly which was known in Scotland. He was sure that if the General Assembly of the Church in Scotland was fully aware of the nature and purport of the clauses in this bill, a very strong remonstrance against the bill would be sent into that House. The clause for directing the application of the funds enacted, that The share for the Church of Scotland shall be expended under the authority of a general assembly of ministers and elders within the said province of Upper Canada, severally deputed from the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Upper Canada, in connexion with the Church of Scotland, and from the United Synod of Upper Canada, presided over by a commissioner to be appointed by the Governor of the said province. That clause bespoke either great ignorance or great carelessness, because the president of any such assembly was a person chosen from among their own body. Those who drew up the bill must have been unacquainted with even the forms of the Church courts of Scotland, as well as ignorant of the fact that there was a great dissimilarity between the doctrines and discipline of the Church of Scotland and many of those who were called Presbyterians. By such an arrangement the noble Lord could have no security against persons claiming aid who would teach religious opinions not taught or recognised by the Church of Scotland. Before the bill went into committee, he trusted the noble Lord and her Majesty's Government would carefully revise the clauses he had referred to, and whatever portion of the funds might be allotted to the Church of Scotland, whether it were a fourth part or a larger proportion of the aggregate, he hoped that care would be taken to secure it to the Church of Scotland exclusively. As no division was likely to be taken at this stage of the bill, he should reserve his objections to matters of detail to some future opportunity. But he hoped, that in the mean time some attention would be paid to the manner in which the Church of Scotland had been specified and described in the bill.

Mr. Kemble

objected not merely to the details, but to the principle of the bill. He was sorry to say anything which might appear unkind to Dissenters from the Establishment, many of whom he knew to be very worthy men, but he contended that they must not expect to have such measures as this passed. If the principle of this bill were once recognised, he did not see how they could afterwards maintain an Establishment in this country or in Canada. In his humble opinion, the funds raised by the sale of the clergy reserves, ought to be applied to the churches of England and of Scotland exclusively. Were the State to allow the money to be given to others than established Churches in Canada, he did not see how they could refuse support from the State to any denomination of professing Christians in this country. He considered the bill to be, in fact, a fatal attack upon the principle of Church Establishments; and, though he wished to exercise all charity to other denominations, he could not be a party to any State allowance being made to any religious community except the Established Churches of the land. On these grounds he should divide with the right hon. Baronet against the bill.

Lord J. Russell

said, the hon. Gentlemen who opposed this bill, all seemed to have argued on the ground that it was a bill to explain the Act of 1791. That was not the object of the present bill, but to settle the question, which had been a source of great discontent and vexation in Canada. The Act of 1791 had a certain sense to be applied to it, and with regard to that sense certain doubts had arisen, and the matter had been referred to the judges for their opinion. But the present bill was not a bill to explain any of those doubts, or to state what were the opinions of the Legislature itself in 1791. It was a bill proposing to deal with pro- perty as it now existed, and to settle it in the manner best calculated for the peace of Canada, and for the promotion of religious instruction there. That being the object of the bill, he thought what hon. Gentlemen had stated as to the nature of the Act of 1791 lost all the force which might otherwise belong to it. The property to be dealt with, by the bill had been left waste and neglected, and the revenue derived from it had been vested in a corporation, not established by law, but of very questionable authority, which corporation had received the feu rents that were to be received, and afterwards paid them over to the receiver-general, to be applied by the Governor under the direction of the Crown. But that property had been an obstacle to the improvement of the lands, and a source of the dissension and division in the Legislature. It was thought desirable, then, not to explain the Act of 1791, but to settle the question in such a manner as to promote the religious instruction of the people, and procure the permanent settlement of the dispute. The present Governor had stated, that the consequence of not settling this question would be, that, as had always been the case, whenever a general election took place this would be a great subject of discussion and division, and those candidates who would promise not to vote for the application of the funds arising out of the clergy reserves to the support of any ministers of religion whatever, would receive the support of the great portion of the people of Upper Canada, and thus the first meeting of the Legislature would be one of disturbance and dissension. The question would be still, not whether the Church of England should receive one-fourth of this property, or the Church of Scotland one-fourth exclusively, or whether it should be divided with the United Synod of Upper Canada, but whether any of the property should be devoted to the purposes of religious instruction at all, and if so, whether Roman Catholics or any other body should not be allowed to participate in the distribution of that property. Was it not desirable to take measures to prevent that? He would ask the House, was it not most desirable to prevent this question being brought before the united Legislature, and decided in a manner opposed to the views which Parliament was known to entertain? Was it desirable that such a cause of contention should be sent forth to this country, from a colony which would probably then contain a population of 1,200,000 persons? He was sure the House must agree with him, when he said, that it was absolutely necessary that this question should be settled without further delay, and it would not be settled by means of a reference to the colonial Legislature; it would not be a settlement of the question if they were only to deal with it according to the notions common in this country; it must be arranged in a manner satisfactory to the inhabitants of Canada. A settlement in name, and not in reality, would be but a new source of discontent, a new source of dissension, and a new source of complaint against the Government of the mother country. It would be to no useful purpose that Parliament should impose statutory regulations in opposition to the declared feelings and wishes of the Canadians. These were the general reasons upon which the measure had been brought forward. The object was to effect a settlement by sale, and such a settlement as, by proving satisfactory, was likely to be permanent. With regard to details, he should only say, that when they went into committee, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, and other hon. Members, might bring forward any propositions they thought proper, but for his part he should be guided by the principles which he had already stated, and without due regard to which, he felt persuaded, that they could not hope to secure peace and concord.

Mr. Pakington

considered the present measure to be a worse bill than that sent over by Mr. Poulett Thomson. It involved this great question—how far it was incumbent upon the Imperial Parliament to make provision for the maintenance of the Established Church in Canada? Upon the issue of the present proceeding depended this question—whether they would adopt means for the propagation of religion in Canada, not only presently, but prospectively, or whether they would abandon such a design altogether? Although he wished the Church of Scotland to be admitted to a share in those reserves, he still thought the Act of George 3rd did not admit of an interpretation favourable to that. The intention of the Act of 1791 most certainly was to make provision for the clergy of the Church of England, and that not only presently, but prospectively, and he denied that under the present bill adequate provision would be made for them. On the authority of the Bishop of Toronto he was enabled to state, that there were in the lower province 300 Roman Catholic clergymen, with annual incomes averaging about 275l. each, and amounting in the whole to 82,500l. The whole of the Romish endowments in Lower Canada did not fall short of 4,500,000l. He, therefore, never could consent to a bill which had a tendency to add to the endowments of the Romish Church. He objected to the immediate and forced sale of clergy reserve lands, and he objected to the investment of any funds arising from them in local securities, even though they did yield 6 per cent. His object in addressing the House, was to show, that on any possible construction of this bill, it would be a measure of positive injustice and insufficiency to the Church of England. The Bishop of Toronto had said the whole of this property would not fetch more than 600,000l.; Captain Pringle, on the other hand, had said it would fetch a million; but, even taking it at the latter high calculation, one-fourth of that amount, if it were invested in security at 6 per cent., would only produce 15,000l. per annum—a sum very inadequate for the purposes to which it was to be applied. The religious destitution at Montreal was extremely great; and in Upper Canada 100 clergymen more at the least were required, in addition to the present number, for the existing population. The population, too, of Canada, was daily increasing, and he would contend, that the Government were bound to provide adequate means of spiritual instruction; but that they could not do if they sold this property and distributed the proceeds in the manner laid down in this bill. According to the returns which had been made to this House of the religious denominations in Canada, he found that there were about 80,000 persons of the Church of England, but of the Church of Scotland there were not more than 40,000; and even if to the latter they added the seceders from the Scotch Church, and the Presbyterians of the United Synod of Upper Canada, the number would not amount to more than 70,000. He wished, therefore, to know on what principle of justice they were going to divide the proceeds of these lands, so as to give to the Scotch Church a share equal to that of the Established Church. He had stated these numbers from printed returns which had been furnished to the House of Commons. The residue of the proceeds he found was to be divided between the other religious bodies in Canada, including, as he supposed, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Universalists, Unitarians, Nonconformists, Irvingites, Liberators, and other such sects. [Mr. V. Smith: It was not intended to appropriate the residue to all those classes.] Why, it was so stated in the bill. What said the 7th clause?— That, subject to the foregoing provisions, the residue of the said annual fund shall be applied for the support of the ministers or other religious teachers of the other religious bodies or denominations of Christians now receiving any stipend or allowance out of the revenues of Upper Canada or out of the casual and territorial revenues of the Crown in Upper Canada, and not before mentioned in this act, or otherwise generally for the support and maintenance of public worship or the erection of buildings for religious worship for the use of any denomination of Christians in such manner and proportion, and subject to such regulations and conditions, as the Governor, with the advice of his Executive Council, from time to time shall think fit. But if all the classes he had mentioned were not to take a slice of the proceeds, then the number of recipients was diminished, and the injustice to the Established Church was the greater. He found, too, that there were not less than 35,000 persons who had openly sent in a return that they belonged to no religious persuasion whatsoever. Could there be anything more appalling than that? or could anything reflect more disgrace on her Majesty's Government than their having so long neglected to provide sufficient religious instruction in Canada? The colony ought to have a sufficiently endowed church, and he would never cease to demand that. He had a right to demand it. He for one had no objection to giving a portion of the proceeds to the Presbyterian church, but, in his opinion, it was monstrous to make the division without a due consideration of the number of the recipients. They never could hope for a just settlement of this question if they proceeded on so monstrous and unjust a principle as characterized the bill then before the House. He had heard it said by the hon. Member for Kilkenny that the air of America was un-suited to a church establishment, [Mr. Hume: So it is.] He wished to say nothing offensive of that hon. Member, but he must confess that a more absurd, ridiculous, and untenable doctrine he had never heard. As a proof of that, he begged to read to the House the opinion which was expressed by the legislature of Upper Canada in an address to the Crown on this subject only so far back as 1831. It was this:— We fully trust that your Majesty and the Imperial Parliament, maintaining one of the first principles of the British Constitution, will preserve to the inhabitants of Upper Canada the advantages of an adequate and permanent provision for the support of public worship, being persuaded that by such means the best security will be afforded for the moral conduct of the people and the peace and happiness of society. He might, perhaps, have spoken with warmth on this subject, but he confessed that he felt great indignation on it; and firmly believed that Canada would never tolerate this bill. He was, indeed, surprised that such a measure should have proceeded from a Government who were condemned by the country, who were outvoted, and unable to command a majority in this House, and who were afraid to appeal to the country. He objected to this bill in many respects; but he was nevertheless most anxious that the subject should not go back to Canada unsettled. It was on that account that he had refused to vote against this bill. He had all along consented to the distribution of the proceeds of these lands; but then he wished the sale to be made gradually and advantageously, and the money to be divided amongst those Christians whom he thought entitled to it; and that he really believed to be the principle of the bill, widely as he differed from its details. He should therefore vote for going into committee on it; but most decidedly on the third reading, if it were not altered more to his views, he should divide the House, although he might be the only person going out against it.

Mr. Labouchere

in one respect would certainly endeavour not to follow the example of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, but would carefully abstain from departing from the question immediately before the House. Neither would enter into the discussion of party topics which were unconnected with the subject. If, as had been said by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, it were desirable that on all questions relating to colonial matters the House should avoid party excitement, it was, in his opinion, more essentially incumbent on them to do so, when they were discussing that part of the colonial policy upon which, however great might be the excitement in this House, it was as nothing compared with the excitement in the colonies—he meant that part which related to religious topics and religious establishments. He admitted, that it was most important that this question should be settled by the Imperial Parliament, and that it should not be sent back to be settled in the first session of the Legislature of the united provinces. There was, as he thought, but on thing more dangerous, and that was agreeing to a bill which they knew would meet with the most determined and resolute opposition of almost the whole body of the Canadians. The people of Canada had spoken no doubtful language on this subject; by frequent addresses through the Legislature of Upper Canada, by frequent petitions from themselves, they had shown that it was contrary to their wish that there should be established in that country a dominant church, which should excite the utmost opposition of a great body of the inhabitants. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, had expressed his surprise that such a bill as this should have come from Canada. Now, he (Mr. Labouchere) had had during the present year, and also last year, while he was connected with the Colonial Department, frequent opportunities of consulting persons of all political opinions, and of all clauses and professions in Canada, with regard to the feeling of that country on this subject, and he could truly say, that, without any exception, he had never met with any man who did not say—"When you come to consider the church question of Canada, for God's sake don't look on the subject with English but with Canadian eyes." It should not be imagined that the people of Canada looked upon the question with the same feelings as those with which it was looked upon here, and if hon. Members wished to see the British connexion with the colony preserved, they should avoid shocking the feelings of the Canadians on so important a subject as this. Undoubtedly the bill was in the nature of a compromise; it pleased neither of the extreme parties in the colony; it did not satisfy the high Church, nor did it satisfy those who were anxious to see the voluntary principle acted upon; but he would tell the House whom the measure pleased—it pleased the majority of reflecting people in Canada, and was considered by the great body of the members of the Church of England in the colony as a most excellent bargain, and as the best and most advantageous settlement of the question that could be obtained. As a member of the Church of England, and one who felt a sincere attachment to the Church, he must say, he never expected to see provisions so advantageous to it embodied in a bill coming from Canada, and he should be sorry to see the House lose the opportunity of carrying them into effect. Upon the principle of the bill, he believed the House was tolerably well agreed, and, as there would be no want of opportunities for discussing the details, he should enter into them at present very sparingly. With regard to the principle, he admitted that those who considered it to be our duty to establish the Church of England in all our colonial possessions as a matter of principle, and without reference to the situation of the colony, or the feelings of the inhabitants, he admitted that those who entertained this opinion were perfectly consistent in their opposition to this bill. He admitted that the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford would be perfectly consistent in opposing the second reading; but while he respected the consistency of the hon. Baronet, the hon. Baronet must give him credit for equal sincerity when he said, that while he thought this country had no more sacred duty than to promote the interests of religion, he considered at the same time that there was no worse mode of producing the result than by forcing upon a people a religious system to which they were opposed. The same question would arise with respect to every colony of the empire, and if the House sanctioned the principle of maintaining an exclusive and dominant Church Establishment in all our colonies it would shake our colonial empire to its foundation. Principles like this were not such as a mighty empire, consisting of people of various races, creeds, and opinions, could afford to act upon; they were such as no extensive empire had ever dared to act upon. They might be the doctrines imperiosorum populorum, but were of too narrow and restricted a nature to suit England. It had been stated that Mr. Fox had objected, in the course of the debates upon the Canada Government Bill, to the allotment of one seventh part of the lands for clergy reserves; but the House ought to have been reminded that Mr. Pitt's reply to the objection was, that this, like every other part of the measure, was open to future revision. In looking back at the debates upon that measure, in which Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Pitt took part, and which took place in the midst of the excitement raised by the outbreak of the French revolution, one could not help being struck with the large, comprehensive, and statesmanlike views which were in those days taken of great public questions by the leading men of all parties. The alarm which Mr. Burke felt at the French revolution did not prevent him from saying, that in selecting a constitution for the people of Canada great attention was to be paid to that of America, because it was of importance that the people of Canada should have nothing to envy in the constitution of a country so near their own, and he proceeded to say, "Situation and circumstances are first to be considered 'Non mihi res sed me rebus subjungere conor.' Mr. Burke was not scared by the name of republicanism from looking at the position in which the colony was placed. He considered the way to bind a colony to the mother country was by conferring upon it substantial benefits, and not by any abstract reference to maxims which might be perfectly right and just in this country, where the people thought them to be so, but which it might be impossible to apply under totally different circumstances. One part of the speech of the hon. Member for Droitwich surprised him very much. He certainly considered it a very great recommendation to the present measure that it was not introduced upon any mere speculation as to what the feelings of the people of Canada upon the subject might be, but was the very measure which had been proposed by the colonial Legislature itself. The hon. Member, however, had referred to one point in which the pre- sent bill differed from the measure which had come from Canada. In the latter, the portion to be given to one church or another was to be determined by the number of the population who belonged to that church, to be ascertained by a census. This provision the hon. Member preferred to that of the present bill, by which the portion was fixed, and was not subject to vary; but, if the hon. Member consulted the highest authorities of the Church of England, he would find that the alteration was considered by them preferable to the original proposition, which would introduce a species of rivalry between different sects such as it was not desirable for the sake either of the civil or religious peace of the community to encourage. The hon. Member had also referred to the ordinance upon the subject of the seminary of St. Sulpice: but that ordinance did not, as the hon. Member seemed to suppose, give any property to the seminary which did not belong to it already; it merely made an arrangement with respect to the property previously possessed by this body, which afforded many advantages to the inhabitants of Montreal. An objection had been also made to the bill because it would put Roman Catholics upon the same footing as Protestants, but that was a principle which had been acted upon with the greatest advantage for some years in other colonies, and particularly in Australia, and it would be most inexpedient now to depart from it. During the late unfortunate disturbances in Canada he was assured by the highest authorities that not one Roman Catholic joined the rebels in Upper Canada, and that not one Irish Roman Catholic had joined the rebels in Lower Canada. Not only had this been the case, but their zeal and loyalty had been most fervent and exemplary during the insurrections. He should, therefore, be sorry to see the House take a course which would be considered as an insult by this class of her Majesty's subjects in the colony. The object of the bill was to take the subject into consideration with a view of coming to an arrangement upon large and liberal principles. He believed the House assented to the principle, and the details would be considered in committee.

Mr. Estcourt

thought it was most unjust to say that those who opposed the measure had no desire to see the question settled. He wished very much to have the question settled, but he should be glad to see it settled upon principles of justice, and not of injustice. The present bill was unjust, because it would make those participators in the property of the clergy who had been purposely excluded when the property was granted. He believed this to be the main object and the most essential provision of the bill. The preamble of the bill was calculated to mislead the public as to its nature and effect. It purported merely to be "A Bill for the Sale of the Clergy Reserves in the province of Upper Canada, and for the distribution of the proceeds." This did not denote any intention to divert the clergy reserves from their original destination. The measure ought to be described as an act for the sale of the clergy reserves, and the appropriation of the proceeds to new and heretofore unauthorised purposes. Considering such to be the principle of the measure, he must vote against the second reading.

Mr. Sergeant Jackson

said he should take the same coarse, considering the bill to be one for the spoliation of the Church in Canada. It might be perfectly justifiable to appropriate the clergy reserves to the Church of Scotland, which was the established church in one part of the empire, and to the Church of England, which was the Established Church in another; but it was nothing less than spoliation to take away the property of the Protestant clergy and appropriate it to all the heterogeneous descriptions of religion now professed in Canada. It was said, that if the Imperial Parliament did not pass this bill, the first step which the united legislature of Canada would take would be to despoil the Church. That would have been a good argument against passing the Canada Union Bill. He had abandoned his opposition to that measure, because he was told that her Majesty's Government had the best means of ascertaining the feelings of the people in the colony. But if he had been told by the Government that such would have been the result of the bill, he should never have consented to its passing. He did not think this statement, which was not made then, ought to induce the House now to consent to the measure before them.

Mr. Pringle

objected to the principle of the bill, and stated that if the bill went into committee, he should bring forward objections to other parts of it.

Lord Teignmouth

protested against the course of her Majesty's Government, and especially against the speech of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Labouchere). In contradiction of what his right hon. Friend had stated, Sir George Arthur, in his despatches, declared that the agitation had been confined to the newspapers. Much of this agitation had arisen from the course which, from first to last, had been pursued by her Majesty's Government, and none more than that part of it which related to the church and ecclesiastical matters, diverting the clergy reserves to all sects, and thus offering a bounty and encouragement to this sort of agitation. He protested against this measure being discussed, except with calmness and deliberation, and he deprecated the language of his right hon. Friend. A large number of Members on that (the opposition) side of the House were ready to make sacrifices on condition that a proper provision should be made for the Church of England, and he approved of the appropriation of a part to the Church of England and a part to the Church of Scotland. Further than this he would not go. If the bill should pass this House, it would not pass the House of Lords, nor would it receive the sanction of the country.

Mr. Gladstone

said, he felt it necessary, as he did not propose to vote with some of his hon. Friends, to explain the grounds upon which he proposed to act. Before he went, however, into the general grounds, he should advert to one point—namely, the particular clause of the bill which had been referred to by the hon. Members for Stamford and for Selkirkshire, with reference to a new general assembly in Canada for administering the temporalities of the Presbytery. The noble Lord thought, he had quite sufficiently answered the objection of the hon. Member when he assured the House that this assembly was not to alter the Westminter confession or interfere with the discipline of that body, but to regulate and distribute the shares which would accrue to the Presbyterian body, if this measure became law. He could not help still feeling a strong objection against this most anomalous body; for what would be the result of such a state of things? Strange things they had seen and would see, but a stranger thing than such an assembly, in bodily existence, they never could see. Here would be a body united by no tie or bond but the name of Presbyterians who were to meet together and to regulate the distribution of the whole body's pecuniary affairs. It was a heterogeneous body, united merely in name, with essential differences in sentiment, which, by this clause of the noble Lord's bill, was to superintend and govern each other's pecuniary affairs. With regard to the general principles, the noble Lord had argued with great force that it was extremely desirable that the bill should pass, and not be returned to the colony and be a subject of angry discussion, and he concurred in this as a general principle. But considerations of this kind had their limits, and the right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, had admitted the true limits, when he said that there was only one thing which was worse than remitting the bill to the colonial Legislature, and that was, to pass a bill on principles not approved of in the colony. He (Mr. Gladstone) said, there was another thing still worse—that was, passing a bill which involved a breach of faith, which, even if it did meet with the present sense of the colony, could not, in the end, conduce to its permanent good. If such a bill was to be passed, and the colony were determined to have such a bill, he agreed that we were not to force British notions upon such a colony; but he. protested against being called upon in Parliament, where British principles were acted upon, to abandon those principles, and if the colony would not adopt our principles, to be required to adopt theirs. He regretted to hear the exultation expressed by the noble Lord at the present state of feeling in the colony, and at the lukewarmness in favour of the Established Church. They were not about to settle the abstract principle of a Church establishment, but to deal with a difficulty which had arisen out of the act of 1791, and he would not be a party to a violent and compulsory abrogation of any claims which had arisen under the act of 1791, and if he took the explanation of the noble Lord as the principle of the bill, and inferred it to be a measure based upon an unlimited right to alienate what had been solemnly given, and which it was not pretended had been abused. He would not, however, vote against the second reading, because he thought no argument had been urged against the bill which would not have been sound and valid against the first reading, and when the bill was introduced. Such a compulsory abrogation would be neither more nor less than a breach of faith. What was the principle of this bill? It might fairly be inferred from its title and preamble. The bill was entitled A bill to provide for the Sale of the Clergy Reserves in the province of Upper Canada, and for the distribution of the proceeds thereof. No friend of the Church could fail to be aware that the sale of these reserves, at least to a considerable extent, would be wise and judicious; and then as to the distribution of the proceeds, that was the very thing that was contemplated by the act of 1791, although it had never taken effect. The preamble represented the principle of the bill in a very different light from the description given of it by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies. The noble Lord spoke of it as an unsettlement of the act of 1791, and a re-settlement of the whole question on a totally different footing; but the preamble, which was more authoritative than any statement even of the noble Lord himself, merely declared it to be— Expedient to provide for the final disposition of the lands called Clergy Reserves, in the province of Upper Canada, and for the appropriation of the yearly income arising or to arise therefrom, for the maintenance of religion, and the advancement of Christian knowledge within the said province.'' Which strictly and literally did not call for any expression of hostility on the second reading of this bill. He was anxious that the bill for the union of the Canadas should have wholly left that House before they were called on to divide against this bill, which formed its natural and almost necessary concomitant. But there was another ground on which he hoped his hon. Friends would not press this motion to a division at present. It was understood that the Primate of England and the Bishop of London, with every disposition to lead to a settlement of this question, and acting on the part of the Church, had made a concession, for the sake of security and peace, of a part of those extreme rights to which they conceived she was entitled under the act of 1791. It was, therefore, most desirable that the House should be well informed as to the nature and circumstances of that offer before they divided against this bill. He not ask his hon. Friends to compromise any principle of property or religion, but he called on them not to take any step to prejudice the cause they had so much at heart by a premature division, when substantial unity of sentiment prevailed on that side of the House, and ample power to modify the measure in its further progress through the House.

Lord J. Russell

begged to say a very few words in explanation. He utterly denied having spoken with anything like a feeling of exultation of the prevailing popular opinion in Canada upon this subject; on the contrary, he had upon a former occasion expressed his regret that principles which he considered more sound did not prevail in the colony. The only other point to which he would refer was the proposition which had been made by the Primate of England on this subject. He was quite ready, if it were wished, to state at once what that proposition was; he had it not, however, in writing, but he could pledge himself to its substantial accuracy. The proposition, as he understood it, was, that with respect to one fourth of the Clergy Reserves, which had been already sold and partly invested in this country, it should be considered to belong to the Church of England; and that of the remaining three-fourths, one half should also belong to the Church of England, and the other half to be appropriated to such parties as the Government might fix. There was this further proposition, that the whole belonging to the Church of England should be at the disposal of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; that it should be for the society to decide whether the whole or any part should be sold or kept in land, and the income only to be disposed of. Such was the proposition made on the part of the Church. He did say, that with the views of the most rev. Prelate, such a proposition showed a spirit of conciliation; but it appeared to him, that one of two courses should be taken—either to legislate in this country in such a manner as to produce contentment in Canada, or, if that were inconsistent with our principles, then to give to the Legislature of Canada an absolute right to legislate on the subject.

The House divided on the question, that the bill be read a second time:—Ayes 152 Noes 35: Majority 117.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Adare, Viscount Hobhouse, T. B.
Aglionby, H. A. Hodges, T. L.
Aglionby, Major Hodgson, R.
Alston, R. Hoskins, K.
Baines, E. Houldsworth, T.
Baring, right hon. F. T. Hume, J.
Barnard, E. G. Humphrey, J.
Barry, G. S. Hurt, F.
Berkeley, hon. H. Hutton, R.
Berkeley, hon. C. Ingham, R.
Bernal, R. James, W.
Bewes, T. Jervis, J.
Blake, M. J. Lambton, H.
Blake, W. J. Langdale, hon. C.
Blewett, R. J. Lister, E. C.
Bodkin, J. J. Lushington, C.
Bowes, J. Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.
Briscoe, J. L Marshall, W.
Brodie, W. B. Marsland, H.
Brotherton, J. Marsland, T.
Browne, R. D. Martin, T. B.
Bryan, G. Mildmay, P. St. J.
Buller, E. Milnes, R. M.
Burroughes, H. N, Morris, D.
Busfield, W. Nicholl, J.
Chalmers, P. O'Connell, D.
Clay, W. O'Connell, M.
Collier, J. O'Conor Don
Crompton, Sir S. O'Ferrall, R. M
Dalmeny, Lord Packe, C. W.
Dashwood, G. H. Paget, F.
Denison, W. J. Pakington, J. S.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. Parker, J.
Duke, Sir J. Pechell, Captain
Duncombe, hon. W. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Dundas, Sir R. Phillpotts, J.
Eastnor, Viscount Protheroe, E.
Eliot, Lord Pryme, G.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Pusey, P.
Evans, G. Rawdon, Colonel
Evans, W. Rice, E. R.
Ewart, W. Rich, H.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Rickford, W.
Finch, F. Roche, W.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Rolleston, L.
Fort, J. Rundle, J.
French, F. Russell, Lord J.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Russell, Lord C.
Gisborne, T. Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Gladstone, W. E. Sanford, E. A.
Gordon, R. Scholefield, J.
Gore, O. W. Scrope, G. P.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Seale, Sir J. H.
Grattan, H. Sheppard, T.
Greenaway, C. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Somers, J. P.
Grimsditch, T. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Harcourt, G. G. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Hawes, B. Stewart, J.
Heathcoat, J. Steuart, W. V.
Hector, C. J. Strutt, E.
Henniker, Lord Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Hindley, G. Talfourd, Sergeant
Hill, Lord A. M. C. Tancred, H. W.
Teignmouth, Lord Williams, W. A.
Thornely, T. Wilshire, W.
Tufnell, H. Wood, C.
Turner, E. Wood, G. W.
Turner, W. Wood, B.
Vernon, G. H. Wrightson, W. B.
Vigors, N. A. Wynn, rt. hn. C. W.
Wakley, T. Yates, J. A.
Warburton, H. Young, J.
Ward, H. G.
White, A. TELLERS.
White, H. Maule, hon. F.
Williams, W. Smith, R. V.
List of the NOES.
Bailey, J. jun. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Bell, M. Mackenzie, T.
Blennerhassett, A. Maunsell, T. P.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Monypenny, T. G.
Burr, H. Parker, R. T.
Courtenay, P. Pease, J.
Estcourt, T. Perceval, Colonel
Filmer, Sir E. Plumptre, J. P.
Glynn, Sir S. R. Richards, R.
Gore, O. J. R. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Grant, Sir A. C. Rushout, G.
Hepburn, Sir. T. B. Shaw, right hon. F.
Hughes, W. B. Sotheron, T. E.
Jackson, Sergeant Stanley, E.
Kemble, H. Vere, Sir C. B.
Knight, H. G. Williams, R.
Liddell, hon. H. T. TELLERS.
Litton, E. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Lockhart, A. M. Pringle, A.

Bill read a second time.