§ Mr. Mangles
would ask the right hon. Gentleman a question, arising from the allegations in a petition which had been forwarded to him, but which he did not then intend to present to the House. The petitioners stated that they deeply regretted the strife and discord which now distracted the Church of England, arising from the efforts made to revive obsolete ceremonies. The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that the people of this country, in many parishes and districts, are distracted and divided by these differences. It appeared, so far as he was aware, that their disputes arose from the conscientious scruples entertained on both sides, many clergymen of the Established Church considering themselves bound by their vows and obligations to revive certain ceremonies, and to wear certain vestments, which were not in general use throughout the country; the parishioners on the other hand declaring that neither they nor their forefathers had been accustomed to these practices, and strongly objecting to the innovation. A vast deal of acrimonious feeling had thus 101 been engendered about matters in themselves, perhaps, of trifling importance; and both parties adhering obstinately to their own opinions, as it might naturally be supposed they would, the result was a great deal of disunion, which agitated and disturbed the country. The petitioners implored Her Majesty's Government to take these matters into their early consideration, and to devise some measure for the restoration of harmony and tranquillity. The question which he would put to the right hon. Gentleman was, whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government, either by Act of Parliament, or indirectly, by means of the dignitaries of the Church, to take any measures to set the disputed points at rest, and to lay down rules binding upon both parties?
§ Sir R. Peel
recollected that the hon. Gentleman had several days since mentioned the subject to him, and had given him notice that he would put the question. He was not prepared to give any assurance with respect to any interference on the part of the Government in reference to the matters mentioned in the petition.
§ Mr. Mangles
said, that he had asked another question, which the right hon. Gentleman, in answering the first, did not reply to. He also asked whether Her Majesty's Government intended to take indirect measures through the instrumentality of the dignitaries of the Church?
§ Sir R. Peel
understood the hon. Gentleman to ask him if the Government were prepared to give any assurance, with respect to the introduction of legislative measures—with respect to the exercise directly of the authority of the Executive Government, or with respect to a communication to be made to the bishops, soliciting their interference. The reply which he had to give to both of these questions was, that the Government was not prepared to give any assurance of interference.