§ Upon the question that the Speaker leave the chair, to go into Committee upon the Bishopric of Manchester, &c, Bill,
§ MR. FREWEN
said, this Bill, instead of being called the Bishopric of Manchester Bill, ought to be entitled, "A Bill to preserve the Bishopric of Bangor." If the Act for the union of the two sees of Bangor and St. Asaph were to be deviated from, and the two sees were not to be united, that principle should be carried out generally throughout the whole kingdom, or other small sees would not be treated in the same manner as North Wales. All he had contended for last year was, that the principle of the Act of 1836 must he carried out throughout the kingdom, or there must be more bishops and smaller dioceses. He thought there was much in the argument that bishops ought to make themselves acquainted with their own clergy, as the clergy should with all their parishioners; but in consequence of the great extent of many of the dioceses, it was quite out of the power of many of the bishops to do so. There was another point, The deviation from the measure of 1836 ought to suggest the consideration of what it might lead to hereafter. If Parliament was prepared to carry out a new arrangement for more bishops and smaller dioceses, good; if not, they ought to adhere to the Act of 1836. He thought the noble Lord had mentioned new bishops of Southwark, St. Albans, and Bodmin. This might create a difficulty as to the congé d'élire. 338 In the case of St. Albans and Bodmin there could be no chapters existing; and as the new bishop could not, in either of these cases, be elected by the dean and chapter, the congé d'élire should be abolished altogether. At the time of the Reformation, and for a series of years, bishops had been appointed by the King, by his letters patent. Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer had been so appointed. Upon the accession of Queen Mary, the congé d'élire was again established, and had existed nominally to the present day. In Ireland, there was nothing of the kind: the bishops were appointed by the Lord Lieutenant. There was another point. He considered that it ought to be in the power of the Crown, as the head of the Church, to deal with all ecclesiastical officers the same as with civil officers.
§ MR. HUME
wished to know from Her Majesty's Government whether they were really determined to press this very important measure through the House? because if they were determined to do it, he felt so strong an objection to its being pressed at the close of the Session, that he assured the noble Lord that there was no opposition consistent with the rules of the House which he was not prepared to offer to it. There was one reason which ought to weigh with the noble Lord. On the 27th of April, the first notice was given to the public respecting the probability of there being four new bishoprics created; and it happened to be his lot on that day to go—where he seldom went—to the Privy Council Office, and he met on his way two bishops chuckling and laughing; and he concluded that there had been some resolution come to extremely satisfactory to the bishops, and that that was the cause of their exultation. He had no doubt that on that day the resolution had been conic to; and he had intended to ask the noble Lord immediately whether an Act of Parliament was not requisite. He had some doubt upon the subject; and to satisfy himself, he crossed the House and asked an hon. Member who was conversant with the subject, whether an Act of Parliament was necessary; and being told that it was, he felt that the House would have time to consider the subject. Before going into Committee, he wished to have a statement from Her Majesty's Government as to the nature of the applications which had been made to them for the creation of this new bishopric. Who were the applicants? Were they the people? From what places 339 —what parishes? Or did the complaint of the want of a new bishop come from the deans and archdeacons, and others who were likely to profit by the arrangement? When the arrangement was made in 1836, there was a solemn declaration by the bishops that no additional number of bishops was requisite. Between that period and 1847, something had occurred; and he wished the House to be informed from whom this urgent application came. Fond as the noble Lord might be of finality in matters of reform, he could not be accused of being the advocate of finality in reference to the number of bishops. By the Act of 6 and 7 William IV. chap. 77, it was fixed that the salaries of the bishops should not exceed in the aggregate 139,000l.; and it was determined that there should be no more bishops created, nor should any more money belonging to the Church be applied to support the bishops; but the surplus of the Church property was to be appropriated to the augmentation of poor livings, and for making a better provision for the clergy. The present measure was an infraction of the solemn compact entered into with the country at large by that Act. The abolition of ten Irish bishops met with general support: that was the act of Lord Stanley, who was a Member of the Government to which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) also belonged. He understood that when a proposition was made in the House of Lords to continue the bishopric of Kildare, the Lord President of the Council declared that he could not assent to it, because it was contrary to the compact which had been made with the public. Who, then, was it that now desired to infringe this agreement? No justifiable reason had been assigned for altering a great measure of national policy like that which was supposed to have been finally settled by the Act of 1836; no ground had been urged why those who supported that measure should now be called upon to stultify themselves by retracing the steps they had formerly taken. When property was originally conferred by Parliament on the Church for the religious instruction of the people, the state of the country was very different from what it was at present. At that period, there was only one religion legally existing in the country; and it would be found, by an Act passed in the 5th and 6th years of Edward VI. (1552), that every person "inhabitanting" within this realm, or any other of His Majesty's do- 340 minions, was required to resort to their parish church every Sunday in the year, and there to abide orderly and soberly during the performance of divine service, under the pain of being punished by the censure of the Church. But that was not all; for it was also enacted, that if any person wilfully heard or was present at any place of worship where any kind of service was performed other than what was set forth in the Book of Common Prayer, and should be convicted thereof either before a magistrate or a judge, and twelve jurymen, he should for the first offence suffer imprisonment for six months; for the second, twelve months; and for the third offence should suffer imprisonment for life. Such was the law at the time when the whole of this property belonged to one Church. Dissent was not tolerated; but the very act of attending a conventicle subjected the party to punishment. But what had since taken place? Dissenters were now allowed to attend their own several places of worship, and were in the enjoyment of perfect religious liberty. If, then, they were now to re-open this question respecting church property, ought they not to consider how far the allocating the whole of that property to one Church was consistent with justice? The Dissenters as a body throughout the United Kingdom constituted considerably above one-half of the population. The question, therefore, arose whether it would be useful or just to appropriate to one set of men entertaining one religious faith the whole of the funds which had been dedicated to religious purposes for the benefit of the people at large? He contended that while 139,000l. was amply sufficient to support the bishops, the necessities of the humbler clergy fully required all the surplus that would accrue from the Church property. In 1838, Mr. Childers obtained a return showing the state of the Church at that time. There were 2,268 pluralities. When he proposed to abolish pluralities and have a clergyman resident in every parish, as was the system in Scotland, he was opposed by a large portion of the House; and yet he considered himself a friend of the Church. It was not his wish to take any portion of its property from it. All that he sought to do was to distribute it more equitably among its clergy. What had been done in Scotland? There used to exist in that country livings of a very small amount. Parliament determined that every living should be at 341 least equal to 150l. a year; there were some worth 350l. a year; and a very few enjoyed 500l. a year. This having been done in Scotland, it was natural to suppose that the Commissioners would recommend that the small livings in England should in like manner be augmented out of the large surplus of the Church property. How far this had been done the House would soon be informed; but he believed that it had not been done either in spirit or in letter. It was but the other day that a case which occurred in London was made the subject of comment and public animadversion. He alluded to the case of Archdeacon Hale, who was allowed to engross no less than five different livings yielding a revenue of 5,000l. a year; and this was suffered to take place at the very time when an arrangement was made that the surplus of the Church property should be appropriated to the improvement of small livings. By the return to which he had already referred, it appeared that a large proportion of the clergy were doing duty for less than 100l. a year; that in fact the average income of the 5,000 curates then acting in England was about 81l. a year. But the surplus money had been lavishly expended for the purpose of erecting superb palaces for the bishops. It was said that a bishop could not live in a less costly dwelling—that it was necessary that they should keep up their state and dignity; but to all this his answer was, that the people wore not so ill-judging and so foolish as to be misled by such language. By building these splendid residences for men whose calling was not of this world, and whose whole demeanour should be marked by that spirit of humility which distinguished the true Christian, they were in reality doing great disservice to religion itself. He therefore protested against the abstraction of a single shilling of the money intended for the improvement of small livings for the purpose of building palaces for bishops. He had shown the inadequacy of the incomes of the curates. He would now refer to another point. By Lord Harrowby's Act every bishop is bound to lay before the Privy Council every year a statement of the number of livings, the number of resident clergy, and the number of absentees, and for what reason absent, in his diocese. Now it appeared that out of 10,500 livings there were 2,619 exempted from residing at their livings on various grounds; 2,147 wore licensed to be absent, and there were others who were absent 342 without leave; men opposite whose name the letter R should be written—run was the proper description of their cause of absence. Of these were no less than 1,313, and there were altogether upwards of 6,000 non-residents, 1,500 of whom were reputed to be doing duty in other places; leaving only 4,400 odd residents out of the 10,500 livings contained in these returns. Was it not proper that such a mockery as this should be remedied? It was a gross case of malversation of public property. No system could be worse for all the purposes of a religious establishment than this of absenteeism and non-residence. The presence of a good clergyman in his parish was indispensable to order, morality, and good conduct among his parishioners. He had never undervalued the services of the clergy. They were a most useful class of men; and it was because he wished to see them maintained in a manner consistent with their station that he regretted this apparent infraction, brought about by a few of their own body, of the compact of 1836 which was intended as well for their own interest as for that of the people. When on a former occasion he divided the House on this measure, 16 voted with him, and 124 voted against him and for the Bill. Out of the 124 who supported the measure, 22 belonged to the Administration, and 86 were Tories, who on almost all other occasions voted against the noble Lord. No doubt hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition benches always gave the noble Lord their support when the noble Lord's measures were likely to be useful to themselves. They always supported everything that was favourable to the aristocracy. But whenever the noble Lord brought forward any measure that was popular, or that had a tendency to improve the condition of a large majority of the people, then those occasional coadjutors of the noble Lord were extremely unwilling to give him their support. In the whole of the majority only eight really independent Members supported the Bill. With respect to Wales, it was well known that the Dissenters there outnumbered the members of the Church; on no pretence, therefore, could there be any claim urged on behalf of the people of Wales that could justify the breach of compact which this measure effected. He hoped the House would not agree to the appointment of a new bishop, because it would be the commencement of a system for increasing the hierarchy, against which there were many very 343 grave objections. Unless the House discountenanced this attempt in the very beginning, the country would soon be overrun with bishops; there would be one appointed for every petty town, and there would not be a colony without its bishop. Under these circumstances he should take a division on every stage, and would do all in his power to oppose the Bill, and he should therefore move that the House go into Committee that day three months.
§ MR. MARK PHILIPS
, in rising to second the Amendment of his hon. Friend, had to express his regret at not having been in his place on Tuesday last, when the Bill was read a second time. But the fact was, that he had no idea that it would have been proceeded with on that day. He thought that unnecessary haste was shown in pressing the Bill forward; and considering that it had not been printed until the 6th instant, he felt he was justified in complaining that no time had been given to the country, and more especially the constituency that was more particularly interested in it, to consider its provisions. The question had been asked, when was the opposition shown to the Bill? but he thought he might also ask the noble Lord whence had he derived the encouragement to bring it forward. With reference to the part of the country to which it would more immediately apply, he certainly had not heard of a single petition having been presented in its favour; whilst, on the contrary, he could state of his own knowledge that a feeling pervaded many persons of every class of society in Manchester of the inutility of the measure. He should be sorry to misrepresent the feelings of any party or class; but he could say there was a very large portion of that constituency entertaining a strong opinion against the manner in which the funds of the Church were appropriated; and this feeling was not confined to those with whom he generally associated, but was extended to the party of hon. Gentlemen opposite. A petition from an association formed for promoting ecclesiastical reform and improvement in Manchester, had been presented by his hon. Colleague, and he would beg to read one extract from it. The petitioners stated—That the said Bill not only provides for establishing the bishopric of Manchester, but also contains enactments to remove doubts as to the revenues of certain deaneries in England, unconnected with the district over which the diocese of Manchester is to extend. That the appropriation of the parochial revenues of Manchester to chapter 344 instead of parochial purposes, as sanctioned by the Act 3 and and 4 Victoria, cap. 113, has given great dissatisfaction in the parish. That the spiritual destitution of Manchester requires all the funds that properly belong to the parish to be applied to meet the wants of this increasing population, those funds having hitherto been found quite inadequate for this purpose.A circular, which, no doubt, many hon. Gentleman had seen, was sent round with a printed copy of that petition, and he would beg to read it to the House. It was as follows:—Sir—I have been requested to call your attention to the annexed copy of a petition about to be presented to the House of Commons, and to solicit your support on its presentation, The parish of Manchester contains about thirty townships and more than 400,000 inhabitants. Of these thirty townships, seven are without a church or clergyman. The collegiate church, with the exception of one recently built under Sir Robert Peel's Act, is the only parish church, and possesses all the original endowments of the parish, amounting to about 6,000l. per annum. There are eight clergymen connected with this church, five of whom receive nearly the whole of the revenues, and who do not admit that they have the cure of souls in the parish. The other three clergymen are almost entirely paid from fees and pew rents, amounting, in 1835, to 1,300l. per annum, but now much greater by increase of population. A large portion of the fees are received from district churches, the clergy of which are thereby obliged either to charge double fees, or to forego all emolument from this source. In 1835 there were twenty-five incumbents in the parish, having what are termed ' district churches,' the average income of whom did not exceed 1901. per annum from all sources. The smallest was 72l., and the largest 441l. At the present time there are forty-nine district churches in the parish, hardly one of which is adequately endowed, and very few to a greater amount than from 30l. to 50l. per annum; and, with one or two exceptions, without any place of residence for the incumbents. The incumbents chiefly depend for support on the pew rents and fees, which, in the poorer districts of the parish, afford a very precarious and insufficient maintenance. Private beneficence has been largely exerted, during the last few years, to supply the want of churches and clergymen; but it is to be feared that this will not be effected unless aid can be secured from the parochial revenues. In proof of this, one of the associations established for the building and endowing of churches within the parish has already entirely suspended its operations; and the other, established for the same purpose, is likely to do so immediately. It is now generally believed that under a better system of management and distribution, the revenues of the Church in the parish of Manchester are sufficient to provide for the augmentation of the stipends of the incumbents of the existing churches, as well as for the endowment of those townships and districts which are at present without any pastoral superintendence.—I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,RICHARD BIRLEY, Chairman.Manchester, July 6.He thought there was here a statement 345 sufficiently strong to show that the funds, if any, in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners might easily be applied to equally valuable purposes as that contemplated by the Bill before the House. He trusted that the Bill would not be pressed forward at that period of the Session, but that the Government would consent to withdraw it. A strong feeling had been exhibited in the Principality against losing one of their bishops; but it was no reason because the former arrangement was unpalatable to the people of Wales, that, therefore, the House should adopt a plan which was equally unpalatable to the people of Manchester. He felt the delicacy of his position, as a Dissenter, in opposing a measure connected with the Establishment; but he felt that his hand was strengthened by the moral weight of the document which he had just read, and by the petition which accompanied it, and which had received the concurrence of the warmest friends of the Church. He felt that the Bill was one which had called forth the most unmeasured hostility from all classes. He regretted that the moral cultivation and improvement of the people was not attempted through other and better sources; for he did not believe that in crowded manufacturing districts the moral improvement of the people was likely to be advanced by the introduction of a bishop among them. He believed that inferences unfavourable to the moral discipline and religious amelioration of the people would be drawn by those who earned their bread by their daily labour, and who were exposed to all the vicissitudes of life which belonged to an operative's existence in a largo manufacturing district like Manchester, from seeing a wealthy bishop driving through their streets while they were themselves in a state bordering on starvation. He did not think that the moral destitution which existed would be removed, or that the difficulties which were admitted to exist would be got rid of, by the appointment of a bishop. His feelings as a Dissenter might impel him to take stronger views of this matter than others; but he felt that he had on the present occasion a great trust to discharge towards those who had sent him to that House; and if his last act in connexion with the constituency of Manchester were the averting of the infliction of a bishop upon them, he should retire with a feeling that he had not been wholly unserviceable to them. He would ask the Government not to proceed farther with the present Bill; 346 and he could tell the noble Lord that he did not know any parties who were more active in canvassing against Liberal interests than those who were applying for this measure. The noble Lord might depend upon it, that as soon as that concession was yielded, another would be asked. Indeed, they were told that three other new bishoprics were in contemplation already. It was said, that the new Bishop of Manchester would not have a seat in the other House of Parliament; but they might rest assured, that before long they would find him, if the bishopric were once created, occupying a seat among the other Prelates in the House of Lords. He felt it to be his duty to join his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose in his opposition to the Bill, and he would support him in offering every opposition in his power to prevent its passing this Session.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Mr. Speaker, I cannot complain, certainly, of the opposition that has been raised to this Bill; but considering that it was carried on the second reading by a division of 124 to 15, I do not think the hon. Member for Montrose can wonder if I should decline acceding to his suggestion, and should propose proceeding with a measure which has met with so general a concurrence, more especially when I consider that the whole speech of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment, and likewise the speech of the hon. Member who seconded it, have proceeded on the apprehension that a compact existed on this matter. As I explained the other day, there is no compact whatever existing, or that I ever heard of, by which the bishops were to be kept up to a certain number, or by which 139,000l. was to be allotted for their maintenance. Indeed, I believe that, as far as this Bill is concerned, there is no sum mentioned in it, and that the statement is entirely a supposition of the hon. Member. But if there is any such compact, if there really does exist a compact on the matter, it is a compact according to which the bishopric of Manchester is to be founded. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Philips) has spoken as if this was altogether a new proposition; and as if his object was to oppose a proposition put forward for the first time for the creation of a bishopric of Manchester; whereas the fact is, that ten years ago it was arranged that there should be a bishopric of Manchester created, and if Parliament should refuse its consent to 347 unite the two dioceses of Bangor and St. Asaph, that bishopric would be created. Our proposition would certainly not be carried out, but the Bishop of Manchester would be appointed; and yet my hon. Friend now seems to suppose that the matter has been brought forward for the first time. As to this Bill being hurried through Parliament, I will entreat the House to recollect that there was laid on the Table of this House, on the 12th of February, a Commission from Her Majesty, in which it is stated that Her Majesty had appointed certain persons for the very purpose of regulating the separation of these two bishoprics, and the creation of a bishopric at Manchester. So that at least from the 12th of February to this time it must have been perfectly notorious that a new bishop is to be created for Manchester. As to my hon. Friend's statement that the parochial state of Manchester is not satisfactory, I think that is a subject which, as well as many others that have been introduced into this debate, does not properly belong to the question. If we were proposing to take away anything from the parochial funds of Manchester, and by that means to maintain a bishop for Manchester, then I admit the argument would apply. But what are the facts? Why, that the support of the new bishop is to be taken from the revenues of the dioceses of Durham and Ely, and other bishoprics whose revenues have been reduced by Act of Parliament; and I can see no imaginable reason, if they are not to be applied in the manner proposed for creating a bishopric of Manchester, why they should be applied for the parochial duties of Manchester, or to those of any other part of the country. In fact, they would be much more naturally applied to the parochial purposes of Durham or of Ely, and their neighbourhoods, than to any part of the town or neigbourhood of Manchester. Now, my hon. Friend, who made a most temperate speech, with no sort of an attack on the Church, admitted that as a Dissenter he was not properly qualified to judge of Church questions. But it seems to me that it ought to be allowed that the bishops form a part of the government of the Church of England—that the government of the Church of England is not complete without the bishops—and it is no more an argument that you ought to have no more bishops because there are parochial clergy in want of increased funds, than it would be to tell us that we ought to make no 348 more generals by brevet, but that we ought to apply any part of the public money that we have to spare for that purpose to increasing the pay of the private soldier. Bishops are necessary for the government of the Church of England; and if we find that there are not enough to perform all the duties required of them, how are we to act? The bishopric of Chester, for instance, is too large altogether for the care of one bishop; and if that be admitted, it forms a sufficient argument for dividing the diocese, and having another bishop appointed. That appears to me to be the plain and simple argument to use on the question. I entered the other day at some length into the nature of this measure, and I shall not now, therefore, unnecessarily trespass upon the House. Every church and community have their own government. The Presbyterians, for instance, have their own church government; and the other persuasions have also whatever government they think necessary for their purposes; and in the same manner what we think necessary for the proper government of the Church of England we propose in this Bill. We do not ask to take away the revenues from any other party; and the only question is whether we ought to apply part of the funds that exist for church uses to the object which we contemplate. I shall not touch on the question urged by my hon. Friend, whether the whole of the funds of the Episcopal Church should be appropriated to such purposes, or whether a part of them should not be applied to parochial purposes. It is not a question of principle, but a question to be decided by amount of revenue. Having said these few words, whilst I cannot dispute the right of the hon. Member for Manchester to oppose this Bill, I hope the opinion of the House is not at all shaken by what he has said.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
Although, Sir, I agree that upon ordinary occasions this is not the place where it becomes any Member of the House to make a profession of religious faith, still this is a peculiar question, in which the interests of the Established Church are deeply concerned. The hon. Member for Manchester, with perfect candour—and I believe the sentiments he has uttered were duly appreciated by the House—has stated that he is a dissenter from the Established Church; and I believe the hon. Member voted in favour of a proposition for the expulsion of bishops from the House of Lords. His opinions, therefore, are to be received 349 with some degree of caution and reserve. If I may be permitted, before I proceed to address the House upon the subject of this Bill, I would observe that I am a sincere and faithful member of the Established Church; but I will make no extravagant professions, for I am one of those who believe it is not those who are loudest in their declarations of zeal and of attachment, that in times of difficulty are found the surest or the firmest friends. Having made these few prefatory remarks, I wish to observe that I had the advantage of being in the House on Tuesday last, when the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Horsman) moved his Amendment on the Motion for the second reading of this Bill. I could not support that Amendment, because the hon. Member rested his opposition mainly upon the question of time. I differ altogether from the hon. Gentleman. I think there has been no surprise in this case; and I agree with the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) there is no compact which is or ought to be an impediment to the Parliamentary consideration of this matter, I think the subject is ripe for decision. I think there is injury likely to arise from delay, and therefore I could not, on any terms, support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cockermouth. Neither could I reconcile it to my sense of duty to oppose the second reading of the Bill; for I think that, viewing the present circumstances of this case, it is desirable to go into Committee upon the Bill. At all events I am prepared to go into Committee for the purpose of proposing or of supporting certain amendments, the fate of which will very much decide what will be my course with respect to the votes I may give on the future stages of the Bill. There are, Sir, a few points of primary importance which it is right the House should consider before we enter upon the discussion of the details of this Bill. I have the strongest possible opinion that the present amount of the property of the Church, whether episcopal, capitular, or parochial, forms the whole funds on which, for church purposes, future reliance can be placed for the spiritual instruction of the people of this country in connection with the Established Church. When I consider the unhappy divisions which have spread throughout the vast population of the United Kingdom upon the subject of religion, and when I consider also the weight which popular influence has upon the representation in this branch 350 of the Legislature, I hold it to be perfectly visionary to imagine that any deficiency in the funds of the Established Church can hereafter be supplied by aid from taxes levied on the whole population. I therefore, as a member of the Established Church, think that we now have to deal most cautiously with the distribution of the property of the Church, a property limited in amount, and that being so limited, all we can now, or those who come hereafter, can calculate on effecting, is so to guard and to distribute it, that it may secure the greatest possible advantage for the benefit and instruction of the people in connexion with the Established Church. If I am right in this view of the subject, the question then becomes one of immense importance. I think, indeed, it was well put on Tuesday by the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Entwisle), when he said the question which the House really had to decide, with regard to the interests of the Established Church, was this—whether, upon the whole, it was most for the interests of that Church that the fund, limited in amount, raised from the surplus funds of bishops, and of chapters, should be applied to the endowment of a few bishoprics; or whether it should be applied to meet the wants of the population at large, in the shape of the augmentation of small livings, or in the endowment of district churches recently built. These district churches are principally dependent upon pew-rents—a very imperfect mode of endowment, and one inconsistent with the interests of the people at large, which, as it appears to me, are bound up with the increase of the number of free sittings for the use of the poor. I think the hon. Gentleman said that such was the question which we had now to decide. I agree with him in the view he takes; and I must say, if that be the question, I have the greatest doubts whether it be for the interest of the Established Church and of its members that at the present time, and under present circumstances, we should proceed, not only to endow one additional bishopric, but, as I shall show before I sit down, whether we should commit ourselves, as it appears to me this Bill would commit us, to the future endowment of three additional bishoprics. I very much fear that if the Episcopal fund be hereafter maintained as distinct from the Common fund at the disposal of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the interest of the Established 351 Church will be found to have suffered. Already we have heard a suggestion from one Gentleman for the appointment of sixty suffragan bishops; and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) rightly said, that the endowment of additional bishops in England would lead to the endowment not only of suffragan bishops, but of colonial bishops also. Now, Sir, if the Episcopal fund is to be maintained for purposes of this kind—for demands of the kind now about to be admitted—others entertaining speculations as to the appointment of suffragan bishops, and the endowment of colonial bishoprics, may claim assistance from this source; and I entertain the greatest doubts whether it be not right at once to take our stand, and say that the number of bishops shall not be increased, and that the distinction to which I shall immediately refer, between the Episcopal and the Common fund at the disposal of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, shall, with the least possible delay, be obliterated and extinguished. With regard to the distinction between the Episcopal fund (as it is termed) and the Common fund, I must state that until I became a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission—it may be that I ought to take shame to myself for having overlooked the distinction, which is found upon the Statute-book—I was not aware of its existence as recognised by law. When I state how nice is the distinction upon which the separation of these two funds rests, the House will not be surprised, I think, that I had overlooked it. In the year 1836, the first Ecclesiastical Commission was appointed. In that year, upon the report of the first Commissioners, to which I shall presently advert, an Act of Parliament was introduced, dealing with the episcopal revenues, and carrying into effect the report of those first Commissioners. That Act remained in force until 1840. In the year 1840, founded upon the second report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, an Act of Parliament was passed which dealt with the property of chapters, and created a fund avowedly for the purpose of augmenting the endowments of smaller livings. That Act—the 3rd and 4th Victoria, c. 113—contained in the 19th section these words: "The former Act and this Act shall be construed as if they were one and the same Act." In the opinion of lawyers, the effect of these words was to fuse the Episcopal fund and the Common fund then created into one mass, 352 available for the same uses; and from 1840 to 1841 the distinction between the Episcopal fund and the Common fund did not exist. In fact, it was obliterated altogether by the words to which I have called attention. In 1841, however, an Act was passed to amend the Act of 1840; and at the end of one clause—section 30—it repealed the provision contained in the words I have already read to the House, which were the important words, "That this Act and the preceding Act shall be construed as one and the same Act." No notice being taken of the effect of the words in the former Act, from the attention of the House not having been called to them, these important words in the Act of 1840 were repealed by the Act of 1841; the complete fusion of the two funds was thus destroyed, and the separation of the two funds was then for the first time created by statute. Certainly I do not mean to deny that in subsequent Acts of Parliament the distinction between the two funds was recognised; but the statutable creation of the distinction rests upon the words to which I have called attention. After what I have said, the House may well believe that I consent to go into Committee on this Bill with much hesitation and reluctance. In the Government of which I had the honour of forming a part, the question of a departure from the first report of 1836, and the departure (I will not use a stronger term) from the understanding that the bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor should be united, and the bishopric of Manchester, when created, should be contingent on the union of those two sees, was often discussed. It was no secret that those who were then Her Majesty's advisers, up to the close of Sir Robert Peel's Administration, did not think it expedient to advise Her Majesty to depart from that arrangement. It is said, that the advice given in the report of 1836, on which this arrangement is founded, was given only by a small portion of the Bench of Bishops. Why, Sir, it was given by the two Archbishops, Canterbury and York, by the present Bishop of London, and by the Bishops of Lincoln and Gloucester. But were there no other persons entitled to respect and attention who joined in that recommendation? The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Sandon) observed on Tuesday, it was right that the sort of magical number of twenty-four bishops and two archbishops should be broken down, and that this House should accus- 353 tom itself to the consideration of an increased number. I speak, Sir, with the most unfeigned and heartfelt respect of the noble individual to whom I am about to allude—I mean the revered father of the noble Lord. I know not a more firm or a more sincere friend of the Church than the Earl of Harrowby. I know not a more judicious church reformer than that noble Earl in his day and generation. I think he has done more for the real advantage and permanent welfare of the Church of England, if properly considered by its friends, than any other person. The Earl of Harrowby, in the year 1836, signed that report. Dr. Herbert Jenner, the Dean of Faculty, a person possessing in the must eminent degree the confidence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, signed that report. Then, if you look at the servants of the Crown, you will find Lord Cottenham, the present Lord Chancellor, Lord Lansdowne, now Lord President of Her Majesty's Council, they signed that report; Lord Melbourne, then the responsible First Minister of the Crown, the head of the Church, also signed it. And not second to any one from station, from character, from ability, or, as I believe, from a sincere desire to promote the spiritual welfare of the great body of the people—Churchmen as well as Dissenters—I mean the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), he also signed this report. I will not trouble the House by reading the recommendations of this report, because the hon. Member for Montrose read them upon a former occasion. The Commissioners, however, distinctly recommended that no addition should be made to the number of bishops. They distinctly recommended that the want of a bishop even in Manchester should remain unsatisfied until the number of bishops was reduced by two unions of sees which they recommended—the union of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol, and the union of the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor. Has that report been unproductive? Has it remained a dead letter? On the contrary, most important measures have been taken resting upon it. Has there been no example of the union of two bishoprics? On the contrary, that most important portion of the report which recommended the union of the two sees of Gloucester and Bristol has been carried into execution, and the bishopric of Ripon has been created. And has the Church sustained any disadvantage from that union? I believe I am 354 also right in saying that of twenty-four bishoprics and two archbishoprics, all, with the exception of three, Winchester, Chichester, and Exeter, have had their limits altered from time to time, in conformity with the recommendations of this Commission. But, Sir, the noble Lord has truly said there was no compact entered into at that time. I am not prepared to state, in reference to a matter of such paramount importance, that any recommendation, however sanctioned by the very highest authority, should be held binding in future times, when the circumstances which led to the recommendation are materially altered; but allow me to say, it is contended that the bishops in their respective dioceses have now more labour to perform than men of diligence and activity can duly execute, That leads me to consider what are the duties of a bishop. What are his labours? First, there is the ordination of priests. There are, I think, three or four ember weeks in the year; and the duty of ordaining priests is limited to one or other of these ember weeks. Next is the duty of visitation and confirmation. Practically, until very lately, the bishops in their respective dioceses have only visited once in three years. The visitations have been generally triennial only, and in many dioceses I believe this is still the rule. I am of opinion that triennial visitation is not sufficiently frequent; I would substitute annual visitation; and, when we consider the means of rapid communication now existing, I cannot think the duty of ordination, and of one visitation throughout the diocese in a year, can be overwhelming labour. Then there is the most important duty of all, namely, the control of the clergy, and intercourse with the parochial ministers, I am about to express an opinion, which I dare say will not be shared by very many members of the Church, whose opinions upon other matters I very highly value. I am not one of those who think that what is called "daily intercourse between a bishop and the clergy of his diocese," is very desirable. I hold it is of vast importance that the authority of the bishop should be maintained as an appellate authority, and that to exercise due discipline over the clergy, is a part of his highest duty. Now, my belief is, that that authority is best maintained (speaking generally) by communication in writing, rather than by intercourse approaching to anything like familiarity from its frequency. I cannot believe that a 355 bishop residing in the centre of his diocese, having the means of easy access to all his clergy, generally exercising his appellate power through the medium of correspondence, could fail in the exercise of his duty, or be unable to discharge it in the most satisfactory manner. I believe I have not omitted to name any other duty of a bishop, except perhaps his duty of attending in his place in the other House during the sitting of Parliament; and, taking the whole into view, I am confirmed and strengthened in my opinion that the labour of a bishop is not of an overwhelming character. I believe I have omitted nothing that he has to perform. [Mr. E. DENISON: The consecration of churches.] I am reminded that I have omitted to mention the duty of consecrating churches. There is, then, in addition the consecration of churches, which is a duty incumbent on a bishop. I believe that bishop is most fortunate in whose diocese there are three or four churches to be consecrated in the course of a year; but, adding this duty, am I wrong in the estimate I have given of the functions and labours of the episcopate? I have known those duties discharged, and discharged in the most exemplary manner, by bishops above the age of 80; and I have known within my own experience the duties of two most important sees, Salisbury and Bath and Wells, most satisfactorily and ably discharged by one prelate, the brother of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Malton (Mr. E. Denison). That prelate had sufficient time, without making use of any very great exertion, to discharge the duties not only of his own diocese of Salisbury, but those of the diocese of Bath and Wells, the bishop of which was incapacitated by old age from active service. In passing, I would make another observation on this subject. I can conceive over activity and over zeal on the part of bishops; and I am of opinion, with reference to the interests of the Church, it is quite possible there may be sound discretion, tempered by age, quite as efficient as great activity, great talent, and great zeal, where that important requisite unfortunately happens to be wanting. It is impossible for me to say, considering the number of bishops and archbishops, and the duties to be performed, that the number of bishops is too small. The natural consequence of the formation of this opinion would be that I ought to adhere pertinaciously to it, and resist the further progress 356 of this Bill. I am free to confess, however, that I am not prepared to take that course, and I will tell the House why I am not. I differ from the hon. Member for Manchester. I think the circumstances of Manchester are peculiar; and I agree with the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), that so far from there being a compact that the diocese of Manchester should not be established and taken out of the diocese of Chester, there was an agreement and understanding the other way. I had hoped, when the see of St. Asaph became vacant, that the Bishop of Bangor might have consented to perform the duties of the two sees of Bangor and St. Asaph, for his labours would even then have been much lighter than those of the Bishop of Exeter, or the bishops of any of the larger dioceses. The option, howevever, rested with the Bishop of Bangor. He declined to undertake the additional duty, and thus refused his consent to the union of the two sees. And now the erection of the diocese of Manchester is proposed to us by the Minister of the Crown independent of the consolidation of those two sees, which, on the whole, I thought was expedient. Moreover, twice in the other House—once when the Government of the day were adverse to the proposition, and again in the present Session, when the Government of the day no longer resist the proposition—the Motion was carried that the maintenance of the two sees of Bangor and St. Asaph was desirable; and we have now the authority of a very large majority of the House of Lords concurring in a recommendation that the see of Manchester should be immediately erected under the Bill now before us. I cannot conceal from myself, too, that the responsible advisers of the Head of the Church have concurred in the recommendation of the Commission that the see of Manchester should be erected. It does so happen that from the division of the Episcopal and Common funds to which I have before adverted, there is from the Episcopal fund an available surplus exactly equivalent to the necessary endowment of the see of Manchester. In passing I will advert to what has fallen from the noble Lord with respect to the Episcopal fund. Somewhat hastily he has laid down a position with reference to the whole proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which I hold to be most dangerous. The noble Lord appears to think there would be great harshness in 357 transferring the proceeds of the surplus revenues of the bishopric of Durham, for instance, to any other purpose than the endowment of a bishopric. That argument, pushed to its legitimate extent, is quite fatal to the whole basis upon which the Ecclesiastical Commission rests. The principle is the transfer of surplus ecclesiastical funds from one locality to another to meet the spiritual wants of the people; and there is no more reason why a poor curate in Manchester or Birmingham should not receive an augmentation of income from the Episcopal fund, than that the surplus revenues of the golden prebends of Durham should be applied to parochial purposes in Devonshire or in Cornwall. That is the principle of the ecclesiastical fund generally; and I, for one, am not prepared prospectively to maintain the separation of the Episcopal and the Common fund. I have no hesitation in saying that if I consent upon the present occasion to go into Committee for the purpose of establishing the bishopric of Manchester, endowed from surplus episcopal funds, I make this arrangement once for all. So far as I am concerned I should at once advocate obliterating all distinctions between the Episcopal and the Common fund; and I would strongly resist any pledge, direct or indirect, that the number of bishoprics should be increased beyond the bishopric of Manchester. I, for one, desire to see the whole fund applied in the best manner to the common uses of the Church; and with that view, if we go into Committee, it is my intention to propose, though the Motion may be somewhat unusual, that those words containing a recognition of an intention declared by Her Majesty in favour of the endowment of three additional bishoprics should be struck out of the Bill; and I shall be prepared to move that the second clause be struck out. This brings me to a most important branch of the subject. I have said that a change of purpose with regard to the foundation of new bishoprics would be justified if a change of circumstances had arisen: now, let me call attention to the circumstances detailed in the first report, which contains a recommendation that no addition be made to the number of bishoprics, and the reasons assigned by that Commission for this recommendation, detailing circumstances which still exist in full force. Upon the authority of the persons I have already named, all friends of the Church—Lord Cottenham, the Marquess of Lans- 358 downe, Lord Melbourne, and Lord John Russell—are set forth at large in this important report the reasons why they recommend that on account of spiritual destitution prevailing among the great body of the people, all the available resources of the Church should be applied to "parochial purposes," and not to the endowment of additional bishoprics. I hope the House will favour me with their patience whilst I read this portion of the report. It is a report to which I attach the greatest possible importance, because all the circumstances herein set forth with so much perspicuity and strength exist unaltered up to this very time. It says—The most prominent of those defects which cripple the energies of the Established Church and circumscribe its usefulness is the want of churches and ministers in the large towns and populous districts of the kingdom. The growth of the population has been so rapid as to outrun the means possessed by the establishment of meeting its spiritual wants; and the result has been that a vast proportion of the people are loft destitute of the opportunities of public worship and Christian instruction, even when every allowance is made for the exertions of those religious bodies which are not in connexion with the Established Church.I shall not weary the House with the details into which the report then enters; but I will read a summary taken with respect to four dioceses. It commences with the metropolis:—The entire population of 34 parishes in London and its suburbs, amounts to 1,137,000, while there is church room only for 101,682. Allowing one church for a population of 3,000, there would be required in those parishes 379 churches: there are only 69; or if proprietary chapels be added, about 100—leaving a deficiency of 279; and there are only 139 clergymen in a population exceeding 1,000,000. In the diocese of Chester there are 38 parishes or districts, each with a population exceeding 20,000, containing an aggregate of 816,000 souls, with church room for 98,000. In the diocese of York there are 20 parishes, each with a population exceeding 10,000, with an aggregate of 402,000, while the church accommodation is for 48,000. In the diocese of Lichfield and county there are 16 parishes or districts, each having a population above 10,000, with an aggregate of 235,000, with church room for about 29,000.The tabular summary of these four dioceses is thus set forth:—
359 That was the case in 1836. Immense efforts—most praiseworthy efforts—have been made since that period to increase the available means for providing ministers and church accommodation for the destitute poor in these dense masses of the population. But observe—whilst these efforts have been extending, the population in the destitute districts has been rapidly increasing; and I speak advisedly, upon the highest episcopal authority, when I say, that after all that has been done, both in the metropolis and in the manufacturing districts, aided even by the measures of my right hon. Friend, in which I took an active part, for endowing, from the means of the Church, numerous parishes and districts—I say I have the highest episcopal authority for asserting, that all these additional means fall short in proportion to the increase of the population from 1836 to the present time. The consequence is, therefore, irresistible that all the facts set forth in the first report remain practically unchanged, and in full operation, and that all the reasons assigned for applying the available funds of the Church to increase the means of religious instruction, as contradistinguished from the creation of an additional number of bishops, remain in full force, and are valid in every particular. But does the case stop here? I will go on to read some additional reasons which are set forth in the report:—
Parishes or Districts. Population. Church Room. Metropolitan 34 1,137,000 101,682 Chester 38 810,000 98,000 York 20 402,060 48,000 Lichfield and county 16 235,000 29,000 Total 108 2,590,000 276,682But a comparison," it says, "between the amount of population and church room will not furnish by itself an accurate view of the provision which is made for the spiritual wants of the people, because many of the chapels which contribute to swell the amount of church room, have no particular districts assigned to them; and we consider the assignment of a district to each church or chapel to be necessary to the ends of pastoral instruction, and to carrying into full effect the parochial economy of the Established Church.A sounder principle was never laid down. I say, that the establishment of churches in districts, with pew rents charged, and without a resident clergyman, is the most imperfect means of conveying spiritual instruction that could be devised. I attach the utmost importance to the residence of a pastor, to his mixing daily with the people in his district, visiting their homes, contributing to their comfort in distress, administering to their relief in sickness and want, bringing them, by his daily ministrations in the week, to partake of his sacred offices in the church on the Sabbath; and, when they come there, it is 360 most desirable that no demand should be made on their pockets in the shape of pew rents, when means of endowment can be obtained from other sources. These are the principles upon which this report is founded: they are sound principles—they are principles which I am sure every judicious friend of the Church would wish to see maintained; and I contend they are far more important with relation to the advantage of the Church itself than any addition to the number of bishops. The report then goes on to say—"The evils which flow from this deficiency in the means of religious instruction and pastoral superintendence" are to be met by increasing the number of bishops—do they say? No, but they say—The evils which flow from this deficiency in the means of religious instruction and pastoral superintendence, greatly outweigh all other inconveniences resulting from any defects or anomalies in our ecclesiastical institutions; and it unfortunately happens that while those evils are the most urgent of all, and most require the application of an effectual remedy, they are precisely those for which a remedy can least easily be found.Here, again, you are about to part with one of those remedies which may easily be found, which are readily available, and which are existing now; for if you will obliterate the distinction between the Episcopal funds and the Common funds, I tell you that the Episcopal funds when merged in the Common funds are immediately available to meet the evils which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in 1836, said "outweigh all other considerations," and have this peculiar advantage, that they are easily to be found. The report then goes on—The resources which the Established Church possesses, and which can properly be made available to that purpose, in whatever way they may be husbanded or distributed, are evidently quite inadequate to the exigency of the case; and all that we can hope to do is gradually to diminish the intensity of the evil.The "intensity of the evil" exists still; and I say you are about to leave "the intensity of the evil" unredressed in a most important matter. Instead of supplying funds from episcopal incomes which are surplus to mitigate the evil, you are about to retain them for episcopal, and not for parochial purposes. I cannot consent to such an application of those funds; and though I may be willing to acquiesce in the erection of the bishopric of Manchester, under the peculiar circumstances, I cannot advance one step further in that direction. There still remains a most im- 361 portant question, to which I am anxious to call attention. I object to the provisions of this Bill, inasmuch as it contemplates the creation of bishops with imperfect rights as bishops. I have a very decided opinion that if you make additions to the episcopacy you ought not to limit the prerogative of the Crown, but that if a new bishop is created, as the Bishop of Ripon, so the Bishop of Manchester should have a right to sit in the other House of Parliament. Upon this point I have the strongest opinion. I believe when principles are avowed such as those which Her Majesty's Ministers have frequently heard avowed in this House, hostile to the presence of the Bishops in the House of Lords, that you cannot shake the title of the entire Bench to sit in Parliament in a manner so formidable as by enacting a limitation of this kind. See what will happen. Take the case of Manchester. You will appoint some energetic and faithful clergyman to be bishop of that district. He will enjoy from his first appointment the whole of the income permanently attached to his see. There will be to him no temptation and no duty calling him to come to the metropolis or to spend money except in his diocese. His whole time will be diverted to his diocese, and there would be no call on him to come to London in the discharge of any political function. Now, by this arrangement you do one of two things. You establish an invidious comparison between that bishop so doing his duty in his own see, and other bishops of neighbouring dioceses who are not residing in their sees—not so devoting themselves as he will do to the discharge of their episcopal duties, but residing for a considerable part of the year in London for the purpose of fulfilling their political functions. But you establish, also, another invidious comparison—a comparison between this Bishop of Manchester before he sits in the House of Lords, with what he must become after he obtains his scat. When he goes up to Parliament he must curtail his charities, he must restrict his hospitality, he must fail in the discharge of some of those local duties, which you now urge as the plea for his immediate appoinment. I cannot conceive a more impolitic arrangement not only in this respect but also in others. You say that should the see of Winchester or Durham become vacant, on no account should the bishops succeeding to those sees he deprived of their seats in the House of Lords. On what principle is this pre- 362 ference given to those two sees? Is it on account of their superior dignity? ["No, no!"] Then is it on account of their size? I almost wish it were; because, if it were, there would not be the same degradation implied; but then Carlisle and Exeter would have equal claims. I can see no principle whatever in the proposed arrangement. It is a change which is calculated to give the greatest offence to the clergy of the different dioceses affected by it, I think it would be far better at once to make a Bishop of Machester, to endow him from the surplus of the Episcopal fund, and let him be called up by writ from the Crown to the House of Peers. Let us there take our stand, and say that we will not allow any further additions to the Episcopal Bench; but do not let us introduce a change like this, which at any time would be injudicious, but which is more especially so at the present time, when the Member for so important a place as Manchester has told us he wishes to see the bishops removed altogether from the House of Lords. Do not let us take a step which would go so far to aid a proposition of that kind hereafter, and at some future time to impair the title of the bishops to their seats in the House of Lords. But then it may be said, that the discipline of the bishops over their clergy is diminished by their inferior number. But, if you wish to increase the discipline of the bishops over their clergy, you must do it, not by multiplying the number of bishops, but by adding to the efficiency of their staff in the shape of archdeacons and rural deans. The Commissioners also go on to point out an available fund for this specific purpose; and I very much fear that a most important recommendation in that report has not been acted upon. They go on to say—We recommend that the chapter in each of the churches enumerated, both of the old and new foundation, should consist hereafter of a dean and four canons, and that one at least of these canonries, when they may he in the patronage of the bishop, should be made available towards a better provision for the office of archdeacon.We have taken into our consideration the important nature of the duties belonging to the office of archdeacon, and the inadequacy of the provision at present made for the great majority of these officers, the number of whom we have proposed to increase, and upon whom additional labour will he imposed by the regulations which we are prepared to recommend. The total of their endowments is in most cases not adequate to defray the necessary expenses even of their ordinary visitations, still less those of their parochial circuits, the regular performance of which is the most essential of their duties.363We have already recommended that in each cathedral, where such an arrangement is practicable, one at least of the stalls should be applied to the purpose of making a better provision for this important officer.I fear that this recommendation has not been generally attended to, and that all the bishops in their respective chapters, have not so appropriated their patronage, either on the old or new foundation. Sir, I will not join in any factious opposition to this Bill. I am ready to go into Committee, considering that on so important a principle, and one which I believe to be so dangerous to the Church, no time ought to be lost in taking the opinion of the representatives of the people as to the course to be pursued. I repeat that I am prepared to go into Committee; but I shall propose to exclude from the preamble the words which give an implied pledge that three new bishoprics beyond the new see of Manchester shall be created; and I propose also to strike out the 2nd Clause, the effect of which course will be, that the bishopric of Manchester, will be created, and the bishop, endowed like all other bishops, will at once be entitled to his writ of summons to the other House of Parliament. Now, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, whom I do not now see in his place, commended the noble Lord opposite at the expense of the late Government as being a far better friend to the Church than we were. Sir, it is not always the friends who are most compliant who are the most judicious or sincere. The hon. Member for Cockermouth alluded to the opinion of Lord Stanley. Now, there was a most appropriate quotation made by my noble Friend, which he applied to this subject. As it was made in the other House of Parliament, I may, perhaps, venture to repeat it here:—Evertere domos totas optantibus ipsisDî faciles. Nocitura togâ, nocitura petuntur Militiâ.I fear that the churchman might be added to the lawyer and the soldier. I believe that requests are often urged—injudiciously urged—by the members of professions, which, if conceded, either inadvertently or too gently, are found gifts fatal to those who ask them. I believe that the heads of the Church generally, if not unanimously, desire this augmentation of the number of bishops. I feel strongly that it is not an additional ornament that we want for the temple, but we require buttresses to sustain the tottering fabric of the Church itself. Above all, I think it dangerous to 364 propose such changes at a time when there has been raised a steady and uniform opposition against the Church by the various dissenting bodies. The course proposed is one calculated to excite the jealousy of Dissenters, who look on the Church with an evil eye. I do not agree with the hon. Member for Montrose in his opinion as to Church property. I deny that Church. property is public property in the sense in which he uses the term. I believe that it is limited in its uses; that it was the gift of pious men in former times, who set it apart for the purposes of the Established Church of the country, and that it ought not to be alienated from this sacred use. But I also believe, that, as a Member of the Legislature, I am entitled to appropriate those revenues in the manner most conducive to the good of the whole body; and being at the same time deeply, earnestly, and honestly convinced that an increase of the number of bishoprics over and above the proposed see of Manchester would not be for the benefit of the Church—entertaining that opinion, I, cannot better express it than by voting for going into Committee, and by there making the Motion I have already stated it is my intention to propose.
was very thankful for the speech of the right hon. Baronet, because it clearly explained the grounds on which he believed the late Government were prepared to act on this subject. The quotation made by the right hon. Baronet was rather a hackneyed quotation than an apposite one; and he would himself venture to apply to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman one equally hackneyed—Non tali auxilio, nee defensoribus estis Est opus.With all the right hon. Gentleman's abilitios, he (Mr. Acland) believed he had never made a greater mistake than when he said he could not agree to the proposed augmentation of the number of bishops. When a bishop makes his visitation, he meets the clergy of thirty or forty different parishes at some market town. When he confirms, he endeavours to divide the districts into smaller portions; but he was obliged to gather together 300 or 400 children in a large town, unattended by their parents, and scenes frequently took place not consistent with the spiritual purpose of the rite of confirmation; that was one reason why he wished to see an increase in the number of bishops. The small number of churches that had been built in the diocese of Dur- 365 ham had been mentioned. In London the bishop had built fifty-five churches, and the metropolis was but a small part of his diocese. Nothing was wanted so much in the diocese of Bath and Wells as a head of the Church living among them. The bishop was prevented from doing so by the state of his health; his son was very able and zealous, and just what the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think a bishop ought to be—a punctual answerer of letters; but he was not their bishop, whom they wanted to reside among them. The right hon. Baronet had referred to the names of distinguished individuals, whom he quoted as having pledged themselves to the principle that the bishops ought not to be increased. He knew what that opinion was founded on; he believed the Commissioners had not then faced the question. The laity of England had now looked that question in the face, and their opinion was, if they could not have more bishops with seats in the House of Lords, they ought to have more in the Church. The State gained more than the Church by the bishops having seats in the House of Lords; it made them more acquainted with the details of policy and with statesmen; but it did not make them more firm maintainers of principle; it rather made them more conscious of difficulties. It made them more responsible to the State; in point of ecclesiastical power, the Church did not gain anything by the bishops being temporal Peers. The State gained by their presence; but the Church could not submit to the spiritual detriment caused by the bishops living half the year in London, removed from their flocks by distance and occupations of an official character. That the bishops should have seats in the House of Peers was one of the fortunate accidents of their office; but it was not essential to their functions as bishops; he was convinced the great body of the people did not regard them in the light of temporal Peers. Had not the laymen of England, within the last few years, increased the number of the colonial bishops? They wore not beholden to statesmen for that. In a country so divided in religions opinion as England, where there were so many Dissenters and Roman Catholics, he should not think it expedient to ask money of that House for the increase of the spiritual means of the Church of England. But that did not lead him to the same conclusion as the right hon. Gentleman. It taught him that they made a great mis- 366 take in supposing that cutting and carving the revenue of the Church was the only reform possible; it led him to think they ought rather to make all the functions of the Church efficient. He concurred with one portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, in which he seemed to show a gleam of better views of Church reform. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of making the deans and canons of cathedrals more practically efficient as auxiliaries of the bishops. When the right hon. Gentleman should next be in a position to propose measures of Church reform in that House, though he feared his efficiency would be greatly lessened after the speech he had just delivered, he hoped he would have learned better to understand these things, and reconsider the present position of the deans and canons in dealing with the patronage of the Crown—often exercised with little good either to the Church or the State; he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to make these institutions efficient for the purposes for which they were originally endowed. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the praise given by the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis) to the noble Lord opposite; in one thing the noble Lord was a bettor friend of the Church then some who opposed him; he did attend to the independent and spontaneous action of the religious feelings of the Church of England; the noble Lord was disposed to deal with it in the same spirit in which he dealt with the Dissenters. He did not want any favour at the expense of the Dissenters; but he asked for freedom and justice. He trusted, that those who might succeed the noble Lord would learn that the feelings of the Church of England were not what they were ten years ago. In that time there had been a great deal of bitter religious discussion among them; but it had led them to look into principles, and he trusted both parties would endeavour to meet that spirit fairly.
§ SIR W. MOLESWORTH
regretted the noble Lord had not consented to withdraw this Bill. He must therefore oppose it by every means in his power. This Bill raised many grave and serious questions: 1st, as to the extent of the spiritual destitution in this country; 2nd, as to whether that destitution should or should not be relieved by the State; 3rd, if it should be relieved, in what manner—whether by augmenting the number of bishops, or increasing the efficacy of the working clergy; and lastly, 367 whether the surplus of the episcopal funds had not better be applied to other than Church purposes. These questions were most important, and ought not to be settled at the termination of a Parliament. He objected to this Bill amongst other reasons, because it tended to increase the pomp and hiearchy of the Church, and not to improve the condition of the working clergy. The argument urged in favour of this Bill by the noble Lord the Member for London, was, that bishops cannot at present discharge the whole of their episcopal duties; and therefore he inferred that their number ought to be increased. The right hon. Baronet opposite, in his most able speech, examined what were the duties of a bishop, and showed that they were not so very burdensome and overwhelming. The hon. Member for West Somerset (Mr. Acland) was extremely indignant at the speech of the right hon. Baronet, and attempted to refute his arguments in vain; and with great tractarian vehemence and declamation he declared that the laity of England would have more bishops. He asserted that they did not want more bishops. He asserted this in the name of the county in which he resided, namely, Cornwall, that they did not want more bishops. [An Hon. MEMBER: There is to be a Bishop of Southwark.] Was that true? He protested against it in the name of his constituents. But, supposing the noble Lord was correct in asserting that the bishops cannot at present perform the whole of their ecclesiastical duties, it did not follow that their number ought to be increased. Why not relieve them from the unnecessary duties which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport said consumed so large a portion of their time? He meant their legislative duties as Peers. He was much struck by the soundness of the argument made use of by the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) on a former occasion, in favour of a clause of this Bill, in reply to those who said that the new bishops should be Peers. The right hon. Baronet said, that bishops at the commencement of their career could not pass two-thirds of the year in London, and at the same time properly perform their duties as bishops. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman; it was evident that bishops could not discharge their duties as legislators—they could not study all the great and important questions that are brought under the consideration of Parliament—they could 368 not take a part in the debates of the House of Lords—constantly attend to those debates, and sit upon public and private Committees—without neglecting their episcopal duties in their respective dioceses; duties which it was acknowledged are so burdensome at present that it was said to be necessary to increase the number of bishops. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet, that bishops cannot sit for six or eight months of the year in the House of Peers, and at the same time be present in their sees, exercising their pastoral functions and watching over their subordinate clergymen. They must consequently neglect their duties either as Bishops or as Peers—they must become either bad bishops or bad legislators; and in many instances they do become both bad bishops and bad legislators, to the great injury and detriment of the Church of England, as it would be easy to prove from specific cases which he could cite. Indeed, he believed there was nothing more injurious to the Church of England in popular estimation, than the fact that bishops have seats in the House of Peers, become political partisans, and take an active part in the politics of the day. It was true that the right hon. Baronet confined his position to bishops at the commencement of their career as bishops. But it was evident if the right hon. Baronet's position be true of bishops at the commencement of their career, when they were younger men, more vigorous, and consequently more competent to discharge the double duties of bishops and legislators—à fortiori, his position must be still truer of them at a later period of their career, when advancing age impaired their energies, and consequently rendered them less capable of performing double duties. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet opposite, that if the second clause became law, a great difference would soon be perceived by the people between the manner in which episcopal functions would be performed by those bishops who were not, and those who were, Peers of Parliament, and especially by the same individuals before and after they obtained seats in the House of Lords. It was said they could not perform at present their duties as bishops. He said, relieve them first from their duties as legislators, and then if with their spare time they cannot still perform their' duties as bishops, then, and not till then, apply to Parliament for more bishops.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
received the concession made by the Government in 369 this Bill with much pleasure; and he must say that till that evening he could not have conceived that the question of a new bishopric at Manchester, could have led to so much strongly expressed feeling in that House. He considered that the spiritual Peers had always taken their full share in the duties of the legislative assembly, of which they were such valuable Members. He knew it was said that great practical inconvenience arose from the junior bishop acting as chaplain to the House of Lords, particularly during the first year, when he ought to be cultivating an intimate acquaintance with the clergy of his diocese, instead of being compelled to remain in London to read the prayers in the House of Lords every day. Perhaps on that ground it might be as well that the junior bishop should not take his seat in the House of Lords; but at the same time he thought it most injudicious and anomalous to draw the invidious distinction implied by bishops in the House of Lords and bishops not in that House. He thought that the presence of the bishops in the House of Lords had been most beneficial to that assembly; and he regretted, therefore, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had not given the new bishop his seat. Such a measure would have created no fears or misgivings in the intelligent and sensible part of the community; and the Bill would have been received with far more pleasure by Churchmen. He should vote for going into Committee.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
believed the question of the augmentation of the number of bishops, with the limitation of their seats in Parliament, and all other matters of that sort, had been maturely considered by those best competent to form an opinion on the subject; and the Bill, therefore, was entitled to the support, of the House. He thought the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester stated that until he became a Member of the Ecclesiastical Commission he was not aware of the division of the Episcopal and the Common funds; because if the right hon. Baronet thought that distinction so unfortunate as he would lead the House to suppose, why had he not during the four years in which he sat on the Treasury benches, at the head of the Home Department, the organ by which these funds were administered, taken steps himself to introduce some Bill to reform that unfortunate arrangement? He hoped, though the right hon. Baronet had not done that, to find that he had at least ex- 370 ercised a more vigilant superintendence over the disposal of those funds when a Commissioner, than he thought had been exercised by any Member of that Commission. He differed with many points in the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and doubted much whether the House would have heard anything of these strong objections had it not been for the recent appointment of a Committee of that House, and that there was an inquiry pending on the subject. Having supported the noble Lord on the second reading of this Bill, and having then stated on what grounds, it would be unnecessary for him to give any further explanations why he deemed it his duty to continue to give the Bill his support in its future stages.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
could not allow the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester to pass, without, as a Churchman, entering his protest against the extraordinary views the right hon. Baronet had taken of the duties of a bishop. The right hon. Baronet seemed to think that a bishop had just to go through a certain amount of mechanical duties in a certain number of days; and any human being composed of bones and sinews sufficiently strong, and with a mind sufficiently energetic to go through those duties in that time, would answer all the purposes of a bishop. That opinion might have suited the last century, but it would not do for the present one. One of the worst results of the negligence of the last century had been the creation of such a low mechanical view of the duties of the bishops of our Church; and the view taken by the right hon. Gentleman was one of the strongest evidences of the effect of that negligence upon the public mind. If, by an increase of their number, proportionate to the increase of the population, the full discharge of their consequent duties had been rendered possible, he (Viscount Sandon) would never have thought that he had fully enumerated their duties, or drawn the picture of a perfect bishop by the recital of so many days spent in visitation, so many in confirmation, so many in ordination; and that then his work was done. He did not know with what diocese the right hon. Baronet was connected—[Sir J. GRAHAM: Carlisle]—but in the one with which be had the pleasure of being connected, the bishop did more than that. The bishop in whose diocese he lived, never rested: there was no day, no hour, of which he could properly be said to be his own 371 master. There was no day, no hour, in which that right rev. Prelate was not discharging some duty as the head of a Christian diocese. Independently of the supervision of several hundred clergy, scattered over three counties, the building of new churches or the erecting of new schools; the direction of missions to foreign parts; the providing and arranging new machinery to meet the spiritual wants of the growing population—nay, provision for relieving the physical wants of the people—all demanded the advice and assistance of the bishop. And if the bishop of his right hon. Friend occupied his time in the mere necessary routine which he had described, he could not be that living principle to his diocese which he ought to be. The right hon. Baronet had talked of consecrating churches, and had counted the number of days spent in consecrations; but before they arrived at that stage, there was correspondence month after month—consultations, consideration, advice, and assistance—expected from the bishop. Week after week, and month after month, the subject occupied his time and his thoughts before it came to the final consummation—the only part of the business to which the right hon. Baronet alluded—the consecration. And so in the other details of routine duty, the right hon. Baronet had only mentioned the crowning act, but forgot all the preliminary process the bishop had to encounter. The right hon. Baronet forgot the voluminous correspondence which the duties of the bishop called for. [Sir J. GRAHAM: I mentioned that.] Yes, the right hon. Gentleman mentioned it in general terms; but he seemed to have but a moderate idea of its extent and burden. He was told the other day by a right rev. Prelate, that few days passed without his having written fifty letters in a morning. Was there any statesman, the fatigue of whose duties equalled that laid upon the bishops? And yet statesmen only held their offices while they had health and physical powers equal to their duties; but a bishop once made was always a bishop, and could never quit his post. The diocese of London, as it was to be by the arrangements of the Commissioners, would contain two millions of inhabitants—a number equal to two German kingdoms; and that was to be left in the hands of one man, subject to all the uncertainties of health and strength of body and mind. The bishop was the guide and director of his clergy, and the guide 372 of the laity, too, who concerned themselves with the spiritual affairs of the diocese over which he presided; and was it possible that one man could go through all these duties? If we were still to have an Episcopal Church, let Parliament, he would not say make it, but permit it to be, as efficient as possible. Let its heads bear that proportion to their duties which they did in the days of their forefathers; and then they would not be considered any longer as mere State functionaries, having no other functions but those of consenting to Acts of Parliament, and carrying out their mechanical provisions. Whether this might be considered "High Church" or "Low Church," he cared not; he would never be satisfied with the Church if it did not grow with the growing population. They did not treat the Army or any other institution as they treated the Church. If the privates were increased, the generals and officers were also increased; or if they were not, the mischief was soon discovered and a remedy applied; and so it ought to be with regard to the Church. Some Gentlemen said—and it was plausible enough—" Why lay out this money on bishops, while there is such a want of parochial clergy?" The observation was plausible; but it might be extended much further. How many privates could be got for one officer? How many working clerks could be obtained for the salary of one Lord of the Treasury? Yet common sense and experience told them, that to make numbers efficient, they must have an adequate and proportionable body of officers to direct them—oven though the expense per capita appeared excessive. The question was, could the Episcopal staff—he had almost said of the Heptarchy—be adequate to our present wants? But, looking only to immediate and pecuniary results, he had little doubt that if they had an additional number of bishops—good, zealous, active men—the effect of the closeness of contact into which they would be brought with all the clergy and laity over whom they presided, would be to produce liberal contributions from the faithful, quite large enough to pay for the increased number of parochial clergy which must be provided out of the Episcopal Fund. Look at the effect of the creation of bishops in the colonial dependencies. Some people said then, as now, it was an idle waste to spend money upon bishops: how much better would it be to send out additional clergy with the money. But they 373 had not followed this policy; and what had been the result? The number of clergy had been increased far beyond what the money spent on the bishoprics would hare provided; and the efficiency of the whole body was increased besides. For his part, he should never be content until he saw a bishop in every county in England. He laid no stress on the new bishops having seats in the House of Lords. In fact, he was glad to see the idea broken through, that bishops must be Peers. As long as the idea prevailed that every new bishop must be a Peer, there was a constant obstacle to the increase of their number in proportion to the need of them. Every such creation, even if made out of the resources of the Church, became a political question, on which Dissenters and politicians raised, not unnaturally, objections. But let such creation merely be the creation of a new Church officer, simply for Church purposes, and provided for out of Church funds, and he did not see what objection could be raised by such parties to the increase of those means of efficiency without avowing nakedly that the Church being unable to move in such matters without the permission of the State, they, being hostile to her religious views, were determined to use the civil power to cripple her efficiency and limit her extension—a feeling they would hardly avow, and he hoped would not ever entertain. It was certainly one that they would be very unwilling to see adopted by Churchmen in regard to members of other persuasions. It would, in fact, be a use of civil authority to chock the growth of religious opinions—a religious persecution of the worst sort. But he hoped better things, and that to the creation of bishops, having no political functions, Dissenters of every persuasion would feel that they had no title to object. The Church of England had suffered enough from this state of things; and for these reasons he hoped it would not be insisted that the new bishops should have seats in the House of Lords. He himself had no objection. Any fear of the preponderance of the Episcopacy in that House, with such a vast majority of lay Lords, was idle; at the same time, he was quite satisfied with the representation of the Church in that House; and he did not wish to keep up in the minds of Englishmen the idea that there could not be a bishop unless he was a temporal Peer. His right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham), under that impression, had spoken of bishops 374 not Peers as being "imperfect bishops;" but he thought the Bishop of Sodor and Man, without a seat in the House of Lords, was as good a bishop as any of the other Prelates. That was an impression in the minds of the people it was desirable to break through; and they might then hope to have the wants of the Church in that respect, without regard to politics, provided for. That there should be a representation of the Church in the House of Lords, he held to be of the highest value in every way, independently of its being a part of the ancient constitution of the country, which he should be most unwilling to disturb. The recognition of the Church, as one of the ancient and essential elements of the State, he held to be most important; but, independently of that, it was most important, deprived as our Church was of her natural organ for self-government, that she should have an opportunity of coming together—at least by her heads conferring upon all common objects of interest to her, and producing something of that uniformity of view and action which, if the bishops never met together, would be totally wanting. It was important for purposes of harmony and co-operation that they should be called up annually to meet. It was also equally important for the social system, that, holding the influential stations which they did, they should be called up to Parliament to mix with statesmen and men of different professions, by which their own mere professional opinions might be modified and enlarged. For these reasons—having no jealousy of additional bishops in Parliament, but wishing to remove any obstacle which would be inevitably placed in the way of the proper increase of their numbers by insisting on that point—not pledging himself to the particular mode by which the existing number was to be admitted to the House of Lords, but rejoicing in the measure as a step in the right direction—he gave his hearty assent to it. With regard to the bishops leaving their sees to attend Parliament, it would be necessary that they should meet in London were they not in Parliament: and therefore he saw no force whatever in that objection. The noble Lord, in conclusion, declared his intention of supporting the Bill.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
thought the creation of bishops without seats in the House of Peers would be depriving thorn of one of their most useful functions and most essential honours. He must say he thought the objection to increase the number of 375 prelates beyond the Bishop of Manchester came with little grace from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester. The right hon. Baronet had shown that he had understood that necessity of the case; and he (Mr. Newdegate) could not forget that while he had the power he refused to meet that necessity. He highly commended the present Government, which had faced far greater difficulties than would have met their predecessors. If he did not agree with all the details of the scheme, he could, as a Churchman, thank the noble Lord at the head of the Government for having given his attention to the subject. The hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Philips) had talked of "inflicting" a bishop upon Manchester, and of the feelings at seeing a wealthy bishop "rolling" through the streets, that would be raised in the minds of the starving people of Manchester. Were they starving? If they were, he lamented it; but he did not believe that the consciousness of there being one of the heads of the Church of his country among them, exercising the beneficent functions of his high office, would excite any malevolent feelings in the minds of any class of Englishmen. The right hon. Baronet seemed to shrink from that; but he thought that when that time should arrive that the bishops should have to shrink from public criticism, the episcopacy was in danger; but he thought that day far distant. It was quite clear that in these days of church extension an increase of episcopal superintendence was necessary. For his part, he thought there ought to be a Bishop of Manchester, with a seat in the House of Lords, and a sufficient number of suffragans. He thought it, however, the duty of every Churchman to give the noble Lord his support. The noble Lord had shown a willingness to extend to the Church the same attention he had given to the various denominations of Dissenters; but he regretted that the noble Lord had not maintained the same spirit throughout that he had evinced when he introduced the Minutes of Council. The Church was surely as well worthy of support as any of the sectarians of England. He regretted that the Bishop of Manchester was not to be made equal with the other prelates, and that a sufficient number of suffragans had not been appointed to meet the Church's necessities; but he felt bound to give the noble Lord his support.
said, that the right hon. Baronet had quoted the speech of 376 Lord Stanley last year; but he ought to have followed it up from the speech of the noble Lord this year, which was delivered in a different tone and spirit, as the noble Lord had now far advanced in churchman-ship to what he had been on the first occasion. The right hon. Baronet was one of those who, in voting for the Bill to unite the bishoprics of Bangor and St. Asaph, had struck the first blow at the Church; and he therefore thought that opinions coming from such a quarter ought now to be looked on with jealousy. The hon. Member for Southwark had told the House plainly that he should like to see the bishops deprived of their legislative functions, and that he believed the people of England were of the same mind. But the hon. Member should recollect that that issue had been tried some years ago when the Church was in a far less efficient state than at present, and the number of supporters to be found for the hon. Member's view was small indeed. He would say that if ever a time should arise when the people of England should be anxious to turn the bishops out of the House of Lords, it would be brought about by gross neglect of duty on the part of the Church herself; and it would be high time that she should receive such a lesson of humiliation. He contended that an increase of the episcopate was loudly called for. The right hon. Baronet had laid great stress on the spiritual instruction of the people; but the present means were quite insufficient. If all the revenues of the episcopacy were taken, they would be quickly swamped; but by increasing and perfecting the organization of the Church, a vast increase would follow in subscriptions, self-denial, and exertions. Of this the bishopric of Ripon furnished a remarkable example; when, by the exertions of the bishops, a vast amount of private subscriptions had been raised, and sufficient almost to keep pace with the increase of the population. The right hon. Baronet had said that the new churches should all be endowed by the Commissioners; but that was impossible, as they had all been built by private subscription, and would swallow up the whole funds of the Commission without being any nearer the mark than now. But they must recollect that the Bill they were now altering was passed in 1837, while the Cathedral Bill was not passed until 1840. The change was made when a fierce conflict between two parties was going on, when the Government was strug- 377 gling against a force too strong for them. It was supposed the Commissioners had acted in a liberal view until individual Commissioners began to publish extenuations of their conduct. [The noble Lord read extracts from the letters of the Bishops of Lincoln, Lichfield, and London, in explanation of the course they had adopted with reference to the second report of the Commissioners,] He contended that the institution of additional bishops would tend to increase the efficiency of the Church, and likewise tend to increase the number of her zealous servants. This was proved by reference to the colonial bishoprics, all of whom had brought out a staff of clergy with them, and thus in an eminent degree promoted the utility of the Church. This was shown most conspicuously in the case of the bishopric of New Zealand. He approved of the course which the Government had adopted, for he believed it was calculated to increase the efficiency of the Church, and to promote the religious instruction of the people. Holding those opinions, he could not but give his support to the measure; neither could he refrain from returning the Government his cordial thanks for introducing it to the consideration of Parliament and the country.
§ MR. HORSMAN
felt reluctant again to trespass so soon on the House; but as it was clear he had been misunderstood by several hon. Gentlemen with respect to certain portions of his statement, he felt bound to offer a few remarks in explanation. He did not propose that sixty suffragan bishops should be added to the Church. No such proposition had emanated from him. He might have been misunderstood by hon. Gentlemen, and probably he was; but what he really intended to say was, that as the advocates of additional bishops had urged the necessity of further episcopal superintendence, and that as they had proposed the formation of sixty suffragan bishops, he could propose a plan which, in his humble opinion, would increase the efficiency of the Church in the most economical manner. He had put the proposal to appoint sixty suffragan bishops as an alternative, but not as a recommendation from himself. Neither did he propose the suppression of the deaneries; but he said that if they could reduce the deans to l,000l. per annum, the minor canons to 900l., and reduce the expenses of the cathedral services, they would have a surplus of 100,000l. per annum, which 378 could be applied to other purposes; and he also suggested that if they were to have additional bishops, it would be better to pay them out of the cathedral funds. This proposal was not, he considered, very unreasonable. His object was to make the attendance at cathedrals more numerous, by having the services performed by local clergymen, who would have associations directly connected with their congregations. He was surprised at the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester (Sir J. Graham); for he had heard and believed that the right hon. Gentleman had left the Cabinet of Earl Grey in former years because he was shocked and alarmed at the course of conduct adopted by his Colleagues respecting the Church, and that he was one of those witnesses of the Church to which he had alluded. It now appeared that this could not be the case; for a more anti-episcopal speech he never heard; and it would seem the right hon. Baronet considered the Bench of Bishops a sort of useless lumber—that, at least, was the conclusion he drew from his speech. But the right hon. Baronet might, perhaps, be paying his addresses to a constituency not particularly favourable to the Episcopal Bench, and might have altered his tone. With respect to the present measure, he could not approve of the time at which it was introduced. It should have been brought in at an earlier period of the Session; and now that it had come before the House, he had never heard any hon. Member express a doubt respecting its postponement; and it would be a matter of great surprise if the noble Lord did not postpone it, as he had other Bills of less importance, to a future Session. He could not but view the Bill with alarm; and, though he agreed with many parts of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, he must express his opinion that one of the greatest faults of our Church, and one of the main objections he had to the Bill was, the immense distance between the bishops and their inferior clergy, which this Bill would not at all diminish. That was an immense misfortune; but the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) seemed to think that the bishop should only deal with the refractory and badly-disposed portion of his clergy, while the better portion of them, who required his patronage and support, should have as little to do with him as possible. [Sir J. GRAHAM: My expression was, that there should be easy access to the bishop when his advice was needed.] 379 He wished to see the enormous difference between the bishops and the clergy removed, and a body of laborious and efficient men established, who should form a link between the bishops and inferior clergy, assisting the one and strengthening the other. The measure of 1843, which created new ecclesiastical districts, seemed on the whole wiser and more efficient than the present proposition. It was not wise to press this Bill at such a period of the Session; but whatever the results of his opinion might be on this point, he had received great encouragement in the course he had already adopted, having received numerous communications within the last forty-eight hours from several of the metropolitan and suburban clergy, begging him to persevere as he had begun. In conclusion, he suggested that the Government should drop this Bill, and come forward next year with a larger and more comprehensive measure to increase the power of the Church out of its own means and revenues.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, that in objecting to the expediency of postponing, as suggested by the hon. Gentleman, this question to another Session, with a view of introducing next year what was called a great and comprehensive measure, he did so simply for this reason—that if they were to wait for the completion of the great and general plan alluded to by the hon. Gentleman, and if they were to expect, in a future Session, a general concurrence in such general plan, he feared that they would be disappointed, and might find at the close of another Session that exactly the same reasons would be then adduced for postponing that more enlarged plan as were now urged for the postponement of the more limited measure of the Government. Thus they would lose an immediate and practical benefit, while they were looking for the attainment of another object, with respect to which no two persons might be found to agree. It was his intention, notwithstanding what had fallen from hon. Members on different sides of the House, to give his support to the Bill of the Government; and he congratulated the noble Lord opposite for having yielded to what he believed to be the sense of the rational portion of the community, in giving this additional power to the Church, not for temporal advantage, but for spiritual purposes, and for the extension of religious instruction in the community. He could not enter into the discussion of this measure 380 without a reference to the period when measures with respect to Church reform were first adopted by a preceding Government; he regarded the present Bill as one of the fruits of those measures, and as a proof that they had tended to increase the feeling of attachment on the part of the people towards the Church Establishment. And though he did not envy the noble Lord the gratification of having now to reap the fruits of the measures which were before taken, he nevertheless felt that those who originated those reforms in the ecclesiastical system, stood precisely in the position of many a devoted minister in populous districts, who, sowing the seeds of a future harvest, left it to others to gather it in. It had been stated, in the course of the debate, that they were precluded from entertaining this Bill of the noble Lord for the creation of a Bishop of Manchester, on the ground of the arrangement framed by the original Church Commission; and it had been assumed, because those Commissioners in the first instance stated that the most crying evil of the country was the want of religious instruction, and that the lower orders of the people required an addition to the parochial ministry, that therefore the Commission rendered impossible all future addition to the episcopal authority. Passages had been quoted from the report of the Commissioners negativing this supposition; but, even had no such evidence been in existence, he should have thought that the names and character of the persons who signed the document, would of themselves have been sufficient guarantees that the intention of the Commission could never have been that which was now attributed to them—that they had no view of binding up for ever the discretion of Parliament—and that when they recommended a greater number of parochial ministers, they did not shut out all consideration of the future inevitable necessity of increased episcopal authority. The Commissioners, be it remembered, were all members of the Church of England—a Church in which episcopal authority was an essential element of ecclesiastical government; and it was absurd to suppose that if they contemplated adding to the number of parochial ministers, and so far to supply the religious need of the community, they could have been so blind to the interests of the Church as to forget that the labours of such ministers could only be made efficient by securing due episcopal superintendence. The recommendation then made, 381 with reference to the episcopacy, was that there should be established a bishop at Manchester, to be appointed only in lieu of another bishop to be removed from a diocese in Wales; and he was quite aware that that arrangement at a subsequent period incurred great opposition. On this he need say nothing. The only question now was this—should they have a bishopric of Manchester, or should they not? That being the state of the case, and the union of the bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor having been abandoned, partly in consequence of the opinions expressed in the House of Lords, and partly in consequence of the renewed feelings of attachment to the episcopal authority which had since sprung up, the single question now for their consideration was, whether they should appoint to the diocese in which Manchester was placed an additional bishop? On this point he had no hesitation in giving his entire concurrence to the proposal then before the House; not, indeed, that he did not feel all the weight of the objections urged to excluding the new bishop from a seat in the other House of Parliament. If the proposal which had been made by his right hon. Friend was persisted in, he should support it. He was sensible of all the dangers that had been described, and fully alive to the anomalies which would be occasioned if they created two classes of bishops, of equal authority, but one of which was deprived of that desirable connexion with the State which the other enjoyed. But in coming to a conclusion as to the necessity of a new bishopric of Manchester, he was mainly actuated by convictions as to the character and duties of a bishop very different from those which had been expressed by various hon. Gentlemen in the course of the debate. He did not consider a bishop to be merely an ornamental appendage to a church. [Laughter.] He knew, on the contrary, that he had most important duties to discharge; and though the hon. Member for Montrose laughed at this estimate of the episcopal functions, he did not suppose, that he, professing to be a member of the Church of England, was prepared to dispense with the services of bishops? His right hon. Friend the Member for Dorchester had also objected to any increase of the episcopacy. He did not undervalue the sincere attachment of his right hon. Friend to the Church of England, or the sincerity of his religious feelings; and he therefore spoke on matters of this kind on which his right 382 hon. Friend had declared himself with great diffidence in his own judgment; but he differed completely from his hon. Friend as to the limits of the duties of a bishop. If he considered with him that all a bishop had to do was to ordain priests four times a year, to visit his diocese once a year, and in the course of that visitation to confirm children and to attend to the individual applications of clergymen who solicited his interference on disputed points of discipline, he should perhaps conclude that the bishops at present in the Church were sufficient, even if the existing dioceses wore still further extended. But it seemed to him that there were important functions attached to the office of bishop, which had certainly escaped the observation of his right hon. Friend. According to his view of the subject, a bishop ought not to confine himself to the consideration of cases addressed to him by clergymen: the bishop ought to be acquainted more or less with the character of every clergyman in his diocese—be prepared voluntarily to give advice, counsel, and direction to the parochial minister—and not wait until the evil had occurred to apply the remedy, to interfere by anticipation with friendly remonstrance and pastoral care. He did not speak on this subject without experience. It had been his fortune to live in a diocese administered at two separate periods in a very different manner: in the one case he had seen the bishop perform all the duties which his right hon. Friend said could only be expected; and in the other he had observed the most beneficial change worked in the character of the clergy, and the conduct and habits of the people, by the constant interference of the bishop in the way of affectionate advice and assistance to the inferior clergy. It had been argued, however, that such a superintendence over the subordinate clergy would serve no useful purpose. This was at variance with every man's experience, not only in the Church, but in the ordinary intercourse of life. The interference of the rich nobleman in the affairs of the poor cottager resulted always in mutual good; the very difference in the ranks of the two parties, the proud elevation of the one and the humble position of the other acting as an additional bond of union, making the inferior feel, as an enhancement of the benefit of the advice, the grace and favour of the giver. And such, he believed, would be the effect of the intimate relations between the bishop and the sub- 383 ordinate clergy. For his own part—desirous of seeing the affairs of a diocese effectually administered—had he to select between a poor clergy carefully superintended by a pious and worthy bishop, and a rich clergy without that superintendence, he would not for one moment hesitate to take the poor clergy with the advantage of the pastoral assistance of a pious and learned superior. It was for this reason he considered it essential that in the diocese of Manchester a bishop should be planted without delay. It was quite natural that those who entertained religious sentiments of a nature to render them adverse to episcopacy should feel some jealousy; but it was a little unfair that at this moment those gentlemen who were not called upon to supply the funds out of which the bishops would be paid—who were not asked to make any sacrifice of individual opinions for the promotion of the object—and who resisted all interference with their own discipline and religious ceremonies—should avail themselves of the power which their situation in that House gave them to obstruct a measure essential to the religious authority of the Church of England. Now, this Bill proposed, in addition to the creation of a bishopric of Manchester, to make future provision for a further number of bishops according as the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commission might he found adequate to the accomplishment of the contemplated purpose. He did not deny that had he originated this measure in Parliament, he should have preferred confining it to the erection of the bishopric of Manchester, that bishop being invested with all the attributes which at present attached to the other members of the episcopal body. He did not mean that he would thereby have precluded himself from adding, as the necessities of the country might require, to the number of bishops; but he would have taken the course of dealing with Manchester alone, because he thought it would have been better to restrict the one Bill to the immediate necessities of the particular case, and, as occasion might arise, to bring forward other measures. And an additional reason was to be found in the fact that from the state of the funds at the disposal of the Commissioners, a considerable period would necessarily elapse before those sums could be made sufficiently productive to provide for the ulterior object. But though this would have been his opinion had he 384 himself had to submit the question to the House, his judgment was different now that the Bill had been introduced by the noble Lord. If he were now to join in the condemnation of that part of the measure providing for future bishops, he should put an extinguisher, as it were, on the hopes of extending hereafter episcopal superintendence; and that was very far from his object. An inference would he drawn from that opposition, to which he was not at all desirous of being exposed; and by taking part in it, his discretion might be fettered on the occasion when the creation of three other bishoprics came under consideration. Therefore, it was his intention, so far as the Bill related to those three future bishops, also to give his support to the Motion of the noble Lord. Among the important considerations involved in this measure, was one which had been already adverted to, the amalgamation of the two separate funds, at the disposal of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, viz., the Episcopal fund and the fund for the augmentation of small livings. He would not now enter into the question whether these funds should be united, or continued separate. It was not denied that at the present moment the creation of the bishopric of Manchester, would absorb all the sums that were likely for some time to accrue under the episcopal branch; the real subject for deliberation was, how to afford to both branches—to the extension of the episcopal authority and the extension of parochial administration—such funds as were required for either the one or the other. He was convinced that the two funds had been accidentally consolidated by the Act of 1840; and the Act of 1841 was only a correction of that accidental errror. So long as the extension of episcopal superintendence was ensured adequately and in proportion to the spread of religious instruction among the people, it was a matter of little importance whether the funds were united or separate in point of law or in fact: what was really important was, that there should be a sufficient application to each branch; and while provision was made for the instruction of the people by the extension of the services of parochial ministers among them, that episcopal superintendence should be secured which was not merely a question of authority, but which involved materially the continuance of religious knowledge among all orders of men—which especially involved that authoritative ex- 385 hortation to all classes, whether laity or clergy, to unceasing efforts in the cause of education and charity—which he trusted would always be, as they had hitherto been, the distinguishing feature of the British bishops—and which had always been received by the respectable portion of the community with the affection and reverence due to the sacred character of the office which the bishop held.
§ MR. B. ESCOTT
considered this the most important measure that had been introduced by the Government, and one that deserved the most serious consideration of that House. He should have expected to hear its defence raised, by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge, on something like an intelligible principle; but he had listened to his speech in vain with the expectation of hearing the right hon. Gentleman lay down such a principle. One ground of objection to this measure was that it was a breach of compact. The compact was that a bishopric of Manchester was to be created on condition that the two sees of St. Asaph and Bangor were to be united. And who had been the Minister who had given the weight of his authority to that arrangement? No other than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer at that time, and who now came forward to support not only this Bill for creating a bishopric of Manchester, without the union of the two other sees, but also lent his gratuitous assistance to that provision of the measure which went to the establishment of three other bishoprics. It might be very well for a representative of one of the Universities to argue that the opinions of Dissenters should not be regarded in Church matters; but those who used such arguments were themselves the worst enemies of the Church of England. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester that the danger of this Bill threatened the Church. It was a shame to the Church, and to any university, that the representative of it should vary his principles from day to day, and pretend that by his vacillation he was representing the opinions of a great portion of the people. The implied compact between the Parliament and the people as to the appropriation of the surplus funds, when the Ecclesiastical Commission was first established, had been broken. The object of that Commission was to provide for the spiritual destitution of the people and augment the poor cures., 386 and the surplus funds were to be applied to that purpose. He challenged them to take the verdict of any jury of poor clergymen upon this Bill—men now living in obscurity, without the means of supporting their station, pious men, virtuous men, and learned men—whether they had consented to the appointment of an Ecclesiastical Commission with the view to the creation of four bishops with enormous salaries. He contended that nine-tenths of the people who belonged to the Established Church were against the establishment of these sees. Where were the petitions in favour of the measure either from the Church or the laity? He believed the doctrine was that the Church was the Church of the people—that the laity were a component part of the Church—and he denied that the laity were in favour of this Bill. The laity were divided in opinion, no doubt, Some took the view that the surplus funds should be appropriated to the relief of spiritual destitution by the augmentation of the miserably small cures; and another portion contended, that when the principle had been once admitted that church property would be made the subject of a Commission at all, the surplus funds of the Church should he appropriated to the general education of the people. He did not enter upon that question, or ask which of these parties was right, and which wrong, because he wished to confine himself strictly to the Bill, which he believed to be the really great question of this Session, and indeed of this Parliament. Did the Government really mean to carry this measure in this Parliament? Had they the slightest notion that it was possible to carry it? He had no doubt that the Bill would be defeated. He did not speak rashly or unadvisedly when he said that he believed the Government would be, or ought to be, most grateful to those who enabled them to get rid of a burden so obnoxious as that now hanging upon them in the shape of this Bill. Let him remind them how a friend of theirs treated a measure of this kind when first introduced. When the appointment of the Ecclesiastical Commission was before the House of Commons, his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard, whom he did not now see in his place, said—He wished to call the attention of the House and the country to the extraordinary position in which His Majesty's Government had placed themselves by hurrying on this Bill in so astonishing a manner. In all the annals of Parliamentary precipitation, nothing could be found equal to that 387 with which this measure was hastened forward. By what insanity was it that the Government now came forward in order to alienate their supporters from them, in order to carry into effect the recommendation of Commissioners appointed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite?In passing, he must observe that the right hon. Gentleman alluded to was not "opposite" at present; but he ought to be, to oppose and to expose this Bill. He certainly regretted that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth was not in his place at present; but to do him justice, he had not appointed the Commission with a view to such a Bill as had been introduced; and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester had said with an admirable consistency that he was prepared to go as far as the right hon. Member for Tamworth had proposed to go, but not so far as the provisions of the present Bill extended. However, the Bill would be defeated, and partly on the same grounds that had been set forth by his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard. He would also remind the Government of the success which had attended the opposition to a former Bill of theirs; and which successful opposition had earned their gratitude. The Irish Arms Bill had been defeated by one or two determined men who bad joined in opposition against that tyrannical and unconstitutional measure. So soon as that measure had been opposed with spirit it had been withdrawn; and after it had been withdrawn the Prime Minister told the House, with that frankness which belonged to him, that he had found, after consultation with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that he could actually do better without the Bill than with it. And the noble Lord would now find, if he consulted the clergy and the laity, that the bishops would gain nothing in credit and estimation in the country by a Bill for the aggrandizement of that portion of the Church which was most open to popular objection, and that such a measure was neither calculated to support the Church in the estimation of the people, nor advance a Ministry in popular favour and public regard.
§ MR. WILLIAMS WYNN
had to crave the indulgence of the House for what he had no doubt would be kindly granted—the liberty of addressing them while he retained his seat. He felt a peculiar interest in the question before the House; he felt an interest in it, not only as the representative in Parliament of a county immediately situated within the diocese of St. Asaph, and materially concerned in 388 the Bill, but also as having, in 1834, been appointed a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission, in which, however, he did not remain till the report was made, and to which report he gave an unwilling and reluctant assent. He gave his consent to the unions of the two bishoprics, chiefly because it appeared to him that it was the only means by which there was a chance of carrying the establishment of the bishopric of Manchester; and he was further tempted by the proposal which was made—and which he understood would be embodied in the report—by his venerable Friend, Lord Harrowby, that the revenue of the bishopric of St. Asaph should be applied to increase the revenues of poor clergymen and the establishment of additional churches. He thought this was a subject not sufficiently adverted to in this discussion. They had been told of the great prevalence of dissent in Wales; and certainly it was a thing to be regretted; but it did not exist to the extent that was imagined; because, of those who were put down as Dissenters from attending Dissenting meeting-houses, there were many who did so on account of the great size of the parishes, which placed them at such a distance from the church, that they were unable to attend it, though many of them did 80 in the early part of the day. He knew himself a district in which people had five or six miles to go to church, and the consequence was that they attended the dissenting meetinghouse, because the services of the church were at so great a distance. Now, as an attached member of the Church of England, he must acknowledge that he never regretted that the people should take that determination; for though he might wish that they should attend church, yet if it was not within reach, it was better that they should attend the dissenting meetinghouse rather than stay away altogether. As to the question of not giving the new bishops a seat in Parliament, he did not think it was objectionable in any respect. He did not think it was unconstitutional that the new bishops should be appointed, though they had not all the attributes and all the powers that had been given to others. He did not hold that the want of a seat in Parliament, while there were a sufficient number of bishops to watch over the interests of the Church in the House of Lords, ought of itself to form a sufficient objection to frustrate a measure of this kind. He would make one remark 389 with reference to the preamble of the Bill. He was disposed to accede to the proposed increase in the number of bishops; but he held that this was a matter of so much importance, that it should be considered in a separate measure, and that Parliament ought not to be pledged to such a proposal by the mere recital of it in the preamble. Unquestionably Parliament would pledge itself to the appointment of four new bishops, if it passed this Bill as it now stood, because they had recited it in the preamble, though they took in the Bill no means to effect this; but he thought it would be better if it was left to be dealt with by a future Parliament. He should regret if such a proposal was carried as if by a side wind. It had been asked where were the petitions in favour of this measure, and from what did they collect the voices of the clergy and laity? Now, from the part he had taken in this question, he had been led to endeavour to ascertain what were the general views, and he had found that the opinion generally of the clergy and laity was unfavourable to the union of the two sees. His argument to those who were unfavourable to the union was, that it would tend to improve the livings of the poorer clergy; but the voice in answer was, "No, it will deal a blow to the church by taking away one of the bishoprics, and the harm done will far more than counterbalance the good which will be received by the Church. He found that 230 petitions had been presented against that union, of which a great part were from the clergy of the diocese. He would say-it was of great importance, if they wished to support the religious Establishment of the country, that they should attend to the feelings of the clergy. He thought it was also of great importance that they should pass that portion of the Bill which prevented the union of the two sees—a measure which, if it took effect, would be a great disappointment to the Principality. The influence of episcopal superintendence was beneficial in preventing those minor differences which would arise in every church, and would acquire heat and acrimony but for the influence of the bishops. Never since the Reformation had such differences arisen in the Church of England as of late, as to whether there should be candles or candlesticks upon the table, and whether the surplice should be worn in the pulpit. He had detained the House longer than he had intended, and he would only say further, that he gave his support most 390 cordially to the Motion for going into Committee on the Bill—whether the part of the preamble to which he had adverted should be retained might be considered in the Committee.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
said, that his right hon. Friend who had last addressed the House stated some reasons for the omission of some parts of the preamble. He perhaps should not have differed from his right hon. Friend as to whether such parts should have been proposed; but having been proposed to the House, it would not leave the matter, by now omitting them, as it would have stood had the words not formed part of the Bill. He had listened with much attention to his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. B. Escott) who wasEverything by turns, but nothing long;and his hon. and learned Friend had told them, and that not for the first time in the course of the present Session, that the actual measure was the most important which had been brought forward during the Session; and that the last speech on his own side was the most able which he had heard. He must express his admiration at the amiability of the disposition of his hon. and learned Friend. [Mr. ESCOTT made an observation which was not heard in the gallery.] He stood corrected. His hon. and learned Friend had not said that it was the most important measure of the Session, but he said that it was the most important measure proposed in the present Parliament. He was, therefore, doubly at liberty to recall to the recollection of his hon. and learned Friend the course which he had taken with reference to a kindred subject, within the last three years, when it was proposed to create three bishoprics in another part of the world; the proposal to reduce the number from three to two was negatived by 124 to 17; and he would ask him, who constituted one of the majority, who were so earnest in favour of three new bishops? Amongst that majority stood the name of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Winchester. The hon. and learned Member for Cocker-mouth (Mr. Horsman), fraternizing in his vote with those whose sentiments he did not acquiesce in, had referred to the principle upon which he thought Church legislation ought to be placed; which yet those, who now agreed with him in his present opposition, had always declined to support. But he did not rise to reply to 391 those speeches: when he entered the House he did not hope or desire to catch the Speaker's eye; but the speech of his right hon. Friend the Member for Dorchester (Sir James Graham), rendered it impossible for him to remain silent. His right hon. Friend had said, that for all the purposes of the Church, with reference to spiritual aid, as well as to instruction of the people, the Church must look to itself alone; that it must not look to other resources than its own funds; and the right hon. Gentleman took some praise to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth for the measure for 1843, which that right hon. Baronet, when Prime Minister, introduced in reference to Church funds. He stated that his impression then (and he repeated it now) was, that instead of making the State discharge its duty of providing funds for the religious instruction of the people, the Government merely shuffled the cards, and placed in the hands of the Church, for Church purposes, a portion of the Church property; but they did not call upon the State to discharge its duty to the Church and to the people, by providing from the general means of the State for the national religion. They merely enabled the ecclesiastical body to raise money on its own resources for ecclesiastical and spiritual purposes, just as they often enabled a lay proprietor to do for lay purposes. His right hon. Friend, however, did not always hold that the State ought to be sparing of the national resources for securing the object of instructing the people; for it did so happen, that, on one day at least in his life, his right hon. Friend had thought, or acted as if he thought, that the State had some duty to discharge in reference to the instruction of the people and to Church discipline and duties. It had so happened—and the coincidence was extraordinary, this being the 15th of July, 1847—that his right hon. Friend was willing to pledge himself, on the 15th of July, 1840, to a proposition to this effect:—That this House is deeply impressed with a just sense of the many blessings which this country, by the favour of Divine Providence, has long enjoyed, and with the conviction that the religious and moral habits of the people are the most sure and firm foundation of national prosperity;".—That his right hon. Friend was willing to state to Her Majesty, as the opinion of this House—That no altered distribution of the revenues of the Established Church;"—392 Not any shuffling as in 1843, or as might be in 1849; but his right hon. Friend pledged himself to the proposition——"could remove the existing and augmenting evil, arising from the notorious fact, that an addition of more than 6,000,000 souls has been made to the population of England and Wales since the commencement of the present century; that the rate of this increase is rapidly progressive; that the grants made by the wisdom of Parliament, on the recommendation of the Crown, in 1818 and 1824, have been inadequate to supply the national wants; and that, though private and local liberality has been largely manifested in aid of particular districts, the greatest wants exist where there are the least means to meet and relieve them.And his right hon. Friend was prepared—"to assure Her Majesty that this House, feeling that God has intrusted to this nation unexampled resources, is satisfied that it is the duty of the Government to employ an adequate portion of the wealth of the nation to relieve the spiritual destitution of large masses of the people, by whose labour that wealth has been enlarged; and humbly to represent to Her Majesty that this House will cheerfully make good such measures as Her Majesty may be pleased to recommend, in order to provide for her people in England and Wales further and full means of religious worship and instruction in the Established Church.[Mr. HUME: The Motion was negatived.] That was true. His hon. Enemy—if he might so call him, in Church matters—had voted against him; and he then, as he had done now, uttered a stereotype speech, as he always did on these questions, in which he quoted—and he (Sir E. Inglis) dared say hon. Members could repeat it by heart—the Statute of Edward VI., and had, in short, made the same speech as he had made to-night, and which the hon. Member would go on making on future occasions when similar questions should arise. There was a somewhat more serious part of the subject which had been alluded to by the right hon. Baronet—that was with respect to the labours and duties of a bishop. He did think his right hon. Friend had placed at far too low a scale the amount of labour, as well as of responsibility, which attached to the duties of a bishop. He by no means underrated the labours of the clergy—he would not say working clergy; because he knew bishops who worked at least as much as any curate in the kingdom. He could hardly refer to such a man as the Bishop of Chester without stating that no individual, lay or spiritual, within his diocese, devoted more time, and, by the blessing of God, more successfully for the good of his fellow-creatures, than the Bishop of Chester. [An Hon. MEMBER: 393 Does the Bishop discharge his duties in Parliament?] He would interrupt himself (as the hon. Gentleman had thought proper to interrupt him) so far as to state that if he knew anything of the principle upon which the Bishop of Chester acted in the discharge of his spiritual and ecclesiastical duties, he would not forego any fitting occasion for discharging those quasi temporal duties which devolved upon him as a Peer in Parliament. But his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) stated upon the highest spiritual authority—he knew of none higher than the Bishop of Chester—that notwithstanding all the efforts that had been made of latter years to render church accommodation more commensurate with the wants of the people, they had not been kept up at all equal to the increasing exigency of the case. That was formerly his own conviction; and on one occasion the Bishop of Chester observed to him privately, that about ten years ago he entertained the same opinion; but, observed his Lordship, latterly there had been such an improvement in the spirit and exertions of the people, that, whereas in the year 1836 in his own county of Lancaster the number of the clergy to the population was as 1 to 4,500, it was now as one to 3,000. This was most satisfactory, and he believed it was the same through some other dioceses of England and Wales. The hon. Member for Winchester, asked, "Where were the petitions for this Bill? Who asked for it?" Now, with respect to that part of the Bill which separated the recently united bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor, for the last four or five years there had been petitions from every part of the country, from the two universities, and from a large body of clergymen, for the continuance of the two bishoprics. More than that, a large proportion of those petitioners prayed also for the creation specifically of this new bishopric of Manchester. He, therefore, felt that his noble Friend the Prime Minister of England had not only discharged the duty which he owed to the Church, as a consistent and conscientious member of it, but had carried out the wishes of the great body of those who were more interested in the matter. His hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Escott) had charged his right hon. Friend (Mr. Goulburn) with having said that the Dissenters had nothing to do with the subject, and that it was a matter of presumption for them to interfere. Now, all that his right hon. Friend said was this, that the members of 394 the Church of England did not interfere with the discipline of any of the dissenting bodies; nor did they ask the dissenting bodies to give anything towards the endowment of this new bishopric. All that the friends of the Church asked was, to be permitted to apply the Church resources of England in such manner as the great body of the members of that Church might think proper. They asked nothing more than that they might, out of a portion of the fund which a few years since had been abstracted from the property devolved by the piety of past ages to the maintenance of the hierarchy of the Church of England, be allowed to endow a new bishop or bishops for such places as might require them. He rejoiced, not only that his noble Friend had proposed a substantive legislative enactment for creating a bishop of Manchester, but had proclaimed in the preamble of the Bill that there were other measures equally required for strengthening and extending the spiritual superintendence of the Church. Under these circumstances he could not help expressing the cordial satisfaction with which he received the first announcement of this measure, and declaring his intention to give it all the support in his power, consistently with the objection he entertained to that portion of the measure which deprived the new Bishop of a seat in the House of Peers. He was not willing to withdraw from the Crown its legitimate and constitutional right to create new spiritual Peers. Reserving, then, to himself the power of proposing the omission of that part of the Bill he should most readily support the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair, for the purpose of going into Committee.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY
having given a notice of an Amendment in Committee, would not have troubled the House at present, but for the course which the debate had taken. Whatever he should say, he begged to assure the noble Lord would not be said in a spirit of hostility towards him or his Government. He gave the noble Lord the greatest credit for introducing this measure, with a view to strengthen the Church, and extend its beneficent influence among the people. The question to which the House must confine itself on this occasion, was as to the mode of disposing of a portion of the revenues of the Church itself. He thought the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) would be somewhat singular in his views, if he thought, at this time of day, it was possible to persuade 395 this House to devote to any such purpose as that contemplated to be effected by this measure any portion of the public funds; and although his hon. Friend had cited what took place in 1840, yet he was greatly deceived in the character of his hon. Friend, if what had taken place during the last seven years had not had some effect on his mind. At all events, his hon. Friend had not renewed his Motion; it was fair, therefore, to assume that his own mind had undergone some change. With respect to the suggested Amendment by his right hon. Friend, he confessed he experienced some difficulty. He should have preferred that nothing had been said about the creation of three other additional bishoprics; but those words being in the Bill it was a difficult thing, as his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford had said, to strike them out. But as the noble Lord at the head of the Government had distinctly stated that he did not mean to pledge the House to the creation of more than one bishop, he thought the difficulty which was now felt might be avoided by their consenting to withdraw the words from the Bill. He was one of those who was willing to allow the recent arrangement for the combination of the two bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor to stand. It was because he saw difficulties in the way of this debate, that he was anxious to abide by that arrangement. But he had to ask himself, under the peculiar circumstances under which this Bill was brought in, whether he could with propriety object to the restoration of those two sees; and the conclusion he had arrived at was, that he ought not to do so. He certainly hailed with satisfaction the attachment which had been displayed by the people towards those two bishops—an attachment which had ended in the proposition for repealing the union of those two sees. He was prepared to assist and support the noble Lord in the erection of the new see of Manchester, though certainly there might be a doubt whether it was expedient to have deprived the bishop of the right of a seat in Parliament. Knowing, however, that the establishment of the bishopric in the district of Manchester was regarded with great satisfaction, he was prepared to accede to the proposition as it was framed by the noble Lord. But he could not altogether accept the description which his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) had given of the duties and influence of a bishop in his own dio- 396 cese. He was the last man in the world to speak with the slightest disrespect of one whom he unfeignedly regarded (he meant the Archbishop of York) with veneration, and, he might say, with affection; but he was sure that even before old age laid its heavy hand upon him, that most rev. Prelate must have found that the duties of so large a diocese were by far too great for his exertions. It was within his knowledge, that in the district with which he was best acquainted, the inconvenience was felt of having a diocesan at so great a distance from them, and with such onerous duties to discharge. He was equally sure, that since the new Bishop of Ripon had come into that district, his activity and zeal, his freely mixing with his clergy, and his frank, friendly, and familiar communication with them, had had a most beneficial effect; it had stimulated the clergy, had encouraged their flocks, and had greatly tended to spread the creed of the Church. Under these considerations he cordially supported that part of the measure. But it was now with regret that he proceeded to point out those parts of it which he considered objectionable. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montgomery had shortly and cursorily alluded to the constitutional question which was now for the first time brought before the House, and which must now be discussed, viz., as to the new bishop not having a seat in Parliament. It was from a desire to avoid such a discussion that many of the friends of the Church were anxious that the arrangement with respect to the union of the sees of St. Asaph and Bangor should be adhered to. He could not help regretting that some other course had not been taken by the Government, and that the Bill had been exclusively confined to the creation of the Bishop of Manchester, without mentioning any other bishops, or anything about their not sitting in Parliament. He was quite sure, if the noble Lord had adopted that course, he might have passed the Bill; for the same support would have been given to him both on the Opposition side of the House and by his own Friends, whose combined strength would have been sufficient to carry the measure. The new bishop would have been created with a seat in the House of Lords, and the nation would have been satisfied. Since the Reformation the bishopric of Westminster had expired, and therefore the establishment of the bishopric of Manchester would not have increased the gross 397 number of the bishops beyond what it was at that period. But, were the case otherwise, it was impossible that any reasonable objection could be taken to an addition to the number of bishops with reference to the bearing such a proceeding would have upon the proportion existing between the temporal and spiritual Peerage. Let the House observe how enormously the temporal Peerage had increased since a period not far removed from the Reformation. In the time of James I. the number of temporal Peers was 106; whilst now it amounted to 400. Under these circumstances the Government would not, he believed, have found any difficulty in establishing the bishopric of Manchester, with all the honours and privileges attached to the existing bishoprics. A rumour, however, had got abroad that the Government made a proposition to the bench of bishops to this effect—that they must either accept one bishopric with a seat in the House, or several bishops. It certainly was placing the bishops in a somewhat invidious position to submit such a proposition to them. He perceived that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department shook his head; he knew not whether he was to take that as a denial that the proposition to which he had referred was made; all he would say was, that if made it was calculated to place the bishops in an invidious position; for if they had decided in favour of the single bishop with a seat in the House of Lords, they would have been open to the imputation of preferring temporalities to spirituality; and, on the other hand, if they had declared their preference for the establishment of several bishoprics, shorn of the customary honours, they would have been accused of compromising the rights of their order. The second clause of the Bill was open to a grave constitutional objection. That clause proposed to establish a system of rotation, which would exclude from the House of Lords not only a newly-created bishop, such as the Bishop of Manchester, but bishops who had enjoyed that honour since the Heptarchy. That was a great constitutional question. There could be no question that a bishop was a Peer to all intents and purposes, and that the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords was a privilege attached to his office, not to his person. That was not all: bishops were the representatives of the clergy, by whom they were originally elected. Subsequently the power of election was concentrated in 398 the deans and chapters; and, finally, the power of appointment was vested in the Crown. A bishop, then, being the representative of his clergy, it would be deemed a great hardship that a Bishop of Manchester and a Bishop of Bodmin should have seats in the House of Lords, whilst two ancient bishops, such as Carlisle and Norwich, were excluded. Then, again, the Crown had the right of calling for the advice and assistance of the ancient bishops in council; but by the proposed arrangement the Crown might be debarred from summoning to its councils the Bishops of Carlisle and Norwich. That appeared to be a direct invasion of the prerogative of the Crown. Suppose Parliament were to limit the number of Marquesses or Earls in the House of Lords, that would unquestionably be an invasion of the prerogative of the Crown; but it would not be a greater invasion than the limitation of the number of bishops in the same assembly. The temporal Peers succeeded by heirship, and the bishops' succession was even better founded. The learned Selden maintained that bishops had the same right to sit in Parliament as temporal Peers; and, in reference to the proposition which, at a less happy period of our history than the present, was made, to deprive bishops of the right of voting, Selden observed, in effect, that—"if you take away their votes, that would be but a step towards taking themselves away; it would be the introduction of the small wimble to make way for the larger instrument, which would break up the material.The system of rotation now proposed to be established would expose the bishops who had not the privilege of sitting in Parliament to invidious observations; and it was not improbable that, eventually, it would give rise to the question of the propriety of excluding the whole body from Parliament. The measure was defective in making no provision for the discharge of an essential part of a bishop's duties, namely, the jurisdiction which he exercised in his court. The creation of a bishop implied his right of holding a court; but bow could he hold it if no provision were made for that purpose? It was unnecessary to dwell upon that [joint at that moment; it was to the constitutional part of the question that he attached the greatest importance. He could not help thinking, that if the present number of bishops were inadequate to the wants of the time, it would have been better to have created suffragan bishops under 399 the provisions of the Statute of the 26th of Henry VIII. That Act originated with Cranmer; and it provided that any archbishop or bishop who should require assistance in his diocese might present to the Crown the names of two persons, one of whom the Crown was to select and present to the archbishop for consecration. Upon his consecration he became what was called in ancient times (long before the Reformation, as well as since that event) a "suffragan bishop" to the principal bishop. No suffragan bishop had been made since 1606. That they had not been appointed since, was sufficiently accounted for by the fact, that no provision was made for their sustentation—that their authority was co-existent with the Commission—that it might be withdrawn at any time—and that it died with him who gave it. It was not his intention to make any specific proposal on this subject; but he still thought it was a point well worthy of the attention of the noble Lord, the Government, and the bishops. He confessed that he felt great difficulty in acceding to the provisions of the Bill; but if the Government would consent to the omission of the words he had referred to in the preamble, and strike out the second clause altogether, he should willingly give them his support.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
expressed his surprise that no Member of the Government had attempted to answer the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester. That right hon. Gentleman, by the judicious course he had taken on this question, had shown himself the real friend of the Church. He had placed the question on its true basis. He had said that there were certain surplus revenues in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and that the question before them was the best means of applying these for the interests of the Church. The right hon. Baronet had proved, to his satisfaction at least, that the most efficient way to increase the power of the Church of England, and promote the interests of its members, was not to give an additional bishop to Manchester, but to increase the number of the parochial clergy in that place. How stood the fact up to the present moment in the town of Manchester? He found it stated in the petition mentioned by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Philips) that in that town there were thirty townships, consisting, he believed, of 400,000 people, and that out of those thirty townships seven were 400 actually without churches or clergymen; and yet for a town thus situated, what did the First Lord of the Treasury propose? Did he propose an increase in the number of working clergy? An extension of the parochial system? No, he proposed a new Bishop of Manchester! In his opinion, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorchester was entitled to the thanks of the Church of England, much more than the noble Lord, for arguing that the Legislature ought rather to increase the number of the parochial instead of the episcopal clergy. The only thing that surprised him in the right hon. Gentleman's speech was the declaration that he intended to vote for the Bill, although he would try to mutilate it so that it should not be the Bill of the noble Lord. The hon. Member for West Dorsetshire (Mr. Acland), in a speech which indicated the feelings they were accustomed to find in the tracts and publications of a certain section of the Church, gave credit to the First Minister of the Crown for having listened to the spontaneous action of the Church. Did the hon. Member consider, that what he called "the spontaneous action of the Church" was looked upon by many people as likely to lead to the spontaneous combustion of the Church? When he talked of his peculiar views of the province and office of a bishop, did he not consider that, if he carried his argument to its natural conclusion, he ought to move the removal of the bishops from the House of Lords? The hon. Member went to a certain point, but he refused to go further. Then, the noble Lord the Member for Liverpool, who represented another section of the Church—which was now split into so many parties that one hardly knew what the Church of England was—that noble Lord had asked, if they had a large army would they not increase the number of the generals? But he would ask in return, whether in such a case it would not be as wise to increase the number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers? and whether it was not just as necessary in the Church as in the Army that before appointing additional bishops, they should increase the efficiency of the Church by extending the parochial system? He must say that if any act of the Government could astonish him, he was astonished at the Bill then under consideration. It did seem to him an extraordinary thing that the noble Lord, who throughout the whole of his career in Opposition had al- 401 ways been coquetting with Dissenters, and who had always been looked upon as the great friend of civil and religious liberty, and the patron of Dissenters, should abandon them now that he was in office, and get up a flirtation with the Church. If the noble Lord was anxious to add to his fame by assuming the character of an ecclesiastical reformer, he was greatly mistaken if he did not fall a martyr to the cause in the city of London, which he now represented. He was greatly mistaken if the citizens of London did not look upon this Bill for giving a bishop to Manchester with suspicion. The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Lord Sandon), not contented with four new bishops, hoped that the time would come when every county in England would have a bishop; and no doubt some hon. Members would be disposed to go further, and say, that in every Railway Bill that passed there should be a provision for the appointment of a bishop for that railway. He must say that the Church of England had always shown herself disposed when they gave her an inch to take an ell. But he did hope that the citizens of London would see the propriety of sending the noble Lord to the retirement of some small borough, where he would have greater leisure to consider the question of having a bishop for every county, than he could have as one of the representatives of the metropolis. He feared they could place no faith in him as a Radical reformer, seeing the only thing he had abandoned in his doctrine of "finality" was in having no "finalty" in Church matters—no end to the creation of bishops.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, that the only construction be could put upon the silence of Ministers on this occasion was, that they were ashamed of the Bill. [Lord J. RUSSELL: I have already spoken.] He was aware that the noble Lord had spoken; but the noble Lord was not the whole Ministry. The noble Lord had complained of the present discussion and opposition after the division the other evening. Did the noble Lord forget that, before going to a division on the night referred to, the noble Lord asked him not to move the adjournment of the debate, because the debate could be resumed at a future stage of the Bill? And yet the noble Lord found fault with them for now continuing the debate. The noble Lord had also found fault with the hon. Member for Manchester for speaking against the Bill, on the part of the people of Manchester. He said it 402 was too late for the people of Manchester to complain of the proposal of a new bishop, because the Bill of 1836 established a new bishop. That was quite true. That was undoubtedly the compact of 1836. But who had unsettled that compact? It was the noble Lord himself; and therefore the people of Manchester were quite right, when the compact was unsettled, to come and tell them that they would not, if possible, be insulted with a new bishop. He confessed his surprise to have heard no answer to the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham). That speech was perfectly consistent on the part of the right hon. Baronet. The gist of his argument was that he would abide by the arrangement of 1836. It was originally recommended by the report of the Commission to which he belonged; but it was taken up by the noble Lord. The hon. Member for Winchester had reminded the House of the speech of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Liskeard in 1836, wherein he asked by what species of insanity the noble Lord was alienating his friends by taking up that report of the right hon. Gentleman. But, then, his hon. and learned Friend went still further, and said "it was the unconscious fowl sitting on the crocodile's egg." Not that the noble Lord pledged the House to this creation of three more bishops; but he put them in the preamble of the Bill, and told them that in a future Session of Parliament it was his intention to create these three bishops. In his opinion the whole thing was a violation of the arrangement of 1836. At that time what they complained of was the creation of a new bishop; but they were told that they were quite wrong in objecting to the Bill. Lord Howick said that the Bill established a great principle—that it established the principle of their right to meddle with Church property; and that it was, therefore, most valuable to those who maintained that Church property was public property, as he (Mr. Duncombe) maintained that it was, and that any surplus ought to be applied to the relief of the church rates; but the noble Lord said at that time, "No, while there are any livings under 100l. a year, the whole of that surplus must be carried to the augmentation of those livings." Was that the case at that moment? Why, there were not fewer than 2,900 such livings. He had had many communications with most worthy clergymen on the subject. [A laugh.] Was there anything in 403 that to excite the ridicule of hon. Gentlemen? He would give them a specimen of one of those communications; it was from a clergyman in Wales, who said—I have reason to believe that it is in the contemplation of the Government to establish four new bishops, and that from the funds now at the disposal of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I do not intend to question the necessity of increasing that order, although by that increase the poorer clergy can only look for additional oppression.["Hear, hear!"] Did hon. Gentleman cheer that?—I consider it a great act of injustice to bestow so considerable an amount of Church money towards the endowment of these bishoprics, whilst I am the incumbent of a new district under Sir R. Peel's Act with the paltry stipend of 130l. per annum from the same funds. The district over which I have been placed since 1844 is of great extent, with a population of 5,000. My place of worship is crowded to overflowing, and my visits to the numerous poor and other expenses, such as lighting and fitting up my temporary church, &c, towards which the Commission gives no help, barely leave me 100l. a year. I have, thank God, a family of five children; and I believe that no order of men suffer more than poor clergymen struggling with a large family. They must keep up the appearance of their class, and to do that they cannot afford animal food more than once a week.The simple question then was, whether persons in that situation of life ought not to be assisted by the surplus fund in the hands of the Commissioners, instead of that surplus going to create four new bishops? Again, it would give the Government more patronage, and he objected to it on that account. They had had patronage enough already. They had Railway Commissioners, Poor Law Commissioners, and now they were to have four new bishops. [Sir G. GREY: Three inspectors of collieries.] Yes! He asked for those inspectors for the protection of human life; but the Government refused them. They would have been useful and beneficial; but he maintained that the new bishops would not be so. He also objected to this Bill being-brought in by a Government which had not the confidence of Parliament; and he believed the noble Lord would find that not many of the Liberal party would support him in it. He was satisfied that those who opposed the Bill were acting in conformity with public opinion, and for the public interests, and upon every stage of it he should give his decided vote against it.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
also opposed the Bill, and said no man more deserved the character of a sincere friend of the Church 404 than the right hon. Member for Dorchester. He himself could state several instances of the hardships endured by clergymen in small livings. One instance was that of a clergyman who held the two livings of Wetherell and Walling, in Cumberland, receiving for the united parishes only 70l. a year, though he afterwards obtained an addition of 50l. from Queen Anne's Bounty. The living itself was in the hands of an ecclesiastical corporation, who did nothing whatever for the parish. In the parish of Escott, eight miles from Carlisle, the clergyman received only 50l. a year, and the remaining part of his slender income was derived from Queen Anne's Bounty. And yet in this very district the dean and chapter received 500l. or 600l. a year. Was it right in such a state of things to create new bishops, and leave the working clergy starving? He was fearful of the increase of territorial revenue to the bishops, and thought nothing could be more dangerous to the peace and safety of the country than such a proceeding. He would much rather see the bishops have money than land. A most careful scrutiny of the working of the Ecclesiastical Commission was required, and he would be glad to know if their scheme was not the possession of territorial property for the Church? He believed that such a scheme was on foot, though he would not now state what it was that led him to this conclusion. He could not say what had induced the Government to bring in this Bill, unless it was some sort of "pressure from without." For his part he would feel it to be his duty to take every legitimate opportunity of opposing the measure.
§ MR. J. COLLETT
would not long trespass on the attention of the House, but did not like to give a silent vote. He thought it strange that no Member of the Government had risen to defend the Bill against the attacks which had been made upon it. The noble Lord the Member for London said nothing about this Bill in his address to his constituents. It was rather too much to see him now coming forward as the avowed confederate of the Bishop of London. Indeed a measure of this kind should have been brought forward by a party connected with that of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. Four bishops were to have been consolidated into two; but now it appeared they were to have four bishops out of eight. [The hon. Member read the resolution of the House of Commons in 1836 upon the 405 Appropriation Clause, and Lord John Russell's remarks upon that occasion in favour of the appropriation of the Church revenues to secular purposes.] It was true these remarks related to Ireland, but what was good for Ireland was good for England. He was in favour of the exclusion of bishops from the House of Lords, and wished the Government would, instead of this Bill, bring in that which he suggested. These were his ideas, whatever might be thought about them.
§ On the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question, the House divided:—Ayes 138; Noes 20: Majority 118.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Ferrand, W. B.|
|Acland, T. D.||Forster, M.|
|Antrobus, E.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Austen, Col.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Barkly, H.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Gore, hon. R.|
|Baring, T.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Bennet, P.||Greene, T.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G,|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Blakemore, R.||Hatton, Capt. V.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Hawes, B.|
|Borthwick, P.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
|Broadley, H.||Henley, J. W.|
|Brown, W.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Buller, C.||Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Buller, E.||Hodgson, F.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hotham, Lord|
|Byng, rt. hon. G.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Cholmondely, hon. H.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Christie, W. D.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Jones, Capt.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Labouchere, rt. hn. H.|
|Clive, Visct.||Langston, J. H.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Lefroy, A.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Le Marchant, Sir D.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Lindsay, Col.|
|Craig, W. G.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Cripps, W.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Denison, J. E.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Denison, E. B.||Millies, R. M.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Moffatt, G.|
|Disraeli, B.||Morpeth, Visct.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Morris, D.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Neeld, J.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Neville, It.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Norreys, Lord|
|Egerton, W. T.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Entwisle, W.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Estcoutt, T. G. B.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Packe, C. W.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Palmer, R.|
|Palmer, G.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Parker, J.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Patten, J. W.||Stuart, J.|
|Pennant, hon. Col.||Strutt, rt. hon. E|
|Philipps, Sir R. B. P.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Pinney, W.||Taylor, E.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Plumridge, Capt.||Walker, R.|
|Price, Sir R.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Pulsford, R.||Ward, H. G.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Wilshere, W.|
|Rich, H.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Richards, R.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Russell, Lord C. J. F.||Wynn, rt. hn. C. W. W.|
|Ryder, hon. G. D.||TELLERS.|
|Sandon, Visct.||Tufnell, H.|
|Seymer, H. K.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of theNOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Heron, Sir R.|
|Aldam, W.||Hindley, C.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Horsman, E.|
|Brotherton, J.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Clements, Visct.||Osborne, R.|
|Collett, J.||Thornely, T.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt, hn. T.||Wakley, T.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Williams, W.|
|Escott, B.||Hume, J.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Philips, M.|
§ Question again proposed that the Speaker do now leave the chair.
§ MR. T. S. DUNCOMBE
moved that the debate be adjourned. The vote at which they had then arrived was a disgraceful vote to a Liberal. ["Order!" "Chair!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, that the House had pronounced a decision on the question submitted to them, and it was contrary to the respect due to the House that any one should call that a disgraceful vote.
§ MR. ESCOTT
rose to state, that the hon. Member for Finsbury had said, that the vote was disgraceful to a weak Administration.
§ MR. T. S. DUNCOMBE
considered the vote disgraceful to Gentlemen professing liberal principles. He saw several Gentlemen now present who formerly voted against the Bishops' Bill. The hon. Member for Lambeth had taken him to task for the vote that he had given; let that Gentleman account to his constituents for his own vote. [Mr. HAWES had not called the hon. Member for Finsbury to account for his vote.] The hon. Member for Lambeth had voted one way that night; but in 1836 his vote was directly the re- 407 verse. The vote, he would not say was disgraceful to the House; but it was disgraceful to those who were called Liberal Members—the others were perfectly consistent. It was said, that this measure was only the prelude to the endowment of the Roman Catholic priesthood. There was a rumour to that effect, and he wished to know from the noble Lord whether there was any foundation for such a rumour. The Maynooth grant was considered preliminary to endowment; he wanted to know whether they were to have anything more of that sort? He confessed that he thought the Protestant Dissenters had already been insulted sufficiently; and he could tell Ministers that if they carried that course of policy further, the House would receive numerous petitions from the Dissenters. He must now move that the debate he adjourned; he could not agree to the House going into Committee even pro formâ.
§ VISCOUNT CLEMENTS
was ready to assent to putting off the debate. The Bill was a job, and he regretted that the Irish Members could not stop a job as readily as the English representatives could.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
felt that the attack made on the Member for Lambeth by the Member for Finsbury was unjustifiable; he was sure it originated in a mistake, and was sure the hon. Member for Finsbury would not have used the language that he did had he not been labouring under a false impression.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I am glad that the House see the character of the opposition to this Bill. I beg the House to remark, that the debate having continued till near twelve o'clock at night, the House then divided—divided in the numbers of 138 to 20—and, having so decisively pronounced their opinion, I then proposed not to go on with the business, but that the House having decided that the question should be, "that the Speaker leave the chair," he should then leave the chair that the House might go into Committee pro formâ, and the chairman immediately report progress, in order that we might go effectually into Committee another day. So little was I disposed to hurry on this measure. The hon. Member for Finsbury then falls into a great passion with the majority that has voted against him, and when he is called to order by you, Sir, he quibbles out of that attack.
§ MR. B. OSBORNE
I rise to order. I wish to know if it is allowable, even in a 408 Prime Minister, to tell an hon. Member that he quibbles?
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
The hon. Member says, this is disgraceful to a Liberal Administration; he falls foul of those who voted in favour of the Motion, and, seeing certainly that the elections are approaching, he endeavours to intimidate one of those who had voted with the majority, in the hope that that certainly not very great number of twenty as compared to 138, may by such means be made nearer to an equality on some other occasion. I only beg the House to mark that this will show the spirit in which the Bill is met. It has been remarked, that excepting during the short time when I addressed the House at the commencement of the discussion, the Members of the Government have not taken part in this debate. Why, one reason for that was, that the wish evidently was that the debate should continue as long as possible, in order that the House might not effectually go into Committee; and another reason was, that really what is the principle and main object of the Bill has not been objected to by those who have spoken against it. The bishopric of Manchester is founded by an Act of Parliament already passed, and it would require the repeal of that Act to prevent that bishopric being established; the question on this Bill is, whether you shall retain the two sees of St. Asaph and Bangor as separate sees; and really, in the way of objection to that proposition, I have heard scarcely a single word in the course of this debate. Therefore it was quite unnecessary for us to take part in the discussion. There have been very able speeches made with respect to points which may be discussed in Committee; I admit the ability of the speech of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) and those of various other hon. Members; but I think when we go into Committee we can fairly discuss the points they have raised, and see what validity there is in the objections they have made. I do not oppose the Motion of the hon. Gentleman; it would come to exactly the same thing, whether we agree not to go into Committee to-night, or whether we agree that the debate be adjourned; the question will be the same to-morrow—"that you leave the chair." I only wish the House to see the spirit in which that Motion is made, and the way in which, in default of argument, this Bill is met.
§ MR. ESCOTT
said that, if the noble Lord had not himself set the example of using such an expression, he should not have now presumed to say that he thought that some part of his own remarks looked somewhat like quibbling and evasion; for if the object of this Bill was to make four new bishops, it was quibbling to say that it was only a Bill for the establishment of a bishopric at Manchester. He must say, too, that he thought the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Inglis) the Member for the University of Oxford, ought to be much obliged to his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury for putting the question he had put with respect to the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church; for a Bill that would lead to that result was not one, he thought, which he, as Member for the University of Oxford, ought to be so very eager to support.
§ MR. M. PHILIPS
hoped hon. Members would consider whether it would not be better to lot things remain as they were before, and then his constituents would earnestly desire that both the Welsh bishops might live to the age of Methuselah.
§ SIR G. GREY
wished just to remark, that it was a mistake to suppose that the House would be in the slightest degree pledged, even if the Bill passed in its present state, to the establishment of more than one bishopric: with respect to the others, it would be perfectly open to Parliament to take its own course. With regard to the rumour to which an hon. Member (Mr. Escott) seemed to attach such grave importance, he had to state that his noble Friend did not advert to it, because he thought it so utterly absurd that he did not suppose the credulity of any hon. Member would lead him to regard it as having the slightest foundation.
§ Debate adjourned.
§ House adjourned at half-past Twelve to Three o'clock.