LORD J. RUSSELL
moved the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Bishopric of Manchester Bill.
§ MR. B. ESCOTT
felt bound to express his sense of the handsome manner in which the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government was pleased, at the close of Friday night's proceedings, to yield to the wish of the minority in postponing the further consideration of the Bill from Saturday to this day. He felt, the moment that the noble Lord made that declaration, the position in which they, as a minority of the House of Commons, were placed. That they were bound to take advantage of the time that was thus allowed them, in order to reflect on the position which they had chosen to occupy, and to reconsider the nature of the Bill itself; and he felt that if under the circumstances it appeared proper for them to give up their opposition to the measure, and to yield to the opinions of the majority of the House, there would be no unhandsome or unfair use towards the principle which they thought right to advocate on the occasion made of their thus conceding their opinion to that of the large majority of the House of Commons. But at the same time he felt it was right to consider whether anything had passed in the course of that debate which should induce those who stood upon principle in their opposition to the Bill, to give up that opposition merely because they had 511 been beaten by numbers, and to yield up that ground which they had been induced to occupy against a measure that they believed to be detrimental to the interests of the people; because it was, as they thought, detrimental to the interests of the Church. Now, he should confess that he had throughout looked upon this measure with no feeling of a desire to embarrass the Government. He should feel sorry on any occasion to find it his duty to oppose Her Majesty's present Government. If it were consistent with his public duty, he would be ready to accede to their views, and still more to the views of the large majority of that House. But, after full consideration, he had come to the determination that nothing could be so pusillanimous, nothing no base on their part, as to display any sign of shrinking from the great duty which was imposed upon them. [A laugh.] He trusted that the hon. Gentleman who exhibited signs of merriment would explain his reasons for supporting the Bill in some other way besides laughing. He had already said, that he should be sorry to oppose Her Majesty's Ministers; but he had yet to learn that this was a Ministerial measure. The First Lord of the Treasury and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department were the only Ministers who had spoken in favour of this Bill; but even they had spoken very sparingly, and he believed neither of them had occupied the attention of the House for more than five minutes at a time; and they certainly took care to avoid grappling with the real question at issue, whether, having a surplus fund, they ought to apply that fund to the endowment of new bishops, or employ it in providing clergy for the people. He trusted this reserve would not be maintained by Ministers. He saw at that moment, sitting next to the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, the representative of a great county, his noble Friend at the head of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests. Now, he wanted to know, before they passed this Bill, whether the great county of York was in favour of making four new bishops. He did not know what view the noble Lord might take of the public feeling in this respect; but he could tell him that "all the blood of all the Howards" could not cram four bishops down the throats of the people of this country. He saw another hon. Member on the Ministerial bench, whose views he was anxious to hear regarding this Bill. He meant 512 the Secretary to the Admiralty, the hon. Member for Sheffield. He wished to know from that hon. Gentleman, was the opinion of the people of Sheffield in favour of this measure? [Mr. WARD: They have not said a word against it.] Am I to infer from that, that silence gives consent, and the people of Sheffield are in favour of the Bill? [Mr. WARD: No.] The hon. Member says, they are not for the Bill. [Mr. WARD: I have not said a word about it.] Then the hon. Gentleman did not mean that silence gave consent. But he wished to know if his hon. Friend intended to give a silent vote on the question. His hon. Friend was one who ought to express his opinion on such a matter. Who, he would ask, was the author of the Appropriation Clause? Who was it told them that, when there was to be a surplus of Church property, it ought to have been appropriated to the education of the people? It was the hon. Member for Sheffield who said this; and, between his duty towards his constituents and these principles, which he had never renounced, it was to be hoped that the hon. Gentleman would not give a silent vote on this Bill. His hon. Friend should recollect, that this was not a measure for applying the surplus funds of the Church to the education of the people, or to providing clergymen for the poor colliers; but it was a measure for raising up four new bishops. At a time when the fabric was in want of repair, when the walls required strengthening, they were about to erect ponderous ornaments on the pinnacle. But there was another Member of the Government still nearer to him on the Ministerial bench, who, he trusted, would also favour them with his opinions. He meant the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon. The right hon. Gentleman was better known as Member for Dungarvon than as Master of the Mint, as his office was but a ponderous incumbrance on his shoulders, which kept him down in the House of Commons from the exercise of those vast talents which he had once devoted to the maintenance of popular rights and the assertion of great principles. The right hon. Gentleman was shortly to visit Ireland; and after the great loss which had taken place in the representation of that country, the right hon. Gentleman would no doubt occupy a prominent position in the minds of the Irish people. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell the House whether he thought the people of Ireland were in fa- 513 vour of four new bishops. He feared that that right hon. Gentleman had too much cowardice to advance their reasons for supporting this measure. He might have used a strong phrase; but he did so advisedly, though he applied it not in a personal sense. He would repeat that those who gave a silent vote contrary to their political opinions were decided cowards, and they would be branded as such by the country. But he saw another Member on the Ministerial bench, who he trusted would also favour them with his sentiments on this question, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh. He was going from Ireland to Scotland—[An Hon. MEMBER: I wish you would]—and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh, whether the people of that country either were in favour of more bishops? The right hon. Gentleman was famous not only for his eloquence in that House, but perhaps still more so for those essays, displaying so much of deep research, and of varied learning and studied language, with which he had enriched the literature of his country. He had looked into those essays, and he had listened to the right hon. Gentleman's speeches; but in all, up to the present moment, whether he had been enlightened, instructed, or it might be sometimes, perhaps, inclined to be wearied, he never yet either read or heard any one passage in which the right hon. Gentleman declared his conviction that it is for the benefit of the Church of England and Ireland, or necessary for increasing or advancing the temporal and spiritual interests of the people, to make four new bishops. Let the right hon. Gentleman tell them that day what his reasons were for supporting a Bill for such a purpose. He knew no one more likely to convince him than the right hon. Gentleman; and if the right hon. Gentleman succeeded, proving to him that the measure was necessary, he would at once give up his position, and concede the necessity of passing some such Bill. What he wanted was, to hear some reason for the Bill; but up to the present time they had heard none. They were told what the Commissioners recommended. But what the Commissioners told them was, that they might make a new bishopric when they had consolidated two old bishoprics. He hoped also, that his hon. Friend the Attorney General, whom he saw sitting on the Ministerial bench, would address the House on the question. He would like to hear from the right hon. 514 Gentleman and the Solicitor General some definite answer to the question, how it accorded with the principles of Parliamentary and constitutional law, to introduce into the preamble of this Bill a statement of the opinions and contemplations of the Sovereign as a ground for passing an Act of Parliament. If Ministers had not a right to use the Queen's name in debate in order to influence the House of Commons, had they not still less a right to do so in an Act of Parliament? He should like to hear some explanation offered on these matters. Perhaps his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield might tell them that they would find his opinions on the question in the Weekly Chronicle; but what he wanted was to hear those opinions in that House, and not in the columns of a newspaper. But it was doubtful if this was a Ministerial measure at all. It certainly was not carried by Her Majesty's Ministers. It was carried by the Opposition to Her Majesty's Ministers. There were, to be sure, some honourable exceptions among Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester was one distinguished exception. He was in his place watching the progress of the Bill; but where was his late Colleague the Member for Tamworth? He thought that right hon. Baronet would have been better employed in attending to this question in his place in Parliament, than in writing pamphlets to his constituents. He honoured some of the hon. Members opposite also, for their support of this measure. For example, there was the noble Lord the Member for North Salop (Viscount Clive); but he would tell that noble Lord, that if he expressed the sentiments of the country on this question, then his noble father, Earl Powis, and not Prince Albert, ought to be the Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. There was another hon. Gentleman he would appeal to. Why did not the Recorder of London tell the House why he supported this Bill for imposing four new bishoprics on the country? There were also those who aspired to be leaders of the people. Where was the noble Lord the Member for Lynn? The noble Lord was not in his place, or he would have told him, that if he thought the farmers of England, who had been called the country party, or any great portion of them, supported this question, he would find that in that supposition he was egregiously mistaken. He asked the noble Lord if Bentinck came over with William 515 from the Low Countries to give four new bishops Brummagem mitres? Did his ancestors come over with William to make these Brummagem mitres, and put them on the heads of the successors of Laud? And where, too, was the Member for Shrewsbury? He was canvassing the farmers not only of Buckinghamshire, but of all England. He was riding through all Buckinghamshire in John Hampden's saddle; but he asked, how it would fit the "popular principles" of the Member for Shrewsbury to support this Bill with its four bishoprics? In their absence would any of their friends tell why they had been silent? He (Mr. Escott) knew why they had been silent, and he would tell the people they represented why. The divisions upon this question would not be decisive with the country, nor would the speeches in favour of this Bill recommend the speakers as representatives of great constituencies in another House of Commons. After culling the arguments used in this debate, the only reason in favour of the Bill appeared to be this: they were told the Bill did not originate in this House; it had come down from the House of Peers, and for that reason they ought to pass it. The Bill, it was true, had come down from the other House; and he recollected another Bill which had come down from the House of Lords, the pressing of which Bill in this House had turned out Sir Robert Peel's Government. That Bill had also been brought from the House of Lords; and he (Mr. Escott) had told a Friend of his in that Cabinet, that if that Bill were persevered in, the Ministry would lose two things—they would lose the Bill, and they would lose power. He was laughed at; he was told he was wrong, and that the Bill would be carried. What happened? That Bill, brought like this from the House of Lords, was persevered in; the Commons threw it out, and the Government lost their places. It had been said, that the money of the people was not required for these new bishoprics; but, though the money did not come from the Consolidated Fund, it was taken from a portion of the people—from a meritorious, hardworking portion of the people—the parochial clergy. The Commissioners had given it to them; Parliament gave it, the people would cheerfully give it to the hardworking and pious clergy of the Church; it was wrong, therefore, to say the money was not taken from the people. It was not, indeed, raised by the Chancellor of 516 the Exchequer; but it was taken from the hardworking clergy, who would lose it if it was employed in endowing four new bishoprics. Suppose a famine, and that the people were starving, and that a portion of our aristocracy came forward and gave money or land; and, making a great sacrifice, put their estates in commission; suppose the Duke of Devonshire, the Marquess of Westminster, and Baron Rothschild submitted to such a sacrifice to save large masses of the people from starvation; suppose, at the close of the season, when the famine had been stayed and the starvation had subsided, Government were to say, "We will bestow the surplus fund, not upon the people, in supplying them with food, but we will employ it in endowing two additional Lords of the Treasury?'' Would the country tolerate this? If, then, no reasons could be assigned in favour of the measure, why should not they (the opponents of the Bill), taking no unfair advantage, upon this great question, persevere in their opposition to a Bill which they believed the people were opposed to —that belief being strengthened by the fact that no representative of a large constituency came forward to argue in its favour? He admitted that there had been a majority in favour of the Bill, but not a majority of the House of Commons. Had one-half of the House of Commons voted for the Bill? No; the highest majority in favour of the Bill had been barely one-fifth of the House of Commons. Was he wrong, then, in saying that the majority of the House of Commons was not in favour of the Bill, when only one-fifth had declared in its favour? Had he not a right to infer that the real majority was against the Bill? Where were the others? If any hon. Member would take the trouble to analyse the divisions, he would find that the Bill, if passed, would not be carried by that (the Ministerial) side of the House, but by eighty-seven Members on the other side. Under these circumstances, he felt it to be his duty to persevere in his opposition to this Bill. It would give him the greatest satisfaction if Government, consistently with personal honour, could withdraw the Bill; and if they looked at the difficulties surrounding them, they would at all hazards make up their minds, either to-night or on the day of prorogation, to part with it, now and for ever. One portion of the Government, more than any other, had responded to the feelings and wishes of the people. He alluded to the 517 Board of Trade. Neither the noble Lord who had been at the head of that Board, and who was now Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, nor his hon. Friend the Vice President of that Board (Mr. M. Gibson), who gave the additional influence of his popular abilities to the Administration in the country, had voted in favour of this measure. And Lord Brougham,O! si solitæ quicquam virtutis adesset!how would he, at one time, have made his former Colleagues in the House of Lords tremble at their own audacity! However, he said they (the opponents of the Bill) were determined, they were resolved that they would debate this Bill. Ministers might prorogue on Thursday; but on Thursday they should not carry their measure. He moved that the other Orders of the Day be read.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
wished to call the attention of the House to some parts of the evidence of two eminent Prelates, which he thought of great importance with relation to the question before the House. The Bishops of London and St. Asaph had been examined before the Committee on the 8th of July, on the subject of the appropriation of the Episcopal and Common funds, whether the two funds might not be applied to one object; and the House would observe the opinions of those eminent Prelates. The Bishop of London was asked—The funds entrusted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners consist of two funds—one being entitled the Episcopal Fund, and the other the Common Fund?—Yes.Do you consider it expedient to continue this distinction of the two funds?—Decidedly.What is the advantage of keeping these funds distinct, both being to be applied to promote the efficiency of the Church?—In the first place, we want provision for more bishops. I should say, if the funds were sufficient, we want provision also for those officers who are of great importance to the bishop, as assistants to him in the execution of his duty—I mean particularly archdeacons, whom I would rather see paid, if possible, out of the Episcopal fund than the Common fund. I think also that, if the state of the funds shall at any future time allow it, we ought to appropriate the surplus to the maintenance of colonial bishops. I am not, however, prepared to say that there might not, at some future time, be furnished by the same fund some assistance towards the augmentation of poor benefices.Upon another occasion he was asked—Under any condition of your funds, as long as the rule stands that those which arise from episcopal sources shall be devoted to episcopal purposes only, without an alteration of that rule you could not divert those funds to the purpose of augmenting the living of the clergyman of a parish?—We could not out of the funds which 518 conic into our hands do it, because all these funds are pledged to increase the incomes of the twelve bishoprics.The Bishop of St. Asaph, in reply to questions 1,004, 1,005, 1,006, and 1,007, said—There is a greater want of increase in the staff of bishops than in any other one thing in the Church; if there were more bishops they should get a charitable fund to provide for the small clergy. [How?]—By arranging and managing them, and calling on the laity to subscribe money for that purpose.He apprehended that the House would hold him perfectly justified in drawing attention to this report. He was in favour of extending spiritual instruction, but it ought to be done by increasing the comforts of the working clergy, and. not by making new bishops.
§ MR. HUME
remarked that if the feeling and spirit of the bishops were to be taken as the feeling and spirit of the rest of the clergy who advised Her Majesty, there seemed no hope of the improvement of smaller livings, while it was possible to make another bishop, whether for home service or for duty in the colonies. It seemed of the utmost importance that the House should pause before it adopted this Bill, and, prior to the appointment of new bishops, to inquire why the salaries of the Scottish bishops of Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Glasgow, &c. should not be augmented? Their claim might be most fairly put forward, for at present they had a stipend of only 50l. derived from some fee-fund. The whole of the seven bishops of the Episcopal Church of Scotland had not emoluments to the amount of more than about 1,200l. He was aware that to attempt to give new salaries to bishops in Scotland would excite in that country a feeling akin to that with which the present Bill was resisted. He deeply regretted that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had not reconsidered this subject, and agreed to postpone this measure to another Session. He protested strongly against proceeding further with the measure, though he only meant to give it a fair and legitimate opposition. Many were of opinion that if it passed it would be impossible hereafter to avoid the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church; and on this ground some of the best friends of the bishops watched its progress with the utmost alarm. He did not require the noble Lord to abandon the measure entirely, but merely to defer it until a new Parliament were assembled; and he entreated the noble 519 Lord to reflect how much he injured the cause of liberal government by the course he was pursuing. If, during the recess, it appeared that the plan was approved by the country, the noble Lord would have his hands strengthened to go on with his undertaking hereafter. Those were far from being the friends of the Church who precipitately forced such a measure as the present upon a reluctant people: it would show that regard was only had to the emoluments of bishops, while the real wants of the humbler clergy were wholly neglected. On these grounds he protested most earnestly against the further progress of the measure, and implored the noble Lord not to waste the time of the House in discussing what must ultimately be relinquished. There would be no harm in allowing this Bill to follow the fate of so many others which Ministers had in vain endeavoured to carry.
LORD J. RUSSELL
I cannot but think, after hearing the speeches that have been made on this and other occasions, but more especially after hearing the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, that the opposition to this Bill has arisen mainly from misapprehension, both on the part of a small minority in this House, and of many respectable persons in the country, who appear to me not to have well understood, or to have well reflected on what has already been done on the subject of Church reform. The hon. Member for Montrose has represented now, as he has represented on former occasions, that everything has been done for the hierarchy, and nothing for those who have the cure of souls; that the interests of the minor clergy and the great mass of the people have been neglected, while the interests of the bishops only have been considered and promoted— and that the general tendency of the present measure has that object in view, and nothing more. Now, I beg to remind the House—that which I had hoped the House would have been fully aware of when this Bill was first brought in—what was the real state of the Church in this country, some years ago, before Lord Grey's Government first had it in contemplation to reform that Church, and before the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth advised the Crown to issue a Commission for the purpose of considering all matters relating to the Church. First, with regard to the hierarchy—there were many bishops who had very large, and, I should say, exorbitant revenues. The Bishop of Durham 520 had an income of between 22,000l. and 23,000l. Other bishops had revenues of some 500l. or 600l., or perhaps 1,000l. a year; but then their incomes were eked out by their having prebendal stalls and holding livings in commendam. At the present moment the Bishop of Llandaff is Dean of St. Paul's; and one or two of your bishops—one of them being the Bishop of Bath and Wells—held a benefice for the cure of souls in one of the counties. This was considered a great evil, and one which ought to be corrected. But this was not all. There were many clergymen who held dignities in the Church, and with them several benefices with the cure of souls. I remember myself looking over the clergy list, and there finding 15 persons holding 64 pieces of Church preferment. Then with regard to pluralities, at the period to which I am now referring there was no efficient legislative check to a clergyman holding several livings at the same time. In various parts of the country, clergymen held livings at 300 or 400 miles distant from each other, and many of which were of considerable value. Now, Earl Grey's Government had partly considered this matter, and Lord Melbourne's Government was pursuing the same subject, when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel), in 1834, was called to the Councils of the Crown. It appeared to that right hon. Gentleman, that, instead of proposing a reform of the Church founded upon the opinions of the Executive Government, it would be better to appoint a Commission, consisting partly of laymen, partly of persons holding office under the Crown, and partly of a certain number of the bishops and archbishops, in order that they might apply their attention to these various evils. The Commission was appointed, and the Commissioners had made their first report, when Lord Melbourne, in 1835, came into office a second time. On the resignation of Sir R. Peel's Government, Lord Melbourne and several of his Colleagues became members of the Commission, of which I was myself one. We applied ourselves, in the first place, to the consideration of the incomes of the bishops. It appeared to us that the holding of dignities and livings in commendam by the bishops, for the purpose of eking out their incomes, was a very great abuse, and one which ought to be cured. But then there occurred the difficulty, that should any of the incomes which were disposable for other purposes connected with 521 the Church he applied to make up the incomes of the bishops, by reason of our taking from them their dignities and the benefices held by them in commendam, then the means for augmenting the income of small livings and endowing new churches would be absorbed. The Commissioners arrived at the conclusion that it would be better not to apply any of those revenues which might be otherwise applied, to the purpose of increasing the reduced revenues of the bishops. On examination it was found that another fund could be created for that purpose; for it appeared that the larger bishoprics—those which had very considerable revenues—might be so diminished as to afford a fund from which the smaller bishoprics might be augmented, without in any manner touching upon the other funds. We, therefore, proposed that the abuse, as we considered it to be, of bishops holding livings in commendam, should be altogether abolished; that the income of the Bishop of Durham should be reduced from 22,000l. a year, to 8,000l. a year; and that the revenues of various other bishoprics should also be reduced. In this manner an income would be provided for the other bishops, and an end would, at the same time, be put to an abuse which had hitherto existed. There was another, not a legal, but a practical abuse, which was in great part corrected by the same measure—I mean that of the frequency of translation. It could not be expected that men of learning and of merit, who were appointed to a bishopric of 1,000l. or 2,000l. a year, would not, when an opportunity occurred of placing them in a situation of much greater value, take advantage of the practice of translation; but, it must be obvious that the more we equalized the incomes of the bishops, the more rare would the system of translation from see to see become. The benefit resulting from this would be, that the bishop would become more intimately acquainted with the clergy of his diocese; he would not have his attention distracted by looking for a translation to another diocese; and thus his attention and care would be concentrated upon the district to which, in all probability, he would be attached for life. I cannot but consider that that measure, although referring only to the bishops, was one of very considerable importance to the Church, and one by which the character of the Church was very much improved. Prom this mode of disposing of the surplus revenues of some of the bish- 522 ops, arose that distinction between the two funds called the Episcopal fund and the Common fund. I have already stated that I am by no means prepared to say that the separation of those funds should be perpetual, or that there may not be very good reason, upon examination, for putting an end to the distinction. I say nothing of the kind. But, at all events, there was some convenience in being able to put an end to the abuse of bishops holding livings in commendam, without having to raise money from any other source than the bishoprics themselves. The next question that came under the consideration of the Commissioners was the canonries, dean-cries, and cathedral chapters. We found, when we first introduced the measure relating to this subject into the House, that there were considerable objections made by some parties who were strongly attached to the Church. They thought, that we were trespassing too greatly upon the Establishment. But we were of opinion that a very considerable diminution might be made in the number of canonries and other offices belonging to the cathedrals, where there was very little duty to be performed; and therefore, by the Act of 1840 (3 and 4 Vict., c. 113), we suspended, or in other words, extinguished six canonries at Canterbury; six at Durham, Worcester, and Westminster (respectively); eight at Windsor; seven at Winchester; three at Exeter; two at Bristol, Chester, Ely, Gloucester, Lichfield, Norwich, Peterborough, Ripon, Rochester, Salisbury, and Wells (respectively); and one at Hereford. All the canonries but one were suspended at Southwell. All but two were suspended at St. David's and Llandaff. The non-residentiary deaneries were suppressed. Two canonries at Christchurch were annexed to new professorships in the University of Oxford. Two at Ely were annexed to Regius Professorships of Hebrew and of Greek respectively in the University of Cambridge. We provided means by which new archdeaconries and rural deaneries might be formed. Hasely rectory was severed from the deanery of Windsor; minor canons were not to hold any benefice beyond six miles from their cathedral or collegiate church; and we suppressed sinecure rectories altogether. The value of all these ecclesiastical offices, according to the computation at the time of their suppression, amounted to 134,000l. a year. That is to say, without robbing any man of that which he had by law, but calculating 523 what would be the value when taken possession of by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the property amounted, in 1840, to 134,000l. a year; but the present computation is, that, from the better management of the property, the amount that will be realized by the Commissioners will not be less than 300,000l. a year. Let me now call the attention of the House to the purposes to which this sum, so derived from the dignitaries and canons, was to be applied. I know not what may be the opinion of those hon. Gentlemen who have been railing at us for some time, and asserting that we have not given up any patronage of the Crown or of the Church; I know not what their opinion may he on hearing the statement I have just made. I may here mention the fact that even this very year, since my return to office, I should have had a prebend to confer which was in the patronage of the Crown; but, in consequence of the Bill of 1840, it has fallen into this fund, thereby diminishing very considerably the patronage of the Crown, and of those who hold those high offices in the Church. Then it has been enacted—That, except as herein otherwise specified, all the monies and revenues to be paid to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners," &c. "shall be carried to a common fund;" "additional provision shall be made for the cure of souls in parishes where such assistance is most required," &c. "Provided always that in making any such additional provision, &c, duo consideration shall be had to the wants and circumstances of the places in which such tithes now arise, or hare heretofore arisen.There were provisions for securing the better performance of spiritual duties in endowed parishes; and "the valuation of the revenues of the bishoprics, cathedrals, collegiate churches, and ecclesiastical corporations, aggregate and sole, were from time to time to be amended." We have not been, as we have been told, throwing thousands of pounds away upon erecting bishops palaces, and augmenting the incomes of the dignitaries of the Church, utterly neglectful of the interests of those in humbler stations who have to take care of the souls of the people. We are not open to this reproach. On the contrary, we thought that these superfluous dignities of the Church, which, while they afforded patronage to the Crown, and vast revenues to some few of the bishops, did not, in our opinion, contribute either to the usefulness or to the efficiency of the Church—we 524 thought that they might be taken away, and that their yearly value—estimated, as I have said, in the first instance, at 134,000l., but which has since been increased to 300,000l., might be very properly devoted to the augmentation of small benefices. This we have done. Don't let me be told, then, that we have utterly neglected those who, with very inadequate incomes, are endeavouring to do their pastoral duty to the flocks confided to their care. Let us not he accused of leaving the poor working clergymen to destruction. There is another subject to which I shall briefly advert. The hon. Member for Montrose spoke on the subject of pluralities. He said that he had attempted in vain to abolish pluralities. Why, Sir, by one of our measures it was enacted that no clergyman should hold any second benefice that was more than ten miles from the one on which he resided. That measure has very nearly put an end to pluralities. Upon examination of the subject, we consider that when there was a living, say of 40l. a year, and another living of 60l. a year, lying near each other, it was better that one clergyman should hold both livings, than that each living of so small a value should be held separately. If the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had the means of increasing the income of these small livings sufficiently, it might be in their power to correct and restrict pluralities still further; but I do submit, that to advance from what was an unlimited abuse of pluralities to such a restriction as has already been effected, is in itself a very great reform of the Church. I have stated these things, not wishing to take up the time of the House unnecessarily, but because I really think they have been utterly lost sight of in our lengthened discussions. What I am now proposing is, not to take the whole surplus revenue from the Church, whatever it may be, to devote it to the creation of more bishops. That is not my proposition, neither is it the proposition of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. I have nothing to do with the individual opinions of the Bishop of London or the Bishop of St. Asaph. I have had frequent communications with the Bishop of London; with the Bishop of St. Asaph I have not had any communication; but I have never heard the Bishop of London speak of the appropriation of these surplus revenues in any other manner than that which I have just stated to the House. I have now shown you that this reform was first commenced by the 525 Government of Lord Grey, but that it was afterwards practically carried into effect, first, by the appointment of a Commission during the Administration of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth; next, by the reports made by that Commission; and, lastly, by the Bills founded on those reports, which I have had the honour of proposing to Parliament. In all these changes we have constantly considered what was due to the efficiency of the hierarchy, and what was the best mode of providing for the spiritual wants of the people. I must be permitted to observe, that, although the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, and I, have contested upon different occasions what was the true course for the welfare of the country; yet I believe that, from the beginning, with respect to this question of ecclesiastical reform, when I was out of office, I had the greatest satisfaction in supporting them, and, when I was in office, I always received from them the most cordial assistance in carrying out the measures proposed by the Government. I say this to show that parties differing on other subjects have agreed upon the subject of ecclesiastical reform. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth, when in office, proposed a measure for borrowing 500,000l. to make new-districts with moderate incomes attached to them, and that measure I supported. I do not wish to argue this question; for, notwithstanding what was said by the hon. and learned Member for Winchester, the reproach made to me might be that I had argued it over and over again to satiety, rather than not at all; but what I wish to show is, that this measure is one of a series of measures, and that it does not stand alone, solely for the purpose of augmenting the number of bishops; but I confess that I do think, as I have stated more than once, that making provision as you have done for the reform of abuses, for doing away with livings held in commendam, and the translation of bishops, for abolishing sinecure livings, and for the better provision for the cure of souls, remedying to a great extent the evil of pluralities, and those abuses which, a great many years ago, were pointed out by Bishop Watson as great defects of the Church, you are at liberty, if you can see that the ministrations of the Church may be made more useful by providing for bishops in dioceses to be hereafter created, not to 526 consider that the Church and the concerns of the Church are matters so finally settled that you ought to leave that body without the principle of life and extension which belongs to all bodies, both lay and civil, and which I think ought also to belong to the Church. The result will be, that if the whole of the present plan is carried into effect—not the plan of the present Bill, but the plan I have hinted to the House—300,000l. being applied from the purposes of the cathedrals, of deans and prebendaries, to the purposes of the cure of souls and increasing the number of clergymen in populous districts—you would have somewhat less than 17,000l. to increase the number of bishops where the dioceses have become so populous and so heavy in their labours as to require some relief. The Bill which we now propose contains only a part of the plan; but I must say that I think it is an essential part of the plan as it now stands, distinguished from others which have been stated to the House, that there should be an increase in the number of bishops beyond that of Manchester, and also that the new bishops should not be an increase of the number of bishops sitting in Parliament. I hold to these two principles. I do not propose to take a single penny from the taxation of the country for the purpose of creating these bishoprics. I do not propose that a single seat in the House of Lords should be given for the purpose of creating ecclesiastical power in our legislation; but I do propose that, taking the whole revenues of the Church, and taking the admission generally made that those revenues are not over and above what are required for the wants of the Church, some small portion of them may be applied to increase the number of bishops, and that that may be usefully done, and to the benefit of the Church, without adding to the number of bishops sitting in the House of Lords. In both those conclusions I have the sanction and agreement of those bishops who sat on the Commission. Well, I believe it was to be expected that many would have; asserted what has been asserted in this House —that you ought not to allow a bishop to be created without at the same time asserting his right to a scat in the House of Lords—that it is an inseparable part of the title and privileges of a bishop that he should have a seat in the other House of Parliament. I differ from that conclusion; and, as I have stated, the bishops generally are quite content with the con- 527 clusion to which I have come. Being satisfied then with that conclusion, I ask the House to go into Committee on this Bill. We shall not be indisposed to discuss any details of the Bill that may be attacked; and I think that, having on Friday night said I was quite willing to give up sitting on Saturday, that the House might go fairly into Committee on this day, I am making a not unreasonable request that the House go into Committee and hear the objections of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorchester, and others, with regard to the details of this Bill.
§ SIR W. MOLESWORTH
said, that the arguments of the noble Lord might be summed up in one single sentence. The noble Lord said they had done much good, and therefore they were now entitled to do some evil. It would be an abuse to make an additional bishop, unless it were clearly proved that such bishop was required; and he begged the House to observe, that as yet the noble Lord had assigned no reason whatever for such a step; and unless he could prove the necessity of it, he (Sir W. Molesworth), for one, should offer to the Bill his most determined opposition. He thought that the House and the country should clearly and distinctly understand the nature and character of the opposition which was now offered to this measure. It was a fact notorious to the House, that the majority of the Liberal party in Parliament wished it to be postponed. During the course of the last debates, twenty Members on that (the Ministerial) side of the House had spoken, and of those twenty, seventeen had expressed their decided disapproval and opposition to the Bill. Only three Members had spoken in favour of it, namely, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, the noble Lord, and one other hon. Member; and he felt perfectly satisfied that they could not find three other Members on that side of the House who would dare to rise up in their places, and boldly declare that they approved of the principle of the measure. Would any one of those hon. Gentlemen who were referred to by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Winchester, rise in his place and tell them or the people of England that he approved of that Bill, and thought it ought not to be postponed? It was a known and notorious fact, that two-thirds of the hon. Members on that side of the House who had voted in favour of the 528 Bill, wished in their hearts that it should be postponed; and that fact was as well known to the noble Lord as it was to himself. He felt, therefore, that, although they who openly opposed the Bill were a small minority in that House, they did truly represent the opinions of the majority of the Liberal party in England. And now let him state what in his opinion were the reasons which determined the minority to oppose this Bill. They contended that at that period of the present Parliament, when every other measure of importance whatever had been passed over or postponed, they ought not to be suddenly compelled to discuss the great and important question of whether the hierarchy of the Church of England should be increased, and whether any additional bishops were required. Let them remember the statement of the noble Lord, that this was part of a greater measure; that they were not only proposing the creation of one bishop, but were laying the grounds for the creation of not merely one, but two, three, or four, at a future time. The noble Lord did not deny that; and that was a question of great and serious importance—one upon which he did not feel himself prepared to form a positive and decided opinion. What he wanted was, to wait and know the opinion of the people of this country upon the subject. Why would they not wait until the next Session of Parliament? The only reason for pressing this measure was, lest, during the recess, the diocese of St. Asaph or Bangor should become vacant; but why not content themselves with passing a Bill to meet that contingency, and let the matter then come fairly before the next Parliament? Let them then consider the whole state of the Church, and whether it would be for the benefit of the Church that they should establish one, two, or three more bishops; and he would promise them seriously to consider the question with a view to the interests of the Church; and if they could assign any one reason why they should increase the number of bishops, and that they would thereby benefit the Church, he, for one, would support it; but let them not be forced at a time when it was impossible for them to know the opinion of the people of England, or for them properly to consider or study the subject.
§ MR. TRELAWNY
thought it very wrong that this measure should be pressed forward at that period of the Session; but he would not be a party to any factious opposition to it.
LORD J. RUSSELL
wished to say a word or two of explanation. When he spoke of a series of measures, he did not refer to measures hereafter to be introduced; on the contrary, he merely referred to a foregoing series of measures respecting pluralities, and the holding of livings in commendam.
§ MR. J. COLLETT
would not trouble the House for more than a few minutes; but he could not allow any opportunity to pass without condemning the measure then before them as most unjust—as one which was disgraceful and discreditable—as one contrary to the opinions often expressed by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and contrary to the principle of the Appropriation Clause, for which he had most strenuously contended. The hon. Member then read a letter which he had recently received, and which in the strongest terms condemned the Bill then before the House. The hon. Member was proceeding to read another letter amidst cries of "Oh, oh!" when
§ MR. WILLIAMS WYNN
rose to order. It was irregular to read any documents, except as part of a speech, unless the House gave permission.
§ MR. SPEAKER
concurred with the right hon. Gentleman in saying that it could only be read as part of a speech; and as to the letter now proposed to be read, the House would remember that it was irregular, as referring to a former debate in the present Session.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
, although he objected to the details of the Bill then before them, yet, after the termination of proceedings on Friday, and after the House sitting on Saturday without taking up this Bill, thought it would be rather a violation of the understanding he had entered into with Ministers if he now objected to going into Committee. Since that arrangement the noble Lord at the head of the Government had entered rather fully into the subject; but yet he had not answered one question, namely, what injury could possibly arise from a delay of six months? Were the Ministers afraid of going to the country on the Bill—were they afraid of public opinion?
§ MR. OSBORNE
joined in the solicitations of the last speaker, that going into Committee might not be further delayed.
§ House in Committee.
§ MR. M. PHILIPS
said, as he believed they stood exactly where they were on Friday night, he would move that the words "and forthwith establishing a bishopric of Manchester" be expunged. He had hoped that the noble Lord would in the interval have resolved not to press the Bill further this Session. He (Mr. M. Philips) had seen, since Friday, a deputation from constituents of his who were concerned in Church matters in the borough of Manchester, who expressed it as their opinion that it would be wiser in the noble Lord to suspend any further legislation on this subject for the present. There was a sum of 6,000l. per annum now applied to the Collegiate church of Manchester, and which, with good management, was capable of great increase. They were very anxious that this money should not be exclusively applied to cathedral and diocesan purposes, but entirely to parochial purposes. Now, his own opinion being against the establishment of the Bishopric of Manchester, he had expressed his opinion in that House—an opinion which was also that of a great portion of his constituents —but he was also bound to state the opinions of any other body of his constituents who were opposed to him. In this case, however, there was an unanimity on the subject of the impolicy of pressing this Bill at the present time; and he hoped the noble Lord would not press it. He could not but regret that the first vote he was called on to give in that House had been given on the Irish Coercion Bill, against the Government of which the noble Lord formed a part; and he could not help especially regretting that the last vote which he would in all probability give must also be given against the noble Lord, to whom he felt indebted for so many reforms, and, above all, for the great Reform Bill itself, by which the town he had the honour to represent was first enfranchised. The hon. Member concluded by moving his Amendment.
§ MR. CHOLMONDELEY
did hope that a subject so important as this, involving the spiritual welfare of the people, would be discussed in a calm and judicial spirit, and not made a vehicle for mere electioneering manœuvres. This Bill embraced two subjects—to prevent the abolition of the bishopric of Bangor, and to establish that of Manchester. To the abolition of 531 the see of Bangor, he begged to offer his most decided opposition. It was an evil time for the country when it began to lose its respect for antiquity. The see of St. Asaph was established in the eighth century, and that of Bangor about the same time. The first Prince of Wales was baptized by a Bishop of Bangor. With regard to the establishment of a bishopric of Manchester, that was a matter intimately connected with the spiritual welfare of the district. It had been proved that the necessity existed. Hon. Members opposite spoke of the proposed bishopric as an "infliction" on the Dissenters of Manchester; but it was no infliction on them. In proportion to the number of the population, the bishops, officiating as spiritual overlookers, were now much fewer than formerly; and the question was, were the interests of the Church concerned in that proper balance being restored? Either episcopal government in the Church was good, and bishops were essentially necessary; or such a mode of government was bad, and bishops were not required. But if the excellence of episcopal government was admitted—and he believed it was denied by no Churchman—then there could be no ground for opposing the Bill. He was one of those who believed in the efficiency of such a government, and he considered that they were as much bound to continue and extend that episcopal government as any other branch of the service. And, as every other branch but this had been attended to and made proportionate to the wants of the growing community, he thought it was high time to repair in some way the neglect. An hon. Friend of his had pointed out the disorders which had arisen in Manchester in the affairs of the Church; and he attributed this to the want of episcopal superintendence. The hon. and learned Member for Bath seized the admission as an argument to show the inutility of the bishops, inasmuch as he found that Manchester already was under the care of a diocesan. But the fact proved only that the Bishop of Chester already had too much to do, and that there was an absolute necessity of dividing the labour, now imposed upon one, among two or more persons. He agreed in all that had been said by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester as to the importance of having the bishops in the House of Lords. The Church should not be the only body unrepresented in Parliament; and he did not deny that to the of- 532 fice of bishop there should be attached the responsibility of publicly answering any question that might be put to him. He would not now, however, express any decided opinion upon the question of the other and future bishops sitting in the House of Lords. He was not at this moment called upon to do so, because the present Bill proposed nothing more than to repeal so much of an Act of Parliament as related to the union of the Welsh bishoprics, and bringing into activity and operation a bishopric already created. He was quite willing to leave the discussion of this subject to another period; and in the mean time he fully accepted the proposal of the noble Lord to erect a bishopric of Manchester, on the understanding that the bishop would have no seat in Parliament. Looking upon the episcopate to be of the utmost importance, he believed that this bishopric would immediately prove a blessing to the people of Manchester. He would now even venture to thank the noble Lord on behalf of that town; and he had not the slightest doubt that in the end Manchester would itself come forward to testify its gratitude for the benefit which this Bill would confer. He returned thanks, also, on behalf of his own constituents, and on behalf of the inhabitants of the Principality of Wales, for the course taken by the noble Lord in preventing the abolition of the two time-honoured sees, and in refusing to tear from ecclesiastical history a page in which were written names among the most distinguished of the Church.
LORD J. RUSSELL
wished to address a few words to the Committee with regard to what had been stated by his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester. He did not think that the reasons given by his hon. Friend, or rather offered as the reasons of the constituency, were such as to make it necessary to introduce a clause in respect to the dean and chapter of Manchester. The question with regard to parochial duties, or any duties connected with the wards, to be performed by the dean and chapter, did not properly enter into this Bill. At the same time, having heard the statement in the debate that the revenues of that dean and chapter were derived almost entirely from Manchester and its vicinity, he did think provision ought to be made in some future Bill for the better spiritual care and superintendence of Manchester by means of those funds. In what manner that was to be done, depending on the exact state of the law at present, he was unable 533 to say. Sufficient reason, however, it appeared to him, had been given for calling the attention of Parliament at some future time to the position of those revenues.
§ MR. HUME
thought that the arguments which had been used by the hon. Member for Montgomery (Mr. Cholmondeley) tended to a very different conclusion from that to which the hon. Member had come. The hon. Member had spoken of the Welsh bishops, as if they had been instrumental in keeping Christianity alive in that part of the country; but it seemed to him they had rather buried it. The people there were, in fact, quite indifferent to the separation or union of the two sees of St. Asaph and Bangor; and if the interests of the Church were any consideration in this disposal of money, it would be the wisest plan to spend the 8,000l. that was about to be thrown away on bishoprics, in improving the condition of the wretchedly poor Welsh clergymen.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that he would support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Manchester, on the ground that, by the arrangement of 1836, the erection of the Manchester bishopric was made contingent on the junction of the sees of Bangor and St. Asaph. It was now proposed that these sees should be disunited, and that the see of Manchester should be erected independently. He wished the arrangement to take place as originally contemplated. He objected to the word "forthwith" in the preamble; and, while, he went with his hon. Friend, it was for different reasons.
§ MR. NEVILLE
said, the hon. Member for Manchester had complained of the spiritual wants of Manchester, and in that he went along with him; but he thought there could be no better way of having that spiritual destitution attended to than by having the district placed under a bishop of their own.
§ MR. CHOLMONDELEY
, in order to show that the opinions of the clergy were opposed to the union of the sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, road the following extract from a pamphlet published on the subject, which he considered a sufficient answer to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose:—The proposed union of the two sees is frequently defended by arguments founded upon the accession of revenues, which the parochial clergy would receive from the diversion of a part of the present episcopal incomes to the augmentation of the poorer livings. The clergy, however, are almost unanimously adverse to a measure which is re- 534 presented as pregnant with such advantage to themselves. They prefer the separate existence of the two sees to the augmentation of the livings. This opinion, so creditable to their disinterestedness, is grounded upon a conscientious conviction, that no private emolument to themselves can compensate for the ecclesiastical injury which the mutilation of one of its sees will inflict upon the Church in Wales, and upon the religious welfare of its population.
§ SIR W. MOLESWORTH
said, hon. Members would do well to bear in mind that the question before the Committee was, whether there should be an additional Bishop of Manchester. In discussing the Motion of the hon. Member for Manchester, and the Motion of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester, he would suppose that the only question at issue was, what would be most for the benefit of the members of the Church of England? Then the first question would be, whether the present number of bishops were sufficient for the government of the Church of England, and for the management of its affairs, or whether more bishops were required for Manchester, Cornwall, and other places? The second question would be, whether it would be better to increase the number of bishops, or to improve the condition of the poorer portion of the parochial clergy? Those were the questions which the noble Lord the Member for the city of London ought to have discussed, but which he had as yet evaded. The noble Lord had on a former occasion observed, that all other religious communities had the power of improving their machinery, and increasing the number of their heads when they thought it necessary; that the Roman Catholics could increase the number of their bishops and vicars apostolic; that the Presbyterians and Wesleyans could increase the number of their districts and stations; and the noble Lord asserted that the union of the Church of England with the State ought not to prevent that Church from enjoying similar advantages. He did not controvert the position that the Church of England ought to be permitted to increase the number of its heads, when that increase was necessary. But he called upon the noble Lord clearly and distinctly to prove that such an increase was necessary—that more bishops were required. The noble Lord had done nothing of the kind. He had made some vague assertions with regard to the increase of population in certain districts; but had omitted to state what portion of that increase consisted of Dissenters and Roman Catholics. The noble Lord had contended himself with as- 535 serting that the necessity of an additional bishop for Manchester had been proved eleven years ago. He denied that statement. He denied that the necessity of an additional bishop had been proved. Eleven years ago it had been proved that more bishops were not required to govern the Church of England—it had been proved that some of the bishops had not enough to do; that others had, perhaps, more than enough to do; and it had been proposed, not to increase the number of sees, but to alter their boundaries, and to distribute the episcopal duties more equally among the same number of bishops; and therefore an Act had been passed for uniting the two sees of Bangor and St. Asaph, and for dividing the diocese of Chester; and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester had declared that, in his opinion, the bishop of the united sees might easily perform the additional duties of Bishop of Manchester. Therefore, eleven years ago it was proved, not that an additional bishop was required, but, according to very high authority, there was reason for believing that one bishop might have been dispensed with. It had been said, that as the sees of Bangor and St. Asaph were to be kept separate, and as Parliament had determined that the diocese of Chester ought to be divided, it was therefore necessary to establish a bishopric of Manchester. He asked the noble Lord why he had not proposed to unite a portion of the diocese of Chester to that of St. Asaph, and thus he might enable the Bishop of Chester easily to discharge the duties of the remaining portion of his diocese. The noble Lord had supported the union of the dioceses of Bangor and St. Asaph. By so doing he had declared that in his opinion a Bishop of St. Asaph could perform and ought to perform more episcopal duties than those of the see of St. Asaph. He must, therefore, again ask the noble Lord why he did not increase the duties of the Bishop of St. Asaph, diminish the duties of the Bishop of Chester, and thus dispense with the Bishop of Manchester? No sufficient reason had been given by the noble Lord for an additional bishopric. The people of Manchester were hostile to it; and both the Members for Manchester were opposed to it. With regard to the position of the noble Lord, that it would be unjust if the union of the Church of England with the State should prevent the Church from improving its machinery, by increasing the number of its regulating and governing 536 heads. He thought that it was evidently the tendency of that union at present unnecessarily to increase the number of the heads of the Church. Facts had been stated in the very able, unanswered, and unanswerable speech of the hon. Member for Cockermouth, which proved that the tendency of that union was to augment the wealth, the power, and the splendour of the hierarchy. Its tendency was to create additional bishops, spiritual Peers of Parliament, proud and haughty Lords, as the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester would have them to be, keeping themselves apart and aloof from their subordinate and inferior clergy, not shepherds tending their flocks, but mitred Prelates, dwelling in costly palaces, with almost princely incomes. The consequence of the union of the Church and State, the consequence of the influence exercised by the dignitaries of the Church in the Legislature, was, that the powerful heads of the Establishment were fostered and cherished, while the interests of the poorer and more useful members of the Establishment were comparatively neglected. The interests of these men were overlooked who mixed with the people—were the real friends of the people, and who alone conciliated the affections of the people to the Church of England. Let them poll the people of England. They would find the majority of them in favour of the parochial clergy, whom they esteemed and respected; but they would find the large majority indifferent, if not hostile, to the hierarchy, to the bishops, of whom they had formed much the same notion as the right hon. Baronet opposite had done, namely, that they were men who had only certain apparently mechanical functions or ceremonies to perform, such as consecration, ordination, visitation, confirmation, and the like, for which they were magnificently paid, without any corresponding benefit to the community. They might be satisfied that they were strengthening that conviction which would ultimately be fatal to the union of the Church of England with the State, by the Bill before the House. Could they deny that the interests of the hierarchy were preferred by the State to the interests of the clergy? Could they deny that position after the facts stated by the hon. Member for Cockermouth?—facts which ought to be repeated over and over again till all England rung with them, till all England was ashamed of them. The hon. Gentleman had shown that when the Eccle- 537 siastical Commission was established, in one-third of the parishes of England the income of the clergyman was under 150l. a year; yet during the last ten years almost as large a portion of the surplus revenues of the Church had been expended in augmenting the revenues of a few ecclesiastical sees, as had been bestowed upon the 3,500 poor benefices of England. Again, the hon. Gentleman had shown that nearly one-half of the parishes of England were without parsonages in which clergymen could reside; yet during the last ten years more than three times, nearly four times, as much money had been expended out of the surplus revenue of the Church of England upon the building or repairing the palaces of eight prelates, as upon the 4,600 parishes without suitable parsonages. In fact, upon one see alone — namely, Lincoln—more money had been spent upon the residence of one single bishop, than upon all the houseless clergy of England. Could they deny those facts? But it was said that the law was to blame, which made a distinction between the Episcopal and the Common fund. He asked whether such a distinction would have been made if it had not been for the advantage of the bishops who assisted in making it? But why had not the Government proposed to rescind that distinction? By so doing they would render a much greater service to the Church, than by establishing bishops at Manchester, Bodmin, and elsewhere. With regard to the intention of the noble Lord to make a Bishop of Cornwall, as a Cornishman, he protested against it. He constantly resided in Cornwall. He had been for two Parliaments one of the county Members; he might, therefore, express an opinion upon the subject of a Bishop of Cornwall. He felt convinced that none of the Members from Cornwall could contradict what he was going to say. He had never heard that on account of the extent of the diocese of Exeter, the Bishop of Exeter could not perform, or neglected to perform, his duties. He would say nothing of the manner in which that bishop was supposed to have performed, or over-performed, those duties. That was beside the question. He asserted there was no reason whatever for dividing the diocese of Exeter. He stated that a large portion, perhaps a majority, of the people of Cornwall were Dissenters; most of them were on friendly terms with the clergy; they would be glad if the condition of the poorer portion of that clergy were 538 improved. He knew that many of the clergy of Cornwall were poor; they had the care of extensive poor parishes where there were few or no resident gentry. To them the poor, both Churchmen and Dissenters, had recourse in times of sickness, sorrow, and destitution; and seldom or never in vain. He believed that he expressed the opinion of the majority of the people of Cornwall, when he said, that they would infinitely prefer that the condition of the poorer clergy should be improved, instead of the establishment of an independent bishopric in Cornwall. What would be the cost of a Bishop of Bodmin? If he were to be a Peer in Parliament, to live for six or eight months of the year in London—to have a town and country establishment—to dispense hospitality—to subscribe liberally to the usual charities —in short, to be on an equality with other bishops in London, and at the head of the gentry of the county, they would give him four or five thousand pounds a year. Could not that sum of money be expended in a manner much more conducive to the interests of the Church of England in Cornwall? He believed it could. He found from the returns of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, that of 610 benefices in the diocese of Exeter, in 157 the incomes of the clergy were under 150l. a year; in 116 the incomes were less than 130l. a year; in 57 the incomes were under 100l. a year. He had calculated that the sum which would be required to raise the incomes of all the benefices in the diocese of Exeter to 150l. a year, would be about 7,000l. a year, or about the cost of a bishop and a half; to raise all the incomes to 130l. a year, the sum of 4,000l. a year would be required, or about the cost of a bishop; and for the sum of 1,500l. a year, or about the third of the cost of a bishop, the minimum income of the clergy in the diocese of Exeter might be raised to 100l. a year. Could there be any reasonable doubt as to which would be the best mode of expending the surplus revenues of the Church for the interests of the Church of England in Cornwall? Again, if they appointed a Bishop of Bodmin, they would have to provide a residence for him. There was none for him at Bodmin, or in the neighbourhood. They would have to build one for him. What would it cost? The sum of 16,000l. had already been expended upon a residence for the new Bishop of Ripon. Suppose that not more would he required for the new Bishop of Bodmin. He asked whe- 539 ther it would not be better to expend that sum of money upon building glebe houses in Cornwall. For that sum thirty or forty comfortable houses for small livings might be built. He knew many parishes in Cornwall where glebe houses were much wanted. He found from the returns to which he had referred, that in the diocese of Exeter there were 112 parishes in which there were no glebe houses whatever, and 73 parishes in which the glebe houses were unfit for use. In all these were 185 parishes, or about one-third of the parishes in the diocese of Exeter, without parsonages in which clergymen could reside. He entreated the House, as guardians of the Church of England, not to entertain for one moment the notion of endowing so useless a bishopric as that of Bodmin, until the condition of the parochial clergy were improved in the diocese of Exeter. For the reasons which he had stated, he should continue to offer his most determined opposition to the establishment of additional bishops for Manchester, Cornwall, or elsewhere; and by so doing he believed that he should prove himself to be a good friend to the Church of England.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
observed, that the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, began by expressing an anxiety that the attention of the House should be recalled to the subject before it; and, therefore, he was sure that the hon. Baronet would excuse him if he followed his advice, and confined himself to the question before the House, without adverting to the merits of a proposition which had never been before the House in any shape, and which had not even been submitted to the consideration of the Government. If the hon. Member for Southwark entertained any apprehension of a Bishop of Bodmin being inflicted upon him, he would have ample opportunity in the next Session of Parliament of opposing such a proposition, if it ever should be brought forward. The hon. Baronet had charged the noble Lord with having given no reason for the creation of a new Bishop of Manchester; but he thought that the statements as to the increase in the numbers both of the population and the inferior clergy were reasons sufficient. The statement that the diocese of Chester contained about 2,000,000 of persons ought surely to be sufficient. His noble Friend had read from a return the numbers of the probable population of the bishoprics of Ripon, of Manchester, and of Chester. From that return it appeared that after 540 Chester should have been relieved by the creation of the bishopric of Manchester, it would still contain a population of 912,449; that of Manchester, when separated from Chester, would contain a population of 1,123,000; and that Ripon would have 916,147. But, before all, he had urged the great increase, not only in the general population, but in the special population of Church of England people. He had not the exact figures then before him, showing what had been the increase in the diocese of Chester, but it certainly was very great. The duties of a bishop should not be judged by the standard sot up by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester; and in weighing the question of the value of episcopal supervision, it entirely depended upon whether they took the description of the duties of a bishop from the account given by that right hon. Baronet, or by comparison with an example taken from the conduct and proceedings, with their results, of an active, zealous, pious bishop. Let them take for example the diocese of Ripon, and, looking at the mode in which the bishop of that diocese performed his duties, and the consequences which had so happily resulted in the spread of Christian piety, let them say whether it was or was not impossible for one bishop to perform his duties, if called upon to exercise great vigilance and activity, over such a diocese as that of Chester. They should also recollect that they were not dealing with the question of whether the Church of England should be an Episcopal Church or not. That point was settled. They were dealing with it as an Episcopal Church already; and the, question was merely whether they should increase the staff of episcopal superintendents over it. As to the suggestion of relieving the diocese of Chester, by adding a portion of it to that of St. Asaph, it would be entirely out of the question. As a form of relief it would be most inefficient, for the diocese of St. Asaph, although small, numerically speaking, was territorially very extensive.
§ DR. NICHOLL
explained, with reference to the cost of building the palace for the Bishop of Lincoln, that although the apparent cost was 54,000l., the real cost, including purchase of the site, was only 14,788l., for there were certain reversions belonging to the see which were sold for 47,948l. and the result, so far as the bishop was concerned, would be, that in-stead of a rental which he had heretofore 541 derived, amounting to 1,250l. from one portion of the revenues of his bishopric, he would for the future receive only 500l. There were other portions of property he-longing also to the bishopric, which had been disposed of, so that the real cost was only 14,788l. of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had advanced only 1,200l.
§ MR. B. ESCOTT
was glad to hear the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) state that the whole case rested upon the mere question of the increase of population being a sufficient ground for the increase of the number of bishops. But the right hon. Baronet had not attempted to prove that bishops were the persons best calculated to spiritualize the increasing population. He had not attempted to assert that bishops and not working clergy were the most suitable instruments for giving that spiritual instruction to the people which they wanted.
§ MR. HUME
said, that the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey), in estimating the increase in the population of Manchester, had not made any allowance for the large proportion of Dissenters. As to the charge of the Government violating the compact which had been entered into in 1836, he repeated that charge, and he would repeat it again and again despite of what had been said upon the subject. He repeated that a distinct compact had then (in 1836) been made, and that the present measure was a violation of it, and he should again and again repeat it.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that as often as the charge had been made that a compact had been entered into in 1836, so often had he said there was no such compact, and he should again and again repeat the denial. When the question had been brought before the House last year, what he (Lord J. Russell) had said, was, that he thought the arrangement made in 1836, had better have remained without change; but that since the House of Lords had sent down such a Bill, it would be better that the whole question should be taken into consideration; and he promised to do so in the present Session. He should again say that he thought they should not in human affairs allow them to go on without progress; and the law of political progress, which was similar, should apply in the present case. They could not meet it by saying that what was once said and established was not to be considered again.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that since he had last addressed the Committee, he had referred to a statement made last year by 542 a Cabinet Minister, which by an odd coincidence happened to have been made on the very same day of the year as the present. Lord Lansdowne, in speaking of a petition presented by the Earl of Powis against the union of the sees of Bangor and St. Asaph, said—He found that these petitioners never objected in the least when anything was to be given them. They allowed two Welsh sees to be greatly augmented; they allowed advantages to be conferred on Wales under the proceedings of this Commission, the result of which was a balance in favour of that country of not less than 2,000l. a year; and it was a most odd coincidence that they first brought forward this question at the very time when the Principality had received the maximum of all it could receive, and the minimum of all it could give. He would not trouble their Lordships with figures, but would content himself with assuring their Lordships that if the whole recommendations of the Commission under the Act were carried out, the balance in favour of Wales ultimately would be 500l. a year. He trusted he had disposed of the case of the Principality of Wales; but be disclaimed putting the question on that ground; he protested against that Principality being considered on separate grounds, and as not subject to any general scheme of improvement applicable to the rest of the empire, recommended after the best consideration by the prelates of the Church for the whole United Kingdom.Such being the opinion of the representative of Her Majesty's Government in the House of Lords last year, he confessed he was at a loss to know how the noble Lord the Member for the city of London could answer now the objections made then by the Marquess of Lansdowne.
§ MR. J. COLLETT
considered it to be an act of dishonesty—["Order, order!"] —well, then, an act of impropriety, to bring in an Act of Parliament to repeal one part of an Act, and not repeal it altogether.
§ Committee divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—Ayes 86: Noes 14; Majority 72.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Visct.||Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Clive, Visct.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Colville, C. R.|
|Baring, rt. hon. W. B.||Craig, W. G.|
|Bennet, P.||Cripps, W.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Denison, J. E.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Dickinson, F. H.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Duncombe, hon. O.|
|Blakemore, R.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Borthwick, P.||Dundas, Sir D.|
|Bowles, Adm.||East, Sir J. P.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Etwall, R.|
|Brown, W.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Buller, C.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Cholmondeley, hon. H.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Parker, J.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir H.||Philipps, Sir R. B. P.|
|Grogan, E.||Polhill, F.|
|Hallyburton, Lord J. F.||Price, Sir E.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Pryse, P.|
|Hatton, Capt. V.||Richards, R.|
|Hawes, B.||Round, C. G.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Henley, J. W.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Hildyard, T. B. T.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Hope, A.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Howard, hon. H.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Spooner, R.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Stuart, J.|
|Kemble, H.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Turner, E.|
|Law, hon. C. E.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Lefroy, A.||Vyse, H.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Walker, R.|
|Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Mainwaring, T.||Ward, H. G.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Wood, Col. T.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Morris, D.||Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. W.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||TELLERS.|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Tufnell, H.|
|O'Brien, A. S.||Rich, H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Osborne, B.|
|Collett, J.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Curry, R.||Thornely, T.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.||Wakley, T.|
|Escott, B.||Williams, W.|
|M'Taggart, Sir J.||Philips, M.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Horsman, E.|
MR. V. SMITH
moved an Amendment to omit from the preamble in page 4, line 2, the words, "as soon as conveniently may be three other additional bishoprics." The effect of this Amendment would be to withdraw from the Bill a pledge that three other bishoprics should be hereafter created. He thought it most unfair to bind the House one way or another upon this subject. The House should hesitate before they appointed additional bishops. They should first ascertain what were the duties of those bishops, and whether they really exercised that control over the clergy which was considered so desirable. He knew of a diocese where the greatest scandals occurred, and where the power of the bishop was inadequate to prevent or restrain them. In one instance, notwithstanding all the efforts of the bishop, a clergyman continued to live in a state of debauchery in Paris, and yet drew his salary regularly. It was important, there-fore, before the number of bishops was increased, that inquiry should be made, and 544 means adopted, that would ensure the performance of those episcopal functions which were said to be of so much importance. He did not wish to denounce this Bill in the terms in which the hon. Member for Finsbury did; he did not know that it was a job merely; he did not know the reasons which had influenced the Government in bringing it forward. He would, however, venture to say that it had been drawn up in accordance with the recommendation of a fluctuating body of persons—he of course meant the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, A case came before a part of them one day, which was decided the next by others who had never taken part in their proceedings. There was no permanent attendance required on the part of the Commissioners. The Judges of the laud were placed upon the Commission; and it might well be supposed that they had never once attended the sittings of the Commission. Indeed, the whole business of the Commission was conducted by a few who were entirely unaware of the method necessary for managing the business which had been entrusted to them. It appeared that the only parties who really did attend the sittings of the Commission were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and latterly the Bishop of St. Asaph. He contended that the composition of the Commission was such as to render its efficient working a matter of utter impossibility. They appointed forty-nine members, but they left their attendance optional; they held out no inducement to them to attend; and the result was that the drawing up of the reports and the whole of the routine business was left in the hands of the Secretary, of whose conduct, however, he did not by any means complain. The Secretary had merely discharged his duty. They were called upon to pass this Bill, because it was drawn up in accordance with the recommendation of these Commissioners, whose conduct the Legislature had already condemned. Much had been said about the Episcopal fund and the Common fund. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had confessed that he would not object to the fusion of those two funds. Well, then, he should have been very glad if the noble Lord had introduced into this Bill a clause sanctioning the fusion of the two funds. Such a clause would have been a most advantageous one, and most probably would have expedited the progress of the Bill through the House. But how stood the 545 case with regard to this fusion of the Episcopal and Common funds? The Bishop of London, in his evidence, had told them that he believed there never had been any notion of such fusion. He (Mr. V. Smith) did not think that the creation of new bishoprics was the best way to provide for the spiritual wants of the people. What said the Bishop of London as to the spiritual destitution of the people? Did he say that, latterly, that destitution had diminished? Did he say that the efforts which had been made a few years ago to provide for the spiritual wants of the people, by the suppression of certain prebendaries and episcopal revenues had proved successful? No; on the other hand, the Bishop of London said that the spiritual destitution of the people had gone on increasing. Then, from the Bishop's own mouth, he contended they ought to endeavour to relieve the spiritual wants of the people, not by the creation of new bishoprics, but by the creation of new churches, and the appointment of new parochial clergy. In answer to questions which he put to the Bishop of London, his Lordship said, that notwithstanding all the efforts which had been made within the last ten years in his diocese, there were only fifty-four churches built over which he had any control: that the average congregation of each of those churches consisted of 1,000 souls, making, in the whole, 54,000: that during the last ten years the population had increased 32,000 per annum, making, in the whole, 320,000. But if that was the amount of spiritual destitution in London alone, he would ask the House whether the most effective means to remedy the evil would be to create three additional bishoprics? The only ground for appointing three additional bishoprics appeared to him to be the fact that the Episcopal fund could not be transferred to any other. If that was settled by Act of Parliament, why cadit quœstio. But was the House actually prepared to let that question be settled by the Commissioners? The Bishop of St. Asaph had recommended the appointment of more bishops, on the ground that a bishop was enabled to raise larger amounts of subscription for Church purposes than an ecclesiastic in an inferior rank. But were they to have a bishop going about his diocese with a begging box continually in his hand? If that was to be the practice, he did not think that Church interests would be much advanced by it, whilst such a system would entail great inconvenience 546 on the Bishop himself. The arguments against the creation of any new bishopric had been repeated so often, that he would content himself by saying, that in his opinion the House would pledge itself to the appointment of three new bishops, if they agreed to the words in the preamble which he had proposed should be omitted. He thought, too, that the forms and customs of the House had, in this instance, been directly infringed by the noble Lord's refusal to postpone the consideration of the preamble. He knew of no instance on record in which a similar course had been pursued. Every question that had been already debated on the preamble, might be redebated on the clauses of the Bill. He therefore deeply deplored that the noble Lord followed the advice of the right hon. Member for Dorchester (Sir J. Graham) on that point.
would not detain the Committee by arguing whether the words should be in or out of the Bill; all he would observe was, that the Commissioners did not recommend them. Whether these words only, or even the whole preamble, were struck out, appeared to him to be a matter of indifference.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
The reason for inserting these words in the preamble are of two kinds. One is, that which my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General stated the other evening, that it was more fair and open to state at once what the views of the Government were in appointing this Commission, otherwise persons might have objected, whether truly or not, that we were endeavouring to conceal our purpose and our intention that three new bishops were considered desirable. The fact of its having been our intention to appoint more bishops, was the very reason why we proposed the insertion of the words limiting the number to three, because we should not then have an Act of Parliament worded in such a manner as to authorize an increase beyond that number. The words in the preamble express an intention to found three other bishoprics; but there are no words in the enacting clause founding any such bishoprics. If, therefore, these words in the preamble are considered in any way to pledge any future Parliament on this subject, but which they are not intended to do, I certainly think they might as well be omitted. I think, besides, that after the very long discussion we have had, it would be well to restrict ourselves as much as possible to the consideration of 547 the clauses, without entering into any discursive topics. Having agreed to the proposal of my right hon. Friend, and having fairly stated what was the object of the Government in inserting these words, and not wishing to pledge any future Parliament on the subject, I am ready to consent that the following words be omitted:—And also, so soon as conveniently might be, three other additional bishoprics, regard being had to the circumstance that Her Majesty did not contemplate the issue of her writ to the new bishops to sit and vote as Peers of Parliament, except as vacancies should from time to time occur amongst the bishops of England and Wales, now so sitting and voting.
§ SIR R. H. INGLIS
suggested, that as the noble Lord had made this concession, it would be necessary to make an alteration in the second clause, which enacted that no new bishops should be summoned to Parliament. This ought to be left to the discretion of a future Parliament also.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
had no doubt that the concession of the noble Lord would give much satisfaction to the House and the country. He believed that if the words had been retained, the House would have pledged itself to the creation of three additional bishoprics in a future Session of Parliament. He wished to ask the noble Lord whether he would pledge himself not to bring in any measure, in any future Session for the creation of more bishoprics?—or, if he did so, would he pledge himself that the number should not exceed three? He concurred in what had been said against the constitution of the Ecclesiastical Commission. In the first instance the Commission consisted of eight laymen, and five clergymen; at present, however, the clergy had a majority, for the numbers were twenty-nine clergymen, and twenty laymen. The whole of the business of the Commission was now settled by the Secretary and an attorney.
§ MR. WILLIAMS WYNN
expressed his obligations to the noble Lord for his compliance with the Motion of the right hon. Member for Northampton, but could not help protesting against the departure from the form and practice of the House introduced in the case of this Bill. The reason for the postponement of the preamble in all cases was, that the House could not determine what its form should be until they had considered the clauses of the Bill; and he considered that reason should hold good in the despatch of all Bills which might be brought before them.
§ SIR J. GRAHAM
said, he was sincerely 548 glad that the noble Lord had considered it proper to make this concession in the preamble of the Bill. He must state that he had made the suggestion not to postpone the preamble, which was a very unusual course, with some hesitation; and he needed not to assure the noble Lord and the House that he had done so with the best intentions to expedite the despatch of public business. Since he sat in the House, he had never known an instance of the preamble not being postponed but once; and that was in a very peculiar case, where a Bill was introduced by the right hon. Member for Cambridge, proposing that capital punishments should be abrogated in various statutes which enacted that such punishment should be inflicted for the several offences therein recited, and when it was absolutely necessary that the preamble should be first considered. He had believed that great convenience would be found in adopting the same course in this Bill; but he was bound to say, after his experience of Friday evening, he doubted whether it were not wise to adhere, in all cases, to the practice of the House; and he saw clearly the convenience of postponing the preamble till the clauses had been agreed to. Every person taking different views of this Bill, sought to shape the preamble so as to give effect to his own particular opinions. He believed it would have been more convenient, therefore, if the ordinary course had been pursued; and he hoped now that the noble Lord had made the concession, that all objections would now be removed from the passing of the preamble. He could easily conceive, however, why the words proposed to be left out by the right hon. Member (Mr. Smith) had been introduced, because, if any one looked to the effect of the second clause, he would find there a special provision —That the number of Lords Spiritual now sitting and voting as Lords of Parliament shall not be increased by the creation of the above-named (four) new bishopric (s); and whenever there shall be a vacancy among the Lords Spiritual by the avoidance of any one of the sees of Canterbury, York, London, Durham, or Winchester, or of any other sec which shall be filled by the translation thereto from any other see of a bishop at that time actually sitting as a Lord of Parliament, such vacancy shall be supplied by the issue of a writ of summons to the bishop who shall be elected to the same see"—directly referring to the passage now omitted. He had strong objections to deprive any bishop of the right of sitting in the House, and would resist that clause.
§ MR. S. WORTLEY
rejoiced exceed- 549 ingly that the noble Lord had made this concession, as it would save him the necessity of moving the Amendments of which he had given notice.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, he meant to retain the second clause as it would stand after the omission, having reference to the wording of the preamble with respect to the bishopric of Manchester, and leaving out the first words of the clause.
§ MR. HORSMAN
thought that all sides were agreed in approving of the reasons which induced the noble Lord to leave out the passages in the preamble, and the clause, in compliance with the Motion of the right hon. Member for Northampton. He considered that much of the difficulty which had been thrown in the way of the Bill arose from the fact that Government had not laid before Parliament the reasons which induced them to come to the conclusions on which the Bill was based. When the hon. Member for Montrose asked for evidence, he received no answer; and such a course could not be properly pursued in cases of such importance.
§ MR. HENLEY
was extremely glad the noble Lord had withdrawn the words from the preamble and the clause. He had, however, some doubts, notwithstanding the high authority of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), that the preamble had not been discussed at the most convenient time, as the substance of this Bill would not be carried into effect by the enactments of the Bill, but by Orders in Council and other means.
§ Preamble as amended agreed to.
§ On the 1st Clause (repeal of repugnant enactments),
§ MR. AGLIONBY
objected to it, because nobody knew what it meant; and he called upon hon. Members opposite to reject this part of the clause upon the grounds advocated by two hon. Members whom he regretted not to see in their places—he meant the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, and the right hon. the Lord Mayor of York, who strongly opposed the Health of Towns Bill, because reference to other Acts of Parliament were introduced into it. He also called upon the hon. and learned Member for Newark (Mr. Stuart) to oppose it, because he had heard him urge upon the House that the Health of Towns Bill should be withdrawn mainly upon this ground; and that Bill was accordingly withdrawn. He objected also to the great powers proposed to be vested in the Commissioners.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
quoted the 10th and 12th Clauses of the 6th and 7th William IV., c. 77, to show that the powers conveyed thence to the present Bill were perfectly intelligible, and that a reference to them was all that was necessary. To have repeated these and other long-clauses in the present Bill, would only have been to entangle what was perfectly plain as it stood.
said, that he had objected to the references introduced into the Health of Towns Bill to other Bills, as being unintelligible. He would not say that the present Bill was a model of intelligibility; but he thought it reasonably intelligible, and therefore he saw no ground for repeating the objection he had made to the Health of Towns Bill.
§ The Committee divided on the question, that the Clause as amended stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 128; Noes 25: Majority 103.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Gore, M.|
|Antrobus, E.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Austen, Col.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Baine, W.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bannerman, A.||Grogan, E.|
|Bateson, T.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Bennet, P.||Halford, Sir H.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Hallyburton, Lord J. F.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Bernal, R.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Borthwick, P.||Hatton, Capt. V.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Hawes, B.|
|Broadley, H.||Henley, J. W.|
|Buller, C.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Cholmondeley, hon. H.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hope, A.|
|Clive, Visct.||Howard, hon. H.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Kemble, H.|
|Cripps, W.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Langston, J. H.|
|Deedes, W.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Denison, J. E.||Lefroy, A.|
|Dick, Q.||Legh, G. C.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Le Marchant, Sir D.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Liddell, hon. H. T.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Mainwaring, T.|
|Easthope, Sir J.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Ellice, rt. hon. E.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Morpeth, Visct.|
|Fitzmaurice, hon. W.||Morris, D.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Neeld, J.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Neville, R.||Seymour, Lord|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Nicholl, rt. hon. J.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Norreys, Lord||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|O'Brien, A. S.||Spooner, R.|
|Ossulston, Lord||Stuart, J.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Parker, J.||Tollemache, J.|
|Patten, J. W.||Towneley, J.|
|Philipps, Sir R. B. P.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Plumridge, Capt.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Price, Sir R.||Vyse, H.|
|Protheroe, E. D.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Reid, Col.||Ward, H. G.|
|Rendlesham, Lord||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Rich, H.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
|Richards, R.||Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. W.|
|Round, C. G.|
|Russell, Lord J.||TELLERS.|
|Russell, Lord C. J. F.||Tufnell, H.|
|Russell, J. D. W.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Humphery, Ald.|
|Brotherton, J.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Pattison, J.|
|Clements, Visct.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Currie, R.||Philips, M.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.||Pryse, P.|
|Duncan, G.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Duncombe, T.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Escott, B.||Thornely, T.|
|Etwall, R.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Ewart, W.||Wakley, T.|
|Hindley, C.||Hume, J.|
|Horsman, E.||Collett, J.|
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On Clause 2 (number of Lords Spiritual not to be increased) being put,
§ MR. S. WORTLEY
rose to move the Amendment of which he had given notice. The noble Lord, by consenting to omit those words from the preamble which had reference to the creation of three additional bishoprics, showed that he perceived that his real difficulty did not consist in the proposal to create the bishopric of Manchester, with all the rights and dignities properly attached to the see. He (Mr. S. Wortley) had on a former occasion quoted the opinion of Selden. That opinion was supported by the dictum of Lord Hale, who said that the right to sit in the House of Lords was a privilege annexed by usage to the episcopal dignity, and attached not to the bishop personally, but to the corporation which he represented. If that opinion was correct, what was the operation of this Bill? It limited, in the first place, the prerogative of the Crown to issue a writ of summons immediately on the creation of a new bishopric, and the nomination of the bishop. Secondly, it de- 552 prived the chapter, clergy, and laity of the diocese of their right to be represented in the House of Lords. He could not see what difference there was between depriving a bishop of his right to sit in the House of Lords, and depriving an Earl or a Baron of the like right, if created. When Henry VIII. created six new bishops, writs were immediately issued calling them up to Parliament. It was of no use to cite the Bishopric of Sodor and Man as an exception, or as a precedent, in favour of this measure, because the Bishop of Sodor and Man had rights of a different order. He was a baron of the island, a member of the Council, and one of the principal legislators of the Isle of Man. The only other apparent precedent was the case of the Irish bishops; but the exclusion of some of them from Parliament was anything but a warrant for this measure. That exclusion was consequent upon the arrangements at the Union, when it was impossible to admit them all; but they were dealt with exactly upon the same footing as the temporal Peers of Ireland. As to the particular case before the House, to deprive the Bishop of Manchester of this his dignity, would be to depart from the solemn arrangement made in 1836, and sanctioned by that House. The 6th and 7th William IV. recited the recommendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, one of these being that two new sees be erected (Ripon and Manchester), and that the new bishops be invested with the same rights and privileges as the existing bishops, and that there should be deans and chapters with all the privileges belonging to those bodies; and the Act recited that it was expedient that these recommendations be carried into effect as soon as convenient. The only ground on which it was proposed to the House to depart from the Parliamentary arrangements of 1836, was the authority of the Bishoprics' Commission issued in 1847 (or, in other words, the authority of the Ministry of the day), directing Commissioners to devise and suggest the most convenient boundaries of the dioceses, the incomes, &c.—"regard being had to the circumstance that we do not contemplate the issuing of our writ to such new bishops to sit and vote as Peers of Parliament, except as vacancies shall occur," &c.Such was the only ground laid for this unconstitutional step, and invasion of the rights both of the laity and clergy; for, ex debito justitiœ, a bishop was entitled to sue out his writ of summons as of mere 553 right. The report of the Commissioners so appointed, in April, 1847, contained no recommendation of this sort, but simply "that the new Bishopric of Manchester be forthwith founded." The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had intimated that he valued the words in the preamble of the present Bill referring to the creation of three additional bishoprics, principally because they indicated the ground on which these new bishops were not to be called to the House of Lords; and, unless common rumour greatly belied the noble Lord, there was a time when he contemplated that only this bishop should be created, and intended that he should be invested with all the rights and privileges of a bishop. The noble Lord would have received the same support from that (the Opposition) side of the House, if he had adhered to that intention; and even now, with the great disposition there was to give a bishop to Manchester, the House would be as willing to assent to the appointment of a bishop with all his rights, as of one shorn of this dignity. Was it worth while thus to set what must become something like a precedent, and which was treated by the newspapers—the organs of different parties in that House—as a precedent for eventually removing all the bishops from Parliament? There were those in the House who looked upon this as a most valuable precedent, on which at a future time to found such a measure. Let the noble Lord consider, even now, whether it was worth while to depart so far from the usual track of the Constitution, and whether it would not be better boldly to say—" There is this necessity for creating a bishop—to have the supervision of the clergy, stimulate their exertions, and see that they do justice to the laity in that great district of which Manchester is the capital (not for the town of Manchester alone, which, through that accident occasionally obtained such undue prominence in this debate); and there is no reason for not investing him with all the dignities of his brethren on the bench." For his part, he, as one of the community, shared the feelings of those who, in the language of Burke, were proud to see exalted to the episcopal dignity men who began their lives in the humblest walks of life, had been numbered among the working clergy, and had won their way, by piety and learning alone, to a seat beside the noblest Peers in the land. He believed it was for the advantage of the community that the bishops should mingle and 554 act with statesmen, and by holding a seat in the House of Lords, be placed in a position where they might be called to account for their actions, and the mode in which they discharged their duty in their dioceses: it formed an essential check on any disposition to harshness or tyranny. In former times, when ecclesiastics met in synods and provincial councils, they were disposed to wield the law oppressively towards the laity; hut, since they had been incorporated in the councils of the nation, moderation had taken the place of vehemence, and there had been no reason to complain of any disposition to harshness or oppression. It was impossible to doubt that their seats in the House of Lords gave the bishops weight with the religious community. He believed that the prelate who mingled with the highest in the nation, and took part in the proceedings of the Legislature, if he acted with the dignity and manner that became his office, went to his diocese with more influence, and met his clergy with greater power of doing good and stimulating them to exertion, than if he were a mere country bishop, little known, mixing little with the world, and perhaps but little acquainted with the motives by which men are actuated. Even if it were expedient to deprive the new bishop of his seat, it was unjust to do so by the system of rotation. On this point he would make but one remark, on an objection stated by the noble Lord to the new bishop having a seat in the House of Peers. The noble Lord stated it was a great inconvenience for the junior bishop to have to remain in London the whole of the Session, in order to act as chaplain to the House of Lords. Surely this inconvenience might be easily remedied. The Peers had Westminster Abbey, which was considered their chapel, close to them, and he thought they could easily find a chaplain. If that was the only objection, it really amounted to nothing. But the constitutional question involved in this clause was of great importance; and he was so convinced of its importance, that he should conclude by moving that the clause be struck out of the Bill.
The ATTORNEY GENERAL
admitted there would be much force in the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman, if the proposition before the Committee were entirely to exclude the bishop from a seat in Parliament. But he was at a loss to conceive how the operation of the clause as it stood could prevent men of piety and 555 learning working their way up to that high position. The object of the clause was not to exclude the bishops from the House of Lords, but to prevent the increase of the number sitting there, and to carry out what was a part of the compact of 1836, but modified by change in the circumstances of the case. If they were now to consider whether the proposition contained in the clause was or was not calculated to benefit the Church, he apprehended it would be sufficient to state that the prelates who were members of the Commission had given their ready assent to the measure. But the right hon. Gentleman said there were certain legal and formal objections to the course proposed; and, without stopping to consider the question of its effect as regarded the Church, he would endeavour to meet the argument against its legality, and he hoped he should be able to prove to the Committee that there was no constitutional ground for refusing assent to the clause—that it involved no interference with the prerogative of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman said, that in the enactment of 1836, it was provided the Bishop of Manchester should have all the dignity and privileges held by the suppressed sees. He conceded that point; but that arrangement was made on the supposition that the number of the bishops was not to be increased. It was in effect that for the two new bishops to be created, two old sees were to be suppressed; that on the union of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol, the bishopric of Ripon should be created; and on the union of St. Asaph and Bangor, the foundation of the see of Manchester should take effect. But since that arrangement was made, circumstances had changed; it was no longer an understanding that the number of the bishops was not to be increased. The right hon. Gentleman contended that if the bishops did not now sit in the House of Lords in right of their baronies, they had their seats by custom and prescription. But it was a question on which antiquarian lawyers greatly differed; Coke gave one opinion on it, Selden another, and both were qualified by Hale; the whole of these opinions were collected and given by Hargreave in his Coke upon Littleton, where the right hon. Gentleman would find all the authorities. The history of the right of bishops to sit in the House of Lords was this: in the time of the Saxons, the bishops held their lands by the spiritual tenure of "free alms," and had no terri- 556 torial rights, were bound by no feudal service, and were not obliged to attend in the senate of the nation. But after the Conquest, William I. made the bishoprics feudal tenures, held by the bishops in capite, or by knights' service, and they were obliged to attend the Parliament in discharge of the services due from their baronies; in that character they sat with the Peers; but this was only under the older institutions of the order. A bishop to be created could have no customary or prescriptive rights, except those given by Parliament, like the bishops created by Henry VIII. under the Act passed in the 31st year of his reign. By that Act the bishops so created were to have the same privileges and dignities as those before existing; but it was because the statute authorized their creation, and gave the King power to invest thorn with the same privileges as the bishops that preceded them. If they turned to the patent of the Bishop of Westminster (in Burnett's collection), they would see that that bishop, and several others, were created with the same dignity and immunities as the Bishop of London, the King recognising their authority, and conferring the privilege of sitting in the House of Lords by the patent; the bishopric of London, to which they were made equal, existed at the time of the Conquest, and had its seat by the baronial tenure. It was a mistake to suppose the bishops sat in the House of Lords by custom; they sat by virtue of the patent by which they were created. But was there any ground at present why a new bishop should have the same privilege? The right hon. Gentleman said, the clause suspending the right to a seat in the Lords trenched on the prerogative of the Crown. In what respect? The Crown could not create a bishop; the Crown had no power to give one a seat in the House of Lords; it was given by the Act that created him; and the same Act might, without injury to the power of the Crown, disentitle the bishop to his seat; it could not trench on the prerogative of the Crown to say the bishop should have no seat. The right hon. Gentleman said there was no authority for such a proceeding; what was the case with the Irish bishops? They all had the right of sitting in the Irish House of Peers; but now they sat in the Imperial Parliament by rotation. ["No, no!"] It was not precisely the same in effect, but it was the same in principle. There could be no question of the right of the House 557 to pass this clause; it could not be said that there was a constitutional objection to it; nor was it against the wish of the Church, for the prelates were consenting parties to it. It did not affect the Royal prerogative. The question was simply, whether it was for the convenience of the House and the good of the community, that the proposition should be adopted. In considering this question, though it was perfectly true that a part of the recital had been expunged from the preamble, the House must not lose sight of the object of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. That object had been fairly and candidly stated on the face of the Bill as extending, not merely to the creation of one bishop, but ultimately to the creation of four bishops; and under these circumstances he (the Attorney General) thought it would be impolitic, and likely to shake the confidence of the country in the Establishment, which the present Bill was intended to aid, if they were to give larger political power to the bishops in the House of Lords. For these reasons he opposed the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ MR. LAW
thought that the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. S. Wortley) had not been answered by the Attorney General. He offered his humble acknowledgments to the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the extreme liberality and exquisite temper with which he had conducted this important Bill through the House up to the present moment. Nothing could be more manly and straightforward than the course pursued by the noble Lord; and he was quite sure that the noble Lord's object in introducing this measure was equally to advance the interests of the Church and of the nation at large. He was, however, afraid, that the noble Lord would be disappointed in reference to this noble object, if he did not acquiesce in the proposition that the same dignity attaching to the existing bishoprics should be extended to that now proposed to be forthwith created. The terms of the clause to which he more immediately objected were the following:—But if such vacancy be caused by avoidance of any other see in England or Wales, such vacancy shall be supplied by the issue of a writ of summons to that bishop of a see in England or Wales who first did homage for his see, or for any other see in England or Wales of those who have not previously become entitled to such writ; and no bishop who shall be hereafter elected to any see in England or Wales, not being one of the five 558 sees abovenamed, shall be entitled to have a writ of summons, unless in the order and according to the conditions above described.The hon. and learned Attorney General said, that the object of the Bill was not to exclude the bishops entirely from the House of Lords, but to prevent the increase of their numbers there. Now, laying aside the argument as to the right by which the bishops sat in the House of Lords, he asked the House to look at the effect of this clause. It deprived, in succession, every bishop not coming within the exceptions stated, of the right to sit in the House of Lords, which bad been enjoyed by his predecessors for centuries. Therefore, for the creation of one individual bishop, who, it was proposed, should not immediately sit in Parliament, they were called on to sanction the principle that every one of the dioceses not comprised in the mentioned exceptions, should, in rotation, be divested of its ancient representation in Parliament. He thought that the noble Lord, on reflection, would be of opinion that these hard terms, imposed on account of one creation, were such as ought not to accompany what would otherwise be a graceful gift and national benefit. It had been said, that the present bishops did not object to the proposed arrangement; but he thought the circumstance that they were not themselves to be personally excluded from the enjoyment of the Peerage, did not operate as any commendation of their opinion on this point. With respect to the prerogative of the Crown, he viewed with great jealousy any enactment which should qualify the rights of the Crown as to creation to the Peerage; and it was undoubtedly at present the prerogative of the Crown to communicate the capacity of sitting in the House of Lords to any bishop newly created. He repeated that he strongly objected to the clause, on the ground that it not only excluded from Parliament the bishop to be originally created, but also on account of the more dangerous principle which it embodied, of excluding from Parliament every bishop in succession not mentioned in the exceptions. The only constitutional reason why clergymen were excluded from the House of Commons was, because they were fairly and properly represented in the House of Peers; and he therefore entreated the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who had done so much to entitle himself to the gratitude of every friend of the Church of England, to 559 have the courage to make one step further in advance, and not to bestow a niggardly gift, but one suited to his own exalted mind, to the interests of the Church and of the country, and to the honour of the Crown and the empire. As the noble Lord had promised the House to introduce additional bishops, according to the wants of the population, he hoped he would feel at liberty to concede this one single point, and to introduce the new bishop into the House of Lords. By so doing, the noble Lord would not mar a measure which would consecrate his name. He thanked the noble Lord for such an endeavour, and one made in a right direction.
considered the question they had to decide was, whether they were to have one bishop in the House of Lords, or go with the Government, and have four bishops hereafter out of the House of Lords. As he valued four bishops more than one, and as he was anxious to increase their number, and not finally to limit them, he asked every hon. Member who looked to the interests of the Church to support this Bill—to support the Government in this clause, and not to do anything which would give them only one bishop instead of four.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
would not dwell upon the dangerous precedent which this Bill would create as to the system of rotation with regard to the episcopal seats in the House of Lords. He thought there was danger in the clause to the objects which the noble Lord had at heart; and that making the bishops unequal in their privileges was not likely to produce that unity of action which was desirable. It appeared to him, that one of the most valuable circumstances connected with the bishops being in the House of Lords was, that it made them responsible; and therefore he thought the exclusion of the Bishop of Manchester unwise and injurious. He would ask the noble Lord, too, whether it was in conformity with the spirit of his legislation with respect to every department of the State? Had not the noble Lord proposed that one of the Poor Law Commissioners should be a Member of that House, because it was said that the great powers given to the Commissioners, without the check of being in Parliament, had led to abuses? He feared that inconsistencies and abuse might creep into those dioceses which were unguarded by their heads being out of Parliament, similar to those which had occurred in the adminis- 560 tration of the Poor Laws. He had heard some of those hon. Members oppose the introduction of new bishops into the House of Lords on grounds which led him to suppose they thought the Church inclined to become arbitrary and oppressive; but he would remind them that being responsible for their actions in the House of Lords would prove a due check. He concluded by expressing a hope, for the sake of insuring uniformity of practice, that a majority of the House would decide against any change in the constitutional practice of ages.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
I will detain the Committee a very few minutes on this clause. I don't pretend that we had the authority or the recommendation of the Commission on the subject. The intention of the Crown, as advised by the constitutional Ministers of the Crown, was communicated first to the bishops in general, and afterwards to the Commission; and they did not consider it incumbent upon them to give any recommendation upon that subject. But at the same time it must be recollected, that this Bill has been in the House of Lords, where the bishops have seats, having been placed there to represent the Church, and, as an hon. Gentleman has said, to defend the interests of the Church. They could there have stated any objections that were entertained to the measure, which, in the opinion of some persons, seems to portend great danger to the Church; but in the House of Lords they do not seem to have raised any objection to the measure, and it passed that House with the general consent, I believe, of the bench of bishops. I cannot agree in opinion with the hon. and learned Gentleman who commenced this discussion. He states that, according to the constitution and according to law, if an Act of Parliament gives the Crown the power of creating a new bishop, that then, ex debito justitiœ, he will have the right to a writ to sit in the House of Lords. Undoubtedly that is the case. No man disputes it for a moment; but it does not follow if Parliament creates the new bishop, and if Parliament gives the right to the Crown to appoint to a new bishopric, that there may not be attached by Parliament the condition, that instead of a writ being sent to that bishop, that bishop should not have a writ to sit in Parliament; and the Crown would be bound one way as well as the other; for if the Crown were bound, ex debito justifiœ, to send a writ to that bi- 561 shop, there is an end of all discretion in the choice of the Crown; so I don't see that the prerogative is affected by this decision of Parliament. But the hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge raises another objection, and says, this is a provision which docs not merely affect the new bishopric to be created, but is a provision crippling the rights of all the ancient bishops of England, who for hundreds of years have enjoyed the privilege of seats in the House of Lords. That likewise I must admit to be the case; but the question is, whether a provision of this kind is expedient, or is not, for the general benefit of the Church and of the country? It appears to me, that with respect to that question, the noble Lord the Member for Shropshire, in the course of his argument, has laid down the true policy to pursue. I believe that you ought to be at liberty, if the interests of the Church require it, to increase the number of bishops; but I believe also if you entangle that question with the addition of political power, and if you cannot make the increase in the number of bishops which for spiritual purposes may be required, without adding to the temporal weight of those who represent the Church in the other House of Parliament, then you may naturally and justly raise objections to any scheme of the kind; for the great body of Christians who dissent from the Church of England, both in this country and in Scotland, may, I think, justly say—"With respect to your arrangements to advance the spiritual welfare of the Church, we can have no objection; but if you tell us that in one of your Houses of Parliament, where all the laws affecting the great body of the people are to be passed — where every law that affects the Church of Scotland and that affects the Dissenters of England is to be passed—if you tell us that the representatives of the Church of England are to have an increased weight, then we can no longer listen to your reasons of spiritual deficiency, but consider that it is a temporal preponderance which you are endeavouring to get; and that the scheme must be opposed, not because it is intended to strengthen the Church of England as a Church, but in consequence of the temporal advantage it would give to one body of Christians over all those who dissent from them." I think that would be a fair argument. I agree with those who say there ought to be an increase in the number of bishops, contending, as has 562 been frequently contended within the last few days, that the Church of England should have the same power of organization as any other body connected or unconnected with the State; but with regard to the question of temporal power, we can hardly in fairness and justice increase the number to any considerable extent, if those bishops are to be in the House of Lords. Suppose we agree that the number of bishops should be the number that now sit in the House of Lords, and that we should require a bishop to be created for Manchester, and bishops afterwards to be created for some other places, subdivisions of various other dioceses; let us see what would be the effect of taking another course. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge has said that all who hold ancient dioceses, and represent those ancient bishoprics, should sit in the House of Lords, and that the others should be deprived of the privilege; but I should consider that an unfortunate arrangement: it would be at once making two classes and kinds of bishops in the country. You would be exposed to the danger, that the bishop who was placed in the position of not having a seat in the House of Lords, would desire, when a vacancy happened, that he should be translated to some other see, with a seat in the House of Lords; and you would raise naturally and continually the remark, "Look to those bishops who sit in the House of Lords, and compare them with those who do not sit there." Some persons would say that they were to be preferred to the others; some would say that they should put all of them in the House of Lords; and some would say they should remove those from the House who had seats there. It is said there was no precedent for this measure; but the precedent of the Irish bishops is in favour of it, for they sit in rotation in the House of Lords. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Bath says that is very true; but then the temporal Peers of Ireland are in the same position. I do not see how that affects the argument at all. That provision takes place in Ireland, and it does not tend to the injury of the Church in that country. For these reasons, I am of opinion that the Committee should adopt the Bill as it stands. I believe it will be more to the advantage of the Church to adopt it as it stands, than to introduce a Bishop of Manchester as an additional bishop into the House of Lords. I agree with the right 563 hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorchester, that if I were contented never to contemplate any increase in the number of bishops at any time, we ought not to make an exception in the case of a Bishop of Manchester; but, not entertaining those views, and thinking that the scheme which has been proposed is the best, I hope that the Bill will be adopted as it is.
SIR T. ACLAND
would explain the sense in which he accepted the offer of the Government. He accepted it not without some reluctance and doubts of its constitutional effects; but his hesitation gave way on finding that it would probably be attended with many benefits to that religious order the efficiency of which they proposed to increase; and he gave the Government his hearty approval, because they had been the first to make this advance. He accepted it, therefore, with all its objections and difficulties, not only as being the best offer they had had, but as being an instalment from the Legislature of other important advantages to be conceded to the Church. A difficulty of thirteen years' standing had been felt, in regard to new bishops, what they were to do, when called on to make them, as to putting them in the House of Lords; and, right or wrong, this question had been first solved in any shape by the noble Lord. The three bishops proposed afterwards to be created, might be provided for in course of time. It did not follow, because he supported this Bill, that he would adopt it as a guiding precedent. The gate was now open. He did not think any legislation would be able to shut it again; and he, for one, would not put his hand out to close it.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
was loth to let the question go to a division without offering a few observations on the speech of the hon. Baronet. The hon. Gentleman had been perfectly frank; he had stated distinctly and unreservedly all that he expected from the measure of the noble Lord. And let the noble Lord, then, mark well those by whom his Bill was accepted with grateful acknowledgments, and those by whom it was opposed. The hon. Gentleman opposite said, "I accept your Bill as an instalment, though I receive it with hesitation and doubt." Why? Because the bishops about to be created would not all be admitted into the House of Lords. If this objection were removed, they would have been entirely satisfied. Other hon. Gentlemen had been equally explicit; they 564 also objected while they accepted, and for the same reason. He had already confessed there was but one circumstance which mitigated his hostility to this measure, and that was, that hon. Gentlemen opposite would not be gratified in elevating these spiritual persons to the Upper House. And was it not therefore as clear as the lamp shining in the House, that as soon as one bishop was abandoned and the door opened, the next step might be to question the former rights of other spiritual persons to places, as Peers, in Parliament? The observation had been made, that a leader could not answer for his party; they had seen an example of that ere then, and they now had a clear indication of what was coming—" Let us get the sharp end of the wedge in; let the door be but a little opened, and we will manage to shove in four bishops." The circumstance to which he referred did considerably diminish the fears he had entertained on the subject. They now admitted a new principle into the spiritual constitution of the clergy—not new, if they took the episcopacy as a whole, and included the Irish Church; but completely novel as concerned the Church of England. Parliament now was about to call into question the existing spiritual constitution of this realm; and as soon as they had a House of Commons of opinion that the House of Lords required reform in its spiritual aspect, hon. Gentlemen opposite would be "estopped" in the ancient argument that no one had any right to interfere with the law-established constitution in spiritual affairs. He therefore thanked the noble Lord for beginning to deal with the Church in this way; and though hon. Gentlemen might gain one bishop now, they, on that side of the House, had gained a great argument; and, as argument there was invariably borne to its legitimate conclusion, they would press this measure to its legitimate consequences. They would test every one of the spiritual functions and spiritual ordinations; and the opinion of the people, without the slightest reference to hon. Gentlemen's religious feelings, spiritual notions or dogmata, would bring to bear all that dissent that was out of doors, and reform the House of Lords by expelling from their assembly the whole bench of bishops. The first step had been made by Her Majesty's present Government; he was sorry it was to be made in this way; but let hon. Gentlemen opposite take it well to heart and thoroughly understand what they were about to do. 565 They were not going to make new bishops, merely without giving them seats in the House of Lords; they were, in point of fact, with their eyes open, going to upturn the whole spiritual constitution by making every one of their bishops subject to rotation. There was an end for ever to the constitutional cant of Church and State; it required only Her Majesty's assent, and by this Bill would be at once established a new constitution, varying the relationship between Church and State, and introducing the principle of rotation and election into the House of Lords. The whole bench of bishops were about to be placed under the control of that House by becoming subject to the Minister, again controlled by that House; when a bishopric fell vacant, the Minister would have to make election of a bishop with reference to his coming into the House of Lords. The old principle, which seemed to hallow so many abuses, would be cast aside; a thoroughly new element invaded the House of Lords—as completely new as if the bishops were to be subject to election out of doors. The former sanctity would be thrown at once to the winds; the bishop's functions would no longer receive decorous consideration; and he would be exposed to every species of what was called Parliamentary jobbing. And did any one believe that the Dissenters would be quiet after this? They would be up in arms; every one would be asked at the hustings if they were prepared to vote for the expulsion of the bench of bishops from the House of Lords. The crisis might not arrive in his time, though strange events had recently come to pass; but this was the first step, and he warned hon. Gentlemen, chuckling over their triumph, of the inevitable results. It was a very pretty quarrel. He would leave it to hon. Gentlemen opposite to decide. He hoped the noble Lord would find his Friends on the other side of the House disposed to carry out completely these designs on the Church. Good or evil, the accomplishment must be between Her Majesty's Government and the Conservative Opposition.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
observed, that being a Roman Catholic, and as such not connected with the internal management of the Established Church, he had felt it to be his duty to refrain theretofore from giving a vote on this question. He considered therefore that it was the duty of those who were situate as he was to look silently on in matters of this kind, which did not concern them personally, and to 566 leave it in the hands of those who were interested. If it were in contemplation to pay the new bishop out of funds to which Dissenters or Catholics were to subscribe, he should feel himself called upon to record a vote; but as it was proposed that they should be endowed out of funds already belonging to the Established Church, it could not be a matter of any consequence to Catholics and Dissenters if the heads of the Church of England should think fit to devote their money to the endowment of one bishopric, or to that of thirty new rectories. But then there remained a question of public policy, whether the new bishop was to have a seat in the House of Lords or not; and upon this point he did not hesitate to say, that in consideration of public grounds he was disposed to support the Government. He had heard nothing to make him believe that it was not desirable that some of the bishops should be left to discharge their duties towards their flocks and their clergy without being subject to the requirement of attending to Parliamentary business. On principle he was inclined to believe that it would be very much better that no ministers of religion should have seats in the Legislature at all; but then they must act, not as they wished, but rather remember that they had to deal with a long-established system.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
could not agree with the hon. and learned Member for Bath, that those opposed to this measure ought to abstain from taking part in this division, and leave it to the Government and the Conservative Opposition to decide it between them. It was his intention, on the contrary, to give, on this proposition, his hearty support to the Government.
§ The Committee divided on the question that the Clause (number of Lords Spiritual not to be increased) stand part of the Bill: — Ayes 111; Noes 57: Majority 54.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Visct.||Brotherton, J.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Brown, W.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Buller, C.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Byng, rt. hon. G. S.|
|Antrobus, E.||Cavendish, hon. C. C.|
|Baine, W.||Cholmondeley, hon. H.|
|Bannerman, A.||Clive, Visct.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Collins, W.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Colville, C. R.|
|Bernal, R.||Cowper, hon. W. F.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Craig, W. G.|
|Borthwick, P.||Dalmeny, Lord|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Denison, J. E.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Duncan, G.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Newry, Visct.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Norreys, Lord|
|Easthope, Sir J.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Egerton, W. T.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Etwall, R.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Ewart, W.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Ferguson, Col.||Packe, C. W.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Forster, M.||Parker, J.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Philipps, Sir R. B. P.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Price, Sir R.|
|Gore, M.||Pryse, P.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Hallyburton, Lord J. F.||Rich, H.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Richards, R.|
|Hastie, A.||Ross, D. R.|
|Hatton, Capt. V.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hawes, B.||Russell, Lord C. J. F.|
|Hindley, C.||Russell, J. D. W.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Rutherfurd, A.|
|Hodgson, F.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Hope, A.||Seymour, Sir H. B.|
|Howard, hon. H.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Hume, J.||Shelburne, Earl of|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Kemble, H.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Langston, J. H.||Thornely, T.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Towneley, J.|
|Lefroy, A.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|Le Marchant, Sir D.||Ward, H. G.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B.||Williams, W.|
|Mainwaring, T.||Wilshere, W.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Tufnell, H.|
|Morris, D.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Henley, J. W.|
|Bateson, T.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Bennet, P.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Hope, G. W.|
|Broadley, H.||Horsman, E.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Hotham, Lord|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Clements, Visct.||Legh, G. C.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Lindsay, Col.|
|Clifton, J. T.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Neeld, J.|
|Cripps, W.||Neville, R.|
|Deedes, W.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Patten, J. W.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Reid, Col.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Round, C. J.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Spooner, R.|
|Fitzmaurice, hon. W.||Stuart, J.|
|Forester, hon. G. C. W.||Tollemache, J.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Vyse, H.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Halford, Sir H.||TELLERS.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Wortley, hon. J. S.|
§ House resumed, and Bill to be reported.