HC Deb 21 July 1847 vol 94 cc639-62

On the question that the Bishopric of Manchester Bill be read a Third Time,


said, he would not allow this stage of the Bill to pass without stating once more his objections to the measure. He complained that the compact entered into ten years ago had been violated, part of that compact being not that the number of bishops should be increased, but that there should be an equalization of their incomes. He regretted that the Government should have pressed forward this measure, and occupied so much valuable time, which might have been better occupied in the discussion of the valuable measures they had abandoned. He moved that the Bill fee read a third time that day three months.


supported the Bill, though he regretted that the new bishop was not to have a seat in the House of Lords.


contended that, instead of creating new bishoprics, they ought rather to have rendered assistance to the great body of the working clergy; and he hoped that if any Church Bill was introduced next Session, it would be one to do justice to that class of men.


would support the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose; and he hoped the House would give him their attention for a few minutes while he stated his reasons for so doing: in the first place, because his reasons differed materially from those entertained by the hon. Gentleman who had proposed the rejection of the Bill; and secondly, because the opinions he had deliberately formed, were his own individual opinions, and not formed in concert with any other person whatever. On the last occasion when this matter was under debate, the noble Lord at the head of the Government stated his reasons for promoting the Bill, with great perspicuity and ability; and he was not prepared to dissent from many of the constitutional doctrines the noble Lord then laid down. He took a review of the past with reference to this matter; and he must also be permitted briefly to look back upon the history of the question. They were not now debating the question whether there should be a subdivision of dioceses or not —that had been settled by Act of Parliament; but the question was, whether the proposed change was or was not to be made on the conditions which had been already sanctioned and fixed by Parliament? In an Act passed at the close of the reign of William IV. with the full consent of the Head of the Church, acting by the advice of the same constitutional advisers who now counselled the Sovereign— the same Keeper of the Queen's conscience —the same President of the Council— and the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) holding the important situation of Secretary of State for the Home Department —brought forward with the full concurrence of the Prelates, and passed with the unanimous consent of Parliament— it was enacted that there should be created a see of Manchester, to be taken from the diocese of Chester, on certain conditions. Let the House consider what those conditions were. They were, first, that the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor should be united; next, that there should be no addition to the number of bishops in England and Wales; and, thirdly, that the Bishop of Manchester, when the see was erected, should enjoy all the rights, titles, dignities, and privileges of a spiritual Peer. That was the arrangement then made, and which it was now proposed to set aside. In fact, the Bill before the House was in almost all particulars the very converse of that measure. It proposed that the see of Manchester should at once be created, and that the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor should continue separate, and that, in the first instance at least, the Bishop of Manchester should not enjoy all the rights, privileges, and dignities belonging to a spiritual Peer. Now, he would observe that at the time the arrangement to which he had referred was made, ten years ago, it was contemplated that it should take effect after the lapse of two lives, because it was possible that neither the Bishop of Bangor nor St. Asaph would consent to the union of the sees. One of them had since died; and his successor had been appointed—an able, pious, and zealous prelate, quite competent to discharge all the duties of the united sees. The Bishop of Bangor, exercising an option he had a right to exercise, refused to consent to the union of the two sees in his person. He could not but speak with the utmost respect of that Prelate; but he had descended far into the vale of years; and when his demise came—which he hoped would be far distant—the Bishop of St. Asaph, if the arrangement was adhered to, was bound to undertake the double function, and to discharge the duties of the two sees; the arrangement would then become complete, and the bishopric of Manchester would be created. Now, what reasons were given for departing from this arrangement? Was there any increase of population in the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor? He believed not; and he understood that dissent had increased within the limits of those dioceses now separate; while he doubted whether more than three or four new churches had been erected. With respect to the see of Chester, he admitted that the population had there increased, and that it was desirable as soon as possible to carry out the arrangement by which a new bishopric of Manchester should be erected, and the Bishop of Chester be relieved from a portion of his onerous duties. Something had been said as to the character of the Bishop of Chester. It was impossible to praise that Prelate too highly; but, when the extent of his diocese was spoken of, it should be recollected that he was also one of the Prebendaries of Durham. He held, at this moment, one of the golden prebends; and, by not resigning it, proved that his periodical absence from his diocese was admissible, and that his episcopal duties were not inconsistent with the discharge of his prebendal duties in the chapter of Durham. He had reason to know that the Bishop of Chester himself declared that occasional absence from his diocese did not disable him, in a manner most satisfactory to his own judgment, by correspondence and written minutes, to settle matters connected with the business of his diocese as accurately as if he were on the spot. Was there any principle of area, he would ask, which rendered it imperative that they should keep separate the two sees of St. Asaph and Bangor? Why, in the diocese to which he belonged (that of Carlisle), a great addition had been made to the limits of that see. Its length would exceed 100 miles under the new arrangement contemplated by the Order in Council. It had been said, that he had spoken disrespectfully of the Episcopal Bench. If one word had fallen from him having that tendency, he was extremely sorry for it. He could only speak of that which he himself had known. When it was said that the bishops had a great deal too much to do, it was natural to ask, what was it that they had to do? He would speak of his own Prelate, under whose pastoral care he had lived for eighteen years. He would speak of him with all that respect which he most justly deserved. What were the duties which that right rev. Prelate had to discharge? Was an hospital to be founded?—the bishop took the lead in that work of charity. Was there an infirmary to be established? —the bishop was ready to take week by week the chair, to direct the institution. Was there a church to be built?—the bishop headed the subscription. Was there a living to be augmented?—the bishop subscribed most liberally. Was there a clergyman's family to be relieved?—the bishop's name was at the head of the list of contributors. In all works of charity he set the example to others. Then, if he had a living to dispose of, as patron, he gave it to the most deserving clergyman, very often to the humblest, rather than to his own friends. But at the same time he was bound to say that the visitations of that Prelate were only triennial, and that the duties of ordination and confirmation were not frequent. The Prelate of whom he was speaking lived seven miles from the cathedral town, and did not occupy himself with directing his clergymen about matters that were insignificant and merely of form. He was at the head of an united clerical body, and commanded the respect of the gentry, and was very highly regarded both by the clergy and the laity in his own diocese. He (Sir J. Graham) believed there was no diocese in which dissent had made less progress, in which angry religious controversy was more rare, or in which there existed a more united body of clergy. There existed no angry feelings about points of mere ceremony; and whether it were in episcopal superintendence, or whether it were in pastoral exertions, he believed that the Bishop of Carlisle was fully capable of performing all the duties that devolved upon him within the larger limits assigned to that diocese. He would therefore again Say, that according to his experience of the nature of the episcopal duties, he did not believe the bishops were overwhelmed with labour, or that the necessity of affording them additional aid was paramount to the wants of the parochial department of the Church Establishment. The noble Lord had said, and had said truly, that the Crown had not the power of creating a bishop. He (Sir J. Graham) admitted it; and if it were the will of Parliament that a new bishopric should be created, he quite agreed that it was competent to Parliament to prescribe the terms on which it should be created. The question then remained, what were the terms on which a new bishopric should be instituted? He understood the noble Lord to say, that the Statute-book being silent on the subject, a new bishop would by prescriptive right be entitled to take his seat in the House of Lords; and that it was only by statute that he could be restrained from doing so. He begged the House then to observe, that they were now, for the first time, about to restrict an ancient privilege, which it was admitted de jure belonged to the bishops of the Church of England. He would not trouble the House at any length as to the constitutional importance of the subject. The hon. and learned Member for Buteshire (Mr. S. Wortley) had already traced with historical accuracy the origin and extent of this right. He would, however, just refer to one passage in Bishop Warburton's Dissertation on the Alliance between Church and State, in which that eminent divine stated the public policy of the right of the bishops to sit in the House of Lords, and the importance with which he regarded it. Bishop Warburton said, that— Provided the Church received this alliance, the bishops would be entitled as Peers and superior members of the Church to hold seats in the Legislature. But it necessarily followed that, if the State undertook to protect the Church, the Church must, in return, give up its independence to the State, whereby the State would become empowered to decide upon all questions affecting the Church. Hence it also necessarily followed that the superior powers of the Church must have seats in Parliament, to prevent the power which the State would thus receive from being perverted to the Church's injury. And further, the Church by giving up its independence, but at the same time reserving to itself a share in the Legislature, would be making itself, instead of a subject and slave of the State, an integral portion of the State; and, besides the advantage which would be derived to the Church itself by the bishops taking part in all legislation concerning ecclesi- astical matters, it would be useful to the community that the bishops should be present to give their sanction to the laws, and thus assure the people that both Church and State had concurred in their enactment. Bishop Warburton proceeded to show, that it was not by prescription only, but that it was by baronial right, that the bishops sat in the House of Lords. Now, it appeared that the noble Lord did not contest the prescriptive privilege of the bishops to seats in Parliament, but contended that Parliament had a right to limit that privilege in respect to any newly-created bishops. It was next said, that in this case the number of bishops having seats in the House of Lords was not affected; but that by adopting a system of rotation, the number of those who were the representatives of the spiritual interest of the country in the House of Lords was neither increased nor diminished. A word upon that system of rotation. He must say, that of all the objections to this measure, the one that struck his mind most forcibly was the introduction of this plan of rotation. All the dioceses of England, from the Heptarchy downwards, at all events from the time of Henry VIII., had in all spiritual matters been represented by their respective bishops in Parliament; the whole area of the country had been embraced in this episcopal scheme down to the present time. It was now, however, sought by this Bill to deprive every part of England, except the dioceses of London, Winchester, and Durham, in succession, of this right, which had at all times been enjoyed by immemorial usage and by prescription. Now, when it was proposed by the hon. Member for Evesham last night, that an inferior class of bishops should be created, who should be permanently excluded from the House of Lords, the noble Lord most wisely, and with great force, objected to that proposition. But the same objection applied with equal force to this system of rotation, because, although by that system there would be no class of bishops who would be permanently excluded, yet every one would practically, in turn, belong to an inferior class; and that very degradation which the noble Lord said was dangerous, would, by rotation, be established in each diocese by this Act. He had his forebodings that, by introducing this plan of periodical exclusion, they would increase that hostility which was now openly avowed against all episcopal establishments. He thought there was considerable force in what was stated by the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Roebuck) the other evening. That hon. and learned Gentleman said, that this was the introduction of a principle so novel and so dangerous, that it would in the end overthrow the spiritual constitution of the country: that it admitted, as the hon. Gentleman thought, the whole argument against the bishops having seats in the House of Lords; for it admitted that it was possible for the bishops to perform the whole of their spiritual functions without sitting in Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman frankly told the House that he was desirous of seeing the bishops bodily removed from the House of Lords; that this was a step which led inevitably in that direction; and that, although we might not live to see it, yet he was convinced that in consequence of this measure, the bishops before many years would be hurled headlong from the Legislature. That was the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Bath; and he said he rejoiced in the measure, because it would produce that effect. Then the hon. Member for Finsbury said that he was a Churchman; but he thought the efficiency of the superintending duties of the bishops would be better discharged by their being entirely separated from politics; and he therefore agreed with the opinions expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Bath. These opinions and declarations of views and of intention appeared to him very ominous, coming as they did from Members of a great party who were the supporters of the Government, and whose views and feelings, it might be assumed, were shared by a large portion of their constituents. Surely, then, the friends of the Church were entitled to look about them, and consider whether the creation of one new bishop was worth the risk of sacrificing the uniform principle of legislative representation of the Church by the bishops in the House of Lords. But was he consoled by what had fallen from the hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. M. J. O'Connell)? That hon. Member said, that, as a Roman Catholic, it did not affect him whether the Church of England chose to increase the number of her bishops, or to endow thirty or forty new rectories; but as to the question whether the new bishop should have a seat in the House of Lords or not, he was inclined to support the view taken by Government, as he thought it was of importance that the junior bishops especially should have the time and opportunity of making themselves acquainted with their clergy, without having public duties in Parliament to attend to. This was the view taken of this proposal by a Roman Catholic Member. Considering the sentiments thus expressed by various individuals, who were the exponents of the opinions of those parties to which they were known to belong, he certainly thought they were entering upon a course of legislation that was pregnant with danger. But if he pursued this subject further, what was it he saw? It was not only that dissent was raging without the Church, but there were heartburnings and angry divisions within the Church itself, which were most dangerous to its stability. If more bishops were to be created, some security ought to be taken as to the principle on which they were to be selected. Was it certain that the four new bishops would be taken from that body of men whose appointment would promote concord in the Establishment, and increase its strength in opposition to that spirit of dissent by which it might be assailed? United within, the Church might bid defiance to all attacks; but, divided within, it was weak indeed; and should this measure have the effect of widening the breach, and giving greater asperity to those internal divisions, then, without intending it, you would be doing irreparable injury to the Church, and would shake even its foundation. But was there unanimity on the Episcopal Bench in favour of this measure? Was their consent really given to the exclusion of one of their members from a seat in the House of Lords? It was said that they allowed the Bill to pass through the other House without objection; but the noble Lord had admitted that it was not upon the authority of the bishops that this particular arrangement, as it now stood, was recommended to the House. But, even if the Bench were unanimous, he must again return to what he had formerly observed, that unwise demands, imprudently urged, and rashly granted, had frequently worked injury to those who were most unanimous in preferring them; so true was the remark of the satirist— Magnaque numinibus vota exaudita malignis. But it was the duty of the Legislature—it was the duty of the Government—above all it was the duty of the Head of the Church—to stand in the broach, and resist any proposition, come from what quarter it might, which carried within it the seed of future danger to the Episcopal Establishment of this country. He had already said, that if the House would assent to the erection of the see of Manchester, and would add one spiritual Peer to the House of Lords, he would give his support to the Bill. But when he was asked to add one more bishop to the Church, and was at the same time told that it was in the contemplation of the Crown to create three more bishops, but that all of those bishops were to be excluded from the House of Lords, then, he confessed, he was not prepared to give his assent even to the present measure, although at present it was limited to the creation of one additional bishop. But how were these three bishops to be endowed? He had heard that they were to have an income of 4,200l. each. That would amount to a charge on the Episcopal fund of nearly 13,000l. a year. Then there would be palaces to be built for these bishops; so that when he looked forward to the charge that must be defrayed out of the Episcopal fund, he was apprehensive that he should never live to see that fund merged in the Common fund for the benefit of the parochial clergy of England. The distinction between the Episcopal and Common fund ought not, in his opinion, any longer to exist, but ought to be abolished, certainly in the course of the next Session of Parliament. He hoped he had now said enough to justify the vote which he was about to give; at all events, his own conscience assured him that the reasons which actuated him were pure, and sufficient; and he was ready to give his vote against the Bill without hesitation or regret.


had few remarks to offer in addition to what he had already stated on former occasions. The right hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, had taken, as he was obliged to do, a somewhat different course on the present occasion from that which he had generally adopted. He did not mean to say that the right hon. Gentleman's course now was inconsistent with the course which he had theretofore pursued; but his present course was taken in consequence of the decisions of the House. On a former occasion the right hon. Gentleman was ready to consent to the separation of the two sees of Bangor and St. Asaph, and the creation of the bishopric of Manchester; but the right hon. Gentleman now contended that the sees should be united, that the original Bill should take effect, and that the bishopric of Man- chester should only be created when a vacancy had occurred in the see of Bangor. He would not now go over the arguments by which he thought that the proposition of maintaining those sees separate was to be sustained. He would merely observe that the House generally appeared to agree with these arguments, and that the proposition made in opposition to the present Bill was, that those sees which the people of Wales wished to be separate should be united, and that one of them, in fact, should be suppressed. The argument of the right hon. Baronet applied chiefly to the consideration that one of the bishops was to be for a time excluded from the House of Lords; and in support of his position he had quoted the authority of Bishop Warburton. Now, he would take leave to say that he entirely concurred in the applicability of the terms used by Mr. Hargrave with respect to Bishop Warburton's opinions on the subject of the alliance between Church and State, when he characterized those opinions as "a visionary theory." Bishop Warburton's work was marked by the usual learning and ingenuity of writing that distinguished the compositions of that eminent person; but a theory more unreal, and more unsubstantial, or one less founded on the practical connection which should exist between Church and State, it would be difficult to conceive. Nothing but the great learning and powerful writing of Bishop Warburton could have made such a theory plausible, or even readable, considering the deficiency of all foundation in truth for the doctrine itself. He must therefore set aside altogether the opinion of that right rev. Prelate, as quoted by the right hon. Baronet opposite. But the right hon. Baronet maintained that there was very great danger in the non-admission of one of those bishops into the House of Lords; and the right hon. Baronet stated the danger in what appeared to him a very curious manner. He grounded much of his apprehension on opinions given in that House by individual Members, while he wholly set aside opinions uttered elsewhere, on which he might in some degree rely. The bishops had an opportunity of stating their opinions in the House of Lords. The apprehension of the Church being in danger was one which they all knew it was very easy to raise in former times, and even now, in the minds of right reverend prelates; nevertheless, the apprehension did not appear to have occurred to the minds of the bishops. It did not appear to have occurred to the Commission. They said, and very fairly too, that the proposition was not theirs; that it was the project of the Executive Government; and that therefore they (the Members of the Commission) were not to be regarded as the responsible parties—as, in a word, the originators of the measure. They had every right to say that; but when the proposition was made to them by the Executive Government, and when it was drawn up in the shape of a Bill, it did not then excite any repugnance on their part such as to induce them to see great danger in it, or to urge them to oppose the proposition. But the right hon. Baronet set that circumstance —in his (Lord J. Russell's) opinion a very important one—altogether aside, and said that he attached great weight to the opinions of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, and the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Finsbury and Kerry. He considered the opinion of the bishops as of no value whatever; he thought that they were foolishly rushing into their own destruction, and making vows which would lead to their ruin. "I do, however, see," said the right hon. Gentleman, "in the opinions and statements of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, and the hon. Member for Kerry, so much reason, and so many cogent arguments, that to their opinions I feel bound to defer; and upon their arguments I will base my vote." The hon. and learned Member for Bath made on that question, as he generally did on all others, a very able speech; but it appeared to him (Lord John Russell) to convey not so much his own opinion of the dangers which would follow from the enactment of the present measure, as an anxiety on his part to induce other hon. Gentlemen who sat opposite, and who might really be alarmed by the contemplated change, to share the apprehension he endeavoured to instil, and to induce them not to support the second clause of the Bill. It was ably and skilfully done on the part of the hon. and learned Member for Bath; but the hon. and learned Gentleman did not appear him-self to attach much value to the establishment of the principle which was to change and wholly overthrow the spiritual constitution of the country, for he did not record his own vote on the question. Having endeavoured to induce others to do so, he actually left the House before they went to a division, and did not himself vote at all. The hon. Member for Kerry took a part in the debate. He admitted that, as a Roman Catholic, the spiritual government of the Church of England did not in any wise concern him; and he accordingly, with good taste and good feeling, refrained from interfering in the matter; but when the question assumed another aspect, and became one involving legislatorial powers, he felt that he was on-titled to give an opinion, and he gave it as his opinion that it was expedient that there should not be any increase in the number of bishops having seats in the House of Lords. But that opinion did not strengthen the case of the right hon. Baronet. On the contrary, it rather added weight to the case which he had put before the House. He begged leave to state again the purport of his argument, which was, that whatever arrangements they might think right to make, which were for the benefit of the Church of England, whether they agreed to create a Bishop of Manchester, and other prelates hereafter, or whatever course, with a view to that end, they might think fit to pursue, his belief was, that while they looked simply to the purpose of contributing to the spiritual efficiency of the Church of England, the rest of the community who did not belong to that Church would look upon their proceedings as on proceedings which they were fairly entitled to take; but that if they were to say that their object was to increase the number of bishops of the Church of England sitting in the House of Lords, and taking a part in the legislation of the country, the Protestant Dissenters of England, the Presbyterians of Scotland, and the Roman Catholics of Ireland, would immediately exclaim, "That is a proposition which we must regard with jealousy. You have left the ground of the spiritual efficiency of the Church of England. You now are going to increase the ecclesiastical power in temporal legislation; and that is a proposition which, without undue interference with the internal arrangement of the Church of England, we are entitled to object to." He thought that argument was supported by the course taken by the hon. Member for Kerry, who said that, with regard to the former clauses of the Bill, he had taken no part, but that in reference to this portion of it, he was fairly entitled to express an opinion. He (Lord J. Russell) did not want again to enter into the question of rotation of bishops. Suffice it to say, that he did not think that, theoretically or practically, any fair objec- tion could be urged against it. He did not think in this Bill they at all trenched on the general constitution of the country, which connected bishops with the enjoyment of legislative powers in the House of Lords, while at the same time they took the means which were within their reach to increase the spiritual efficiency of the Church, so far as the diocese of Chester was concerned. The right hon. Baronet had pointed to other dangers arising in the bosom of the Church herself. He could only say that he (Lord J. Russell) felt himself under greater responsibility than perhaps any one else in that House, having to advise the Crown in cases of vacancies in the episcopacy. He sincerely wished to see the Church of England united in harmony and concord, and to see her maintain her ancient doctrines; and he trusted that the Protestant character of that Church would be maintained by its bishops and its clergy for ever.


said, that up to this time he had voted for the Bill, and had abstained from offering any opposition to it further than proposing an Amendment, which he considered perfectly consistent with his general support of the measure to offer; but he now felt compelled in this its last stage to oppose the Bill. If the Bill could have been confined to the creation of one bishop, and that bishop to be entitled to all the rights and privileges which attached to that dignity, he should have heartily consented to it. But he had asked himself whether he could consent to the creation of this one bishop at the great sacrifice of so important a principle as that of the loss of a seat in the House of Lords; and the conclusion at which he had arrived was that he could not. The Bill did not pass the House of Lords with the unanimous concurrence of the bench of bishops; for, when the same Amendment was moved by Lord Stanley which he (Mr. S. Wortley) moved in the House of Commons, three bishops supported it; and when the Amendment was rejected those three bishops protested against the Bill, two of whom were of those ancient sees which were to be disfranchised by this Bill. He had also been told by another Prelate that it was a mere accident that prevented him from being present to vote against the measure. Therefore, there was no unanimity among the Bishops. The responsibility of which the noble Lord spoke, did not so much rest with him as with others. While the carrying out of this measure de- pended upon the noble Lord, no danger might be apprehended; but would they always have the protection of the noble Lord's courage and his principle in the Councils of the State? The noble Lord corrected for the sake of maintaining; he reformed for the sake of preserving; but the noble Lord might be succeeded by a class of men who would change for the sake of overturning.


would be unwilling to trespass on their attention, even for two or three minutes on that occasion, but for the statement of his hon. Friend who had just sat down, that upon the division upon the Bill they were to take different sides. He could not concur with his hon. Friend in his course with respect to the Bill, mutilated as he admitted it to be since it had first received the support of both. He regretted that the Bill had been changed; that the preamble had been altered; for the recital in it, though it did not bind the House, went to the affirmation of a principle; and, therefore, he regretted the omission of the words about the additional bishops. With respect to the apprehensions expressed by his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Wortley), as to the course which a future Minister might take, he should observe that it was his belief that even if the noble Lord were removed from power, the principles he had enunciated would remain the guide of the Government of the country, supported, as those principles were, by the great body of the people. Those principles were the maintenance of the Church of England in its present integrity, and the maintenance of our Protestant Constitution. To these principles his noble Friend had distinctly pledged himself; and without wishing to revive discussion at a period of the Session when it was desirable that the debate should be speedily brought to a close, there were sufficient reasons to induce him to hail with gratitude the statement that had just been made by his noble Friend. He could not, therefore, concur with his right hon. and learned Friend who had last addressed-the House, that it was desirable to reject the Bill, mutilated though it was. He felt that the establishment of three additional bishoprics without seats in the House of Lords formed an almost essential part of the arrangements proposed by Her Majesty's Government; and he certainly regretted the omission from the preamble of the Bill of the words relating to that subject; but when he had to consider whe- ther he should best consult the interests of the Church by adopting or rejecting the measure as it then stood, he had no hesitation in continuing to give it his support.


was grateful to the noble Lord for introducing the measure. Had the late Government been in power they would not have done so much to promote the interests of the Church. The episcopal superintendence of the Church was by no means adequate to its wants. The Roman Catholic bishops in England had doubled within the last few years. The Church of Rome in this country had ten bishops, while the many millions of people attached to the Established Church had not three times that number. But even if the number were increased to fifty or sixty, still of all the Episcopal Churches in the world, the Church of England was that which had the fewest bishops. He should, notwithstanding the alterations made in the Bill, give it his support.


feared, with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester, that they were addressing themselves to the episccpal rather than to the parochial wants of the people. He hoped that during the recess, Her Majesty's Government would give their attention to the subject, and that at the opening of the next Parliament, Her Majesty would be ready to state that it was her intention to make adequate provision for the spiritual wants of the people. He rejoiced to find that the noble Lord had the confidence of the Church; and wished him to retain that confidence, provided it were acquired by no compromise of principle. He should be happy to find the noble Lord acquiring confidence from any quarter which would give strength and stability to his Government. He thought that before this Bill was introduced, the noble Lord should have applied himself to the removal of the many anomalies that existed in the Church. What, for instance, could be more absurd than to compel a bishop to vindicate at his own private expense the discipline of the Church against a clergyman who had misconducted himself; and, on the other hand, what could be more unjust and improper than that the bishop should have the power of proceeding against a clergyman who had left the Church of England on conscientious grounds? If they wish to make the Church pure and effective, they must have some modification or other of the present system of patronage. It was quite in accordance with the times in which it was instituted; but, unless it was now modified, it must operate most injuriously upon the Church. Again, for several years successively, in that House, the question of church rates had been brought forward by the Government. That subject must also be taken into consideration; and he thought they might be done away with, and all the heartburnings to which they gave rise removed, without any serious opposition from any party.


preferred the present simple character of the Bill to the shape in which it was originally brought forward by the Government. He should have preferred, abstractedly, the union of the two sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, for it did not appear to him that the areas of those dioceses were too extensive, or the duties of them too onerous, to be undertaken by the same individual. He would have preferred that the arrangement of 1836 had not been disturbed; but, considering the general feeling entertained in the Principality of Wales upon the subject, and, he believed, amongst the greater part of the clergy of the Church of England, he did not blame the Government for having determined not to insist on the union of the sees in question. He also entertained a strong opinion on the distinction endeavoured to be established between the Episcopal and the other fund. He thought that such a distinction could not be maintained; and that, if it could, it would be most injurious to the Church, for he held that the surplus fund arising from the accumulation of several years of the proceeds of episcopal lands that fell in, should be applied to the payment of new and colonial bishops. Every hon. Member in the House, except, perhaps, the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford, must see that would be a most preposterous doctrine. He was not one of those who thought that the Government were wrong in establishing a system of rotation of the bishops sitting in Parliament; and, notwithstanding the alarm of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorchester, he thought that any attempt to increase the number of bishops in the House of Lords would give rise to great jealousy and heartburnings, especially amongst the great body of the Nonconformists of this country, and that there would spring up amongst them a greater feeling of animosity than existed at present.


said, that notwithstanding what had fallen from some of his right hon. Friends, his intention was to give his support to the third reading of the Bill. He must confess that he attached greater value to the extension of the episcopacy than his right hon. Friend the Member for Dorchester appeared to do; and, sincerely as his right hon. Friend was attached to the Church of England, and not claiming to himself any attachment beyond what his right hon. Friend entertained, he thought it necessary to the efficiency of the Church that the episcopal part of the Establishment should bear a greater proportion to that part of it which might be said to consist of the parochial instructors, than it did under the present system. There had been reference made to a friend of his own, the Bishop of Carlisle, a prelate who presided over a see remarkable for the absence of dissent. Now, it had been argued, because the Bishop of Carlisle was competent to the duties of his see, that therefore it was unnecessary to make any alteration in any other see. But some years ago the see of Carlisle contained a much smaller population and much fewer clergy than at present; and it did not follow, because the Bishop of Carlisle preserved union amongst his clergy, and that dissent did not happen to be prevalent in his diocese, that therefore there was no necessity for the proposed change. He admitted that there was a necessity for a Bishopric of Manchester; and he was therefore prepared to forego his objection to some of the details of the measure. For his part, he saw no objection to a Bishop of Manchester having a seat in the House of Lords; and he thought that that concession might have been made without exciting any animosity on the part of the Dissenters. He consented to the Bishop of Manchester not being in the House of Lords with great reluctance, for he was not insensible to the inconvenience, and even the danger, of such a course. It was not to be forgotten that the Dissenters possessed great influence m the House of Commons; it was therefore only fair that the influence which the Established Church possessed in the House of Lords should be preserved. As to the Bill generally, he hoped and believed that this extension of episcopacy would be accompanied by an extension of those truths which it was the peculiar office and duty of the Established Church to teach and to enforce. He hoped that the immediate effect of these changes would be to render the lower and middling orders of society more attached than ever to the Established Church; and he trusted that the ultimate effect would be to restore episcopacy to its original dignity in this country. Upon the whole, although there were grave objections to the Bill, yet, on the other hand, the advantages derivable from a more extended episcopal superintendence of the inferior clergy so much outweighed them, that he would not oppose the measure.


observed, that he still felt bound to oppose the Bill, as an Amendment had been moved, although his objections were much diminished; but he wished to say, that if the minority had with more than usually strong feeling persisted in their opposition, yet, on the other hand, the noble Lord had generously used the power which his large majority gave him, and had conceded what appeared to him not to be agreeable to public opinion.


thought there was much more danger to be apprehended from limiting the number of bishops, than from having a few bishops without seats in the House of Lords. He did not think any danger could arise from an increase in the number of bishops, nor that those who supported the noble Lord were under the influence of those divinities whom the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had stated were urging them on blindly, though unwillingly, to destroy the Established Church.

MR. AGLIONBY, as one of the minority against the Bill, was quite prepared to defend himself without the interposition of the hon. Gentlemen opposite who had spoken in favour of the Bill. He should not have said one word on this occasion had it not been for one of the observations of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who had delivered a very elaborate eulogium on the right rev. the Bishop of Carlisle. He (Mr. Aglionby) had nothing to say against that right rev. Prelate; he would not do so under any circumstances. He knew very little of him, either personally or by repute; but when he heard so much said about his utility in his diocese, occasioned by his mixing with the gentry and the various classes there, he must say that he had very seldom heard anything of that bishop's utility. In his own neighbourhood the right rev. Prelate was no doubt very much respected; he had not heard a word against him; but the right hon. Gentleman went further than that, for he attributed the absence of dissent in that diocese to the bishop's exertions. Now, he knew that there was a great deal of dissent in his diocese. He did not mean to say that there was more dissent in his diocese than in any other; but within five miles of the Bishop of Carlisle's palace there were several congregations of Dissenters.


explained that in speaking of the diocese of Carlisle, he had not spoken from his own personal knowledge.


had not said that there was no dissent in the diocese of Carlisle. What he did say was that the Bishop of Carlisle was not an interfering, meddling Prelate about trifles—the consequence of which non-interference was that he had a united clergy—that, speaking generally, he had the good will and opinion of the laity—and that dissent was less angry and turbulent than in almost any diocese that he knew.


said, that feeling this measure was one which did not give him much claim to occupy the time of the House, he had hitherto supported it by his vote, without speaking upon it. He might be inclined to do so at this the last stage, if the vote he had given upon the clause for the formation of the bishopric of Manchester without a seat in the House of Lords might not subject his feelings towards the Established Church to be misinterpreted; and the more so as on this clause he had voted differently from his hon. Friend the Member for the Dublin University. In giving that vote, he wished it to be understood that he would yield to no Member of the House in his attachment to the Church, and in his desire to support all its just rights and privileges. The question he had to consider was between the spiritual advantage proposed for adding to the efficiency of the Church, and some risk to certain temporal rights and privileges which belonged to it. He felt no hesitation in avowing, that he believed it was his first duty to give his support to extending its spiritual influence; and under this impression, which was not a little strengthened by the arguments of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he thought it was more becoming to give a steady support to all the provisions of the Bill, which the Government had brought forward with so much courage and spirit, rather than to desert them on some clauses which, in his opinion, did not affect the efficiency of the Bill. He thought that the opposition afforded to even this very limited measure (confined as it was to the revenues and interests of the Church itself) proved how impossible it would have been for the Government to carry a Bill which would have been opposed, not only by certain Members of that House, but by the great body of Dissenters in the country. In acting thus, he thought he was not overlooking the best interests of the Established Church in Ireland, when he recollected that a venerable and distinguished Prelate in the other House of Parliament had this Session given notice of his intention to move for the restoration of the bishopric of Kildare; and he felt assured the success of this very important object might be much more confidently looked to on the ground stated for making the new bishopric of Manchester, rather than as an addition to the temporal aggrandizement of the Church. His hon. Friend the Member for Bute had called on him and other Friends to hesitate in supporting this measure, because it was proposed by Her Majesty's Government, whom he said "we could not trust for political consistency." He could only say that he was not in the habit of considering from what party or side of the House a measure came: if it was in itself good, he would support it on its merits; if bad, he would, as he had often done, oppose it, though brought forward by political friends. If they were to reject a measure, however excellent, because it was proposed by statesmen who had in all their conduct been consistent, he should be glad if his hon. Friend would tell him where they were to be found. He thought he must at all events wait for the new Parliament to find them. On such grounds he tendered his support on the present occasion most gladly to the Government; and he must avail himself of the last opportunity in this Parliament to thank the noble Lord for the sentiments he had expressed in supporting this Bill; and adding his own hope that should the noble Lord hold (as was most probable) his present position on the meeting of the new Parliament, he would be influenced by that zeal for the advancement of true religion which he expressed this day, with so much credit to himself and so much gratification to him and others, the best friends of the Church.


suggested to the Government the propriety of bringing forward a measure on some future occasion to make provision for such bishops as might through age or infirmity become incapacitated to discharge their duties. That, he thought, was a subject which ought to receive the attention of the Government. In common with other hon. Members, he felt deeply grateful for the step which the Government had already taken with reference to the Church.


wished to offer one word of advice to the hon. Gentlemen who had expressed their great approbation of the noble Lord's conduct with reference to this measure. If they were sincere in their expressions of approbation, let them prove their sincerity by supporting the noble Lord at the ensuing election. They would then be acting conscientiously; but to applaud him now, and be desirous of overthrowing him at the election, appeared to him to be anything but consistent. He wished to say one word with respect to that small minority who had felt it their duty to oppose this Bill. He could not help congratulating that small minority on the encomiums that had been heaped upon their labours by several hon. Gentlemen who had spoken that day. His noble Friend the Member for South Durham had confessed that the Bill, in consequence of the alterations that had been conceded, in consequence of the "small minority," had became much more acceptable to himself, and he believed it would prove much more acceptable to the public in general. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bute had also said that by the minority's opposition to this Bill they had at all events put an extinguisher upon the hopes of the Government, or rather certain other parties, creating and manufacturing any more bishops. He (Mr. Duncombe) hoped that that would be the case. He hoped that the noble Lord would at all events have learned a lesson from this opposition, and that he would not burn his fingers with any more bishops. At all events he did hope and trust that if he intended to dabble in the manufacturing of any more bishops, he would bring forward, his measure at an earlier period of the Session, when the House might have a better opportunity of contesting it than they had now. He had objected to this measure because he considered it to be a deviation from the arrangement entered into in 1836. They were then told that the great object of that measure was not to create any more bishoprics. The language then used was, "Recollect, this measure does not increase the number of bishops." Now, "the small minority" objected to this measure because it proposed to increase the number of bishops if only by one. But there were in prospective those three. They had struck them out, and not the slightest allusion remained in the Bill with regard to them. If that clause had been retained, the House might depend upon it that they might have expected the Government coming forward on a future occasion to propose the creation of those three bishoprics; and they would have told the House that it was their duty to pass such a measure, because they had given their sanction to it in a previous Session. He hoped, however, that as such a measure, even in prospective, had been overthrown, they would now hear no more of it; and he hoped that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, notwithstanding the flattering speeches of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, would never again be tempted to place himself in a similar position.


still continued to think that, instead of having too few bishops, we had already too many. He considered that the very name of bishop had become offensive to the people. They were now about to be sent back to their constituents, and they knew not how many of them would ever return to that House; but he could look with some kind of satisfaction on the determined opposition which he had offered to an increase of the bishops of the overpaid and overgorged Church of England.

On the question that the word "now" stand part of the Question, the House divided:—Ayes 93; Noes 14: Majority 79.

List of the AYES.
Acheson, Visct. Dodd, G.
Acland, T. D. Dundas, Adm.
Anson, hon. Col. Dundas, Sir D.
Antrobus, E. East, Sir J. B.
Bannerman, A. Ebrington, Visct.
Barrington, Visct. Egerton, W. T.
Bateson, T. Egerton, Sir P.
Beckett, W. Feilden, Sir W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Blackburne, J. I. Frewen, C. H.
Bodkin, W. H. Fuller, A. E.
Borthwick, P. Gaskell, J. M.
Bowles, Adm. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Broadley, H. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Broadwood, H. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Buller, C. Hallyburton, Ld. J. F.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Hamilton, G. A.
Carew, W. H. P. Hamilton, Lord C.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cholmondeley, hon. H. Hatton, Capt. V.
Clive, Visct. Hawes, B.
Collett, W. R. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hope, A.
Craig, W. G. Hudson, G.
Deedes, W. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Denison, J. E. Jervis, Sir J.
Dickinson, F. H. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Plumridge, Capt.
Law, hon. C. E. Price, Sir R.
Lefroy, A. Repton, G. W. J.
Legh, G. C. Rich, H.
Le Marchant, Sir D. Russell, Lord J.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Russell, Lord C. J. F.
Lindsay, Col. Rutherfurd, A.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Manners, Lord C. S. Trotter, J.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Vane, Lord H.
Moffatt, G. Waddington, H. S.
Morpeth, Visct. Walpole, S. H.
Mundy, E. M. Ward, H. G.
Neeld, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
O'Brien, A. S. Wilshere, W.
Paget, Lord A. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Palmer, G. Worcester, Marq. of
Palmerston, Visct Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. W.
Parker, J. TELLERS.
Philipps, Sir R. B. P. Tufnell, H.
Phillpotts, J. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Osborne, R.
Brotherton, J. Thornely, T.
Collett, J. Wakley, T.
Duncombe, T. S. Wall, C. B.
Escott, B. Williams, W.
Evans, Sir De L.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. TELLERS.
Hindley, C. Hume, J.
Molesworth, Sir W. Ewart, W.

Bill read a third time.


then moved the omission of so much of Clause 2 as enacted the exclusion by rotation of the future bishops of certain existing sees from the House of Lords. It ought never to be forgotten by Churchmen or Dissenters that the security of the nation depended upon the maintenance of the Church of England. After expatiating upon the many onerous duties of a bishop, the hon. Gentleman reminded the House that foremost amongst those who had stood up for the rights of the people of England from the oppressive acts of her Sovereigns were the bishops of the Church; it was they who had boldly declared in the face of one of the oppressive rulers of England, Nolumus leges Angliœ mutari. He called therefore upon the noble Lord at the head of the Government not to encroach upon those constitutional privileges which the hierarchy of England had enjoyed from the time of the Heptarchy.


had understood the hon. Gentleman the previous day to state, that in making this Motion, it was only his wish to record his own opinion on the subject. He (Lord J. Russell) would not enter into the arguments on the opposite side, though certainly they were directly at variance with the views taken by the hon. Gentleman; and he trusted that, after the strong declaration on the part of the great majority of the House with respect to this Bill, the hon. Gentleman would be satisfied with having expressed his own sentiments, and refrain from pressing the Amendment to a division. Hoping that this suggestion would be acceded to, it would not be necessary for him (Lord J. Russell) to repeat the reasons why he could not support such a proposition; and he only wished, in closing the discussion, to state, that he felt himself highly indebted to hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House for the manner in which they had supported the Bill. By their assistance he had been enabled to carry it by a large majority; and his obligation was the greater, because he was confident that, in the course they had pursued, they had looked only to the merits of the Bill, and had been actuated by no party considerations whatever.


supported the Amendment of the hon. Member for Evesham, with the view of recording his opinions upon the question involved in it.


would not divide the House. He was quite content with having brought the subject before them.

Amendment negatived.

Bill passed.

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