HC Deb 13 March 1849 vol 103 cc639-81

rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice, for the abolition of church rates. He disavowed any motive of hostility towards the Established Church, of which he was a member, and whose great usefulness he admitted. He conceived that the only chance of settling this question was by coming to a determination that church rates should be abolished. This was the object of his Motion, which did not include the suggestion of any substitute for this impost; but if any other hon. Member had any plan to propose whereby all interests might be reconciled, and both Dissenters and Churchmen satisfied, it would be open for him to do so. He would first state the proceedings which had been taken at various times in that House on the subject of church rates. In March, 1834, Mr. Divett brought forward a Motion for the abolition of church rates in England and Wales; which he withdrew upon Lord Althorp's promising to submit to the House a satisfactory measure. On the 21st of April, the House having, on the Motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Lord Althorp) resolved itself into a Committee, the noble Lord brought forward a resolution— That, after a time to be fixed, the payment of church rates in England and Wales shall cease and determine; that in lieu thereof, His Majesty be empowered to grant, out of the proceeds of the land tax, a sum not exceeding 250,000l., to be applied to the fabrics of parish churches and parochial chapels, in such manner as Parliament shall determine. Mr. Hume moved as an Amendment— That it appears to the Committee inexpedient to take into consideration any proposition for charging the public revenue with maintaining the edifices of the Established Church, until it shall be shown that the funds now belonging to that Church are not adequate to meet this and the other charges for its support. The Committee divided—For the original Motion 256; for the Amendment 140: Majority 116. Mr. Wilks moved that the chairman report progress; which was negatived by 263 against 136. The resolution was agreed to, and the House resumed. A Bill was shortly after introduced by Lord Althorp, in pursuance of the resolution— For the abolition of church rates, and to make provision for the necessary repairs of parish churches and chapels, and for the decent performance of divine service therein. It provided for those purposes by charging 250,000l. on the land tax, to be paid to the commissioners for building churches, under whose administration and direction the monies were to be applied. In certain cases the requisites for the performance of divine service, and the incidental expenses of worship, were to be defrayed by funds procured from the letting of pews, under the direction of the church and chapel wardens. The objection to this Bill was obvious. Instead of removing the original, essential injustice of the principle of church rates, especially as applied to Dissenters, it provided for the objects of that obnoxious impost out of a public fund, the amount charged upon which for this new and special purpose must necessarily be made up and replaced from the general taxation of the country. Thus, the principle of making all persons. Dissenters or Churchmen, non-attendants on the worship at the churches repaired at the public expense, alike contribute to the purposes of church rate, was by this Act re-affirmed and acted upon. It was a fresh and insulting statutory recognition of the unjust principle which was the gravamen of the grievance. While, too, Dissenters and others would thus, in effect, still be contributing to a church rate, they were at the same time deprived of the ancient privilege which had hitherto been exercised by parishes, of voting or of refusing the rate in vestry. Arising, no doubt, and as was alleged, from the objections of the Dissenters, the Bill was not persevered in, and the grievance was left unredressed. In consequence of this, local resistance to granting rates in vestry became very general, and produced much ill feeling and expensive litigation in various parts of the country. In March, 1835, Sir R. Peel proposed, as one of the measures included in the programme of the legislative policy of his Administration, to introduce a Bill for the abolition of the church rates, but providing for the objects of them out of the Consolidated Fund. Any such measure could never have succeeded as a just or satisfactory settlement of the question, as it was open to the same objections that had prevailed against the Bill of Lord Althorp. On the 3rd of March, 1837, the following resolution was moved, in a Committee of the whole House, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Spring Rice):— That it is the opinion of this Committee, that for the repair and maintenance of parochial churches and chapels in England and Wales, and the due celebration of divine worship therein, a permanent and adequate provision be made out of an increased value given to church lands," &c. The debate was renewed on the 13th, 14th, and 15th, and the resolution was carried by 273 against 250 (with 39 pairs). On Tuesday, May 23, Lord J. Russell moved the order of the day for taking into further consideration the Resolution relating to church rates; when Mr. A. Johnstone moved, as an Amendment— That it is the opinion of this House that funds may be derived from an improved management of church lands, and that these funds should be applied to religious instruction within the Established Church, where the same may be found deficient, in proportion to the existing population. The debate was adjourned to the next day. Mr. Johnstone withdrew his Amendment; and, on the Motion "that the Resolution be agreed to," the House divided. The numbers were—Ayes (for the Resolution) 287; Noes 282; Majority for Ministers, 5. On Tuesday, June 13, Lord J. Russell stated, that although, considering the misrepresentation and prejudice which had been excited against the plan, it was surprising that any majority at all had been obtained for the resolution, yet, as that majority was so small, the Government did not consider that they would be justified in proceeding with a Bill founded on the resolution that Session; and he concluded by moving— For the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the mode of granting and renewing leases of the landed and other property of the bishops, deans, and chapters, and other ecclesiastical bodies of England and Wales, and into the probable amount of any increased value which might be obtained by an improved management, with a due consideration of the interest of the Established Church, and of the present lessees of such property. The demise of the Crown in 1837 prevented the appointment of the Select Committee on church leases in that Session. But in May, 1838, the Committee was appointed; and the evidence taken before them was ordered to be printed. August 7th of that year. Owing to the difference of opinion in the Committee, and the preponderance of Church influence, no report was agreed upon; and no steps were taken in consequence of the evidence in Parliament, although the Church authorities, having ascertained the improvable value of church leases, immediately took measures to turn the results of the inquiry to the advantage of the bishops. On the 11th February, 1840, Mr. T. S. Duncombe moved for leave to bring in a Bill to relieve Dissenters from the payment of church rates; which was opposed by Ministers, and the Motion was negatived by 117 against 62; majority 55. On the 9th July, 1840, Mr. Easthope moved for leave to bring in a Bill to exempt Dissenters from liability to church rates. But the debate was cut short by the Speaker's interposition, on the ground that the Motion was substantially the same as that brought forward by the hon. Member for Finsbury on February 12, and negatived. The objection was deemed fatal. On May 25, 1841, Mr. Easthope moved for leave to bring in a Bill to abolish church rates, and make other provision for the maintenance of churches and chapels in England and Wales; which was agreed to, after a long and interesting debate, without a division. The Bill was prepared and brought in by Mr. Easthope and Mr. Hume; and being read a first time, was ordered to be printed June 8, 1841. Parliament being dissolved on the 23rd, the Bill, of course, fell to the ground. No renewed attempt was made to bring in a Bill; but, in August, 1842, Sir John East-hope moved for returns, showing in what parishes church rates were levied, and in what cases they were refused. This Motion had been reluctantly acceded to; but the returns were so imperfect and confused, that they were of no practical or available use. On two or three subsequent occasions, the question had been mooted; but at no time had any satisfactory settlement been come to. He was desirous of giving the House some idea of the opinions which had been entertained by public men on this most important subject. The right hon. Baronet the present Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, in May, 1841— That nothing was more clear than the absolute necessity of introducing some measure by which the heart burnings of a great portion of the population of this empire might be removed. Sir J. Lushington had said— What consequences does this state of things lead to? First, repeated vestry meetings, where you have the clergyman in the chair, and his party ranged on one side, and the opposing party on the other—violence of language ensues—the passions become excited—and the whole scene is one of agitation, confusion, exasperation, and violence, and the entire parish is immediately plunged into a state of uproar and exacerbation. Viscount Althorp considered— That there was a great difference, in point of principle, between the payment by Dissenters of tithes and church rates. Church rate was a tax laid on at the discretion of others, as far as regarded its amount, and the Dissenters, who were compelled to pay it, felt that they were compelled to pay for the administration of worship under a system they did not approve. For this reason, in his opinion, the Dissenters had a right to complain of it. Lord Stanley— Was perfectly ready to admit such maintenance of an Established Church ought to be conducted upon principles and in a manner the least irritating and offensive to other parties, both as respected the amount and the mode of collection. He was ready to acknowledge that church rates, as they stood, formed to Dissenters a serious and substantial grievance. Then there was the right hon. Baronet the head of the late Government, who thought in 1835— That the subject of church rates did not yield to any other in emergency; that it was, as much as any question, important in the maintenance of social harmony. He even thought that, in consideration of the interests of the Church, for the satisfaction of a large body of the public, for the promotion of subordination and obedience to the law, the Government ought not to suffer the law respecting church rates to be made the theme of discussion at public meetings, and the subject of angry comment from parochial martyrs, for another twelvemonths. It could hardly he believed that the subject had been forgotten by Governments almost ever since. Either the right hon. Baronet had then spoken rather hastily, or there had been unpardonable neglect of duty since that time. He now came to those who had practical influence at the present time, and to whom the Liberal party had a right to look for assistance. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said, in Feb. 1840— That the question of church rates was an unnecessary and vexatious source of animosity, and that any method by which the grievance which they occasioned might be either diminished or taken away would be a benefit to the Established Church. There was now a glorious opportunity open to the noble Lord for settling a question which was as injurious to the Established Church as offensive to the Dissenters. In July, 1839, the House had come to the resolution— That John Thorogood, a Protestant Dissenter, has been confined in Her Majesty's County Gaol of Essex since the 16th of January last, for neglecting to appear in the Consistorial Court of the Bishop of London, for the non-payment of 5s. 6d., being the amount of church rates assessed upon him for the parish of Chelmsford; and it is the opinion of this House that it will be the duty of the Legislature, at the earliest possible period of the next Session of Parliament, to make such alterations in the existing laws for levying church rates as shall prevent the recurrence of a like violence being ever again inflicted upon the religious scruples of that portion of Her Majesty's subjects who conscientiously dissent from the rites and doctrines of the Established Church. He next came to a more difficult part of the subject, the state of the law as related to church rates. The law appeared to be extremely intricate. As far as he could gather from the authorities, they held that the parishioners of any place were as much bound to support the church as to support the highways. But there were clearly not the same sanctions for enforcing the law in the one case as in the other. One obvious method of evading it, and which was now resorted to in many large towns, was that of electing churchwardens who were pledged not to make a church rate. After referring to the Braintree and other cases, in proof of the uncertain state of the law, the hon. Gentleman said he would trouble the House with some details on the subject of the abuses which had arisen of late years in connexion with this tax. It might not be generally known, that where church rates were under 10l., they might be enforced by summary process. One case of oppression was that of James Bidwell, a parishioner of St. Botolph's, Cambridge. There was due from him, on account of church rates, the sum of 16s. A magistrate's order for payment of that amount, and 1l. 12s. 3d. costs, was served upon him; and the churchwardens, without making any attempt to levy the amount of the rate by seizure under a warrant of distress, because the defendant, on application, refused payment on principle, prosecuted him for the common-law misdemeanour of disobeying an order of magistrates. The churchwardens, as there is ground to suppose, expected that some one friendly to the defendant would thus be induced to pay the demand, in order to save him from the painful consequences of a criminal prosecution. The case was tried before Mr. Baron Parke, at the spring assizes for 1845, and the defendant was convicted. On various legal grounds of objection against the indictment, Mr. Baron Parke deferred judgment. At the summer assizes, in 1847, judgment was delivered for the learned Baron by Mr. Justice Patteson, to the effect that, under the circumstances, as above detailed, the indictment was maintainable; and, after asking defendant if he could pay the costs of prosecution, for, if so, he would be only called on to enter into recognisances to appear to receive sentence at the ensuing assizes; and, upon the defendant stating that he "had not a shilling to bless himself with," the learned Judge sentenced him to six months' imprisonment; but, on application, he was allowed to be confined with the first-class misdemeanants! The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on the case having been strongly represented to him, first very much shortened the term of imprisonment, and ultimately, before the expiration even of that period, opened the prison doors by the exercise of the merciful prerogative of the Crown. Much indignation was excited in the country by this petty, though malignant, case of persecution. A similar case, perhaps still more unjustifiable, occurred shortly afterwards. Mr. J. Simonds, of Mursley, Bucks, a respectable tradesman, also acting as a Dissenting minister, was assessed to the church rate in respect of his occupation of a cottage and garden, at the sum of 5d. He objected, on principle, to pay the rate. An order of magistrates for payment was made and served upon him: and, for not complying with this, he was prosecuted criminally for a misdemeanour. By the 53rd Geo. III., c. 127, there was a simple remedy for the recovery by distraint of church rates due under the amount of 10l. This remedy, however, the churchwardens abstained from pursuing, though there could be no doubt of the sufficiency of the goods of Simonds to meet every demand in respect of the rate. He was tried at the Aylesbury quarter-sessions, on 6th Jan., 1848; and though differences of opinion—which they retired to decide upon—were entertained among the magistrates on several points of legal objection raised by counsel, yet a majority considered that the indictment was maintainable, notwithstanding the voluntary abstinence by the churchwardens from the remedy prescribed by the statute. He was found guilty and sentenced to one week's imprisonment. Mr. Justice Patteson had sentenced poor Bidwell to six months' incarceration for the same offence. The hon. and learned Member then read a list of cases where distraints had been made on the property of Friends at Reading for small amounts of church rate—the sums claimed amounting to 2l. 1s. 11d., and the value of the property seized to 10l. 13s. 8d. In answer to all this, it might be said that Dissenters had bought or taken their property subject to church rates; but why not transfer the taxation to some other property, whereby the grievance might be removed, and the Church be benefited? He might be asked, "Why stir the question at this time, when opinion was tolerably quiet?" Such was the most proper time for legislating on the subject; for nothing could be more unconstitutional than to give up taxes to agitation, and to nothing else. It was much better that that House should lead public opinion, than be led, or rather driven, by it. They ought to watch the indications of public opinion, which were now tolerably evident; and they should then proceed to act. It might be said there were no complaints. Why was this? Because the tax was generally evaded in large towns: it was only in small agricultural districts that it was seriously felt. In 1837 no less than 2,328 petitions, signed by 674,719 individuals, had been presented against the grievance; and he had no doubt that the Dissenters felt as strongly on the subject now, though the petitions were certainly less numerous. It was difficult to form an estimate of the amount of this tax, which some years ago was about half a million; for the returns furnished on the Motion of Sir J. Easthope gave no idea of the real state of the case, and only served to throw dust in the eyes of the public. Where a tax created more private pain than public good, it ought to be abolished. That principle had already been acknowledged and acted on in reference to several customs duties. He was quite certain that nothing but the abolition of church rates in their present form would be satisfactory; it was competent to any hon. Member to propose any substitute he thought proper. In the parish of Islington, with its large population—between 25,000 and 30,000—so strongly was the necessity of avoiding unpleasant collisions of feeling among the parishioners felt, that a clause was introduced into a local Act (2 William IV., c. 26), by which the pewholders in the parish church were assessed for the current expenses; and by this enactment the peace of the parish had been preserved. Why should not that system, which had worked so well, be extended, at least, to parishes similarly situated? He felt that he ought not to conclude without giving the House an idea of what Dissenters did for their own churches. The Congregational Magazine for December, 1835, on evidence which could not be impugned, stated the numbers of dissenting congregations—including Independents, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, and Home Missionary stations—at 8,114. Now, there were then 11,825 Episcopal churches. By an elaborate calculation the average income of dissenting ministers was shown to be 120l. Their incomes usually ran from 70l. to 600l, and even upwards. The whole amounted to 925,540l. The cost of building and repairing chapels was shown to be at least 1,000,000l Then district visiting societies were calculated to raise 168,240l; theological academies, 30,000l. Add to this about half the amount voluntarily raised by the great societies for the spread of the gospel abroad, that is, 268,925l; the total would be 2,392,705l. Respecting three of the denominations the following particulars were supplied:—Wesleyans—Members in Great Britain, 338,861; ditto in Ireland, 23,142; ditto foreign stations, 97,451; total, 459,454: ministers, 1,195; in Ireland ditto, 163; foreign, 368; total, 1,726. Missions in almost all parts of the world. A regular organisation by means of districts, circuits, and committees of building, education, and other incidental purposes. Independents in England—Ministers (over) 1,550; in London alone, chapels, 138; colleges, 17; schools (public) 13. Baptists—Number of churches in the united kingdom, 1,911. List of associations in 1848—Sunday schools, 1,548; children, 92,034; missions, 4; Bible Translation Society, 1; colleges, 8; other societies, 6. The next argument was that the tribunals before which cases were brought were the magistrates at petty sessions and the ecclesiastical courts. These magistrates were often clergymen of the Church of England; and it was extremely unsatisfactory that the rating of Dissenters should fall under the cognisance of the clergymen of a different sect. He need not discuss the merits of the ecclesiastical courts. The objections which existed against them were known to all. There was some expectation that the Government would bring in a Bill to place them on a different footing; but he regretted that there was no announcement of such a measure. He had now thrown down the subject, and he hoped it would meet with support from both sides of the House. It was most desirable that the question should be satisfactorily settled. All, he believed, agreed in that. He trusted, therefore, that hon. Gentlemen would come forward to mitigate the evils which he had detailed to the House, and with that view he had brought forward the Motion of which he had given notice.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That it is the opinion of this House, that effectual measures should be immediately taken for the abolition of Church Rates.


said, that he regretted that he had not been able to hear the greater portion of the statement of the hon. Member who had brought forward the present subject. The subject was one of considerable interest, and one which he felt must, sooner or later, be discussed by hon. Members. He did not know that he quite concurred in the sentiments which he understood the hon. Member for Tavistock had expressed with respect to the conscientious scruples of the Dissenters. He did not, however, measure their consciences by his own, and he felt constrained to give them full credit for the scruples which they said they entertained. For his own part, as a member of the Church of England, he confessed that if he had received property charged with a rate for the maintenance of Baptist, Wesleyan, or Roman Catholic edifices of worship, and if that charge had been made upon the property from the earliest time, he should not have conceived his conscience to have been in the slightest degree affected by the payment of that rate. There was undoubtedly a legal right by which the rate could be enforced upon every property in every parish; and, on the other hand, there were objections to the present state of the law on the subject, affording, as it did, so many opportunities of evading the payment of the rate. Parties meeting together to impose and assess the rate, had, somehow or other, a feeling generated in their minds, that it was a voluntary act on their part to make the rate. It was not every person who could take the legal distinction which existed on this subject, or could be convinced that it was their imperative duty to make a rate. Many of the parties engaged in making the rate would say, plausibly enough, that if they were to make a rate, they were to express an opinion upon it—to decide in favour of, or against, it—hence scruples arose in many minds upon the subject. The law upon this part of the subject was very unsatisfactory; if the majority assembled to make the rate decided that no rate should be made, their votes were thrown away, and the minority might, under certain circumstances, bind the ma- jority; and if, by the exercise of a little more tact, the meeting was marshalled so as to pass by a majority a very small rate, they would then secure themselves from the penalty which would otherwise attach to their refusing to make a rate; and, unless there were some clear and positive evidence of the surveyor, or other person competent to give an opinion, an illusive rate might be made, and the consequence would be, that the fabric of the church would not be maintained in such a condition as the services of the building required. For his part he would wish to see the buildings of the Church kept at least in such a condition as he was accustomed to see his own house. In parishes where there was a large preponderance of Lissenters, it was not surprising that rates should be made which were not sufficient to keep the building in a state of suitable repair. That being the case, he had for a long time thought that it was absolutely necessary that some measure should be adopted for placing this subject upon a more satisfactory footing. He could not concur in the opinion of the hon. Member for Tavistock, that they ought to abolish church rates altogether. He saw no reason why that ancient mode of repairing the buildings of the church should not at least be continued in force with respect to all persons who partook of the advantages of the Church. He could not understand why persons who occupied a pew in a church, or attended upon its ministrations, should not contribute their fair quota to the maintenance of the building in a state of suitable repair. He certainly could not understand why any Dissenter, who held the office of churchwarden—it was well known that in the northern districts there were many such churchwardens—should be exempt from contributing, and why those who belonged to the Church should not contribute their quota. With respect to the case of Dissenting disputes, although he did not go the full length of concurring in their scruples, he still thought that it would be impossible, looking at the state of the country, to continue any longer the present mode of imposing the rate. That ancient practice of imposing the rate was established when the whole body of the community were of one faith. There was now a large portion of the community who would not avail themselves of the ministrations of the Church. He thought they were entitled to say that they held conscientious scruples upon the subject, because they found that large numbers of the Dissenting community contributed, upon an extensive scale, towards the erection of other buildings for worship, and by so doing had given proof of there being, at all events among a considerable portion of them, no reluctance merely on the ground of expense to do what they thought right towards the erection and maintenance of buildings for the worship of the Supreme Being. That being so, the state of the country must be considered as very different from that in which it was when no such buildings as they were now erecting were suffered to exist. It could, therefore, be scarcely desirable that that precise state of the law, as it then existed, should now regulate a state of society so exceedingly different. From what source then were the funds for the repairs of the church to be derived? It had been said that the church leaseholds should be applied for that purpose. They had recently had a debate, which showed very clearly that there existed abundant means of disposing of that fund, in removing the present enormous amount of spiritual destitution which existed in the country; and he was most adverse to directing any of these funds towards the support of the fabric of the church. It had also been urged that voluntary contributions might be relied upon for that purpose. To a great extent that system had been adopted, and church-building to a large extent had been carried on upon that principle; but there were persons who had very erroneous opinions of their duty—who, although desirous of attending Divine worship, and who would not by any means exempt themselves from it, still were not very deeply impressed with a sense of the necessity of seeing everything done which could render that worship decorous, solemn, and appropriate. Many of those persons were exceedingly backward in contributing their proportion towards the maintenance of the church. He saw no reason why such persons should not contribute their portion towards the maintenance of the buildings of the Church. Upon the present occasion he should best satisfy his own mind if he proposed an Amendment upon the Resolution of the hon. Member for Tavistock, which he thought would meet the object he had in view. He would propose to omit from the Resolution all words after the word "for," and to insert, in lieu thereof— discharging persons dissenting from the Church as by Law established, from contributing to Church Rates, and from taking any part in levying, assessing, or administering the same. He was aware that difficulties might be suggested to the carrying out of this principle; but he did not think they were insuperable. Persons wishing to claim the benefit of the exemption might be allowed to do so upon registering themselves as Dissenters, stating the place of worship at which they attended. All parties so registering themselves would, of course, be incompetent to fill the office of churchwardens, or to vote upon any subject connected with the church rates; or, if the principle was carried out further, they might be prevented from occupying any pew in the church. It might be said that the effect of this plan would be to place a premium upon dissent, by inducing persons to register themselves as Dissenters, in order to avoid the payment of the rate. He did not think that it would have so injurious an effect in that point of view. He had known cases where the rate had been refused, and the parties opposing the forced rate had voluntarily come forward with contributions to assist in the maintenance of the building of the church; and, on the other hand, he had known those who had supported the forced rate who had refused to render any voluntary assistance. The disadvantage resulting to the Church from losing the assistance of those lukewarm supporters who, to avoid the payment of 15s. or 20s., would register themselves as Dissenters, would not be very great. By adopting the principle of his Amendment, they would at once get rid of all the heartburning and disputation which constantly arose upon the subject; they would always have an effectual rate when any rate was made; and no person could say that he was in any way oppressed by the rate which would be levied, because it would be optional with him, if he had any scruples of conscience upon the subject, whether he should avail himself or not of the benefits allowed in such cases. He was most desirous of seeing this question put into some train for settlement; and he was glad to have had an opportunity of bringing forward, by way of Amendment, that which had occupied his attention for a very considerable time.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the words 'the abolition of church rates,' in order to add the words 'discharging persons dissenting from the Church as by law established from contributing to church rates, and from taking any part in levying, assessing, or administering the same.'


in seconding the Amendment, regarded it as a satisfactory settlement of a complicated question. There were large numbers of persons who entertained conscientious objections to contribute towards the maintenance of the fabric of the parish church, and it would be no longer possible to maintain that system. In the town which he had the honour to represent, many Dissenters had contributed in a voluntary form that which they had refused under a compulsory system. It was a matter of fact that there were a very large number of persons who conscientiously objected to the payment of church rates; and he did not think that it was even to the interests of the Church itself, that it should be supported by the forced contributions of those who objected to payment of these rates. He saw no reason, however, why those belonging to the Establishment should not be compelled to contribute; and he thought the Church of England had a sufficiently strong hold on the community not to be prejudicially affected by limiting the contributions levied for the purpose of maintaining the fabrics of the Church to those who did not choose to allow themselves Dissenters.


had listened to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford with great satisfaction, for it had relieved him from a very great difficulty under which he had always laboured in reference to this subject. He hoped the hon. and learned Member would follow up his Amendment by a Bill. He would venture to throw out, merely as a suggestion, that a general rate might be made throughout the country for the maintenance of religious edifices, the contribution to be applied to the church of the contributor.


could not say that the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had relieved him from any difficulty; on the contrary, he had placed him in a still greater one than before. The great objection to the resolution of the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock was that it was too vague, and many were disposed to say that it should have been followed up by some definite or specific proposal, by which means would be pointed out of supplying the defect that would be thereby occasioned in the funds for the maintenance and repair of the edifices of the Church. His desire was, that such rates should no longer exist; but he certainly contemplated the substitution of some other mode of maintaining the edifice and performing the services of the Church. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had, however, taken the House by surprise, as he had proposed an Amendment of the greatest importance, without having given the slightest previous intimation of his intention. He found there was something wrong at the bottom of his Amendment, and that it would not give satisfaction generally. He (Mr. Aglionby) certainly was not prepared to vote for it, and was rather disposed to support the original resolution, and have that followed up by some substitution. One objection to the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford's Amendment was, that it would be a premium upon dissent; but it had been urged by the hon. and learned Gentleman that such an allegation would be a reproach to dissent; and he had followed it up by saying that the Dissenters as a body were too honourable to take advantage of such a plea to escape the payment. He added, that he had known instances of Dissenters having refused to vote for a church rate, and afterwards having made a voluntary rate among themselves for that purpose. He feared, however, that the proposition might operate in this way, that many persons not being Dissenters, but members of the Church of England and landowners, might pretend to be Dissenters, in order to get their land freed from the payment of church rates. It was urged as an objection that the parties had purchased their land at a lower rate as being subject to that tax; but the objection would be still stronger if the Dissenter was allowed to go free, and the Churchman still obliged to pay. For his part, he thought there might be an amendment upon that of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, and he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would exercise some judgment and discretion upon it, now that he was in a position to turn those suggestions to account, as a Member of the Committee appointed to inquire into Church property. He reminded the House, when some years ago a noble Lord (Lord Monteagle), then Chancellor of the Exchequer, proposed to the House a substitute for church rates, by which they would relieve not the Dissenters alone, but the Churchmen also. He proposed that the church property itself should pay the rates, and that the Church should obtain the additional revenues for that purpose by the enfranchisement of all leasehold ecclesiastical property. The proposition went off, not because the principle was not a good one, but because the Chancellor of the Exchequer chose to take down his books, and got his actuaries to make calculations by which the leaseholders would be charged 50 per cent more than they were entitled to pay. If that proposition were put before the House in a just and satisfactory way, he thought those parties would be willing to accept it, and that it would meet the difficulty of the present question. If that were done by establishing an equitable valuation of this property, the effect would be to set at rest the present disputed questions which had raised between Churchmen and Dissenters the most bitter controversies, while it would give a largely increased revenue to the Church. He thought he had in that suggestion given the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford a much better plan than his own, which would relieve all par-ties, and enable the Church to repair and keep in order its own fabrics. He should be prepared at all times to give his best attention to any plan which would continue the maintenance of the edifice of the Church, and at the same time relieve every man who had a conscientious objection to the payment of these rates.


hoped that the House would not now be led into a discussion on the question which had been adverted to by his hon. Friend behind him, with respect to the management of church property. The question referred to the House for consideration was of an entirely different character; and it would be time enough to consider whether the charge now borne by church rates, for the maintenance and repair of the fabric, should be borne by funds derived from other sources, when a distinct proposition to that effect should be laid before them. The two propositions already formally before the House were assuredly wide enough for their present consideration. With regard to the first proposition which had been made, he certainly was not prepared to give it his assent. He did not understand that the hon. Member for Tavistock had in contemplation any plan by which he proposed to supply the deficiency which would be occasioned by the abolition of church rates; and indeed the hon. Member went so far as to say, that no plan which had been hitherto proposed could be accepted by those who alleged that they had conscientious scruples against the payment of church rates. With regard, however, to the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, he was prepared to admit, with him, that it was most desirable to put a stop to the scandals which arose in populous parishes owing to the conflicts between Churchmen and Dissenters on the subject of church rates. At the same time, in looking for any remedy that could be devised to meet this evil, and considering the failure of every attempt that had hitherto been made to suggest a satisfactory remedy, he turned with disappointment to the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, which was but a reproduction of that made by the hon. Member for Finsbury nine years ago, when he moved for leave to bring in a Bill to exonerate Dissenters from the payment of church rates. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford proposed that a declaration should be made by parties who dissented from the Established Church, of their difference in religious tenets, and that they should then be exempted from the payment of church rates, to which parties not making this declaration should be bound to contribute. Now, he must say, that the objection which had been already urged against this proposition—that it would be a premium on dissent—was a most formidable one. He did not mean to say that persons would profess dissent with a view to exempt themselves from the payment of church rates; but he would illustrate the objection by a reference to that part of the country with which he was best acquainted—namely, the north of England. It happened that there were many members of the Church of England occupying farms which lay intermingled with farms occupied by Presbyterians, with whom they lived on terms of great harmony and amity, the one frequently sharing in the religious services of the other. Now, if any of those persons found that, by professing themselves to be Presbyterians, and abstaining from going to church, they would escape the payment of church rates in respect of the land which they occupied, a temptation would certainly be held out to them to withdraw altogether from any participation in the services of the Established Church. It should be observed, also, that though the party thus seceding might reap the benefit at the time, the advantage would ultimately be with the landlord, whose land would become the more valuable from its occupation by a professing Dissenter. Without going further, therefore, into any argument on the general question, he must express his regret that his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford had not been able to suggest some other more feasible remedy; and he thought that if his proposition was to come before the House at all, it ought to be brought forward in a different shape, as a Bill, and not as an Amendment upon a resolution. He could now only reiterate the opinion which had been expressed by himself and others in that House, that it was very desirable to apply some remedy to the evils of the present state of things; but looking at the different proposals which had been made, and the manner in which those proposals had been received, he was not very sanguine that any satisfactory remedy would be easily discovered.


said, he had been instructed to support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock, and he should shortly state the reasons upon which he conceived those instructions to have been founded. The instructions came from men of wealth and liberality unbounded—from men of great ability and intelligence—and he thought their form of expression rather ominous. He was told by those who instructed him that ever since the year 1836 they had in their own district practically abolished church rates; and they said that the liberty which they had achieved for themselves they wished to extend to others. Thus it appeared that liberty from church rates might be achieved. But why were church rates so loudly complained of? Simply because they were deemed an injustice to the Dissenters. In reply to that, it was alleged that the Dissenters had purchased their properties subject to church rates. But he would ask, had all the Dissenters purchased all the estates which they possessed? Surely some Dissenters inherited their properties from fathers who said to them, "This church rate was a robbery on me—it was a robbery on your grandfather before me—it was a robbery as far as human memory extended. I hand down this land to you with a protest against church rates, and I enjoin you to resist them to the utmost of your power," Under such circumstances it would not be denied that church rates were a hardship upon Dissenters. In reply to that, however, it had been said, and often repeated, that church rates were legal. Doubtless they were legal, but that was not the question. All the heretics burnt in Smithfield were burnt legally. The question was not whether church rates were legal, but whether they were just and expedient. In his opinion, laws which excited so much discontent could not stand, would not stand, and, perhaps he might add, ought not to stand.


said, that when it was formerly proposed that the burden of church rates should be transferred to the Consolidated Fund, he strongly objected to that proposal. At the same time, he had always thought it desirable that some remedy should be adopted. He admitted that the land was charged with the payment of church rates; but, considering the effects which had been produced in a great many parishes, he thought sound policy required that such unpleasant proceedings should be stopped. He agreed with the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford that those who attended the Established Church should not be exempted from contributing as heretofore; but it was desirable to provide for the alternative. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department had, on a former occasion, shown the injustice of church rates; and he (Mr. Hume) could, he thought, count on the Treasury bench five or six hon. Members who had voted for their absolute abolition.


said, the hon. Member was mistaken so far as he was concerned.


said, 80 hon. Members in all had voted for Sir J. Easthope's Motion. The proposition of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford appeared to him perfectly satisfactory, providing sufficiently for the maintenance of the Church, while it released Dissenters from the unpleasant situation in which they were placed. He should support the Amendment in the belief that it presented the best means of getting out of the difficulty.


congratulated the hon. Member for Tavistock on what had passed in this debate: for, of all those who had spoken on the subject, not one had attempted to defend the continuance of church rates, and therefore it might be concluded that before long they would be put on a different and a better footing. He confessed that the views of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford agreed, in a very great degree, with his own; because, while he felt the necessity of making provision for the repairs of the churches, he was extremely anxious that Dissenters should be relieved from a burden which they felt to be a grievance. It was in vain to tell them that this was a tax on property which had been considered when their property was acquired. They knew that when the collector came round they had to put their hands in their pockets; and they considered any compulsory payment for the support of a church from the tenets of which they disagreed, as partaking of persecution. At the same time, he thought the House would not be justified in abolishing the means of maintaining the fabrics of the churches, without providing a substitute. He knew there were men in that House, and also in the country, who were desirous of severing the union between the Church and the State, and overthrowing the Church Establishment entirely. But whatever it might be right to do if you were called upon to begin entirely de novo, and to frame institutions for a perfectly new country—and as to what might be fitting in such circumstances he gave no opinion—he thought that in the present state of things, considering the associations connected with the Establishment, and the habits, opinions, and feelings of the nation, very few men were to be found in that House, or elsewhere, who wished to overthrow the Established Church. Now, if there were an Established Church, it was only reasonable that the State should make provision for the repairs of the buildings; and he was desirous of seeing some plan proposed by which that object might be obtained without doing violence to the consciences of the Dissenters. That appeared to be the aim of the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford; but he (Lord Dudley Stuart) was unwilling, on a subject which required much consideration, to give a vote in favour of an Amendment which had been brought before the House without notice. Before he came into the House he had some notion of moving an Amendment on the resolution himself. [A laugh.] Hon. Gentlemen laughed; but if they would have the kindness to hear him out, they would see that there was no ground for even a smile. He had relinquished his intention, because he thought it was hardly fair to the House to ask it to agree to an Amendment on so important a subject without notice; and that, at all events, the Amendment, under such circumstances, would not be very likely to receive much support. If he might venture to give any advice to the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, it would be, that he should withdraw his Amendment, and then they might come to a division on the original Motion. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cockermouth had made a suggestion, that at the end of the resolution declaring that church rates should be abolished, these words should be added, "and a substitute provided." He did not know whether his hon. and learned Friend meant to move that addition as an Amendment. If, however, the original Motion should be put as it stood, he (Lord Dudley Stuart) must be understood as voting for it merely in order to affirm the principle that Dissenters ought to be relieved from the payment of church rates; and he was anxious to guard himself against being supposed indifferent to the obligation of providing in some mode or other for the necessary repairs of the churches. At present, they were only called upon to vote upon a resolution. Whenever a measure was introduced on the subject, he felt sure that the House would require that it should contain some provision for keeping the churches in a proper state of repair.


said, that in the borough which he represented very "fierce struggles had been going on for many years on the subject of church rates, the Conservative party having felt it their duty to take their stand upon the law of the land, and not surrender what they considered to be a most important principle. A church rate not having been levied for a considerable number of years, the principal church of the town was in a very dilapidated condition, and one of the churchwardens paid for some repairs out of his own pocket. At last, however, the Churchmen had been reluctantly compelled to surrender altogether the principle for which they had contended, rather than that the church should fall about their ears; and they undertook to rebuild it by a voluntary subscription. That subscription, he had great pleasure in saying, had filled with considerable alacrity, and no difficulty whatever was found in raising a sum of 5,000l. or 6,000l. He thought it right to mention this fact to the House; but, at the same time, he considered it his duty to point out to Her Majesty's Government the evil involved in the surrender of an important principle, and the danger which must result to the Church if the precedent set by the borough of Newport should be generally followed.


remarked, that the real question before the House was, not what the present state of the law was, but whether the law now in existence was a just law. That law, as his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford had stated, might have been, and no doubt was, a just law when it was first enacted, because the people of this country were then all of one faith; but now it was most unjust that a tax should be imposed on the whole country for the benefit of a portion only of the community. What made it particularly hard upon the English Dissenters was, that in a part of the empire the Nonconformists were exempted by law from the payment of this tax. In 1833 a law was passed by which church cess was abolished in Ireland, and the sums necessary for the purposes to which church cess had been applied were provided from other sources. There was another important point to which he wished to advert. When the law was passed which permitted marriages and baptisms to be registered, though the ceremony was not performed within the walls of the Established Church, the Legislature took away the last ground for contending that Dissenters derived any advantage from the Establishment. But he was not curious to find out arguments for asking Dissenters to pay church rates. He would frankly confess that, as a member of the Church of England, he was ashamed of the thing. He was ashamed that the members of the most richly endowed Church in the world, which comprised within its ranks the wealthiest among the higher and even the middle classes of society, should apply to the poor Dissenting shopkeeper to furnish the sacramental bread and wine, to pay for the warming and lighting of the church, and the washing of the clergyman's surplice. Pudet hæc opprobria nobis Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse refelli. It would be disgraceful to all Churchmen if they could not find means to maintain the fabrics of their own Church, and to provide means for the due performance of such humble duties as those to which he had referred; and he could not but protest against the continuance of a tax which was of no importance in itself, though it had the greatest possible effect in keeping alive a spirit of hostility to the Established Church.


said, that the House had been employed on many occasions in considering how means might be devised to rescue, through the intervention of the Established Church, the multitudes who had grown up of late years in utter ignorance of the truths of religion; and when, therefore, the hon. Baronet who had just sat down talked of the Church being so rich that it ought to have thrown upon it the maintenance of the fabric, he must ask him to show that the funds at the disposal of the Church were more than adequate to supply the wants of religious instruction. They were all sincerely labouring to make the means of the Church sufficient for that object, and yet the hon. Baronet wished to divert from it a portion of those means for the benefit of a certain class of landed proprietors whose lands had been subjected to the charge in question from the earliest times. If land were subjected to this charge, why should the occupier be relieved from it more than from any other local burden? Those who inherited land inherited it subject to church rates; and those who bought it purchased it at a lower price than would have been paid if church rates had not been leviable in respect of it. Having stated this much in answer to the hon. Member, he did not wish it to be supposed that he was not ready to consider what means could be devised of putting church rates on a footing acceptable to all classes of the community. He had no wish to exact taxes from individuals who really considered it a matter of conscience to resist their payment; but it was impossible to listen to the discussion which had taken place without feeling satisfied that it would be most unwise for the House to give their sanction to the resolution. The hon. and learned Gentleman who proposed that resolution, called on the House to affirm distinctly that they would abolish church rates. Many of the hon. Members who followed him said that in voting for the abolition of the church rates, they meant in their minds that some substitute should be provided. If, however, they put on the journals of the House a resolution declaring that church rates ought to be abolished, that would be the letter of the bond, and Churchmen would be told, that whether a substitute could be found or not, the doom of church rates was sealed. But if there was to be a substitute, what substitute were they to have? The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had proposed that the property of Dissenters should not be liable to church rates. Had that proposition proved acceptable to the House? It was obviously open to the ob- jection which had been urged against it by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which had not been answered; and even in the mind of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford himself there must have been some doubt about the merits of the plan, as he had thought it necessary to guard it with so many regulations. Other substitutes had been proposed, and of them he would only say at present, that at least the House was not in a position to express an opinion upon them, without having the details before it. They had, therefore, ample reason to reject this abstract resolution, and to ask those who considered that they had a remedy for the evils which church rates had occasioned, to bring in a new Bill, and show in what way the maintenance of the fabrics of the Church was to be provided for, and how justice was to be done to the public at large, as against those who had property liable to the rate. For these reasons, if no others, he should resist the resolution.


said, it could not have been otherwise than gratifying both to those hon. Members who were Dissenters, and to those who were sincere Members of the Church of England, to observe the manner in which the question had been discussed. It was desirable that this question should be settled clearly and distinctly, and this with the least possible delay. There had been various projects suggested to the House on former occasions and in the course of the present debate; among these the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford was certainly entitled to great attention, though, from what he knew of the condition of the population in the parishes of the north of England, and he believed the case was pretty much the same elsewhere, he doubted considerably whether any such plan as that of the hon. Gentleman's could be worked in such a manner as even to mitigate the evils arising out of the present state of this question. There were many difficulties surrounding the matter; and these difficulties would certainly not be lessened by the endeavour to separate, in the manner suggested, the population of large parishes into Dissenters and Church people. More than this, there was involved in his hon. and learned Friend's proposition a principle which he could not admit; he would never consent that Dissenters, because they were Dissenters, were in any degree to be shut out from any participa- tion which they might at some future time have in the property of the Church, or its management. It might become hereafter a question what was to be done with the funds which the State now entrusted to what was called the National Church; and he could not consent that Dissenters, as such, should be dispossessed of their equal interest in whatever course should then be adopted. The difficulties of the subject had been long since understood and acknowledged, and had more especially been the subject of discussion in that House ten years ago; it was matter of regret that these difficulties had not before this been removed; and the question, so full of evil as it was in its present aspect, settled. As the matter stood, after the best consideration he could give it, the result to which he had come was this, that either the fabrics of the Church must be maintained by funds derived from an improvement, which was largely practicable, in the value and consequent rental of church property itself, or the question must remain as it was, the source of constant agitation and hitter heart burnings and hostilities, until the members of the Church themselves, for their own sakes, consented to maintain their own churches, or, at all events, to allow the rate for that purpose to be a voluntary rate. Already this was the position the question assumed in many parishes. At Manchester there had been for years incessant disputes on this subject, and, at last, finding that they could not get a rate, or, if they did, that they could not collect it, they put into the tax-paper a line—" Optional church rate," and those who objected did not pay. A compulsory rate had not been levied for many years; the fabric of the Church had been supported altogether by voluntary contributions; yet the church of Manchester—the cathedral, he should rather say—was now in, to say the least, as good a condition as when the rate was compulsory. In Rochdale, again, the churchwardens spent, some years ago, 700l. or 800l. a year of church rates, no one knew how, but it was rumoured that much of the money went in jovial living; after a while, by dint of closer supervision this 700l. or 800l. was reduced to 250l.; and this again to 200l., and 1840 saw the last contest for church rates that ever disgraced the borough, and injured the cause of Christianity throughout that district. A disgraceful scene, indeed, it was. More than 12,000 votes were given on the occasion. Eight or ten miles of country around were in a state of excitement never approached by that of any Parliamentary election that he had ever witnessed in it. Previous to the close of the poll the streets were crowded with thousands of people, and the vicar and the magistrate called out the troops. The vicar had kept the poll open, under some pretext or other, longer than the time at first announced; the discontent was doubled by this proceeding, and after the close of the proceedings the vicar was to be seen, as he passed through the town, surrounded and followed by 8,000 or 10,000 of those whom the law called his flock, hissing and hooting him, in a manner that must have been distressing and agonising to any one who had the slightest care for the Church or for Christianity. This was a scene which, with certain differences, according to circumstances, had been acted in many parishes throughout the country, and would be acted in many more, unless, and until, the system was changed. It was not long ago that a person was pursued for church rates by the churchwardens in the town of Cambridge. They did not distrain on him, but hunted him into the ecclesiastical court; and, finally, imprisoned him, on the ground of contempt of court; and he was only liberated by the intervention of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. And in this city, a place of worship, belonging to a body of Dissenters, is almost annually stripped of its furniture—chairs, tables, and forms are taken away by the agents of the law acting in the collection of rates on behalf of the Established Church. This state of things must be not only injurious to the Church, but it also must be injurious to religion itself. No persons had been able to injure the Church by their writings to nearly the extent that it received by such conduct as he had described. He was persuaded that the writers who denounced religion and denied Christianity received their strongest arguments from such proceedings, by which the members of the Church were enabled by law to dispose of the property of those who dissented from it. It was with no hostile feeling to the Church as a religious body that he would ask the House to consider this question as more important than it might seem from the rather brief discussion upon it that had taken place on the present occasion. He would earnestly desire to impress upon the House his sincere conviction, that, never since Christianity began, had there been a man, or set of men, able enough, or wicked enough, to do that injury to Christianity which was done to it by the system which was now sought to be put an end to. He was persuaded that, wherever these abuses existed—wherever a disregard for religion—an indifference, not to say a contempt, for Christianity existed, this feeling derived strong-argument from the conduct of those who, professing and calling themselves Christians, put an arbitrary law in force as the means of forcing the consciences and despoiling the property of their fellow Christians. It was from no desire to triumph over the Church, or pecuniarily to relieve the Dissenters from anything they could in justice be called upon to pay, that he asked to have this question settled on a just and amicable basis, but because he believed that for the well-being of the country there could be nothing worse than the divisions and hostilities and bitternesses which arose from religious bickerings; and believing further, as be did, that there was a large portion of the people who judged Christianity much more by the acts of those who professed it, than from the principles which were laid down in the book whence was drawn the knowledge of it, it was perfectly clear that all attempts to Christianise them, to elevate them morally or religiously, were counteracted to an alarming degree by such scenes as those to which he had adverted. He should give his vote in favour of the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock, because he considered it desirable that the House should express an unequivocal opinion on the subject. He would only add, that he was not one of those who desired that the fabrics of the Church should go to decay; all he meant to say was, that he believed the property of the Church itself was fully sufficient to meet the charge, and that he considered the Church should meet it.


observed, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down said very truly that the discussion on the important matter under their notice had proceeded with great temper, and without asperity. That was an additional reason why they should not be hurried into a hasty decision on the question by supporting a resolution which was in point of fact a condemnation of the existing law. It was easy to deal with matters of this nature by means of a resolution; but the introduction of a Bill gave frequent opportunities for the consideration of the subject. The assent to the first or second reading of a Bill did not imply a final adoption of it; a resolution once passed was a pledge from which they could not recede. It was the hasty adoption of a principle, after a discussion of, perhaps, only one or two hours, from which the House of Commons could not subsequently withdraw without the confession of inconsistency. What would be the situation of the House of Commons if the resolution passed, and a Bill would be necessary to carry it out? Suppose they failed in passing the Bill in consequence—suppose the substitute offered for church rates not being satisfactory, or from any other cause, there would still remain the resolution in favour of the abolition of church rates. They must either leave that resolution a dead letter on the journals, or they must make another effort to give practical effect to it. The Member for Manchester admitted that the fabrics ought to be maintained; but he did not tell them from what source. [Mr. BRIGHT: I did tell them.] Yes, the hon. Gentleman suggested that they ought to be maintained out of a fund to be created by improving the property of the Church; and there had been various other suggestions of a similar kind made, all of which amounted to admissions that church rates ought not to be abolished without finding a substitute for them. The very difference of opinion which existed on this subject ought to be a reason for not adopting this resolution. He thought that the objections raised by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, and by the hon. Member for Manchester, were conclusive against the adoption of the Amendment proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford. He could conceive nothing more objectionable than to have in each parish a formal record of the religious distinctions between Dissenters and Churchmen. It would be said that the object of those who described themselves as Dissenters was to be released from the payment of church rates. The simple avowal of dissent for such a purpose was in itself a great evil, not compensated for by gain in any other respect. It was proposed, and rejected, ten years ago, and no new reason had been urged since that time for its adoption. Another suggestion was made previously to that time by Lord Althorp, by which he proposed to get rid of church rates by paying the amount out of the Consolidated Fund. At present the church rates chiefly fell on those who were connected with the Church. In the rural districts, at least, they fell mainly on the owners of land. If the charge were transferred to the Consolidated Fund, it became a common charge upon Dissenters and Churchmen. The objection to the payment of church rates, so far as it professed to rest on conscientious grounds, would apply with at least equal force to payments from the Consolidated Fund, as to the present system. At one period, if he had been called upon as a Minister of the Crown to take steps for the abolition of church rates, he should have felt that he had no alternative but to propose that the charge be placed on the Consolidated Fund; but he could not have denied that the objection on the religious ground would remain unabated. Then, on the other hand, if they left the provision for the church rate to voluntary contributions, he could not conceive anything more objectionable than that members of the Church should be relieved from payments to which they were most justly liable—the whole charge being thrown on the voluntary contributions of those who might be influenced by pious and generous feelings. The hon. Member who spoke last said that in Manchester the payment of church rates was optional, and that the churches there were in as good repair as when the rates were compulsory. [Mr. BRIGHT: I said that the Manchester collegiate church was as well maintained as when church rates were compulsory.] He thought the hon. Member had included all the churches in Manchester in his statement. [Mr. BRIGHT: No; I only spoke of one.] He wished that they should consider all the difficulties which stood in the way of legislation before they committed themselves by a hasty vote to the abolition of the existing law. If the Government thought that church rates should be abolished, and some other plan should be substituted, let them bring in a Bill by which this could be done, and let the principle and details of the measure be fully discussed. He hoped that the House would not hastily come to a resolution by which they would discharge members of the Church being landed proprietors from obligations to which they were now legally liable. What was the resolution in effect, but a resolution that the land should be relieved from this burden? If the ground of religious scruples were to be admitted in the case of church rate, what security had they that they might not next week have a similar objection urged against the payment of tithes? If you exempted the Dissenter from payment of church rates on the ground of religious scruples, why not relieve him from all contributions to the Church? The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford stated, that by both the common law and the statute law, the land had always been chargeable with a payment for the maintenance of the parish church. He said that there was a distinction between tithes and church rates in several respects, but admitted that a payment from the land for the maintenance of the fabric was sanctioned by the common law: was it fitting, then, that they should exempt the land from this charge by a resolution hastily passed by landowners themselves? In what state did they leave the question of church rates if they passed the resolution? They condemned the existing law, and provided no other in its place. If they pursued such a course, the existing evil would be increased in a tenfold degree. If they condemned the existing law by this resolution, and expressed no intention to provide a substitute, they would embitter all the dissensions now existing in the town districts, and excite new dissensions in half the rural parishes in England. In reference, then, to the condemnation of a law which would still remain in existence, be must strongly deprecate the sudden adoption of this resolution. The Irish House of Commons took the course now proposed with respect to the tithe of agistment. They brought in no Act to find a substitute, but by a resolution passed in a single night they abolished the tithe of agistment. They voted that any clergyman thereafter levying the tithe of agistment should be considered an enemy to his country. Having done that—having invited opposition to the clergymen in respect to the levying of that tithe—they gave themselves no trouble about providing a substitute. The proceedings of that House of Commons, the Members of which were directly benefited by the abolition of this tithe, reflected lasting discredit upon them. Let us beware that we do not incur a similar reproach. The right hon. Baronet then proceeded to say—I will not discuss the question whether or not a substitute for church rates might be found in an improved value of church property, further than to observe, that even after giving an improved value to the property of the Church, you will find increased demands for spiritual instruction on account of the im- mense increase of population, which the improved value of church property will not suffice to meet. I am not one of those adverse to the redistribution of the revenues of the Church. I gave a proof of this by proposing the application of the revenues of ecclesiastical sinecures to the purpose of constituting new and efficient benefices; but I repeat that, after every improvement that can be made in the value of church property, there will remain many more demands than it will be able to satisfy—demands, not for the purpose of increasing unnecessarily the stipends of ministers, but of spreading through the land the advantages of spiritual instruction. I do hope that the Gentlemen of England will not consent to relieve themselves from a burden to which their estates are now subject in order to devolve that burden on the Church. My chief object, however, is to entreat the House to reserve the decision of this matter for much more mature consideration; and, reflecting on all the difficulties of the subject, to refrain from taking a step to-night from which you may be compelled to recede, unless, indeed, you are content simply to abolish a charge which falls mainly on landed proprietors who are in communion with the Church, giving yourselves no trouble to supply that substitute, the provision of which, in the event of church rates being abolished, almost all admit to be just.


said, that from the right hon. Baronet's manner, and from the reasons which he had given against the Motion, it would load any one to suppose that the question of church rates had never previously been under discussion. The right hon. Baronet said, in the year 1835, in a debate on this subject— With respect to municipal corporations, he was not about to say a word on that question; but without undervaluing its importance, he must observe that the subject of church rates did not yield to it in urgency. So far as any question could be important to the maintenance of social harmony, to the promotion of satisfaction among the great body of the Dissenters, there was not a single question, excepting that of the Irish Church, which so much pressed for an immediate practical settlement as this of the church rates. He went further, for he said at the end of his speech— In consideration of the interests of the Church Establishment, for the satisfaction of a large body of the people—for the accomplishment of their own pledges—to promote subordination and obedience to the law—to suppress individual complaints of grievance—surely to accomplish all these objects, a Government fit to be entrusted with the management of public affairs would, without delay, take this matter into their own hands, and not suffer the law respecting church rates to be made a theme of discussion in public meetings, and a subject of resistance by parochial martyrs for another twelvemonth. If the right hon. Baronet was afraid of so hasty a proceeding as the adoption of this resolution, he was bound to bring forward the subject without delay, for the purposes of legislation, so that they might hear no more of parochial martyrs. On this very ground, he (Mr. Osborne) called upon the House to come to an immediate decision, and not postpone the matter from year to year. The right hon. Baronet complained that a Bill had not been introduced, instead of a resolution having been proposed. His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Tavistock merely moved "that it is the opinion of this House that effectual measures should be taken for the abolition of church rates." The right hon. Baronet said that if the House adopted this resolution, it would become pledged to that from which it could not retract. The House then pledged itself by a resolution that vote by ballot should be adopted in the election of Members to that House. Was there any Member of that House so stupid as to suppose that it could not retract, in the present year, its vote of last year, on the introduction of the measure to carry out that resolution? It might be very good Parliamentary fencing, but it would not do. He did not think the House was bound to find a substitute for church rates. He would not deal with the subject in the pettifogging feelings of a lawyer, but he felt that for the benefit of the Church itself, this should be done; and he agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets, that nothing could be worse for the Church of England than keeping up these church rates. What was the reason why the church-rate question did not appear of so pressing a character as it did in 1835? He believed that this had arisen from the good and moderate feeling of the clergy in many parts of the country, who had made subscriptions to meet the charge. He believed that Dr. Whitaker, of Blackburn, was the first not to press for church rates. When they found members of the Church of England giving sums of 10,000l. or 20,000l. for building and endowing a new church, would any one say that they would not exert themselves to provide means to preserve the fabrics of existing churches? Were they to be told that funds could not be obtained for the payment of church rates, when they found that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners possessed funds which enabled them to spend 143,000l. for building eight bishops' palaces? If the Church was only to be supported by such a mode of argument, it must, in the opinion of Gentlemen opposite, be founded, not on a rock, but on the sand. He should, in the first instance, vote for the resolution of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Tavistock; and if it was not carried, he should vote for the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford, on the principle that he would take what he could get. If they adopted the invidious suggestion of the right hon. Baronet, for postponing the matter, the question never would be settled.


remarked, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, in reference to the abstract resolution before the House, stated that it was simply the duty of the House to abolish church rates, and leave the fabric of the church to shift for itself. [Mr. OSBORNE: NO, no!] Yes, the hon. Gentleman said, that if they left the maintenance of the fabric of the church to voluntary contributions, the result would be perfectly satisfactory. During the whole course of the discussion, in which several hon. Gentlemen had taken part, the hon. Member was the first to say that it was the duty of the House to abolish church rates, and not provide a substitute for them. If the feeling was, to abolish simply church rates, and not substitute anything in their place, he could understand their supporting this resolution; but those Gentlemen who felt differently were bound to find a substitute. He agreed in all the observations which had fallen from his right hon. Friend the Member for Tam-worth. There was no inconsistency in the quotation read by the hon. Member for Middlesex, and what had then fallen from his right hon. Friend. The hon. Gentleman had confounded the inquiry as to the proper course of proceeding, with the advocacy of an abstract resolution. They might proceed at least without the adoption of any abstract principle, while the abstract resolution might be an impediment to delay the subject. In how many instances had they proofs that they had not advanced a question one single step towards its settlement by the adoption of an abstract resolution? He hoped that the House had too much regard for its character, and for the interests of the country, to adopt an abstract resolution on this subject. He felt as strongly as any one the desirableness of settling this question, if they could do so. He believed that the evils attending the present system were enormous. He considered that we certainly had deviated in practice extremely from the original principle and intention of the law; the original intention of the law was not to impose a mere uncompensated burden upon any man, but a burden for which every man bearing it should receive a benefit; so that while each member of the community was found to contribute his quota to the Church, every member of the Church was entitled to go to the churchwardens, and demand a free place to worship his Maker in the house of that Maker. The case at present was, and above all in towns, that the centre and the best parts of the church were occupied by pews, exclusively for the middle classes, while the labouring classes were jealously excluded from almost every part of sight and hearing in the churches, and were treated in a manner which was most painful to reflect on. Therefore he said the law was in a most unsatisfactory state, and they were bound to give attention to all plans which were likely to give relief. While, therefore, he should vote against any and every abstract resolution on the subject, such as had been proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock, and by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford, yet if his hon. and learned Friend would bring in a Bill embodying his views on the subject, he (Mr. Gladstone) should not vote against its introduction; for he thought that it would be only fair that his hon. and learned Friend should have an opportunity of laying his plan on the table of the House. Although he did not approve of that plan, still he admitted that it should be considered. He was neither for that nor any other plan which would do anything to give assent to a resolution which would only remain in mind, and which would show their incapacity of dealing with the natural difficulties of the question, and would also show their incapacity of accomplishing that which they admitted it was most desirable to attain. For the dignity of Parliament, he trusted they would do nothing whatever upon that occasion. Their giving their consent to an abstract resolution would only remain as a monument of their hasty conduct.


said, the hon. Member for Middlesex gave the House rather an unsatisfactory reason for proceeding by resolution, in stating that last year we came to a resolution in favour of the ballot; for the consequence of that was that there was on the journals of the House arc-solution in favour of the ballot, but no one step had yet been taken in that direction, and the probability was, that were a Bill brought in on the subject, in some stage or other there would be a majority against it. Thus there would be a resolution in favour of the ballot, and a decision of the House against it. He could not think, unless hon. Members had made up their minds that there should be a total abolition of church rates, without any other provision being made for the building and repairs of churches, that they would agree to the present resolution. If there was a decided opinion in the House, and if they were ready to pass a Bill immediately for the abolition of church rates, he might say, indeed, that it would be of no great consequence whether they proceeded by way of resolution, or gave leave to bring in a Bill. But he could not believe that the minds of hon. Members in that House were made up to that course of proceeding. He could not believe that they would now and suddenly determine that the provision for the repair of churches should be altogether abolished, and that no other provision should be substituted. He quite agreed with much that had been said of the evils of church rates as regarded the present mode in which they were carried into effect; he had more than once assisted in plans intended to promote some better system, and he should be glad if some more satisfactory method were submitted to the consideration of the House. But so far as the object of the hon. Member for Manchester went—and the hon. Member was to a great degree justified in his references to the disturbances which took place at the contested election, and in saying that they were not only disgraceful to the law as it stood, but reflected discredit upon all who professed Christianity—so far as that went, the remedy proposed many years ago by Lord Althorp to make provision for the clergy out of the land revenues or the Consolidated Fund, would have been a remedy for such evils. But although that remedy might have prevented scenes like those in parishes, it soon became obvious that the Dissenters had quite as strong objections to a fund raised by such means as to a rate raised in parishes; and, therefore, although the evil would have been removed as far as regarded contested elections, other sources of contention would have arisen in the House and in the country as to whether such a tax should be imposed, and how it should be imposed. It was, therefore, not worth while to get rid of a dispute on the one side, to create a new one on another. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford thought it was to be lamented that in so many churches in the metropolis and other great towns the space should be occupied by pews, and by persons who were able to pay sums of money for seats, and who appeared there respectably dressed, thereby making it difficult for others to find places who had a claim to them, thus operating almost as a practical exclusion to a large number of persons. He (Lord J. Russell) thought with the right hon. Gentleman that this was a great misfortune; but the remedy for it would not be to abolish church rates, but to provide the moans by which the church would be enabled to afford more room and better accommodation, so that the classes referred to might be able to attend. Agreeing then entirely on this point with the right hon. Gentleman, if a mode were pointed out of making provision for the repairs of the church, he (Lord J. Russell) did not agree with his hon. Friend the Member for the Tower Hamlets in the proposition he had made, as to other sources from which the fund might be collected. The hon. Member for Montrose had stated that it was a shame the church rates should be exacted from Dissenters. He (Lord J. Russell) did not so consider the matter. In the first place, there was no shame in levying church rates on Dissenters who bought lands, because they bought them subject to that charge, and it was allowed for in the price. In the second place, if Dissenters were only occupiers of land, they very rigidly calculated the burdens to which the land was subject in the shape of poor rates, highway rates, tithes, and church rates, and regulated the rent they paid accordingly. Therefore, there was no justice in these complaints. Nor could he agree that the Established Church was solely for the benefit of those who belonged to it. Apart from any ground of objection to the particular form in which the rates were levied, the general ground upon which church rates could be justified was, that the Church was established in this country, not for the benefit solely of those who belonged to that Church, but as a great tribute and national homage to religion. He knew no argument for the abolition of church rates which would not be equally good for the abolition of tithes; and if it were not proved that they were for the maintenance of a Church which was for the benefit of the whole community, he knew not how any of the compulsory payments could be justified in point of law with the abolition of the church rates alone. Therefore it was dangerous to assent to a proposal of this kind. There might be, as it was said by some, a practical grievance, and it might be necessary to take steps to prevent unseemly and disgraceful scenes recurring; but there were others who contended that as a point of principle these rates were not to be justified, and that they ought to be abolished at once for the sake of relieving the Dissenters. That last argument contained more in it than appeared at first sight, and, therefore, he should be sorry on every ground to agree to a resolution of the kind proposed. If any Member of the House would propose to bring in a Bill by which some other provision could be substituted for church rates, he certainly should not oppose the introduction of it. He could not, however, vote for such a measure as that proposed by the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford. The observations made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth were conclusive against such a proposition. He must oppose this resolution as dangerous in principle, and as leading to consequences which he thought would hereafter be deplored.


was surprised at the most discouraging and dispiriting speech which the House had just heard from the noble Lord on the Treasury bench—a speech more calculated to depress the hopes of those who opposed church rates could not have been heard from the Treasury bench. Justice had not been done to the resolution before the House. All that it affirmed was, that it was necessary for some steps to be taken for the abolition of church rates. It would be competent for any other Member to suggest a substitute for the resolution; for all that it did was to pledge the House to abolish church rates, and to provide some other means for equitably raising the funds necessary for the repair of churches. The right hon. Secretary for the Home Department seemed to deny the statement made by the hon. Member for Montrose, that he had voted for a Bill to abolish church rates.


had never voted for the total abolition of church rates. He had voted for the Bill introduced by Sir G. Easthope, providing a substitute for the rates.


As to the word "substitute," there seemed to be some misunderstanding. The resolutions proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Tavistock did not preclude any one from proposing a substitute for the rates he wished to abolish. He must say that he had hoped for greater encouragement on this occasion from Members on the Treasury bench, as so many of them had voted for a Bill for the abolition of church rates, and to make other provisions on the subject. In the minority on that occasion he found no less than four of the present Members of the Cabinet—the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the President of the Board of Control, and the Secretary for the Home Department. Besides these, he found other inferior Members of the Government had voted for it, amongst whom were the Chairman of the Committee, a junior Lord of the Treasury, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, the Secretary for the Admiralty, the Secretary for Ireland, the Paymaster of the Forces, together with several others. One fact must be apparent, namely, that the Dissenters had a right to complain of the intolerable grievances which they now suffered; and if there were not numerous incarcerations for the non-payment of church rates, it was because there existed in the majority of the parishes a disposition to waive the question of church rates, and to find other means of supplying the funds necessary for the purposes to which they were applied. But there was no diminution of the hostility which had been always felt towards church rates. On the contrary, the delay in their abolition had excited hatred not only to that but to all other classes of church imposts. He did not believe that any substitute would be acceptable, particularly to the Dissenters, which would not have the effect of freeing them for ever from having to contribute to the repair of churches, and which did not at the same time impose that burden upon Churchmen and church property exclusively. When his hon. Friend the Member for Middlesex referred to the resolutions which had been agreed to in favour of the ballot, he only did so in order to show the House that by assenting to an abstract resolution, they did not pledge themselves, and also that it was not unusual for the House to agree to resolutions of a general and abstract nature. He gave the present resolution his most cordial support, and he would conclude by stating that he had gathered two results from the discussion, namely, that there was a general indisposition to the church rates, but that there existed a fear and an indisposition on the part of the Government to apply any remedy, which fear was grounded on their inability to carry such a remedy through the Houses of Legislature. If the fact were as he stated, he would only tell the noble Lord and his Colleagues that the Dissenters were prepared to bide their time, and to watch for that opportunity which the Government either could not or would not make for relieving the Church of England from the reproach of perpetuating so great a scandal as the exaction of church rates from men not belonging to that establishment.


observed, that a remark had been made that less interest was felt in this question, because the usual number of petitions had not been presented against church rates. He was inclined to think that this circumstance was to be accounted for by a desire on the part of the people to obey the law when it was settled. He said, that one of the arguments by which the resolution had been defended was manifestly a wrong one. It had been attempted to be shown, that the resolution was brought forward on the strength of former decisions of the House, which decisions had been come to upon entirely different grounds. As long as the question of church rates was unsettled, the people had a right to dispute their payment. But the people were naturally inclined to obey the law as soon as any great question was settled by the law's decision; and their refusal to pay church rates only lasted until the Judges had decided, in the absence of legislative interference, that church rates were legally demandable. The strong opinions which had been expressed on the subject of church rates by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth and others only had reference to the state of things previous to the decision of the courts as to the liability of all occupiers to pay those rates; and that decision being solemnly declared, the eyes of the people became at once opened to the necessity of paying them. He felt bound, as a Churchman, to express his thanks to the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the manly declaration he had made, and the general view he had taken of the subject. He could not help contrasting the manly sentiments of the noble Lord with the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford. Both the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman had agreed in the fact, that a large proportion of the people were excluded from the churches of the Establishment; but the noble Lord, to his honour be it told, said the remedy was to increase the means of accommodation for the people, while the right hon. Member for Oxford University said, that he was therefore ready to support the proposition of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford, and relieve the Dissenters from payment of church rates. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No, I did not.] He should be sorry to misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman, but he had certainly understood him to express his readiness to support a Bill of that kind. He did not deny that certain persons might have a conscientious objection to the payment of church rates; but would it be right on that account to give way to every objection made to religious imposts? Many persons considered it was wrong to carry on war; but was the House to affirm, by a resolution, that such a person was to be relieved from contributing to the maintenance of the Army and Navy? If this principle were once sanctioned, the consciences of many persons might become very much extended. He had heard many objections raised to the payment of this rate; but, strange enough to say, he had never heard it urged by a tenant when he was about to hire his land. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had given an extraordinary illustration of what persons were disposed to do for conscience. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that Dissenters objected on the ground of conscience to pay church rates; but that if a voluntary rate were made, they would cheerfully contribute to it. Now, he confessed that he could not understand any difference in the two cases on the ground of conscience. He was not disposed to let any man off from payment who had a conscientious objection to pay, because, if that principle were once sanctioned, every man would have a conscientious objection to pay any thing. He could not for the life and soul of him understand how the conscientious scruple of a man was aroused by a compliance with a law, and was removed when the law did not constrain him. He must say, that he preferred the payment by law to the voluntary contribution; the former was the more certain of the two. Again, he said, he thanked the noble Lord for the manly declaration he had made, and which put this question on its true ground.


Sir, the hon. Member who has just sat down has expressed an opinion respecting the members of the Church of England, which I trust will be found not to apply to them, or to have any foundation. The hon. Member has told the House, that if for conscience sake we permit the people at large to exempt themselves from the necessity of paying church rates, the churches will never be repaired, for no one would ever consent to pay the rates. [Mr. HENLEY: No, no!] I certainly think the hon. Member said that such was the elasticity of the people's conscience, that if Dissenters were exempted from paying church rates, the churches would never be repaired, because no one would ever pay the rates. I therefore repeat that I do hope the hon. Member has misrepresented the great body of Church-of-England men who are in this country. The hon. Member began his speech by thanking the noble Lord the Prime Minister for the declaration contained in his speech, and he ended his speech by again thanking the noble Lord. If that noble Lord has pleased the hon. Member and his Friends on the other side of the House in respect to this resolution, he must he prepared to please them in many other measures. But I warn him that he will by so doing lose many of his Friends on this side of the House. The hon. Member for Oxfordshire argued the question as if the scruples of conscience which had formerly existed relative to church rates had been quieted as soon as it was found that the law had declared that the rate was legally demandable. But the hon. Member was wrong in his deductions from the state of the law. It was true that the rate was absolutely levied, and could not under the law be refused to be levied; but the majority of the parishioners declared what the amount of the church rate should be. There was a case in point occurred some time ago at Rochdale, where, according to the law, it was indispensable that a church rate should be made. It was proposed that it should be one farthing in the pound. But so strong was the conscientious objection to the principle of a church rate, that out of some hundreds of men who filled the church, not twelve could be found who would hold up their hands for the farthing rate, and there was some danger that it would not be carried until the assessor exclaimed, "Now, all you who are for a farthing rate, which you will never have to pay, signify the same by holding up your hands." The consequence was that the rate was carried, but it was never paid, the expense being more than the proceeds. The question is entirely one of pounds, shillings, and pence. It had been made a money question throughout; and he was not inclined to let this occasion pass without reminding the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire that they had had it from both sides of the House, from his Friends around him as well as from every other part of the House, that these church rates were an ancient charge upon the land—that it was not a local tax pressing on the present generation as an exclusive burden, from which the land should be relieved. He (Mr. Cobden) could not deny that the church rate was an ancient burden on property; but he did not put it along with tithe. Tithe was a rateable property, but church rate was a variable tax. Still he was prepared to admit that it was a charge on property; but it was a different thing to put it on the Consolidated Fund, and to remove the church rates from Dissenters, on the ground of conscientious scruples. These rates were originally made for the purpose of maintaining the Christian religion, for supporting the Church in which the Christian religion was to be taught. But what was the ground of exemption for Dissenters? It was that, being Christians, but having a different form of doctrine and prayer from the Christian Church that was established, they claimed to be exempted from paying for the support of these churches, because they had their own places of worship to maintain for themselves. All the Dissenters asked was that they should not be compelled to pay two rates—not their own rates, and your rates too. The great difficulty in the matter has been to find a substitute for this impost; and the noble Lord on the Treasury bench has said that if any such is proposed it shall have his best consideration. But the hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford has done what the noble Lord desired, and I think his plan is not only a consistent but a just one. He proposes to exempt Dissenters from the payment of church rates, and to leave it entirely to the Churchmen to pay their own rates. I, as a Churchman, consistently pay those rates. In the manufacturing districts, the voluntary churches abound. There are in Manchester forty voluntary churches to one of the Established Church, and, notwithstanding this, no difficulty is experienced in procuring funds for their support and repair. When men frequent a church, they willingly contribute to its support. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford said very truly that if there was not religion enough amongst the Churchmen to induce them to support their own churches, a sense of honour and of pride would prevent them from allowing them to fall into decay, whilst Dissenters' churches were so well supported, and they would be ashamed to see Dissenting chapels well maintained and thronged with congregations earnest enough to maintain the fabric of their places of worship, whilst their own churches were going to decay. Sir, I repudiate the sentiment altogether. I think there is no danger whatever of Churchmen shrinking from their duty of supporting their own places of worship. I believe, if you will put these church rates on the voluntary principle, your churches will be as well supported as they are now. I do not believe in that low, base sentiment which the hon. Gentleman attributes to the members of the Church of England, that they would pass themselves off for Dissenters; that they would play the hypocrite to escape this paltry tax. I do not suspect the world of such practical hypocrisy at all: men, generally, are in earnest in matters of religion. At any rate, if they be hypocrites, they, in general, take their wares to a better market than the paltry saving of the pitiful amount of the church rate. Though many of my friends will support the original Motion, I, being a Churchman, and anxious to show my desire to prevent Dissenters paying the rates of the Church to which I belong, shall have much pleasure in supporting the Amendment of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for the city of Oxford.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." The House divided:—Ayes 183; Noes 20: Majority 163.

List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Anstey, T. C.
Adair, H. E. Armstrong, R. B.
Adare, Visct. Ashley, Lord
Aglionby, H. A. Bankes, G.
Anderson, A. Barrington, Visct.
Bass, M. T. Henley, J. W.
Bellew, R. M. Henry, A.
Bennet, P. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Heywood, J.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Heyworth, L.
Blair, S. Hildyard, R. C.
Blewitt, R. J. Hindley, C.
Bourke, R. S. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Boyd, J. Hodgson, W. N.
Bramston, T. W. Hood, Sir A.
Bremridge, R. Hope, A.
Bright, J. Howard, Lord E.
Broadley, H. Humphery, Aid.
Brooke, Lord Jackson, W.
Brotherton, J. Jervis, Sir J.
Bruce, C. L. C. Jones, Capt.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Kershaw, J.
Busfeild, W. King, hon. P. J. L.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Chaplin, W. J. Langston, J. H
Cholmeley, Sir M. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Christopher, R. A. Lennard, T. B.
Clay, J. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Clay, Sir W. Lewis, G. C.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Lewisham, Visct.
Codrington, Sir W. Locke, J.
Cole, hon. H. A. Long, W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Lopes, Sir R.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Maithand, T.
Cubitt, W. Mandeville, Visct.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Martin, C. W.
Davies, D. A. S. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Devereux, J. T. Maunsell, T. P.
Disraeli, B. Melgund, Visct.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Mitchell, T. A.
Duke, Sir, J. Molesworth, Sir W.
Duncan, Visct. Monsell, W.
Duncan, G. Morris, D.
Duncuft, J. Mowatt, F.
Du Pre, C. G. Mulgrave, Earl of
Ebrington, Visct. Napier, J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Newdegate, C. N.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Evans, W. Nugent, Lord
Ewart, W. O'Brien, Sir L.
Fagan, W. O'Connell, J.
Farnham, E. B. Osborne, R.
Floyer, J. Pakington, Sir J.
Fox, R. M. Patten, J. W.
Fox, W. J. Pearson, C.
Frewen, C. H. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Gaskell, J. M. Peel, F.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Peto, S. M.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E. Pilkington, J.
Gore, W. R. O. Plowden, W. H. C.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Pryse, P.
Greenall, G. Pugh, D.
Greene, J. Rendlesham, Lord
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Rich, H.
Grogan, E. Richards, R.
Gwyn, H. Romilly, Sir J.
Haggitt, F. R. Rushout, Capt.
Halford, Sir H. Russell, Lord J.
Hamilton, G. A. Russell, F. C. H.
Hardcastle, J. A. Salwey, Col.
Harris, hon. Capt. Sandars, G.
Harris, R. Scholefield, W.
Hastie, A. Seymer, H. K.
Hawes, B. Sibthorp, Col.
Hay, Lord J. Slaney, R. A.
Hayes, Sir E. Smith, J. B.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Heneage, G. H. W. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Spearman, H. J. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Spooner, R. Tufnell, H.
Stafford, A. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Stanley, E. Verney, Sir H.
Stanton, W. H. Villiers, hon. C.
Stuart, Lord D. Walmsley, Sir J.
Sutton, J. H. M. Wawn, J. T.
Taylor, T. E. Westhead, J. P.
Tennent, R. J. Willcox, B. M.
Thesiger, Sir F. Williams, J.
Thicknesse, R. A. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Thompson, Col. Wyld, J.
Thompson, G. TELLERS.
Thornely, T. Trelawny, J. S.
Tollemache, J. Hume, J.
List of the NOES.
Adair, R. A. S. Pechell, Capt.
Archdall, Capt. M. Perfect, R.
Bernal, R. Ricardo, O.
Brocklehurst, J. Rice, E. R.
Bunbury, E. H. Robartes, T. J. A.
Cobden, R. Scrope, G. P.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Willyams, H.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Wilson, M.
French, F.
Glyn, G. C. TELLERS.
Mangles, R. D. Headlam, T. E.
Milner, W. M. E. Wood, W. P.

Main Question put. The House divided;—Ayes, 84; Noes 119: Majority 35.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Hume, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Humphery, Aid.
Anderson, A. Jackson, W.
Bass, M. T. Kershaw, J.
Berkeley, C. L. G. King, hon. P. J. L.
Bernal, R. Langston, J. H
Blewitt, R. J. Lennard, T. B.
Boyd, J. Locke, J.
Brocklehurst, J. Melgund, Visct.
Brotherton, J. Milner, W. M. B.
Bunbury, E. H. Mitchell, T. A.
Busfeild, W. Molesworth, Sir W.
Clay, J. Morris, D.
Clay, Sir W. Mowatt, F.
Cobden, R. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Nugent, Lord
Davie, Sir H. R. F. O'Connell, J.
Devereux, J. T. Osborne, R.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Pearson, C.
Duke, Sir J. Pechell, Capt.
Duncan, Visct. Perfect, R.
Duncan, G. Peto, S. M.
Evans, W. Pilkington, J.
Ewart, W. Pryse, P.
Fagan, W. Ricardo, O.
Fox, W. J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Salwey, Col.
Glyn, G. C. Scholefield, W.
Greene, J. Scrope, G. P.
Hardcastle, J. A. Smith, J. B.
Harris, R. Spearman, H. J.
Hastie, A. Stuart, Lord D.
Headlam, T. E. Tennent, R. J.
Henry, A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Heywood, J. Thompson, Col.
Heyworth, L. Thompson, G.
Hindley, C. Thornely, T.
Verney, Sir H. Willyams, H.
Villiers, hon. C. Wilson, M.
Walmsley, Sir J. Wyld, J.
Wawn, J. T.
Westhead, J. P. TELLERS.
Willcox, B. M. Trelawny, J. S.
Williams, J. Bright, J.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Adair, R. A. S. Hildyard, R. C.
Adare, Visct. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Anstey, T. C. Hodgson, W. N.
Archdall, Capt. M. Hood, Sir A.
Armstrong, R. B. Hope, A.
Ashley, Lord Howard, Lord E.
Bankes, G. Jervis, Sir J.
Barrington, Visct. Jones, Capt.
Bellew, R. M. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Bennet, P. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Blair, S. Lewis, G. C.
Bourke, R. S. Lewisham, Visct.
Bramston, T. W. Long, W.
Bremridge, R. Lopes, Sir R.
Broadley, H. Maitland, T.
Brooke, Lord Mandeville, Visct.
Bruce, C. L. C. Mangles, R. D.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Martin, C. W.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Chaplin, W. J. Maunsell, T. P.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Monsell, W.
Christopher, R. A. Mulgrave, Earl of
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Napier, J.
Codrington, Sir W. Newdegate, C. N.
Cole, hon. H. A. O'Brien, Sir L.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Pakington, Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Patten, J. W.
Cubitt, W. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Davies, D. A. S. Peel, F.
Disraeli, B. Plowden, W. H. C.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Pugh, D.
Duncuft, J. Rendlesham, Lord
Du Pre, C. G. Rich, H.
Ebrington, Visct. Richards, R.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Romilly, Sir J.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Rushout, Capt.
Farnham, E. B. Russell, Lord J.
Floyer, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Fox, R. M. Sandars, G.
French, F. Seymer, H. K.
Frewen, C. H. Sibthorp, Col.
Gaskell, J. M. Slaney, R. A.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Gore, W. E. O. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Spooner, R.
Greenal, G. Stafford, A.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stanley, E.
Grogan, E. Stanton, W. H.
Gwyn, H. Sutton, J. H. M.
Haggitt, F. R. Taylor, T. E.
Halford, Sir H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Hamilton, G. A. Tollemache, J.
Harris, hon. Capt. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Hawes, B. Tufnell, H.
Hay, Lord J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Hayes, Sir E. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. TELLERS.
Heneage, G. H. W. Rice, E. R.
Henley, J. W. Wood, W. P.

Motion negatived.