§ MR. P. MILES
said, with the permission of the House, he would now proceed to vindicate the character of his right rev. relative the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol from the attacks of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Horsman). It was not his intention to make any comment upon the language employed by the hon. Gentleman in making those charges, which affected the character of the right rev. Prelate; but he hoped the explanation he would be able to afford would be deemed satisfactory by the House. The principal charge advanced by the hon. Gentleman was, that there was a moral responsibility incumbent on the part of the bishop not to renew the lease of the Horfield estate; and he had grounded the charge upon the fact, that the two previous bishops had not renewed the lease of that estate. Now he (Mr. Miles) must observe, that although Mr. Murray, the former secretary to the Ecclesiastical Commission, had been very severely pressed by the hon. Gentleman, he was scarcely able to say that there was any such moral obligation; and if he (Mr. Miles) could show that no obligation of any sort, direct or indirect, existed on the part of the bishop not to renew the lease, he thought he would, in a great measure, have answered that part of the charge. He found that Mr. Murray himself, when examined on this very point by the hon. Gentleman, stated that he considered that—As the bishop possessed (and probably the Commissioners will take the same view of the case) a strict legal right, if he pleased, to renew that estate for lives, he might consider that he acquitted himself of the moral responsibility, and others may think so too, if in exercising that legal right he did not do it for his own benefit, but for the general benefit of the Church.The hon. Member (Mr. Horsman) never mentioned that both Bishop Gray and 919 Bishop Allen, the present bishop's predecessors, had attempted to renew the lease. With regard to Bishop Gray, he (Mr. Miles) had a letter from a son of that prelate, stating distinctly that a sum of money was offered to Bishop Gray to renew the lease, but that he, not considering the sum sufficient, refused to renew. Then with reference to the case of Bishop Allen, he (Mr. Miles) had it upon the authority of the registrar of the district, Mr. Clarke, who had been in communication with Bishop Allen on the subject, and who stated distinctly that Bishop Allen wished to have renewed it, and entered into negotiations for that purpose. It had also been stated that when Bishop Allen was translated to Ely, he recommended that this lease should be allowed to fall in for the benefit of the see. Without wishing to throw any imputation on that right rev. Prelate's memory, he (Mr. Miles) could only refer to the fact, that while he was in possession of the see he did attempt to renew the lease. Mr. Clarke said—The bishop has been most hardly treated in this business. The real points in the case are not many. I know from Mr. Marmont (Mr. Shadwell's agent) that if Bishop Gray had happened to live a little longer, a renewal of the lease would have been arranged. It is not true (as alleged by Mr. Horsman) that the negotiation for a renewal was entered upon on the dropping of one life, and was broken off on the death of two—the fact being that no negotiation was ever entered upon until two lives had dropped. With respect to Bishop Allen, it is notorious that, when Bishop of Bristol, he felt himself at liberty to renew the lease (this can be proved, if necessary, by my father, who was very much in Bishop Allen's confidence, and had discussions with him upon the subject), and we all well know that when our present bishop took the see of Bristol, and became possessed of the endowments, not a shadow of a condition was ever expressed or implied that his Lordship was to stand, with respect to the Horfield property, on any different footing from that on which he stood with respect to the other endowments of the see.He (Mr. Miles) therefore thought, then, that it was perfectly clear that both Bishop Gray and Bishop Allen would have renewed the lease if a sufficient fine had been offered. The Bishop of Gloucester had stated in his published letter that he had been distinctly informed by Bishop Allen himself that he accepted the see without any conditions whatever as to the renewal of the lease of the Horfield estate. He thought, therefore, that that part of the case was fully answered by the bishop himself, and that it was unnecessary for him (Mr. Miles) to dwell upon it. In 1848 the hon. Member for Cockermouth 920 (Mr. Horsman) asked a question on this subject, and it was then first intimated that there was a moral obligation on the part of the Bishop of Gloucester not to renew the lease. When the fact that such a question had been put, came to the knowledge of the bishop, he, on the 22nd of July, 1848, wrote a letter to the noble Lord at the head of the Government in these terms:—I lose no time in assuring your Lordship that no such engagement or understanding as is here insinuated ever took place; nor were there any other conditions mentioned or implied, directly or indirectly, except those which are detailed by the Order in Council of October 5, 1836, by which the see of Glocester and Bristol was constituted, and which leaves mo at perfect liberty to deal with that estate as with the other property of the see. Indeed, I never heard, till a few days ago, that such an opinion as that spoken of by Mr. Horsman had been broached. Allow me to add, that in offering to dispose of my interest in this estate to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, my sole motive has been to promote objects of public benefit and improvement.In November, 1848, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners wrote to the Bishop of Gloucester to the following effect:—They consider the circumstance of their having entered into a contract to purchase my right of renewal in the Horfield estate (which, in the event of their belief in the existence of any such engagement or understanding, they would not have been justified in entertaining), was by them considered as sufficiently proving that there was no impression on their minds that any such engagement or understanding existed.He now came to the correspondence which the hon. Member for Cockermouth alluded to as having taken place between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the bishop; and he must say that when charges of this kind were brought forward, he thought hon. Gentlemen ought to be very careful in their statements. Now, the hon. Member for Cockermouth had made a mistake of no less than five years in the date of that correspondence, for he alluded to it as having taken place in 1842, while it really did not take place till 1847. The account the hon. Gentleman had given of this correspondence seemed to him so exceedingly confused, that he (Mr. Miles) could scarcely make out where the hon. Member had got his information. He found that the hon. Gentleman said—Under these circumstances, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were surprised at the commencement of 1848 by receiving a communication from the Bishop of Gloucester, stating his intention to renew the lease, and giving them the refusal of it for the sum of 11,500l. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners desired their secretary to write to the bishop, reminding him of the moral obligation he 921 was under not to renew the lease. The bishop answered that he knew nothing of moral obligations, that he had a legal right, and if the Commissioners did not choose to pay him 11,500l., he would renew the lease, and alienate the property from the Church.He (Mr. Miles) had the authority of the Bishop of Gloucester to repeat what the right rev. Prelate had already stated in his letter, that there was not one word of truth in that statement. The hon. Member for Cockermouth also said—Matters remained in this state until 1842, when the old life, Dr. Shadwell, was taken ill, and then it began to be rumoured abroad that the Bishop of Gloucester meant to renew the lease. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners were alarmed, and caused their secretary to write to the bishop, alluding to the rumour which had reached them, and expressing a hope that it was not correct. The bishop wrote a reply, in which he said that he felt insulted at the suspicion entertained of him, that if he were to renew the lease he would do something unbecoming a bishop, which would leave a lasting reproach on his family. The bishop's words printed in the report of Ecclesiastical Commission were—'I am sorry the Commissioners suspect me of acting so very,' and then a blank was left for a word, and the sentence concluded 'a part.'With regard to the word left blank in the letter, that merely arose from the manner in which the Society to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had chosen to print it. The real facts of the case appeared to be these:—In 1847 a negotiation was opened for the sale of the Horfield estate to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, through Mr. Murray and the bishop's secretary. Subsequently, an offer was made by the bishop himself to the Commissioners to sell the lease for 11,500l., but the negotiations on the subject were broken off, as had been already stated, in consequence of some legal technicalities. From that time to the death of Dr. Shadwell, it appeared that no measures were taken either by the Commissioners or the bishop to make any arrangement, and ultimately, on the death of Dr. Shadwell, the bishop leased the estate to his secretary. Great stress had been laid upon the statement that the lives of the bishop's three children were inserted in the lease; but the fact was that the lives wore those of the three Royal Princesses. Allusion had been made to the value of the Horfield estate; and to set that matter clearly before the House, he (Mr. Miles) would show them, on the authority of Mr. Clarke, the registrar, what was its exact value. Mr. Clarke said—The present income received from the Horfield property is as follows, namely—922
Gross rental of demesne lands. £327 3 0 Gross amount of rectorial rent-charge 191 10 0 [This amount is now reduced by the corn averages.] Lord's rents, &c. 26 13 3 £545 6 3The above is, you will observe, the gross amount, from which are to be deducted repairs (and as to the tithes, rates), costs of collection, and other usual deductions.Now, when the Bishop of Gloucester leased the Horfield estate to his secretary, he gave up a living he had held, in commendam, in Northamptonshire, of the value he (Mr. Miles) believed of between 700l. and 800l. a year, so that, so far as he was concerned, his income was diminished by the arrangement. This, it should be observed, was a copyhold estate. Hon. Gentlemen were no doubt aware of the difficult nature of copyhold tenure, and it was on account of those difficulties that the bishop was absolutely compelled himself to retain power over the lease, because he could not enfranchise the copyhold, nor could he give any title that would enable improvements which were most desirable to be effected. He (Mr. Miles) thought he could not do better than read the bishop's own statement of the reasons which had influenced him:—1. It was no fault of mine that the estate hung on such a tenure; nor, if the story of the lease being intentionally left unrenewed by my two predecessors had been as true as it is untrue, could that have been a tie upon me, unless the facts had been communicated; whereas the case was the very opposite. 2. When the estate came into my hands I could no longer make it available for settling a sum upon my diocese for the benefit of small livings. The law officers having cast a slur upon my title, no one would have purchased a contingent lawsuit. I therefore leased it for three lives to my own secretary, as a means of retaining in my own hands the lull and entire control and direction of all that should be done. They who condemn me for so doing are bound to state what I ought to have done. As far as I can see, there were only three possible courses open to me:—1. I might have left the property as it was, in hand, during my incumbency. 2. I might have leased it for twenty-one years. 3. I might lease it for three lives. Upon the first plan I must, have left the property in a state of progressive deterioration—have appeared regardless of my professed desire of amelioration; not a hovel would have been erected upon such a title as I could have given; enfranchisement, drainage, &c, would have been out of the question. In the second case, there would have been a still greater obstacle in the way of any good being effected. The tenure would have been too short for building—there would have been legal difficulties in the way of enfranchisement—the tenure of the lord-farmer being less than that of the copyholders, and the danger of a lawsuit would have prevented any one from purchasing 923 such an interest. Nothing could have been done to the estate till the term had completely expired. The only remaining course was that which I have adopted. It was the only method by which I could do any good to any interests. Whether my views were selfish or not, let the world judge. In the first place, I thought that the increase of income offered a fair opportunity for resigning a rectory which I held in commendam; which I did after a complete repair of the rectory house, which happened to be just then in progress. I immediately took measures for commuting the manorial rights into land, and procuring such a consolidation of the property as might render it available both for building and for agricultural occupation. Both these operations are in progress at a considerable expense. As the income I have sacrificed in consideration of Horfield is about the same in amount as the rental, it follows that the estate has proved to me a loss, and never can in my life be anything but a loss, and this I have encountered for the ultimate benefit of the estate of the Church.He (Mr. Miles) trusted that he had succeeded in exonerating the Bishop of Gloucester from any blame throughout these transactions. For his own part, he did not think any one could consider that the bishop had been actuated by sordid motives. He felt that it was unnecessary for him to pass any eulogium on the character of the right rev. Prelate, who was justly esteemed in his own diocese for his liberality and kindness. The subscriptions of the right rev. Prelate to charitable objects were as large—indeed, he (Mr. Miles) believed that, in proportion to his income, they were larger—than those of any bishop who had held the see. Although the hon. Member for Cockermouth had brought forward these charges in, he must say, rather harsh language, of that he (Mr. Miles) did not complain; but, in his opinion, and he hoped in that of every Member of the House, the right rev. Prelate—to use the language of the hon. Member for Cockermouth—might, notwithstanding all that had passed, "hold up his head in public as an honest man."
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, that it was impossible that the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. P. Miles) could have made this statement more fairly than he had done, or that he could have criticised his (Mr. Horsman's) conduct in a manner less discourteous to himself. He (Mr. Horsman) wished to say, however, in reply to the hon. Gentleman's statement, that this was not to be regarded as a question between the right rev. Prelate and himself. The charge he had made was not confined to the individual Prelate of whom he had spoken, but was one in which, as part of a system, other persons were largely 924 implicated. This question of the alienation of Church property by prelates of the Established Church was not new, nor was the instance he had cited a singular one; and if it were a true indictment against the Bishop of Gloucester that he had devastated the estates of the Church, there were others who would also be implicated by the verdict. He (Mr. Horsman) had spoken from the evidence laid upon the table of that House. He knew nothing of the circumstances independently of that evidence. He had spoken of a public question, as a public man, from that evidence which had been placed before the House. The hon. Member for Bristol had, however, made scarcely any allusion to that evidence. It was quite true, as stated by the hon. Gentleman, that when the present bishop succeeded to the see of Bristol, the estate rested on a single life. He (Mr. Horsman) might remind the House of what he had before stated, that the two prelates who were predecessors of the present bishop in the See of Bristol had refrained from renewing the lease of the Horfield estate. He had also stated that one of those prelates, Bishop Gray, had attempted to renew the lease when the lives first dropped, two having dropped in the same year, and that he, not being able to agree as to the terms, gave up the idea of renewing some time before his death, saying that, rather than take an inadequate fine, he would allow the estate to lapse to his successor. He (Mr. Horsman) had also stated, that Lord Melbourne was acquainted with the circumstances on which this estate thus fell by Bishop Allen. He (Mr. Horsman) must now ask the House to allow him to refer to the evidence upon which he had spoken. He spoke first upon the evidence of Mr. Richards, who had been for twenty years the perpetual curate of Horfield, and whose statements had not been alluded to elsewhere. Mr. Richards appeared before the Committee; he was well acquainted both with Bishop Gray and Bishop Allen, and he said he knew all the circumstances connected with the estate of Horfield during their lives. Mr. Richards said—I had a great number of conversations with him (Bishop Gray), and I furnished him with a good many particulars of that property at that time; he used to talk to me a good deal about it at different times. First of all he asked 10,000l. for it. There was a doubt whether the copyholds had not been forfeited, and in that case they would have come into hand, and that made him ask rather more.925Did the attempt to renew break off in consequence of the parties not giving that sum?—Yes.Was he in treaty for the renewal of that lease up to the time of his death?—No, he was not.Had he given up all idea of renewing at that time?—Yes; he stated to me that he should not take the sum that had been offered, or anything like it; that he would rather it should go to the see after his death; that the see should have the benefit rather than his family, by receiving that small sum which he would get for it.At the time of Bishop Gray's death, you can state from conversation with himself, that he had given up the idea of renewal?—Yes; he had given it up some time before his death.Now, that statement might be correct or not, but it was the precise statement which he (Mr. Horsman) made the other night; and let it be observed that this was the evidence of a gentleman who had, perhaps, better opportunities than any other person of knowing what Bishop Gray's intentions were. From a letter written to Mr. Richards by Bishop Gray's son, he obtained this confirmation of that evidence:—You were quite right in denying, before the Committee of the House of Commons, that the non-renewal of the Horfield lease by my late father, when Bishop of Bristol, was attributable to his sudden removal by death. His last illness was protracted, having lasted upwards of a twelvemonth, and its probable termination was foreseen by his family for some time before his death. Negotiations for a renewal had been going on, I think I may safely say, not less than three years before that event (I speak, however, from memory), at an early stage of which it was estimated that the then lessee (Dr. Shadwell) was prepared to pay the same fine as upon the last renewal. At a later stage some months before my father's death, a larger sum (either 5,000l. or 6,000l.) was offered as a fine for the renewal of the lease. On both occasions the fine was refused as inadequate. Upon either, my father might have renewed the lease, had he been so minded. He was, however, as you know, not the man to do dirty work by enriching his family at the expense of his successors.They had thus the statement of Mr. Richards, corroborated by that of Mr. Gray, and he would ask the House to observe that Mr. Richards was a clergyman of that party in the Church which was disposed to deal tenderly with the character and acts of bishops. Mr. Richards was an admirer of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), and of the Church principles of which he had been so able an exponent, and went to Oxford at the last election to give a plumper for the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. P. Miles) had not alluded to the evidence to which he might have alluded, taken before the Church Leases Committee, and which was strongly in favour of his view of the case. But the hon. Mem- 926 ber was not the only defender and champion of the Bishop of Gloucester; the case of the bishop had been stated "elsewhere" if not more ably, certainly a great deal more artistically than the hon. Member had thought himself justified in stating it. If the evidence which he (Mr. Horsman) had quoted was at all to be upset, he thought the House would agree that the evidence which had been adduced in "another place" to upset it, was likely to be the strongest for that purpose, and to be put forward in the most skilful manner; it certainly seemed to have created the strongest impression. But let the House hear the evidence of Mr. Vincent Stuckey before the Church Leases Committee of 1838; the gentleman whose evidence had been brought forward to show that his (Mr. Horsman's) statement about Bishop Gray was unfounded. A right rev. Prelate elsewhere (the Bishop of Oxford) said, "Now, I will give you two witnesses of undoubted character and unimpeachable veracity;" and the first was Mr. Stuckey. But before passing to Mr. Stuckey, let the House hear Mr. Richards's evidence:—Do you know whether, by Bishop Allen, anything was done in the way of renewal?—When Bishop Gray died, I wrote to Lord Melbourne, who was Prime Minister, and told him I could make a communication to him which would be of great benefit to the see, if my name did not appear to any future bishop.; and his Lordship replied, that any information I gave him should be considered private. I then stated to him that the lease had not been renewed by Bishop Gray, for the reason that his family should not receive the benefit of so small a sum as had been offered; that he would rather the see should have the benefit instead. After Bishop Allen was appointed, when I was dining with him, he referred a good deal to the Horfield property, I being the only resident gentleman there, and at last I said, 'I think Lord Melbourne has not behaved very honourably in communicating my letter to you?' and he said, 'I did not say it was your letter; it was the letter of some one; the name was taken off; my name was taken to Bishop Allen by Lord Hotham.What did that letter of yours suggest?—That before the bishopric was given to another party a stipulation should be made with him that the property should fall into the see, in order that the see might have the benefit of it instead of the individual; for the income of the see was small, and it was thought that by that property falling into it, it would make a greater amount.Was that at the time the union of the two sees was contemplated?—No, long before that.The contents of the letter which you wrote were shown to Bishop Allen?—Yes.Have you reason to suppose that your suggestion had been laid before him, with the view of its being acted upon?—I do not know whether it was or not, but I know that there was 927 no attempt at a renewal during Bishop Allen's time.Was there anything in the mode of Bishop Allen's communicating to you what had passed which led you to infer that it had been pressed upon him?—He did not seem quite pleased about it; and we were not on the best terms about it.Did not that, coupled with the fact of there being no attempt at renewal during Bishop Allen's time, lead you to infer that your suggestion had been approved and adopted by Lord Melbourne?—Yes.You are quite certain that, during his time, there was no attempt at renewal?—There was no attempt, I think; and I think Dr. Shadwell would have communicated it to me if there had been.That was the evidence upon which he (Mr. Horsman) made his statement respecting Bishop Allen. No doubt it was circumstantial evidence; there was no positive proof that Bishop Allen had been pledged by Lord Melbourne not to renew, but there was very strong circumstantial proof. But that was not the only proof; there was a letter of Bishop Allen himself upon the subject:—As I was prepared, if my opinion had been asked by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to have recommended the Horfield property, in the diocese of Bristol, to be assigned over to the Commissioners for the building of a palace, and for other purposes under the Act, before a new bishop was appointed, so in my own case I can have no objection to the St. Alban's property of the see of Ely, which is nearly similarly circumstanced as to the age of the remaining life and life tenure of the leases to the Horfield property, being transferred to the Commissioners, it being my decided opinion that neither of these leases should be renewed for lives, and that upon their expiration the fines for the full terms of twenty-one years should he at the disposal of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for general purposes.It was upon this evidence—the testimony of Mr. Richards, the recorded opinion of Bishop Allen, and his act in accordance with it—that he (Mr. Horsman) made his statement avowing that he did so upon evidence on the table of the House. How was this met? No portion of this evidence had been referred to by the hon. Member (Mr. P. Miles); but in another place it had been stated, "Here are witnesses of unimpeachable veracity, by whom this evidence is to be set aside." The first witness was Mr. Vincent Stuckey; and the right rev. Prelate quoted Mr. Stuckey as saying, "The two late bishops (Gray and Allen) refused to renew because the lessee refused to give the fine asked." If any Gentleman would turn to the evidence, he would find that Mr. Stuckey's answer, when he was examined, was, "I understand the two late bishops refused to renew, because the lessee refused to give 928 the fine they asked." Now, the House would observe, that the two witnesses whom he had quoted, who spoke strongly upon the subject, and whose evidence it was sought to set aside by that of another person, had the same opportunities of knowing the particulars of these transactions as this other witness; that their evidence was given under circumstances quite as favourable to the truth, and that they spoke positively on the point. But what said Mr. Stuckey? Here are his several answers:—What I state comes not from my own knowledge, but what I learn from others." "The manor is held for one life, as I understand.Does he grant it out for leases on lives?—So I understand." "The present bishop will not take the offer of renewal, as I understand.The present bishop has refused to renew?—I understand the two late bishops refused to renew because the House refused to give the fine they asked.Mr. Stuckey gave his answers cautiously, and took pains to show that he knew nothing himself of the matter. However, he was adduced as a witness of unimpeachable veracity, knowing the circumstances of the case. Immediately afterwards, in the same speech, the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford) having now enlisted the sympathies of his audience against the statements unfavourable to the bishop, proceeded to enlist them against the party by whom the bishop considered himself aggrieved, and he read this part of the Bishop of Gloucester's letter to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners:—I learn that a report of my intention to re-grant this lease for lives, as heretofore, has been several times matter of conversation at the board, and has been spoken of in terms of condemnation. Of the existence of the report I was aware, as well as of its origin; the authority being certain printed evidence given before the Ecclesiastical Leases Committee of the House of Commons some years ago, by a land surveyor of this neighbourhood, who stated that he understood such to be the intention of the bishop. [This person, to whom I never spoke, is notorious for his unfriendliness to the Church and Churchmen.] His assertion, as coming from an individual who could know nothing about me, I treated like a newspaper report, with silent contempt. To have noticed it publicly at the time would have been thought by some presumptuous, by others ridiculous.Now, who was the party here referred to? Why, this very Mr. Stuckey, [Mr. P. MILES: No, no! Mr. Sturge.] Well then, if it was Mr. Sturge, his complaint of the right rev. Prelate's suppression applied equally to him; for Mr. Sturge was the other witness of unimpeachable veracity whom the Bishop of Oxford adduced against Mr. Richards, omitting, 929 however, to give the Bishop of Gloucester's own character of Mr. Sturge. But Mr. Sturge himself did not pretend to be able to speak with much knowledge on the subject; and his evidence was given twelve years ago with reference to a different inquiry. But if Mr. Sturge's evidence was so strong, and he was to be so much relied on as a witness, his testimony might at least have been quoted in his own language. He said, "I know there was a negotiation between the late Bishop of Bristol and the present holder, the lessee." Now, it was impossible to come to the conclusion that by the late bishop was meant Bishop Allen, for at the time this evidence was given before the Church Leases Commission, that prelate was living, and was Bishop of Ely; and had he therefore been meant, the witness would have said "the last bishop," or "the present Bishop of Ely." He undoubtedly meant Bishop Gray, who had then only been dead three or four years; and so read, the evidence coincided exactly with the evidence of other parties with respect to what took place under the episcopacy of that prelate. But the right rev. Prelate, reading that evidence in "another place," read it thus: "I know there was a negotiation between the late Bishop of Bristol (Bishop Allen) and the present holder, the lessee;" the words "Bishop Allen" being inserted by the right rev. Prelate himself, and not being in Mr. Sturge's answer. But there was another piece of evidence brought forward—the statement of the Bishop of Gloucester himself. He said he had had conversations with Bishop Allen, and that Bishop Allen told him he was at liberty to renew. He (Mr. Horsman) could only say, as to that, that we had positive evidence of witnesses who were in communication with Bishop Allen, and we had his own letter on record; and, without at all questioning the veracity of the Bishop of Gloucester, he preferred the recorded evidence of one bishop, supported by his acts, to the recollection of another some years afterwards. Now he (Mr. Horsman) admitted that when the Bishop of Gloucester was appointed to the united sees of Gloucester and Bristol, he had a legal right to renew the lease of the Horfield estate, and that he was under no pledge of non-renewal. The matter appeared so well understood that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners did not consider it necessary to have any pledge whatever. He would come now to the correspondence which he 930 (Mr. Horsman) was stated erroneously to have said commenced in 1842, and the existence of which was denied; and the hon. Member (Mr. P. Miles) said that his (Mr. Horsman's) statement was extremely confused, and it was impossible to make out what he meant. His statement was a very plain one, and the evidence in all material points bore it out amply. He stated that in 1842 there were rumours that the Bishop of Gloucester intended to renew the lease; that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were alarmed; that they had desired their secretary to represent to the bishop the moral obligation he was under not to renew; and that the bishop wrote a letter, in which he stated what would be the opinion he should entertain of himself, or the world would entertain of him, if he were to renew. Now he admitted there was this inaccuracy, that he had spoken as if the first communication made was from the Secretary to the Ecclesiastical Commission to the Bishop, whereas between 1842 and 1847 there were two rumours, and the communication in 1842 was made at the instance of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but was not made by the secretary. That rumour died away, but when it was revived in 1846 a communication was made to the bishop by the secretary. So that he (Mr. Horsman) must admit he made an omission in regard to date, in not stating that there were two rumours, but he maintained that there was no omission affecting the morality of the affair. Mr. Murray, the Secretary to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, stated—About the close of 1842, or the beginning of 1843, a rumour reached the Commissioners that Dr. Shadwell, the remaining life in the lease, was in danger, and that it was understood that, upon his death, either a new lease for lives would be granted, or a lease for the benefit of the bishop's family. This rumour became the subject of anxious conversation at a private meeting of some of the Commissioners, and it was agreed that one of the party should write frankly and confidentially to the bishop. This I understand to have been done; the letter being that referred to in a letter from the bishop, dated 9th February, 1847, to which I shall have occasion more particularly to allude.[Mr. MILES: That was in 1842.] At the close of 1842, or beginning of 1843. That bore out the first part of his statement. He had indeed omitted to refer to the communication which was made to the bishop at the instance of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by one of their body, because neither his letter nor the reply of the bishop were in evidence; and, besides, this 931 was a matter of detail which did not appear to hear materially upon the merits of the case. Mr. Murray continued:—Dr. Shadwell's health rallied, and nothing further of importance occurred till the close of 1846, when the Commissioners, finding themselves possessed of sufficient information respecting the revenues of the united sees, determined to pass a scheme for settling its condition upon the next vacancy. Upon this occasion the circumstances of the Horfield estate were again considered, and, inasmuch as it had not come into the calculation as producing anything to the see beyond the small reserved rent, the Commissioners felt themselves at liberty to treat it as further surplus; and they accordingly determined that, at the next vacancy, it should be transferred from the see to themselves, for the purpose of the Episcopal Act; and the Order in Council for effecting this passed in June, 1847. In the meantime, after the decision of the commissioners, but before it was formally ratified, namely, in February, 1847, it was reported that Dr. Shadwell's life was again in imminent danger; and as the rumour was again accompanied by an expression of belief that the bishop was contemplating the grant of a new beneficial lease, the commissioners authorised me to confer with the bishop, either directly or through his secretary, with a view to some arrangement for commuting the bishop's interest, and so obtaining immediate possession of the property, subject only to the subsisting lease. I lost no time in conferring with Mr. Holt, of Gloucester, on whose discretion, as the secretary and confidential adviser of the bishop, I fully relied. I communicated to him the hope of the commissioners that the bishop would abstain from granting a fresh lease for lives, and my conviction of the disappointment which would arise from an opposite course; and we separated with an understanding that Mr. Holt should immediately communicate with the bishop, and endeavour to impress upon him the importance of making some arragement which should recognise the peculiar obligation supposed to attach upon his possession of this estate.That was the letter to which he (Mr. Hors-man) alluded as having been written by the direction of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, upon the rumour reaching them of the illness of Dr. Shadwell, and the intention of the Bishop of Gloucester to renew the lease. Mr. Murray afterwards (questions 1,708–21) stated that there was an understanding with the board that there would be no renewal on the part of the bishop, and that he was authorised to say so to him. At question 2,299 he said that by "the peculiar obligations" to which he alluded, he meant moral obligations. He now came to a part of this evidence which had been strangely overlooked by every party who had set up anything like a vindication for the Bishop of Gloucester. The bishop himself, in his letter, positively denied that he gave any answer like that which he (Mr. Horsman) had attributed to him; 932 and the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. P. Miles) said that he was extremely inaccurate in saying that there was a letter written in 1842, when, in reality, it was written in 1847. The hon. Gentleman had not, however, alluded to the bishop's letter, or to the defence for him which had been made elsewhere, and by which every one would be led to suppose that the statement that there was a letter of the bishop in reply was a fiction from beginning to end. Now, what was the description which he gave of that letter in his former speech? Why, that the bishop said he felt insulted by the suspicion that he was about to do what the rumour had attributed to him; that he said that if he did so, he should be acting in a manner unbecoming a bishop, and that he should leave a reproach to his family. He further stated that upon that letter the Ecclesiastical Commissioners desired their secretary to write to tell him that they had felt very much reassured by his letter, and that they were sorry that they had hurt his feelings. Now, with respect to that letter it had been said by a right rev. Prelate in another place—The idea that this reply was a genuine document had produced an impression very injurious to the character of his right rev. Friend. But what would their Lordships think of it, when he informed them that no communication of any kind whatever passed in the year 1842, and in the five subsequent years, between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and their secretary on the one hand, and the Bishop of Gloucester and his secretary on the other? In the year 1847 a new scheme was carried out as to the charges to be imposed on the different bishoprics, and among others on the bishopric of Gloucester and Bristol. It was made to appear to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners that a larger charge should be imposed on that bishopric than that which had hitherto been paid. They drew up a scheme accordingly, and placed on the bishopric a larger charge; and they determined to transfer to themselves, on the next avoidance of the see, the Horfield Manor estate, which, by reason of its having so long rested on a single life in the lease, had not entered until then into the calculations of the Commissioners. This was intimated to his right rev. Friend; and he, thinking it was unfair, not so much to himself as to his successor in the see, entered into communication with the Commissioners on the subject. This communication in 1847 was carried on between the solicitor of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on the one side, and the solicitor of the Bishop of Gloucester on the other. No hint was given on either side that a moral obligation was involved in the transaction.Now, let the House observe the ingenuity of that statement. By the statement that no letter was written by the secretary to 933 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1842, people were led to infer that no letter was written at all in 1842, the letter of the individual bishop, writing frankly and confidentially, being altogether omitted. Then, by stating that the communications were between the solicitors in 1847, and that between them there was no mention of moral obligation, it was left to be inferred that no mention of moral obligation was made in 1847 by any one; and then, it being said that it was these representations which made people believe there was a genuine letter from the bishop, the audience would be led to infer that there was no genuine letter in existence from the bishop at all. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Oh, no!] Surely, if the right rev. Prelate who said that he was desired by the Bishop of Gloucester to state his case for him, knowing that he was addressing an audience which had not the evidence before them, and could not judge of it in the slightest degree except from his statement, gave such a colour as he had described to that statement, he was entitled to say that if the case had been strong, it would have spoken for itself, a plain, unvarnished tale; but that if it needed the hand of an artist to give it a colour, it was evident that its advocate felt it to be somewhat defective. Now, the letter which was written by the Bishop of Gloucester, and which had not been referred to either by the hon. Member (Mr. P. Miles), or the right rev. Prelate in another place, contained the whole case on which he had grounded his statement. He admitted, as he had already said, that when the bishop succeeded to the see, there was no pledge or stipulation of any kind given by him, and that up to 1847 there was no proof of any understanding, or of any moral obligation admitted or acknowledged on his part, or on that of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. But now the secretary was desired by the Commissioners to write to him, telling him that they felt that there was a moral obligation on him not to renew, and that a rumour had reached them respecting his intention, which had given them much pain and anxiety. The bishop said in his letter to the rural deans, "I unbosomed myself without reserve to the Commissioners." Here was the unbosoming. The authority to Mr. Murray to communicate to the bishop was given on the 3rd of February; the letter was written on the 9th. This was in 1847. The letter was in answer to the communication in 934 which Mr. Murray stated that there were "peculiar," by which he meant "moral" obligations,I am called upon to address the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on the matter of a conversation which took place last Friday, by their desire, between Mr. Murray and Mr. Holt, my secretary, as to my intentions in case the lease of Horfield Manor should fall during my incumbency. I learn that a report of my intention to re-grant this lease for lives as heretofore, has been several times matter of conversation at the board, and has been spoken of in terms of condemnation. Of the existence of the report I was aware, as well as of its origin; the authority being certain printed evidence given before the Ecclesiastical Leases Committee of the House of Commons some years ago, by a land surveyor of this neighbourhood, who stated that he understood such to be the intention of the bishop. His assertion, as coming from an individual who could know nothing about me, I treated, like a newspaper report, with silent contempt. To have noticed it publicly at the time would have been thought by some presumptuous, by others ridiculous. However, the manner in which I spoke of this evidence in conversation, is at least a proof that I did not meditate acting the very "—[then there was a large dash in the evidence]—"part which he had assigned me.The hon. Member had said there should be accuracy in quotation, and that the published report of Mr. Murray's evidence should be taken. He (Mr. Horsman) was quoting from the blue book; the hon. Gentleman opposite had another document in his hand, perhaps the bishop's letter to the rural deans. [Mr. P. MILES: Yes!] Well, that was a private letter, marked on the title page "Not published." Mr. Murray's evidence in the blue hook was corrected by himself, laid on the table of that House, and published. Besides, let any man able to criticise the English language, any master of composition, or at all acquainted with it, say whether he could make sense of the sentence thus:—"I did not meditate playing the very part which he assigned me?" It would not have been English. And this from such a scholar as the Bishop of Gloucester! However, the context would explain the bishop's meaning. He was unbosoming himself, without reserve, to the Commissioners. He had been extremely reserved throughout these proceedings, both with regard to his estates and his charities; but when that reserve was once broken through, when the floodgates were once overflowed, the tide was not easily dammed up again. That there might be no mistake, he proceeded:—I am certainly hurt that among persons of the station of the Commissioners I should be sus- 935 pected of knowingly doing any thing which was either wrong in itself, or disparaging to the character of a bishop. Had I been actuated by selfishness or rapacity, the occasion of this discussion would probably never have occurred. It is painful to speak of oneself, but it is known in my diocese that I have made several large sacrifices of my private interest to public advantage, which ought to have saved me from such suspicions. Next to the mens conscia recti, I esteem a good reputation the most precious of worldly possessions; and while I have the common feelings of mankind in regard to a provision for my family, I should abhor the idea of bequeathing to them any thing which carried along with it a particle of reproach.Were not these the very expressions which he (Mr. Horsman) quoted as being contained in that letter of the Bishop of Gloucester? What was it that would he derogatory to his character, and fixing reproach upon his family? Why, Mr. Murray stated it specifically. He said the rumour and the suspicion he was directed to convey was, that a new lease for lives would be granted, or a lease for the benefit of the bishop's family; that it was by the suspicion of which the bishop was hurt, and which, if true, would be disparaging to the character of the bishop, and would leave behind a reproach on his family. Now, what was Mr. Murray's own comment on this evidence? He says—It appears from this letter, that the bishop himself felt that there were some peculiarities in the case of Horfield which distinguished it from the other life leaseholds of the see. He treats the report of his intention to re-grant the lease for lives, as heretofore, as a calumny. The Commissioners were reassured by this letter as to his intentions. Letters were written for the purpose of explanation to the bishop, to satisfy his mind that nothing painful towards him was intended by the Commissioners.Why did the bishop think that such a calumny, so disparaging to his character, so reproachful to his memory, unless his doing what was referred to would be doing something he believed improper? A person was not affected by the suspicion of doing that which he felt there was nothing wrong in his doing. On the contrary, throughout the whole letter there were indicated the feelings of a man who admitted he was under that obligation to the Commissioners which he knew he was under, and believed that if he were violating that obligation he would be incurring disgrace. One word with respect to that letter, and the erasure which he (Mr. Horsman) was so often accused of having invented. The evidence he had quoted respecting the term, the epithet, supposed to have been left out, was the evidence of Mr. Murray, 936 given before a Committee of the House of Commons. Mr. Murray had charge of the records of the Commission; he had the letter in his hand—he quoted from that letter; Ecclesiastical Commissioners were present; there were four Ecclesiastical Commissioners members of the Committee. Mr. Murray was cross-examined by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), an Ecclesiastical Commissioner. The bishop himself complained that Mr. Murray was permitted to correct his evidence after it was in type. There was no carelessness, therefore, and no concealment from the bishop. Yet, at the end of three years, when he (Mr. Horsman) quoted that evidence, the Bishops of Gloucester and of Oxford came forward and said boldly that it was on his part an embellishment and a fiction, and that nothing whatever existed to justify him in making his statement. Hon. Members could refer to the book and satisfy themselves of the accuracy of what he had stated. [Mr. P. MILES: It quite justifies your remark.] He was obliged to the hon. Member for the admission. It might have been alleged that he had been misled by the evidence; but that was not the charge which had been made against him. The Bishop of Gloucester himself knew that the evidence had been given, and had the power of being examined before that Committee, as other members of the episcopal bench were; every possible opportunity there was—every possible motive to actuate the Bishop of Gloucester in coming forward and contradicting what had been stated by the confidential officer of the Commission; and yet up to the present time they were uncontradicted by any public document whatever. And now what hon. Members learned was, that the Bishop of Gloucester did contradict the statement in a private letter—in a letter which had not been published. "Oh," said the Bishop of Gloucester, "Mr. Murray was the evil genius of the Commission." His (Mr. Horsman's) opinion rather was that the Commission was the evil genius of Mr. Murray. Mr. Murray entered the service of that Commission a man of good character. He was demoralised and debauched by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who placed temptations in his way to which he owed his ruin. Mr. Murray, when he gave his evidence, was the Ecclesiastical Commissioners' own witness, holding his office for life; he was their confidential agent, their pet; his interests were 937 identified with them; he was put forward, not to disclose, but to conceal; he withheld a great deal more than he disclosed; he was a most reluctant witness; the eliciting of every fact was like drawing one of his teeth. The testimony was not his oral testimony, but he spoke from letters; and it would hardly do to say that Mr. Murray was not a credible witness, and, above all, that he was the evil genius of the Commission. He (Mr. Horsman) now wished to direct the attention of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), who would probably take part with his usual ability in the discussion, to this letter of the Bishop of Gloucester. If the right hon. Gentleman could reconcile that letter with the subsequent proceedings—if he could show that after writing that letter there was no acknowledgment of moral obligation either put by the Commission or assented to by the Bishop of Gloucester—he (Mr. Horsman) might hold himself in error; but, notwithstanding all his confidence in the abilities of the right hon. Gentleman, he had still more confidence in his conscientiousness, and he thought it impossible that he could ac-accomplish so difficult a task. He (Mr. Horsman) would admit an inadvertence in his former statement, if it were in any respect material; he had left it to be inferred that the letter was written in 1842 instead of 1847. But the question did not turn on the mere fact of the letter being written in one year or another. Was the letter, whether written in 1842 or 1847 irreconcilable with the subsequent proceedings? That was the question. He came now to 1848. The Bishop of Gloucester in that year made an offer of the lease of Horfield to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, stating that there was another party who was willing to renew the lease if they did not buy his interest. The Commissioners referred his offer to a Committee, which was presided over, as the bishop said, "by Sir James Graham, who was not likely to perpetrate a job." Well, he certainly rather admired the way in which public opinion was acting on our prelates, for a few years ago, if he had wished to show the public that it was impossible that a job should be perpetrated, he would have said the Archbishop of Canterbury was in the chair, and that was the security; or the Bishop of London was in the chair, and he would not perpetrate a job. But no; the right rev. Prelate said the right hon. Member for Ripon 938 was in the chair, and that was the security against the perpetration of a job. He did indeed himself so far agree with the right rev. Prelate, that he thought the fact of the right hon. Gentleman being in the chair on that occasion was a greater security against the perpetration of a job, than the presence of the whole bench of bishops would have been. He made them a present of all the value of that admission. Subsequently, on the 7th of July, there was another meeting of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and it was stated that the Bishop of Gloucester had offered his interest on the most liberal terms; and the Commission passed a resolution in which it was stated that the bishop was under no obligation, legal or equitable, to deal with the Horfield estates otherwise than any other estate of his see. He (Mr. Horsman) admitted that he was under neither a legal nor equitable obligation, according to the lawyers' term; but the Ecclesiastical Commission did not say that he was under no moral obligation. It was said the right hon. Gentleman of whom he had spoken as Chairman of the Committee assented to the transaction being carried out. He (Mr. Horsman) not only admitted that the right hon. Gentleman assented, but believed he was urgent; because, having been himself in communication with the Attorney General, and having asked that the passing of the Order in Council should be postponed, he recollected the Attorney General stated he must do his duty, because there were parties on the other side wishing, on the part of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, to press forward. He was not appalled even when the right hon. Member for Ripon was cited as favourable to this transaction, because there were two stories told as to the motives which actuated the Commissioners. One party said they agreed to this transaction as being a very liberal one on the part of the right rev. Prelate; but Mr. Murray suggested a very different view of the matter, or rather stated a very different motive which actuated the Commissioners. Mr. Murray said, assuming the bishop's full legal right to lease for lives, and it now appearing clearly that the bishop intended to act on that right, the Commissioners, in order to save the property from a further long and indefinite alienation, consented to the terms. He (Mr. Horsman) could conceive the right hon. Gentleman, who was himself in the 939 chair on the occasion, feeling himself quite justified in sanctioning a transaction which he thought not desirable, as the only way of avoiding another transaction which he thought more objectionable still. He could appreciate the motives that actuated the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He said the other night he thought they acted on right motives, but most improperly. The transaction was one that was stopped by the Government, and censured both in that House and out of it. What he stated the other night was stated in the presence of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners—the statement was made in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn), from whom he had expected some explanation in that House. He knew that after the statement was made, the right hon. Gentleman must have been asked whether it was correct or not; but the right hon. Gentleman had declined to say anything in the smallest degree implying a doubt of that statement. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) was present on the occasion, and they might have expected to receive an explanation from him without any appeal from Members of that House. Both the right hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. P. Miles) were Members of the Ecclesiastical Commission; and Gentlemen in their position, and with their responsibility, could not sit still while charges were made so unfounded as they were described to be. Not only were all the statements uncontradicted for three years, but the statements made by him (Mr. Horsman) were uncontradicted for a fortnight though it was obvious that after the statement had been Made, Gentlemen on both sides of the House must have referred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners present to know if the statements were correct. But what was the fact? The hon. Member for Bristol having given notice of a Motion declined to proceed. The matter was brought forward in another place, it being obvious, undeniable, impossible to resist the conclusion, that no answer was attempted in this House, because Gentlemen holding the highest position there, who knew all the circumstances, would not lend themselves to an attempt to vindicate the Bishop of Gloucester in proceedings which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners could not have justified. There was another point to which he wished to call attention. The 940 Bishop of Gloucester had offered his interest to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for 11,500l., and one justification urged for his doing so was, that he had lost 5,000l., the amount of a loan given to the College of Bristol, which, being a bad debt, might not be repaid. What was the financial condition of the see of Bristol at the time? In the very appointment of the Bishop of Gloucester, in the very arrangement made at the time the sees were united'—if he (Mr. Horsman) might use the expression without offence—there was a job. The Act by which the sees were united received the Royal Assent in August, 1836. The Order in Council to unite the sees was adopted in October, 1836. An Act of Parliament had previously passed on the subject of commendams., The bishop was to receive the temporalities of both sees. The question was whether he should keep his commendams. The see of Gloucester was estimated by Bishop Gray at 2,270l. a year. The see of Bristol was estimated by the Bishop of Gloucester, when he succeeded to the united Bees, at 925l., and he returned 3,125l. as his probable future yearly income. He stipulated, therefore, to keep his commendams, notwithstanding the 6th and 7th William IV., cap 77, sec. 17. The income of the united sees was fixed at 5,000l. a year. If the bishop's income amounted to 5,000l. a year, he ought not, by his own admission, to hold his commendams; but he made out that he had not an income of 5,000l. a year. He had a palace built, at a cost of 23,000l. He complained subsequently that he had two episcopal residences to keep up, and he asked for the house attached to his canonry as a London residence. The average income in fourteen years had been 7,282l. a year: and in 1838 alone, this Prelate, whose loss of 5,000l. justified him in selling his interest in Horfield, appeared from his own return to have received an income of no less than 11,107l. He had in fourteen years, from episcopal sources alone, 34,000l. over the sum he said he should receive. He (Mr. Horsman) said, the other night, that he thought the Commissioners were wrong in making no stipulation as to Horfield, and in allowing the bishop to retain the commendams; but what was most wrong was, that when they found him determined to renew the lease unless they bought his interest, they did not avail themselves of a clause in the Order in Council investing him with the 941 temporalities of the see of Bristol, by which was reserved to the Commissioners the power of reconsidering anything that Order provided. They were justified in saying, "If you renew that lease, we shall review this Order in Council." He (Mr. Horsman) now came to the last point. That which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners anticipated with alarm had been accomplished. The bishop had renewed for three lives. On a former occasion, he (Mr. Horsman) had stated his belief that the bishop had renewed on lives in his own family. He had the report of his speech, as given in the Times, and he was there reported to have stated "as he was informed." There was a great mystery in the transaction, and he had tried to get the best information. But it was some comfort to know that, when inaccurate, he was not so on the side of injustice. The hon. Member (Mr. P. Miles) had told the House what were the lives. They were the lives of three infant children of the Royal Family. The bishop had taken lives from a family which was notoriously one of the longest lived in this country, thus associating the Royal Family and the Queen of England, the head of the Church, with a transaction most injurious to the Church. That, he thought, was not the least unhappy or least discreditable feature which marked the whole transaction. The Bishop of Gloucester, as far he could, had taken to himself legal possession of the estate for three lives; but he doubted whether the title would be legal after the death of the bishop, an Order in Council having been passed limiting his interest to his own life; and it might be doubted, if after that the bishop had power to grant this lease for three lives. As to the morality of the transaction, he would let it rest on the bishop's own statement, in a letter addressed by him to the rural deans. Let the House see the equivalent which the Bishop of Gloucester was said to have given in return. The case stood thus:—The Bishop of Gloucester gave up 500l. a year for the life of a prelate who was about sixty-eight years of age, and had taken in return immediate possession of 545l. a year for three lives, and also for those three lives, full possession of an estate, subject to the interest of the copyholders, producing a rack-rent of 3,000l. a year; but before those three lives fell in, buildings might be erected on it to the value of 30,000l. That was the equivalent given by the bishop: 500l. a year for an 942 estate yielding at once 545l., and an accruing and advantageous lease for three lives, whereby the estate was placed absolutely at his disposal, and secured to his family. What was the value of the interest of the Bishop of Gloucester in this estate for three lives? Mr. Finlayson said—It is easy to propose three lives on whose existence a lease is of the same value very nearly as a lease for a term of 72½ years."—"It is quite evident that, if the owner of an estate is able to dispose of it so as to grant away from his heirs more than 94 per cent of the whole inheritance (which is the case where a lease on the three lives before-mentioned is granted), the heirs may be said to be nearly altogether denuded of their inheritance."—"The first conclusion which presents itself, therefore, to the mind of the inquirer is, that the power conferred on a tenant for life to grant leases on three lives is a power which amounts very nearly to the faculty of extinguishing the expectations of the heir.The bishop, he believed, was enfranchising the estate, by entering into arrangements with the copyholders; but here was a most valuable estate of the Church alienated from the Church for three lives. It was said the Bishop of Gloucester had benevolent intentions with reference to this estate. Supposing he died intestate; for three lives the estate would be absolutely the property of his heirs. It might be said there was a moral obligation on them to give it up. But would they not be in the same position as the bishop? Had they not legal rights? As there was a sort of necessity alleged for the bishop acting as he had done, so there might be a necessity on their part of keeping the estate from regard to the memory of their parent. Men sometimes changed their minds; and episcopal minds were as changeable as others. Supposing the bishop changed his mind. After the case made out for him by a right rev. Brother of his, who had put his act on so high and strong ground, he might feel to have good right to keep the estate. Or suppose the lessee chose to resist, what course would the Bishop of Gloucester take? He might go to the Court of Chancery. He believed that under the Common law the bishop's interest in this estate was not recognised; but in the Court of Chancery the bishop might have redress. Or suppose the lessee chose to follow the example of Mr. Murray, and levant—what could be done? On the one side, the bishop could not assert his interest without the intervention of the lessee; and, on the other, if the lessee chose to leave the 943 country and his ownership, the power given to him by the lease would be a very great detriment to the see. But they were told that what the bishop had done he had a perfectly legal right to do. He admitted it; but the more shame to our legislators. It was because the legislation of the Church had been left to the bishops of the Church, that such legal power was possessed. But though the Bishop of Gloucester might have a legal right to this estate, he had violated a moral obligation by his proceeding. Take the analogy of a Court of Law. Take the case of a trustee of any charity. It was notorious that such a trustee could not lease to himself any of the charity estates, nor to a co-trustee. What he could not do directly, he could not do indirectly. The lease to his secretary, therefore, would be void; and even in this case there was a suspicion attaching to it, because the Bishop of Gloucester could not grant a lease to himself, and he was obliged to do it indirectly, and avail himself of the power that was left to him enabling him so to do it. But Church lands stood in a different position from charity lands. The Legislature seemed at first to have thought the sacred character of the bishops was a sufficient guarantee that the property of the Church would not be alienated; but subsequently, when it was found that Church property was alienated, and that the Church was thereby injured, various laws were passed to restrain and limit the power of the bishops. The preamble of the statute of the 13th Elizabeth showed exactly what were the intentions of the Legislature at that time, what abuses were complained of, and what matters were intended to be remedied. The preamble ran thus:—And for that long and unreasonable leases made by colleges, deans and chapters, parsons, vicars and others having spiritual promotions, be the chiefest cause of the dilapidations and the decay of all spiritual livings and hospitality, and the utter impoverishing of all successors incumbents in the same; Be it enacted," &c. &c.By that Act ecclesiastical dignitaries were not allowed to lease estates beyond three lives or twenty-one years. Those restrictions were not sufficient, and in 1836 an Act was passed restoring more fully the fiduciary character of the bishops. The Legislature then gave to our prelates fixed incomes. A bishop coming into possession of the see of Gloucester and Bristol under that Act knew he was to have an income of 5,000l., and although the management of the estates of the see was left in the 944 bishop's hands, everything beyond the 5,000l. a year was manifestly a trust; and Parliament did not expect that when they left the management of the estates of the see in the hands of the bishop as a trustee, that he was himself to become the great devastator of the Church, and alienate the lands of which the management was so left to him. And observe how that was done. The Bishop of Gloucester made no return, whatever of what he received from the acquisition of this estate. he made his return independently of it under the Act of Parliament. He derived no income from this estate; he invested capital upon it to make it valuable. A few years hence every sixpence he had laid out on the estate would tell immensely. In the meanwhile he retained merely 5,000l. a year; but when he died he left a valuable estate to his family, which he had thus alienated, and which by his management during his life he had taken care should make a good return. Was it any answer to all this to be told that the Bishop of Gloucester had legal rights? that what the Bishop of Gloucester had done, other bishops had done? and that when he complained of their doing so, was it any answer to him to say they were exercising legal rights? Had the bishops no influence, no power, no responsibility but that which was vested in them by Act of Parliament? He held that a bishop, of all other persons, had the estates vested in him by the Church under the highest moral responsibility. He was placed in that position in order that he should be a light and example to others. We expected that our bishops should set an example of piety, of self-devotion, of indifference to worldly interests; that they should be guides and examples to others in all those unworldly and higher avocations and duties of which they were intended to be both the teachers and the observers. A right rev. Prelate the other night, in a debate on a question connected with the Church, said that the Church was weakened through its divine mission being forgotten. But from whom came that forgetfulness? When the House looked at the return recently laid on the table upon the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall)—when they looked at the description given there of the proceedings among the episcopal body, the scramblings that seemed to be going on, the way in which they tore at each other—complaints that one was getting 945 more than his neighbour—that some were receiving 1,000l. a year more than they ought to have—and others receiving 1,000l. a year less than they expected to have; and when they found that the prelate who got some thousands more than the income intended for him by Parliament did not pay what the Order in Council directed him to pay to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners—when they found that those who got 5,000l. or 10,000l. a year more than was expected or intended, made no return or abatement on their part—and when they saw the manner in which three prelates alone, in the course of fourteen years, had received nearly 250,000l. more than those sees were intended to receive by Act of Parliament—he said it was the bishops who had forgotten the Divine mission of the Church. And yet he was accused of making attacks on individuals. He answered it was only by individual examples that great abuses could be exposed and rooted out. In all these cases it was the Church that suffered. They were told that they ought not to attack the venerable prelates, who were old and infirm. Let him ask this question. Take the 250,000l. which had gone into the pockets of three prelates alone; consider how many clergymen and churches that money might have provided for; consider to how many poor cottages it might have brought home the blessings of religious truth; and when he was told that the bishops whom he attacked were old and infirm, he would ask what was the number of persons old and infirm who had been deprived in their last moments of the blessings of Divine instruction, who had seen their children sinking into vice, their families dispersed, their sons sent as criminals to penal settlements, to the hulks, or to the gibbet, and they themselves sent down brokenhearted to the grave? How many of these poor families might have been saved from ruin if that which was bequeathed for the special purpose, by the benevolence of former generations, had not been by the bishops of the Established Church diverted from it—if they themselves had not been the devastators, the robbers, and the plunderers of the poor, whom it was their Divine mission to guide—if they had not themselves done injury to the Church, by tending to destroy confidence in that truth of which they were the appointed guides, and of which they ought to have been the Divine teachers.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Mr. Speaker, when it was arranged, with some departure from the ordinary course of business for the night, that we should enter into the discussion of the case of Horfield Manor, I must confess I little anticipated the nature of the statements that have been made by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. The hon. Gentleman has entered into a vindication of himself, which I, for one, am bound to confess was much needed; and, departing from the subject of Horfield Manor, seriously to the public inconvenience, and little to the advantage of the particular question with which the hon. Gentleman has dealt, he has passed from the defence of his own statement to speculations on the future condition of Horfield Manor: now the future condition of Horfield Manor had nothing whatever to do with his statement. The hon. Gentleman then proceeded with his observations on the revenues of the sees of Bristol and Gloucester—from the revenues of the sees of Bristol and Gloucester to the revenues of all other bishops, to a general disquisition on their duties, and to a denunciation of them, in terms which I think are violent and unwarrantable—as robbers, devastators, and plunderers of the Church. In regard to the general system established by law, the hon. Gentleman spoke in words which I fully confirm. He said that the badness of our legislative arrangements were matters discreditable to ourselves. I sincerely agree with the hon. Gentleman in that doctrine. I agree with him in the badness of the system which prevails; but it is one thing to denounce a bad system, and it is another thing to judge with great severity those who are merely acting under a bad system that has been long established. And it is a great stride further, not only to deal with them with great severity, but also to misrepresent the transactions in which they are engaged. I shall touch lightly on the points in the hon. Gentleman's speech that I think external to the main question. He speaks of the income of the see of Gloucester—it is difficult to follow the hon. Gentleman—he did not give us in precise terms his returns; he may be right, and I wrong; he stated that in 1848 the income of the see of Gloucester was 11,107l. [Mr. HORSMAN: With the commendams.] I beg pardon; the hon. Gentleman did not say with the commendams. He said there was a surplus of 34,000l. from the episcopal estates alone. I am in 947 the judgment of the House, and I ask if the hon. Gentleman has not stated the revenues of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol, from episcopal sources alone, to be 11,107l. in 1848? I understand his meaning now; but on this and on many occasions, his omissions, most unfortunately, are inconvenient, for I understood him to rate the commendams at 1,700l. a year.
§ MR. HORSMAN
I read from a paper that I hold in my hand. I said the Bishop of Gloucester told the Commissioners that he put down the income—
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I have said nothing about what the Bishop of Gloucester told the Commissioners; but I have said that the hon. Gentleman stated the revenue of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol to be, in 1848, 11,107l. He now says he intended to include the commendams, and it will give you an idea of the hon. Gentleman's accuracy when I tell you that the commendams which are now added are stated to be 1,700l. a year. It would now appear, according to the hon. Gentleman's statement, that the income of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol is 9,407l. a year, for the whole income was stated to be in 1848, 11,107l. Now here is a paper, ordered by the House of Commons, the 16th of June, 1851, according to which the revenue of the sees of Gloucester and Bristol, in 1848, was not 9,407l. a year, but 6,200l., subject to a deduction of about 200l. I will not charge the hon. Gentleman with inaccuracy; out when he says that the Bishop of Gloucester received from episcopal sources alone this surplus of 34,000l., how in the world is it possible that his statement can be correct? [Mr. HORSMAN: I said 34,000l. over his own calculation.] That is immaterial. If over his own calculation, I can find nothing to verify the statement of the hon. Gentleman. In page 398 of the return of the 16th of June, the following are the net returns from the joint sees:—In 1844, 3,500l.; 1845, 3,400l.; 1846, 7,600l.; 1847, 2,900l.; 1848, 6,000l.; 1849, 4,500l.; 1850, 3,900l. That was for the last seven years; and how was it possible for the hon. Gentleman to make a surplus of 34,000l. over the bishop's calculation, or over any other calculation, if those figures be correct? [Mr. HORSMAN: I said over his calculation since 1836.] Yes, over his calculation since 1836. I have given a return for the last seven years; let us take the year 1848, in which 948 he stated the income to be 11,107l., and let him say how he can vindicate that statement on the basis of facts as they are stated in this official report. I readily concur in what the hon. Gentleman says, with ragard to the duties of bishops, the motives by which they should discharge their offices, and the views they should take of their own position as trustees of the Church and of the powers confided to them. I entirely agree in all he says in the abstract on the subject; but I am bound to say that our laws and political arrangements proceed on a different order of ideas. [Mr. HORSMAN: Hear, hear!] The hon. Gentleman owns it—they proceed on a different position; they contemplate a close connection between the bishops and the world, and the views, perhaps, of the Minister; and if we have that legislative system in existence, it is not fair to come down upon those who are, to a great extent, the creatures of it, and find fault with them because they don't come up to your abstract, and, I will say, your sound, notions of the episcopal duties? I now come to the manor of Horfield, with which our business is. If the hon. Gentleman wished to have a discussion on any other questions, we ought to have had a distinct notice with respect to those other questions. The question in respect to the manor of Horfield divides itself into two parts. First, has the Bishop of Gloucester taken a course that calls for the censure of this House? and, secondly, whether the hon. Gentleman, as a Member of this House, has exercised due diligence and care in the statement he has submitted to the House, and by which, as he must recollect, he wrought up the House on the occasion he made it to a high state of feeling and of excitement. The hon. Gentleman has entered into the future; he says the property alienated from the Church is worth so much now, and will be worth so much hereafter. He is perfectly right, and has stated a great deal in that part of the case which is matter fit for the serious consideration of the Bishop of Gloucester. I hope, and I feel convinced, that the Bishop of Gloucester, for the sake of his own character, will show that he has not the slightest intention of doing what the hon. Gentleman has thought fit to impute to him; but the hon. Gentleman has no right to judge of acts that are not done. The Bishop of Gloucester has certain legal powers, and by pushing them to extremes he may deprive the Church of advantages 949 that it might otherwise enjoy; and I am glad, by the picture that has been drawn, his attention has been called to the evil which may be done—it is well he should have it before him—but let not the House confound the possibility of those apprehended evils with an attack made upon the Bishop of Gloucester, for a violation of absolute pledges and a breach of engagements, and doing that which would be a fair matter for arraignment at the bar of this House. The hon. Gentleman, I think, will agree with me that in one point he must sympathise with the Bishop of Gloucester. When he states that the bishop has this power over the manor of Horfield, and may leave it to his family, he must feel this much—that, whatever may be the intention of the Bishop of Gloucester, he cannot as a gentleman declare that intention at this present moment. No Gentleman could expect that he would so declare it, for if he did, it would deprive of all grace whatever acts he may hereafter contemplate performing on the part of the Church. I think the Bishop of Gloucester is bound to say, I will act upon my own discretion—I will act upon my own responsibility. If he does say that, and if he uses his powers injuriously to the Church, or if he uses them against right principles, then you may condemn him; but it is not fair to condemn him beforehand, because the law has invested him with powers which you have not, up to the present moment, the slightest indication of his having any intention to abuse. I will state—what was, I think, unfounded in the statement of the hon. Gentleman, according to the impression it made on my mind the other night. The first charge was this, that Bishop Gray, at a certain period before his death, determined not to renew the lease of Horfield, but to let it run out, so far as he was concerned, for the benefit of the Church. Is that allegation sustained? In my opinion it has entirely broken down. The hon. Gentleman himself has quoted a letter to-night, written by a son of Bishop Grays which plainly declares that, so late as a few months before the decease of Bishop Gray, an offer was made to him for a renewal of the lease, which he refused; and why?—because the offer was inadequate. That is the first allegation of the hon. Gentleman. The second allegation was, that Bishop Allen had been bound by Lord Melbourne not to renew the lease during his incumbency. I will not speak of that charge, because the hon. Gentleman aban- 950 dons it. He does not at all pretend that there is any reason to believe that Lord Melbourne ever imposed such an obligation on Bishop Allen. [Mr. HORSMAN: I don't admit anything of the kind.] The House understood the hon. Gentleman on the former occasion to speak of a matter which, if not within his personal knowledge, was at all events beyond reasonable doubt. With regard to Bishop Allen, I shall only say, in my opinion, the hon. Gentleman has totally failed in proving that Bishop Allen had made arrangements to renew the lease of Horfield, on the ground of promoting the interests of the Church. Bishop Allen wrote a letter, in which he said he thought it quite right that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should take the lease of Horfield into their own hands. But then the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were not to renew the lease to the prejudice of Bishop Allen; they were to become the purchasers of his interest in the lease; and the transfer of the lease to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would have been a matter of perfect indifference to them. The statement of the hon. Gentleman was, that Bishop Allen was determined to sacrifice his own personal interest, and not to renew the lease. I say, on the contrary, that Bishop Allen had no such intention. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the letter of the Bishop of Gloucester. The hon. Gentleman, on the former occasion, said the Secretary to the Ecclesiastical Commismissioners wrote to the Bishop about his moral obligation; that the bishop wrote back to him to say that he knew nothing about moral obligation, but that he wanted to stand on his legal rights. [Mr. HORSMAN here made a motion of dissent.] The hon. Gentleman appears to dissent. I will only state what is in my own recollection, leaving it to him to contradict me. The hon. Gentleman imputed distinctly to the bishop, either in writing or in words—it makes little matter which—the declaration that he knew nothing about moral obligation, and that he meant to stand on his legal rights. Does the hon. Gentleman adhere to that portion of his statement?
§ MR. HORSMAN
I adhere to all I said before. I will not adhere to the right hon. Gentleman's representation of what I said.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
Well, I have stated my representation of it, and that to the best of my recollection, and if I ant incorrect in my statement, hon. Members who were, with myself, auditors of the 951 hon. Gentleman's charges, can easily confute it. I contend, therefore, that that portion of the charge has totally and entirely failed. Again, I understood the hon. Gentleman distinctly to state, that when an arrangement had been made between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Bishop, that arrangement was stopped at the last moment, in consequence of its being detected as a job. Does the hon. Gentleman adhere to that portion of his statement? He has not given us one jot or tittle of evidence in support of that portion of his statement; and the absence of evidence on this point is most material, because the hon. Gentleman well knows that a distinct allegation has been made elsewhere that the failure of that arrangement had nothing to do with any disapproval of it on its own merits, but simply resulted from a technical and legal point which arose in the course of the negotiation. But these to me were the most material allegations in the speech of the hon. Gentleman; and they have all vanished away, as I measure them by the speech which the hon. Gentleman has delivered to-night. He has laboured indeed—and very unnecessarily—his statement with regard to the letter of the Bishop of Gloucester to the rural deans of his diocese. Another point also on which he has said so much, with regard to the accuracy of the bishop's writing, as to whether an epithet followed the word "very," or did not follow it, is comparatively a very small question. The main question is, what was the act that the bishop was then describing? The hon. Gentleman says a statement has been made to produce the impression that no letter of this nature was written by the Bishop of Gloucester. I think the hon. Gentleman is entirely wrong, and that he has taken the effect of that statement from reports, on which, though generally faithful and accurate, it is not safe always to rely when minute particulars are in question. Now, the statement made was this, that no letter had been written by the Bishop of Gloucester of the nature to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded. The hon. Gentleman said the Bishop of Gloucester had written a letter, in which he treated as disparaging to himself, the idea that he was about to renew the lease. That part of the charge quite falls away, because his charge was that the bishop had renewed the lease, and thereby had done an act which he in a former letter bad treated as disgraceful to himself. 952 Now what the bishop meant to treat as disparaging to himself, was the idea that he was going to renew the lease for lives, on a particular tenure, in connection with the copyholds, which he thought so injurious to the Church. I must say, so far as I am able to follow the statement of the hon. Gentleman, which I cannot avoid complaining is very obscure, that he has failed entirely in proving his case, with regard to the imputations that he, on a previous occasion, threw out on the Bishop of Gloucester. The truth is, that the Bishop of Gloucester has made use of the rights which he possesses in common with every ecclesiastical proprietor. You may say ecclesiastical proprietors ought not to possess such rights. That is a matter which you are at perfect liberty to allege; but I say an opinion on the merits of a system is one thing, and the misapprehending, the misconstruing, and therefore the misrepesenting the acts of the man who acts simply under that system, is another matter altogether. I say that it is a hard and cruel thing that the Bishop of Gloucester should be held up to obloquy in consequence of the defect of this system, when I believe he has been acting with munificent intentions towards the Church of which he is a bishop. I grant that the Bishop of Gloucester is under no legal obligation whatever with respect to this matter; and whether he is under any moral obligation or not, my belief is, that he does intend to act on the principles which he has laid down for himself with regard to this lease of Horfield Manor. He has stated that he thought it his duty to make this lease subservient to the interests and purposes of the Church. His conduct differs from that of ecclesiastical proprietors in general. In the first place, as a fine was to be taken on the renewal of the lease, he made an offer to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, which they have described as a liberal offer, and consequently demanding their acknowledgments on the ground of its liberality. Then, as respects the destination which he intended to give to the money to be received for the renewal of the lease, the intention of the Bishop of Gloucester was to apply the greater part of whatever money he might receive for the renewal of the lease to the very purposes which the hon. Gentleman is so laudably desirous to promote—namely, the augmentation of the smaller livings in his diocese, and the increase of the stipends of the poorer clergy.
§ MR. HORSMAN,
in explanation, said he must repeat his previous statement as to the excess of income which the Bishop of Gloucester would receive in a given time from episcopal sources over what the right rev. Prelate said he would receive.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, he was not quite sure that such a discussion as this would have a tendency to promote the public interest. If he remained silent on this subject, he was afraid his silence might be misconstrued; at all events, he thought silence on his part would not be respectful towards the House. He was not a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission until 1841, and therefore he had no direct cognisance of the proceedings of that Commission of an antecedent date. He wished also to remark that he had frequently, on former occasions, expressed a strong opinion that the law with regard to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, until amended last Session, was not in a satisfactory state. He entirely disapproved of the distinction between the episcopal fund and the common fund; and he had always thought that the arrangement made with respect to the incomes of the bishops, in allowing them for seven years to receive the whole revenues of their respective sees, on the condition that they should repay annually a stipulated sum, was a most disadvantageous arrangement to the prelates themselves, but more particularly to the interests of the Church. He rejoiced that last year, prospectively, an effectual remedy was applied by the Legislature to what he thought was a great evil as it respected the interests of the Church. He could have hoped and wished that there might have been some forbearance shown in canvassing the past arrangements, which in his judgment were inexpedient, but which were now at an end. He had no acquaintance with the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, except such acquaintance as arose from the intercourse at the Board of the Ecclesiastical Commission, of which they were common members; but, as a member of the Church of England, and as a member of the community, he (Sir J. Graham) must say he had always regarded the Bishop of Gloucester as an accomplished scholar; as a gentleman of high reputation and character; and, above all, he must say he had always considered him not a niggard in pecuniary matters. He had always thought that in the University to which the Bishop belonged, in the Church, and in the diocese in which he 954 was best known (and he must say the right rev. Prelate had arrived at an age somewhere about 70 years)—he had enjoyed a spotless reputation, and a high character as a ripe scholar and man of honour. He (Sir J. Graham) considered it most unfortunate that transactions of a description which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Horsman) had thought it his duty to bring under the attention of the House, should for one moment, or in the slightest degree, have cast any shade of doubt over that spotless reputation. But he must say, with respect to those transactions, the part which he (Sir J. Graham) had personally taken, led him to entertain no suspicions whatever either of the motives or of the conduct of that right rev. Prelate. He (Sir J. Graham) had no doubt of his legal and equitable right to exercise the power over the estate of Horfield which, it was said, he had exercised. He (Sir J. Graham) assisted in negotiating with the right rev. Prelate as a member of the Commission; and after a full inquiry into this point, he was satisfied that the right rev. Prelate's rights, both legal and equitable, were indisputable. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Gladstone) who preceded him, had explained to the House all the circumstances which gave rise to the transaction. He (Sir J. Graham) was satisfied that it was the intention of the Bishop of Gloucester to apply the funds which would have arisen from the sale to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to purposes conducive to the benefit of the Church in his diocese, and most assuredly not for any personal profit or advantage. He was really sorry they could not resume the ancient habit of free conference, because the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) had referred to the speech of a bishop in another place. If they could meet the bishops face to face, and debate those matters with them on equal terms, he thought the hon. Gentleman would not have rejoiced so greatly in the conflict which he maintained behind their backs, for he firmly believed he would have found that the right rev. Prelates were quite a match for him. But he would put it to the hon. Gentleman, was it really worthy of him to hold up the Bishop of Gloucester, a gentleman possessing the character which he (Sir J. Graham) had ascribed to him, as "a robber" and a "plunderer"? He believed the hon. Gentleman was not unfriendly to the Church; but would one of its bitterest enemies condescend to use the language 955 which the hon. Gentleman had employed with reference to the character of the Bishop of Gloucester? He almost blushed for the hon. Gentleman as he listened to the language which fell from him in reference to that right rev. Prelate. Again, he (Sir J. Graham) said he was himself satisfied that the Bishop of Gloucester had a legal and equitable right to deal with this estate. Possessing that right, he had also reason to know that the right rev. Prelate was determined to exercise it. With all due deference to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman), he (Sir J. Graham) altogether disbelieved that either Bishop Gray or Bishop Allen had hesitated in the least as to their right to exercise a similar power: He did not believe that Lord Melbourne ever imposed any conditions whatever with respect to the exorcise of that power by Bishop Allen. He did not think that Lord Melbourne had any right to make such a stipulation; nor did he think it would have been consistent with the high character for generosity of that noble Lord to have imposed such conditions. He thought the evidence was conclusive that Bishop Allen had negotiated for a renewal of the lease, and that, like Bishop Gray, he only failed to execute the lease because he did not obtain what he considered was the full value of its renewal. The Bishop of Gloucester had placed himself in a position which enabled him to exercise a testamentary power, complete in all its parts, over this property. The Bishop of Gloucester had a legal right to dispose of it as he thought fit. But if the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) would abstain from pursuing that right rev. Prelate with such relentless animosity, and would cease to ascribe to him all the worst motives and the worst intentions, his (Sir J. Graham's) firm belief was, that the Bishop of Gloucester, who would not yield in the least to any compulsion, would falsify by his spontaneous acts all their unworthy suspicions. Still, not being on intimate terms with the Bishop, and only judging of him from his past character, he (Sir J. Graham) was of opinion that the right which the Bishop had now legally and equitably acquired, to the full possession of this property for three lives, would not be exercised by the Bishop in a manner unworthy of his high position in the Church, or of the sacred interests of which he was the trustee. He (Sir J. Graham) might not live to see it, but he should be much disappointed if the right rev. Prelate did not prove it. On the whole, 956 during the remainder of his life, the Bishop of Gloucester must be content to live subject to such charges as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cockermouth might prefer against him. He had lived down past accusations of a similar kind—his reputation would survive him—.and his acts, if he (Sir J. Graham) mistook not, would falsify the description given of him by the hon. Gentleman.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
was quite confident that some good result would arise from these discussions, however unpleasant they might be for any Gentleman to bring forward. However distasteful it might be, it was necessary in bringing forward any measure of reform in the temporalities of the Church, to quote individual cases, in order to show the abuses which were practised by certain parties on the episcopal bench. But he rose more especially to express a hope that the Government, who were the proper parties to take up the matter, would go into the whole question of the temporalities, and that they would appoint a Commission to inquire into the whole of the temporalities, that they might have at least some correct information upon the amount of the Church property. Don't let them, however, leave it to the present Ecclesiastical Commissioners; for there were too many interested parties upon it. Let them have a Commission like that appointed to inquire into the subdivision of parishes, who would give an impartial statement as to the property of the Church. He wished now to ask a question of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Goulburn). A return had recently been obtained, which had attracted great attention in Parliament and the country. That paper purported to give the gross incomes of all the archbishops and bishops of our Church; and in a second series of columns there appeared the sums paid, in order to reduce those gross incomes to the sums specified in the Act of Parliament. Now, he wished the public really to know whether this fully reported the incomes of the bishops, or whether it was what Mr. Murray had called a "fallacious" return. The bishops were requested to make at septennial periods a return to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of the value of their sees, and of all the profits they had derived from them during the previous seven years. Now he would take this case. He had shown to the House that the Bishop of Durham had received 29,000l. more 957 than the income assigned to his see, and he (Sir B. Hall) wished to ask whether, if he had granted (he did not say he had, but supposing he had granted) a lease to trustees for his own benefit, or for the benefit of his family or friends, and no money had passed, the full value of the lease so granted would have entered into his accounts?
§ MR. GOULBURN
thought it would only have been fair for the hon. Gentleman (Sir B. Hall) to have given him notice of his intention to ask that question. It so happened, however, that, with regard to the Bishop of Durham, he (Mr. Goulburn) was not able to give the hon. Gentleman an answer; but he knew that the principle on which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners settled the future incomes of sees was regulated not only by the amount received, but by other circumstances which would tend to give a fair result for the future. By the returns which the Bishop of Loudon made of his income for the last seven years, it appeared that he especially granted a lease, not for lives but for years, of some property; and the fine which would have been taken if that lease had been granted to an individual in the ordinary way, was brought to account in the septennial period.
§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
said, the right hon. Gentleman had misunderstood his question, and he would now put it more clearly to him. At page 234, in the second return, it was stated that the Bishop of London, in 1843, returned his income at 13,519l., and in that year he granted himself a lease which was worth 12,000l., but which he had only entered as 2,169l. Therefore he (Sir B. Hall) presumed that this was what Mr. Murray called a "fallacious return" as regarded the Bishop of London.
§ MR. GOULBURN
said, the Bishop of London, in the case referred to, had made a large sacrifice. He had the power of granting a lease for lives, but he granted a lease only for years, which was the most profitable way of dealing with the property for the interests of the Church. If he had granted a lease in the ordinary manner, the whole fine which he received would have appeared in the return for the year in which the lease was granted; but not taking the fine, the full fine which would have been received by the Bishop was divided over the several years over which the lease had to run.
§ SIR ROBERT INGLIS
said, from the 958 first year in which the present Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol was appointed to the see he now held, he appropriated tea per cent of the income of that see to the augmentation of the livings of the poorer clergy in his diocese. That was some intimation of the conduct which the right rev. Prelate was likely to pursue in the disposal of his present income. When Her Majesty's Government were invited to issue a Commission to inquire into the general state of the episcopacy, he hoped the House would not adopt the suggestion that had been made, that the bishops were the creatures of the State, and were dependent on the Minister of the day. On the contrary, they were the most ancient estate in the realm, and their, independence was as high and as sacred as any other proprietor in the land.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he could not avoid noticing the statement of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), that the Bishop of Gloucester had "a legal and equitable right to deal with the property." He was afraid that the right hon. Baronet only used those expressions in a legal sense. Would he go further, and say that he considered the bishop had a moral right? He had also another question to ask, which, of course, if it were an improper one, he did not desire should be answered. He wished to know whether the approval which, as a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission, the right hon. Baronet had expressed of the bishop's, offer, was not a rather qualified one? and whether he had not accepted it as the better of two bad alternatives? His hon. Colleague had been charged with personal motives. [Sir J. GRAHAM: No, no!] At all events, "relentless animosity" had been imputed to him by the right hon. Baronet; but he could assure the House that his hon. Friend's attack was solely against the system. The best mode of meeting, or rather preventing, these charges, was, for the bishops to be satisfied with the incomes allotted to their sees by the Act of Parliament.
§ MR. WAWN
was sorry to find the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) defending conduct which they would severely condemn in persons of a humbler station. The borough he had the honour to represent (South Shields) was entirely Church property, and the tyrannical manner in which the dignitaries behaved, was such as to disgust all well-thinking men. Years ago, when the right hon. Gentlemen oppo- 959 site occupied the Treasury benches, he had boldly stood forward and declared that if there were Church robbers, they were inside of it, and not outside.
§ MR. MANGLES
begged to ask the right hon. Baronet if he intended to answer the question of the hon. Member near him (Mr. Aglionby)?
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, the question put to him by the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Aglionby), was, whether he would declare that the Bishop of Gloucester was under a moral obligation to renew this lease? He would read to the hon. Gentleman the Resolution, to which he (Sir J. Graham) was a party, from the Minutes of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners:—The Bishop of Gloucester having been under no obligation—legal or equitable—to deal with the Horfield estate otherwise than with any other estate of his see, and having made, with regard to that estate, a liberal offer to the board, the board are anxious to bring the negotiation to a termination, and desire that the secretary be directed to bring it to a close as soon as possible.He (Sir J. Graham) was of opinion, and still continued of opinion, that the bishop, having a legal and equitable right to fill up the lives in the lease, did offer to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners very liberal terms, far below the market price of his legal and equitable right, and that he made that offer to the Commissioners with a desire to serve the interests of the Church generally.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
hoped that if there was to be a reform in episcopal revenues, Ireland would not be forgotten. He held in his hand a very important document, namely, a copy of the concordat between the Queen of Spain and his Holiness the Pope. By that he found that the salary of the Archbishop of Toledo would be 160,000 reals or 1,600l. a year; that of the Archbishops of Granada and Santiago, 1,400l. each; and so with the Archbishops of Tarragona and Valladolid. He might not pronounce these names rightly, for he begged them to understand that he was no Spaniard, but an Irishman. The Bishops of Barcelona and Madrid were to have 1,100l. of Cadiz, Cordova, and Malaga, 1,000l.: twenty-four suffragans, 900l., and twenty others, 800l. The Patriarch of the Indies, not being an archbishop or bishop, would have 1,500l. a year, and those prelates that were cardinals 200l. a year extra. He hoped, then, that when they saw prelates with flocks whose salaries ranged from a minimum of 800l. to a maximum of 960 1,600l., the awful extravagance of an Archbishop of Armagh, with an income of 17,000l, a year, would be put an end to.
§ MR. LENNARD
said, that the right hou. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Mr. J. Graham) had shown himself in the answer which he had given to a very plain question, a perfect adept in that mental fencing in which he had said the prelates were so skilful. He had said the transaction in question was justifiable in a legal and equitable view. He had been asked, did he justify it morally? If he had thought this an improper question, he might have declined to answer it; but instead of doing so, he read a long statement which was altogether unsatisfactory. He should like to hear whether the transaction was one which he could say was justifiable in a moral as well as legal point of view.
§ Subject dropped.