HC Deb 10 June 1852 vol 122 cc402-15

House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Bernal in the Chair.

(1.) Question proposed— That a sum, not exceeding 4,469l., be granted to Her Majesty, to pay, to the 31st day of March, 1853, Miscellaneous Allowances, formerly defrayed from the Civil List, the Hereditary Revenue, &c., and for which no permanent provision has been made by Parliament.


said, he should move that the Vote be reduced to 2,669l. by the omission of the following items: Poor French refugee clergy, 700l.; Poor French refugee laity, 300l.; charitable and other allowances formerly paid from the Civil List, 175l.; the Bishop of Sodor and Man, to be distributed among the incumbents and schoolmasters of the Isle of Man, 89l. 9s.; the College of St. David's, Lampeter, in aid of the expenditure of the College, 400l.; the Bishop of Chester, for stipends of two preachers in Lancashire, 92l. 16s.; minister of the Gaelic church at Cromarty, stipend, 100l, He would now call attention to a paper moved for by the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. H. Inglis), with reference to the Colonial Church, and which contained a reply of Earl Grey to a demand for a grant of money for a church at Hong-Kong, in which he stated that it was evident that such efforts for the establishment of church accommodation had not been made in that Colony by members of the Church of England as had been made by members of other denominations, and expressed a hope that the Government would apply the opinion inculcated in that despatch to the Vote now proposed. With regard to the Vote for St, David's College, Lampeter, he had been accused of having, on a former occasion, stated all kinds of things by persons who were advocates for voluntaryism in every thing except that which concerned the Principality to which they belonged. He had been blamed for having repeated a phrase which was used by the Archdeacon of Cardigan, in a letter to the Times, to the effect that St. David's College was "the slaughterhouse of the rising intellect of Wales." He would now state certain details relating to the condition of the College. Its income for the two years ending March, 1829, showed a surplus balance, including the Parliamentary grant, of 1,5912, From 1829 to 1833, there was a surplus of 994l.; and from 1833 to 1839, a surplus of 8232.; making a total surplus in the ten years of 3,4082.: and yet in each year a grant of 4002. had been demanded from Parliament, and even, according to the statement of Dr. Ollivant, there had since been a great increase in the income. Then as regarded the state of education in the College, The hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. J. Williams), on a former occasion, had excepted to his (Mr. C. Anstey's) statement, and said that the College had sent out some of the first clergymen in Wales. But that fact did not mitigate against his statement, for he maintained that the College generally, although at times it had been in a better condition, was now on the decline. Although it was provided by the charter, and was a condition of the endowment of the College, that a professorship of Welsh should be maintained, yet it had not been done for years. There had not been for some years, however, a lecturer on the Welsh language. A few years ago a lecturer was appointed, who was afterwards dismissed for incompetency, and his duties were now performed by an officer called the assistant tutor, who was not provided for by the Charter. He had two livings some miles from the College, and in order to attend these he was obliged to discontinue the week-day services in his churches. That was not a fair compliance with the Charter, which set forth that the College was established for the maintenance of the current Welsh literature. Then as to the condition of the students. Dr. Ollivant, the Bishop of Llandaff, in his last charge to his clergy, stated that there were 256 churches in his diocese, but he could only get clergymen to read the service in Welsh in 100 of them. Dr. Ollivant, the Bishop of Llandaff, and Dr. Thirlwall, the Bishop of St, David's, had made a regulation that Dissenters who were willing to receive Orders in the Church of England, should, on the certificate of a bishop that they could speak Welsh, after a short probation, be ordained. The College could not supply clergymen who spoke the Welsh language. It appeared that the present Principal of the College (Dr. Llewellyn) was so little acquainted with Welsh that he made himself ridiculous in speaking it. That in a speech, intending to speak of himself as a child or son, he used a term which meant fat, chubby (or dumpy) boy; and not having at command the Welsh synonyms for "yield" and "disturbance,"' he had to use those English words. As to the Vice-Principal, he did not pretend to speak Welsh at all. The candidates for ordination of late years had been so deplorably ignorant of Welsh when they left the College, that in some cases they were refused ordination; and in all cases the exercises tendered to the Bishops of St. David's and Llandaff were returned to the College as specimens of the disgraceful state of education carried on within its walls. Many of those who obtained ordination had their exercises written by Dissenting ministers, and sermons written by Dissenting ministers had been preached by clergymen of the Church of England. Notwithstanding all this, Dr. Ollivant and the College entertained feelings of great hostility to the Dissenters. Again, a return moved for by the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. J. Williams) had been refused, because it was said that it was not practicable that the information he required could be given. The passages in the proposed return which had been struck out related to the intended arrangements—the income and expenditure of the College, the benefactions to it —the officers who had been appointed, and the periods of their residence, the value of the preferments held by them, and the distances which they were from the College, besides the names of the persons on whom scholarships, exhibitions, and prizes had been bestowed. The College authorities had declined to give any return on those points; and the Government, at the instance of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, had refused the return. All those were facts which showed a strong case of what some might call suspicion, but what he (Mr. C. Anstey) would call fraud on the part of some or other of those who asked for the continuance of this grant.

(1.) Question proposed— That a sum, not exceeding 2,660l., be granted to Her Majesty, to pay, to the 31st day of March, 1863, Miscellaneous Allowances, formerly defrayed from the Civil List, the Hereditary Revenue, &c. and for which no permanent provision has been made by Parliament.


said, he would beg to offer a few explanations to the Committee on the different items to which the hon. and learned Member had objected in this Vote. If the hon. and learned Member were to refer to the appendix to the Report of the Committee on Miscellaneous Expenditure, over which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) had so ably presided, he would find all the points to which he had alluded very fully explained there; and from that Report he (Mr. G. A. Hamilton) had derived any information he had to communicate to the Committee. With respect to the Vote to the French Protestant refugees, he found that he had fallen into a mistake in the statement he had made upon that subject on a former day. He had said that he had believed that Vote had taken its rise in the assistance given to the refugees from Franco at the time of the French revolution. But it appeared that the Vote had, in reality, had its origin at a much earlier period. The fact was, that the allowance had first been made to the French refugees who had passed over to this country at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. And the Committee should recollect that it was to those refugees this country owed the establishment of the silk manufactory in Spitalfields. There were some places of worship in this country at present dependent on that Vote, and among them a place of worship for the French at Canterbury. In his opinion the withdrawal of such a Vote would be attended with much hardship and injustice. Then there was the grant to the Bishop of Sodor and Man. That was a grant which had originally been made by Charles II. on account of the poverty of the clergy of the Isle of Man; and the claim on the liberality of Parliament in that case was one which, in his opinion, ought not to be lightly disallowed. The third Vote to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred, was that for the Lancashire preachers. That vote owed its origin to a grant made so far back as the reign of Elisabeth for four preachers, who had to be paid at that time out of the Crown Revenue. But the grant to two of those preachers had been discontinued, and the grant to the other two was to cease on the demise of the present recipients, in conformity with a suggestion of the Committee on Miscellaneous Expenditure. The next grant of which the hon. and learned Gentleman had complained, was that to Cromarty church. It appeared that a private individual had made over to the Crown the presentation to that church, on the condition of the Crown granting to the holder of the living a sum of 50l. a year; and that allowance having been found inadequate, it had been increased in the year 1808 by George III., by a grant of meal and other provisions, which were paid for out of the hereditary revenues of the Crown; but since those revenues had been surrendered, a sum of 100l. was voted out of the public funds as an equivalent for the allowance of provisions. With respect to the question relating to the College of St. David's, he had to observe, that that question bad been so fully discussed by Gentlemen well acquainted with the state of Wales, and with all the facts of the case, that he felt it would be unwise and unnecessary for him to attempt to offer any explanations upon the subject. He had only to say, that before the Vote had been demanded, certificates on which it was founded had been given by the Bishop of the diocese and by the heads of the Col- lege; and these certificates afforded, as he (Mr. G. A. Hamilton) believed, sufficient evidence that there must be some mistake in the allegations of the hon. and learned Gentleman with reference to the amount of the revenues at present belonging to that establishment.


said, that he had heard with much surprise the statements of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal with respect to the College of St. David's—a surprise, however, which would have been enhanced tenfold if he had not been acquainted with the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman had of late pursued on every question relating to the Established Church. The hon. and learned Member had opposed the grant to the College on the grounds that fraudulent returns had been made by the heads of the College, that the education given in the College was insufficient, and that the heads of the establishment were grossly neglectful, and unequal to their duty. Now, as a resident for thirty years in the Principality, he (Mr. Booker) could undertake to bear his unequivocal testimony in opposition to the charge of inefficiency and mismanagement which the hon. and learned Gentleman had brought forward against the heads of the College. The hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted the statement of the Archdeacon of Cardigan, that the College had been a blight and a curse on the spiritual and intellectual energies of the Principality, and a slaughterhouse of the rising talent of his country. But it should be remembered, that, after the publication of that statement, a meeting of residents in the Principality had been held, in which a resolution had been adopted to the effect that the statement was entirely groundless, and that the College had already conferred great benefits on the Church in South Wales. Then, again, the examiners of the College, who had been appointed by the Vice-Chancellors of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and who were among the most learned men in the University, had signed a document expressing their dissent from the opinion of the Archdeacon of Cardigan, and their belief in the useful and efficient manner in which the College was conducted. The hon. and learned Gentleman had attempted to show that the Principal of the College (the learned Dr. Llewellyn) was himself but imperfectly acquainted with the Welsh language. But he (Mr. Booker) had received a letter from the Vice-Principal of the College (the Rev. R. Williams)—and a more talented, learned, and exemplary man the Established Church could not boast of—in which it was stated that Dr. Llewellyn was allowed by all competent judges to be a thorough master, not only of the Welsh language, but of its different dialects, and in which the learned writer complained of the disingenuous attempt made to prove Dr. Llewellyn's ignorance of that language, by translating literally into English a word which could not be so translated without a violation of the spirit of the Weish language. With regard to the College not producing eminent men, Dr. Ollivant, the present Bishop of Llandaff, who was one of his (Mr. Booker's) nearest neighbours, had recently held the office of Vice-Principal of the College, and, having been transferred from that office to the divinity chair in Cambridge, he had next been selected to preside over the See of Llandaff; and he (Mr. Booker) would undertake to say that a more learned, able, and zealous individual did not adorn the episcopal bench. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that a fraud must have been committed by the heads of the College in making returns of their revenues. But he (Mr. Booker) had reason to believe that that charge was utterly unfounded. There might be a difference of opinion as to whether the returns had been furnished in the best and most convenient form; but there was no reason whatever to suppose that they had been falsified. He had only to state, in conclusion, that after having resided so long in the Principality, and after having been a witness of the great good which that College effected, he felt that he should not have discharged his duty if he had not come forward to repel the allegations which had been so recklessly made by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal.


said, he believed he was as well acquainted with the Principality as his hon. Friend who had just addressed the Committee; and having paid a great deal of attention to the subject of St. David's College, he should say he believed that the allegations made in that case by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) were substantially correct. The allegations were borne out also by statements made by the Archdeacon of Cardigan, one of the most distinguished literary men of the present day, who had been rector of the High School of Edinburgh. He (Sir B. Hall) believed that anything coming from such a quarter with respect to the state of any College had very strong claims to public credit. For his part, he felt convinced that the College of St. David's was not by any means an efficient establishment—he would not say more, because he did not wish to raise an angry discussion upon the subject. With respect to the returns to which his hon. Friend (Mr. Booker) had referred, he (Sir B. Hall) should say that he defied the heads of the College to enter into full particulars in their returns, without showing that there had been great misconduct in the management of the establishment. The object for which the College had been founded had been that it should conduce to the efficient training and education of ministers to serve in the Established Church in Wales; but there was every reason to believe that that object had not been attained. He would state a fact bearing upon that point. In the month of October, 1850, a few students had been sent to the Bishop of Llandaff from the College, for ordination; and when they had been examined in the Welsh language, the exercises of some of them were so bad, and of so illiterate a character, that those exercises had been sent back as specimens to the Principal of the College; and he believed that a similar fact had occurred in the case of students sent for ordination to the Bishop of St. David's. Such facts showed that the management of the College was most unsatisfactory and imperfect. He would call the attention of the Committee to a circumstance which would show the proper mode of conducting such an establishment. The Roman Catholics —alive as they had always shown themselves to the spiritual wants of those whom they hoped in any way to influence—had established a Jesuit college in North Wales; and so careful were they in educating young men there for their ministry, that they would not allow any individual to leave the college to preach the Word of God in Welsh to the people, who was not perfectly conversant with the language of the Welsh people, among whom he was to become a spiritual teacher. His (Sir B. Hall's) desire was to make the College of St. David's a means of teaching the Welsh language truly and efficiently to young men who were to become ministers in Wales; and to that language he should observe that the Welsh people clung with passionate devotion. He (Sir B. Hall) was not as conversant with the Welsh language as, he admitted, he should be; but he under- stood from several of the most excellent Welsh scholars the translation referred to was perfectly correct, and that, ridiculous as it was, it was a perfect and true translation of that speech. It was perfectly ridiculous to put a person at the head of such an establishment who could make use of such foolish language, bringing his offices into contempt, as a justice, a clergyman of the Church, and as head of a College. He said, after speaking of a public-house disturbance, "I will not yield a thing to them; yea, I will lose the last drop of my heart's blood before I yield to them. I never yielded to any one since I was a dumpy chap, and so sure as I am a living man I will not yield to them, if I lose my life." Was that, he asked, the sort of language that should be used by an individual in this gentleman's position? But to revert to the real question at issue. How had St. David's College been managed for the last twenty years; and what claim had the authorities to a continuation of the Government grant? It was useless for hon. Members to fancy that their assertions of good management, and proper and just appropriation, would suffice to satisfy the public mind, when the results were known to be so very unsatisfactory, and the objects for which that grant was bestowed had so entirely failed that the College was only half filled, and those educated there did not obtain instruction to fit them to become efficient Welsh ministers of the Established Church, which was only half served—as the bishops themselves admitted—because there was such a very small supply of clergymen properly qualified in the Welsh language. The only way to test this question was to insist on the returns moved for by the hon. Member for Macclesfield, and which the authorities of the College had refused to give—which was certainly a very extraordinary circumstance if they could prove all that was asserted by the champions of the College. Let the returns be made in all their details, as demanded, and the question would be set at rest one way or the other.


said, he would admit that the Archdeacon of Cardigan was an excellent classical scholar, but there were circumstances which made his opinion respecting this College of less authority. He would suggest that the Government should pay due attention to this subject, and place the College on a better foundation; and he trusted that the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) would unite with the friends of the establishment in an endeavour to render it more beneficial in the training of the clergy of the Principality.


begged to say that he had had a communication with the Bishop of Llandaff on the subject of the ordinations to which the hon. Baronet (Sir B. Hall) had referred: and he could assure the hon. Baronet that that right rev. Prelate had told him that no candidates were presented to him that he might not with perfect fairness have passed, but it was because he had been Vice-Principal of the College that he was able to detect some little inaccuracies.


said, he thought it was most extraordinary, if those abuses did exist in the College of St. David's, that they had never heard of them from any person educated there.


said, he was perfectly aware of the protest which had been referred to by the hon. Member for Herefordshire (Mr. Booker). It contained the names of forty-two incumbents and two curates; most of these individuals had actually no knowledge whatever of the proceedings in the College, others were quite incompetent to judge on the subject, while some were especially interested in upholding the authorities; and it was handed about at the visitation of one of the bishops, when the clergy were informed "the bishop wished them to sign it."


said, that if the authorities of the College had only agreed to make the returns for which he had moved two years ago, this unfortunate discussion would have been prevented. After a trial of twenty-six years, and the expenditure of 6,000l. in the erection of buildings, and of 10,000l. towards the support of the College, they were certainly entitled to ask for the returns. St. David's College, Lampeter, was opened in 1827, avowedly for the purpose of clerical education, for the supply of clergymen well qualified for the ministry of the Established Church in Wales. The cost of the structure was defrayed partly by subscriptions collected during a course of twenty years, from the poor Welsh clergy and others, and partly by grants of public money, amounting to 6,000l. The College possesses a Royal Charter, which appointed a Principal and certain Professors—among which a Welsh Professor was particularly specified—with power to add to their number. It was endowed by virtue of an Act of Parliament, by which His Majesty, George IV., was enabled to transfer to the College the patronage of six benefices—three of them sinecures—to be annexed to the professorships, and held in trust by the Professors during their continuance in their official situations. And a sum of 400l. a year was in 1826 granted out of the public funds for the support of the College until the above benefices became vacant, or until the means at the disposal of the College were above 550l. per annum, which sum of 400l. a year, there is reason to believe, has been regularly paid ever since, making a total of nearly 10,000l. of public money paid to the College authorities up to the present time. It is well known that every institution receiving public money is responsible to the Commons House of Parliament for the use or abuse of such a grant. But, nevertheless, it is a fact that no return of the revenue of the College of St. David's has ever been published since its opening in 1827. And the constant complaint of the authorities of want of funds has been promulgated to such an extent, that they have managed to obtain very large sums of money by private subscriptions from parties apparently ignorant of the real available means of the establishment; and so bold did the authorities become by their success in asking charity, that even a very few months ago a letter appeared in the Times, signed "Ucalegon," which alluded to an advertisement in the same paper, in favour of the College, and was evidently written by authority, blaming the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for their wilful inattention to the grievous pecuniary wants of the College, and virtually charging them with a, breach of duty. About the same time a printed document was circulated by the post, entitled Suggestions, declaring that farther endowments were necessary to enable the College to carry out the objects for which it was originally founded, and saying that those assertions were promulgated under the approval of the College authorities. It was not his intention to take up the time of the House at the present moment with details respecting the management of the authorities of Lampeter College after a trial of twenty-four years, in effecting the purpose for which six good Welsh grammar schools, six benefices, 6,000l. of public money, for its erection, and nearly 10,000l. more of public money for its subsequent support have been sacrificed! and the failure of which he had it in his power to prove upon undeniable evidence; but he should con- fine himself to the immediate object before the Committee, namely, to obtain an official return of all the receipts and expenditure of the College from its commencement to the present time. This return is imperatively needed, in proof of which he need only state that it is believed the whole of the following six benefices, namely, the sinecure rectories of—

Llanddewi Velfrey, nett annual value, 200l.
Llangeler nett annual value, 244l.
Nangle nett annual value, 1571.
And the vicarages of—
Llangoedmoro nett annual value, 329l.
Llanedy nett annual value, 2581.
St. Peter's, Carmarthen value, 1761.
Total, 1,364l.
Have fallen in to the College, which ought to produce, after paying the curates' stipends, a permanent income of 900l. per annum. Besides this, the contingent income derived from the students has amounted, on an average, to at least 1,600l., at the very lowest computation; while at the same time a Treasury grant of 400l. a year is continued on the supposition that the means at the disposal of the College have never exceeded 550l. per annum. He believed that some years had elapsed since the last of these benefices fell in to the College, and if that institution had not benefited by the revenues of them all, the fault alone must belong to the College authorities, whose duty it was to hold those livings in trust for the benefit of the College, and who had no right to bestow or dispose of them in any other way, so as to keep up a semblance of poverty, and create a fallacious claim to the payment of 400l. of the public money. It was well known that the living of Llanedy was in 1845 bestowed by the College authorities upon the Rev. Henry Williams, who was, and still is, totally unconnected with the College. And thus has been violated the special provision of an Act of Parliament. With regard to the scholarships, a return of which is included in the Motion before the House, in the year 1849 the College authorities advertised the number as amounting to twenty-four; but in their advertisement the following year, the scholarships had unaccountably diminished down to twenty-one. These scholarships have, for the most part, been founded by the benevolence of private individuals, for the assistance and encouragement of the students; and as many unpleasant rumours have long been afloat with respect to their payment, it is only surprising that the authorities themselves should not, of their own accord, request the most minute investigation. He believed that two of these scholarships are now held by one of the College tutors. It was also said that there had been most culpable misrule and mal-appropriation in other affairs of the College. That two of the professorships are now only nominally filled, while the Welsh professorship is actually suppressed. The Welsh professor (Mr. Rees) died in 1839. The professorship was then given to the Rev. D. T. Jones, who had been a missionary to the Red Indians, and who, being quite unqualified for the office, conscientiously resigned it at the expiration of about two years. It was now about nine years since that period, during which time the Welsh professorship had mysteriously disappeared. He had now given a very brief outline of a few of the prominent facts connected with the proceedings of St. David's College, Lampeter, and which he conceived would be sufficient to show that a speedy and searching investigation was imperatively required, and any attempt to prevent or evade such inquiry could only be viewed in a very suspicious and unfavourable light.


said, he never before had heard that persons who had taken orders from the College of Lampeter, were deficient in the Welsh language. The complaint was made by the Rev. Archdeacon Williams, who had a rival establishment.


said, he believed that St. David's College was in a very bad state, and he called on Her Majesty's Government to revise the Votes altogether, many of which were only originally acceded to conditionally.


said, after the explanations that had been given, he felt bound to call on the hon. and learned Member for Youghal to withdraw his opposition.


said, he could not conscientiously do so, and that he felt bound to press his Amendment to a division.

Question put.

The Committee divided: Ayes 26; Noes 113: Majority 87.

Original Question put, and agreed to; — Vote agreed to, as was also—

(2.) 1,691l., Foundling Hospital,

(3.) 9,788?., House of Industry, Dublin.


moved the reduction of the Vote by 260l., the amount of the salaries of the Roman Catholic and Protestant chaplains. In a city like Dublin, where churches and clergymen of all denominations were so numerous, he did not see the necessity for these chaplains.


begged to assure the Committee, that if these hospitals were in any way interfered with, the result would be most injurious to the medical scheols of Dublin.


explained that, in the particular hospital now before the Committee, the inmates were very old and infirm, and consequently could not go abroad to Divine worship.


said, that, for the reasons given by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. G. A. Hamilton), he would support the Vote. He hoped the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) would not persevere.


would not persevere in his objections to the Vote. But in a city like Dublin, it was disgraceful to the Churches of Rome and England that their clergy would not minister to their aged and infirm without receiving an emolument.


begged to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the fact that the existence of the medical schools of Ireland was involved in the Vote before the House. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would say that the views of the Government coincided with those of the late Government, and that no further diminution would be made in the grants for the medical schools of Ireland.


The subject of those medical schools I have already noticed in the course of the Session. We look with great interest to those establishments, and should be sorry to see any falling off in them. I think, at this hour, the best thing I can do is to move, Sir, that you do report progress.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed.

Committee report progress; to sit again This Day, at Six o'clock.