HC Deb 16 June 1852 vol 122 cc806-15

Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [28th May], "That the Bill be now read a Second Time;" and which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, he should have moved the second reading- of this Bill without any remark, but for the opposition given to the measure by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Austey); and perhaps he should best consult the convenience of the House by stating the nature of the Bill which had been so much misrepresented. The Bill had had the singular ill-fortune of being obstructed in its course both by over-flattery and over-abuse. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) had represented it as one of the most important measures before the House, and one which, if persevered in, would render it impossible to wind up the Session within the reasonable time promised by the Government. On the other hand, it had been obstructed by exaggerated abuse, or perhaps he ought rather to have said misrepresentation. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Youghal might perhaps think it his duty as a Roman Catholic to obstruct and interfere with every Bill connected with the Church of England, whether it might be an important measure, or one of mere technical and routine requirement, which was the characteristic of the present measure. This was not a Bill for creating a bishopric, nor even for dividing a bishopric. Its object was very plain and simple. That most excellent and praiseworthy prelate the Bishop of New Zealand (Bishop Selwyn), having found that his diocese was becoming so populous and extended that it was impossible for him adequately to discharge the duties imposed upon him, had not only offered every facility for the division of his diocese, but had offered to make a sacrifice of his income to carry that object into effect. And here he would take the opportunity of telling the House that the representation made in a certain leading organ of the press yesterday, "that the population of New Zealand was diminishing, and that the colonists were leaving in great numbers for Australia in consequence of the gold discoveries," was a statement wholly without foundation, and entirely contradicted by the recent information received from the settlements, from which it appeared that there was not such a desertion of New Zealand—that, on the contrary, very few persons had left, and from Canterbury five only, for the gold diggings— and that it still remained the most promising young Colony in the new Colonial Empire of Great Britain. Bishop Selwyn, with the view of carrying out the plan which he had suggested, determined to resign part of his see for the purpose of getting a new diocese formed. The arrangement was agreeable to all parties interested; the colonists desired it; emigrants going out to Canterbury waited for it; Her Majesty desired the subdivision, and Her own legal authorities had given their opinion in favour of the division. The only difficulty requiring legislation was that there was a certain technical informality in the mode in which the Bishop had resigned the fragment of his diocese. When the deed of resignation was submitted to the law officers of the Crown, they objected to its validity, because it was impossible to resign half a patent; they gave their opinion that the proper way was to resign the whole patent, and that two new patents should issue, one to install the present Bishop, the other to reinstate the new Bishop. But if the resignation of the patent was to be required, it would be necessary to wait another year. And to please whom? Why, to please no one on earth but the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey). But even supposing the Colony's wishes were postponed for the Bishop to resign his patent, this inconvenience would still arise: there would be a certain interval occasioned by such a resignation during which there would be no bishop whatever over the diocese. He (Mr. Adderley) certainly had entertained the hope that the Bill would have passed without any opposition whatever. It had gone through the House of Lords, and was now stopped in its progress by the hon. and learned Gentleman, who in a long speech on a previous occasion had misrepresented the Bill in every possible way, stating that it was a Bill for the construction of a diocese—then a Bill for the division of a diocese; in short, stating the Bill to be everything but what it really was, namely, a Bill for rendering valid a resignation, and founding his objections on his own misrepresentations. Rather than create delay, he had asked the hon. and learned Member to meet him in private, and he (Mr. Adderley) would endeavour to remove any valid objections which the hon. and learned Gentleman might entertain. On consulting the hon. and learned Gentleman, and some other parties, he found that there were words in the Bill from which, by a forced construction, it might be supposed Parliament had taken upon itself the construction of a Colonial bishopric, whereas, according to the usual form, it ought to be done by Royal Patent. The hon. and learned Gentleman objected to the interference of Parliament; and he (Mr. Adderley) proposed to strike out the words from which such an inference might be drawn, and thus remove the objection. There was therefore now nothing in the Bill but what would simply make Bishop Selwyn's resignation a formal instead of an informal resignation, leaving it to the Crown afterwards by patent to create the new bishopric. Having agreed to strike out those words, he understood that he should have had the assent of the hon. and learned Gentleman to the passing of the Bill. But there was another objection, as to the title by which Bishop Selwyn was described in the preamble of the Bill. [Mr. C. ANSTEY: Hear, hear!] That, then, was the only point at issue. [Mr. C. ANSTEY: NO, no!] The hon. and learned Gentleman wished the diocese of New Zealand to be described, not as "the Bishopric of New Zealand," but as "a See in New Zealand in communion with the Church of Eng- land." [Mr. C. ANSTEY: Hear, hear!] That, then, was the point at issue. Now he (Mr. Adderley) had no objection to the introduction of those words; but the Attorney General, as the guardian of Her Majesty's rights, was not willing to yield that point, and insisted on the bishopric of New Zealand being described as it was in the Bill. He would put it to the House whether they would allow the Bill to be obstructed day after day, simply on the ground that the Bishopric of New Zealand ought to he called "a See in New Zealand in communion with the Church of England," instead of "the Bishopric of New Zealand." Being ready to make the changes which he had intimated, he must appeal to the House not to allow the hon. and learned Gentleman to obstruct the further progress of the Bill.


wished to know whether it was intended to bring any charge upon the public for the maintenance of this new bishopric? [Mr. ADDERLEY: None whatever—not a farthing.] On that distinct understanding, then, he had no objection whatever to the Bill.


said, he wished shortly to explain the part which he had taken with respect to this measure. It was not a Government Bill. It was introduced into the other House by an independent Member, and was now under the charge of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley); and the only reason of his (the Attorney General's) interference was, that a desire had been manifested on the part of an hon. and learned Member to make an alteration in the preamble of the Bill, to which he did not think it his duty to consent. He regretted that any excited feeling should have been manifested with regard to the Bill, and trusted, after a few remarks in explanation of its object, the House would consent to its second reading. By Letters Patent in the year 1841, Her Majesty-made the Colony of New Zealand into a Bishop's see or diocese, by the title of the Bishopric of New Zealand, and nominated Bishop Selwyn to be the bishop for the term of his natural life. Bishop Selwyn took possession of his diocese, and it became necessary in the course of time, in consequence of the immense extent of the island of New Zealand, that a new bishopric should be created. Bishop Selwyn was entirely favourable to the creation of a now bishopric, and he (the Attorney General) believed that there was hardly an hon. Member in that House who desired to prevent it if essentially necessary, and which, according to the opinion of those best acquainted with the subject, was now actually the case. Now, the only proper way in which that creation could take place would be by the resignation of Bishop Selwyn, according to the terms of the Letters Patent, for no other resignation was provided for; and before Her Majesty could create a new bishop, which it was not denied that She had power to do, it was essential that the ground should be cleared, and that no other episcopal rights should have existed previously, and then Her Majesty would be empowered on ground so cleared to erect a new bishopric. But here a difficulty arose. Bishop Selwyn had an objection to resign, according to the terms of the Letters Patent, the whole of his diocese, for the purpose of enabling Her Majesty to create a more limited diocese for him; but he was ready to assist, as far as he could, that desired object, by surrendering a portion of his diocese. In point of fact, he had executed an instrument by which a portion of his diocese had been surrendered, which, if valid, would have enabled Her Majesty to create a new bishopric. But when the instrument came over here, and was submitted to the consideration of the law officers of the Crown, they were of opinion, not that it was a void instrument, but that there were such doubts existing as to the validity of such resignation, as to render it uncertain whether it was competent for Her Majesty to act upon it. They accordingly recommended that an Act of Parliament should be applied for, which should remove all doubts, and at all events legalise the creation of a now bishopric. A Bill was therefore introduced by those who were interested in the Colony, for the purpose merely of accomplishing this object, which all who knew anything of the matter considered to be essential. Then in providing for this Bill, it was necessary to recite the Letters Patent, and the Letters Patent were the substance set forth in the Preamble; it stated that an instrument of resignation had been executed by Bishop Selwyn of a portion of his diocese, and then recited that doubts were entertained as to the validity of such instrument and the power of Her Majesty to erect such surrendered portion into a distinct See. Was that, or was it not, a true Preamble stating the facts of the case? Was there such a Patent appointing Bishop Selwyn to the diocese? Why, there was no doubt at all about it, and it was equally certain that there had been an instrument of resignation of a part of the diocese executed, and that doubts had arisen respecting its validity. This Bill merely proposed to remove those doubts, and to make the said instrument of resignation valid and effectual in law for the purpose of enabling Her Majesty to erect the surrendered portion of the diocese into a distinct diocese, it being not competent for her to do so until the ground was cleared. That was the object of the Bill; but then there were some additional words which the hon. and learned Member for Youghal objected to, and which he (the Attorney General) had some doubts respecting, because the Bill went on to enact that "it shall be lawful for Her Majesty to erect the said portion of the surrendered diocese into a new see or diocese." Now he should say that Her Majesty would clearly have that power without the interference of the Legislature, supposing that there was no other bishop already appointed. That was, he believed, a true statement of the facts; and under these circumstances he did not think there could be any ground for the strong opposition which the hon. and learned Member for Youghal had exhibited. He regretted that a measure of so simple and necessary a character should have given rise, on a former occasion, to so much heat and excitement, to which he was a party, and for which he now begged to apologise to the House. He hoped the Bill would now be read a second time.


said, he begged to move the adjournment of the debate. He considered the appointment of bishops to be a social question, which ought to be left to the Colonists themselves; and he objected strongly that England should be called upon to support bishops in her colonial possessions.


seconded the Amendment. The hon. and learned Member was proceeding to discuss the merits of the Bill, when


said, Sir, I rise to order. If the hon. and learned Gentleman is going into the whole discussion with respect to New Zealand, he is not going to speak to the question before the House— namely, the adjournment of the debate; and it will be for the House to decide whether they will hear him.


said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge knew well when to insist on the privileges of the House, and when not; and he (Mr. C. Anstey) invariably found that he insisted upon them whenever it was thought desirable to do damage to an independent Member. At so late a period of the Session, he did not think it was becoming to press forward so important a Bill. The hon. Member (Mr. Adderley) who had charge of the Bill had consented to an Amendment which he (Mr. C. Anstey) had suggested, the effect of which would have been that a simple allegation of those matters contained would have appeared in the Bill; whereas, if the Bill were adopted in its present shape, Parliament would thereby give its sanction to, and recognition of, the division of New Zealand into bishopricks. That Amendment, however, was resisted by the hon. and learned Attorney General, who understood the real purport of the Bill. He (Mr. C. Anstey) denied in the most emphatic terms that the Queen had any spiritual supremacy in New Zealand, and he could appeal to authorities to show that She possessed none beyond these realms, except under the letter of an Act of Parliament, or an ordinance of the Colonial Legislature. The hon. and learned Attorney General had no doubt said, that the Bill would not entail a farthing of expenditure on this country; but the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies had used very different language. The salary of the new bishop would have to be provided either by the people of this country or the inhabitants of New Zealand. As soon as the new bishop would arrive in New Zealand, the Governor would send a message to his Legislative Council on the subject of his arrival; he would say—"Here is a bishop—the Queen has appointed him—Parliament has consecrated him—and in the name of humanity and religion it is but right that we should make some provision for him. The other bishop has 1,000l. a year out of the colonial revenue, and it is but fair that we should give a similar salary to this new bishop." That, of course, would be the result if this Bill were carried. That was what happened in the case of the Roman Catholic Bishop of New South Wales. The Legislative Council of New South Wales, composed of Protestants and nominees of the Crown, said, on the arrival there of Dr. Polding the Roman Catholic Bishop—"It is but fitting that we who have already given annual stipends of 200l. to the Ro- man Catholic priests in this colony, should give to a bishop of that creed a higher salary, let us give him 800l a year:" and that, accordingly, was the sum paid to Dr. Polding out of the revenue of New South Wales. He (Mr. C. Anstey) objected to the Bill, because it was only an attempt, on the part of the founders of the Canterbury Settlement, to obtain a Parliamentary sanction to that transplantation of the worst corruptions of the High Tory party in England. Canterbury Settlement, in fact, was intended by its founders to be a new England—such as England was in times past, when High Toryism reigned paramount. It would perpetuate all our own ecclesiastical abuses. If a new bishop were set up in New Zealand, why not a bishop's court? Now, he strongly protested against subjecting the Free Churchmen of Otago, and the Roman Catholics of Auckland, to the jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical judge, set up by only a minority of the people of New Zealand. This Bill was an attempt to get in the small end of the wedge—


rose to order. The hon. and learned Gentleman, he said, had apparently seconded the Motion for adjournment, in order that he might use the opportunity to make a second speech on the subject of the Bill. It appeared to him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) that the proceeding, if not a direct violation of the rules of the House, was, at least, an evasion of them,


There is no doubt this is an evasion of the strict letter of the rules of the House, because, when the hon. Member (Mr. Heyworth) moved the adjournment of the debate, and the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Anstey) rose to second the Amendment, he should have spoken to the adjournment of the debate, whereas he has, in fact, made a second speech upon the principle of the Bill. I have often had occasion to call the attention of the House to these matters before, to show that, unless there is a strict observance of the rules of the House, any Member of this House may, by getting a friend to move the adjournment of the House, or the adjournment of the debate, make a very lengthy speech with respect to some other subject. I trust that the House, if the rules of the House continue to be so evaded, will take Borne steps to remedy the evil.


said, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had misrepresented the facts of the case. His hon. Friend (Mr. Heyworth) had moved the adjournment, to enable him (Mr, C. Anstey) to reply to the personal attack that had been made on him. He had the more right to do so, as his former speech had been delivered in a thin House, and therefore the hon. Member for North Staffordshire had taken the opportunity of misstating his arguments. He thought he was, in justice, entitled to be heard; and the right hon. Gentleman who had called him to order had himself taken greater liberties with the forms of the House than any other hon. Member. If he was not sensible of what was due to the dignity of the House, the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman would have tempted him to pursue a very different course.


said, although the Bill was not a Government one, he was anxious, as it related to a very important Colony of the British Crown, that it should be passed during the present Session.


said, he thought that the Motion for the adjournment of the debate was a very proper one. In the Preamble, the question introduced by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Adderley) was admitted to be one of great doubt: why, then, in the present state of Parliament was a matter of great importance and considerable doubt pressed upon the House? There were only 28,000 British emigrants in New Zealand, only a tenth of whom were in connexion with the Church of England. What urgency could there be with respect to this proposition to place a second bishop over so small a minority of so small a population? This Hill would but sow in New Zealand such seeds of religious discord as had provoked the rebellion in Canada. It was nothing more than an attempt to make one particular creed, and that, too, of the minority, the dominant religion. If a bishop were really needed in New Zealand, the Queen had powers of appointing him without asking for Parliamentary sanction. He submitted to the Government the desirableness of leaving this irritating question to the decision of the next Parliament.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Debate be now adjourned."

The House divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 110: Majority 79.

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided: —Ayes 111; Noes 34: Majority 77.

Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read 2°.