HC Deb 28 May 1852 vol 121 cc1364-6

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


said, he must oppose the Motion on account of the lateness of the hour. He would move that the House do now adjourn. If that were deprecated, he would address himself to the principle of the Bill; and he thought it necessary to warn the House that in that case he would probably occupy about two hours.


said, this was a most cruel infliction on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The case was as simple as possible. The Bill involved no principle of importance. It was deemed desirable to form a new bishopric in New Zealand, and for that purpose the bishop had surrendred a portion of his See. Doubts were entertained by the Law Officers of the Crown as to the technical legality of that proceeding; and to remove those doubts, and sanction the arrangement, were the sole objects of the Bill. The case was, therefore, as simple as possible, and so far from the hon. and learned Gentleman occupying the House two hours, he was satisfied that with all his ingenuity and all his ability to occupy the time of the House, it would not be possible for him to occupy ten minutes if he confined himself to the facts of the case.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided:—Ayes 3, Noes 61: Majority 58.

Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Seoond Time."


said, that the ground of his objection was, that this Bill was the same in principle as the Colonial Bishops Bill. ["No, no!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had last night admitted that it was so.


denied that he had done so. What he had said was, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman had really an objection to its principle, he would not bring it on at one o'clock in the morning.


I rise to order. I allowed the right hon. Gentleman to explain, but as he has courted debate he shall now have it.


said, he was only anxious to save time.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman had entirely misapprehended the ground of his opposition to this Bill. It was called a Bill— To remove doubts as to the constitution of the Bishopric of Christchurch in New Zealand, and to enable Her Majesty to constitute such bishopric, and to enable Her Majesty further to subdivide the Diocese of New Zealand. Whether this simple statement warranted the interpretation of the objects of the Bill which had been given by the hon. and learned Attorney General, he left the House to judge. The object of the Bill was neither more nor less than to destroy the common law equality of all sects and denominations which at present existed in New Zealand, and to lay the foundation of the supremacy of the Church of England. He denied the premises upon which the Bill proceeded. He maintained that there was at present no Bishopric of Christchurch, New Zealand; that there was no Bishop of New Zealand; and that the Queen had no ecclesiastical supremacy in that Colony; but if this Bill were passed, it would enable Her Majesty to do that which neither by Common Law nor Act of Parliament She was entitled to do at present, namely, to extend Her ecclesiastical supremacy over the Colony of New Zealand. Now, he wished to prevent Her Majesty from doing that; or, rather he wished to prevent certain learned, grave, and right rev. persons from doing it in Her name. The Queen had no more power, without an Act of Parliament, to set up bishoprics in New Zealand than the Pope had. He objected to the preamble of the Bill, which recognised the Bishop of New Zealand, describing him as appointed by the Crown, and the Colony as constituted into a diocese by the Queen's Letters Patent. He objected to the recital that doubts were entertained as to the validity of the instrument whereby the bishop resigned part of his See, and as to the power of the Crown to erect the surrendered portion into a new See; the power that made could unmake. Letters Patent of the Crown could be repealed or altered by Letters Patent of the Crown. The Bill went on to provide that, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the instrument should be deemed valid, and it should be lawful for Her Majesty to erect the new See. This was an unworthy attempt to repeal the free Common Law of New Zealand. He moved that the Bill be read a second time that day three months. Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."

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


moved that the Debate be adjourned.


seconded the Motion. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. C. Anstey) had occupied for some length the time of the House; and it did not seem fair that Mr. Speaker should be kept in the chair longer.

Debate adjourned till Thursday next.