§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [22nd July], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ SIR WILLIAM HEATHCOTE
said, in the absence of his right hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley) he would take the liberty of moving as an Amendment, that the Bill be read a second time that day three months. Even though there were no grounds for objecting to the measure on its merits, the time at which it had been brought forward would be a fatal argument against it. Just at the close of the Session, when many Members bad left town, and when those who remained were exhausted by the labours they had undergone, the House was called upon to give its assent, hastily and without deliberation, to a Bill which was most important not only with reference to its influence on the general interests of the Church, but also with regard to its probable consequences on other cases similar to those which had arisen in the dioceses of London and Durham. The House would do well to remember that those were not peculiar cases; that there were others equally subject to the observations with which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had prefaced the introduction of the present measure; and that similar ones would hereafter continually occur. Yet the House was asked to apply a new and a merely local remedy to an evil which was old, and would undoubtedly become general. It would be difficult to find a precedent for such a proceeding as the Bill now under consideration contemplated. There was mention, indeed, of a Bishop who had resigned his diocese in the time of Henry VIII., but the reason for his retirement had not been transmitted to posterity, nor had we heard anything on the very important question of his retiring pension. If cases similar to those with which the present Bill sought to deal had arisen in former times, it was reasonable that an opportunity to examine them should be afforded. The Bill did not lay down any rule beyond these two particular cases to govern the conduct of the State in its future relations with disabled Bishops. It referred exclusively to the dioceses of London and Durham, in respect to which it 1277 prescribed a course of proceeding so very remarkable that it was clearly desirable that Parliament should have time to look into the precedents, with a view to ascertain whether history recorded other cases in any degree analogous to the present. But, even though these considerations did not present themselves, he, for one, should be prepared to vote against the Bill on the merits of its proposition. The measure was partial and incomplete, and would throw difficulties in the way of future legislation on the general subject. It happened that this Bill was contemporaneous with another relating to the law of divorce, which came down from the other House, but was abandoned, and with respect to which one of the chief arguments was the very great inconvenience which resulted from having a state of laws enforcing certain prohibitions, while they were continually coming to Parliament for privilegia to break down these prohibitions. That was precisely the course which the Government were taking in introducing this Bill. If it were passed, the law against simoniacal contracts would remain as it was before. They were beginning to legalise, in two particular cases, a contract which bore, at least, on its surface, the character of contracts of that description. The First Lord of the Treasury said, no doubt with perfect truth and justice, that there was nothing in these two contracts which was simoniacal or corrupt in a moral point of view. The character of the prelates concerned in them, as well as the character of the noble Lord himself, were a guarantee of the truth of what he stated; but, this is the very mode in which abuses are established. They rarely commence in their worst form; but in bonâ fide transactions, innocent apparently, but transgressing some principle which cannot be transgressed with impunity; and, in fact, the simoniacal contracts which were in view at the time legislation was directed against them, were more especially contracts in that particular form in which the present transactions appeared in the Bill—viz., the retirement of Bishops who retained pensions for themselves; and therefore, though he gave entire Credit to the disclaimer of the noble Lord, it did not remove the objection that they were legislating on a very questionable transaction. It was the public breaking down of a general law, and there was no doubt but that it would lead to very great difficulties in the future. How could a 1278 Bishop enforce against a rector penalties for a transaction similar to that which was sanctioned by the Legislature in an adjoining diocese in the case of a Bishop? He himself knew of a case where a parish was held by an incumbent who, being conscious that his strength was failing, would willingly retire if a small pension could be reserved to him for his support. The patron of the parish was most anxious to promote his wishes, and, to prevent the slightest taint of suspicion as to the manner in which the transaction was conducted, had generously offered to place the next presentation at the disposal of the Bishop of the diocese. In fact, all parties were anxious to act with bona fides, but the Bishop could do nothing to facilitate the arrangement. But, even though the present measure was not partial and incomplete, he (Sir W. Heathcote) was not prepared to admit that the retirement of the Bishops was the best principle on which to proceed in dealing with these cases. The connection of a Bishop with his diocese and clergy did not involve like that of a Judge duties merely functional and administrative; it was also, so to speak, personal and paternal, and its character and intercourse in the latter capacities were very valuable, and might be retained with advantage even after the physical strength of the prelate had so far decayed as to render it impossible for him to attend to confirmations, visitations, and the other more active duties of his diocese. These considerations pointed to a remedy, not by getting rid of the Bishop and appointing a successor in his place, but rather by taking such a course as was open to a rector of a parish, who under the same disability was enabled to employ a curate. The Bishop, like the rector, might employ a substitute to discharge those more laborious duties which he could not himself perform; but he might still retain the power of governing his diocese in the manner already indicated, such a proceeding, so far from being contrary to the spirit of our laws, was in perfect harmony with them. An Act of Parliament (the 28 Hen. VIII.) provided that it should be in the power of any Bishop who felt himself unequal to the discharge of the more arduous functions of his office to choose two clergymen, whose names he should transmit to the Crown. Whichever of these clergymen the Crown might select, the Archbishops and Bishops were empowered to consecrate as a suffragan prelate, or, in other words, as the curate to 1279 the Bishop who required assistance. The Act specified the titles which these suffragan prelates might assume, and it was worthy of remark that the titles in question were precisely the same in number as the sees in England at that period. There was nothing in the Act to restrict the scene of the duties of the suffragan Bishop to the place from which he took his title; on the contrary, the Act stated that that place was to be regarded as giving him his title and nothing more, and that his duties and remuneration were alike to be limited by the commission he had obtained from the Bishop requiring his assistance. The last clause of the Act indicated that he was only to be employed for certain portions of the Bishop's duties, for it was provided that he might be a beneficed clergyman, and hold two benefices. But, of course, that was no necessary part of the principle involved. That principle, it should be remembered, had been recognised as recently as in the year 1812, when an Act applicable to Ireland was passed in the reign of George III. to meet the case of assistant Bishops. He claimed for that House more ample opportunity to deliberate on a question of such importance; but, if driven to an immediate decision, he would say that the principle of the two enactments to which he had alluded was a safer one than that indicated by the measure now under consideration. That a prelate might outlive his bodily strength without outliving the capacity of performing most important functions in his diocese was proved by the case of the Archbishop of Armagh, who, though so advanced in age, as to need, at times, the assistance of a neighbouring prelate in the discharge of the more onerous duties of his office, yet made his presence to be so delightfully felt by his kindness, munificence, generosity, and untiring assiduity, that his retirement would be regarded as a grievous loss to his diocese. He would allow that a Bishop might be in a condition of bodily health which confined him more or less to his house, yet he still might be in a condition in which his superintendence would be most valuable to those under his charge. Nor should it be forgotten that this question was surrounded with financial difficulties which appeared to have entirely escaped the observation of the Government. If it were intended to apply the plan proposed by this Bill to other sees besides those of London and Durham, and to make provision for the retirement, with a pension, of all disabled 1280 Bishops, it was to be apprehended that such a burden would be thrown upon the Ecclesiastical Commission fund as would entirely exceed its capabilities. If, on the other hand, it were contemplated to exempt the Ecclesiastical fund and to impose the onus of expense upon the dioceses themselves, by burdening the salaries of Bishops with large pensions for their predecessors, that was a proposition of such vast importance as to demand what it was impossible that at this late period of the Session it should receive—most minute and deliberate consideration, either by means of a Committee, or through some other agency. Taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case, he had arrived at the conclusion that he should best discharge his duty alike to the Church and to the country by moving, as he now did, that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
, in seconding the Amendment said, it appeared to him that the opponents of the Bill were met by an ad captandum objection, which, had it been urged at an earlier period of the Session, would, no doubt, have had considerable weight—namely, that the rejection of this measure would expose the dioceses of London and Durham to the evil of being superintended by Bishops incompetent for the discharge of their duties. He had no objection to urge against the force of this argument, which was, in fact, the only one that could be brought forward in favour of the Bill, but he maintained that the Government were estopped from the use of such a line of reasoning, for it appeared that the Bishop of Durham had offered to resign as long ago as the end of last year; and, even upon the face of the meagre correspondence which the Government had thought necessary to afford to the House, it was manifest that the Bishop of London had signified his willingness to resign in the middle of June last. The Bill was certainly not of so complicated a character as to require the services of a very expert draughtsman, and the Government might easily have introduced it at a time and in a form which would have allowed of its being maturely considered. He protested against the idea that, because the Government had neglected to introduce at a seasonable period a remedy for an admitted evil, but had allowed that evil to go on until it had reached an intolerable pitch, they should now come forward and at the latest period of the Session, insist that the House should pass any measure, however 1281 ever pernicious in principle or careless in the manner of its construction. The simoniacal character of the contract which this Bill sought to sanction had been distinctly demonstrated by his hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote). Not that he (Lord R. Cecil) ascribed corrupt motives to the Bishops in question—far from it—but he was at a loss to conceive how any man who had read the correspondence could doubt that the compact to which the House was asked to set its seal was anything else than a resignation bond, which was illegal in this country. The noble Lord at the head of the Government would have it that there had been no bargain, no negotiation. The noble Lord must surely have forgotten the purport of the correspondence which he had laid upon the table. Indeed, it might be observed, in passing, that the letter of the Bishop of Durham pointed to previous negotiations and transactions with a distinctness which gave colour to the suspicion that the documents that had been presented to the House on this subject were not what they professed to be, "copies of all correspondence which has passed between Her Majesty's Government and the Lords Bishops of London and Durham, touching the resignation by them of their sees." The words of the Bishop of Durham, in applying for leave to resign, were these:—As I shall relinquish a very much larger income, I am persuaded that your Lordship will not consider the annual allowance of £4,500 per annum by any means unreasonable. Upon the assurance that this will be granted, I shall be ready to resign the Bishopric of Durham on any day not earlier than the 1st of August.That was as much as to say, that if the assurance were not given, competent or incompetent for the discharge of his duties, he would not resign. It was not easy to comprehend in what sense the word "contract" should be understood if that was not a contract. He did not profess to be a lawyer, but certainly he should like to have the opinion of the Attorney General as to whether the letters that had passed between the Bishop of London and the First Minister of the Crown did not constitute a contract within the meaning of the Statute of Frauds. With what face could a Bishop, himself proposing to enter into a simoniacal contract with the Prime Minister, attempt to put the law in force against any offending incumbent in his diocese? One objection stated to this Bill 1282 was, that it was confined to a specific case. While concurring, as he did most fully, in that objection, he did not mean to join in the ordinary cry against all piecemeal legislation; for in the difficult position in which the House was often placed, it was sometimes necessary to content themselves with a small measure, because they could not pass a large one. His chief objection to the measure before the House was, that it sought to carry out a twofold bargain. If it once became law, it was vain to hope that, easy and tempting as the arrangement was to a Minister, it would not be drawn into a precedent. In every individual case occurring hereafter they must expect to find the Minister coming down to make a bargain with the House similar to the present one, when discussions would arise such as that of which they had now an example. Objections would, as a matter of course, be taken by some hon. Members to the amount of the proposed pension. It was said in this instance—and not unnaturally—that the sum was too large, because the retiring pension of a Bishop stood in a totally different position from the superannuation allowances granted to any other class of persons. The retiring pensions of other public officers were usually drawn either from the incomes which they happened previously to have enjoyed or from the funds of the State; but every farthing of the sum which they were asked to give to the Bishops of London and Durham would be deducted from the resources of the Church and the poorer clergy. The £6,000 a year which it was proposed to grant to the Bishop of London, for instance, would be equal to the income of sixty curates, and to the deprivation of 60,000 souls of their spiritual resources. But, if the impression went abroad that they paid huge retiring pensions of this description to individual Bishops, how were the friends of Church extension likely to be met when they solicited private subscriptions for that important object? With the exception of the Judges this was the only case in which superannuation allowances were not drawn in some degree from the previous salaries of their possessors. Why, then was this special favour shown to the Bishops of London and Durham, who had for many years enjoyed incomes which Parliament itself had declared to be "ridiculously?" The noble Lord at the head of the Government had last night told them, very truly, that the Bishop of London was a most excellent Prelate; 1283 and had described, in language too sacred to be repeated, how he had spent so much in charity that he had now nothing left to support him in his declining years. No doubt that statement of the noble Viscount was perfectly correct; but what was the obvious inference to be drawn from it? Why, that if the right rev. Prelate had not been so charitable, he would not have been entitled to the contemplated large retiring allowance. Now, what he would ask hon. Members, did this indicate but that on each occasion of a retiring pension being proposed, the House would have questions raised as to the merits and demerits of a particular Bishop—as to what he had, and what he had not done; and probably, also, as to his theological qualifications. One hon. Member would point out that this Prelate had been very violent against the Roman Catholics—another, that that Prelate had shown a leaning towards Romanism, and thus would be multiplied all those bitter and excited theological controversies which already too frequently impeded their legislation, and brought no little discredit on their proceedings. But to return to the point at issue, he must contend that such a principle as that which the Bill called upon them to sanction, was not only a bargain between the Minister and the House of Commons, hut it was also a bargain between the Minister and the individual Bishop whose case was involved. There was a number of Prelates still under the old system; and, unless a general measure was introduced, there would be ample room for negotiation in each separate case. That would necessarily give the Minister of the day a direct power over the conduct of any Bishop having it in prospect to retire. A Prelate had not only to perform his duties in his diocese, he was also a Member of the other House of Parliament, in which a few votes went a great way and might even turn the scale of a division. It might be said, that the character of the Episcopal Bench was too high for a pecuniary temptation to operate on its votes. That was, indeed, very true; but would the people out of doors be so willing to give them credit for this immaculate purity? No individual Bishop might really be influenced by the prospect of a negotiation for a retiring pension; but would not the public be apt to suspect that particular votes were traceable to such considerations? The popular mind was at all times only too eager to catch at imputations of misconduct 1284 against the dignitaries of the Church; and no greater injury to religion could arise than the increased suspicions relative to pecuniary matters to which measures like this would expose the Bishops. Few things had done more harm to the Episcopal Bench than the angry discussions and grave accusations brought against it some years ago with respect to payments into the Common Fund; and nothing could tend more to alienate the public from that body, or more to excite jealousy against any endeavour to extend it, than the prevalence of a general impression, however unfounded, that the Bishops were not so disinterested as it became persons in their sacred calling to be. That evil, already too extensive in its operation, would be infinitely augmented by the system of which the Bill before them was but the beginning. He had touched upon this delicate and invidious part of the subject with unfeigned reluctance, and would not pursue it further. He would content himself with simply adding that the measure had not only been introduced at a period too late to be duly considered, but was open to such grave exception on the score of the simony it would sanction, and the dangerous consequences to which it must give rise, that he should offer it his heartiest opposition.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, that the two grounds upon which the Bill had been opposed were—first, that it was an exceptional measure; and, secondly, that it presented a bad precedent. He believed that in both respects the assumption upon which the conclusions were founded was entirely groundless. It was perfectly true that the Bill was exceptional, but for this reason, that it applied to two dioceses which were themselves exceptions to the general regulations of the Church. The bishoprics of Durham and London were excepted from the arrangement lately made for the regulation of the Church, and the incomes appropriated to them were larger than those for the other dioceses, and there was no difficulty in the way of withdrawing a portion of the incomes to the purposes of pensions, because ample means would remain behind for the support of the new Bishops. It must be owned that there was something exceptional in the fact of any Bishop proposing 1285 to resign his see upon any terms. The hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) who proposed the Amendment, and the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil), who seconded it, seemed to think that the resignation of the two right rev. Prelates was a matter so natural, and of such ordinary occurrence, that the Government was to blame for not having brought in a general measure to meet the case. He (Mr. M. Milnes) could not see that the present Government was particularly to blame in this respect, any more than the Government composed of Gentlemen sitting on the Opposition side of the House. It appeared to him that the present resignations betokened a feeling, on the part of the right rev. Prelates, of the increased importance of their duties, and a growing conviction of their responsibility as high functionaries of the Church. He thought that of late years the movement which had taken place had increased that reponsibility, and that the step which these two right rev. Prelates had taken should be hailed as a hopeful sign of the times. Now, he would inquire upon what ground ought they to refuse the present proposal? If the matter was entertained at all, it ought to be entertained equally upon this special Bill as upon any general measure. No doubt a general measure on this subject was highly desirable; although when it came to be discussed it would hardly be found so free from difficulty as the opponents of this exceptional Bill seemed to imagine. But, be that as it might, there could be no ground for sacrificing the advantages put within their grasp by the present Bill, the arrangement contemplated by which might be carried out without any other scandal to the Church beyond that which the noble Lord who spoke last and those who agreed with him might choose to make. That noble Lord had laid down priciples which he could scarcely be prepared to follow out to their logical consequences; and when so devoted a son of the Church allowed himself to indulge in such strong language towards his venerable parent, how could it be expected that other Members of that House, who had not the same sense of filial duty, should refrain from casting reproaches upon her even of a more indecorous character. The noble Lord exceeded the bounds of just criticism when he countenanced the insinuation that members of the Episcopal Bench would be guilty of reprehensible conduct—to say nothing of the mysterious 1286 offence of simony, of which those who brought such accusations seemed to have no very clear conception. The arrangement so unsparingly condemned in the case of the Bishops of London and Durham had already been sanctioned for the benefit of the Bishop of Jamaica. The resignation of that right rev. Prelate was accepted without any opposition on the part of the friends of the Church, and no adverse criticism was then used by any body of Churchmen. Undoubtedly the general question was a difficult one, and could not be fairly treated at the present moment. For his own part, he thought that an arrangement might have been made for the appointment of suffragan Bishops, but then the assistant Bishops ought to be recognised as the successors of the existing Bishops. The great practical deficiency of right rev. Prelates was not want of zeal, or piety, or learning, but it is want of personal acquaintance with the dioceses over which they were appointed, and of personal influence over the clergy amenable to their supervision. He thought that, as a remedy for this, the Bishops should remain in their present position, so that the suffragans, being free from the performance of political and other duties, might have the greater opportunity of obtaining local knowledge respecting their future dioceses before they had an undivided control. He thought that the fears of the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) as to jobbing on the part of the Government were quite unfounded, and that at the present day such dangers were merely illusory. Let the House consider what would be the effect of a rejection of the proposals made by the Bishops of London and Durham and accepted by the Government. That rejection must be based on one of two grounds—either that the duties of a Bishop was so unimportant that an aged and infirm Prelate was quite as able to perform them as a younger one, or that the terms proposed were exorbitant. The first hypothesis he would not stay to argue. As to the second, it could hardly be said, when a venerable Prelate had spent his best days in the faithful discharge of his pious functions, and devoted a large portion of the funds placed at his disposal to the good of the Church, that one-third of his previous income was an excessive amount for his retiring allowance. Moreover, when they considered the station which these two Bishops had been accustomed to fill, the scale proposed for their pensions could not 1287 be regarded otherwise than as perfectly fair and moderate. It should also be remembered that it was optional with them to retain the whole of their present emoluments, although they were incapacitated by physical infirmities from properly discharging their duties; for it would be unjust to single out as special objects of public obloquy two living Prelates who might do precisely what had been done by other Bishops in all periods of the Church's history without incurring any stigma or reproach. It was said there were other Members of the Episcopal Bench who were in the same feeble state as these two Prelates, and that they should all be included in the same measure. But if the Bishops of London and Durham were treated in the manner recommended by the opponents of the Bill, what encouragement would there be for other Prelates in a similar situation to follow their laudable example? If the House rejected the Bill because they wished for something better, because they preferred a more general measure, or from any desire to embarrass the Government, in his opinion those who were members of the Church of England would not display the loyalty and affection which became members of that Church, nor would those who were not within her communion act justly towards her.
said, that after having most anxiously and conscientiously considered the provisions of the Bill, and after having conferred with his excellent colleague, he had not been able to overcome his objections to the principles which the measure involved. He entirely concurred with the hon. Member for the University of Oxford in acquitting the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) and Her Majesty's Government of the slightest intention to make any bargain for the sake of patronage. He (Mr. Napier) must say he felt grateful to the noble Lord for the appointments he had made in the Church, for he believed the noble Lord had endeavoured to bestow his patronage solely upon good and faithful men. He (Mr. Napier) could state—what was probably unknown to many Members of that House—that a proposition of preferment which was most honourable to the noble Lord had been made to a minister of the Established Church in Ireland simply on the ground of his merits. But while he entirely acquitted Her Majesty's Government of any design of acquiring patronage in the proposal of 1288 this measure, and while he believed that the vacancies which would be created would be filled by men whose appointments would be satisfactory to members of the Church, he regarded the principle upon which the Bill was founded as altogether unsound, and he could not consent to do evil that good might come of it. Strong cases always made bad precedents, and the question the House was now called upon to consider was whether they could, in accordance with sound principles, give effect to a measure founded upon the conditional resignation of two Bishops; for, although the appointments made by the noble Lord when the two sees would be vacated might be entirely satisfactory to him (Mr. Napier), other Governments, entertaining different views, might avail themselves of the precedent in a manner which would be detrimental to the interests of the Church. He was not one of those who thought that the end could sanctify the means, and he asked the House seriously to consider whether the principle of the Bill was right or wrong. If the House looked at the papers which had been laid upon the table, they would see it was impossible to say that the Bill was anything else than a measure to carry out the conditional resignation of two Bishops. The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) in his reply to the Bishop of London, said—I have to acknowledge the communication of your wishes to resign your see on the conditions mentioned by you, and I will take steps to carry your wishes into effect.Now, he maintained that the principle of conditional resignation was neither recognised or in accordance with the ordinances of the Church. Resignation must be pure, simple, and absolute. He would cite to the House authorities on the subject—A collateral condition may not be annexed to the resignation, no more than an ordinary may admit upon condition, &c. For the words of resignation have always been purè, spontè, absolutè, et simpliciter, to exclude all indirect bargains, not only for money but for other considerations."—Gibs. Cod. 821; Burns's Ecc. Law, vol. iii. 542.It was said, however, that that principle applied only to the inferior clergy; but were they to be told that the inferior grades of the clergy were to be bound by laws and principles which did not apply to those who discharged the sacred functions of Bishops? The Act which was passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth had been, introduced to give greater effect to a doctrine 1289 which lay deep in the structure of our spiritual and ecclesiastical system—namely, that as the sacred office of Bishop should be accepted only from pure and holy motives, so should the resignation of that office proceed from such motives and from such motives alone. The law was founded on the principle that those who accepted ecclesiastical offices were supposed to be influenced by pure and holy motives—by a desire to promote the spiritual welfare of their fellow - creatures, and that persons who found themselves unequal to the duties of such offices would feel it their duty to resign. But, he would ask, could that resignation take place upon conditions? It was distinctly laid down that a resignation was not good when there was a condition attached to it. He found it stated in Godolphin, p. 277–8:—The resignation is not good, and the condition void, because it is against the nature of a resignation, which must be absolutè, spontè, purè, et simpliciter; a collateral condition cannot be annexed by the parties themselves; also this is an act judicial to which a condition cannot be annexed, no more than an ordinary may admit upon condition.A case occurred very recently, when the present Lord Chancellor was one of the puisne Barons of the Exchequer, in which two incumbents, having arranged to exchange livings with the consent of the patron, an understanding that no claim should be made for dilapidations became the question for the decision of the Court. The principle of resignations was then considered, and the Court came to the conclusion that no collateral conditions could be annexed to resignation. Lord Abinger said—It might be a very considerable question, whether if a contract for the exchange of livings were made in writing, with an express declaration that neither party should sue the other for the dilapidations, it would not amount to a simoniacal contract, and so would be void.Baron Parke said—I cannot help concurring in the doubt that has been expressed by my Lord, whether it would be valid and binding. It appears to me to savour of simony.Baron Rolfe expressed the same opinion—Upon the whole," he said, "I entirely concur in the opinion which has been expressed, and particularly in the doubt intimated by my Lord, whether an agreement to waive the claim for dilapidations would have been a valid agreement.If, then, a claim for dilapidations would invalidate a resignation in the case of a 1290 benefice, why should not an agreement to vacate a bishopric on the receipt of an annual income of £6,000 or £4,500 be equally invalid? This consideration had operated so strongly upon those by whom the Bill now before the House was prepared, that in the first copies, presented on the 7th of July, there was no reference to resignation; but it was provided that from and after the 1st of September, 1856, the sees of London and Durham should be vacant. An objection was taken to that provision on constitutional grounds, and the Bill was then put into its present form, the preamble declaring that—Whereas the Right Hon. and Right Rev. Charles James Lord Bishop of London, and the Right Rev. Edward Lord Bishop of Durham, have severally represented to Her Majesty their inability, from their state of health, to discharge the duties of their office, and their desire on that account to vacate their respective sees," &c.Now, he asked, ought the proposed provision to receive legislative sanction? If a clergyman who was desirous of exchanging his living, and who attached conditions of the most simple and innocent character to the arrangement, was open to the charge of simony, could it be said the stipulation of a Bishop, that his resignation should be conditional on the receipt of a certain annuity, did not savour of simony also? He, for one, must protest against such arguments as savouring too much of an over fine-drawn distinction. He thought it was evident that the framers of the Bill had felt the difficulty they were placed in by the contract, which was clear upon the face of the correspondence to which he had referred. If the Bishops of London and Durham had come forward and said, "We are not able, with all the assistance which, the present law affords us, to discharge our duties in a manner satisfactory to our own consciences, and we are, therefore, prepared to resign our sees," he (Mr. Napier) would have been ready to adopt the view suggested by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) that these were exceptional cases, and he should therefore be induced to advocate the passing of a Bill making provision for them. He apprehended, however, that the resignations of the two Bishops could not be received duly and canonically unless they were pure, simple, and absolute; and could he, or any hon. Member, having in their hands the correspondence which had taken place, say that the resignations were offered and 1291 would be accepted according to the spirit and intention of the ecclesiastical law? If the resignations had been pure, simple, absolute, and unconditional—if the Bishops of London and Durham had said that in the present state of the law, they were unable to make sufficient provision for the spiritual superintendence of their respective dioceses—if they had placed their resignations in the hands of their metropolitans, and left it to Parliament to make for them such provision as it thought fitting, he (Mr. Napier) would have readily supported the Government in affording pensions to the right rev. Prelates out of the excess of income which would remain from the revenues of their dioceses after due provision had been made for their successors. The office of a Bishop was a high and a sacred office, and it was with no inconsiderable satisfaction he adverted to what had lately passed in that House with reference to a distinguished Prelate who occupied that important position—he meant the Bishop of New Zealand, Dr. Selwyn, whom the Legislature had treated in a way which was not creditable to them; but who, in a correspondence to which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had drawn their attention, had stated that he left himself, with respect to the payment of his salary, entirely in the hands of that House, and that he washed his hands of any interference in money arrangements which they might make with respect to himself. If, however, they gave effect by a Parliamentary bargain to a pecuniary and personal arrangement which violated the principle upon which the Church had proceeded—namely, that the resignation of office should be absolute and unconditional, he thought a serious blow would be struck, not only at the position of Bishops, but at the general interests of religion in this country. He might be told that there was only a choice of evils, but he, for one, as he had previously stated, did not subscribe to the doctrine, that it was lawful to do evil in order to accomplish good. If the House assented to the Bill it would be impossible to contend that the cases dealt with by the measure were exceptional, but precedents would be established which might be acted upon hereafter with serious detriment to the interests of the Church. What would be said if it was proposed to Judges that they should resign upon pensions, the amount of which was to be matter of bargain? 1292 He would, therefore, warn the House to be cautious in sanctioning the principle involved in this Bill. His main objection to be measure was that the resignation to which it would give effect was a conditional resignation. He maintained that such resignations were wholly at variance with the spirit of the Ecclesiastical Law, and that law was founded upon reasons the soundness of which all Christians were ready to admit. He believed that no one who considered the Bill in connection with the correspondence which had taken place could come to any other conclusion than that it would give effect to a conditional resignation, and, as he could not reconcile it to his conscience to sanction such an arrangement, he felt it his duty to vote against the second reading.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he must own that he did not feel, as many persons for whose opinions he entertained the highest respect appeared to do, those difficulties of principle to which his right hon. and learned Friend had referred. He cordially agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman that they ought not to do evil that good might come; and if the Bill involved a simoniacal principle he would say with the right hon. and learned Gentleman, "let it be rejected." At the same time he claimed the advantage of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's admission, that the object of the Bill was desirable and beneficial. The Bill was designed to accomplish two objects—the first being that two of the most populous and important dioceses of the kingdom should not be left without that spiritual superintendence which the law and constitution of the Church, as well as the requirements of the people, demanded, and which it was admitted did not now exist. It was most important that they should not, by leaving these dioceses under a superintendence which, by the admission of those who exercised it, was inadequate and imperfect, produce an impression upon the public mind of England that the office of a Bishop was not one of great practical utility and importance, and that such an office might be practically left void and vacant for a considerable time without involving any injury or mischief to the Church. The first great object was, then, to provide an efficient practical superintendence where, by the confession of the venerable prelates who filled the sees, no such superintendence at present existed. The second object of the Bill was to economise mate- 1293 rially the funds of the Church, which stood greatly in need of that economy. By the operation of the Bill, if he understood it correctly, the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commission would at once receive a large annual addition, which might be estimated at about £25,000. [Mr. GLADSTONE intimated his dissent.] His right hon. Friend, he apprehended, was only looking at the amount which would go to the funds of the Commission as surplus, but they must also take into their calculation the incomes to be paid to the Bishops who were to preside over the two dioceses. They had been told that the income of the Bishop of London was about £20,000 a year. [An hon. MEMBER: —18,000.— Mr. HADFIELD: £22,000.] He was told on one side that the income of the Bishop of London was £18,000 and on the other that it was £22,000, and he thought, therefore, he bad adopted a fair medium in estimating it at £20,000. He would, however, take the lowest amount, £18,000, and if £6,000 were reserved £12,000 would remain. He was informed that the annual income of the Bishop of Durham was £16,000. [An hon. MEMBER: £14,000.] [A Laugh.] Well, taking it at £14,000, and deducting £4,500, £9,500 would remain, which, added to the £12,000 from the diocese of London, would give £21,000. By passing this Bill, then, they would gain two important objects. They would render available for the purposes of the Church above £20,000 a year, which would not be so available without this measure, and they would provide two of the most important dioceses of the country with effective spiritual superintendence. Now, what were the objections which had been urged against the Bill? The objections urged against the Bill were various, and, if well founded, highly important. One of them was, that this was piecemeal legislation, and that there ought to have been a general instead of a separate measure. Now, the revenues of these two bishoprics were not held as the revenues of the other bishoprics were. Those of the see of London were not regulated, that was to say, they did not fall under the operation of those Acts which regulated the financial proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commission. The diocese of Durham, though falling within the rules adopted when that Commission was first established, was practically an analogous case, as the revenues received by the Bishop of Durham were far greater than what were now contemplated as the 1294 proper revenues of a Bishop. In these circumstances, even if they had a general Bill before them, they would have to deal with these two bishoprics in a manner distinct from the other dioceses of the country, and that was an argument which ought to have weight with them in disposing of this part of the case. It was again said that the Bill had been brought in at such an extremely late period of the Session, that they were unable to consider it with deliberation. That was, no doubt, a difficulty with which they had to deal, but it did not, in his judgment, constitute a sufficient argument for the rejection of the measure. The next objection was, indeed, a grave one, if well founded. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Napier) objected that the provisions of the Bill constituted what, in his mind, amounted to the sin and guilt of simony—that was to say, he regarded it as sanctioning simoniacal contracts. Now, those remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman raised the question, were they simoniacal transactions or not? and on that question he joined issue with his right hon. and learned Friend. It was necessary, before deciding whether a contract was simoniacal or not, to know what simony was. Simony was of two kinds. There was the sin of simony committed by Simon Magus—that was to say, the sin of endeavouring to procure scriptural gifts by the payment of money, and there was the offence against which the statute of Elizabeth was levelled in this country—namely, the obtaining by money an ecclesiastical endowment. But, with the solitary exception that they went by the same name there was no actual or intrinsic connection between them. If they looked into the pages of Coke or Blackstone, they would find that the offence of simony consisted in procuring or purchasing a license to preach, or some spiritual profit, by money or corrupt practices. That had been made a Parliamentary offence; but it was not malum in se—an offence with regard to which the Legislature had no dispensing powers. It was malum prohibitum, which, being created by an Act of Parliament, an Act of Parliament could also remove; and therefore a contract openly made and sanctioned by the three Estates of the Realm could not, within the meaning of the word, in the second sense, be a simoniacal contract or agreement. If it was not simony in a moral sense—if there was no inherent breach of moral duty in this engagement—neither 1295 could there be any offence in making it in the manner in which it was made—the whole truth having been stated to Parliament, and the whole arrangement ratified by Parliament. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin had objected in certain parts to the wording of the Bill, but he thought those were points which there would be no difficulty in arranging in Committee. The words on which his right hon. Friend founded his argument had been inserted in another place, in deference to feelings with which the great body of the public little sympathised; and, if these words were found to give rise to any practical objection, it would be easy to omit them in the Committee. His right hon. and learned Friend had quoted the terms of the canon, which required that resignations should be made frankly, simply, and absolutely; but he (Mr. Cardwell) very much doubted whether the argument of his right hon. and learned Friend drawn from that canon would not be just as strong against a general measure as against the Bill they were then discussing. Then they came to the last objection, and the one which, as he believed, weighed most in the popular mind. It was said that the proposed retiring allowances were excessive in amount, and that it would not be right to sanction so heavy a charge on the funds of the Church. In answer to that objection, he should first of all observe that the House was then in misericordiam—that they could only get what those who were by law entitled to the whole of those revenues might choose to surrender. If that were the case, then came the question whether, on the whole, that was a wise and judicious arrangement for Parliament to accept. In considering that question, he would remind them that they would have an opportunity of reducing the proposed allowances in Committee, if they should think fit; and although it might not be obligatory in these prelates to accept the reduced sums, Parliament might at all events make known to them what was its opinion upon the point, and the statement of that opinion might act as a motive to induce them to submit to other terms. It appeared to him that the objection to which he was then referring was one which could be best considered by the House when in Committee. With regard to the objection of simony, he believed it was totally unfounded on any true interpretation of the principles of the law of 1296 England; and with regard to the general bearing and scope of the Bill, he could not but remember that if they were to reject the measure, they would be open to the charge of having prevented the accomplishment of a benefit to the Church, by refusing to give their assent to a proposal which would have economised its resources and have secured an efficient administration of two of its most important dioceses.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he wished to say a very few words on this subject. He held that the Bill before the House was intended to perpetrate a great scandal. He held that the Bishops of this land ought to be the conservators of the public morality; that as Christian Bishops they should adhere to the Christian law; and that by breaking through that law they set a very bad example to the country at large; while by availing themselves, as they were about to do, of an Act of Parliament in order to perpetrate that breach of the law, they had thereby added to the scandal which their own conduct had of itself created. The preamble of the Bill was not in accordance with the facts of the case. What were the facts? That two gentlemen who were Bishops, having enjoyed the revenues of the two richest bishoprics in England for many years, had become so impotent from disease and age that they were unable to perform the duties of their office, and that this being their condition they came to Parliament and said, "If you buy us off we are willing to go." The right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down told the House that they were in misericordiam with reference to the conditions they had to make. They were in misericordiam to this extent—that these two old gentlemen were in possession of large revenues. He (Mr. Roebuck) did not deny that they had those large revenues, though he was sorry to say they did. They had, unquestionably, legal possession of the revenues, and, finding that they were unable to fulfil the duties of their office, they came to Parliament with this condition—" We can by law hold what we have got, and we will hold it unless you make us an advantageous offer." Now, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) said this was not simony. He (Mr. Roebuck) was not there to say it was simony, but without hesitation he would say it was a corrupt contract, and thereby an offence against the Ecclesiastical Law. The Ecclesiastical Law had determined long ago that a corrupt contract of this sort was an 1297 ecclesiastical offence. It was an ecclesiastical offence these Bishops—these conservators of public morality—were going to commit in asking a price for their retirement. These Bishops asked Parliament to give them so many thousands a year, and, on condition that those several sums were given, they were ready to forego the revenues they now possessed. Now, that was his first objection to the Bill, namely, that these Bishops were asking Parliament to be the perpetrators, along with themselves, of a great scandal. His next objection was, that the Bill was an outrage upon the people of this country. What was the position of these men? For many years past they had enjoyed princely incomes. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said last night that the Bishop of London had no wish to lay up for himself treasures on earth, and under the influence of Parliamentary language he added, that the Bishop had sought rather to lay up "treasures elsewhere." Being under the influence of the Parliamentary rule the noble Lord could not mention Heaven in the House of Commons, but spoke of it as "another place." Those Bishops had enjoyed princely incomes for years. If they had been rectors who by age or infirmity were unable to perform their duties, they would have been told at once to relinquish the offices they held. [Cries of "No, no!"] He begged pardon, but it would be found that if a rector wished to retire he had no claim on any one and could not ask for money. But a Bishop did. He said—"I am impotent and unable to discharge my duties; but the law allows me to keep possession of the revenues of the sees, and I will not quit unless you allow me a certain sum." If a rector made that statement he would have thrown at his head he knew not how many large volumes to show that it was an ecclesiastical offence. The rector being a poor man, nothing would be done for him, and he would be sent into the world to do the best he could; but for the Bishops a soft cushion was made to repose upon—one receiving £6,000 and another £4,500 a year. Now, the greater part of the Bishops of this country enjoyed but £6,000 a year. [An hon. MEMBER: "£4,200]. The hon. Gentleman said it was only £4,200, and not £6,000. There was always so much doubt and uncertainty about Bishops' incomes in that House that no wonder he who did not know much about Bishops should be in error. But, at any rate it appeared that the retiring pen- 1298 sions of these two Bishops who could not perform their duties were larger than the incomes allotted by Act of Parliament to Bishops who continued in the active discharge of the duties of their office. The whole thing, from beginning to end, he again asserted, was a scandal and a shame, and as such he hoped it would be branded by the House, and be eventually rejected.
§ MR. BLACK
said that though no son of the Church, he felt bound to give his support to the Bill. He would not be guided by the authority of Henry VIII., Elizabeth, or George III., whom he did not recognise as ecclesiastical superiors, but by the higher authority to which they all appealed; and, guided by that authority, he felt justified in supporting the second reading of the Bill. Surely there could be nothing more reasonable and scriptural than to accept the offer of these two Bishops, who, after enjoying great revenues, said that they were willing to take less. There should be some means provided for those persons to live respectably, according to the position they had heretofore held. He did not think there was any immorality whatever in the transaction. It had been said that the sum was large; no doubt it was; but it should be recollected the Bishops had enjoyed a much larger sum, and it could not be denied that the country would be the gainer by the transaction. He thought the right hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) had disposed of the objection of simony. As long as that House took upon itself the regulation of the Church and ecclesiastical affairs they must be prepared to have ecclesiastical topics discussed there, although he certainly did not think it was the most proper place for such discussion.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
I can assure you, Sir, that before I came down to this House I had considerable difficulty in deciding what course it would be my duty to take with respect to the second reading of this Bill, and the discussion, as far as it has proceeded, has not served to abate those difficulties. At the outset of what I am about to say I think it right to relieve myself from some imputations that may possibly be cast on the free expression of the opinions which I shall think it my duty to offer to the House. In the first place I trust it will be unnecessary for me to say that I venerate the position in the Church held by the two prelates whose cases have been brought before us by this Bill. For many years I have had the honour and advantage 1299 of their friendship in private life, and I highly esteem and very sincerely regard them. The hon. Memher for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes) said, there were various motives by which hon. Members opposing this Bill might be actuated, and, among others which he stated he said, there might be a desire in some quarters to unite in rejecting the Bill in order to embarrass the Government. Now, Sir, I can conceive no prostitution of public duty more base than that of discussing a question of this kind under the influence of such highly improper motives. I do not think that on any side of the House, in discussing a question of this kind, such influences will prevail, and on my part I most distinctly disclaim them. I quite concur in what has been said by hon. Members on both sides of the House that, even without evidence, it would he unworthy to suppose that my noble Friend at the head of the Government was actuated in this matter by any lust of patronage On the contrary, I believe that, filling the high position he does as the first adviser of Her Majesty with respect to the distribution of the Church patronage of the Crown, it is to him one of the most difficult as it is one of the most sacred of duties, and I do not believe he desires for one moment to multiply the occasions on which he is called to exercise it; and the correspondence which I hold in my hand if it proves nothing else, at least distinctly proves that this matter did not originate with the noble Lord. I hope therefore, that having stated this much, I shall be acquitted by the House of being actuated by any improper motives in putting forward such argument as I may deem it necessary to employ in reference to this question. Again, I am bound also to admit—what I think was stated by the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) that we shall be involved in great difficulty in the decision at which we must arrive. Our decision, whatever it may be, will not be without serious evils. We have before us the admitted fact that two of the most important dioceses in England are at present occupied by prelates who declare themselves no longer able to fulfil the duties of the episcopate. That is, Sir, a grave admission, involving the most serious considerations with reference to the welfare of the Church; and it is only by balancing that evil against the evils which appear to me to be inherent in this measure that I am willing, on the whole, to incur the former for a limited period rather than give my 1300 assent to the second reading of a Bill which seems to involve principles novel, dangerous and, as I think, most unwise to adopt. I have said that the progress of the debate has not diminished the difficulties which I experience on the present occasion. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract thought that the circumstance—which he frankly admitted—of this being an exceptional case, and offered as such, might be some relief to the doubt which I entertain with reference to the principles inherent in the Bill. Now, Sir, it is precisely because this is an exceptional case, and because an exceptional case of this kind, when based on erroneous principles, leads to the most fatal consequences, that I regard this measure with peculiar jealousy. It is not possible to consider this Bill apart from the correspondence which has taken place with respect to it. Well, then, what is the nature of that correspondence? It is quite clear that both the Prelates, in submitting their proposals to the Government, did feel that there was a legal obstacle in limine to their contemplated retirement. They both use the same expression—" If allowed by law,"—clearly feeling that the law to which so many allusions have been made in the course of this discussion—the law of simony—was, as they understood it, a preliminary objection to their propositions. I do not wish to enter into the question, what is simony? more than it is possible to avoid it, involving as it does considerations of the most serious and solemn kind. But the question has been mooted, and we are bound to direct our attention to it. The religious offence of simony, as it has been transmitted to us, was an attempt to purchase by money spiritual gifts. The law of this country on the subject partakes of another character. It goes much further, and, if I were obliged to express an opinion upon it, I should say, that this transaction is rather the converse of the religious offence—it is an offer in the nature of a money bargain to sell exalted stations in the Church connected with the highest spiritual functions. I do not pretend to legal accuracy: but what in common parlance may be said to be the definition of simony by the law of England? I say it is the purchase or the sale of the avoidance of a spiritual cure for a money consideration, stipulated to be paid upon the avoidance. That I believe, apart from technicalities, to be the definition of simony. Now, then, apply that definition to the correspondence before us, and I must 1301 say that I cannot bring my mind honestly to any other conclusion than that this transaction is of a simoniacal character. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) has cited an opinion which, considering the exalted station of the person from whom it emanated, I feel is entitled to the gravest attention—namely, that the heads of the Church are not amenable to the law which forbids these simoniacal transactions. Sir, I cannot for one moment entertain the policy, notwithstanding the eminence of the authority in question, that such an interpretation of the law can be correct. It points to a state of things so morally wrong that I hope and believe the opinion may be erroneous. If there be not error in it, then I am sure the law ought to be reconsidered and amended with the least possible delay. For what will be the position of the parochial clergy? A rector or vicar, borne down with age and infirmity, and, perhaps with hard work—anxious for the spiritual welfare of his congregation, feeling that he can no longer perform his ministerial duties, would be most anxious not to have a curate—that being a very imperfect remedy—but to void his living, provided he could make some pecuniary arrangement with his successor. But he is prohibited by law from making any such arrangement; and what will he say—what will the whole body of the parochial clergy say—if they are to remain amenable to this law, and at the same time to be told that the heads of the Church—their great exemplars and rulers—are not subject to any such enactment or restriction? This Bill upon other grounds will, I am afraid, not be very popular among the parochial clergy; but if you superadd to the large drain which this measure makes upon the "common fund" legally available for the spiritual wants of the people and for the augmentation of the smaller livings the declaration that the heads of the Church are those alone of the clerical body not amenable to the law of simony, you will, I think, excite among the parochial clergy the most bitter and angry feelings against those who are their overlookers, their guides, and advisers. It has been said somewhere that to constitute a simoniacal transaction in the words of the statute it must be "corruptly" done. Now, the law has already been interpreted in our Courts. This is no new matter. The interpretation, with reference to simony, or what is done corruptly, has been decided upon the 1302 highest authority. I may read it shortly to the House, quoting from a note published by Mr. Christian in his edition of Blackstone with reference to a most important decision upon this very point. The note says:—Any resignation or exchange for money is corrupt, however apparently fair the transaction; as when a father, wishing that his son in orders should be employed in the duties of his profession, agreed to secure by a bond the payment of an annuity exactly equal to the annual produce of a benefice, in consideration of the incumbent resigning in favour of his son. The annuity being afterwards in arrear, the bond was put in suit, and the defendant pleaded the simoniacal resignation in bar. Lord Mansfield and the Court, though they declared that it was an unconscientious defence, yet, as the resignation had been made for money, determined that it was corrupt and simoniacal, and that in consequence the bond was void.Now, Sir, after reading that passage, I do not think that any reliance can be placed upon that word "corruptly" in the Act which defines simony. But it is said that this is a measure limited in its operation, and that, therefore, it may be adopted more easily, and entertained with less apprehension. It is, as I have already stated, precisely upon that ground that my objection to the Bill rests. I conceive that this Bill, if you pass it upon the narrow ground of a privilege to these two Bishops, and for the reasons set forth in the preamble, will constitute a barrier to a general measure founded upon other principles: and such, as, in my opinion, it would be most expedient to adopt. To show that we are arguing this question without the slightest bias of personal or party feeling, my very intimate Friend the right hon. Member for the city of Oxford (Mr. Cardwell), an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, differs from me toto cœlo in this matter. When referring to the pecuniary considerations which ought to guide us, he assured us that the "common fund" would be a gainer, if this Bill passed, to the extent of nearly £20,000 a year.
§ MR. CARDWELL
Sir, I must beg to explain. What I said was this:—At present the Bishop of London is entitled to receive £18,000 a year, and the Bishop of Durham £16,000, making in the whole £34,000. This Bill proposes to grant pensions to the Bishop of London of £6,000 a year, and the Bishop of Durham £4,500 a year, together amounting to £10,500, leaving to the Church £23,500. The new Bishop of London will receive £10,000 per annum, and the new Bishop 1303 of Durham £8,000, making a total of £18,000. The gain to the Common Fund of the Ecclesiastical Commission will thus be £5,500.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
That is the very statement which I was about to make. The sum to be gained by the passing of the Bill would amount to only £5,500 a year; but that amount would, of course, be limited to the lifetime of the present Bishops of London and Durham. But, with respect to the question of simony— the House is aware that resignation bonds have, by a more recent statute, been, in certain limited cases, permitted. Observe, however, what has been the caution of the law. It has studiously exempted from that relaxation all patronage in the hands of the Crown—going beyond the Crown—all patronage in the hands of the Duchy of Lancaster, and all patronage in the hands of private patrons. Although I do not concur in all the observations which fell from the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), yet I must say that the preamble of this Bill does not represent accurately the facts of the case. What does the first sentence say? Purporting to be the basis of the whole arrangement, it sets forth—Whereas the Right Hon. and Right Rev. Charles James, Lord Bishop of London, and the Right Rev. Edward, Lord Bishop of Durham, have severally represented to Her Majesty their inability, from their state of health, to discharge the duties of their office, and their desire on that account to vacate their respective sees—"Their desire on that account,"—that is, on account of their sickness, their infirmity, their inability. Why, the objection which I have to this Bill is, that their desire to vacate their sees is not based exclusively on their infirmities. They stipulate distinctly for a money consideration; and the very words used by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in his answer to the Bishop of London, "on the conditions mentioned by you," show that the resignation is not alone on account of infirmity and inability. The sees are not vacated spontè, simpliciter, absolutè, as the words of the canon require, but on condition that £6,000 a year and Fulham Palace should be given in one case, and £4,500 in the other. If the House wishes to ascertain clearly whether this is a money bargain or not, there is a simple test in its hands which it can apply with effect for that purpose. Let the House, in Committee, reduce the sum of £6,000 a year 1304 to £3,000 in the case of the Bishop of London, and the £4,500 a year to £2,500 in the case of the Bishop of Durham, and I am very much mistaken, whatever may be the majority for the third reading, if this Bill will receive the Royal Assent and pass into a law. Now, Sir, that I apprehend is the surest and best test to apply for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not there is any money consideration involved in this arrangement. I cannot but think that it is very unfortunate that towards the close of a Session such as this we should have to discuss measures involving great and fundamental principles of immense difficulty both in Church and State. We have only recently disposed of the question of the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords, involving, as it did, the consideration of the creation of lay peerages for life. We are now called upon for the first time to entertain the question whether the tenure of spiritual Peers in the House of Lords shall be for a period less than life—for such a period only as Parliament shall provide. It is stated in the first clause of the Bill that upon the resignation of their sees the right of the two Bishops to sit as Lords of Parliament shall cease. But I would again remind the House that the ground stated in the preamble for the acceptance of the resignation, namely, the speciality of the case, so far from advancing any general measure, would, I believe, be an actual bar to such legislation. The principle expressly sets forth that the privilegium in this case is based on the consideration that, after providing the fixed incomes payable to their successors, there will be more than sufficient to pay the annuities to the Bishops out of the common fund of the Ecclesiastical Commission. Now, excepting, I believe, the see of Winchester, which remains to be provided for, there is not another archbishopric or bishopric which will be in the position of London and Durham, capable of providing annuities for the retired Prelates and suitable incomes for their successors, and still leaving a surplus, however small, to the common fund of the Ecclesiastical Commission. Therefore, if we pass this Bill, it will operate as a barrier to any arrangement which might afterwards be made with the view of extending the principle to other bishoprics. It is to me very painful to refer to the fact, but it has been stated, and cannot be contradicted, that at the present moment there are two other Prelates occupying 1305 high stations in the Church—equal to the see of London on the one hand, and superior to the see of Durham on the other— with respect to whom the necessity of such a measure as this is quite as great as in the case of the Bishops of London and Durham. It is notorious that the Archbishop of York has sustained a most serious and heavy calamity—that he has been struck with paralysis, and that he lies at his own house incapable of attending to the business of his diocese. The Bishop of Norwich has communicated to a brother Prelate his most earnest desire that his case should be forthwith considered; he feels his incapacity to discharge the duties of the episcopate, and, as I understand, upon very moderate terms, would gladly avail himself of the advantages of a measure such as the present. It would be invidious to go on, but I doubt much whether there are not other cases quite as strong as these upon the Episcopal Bench. I am strengthened by another consideration, that since the Reformation there has not been an instance of the resignation of an episcopal cure or of a seat in the House of Lords by a spiritual Peer, Our forefathers, considering the evils attending such resignations, and the danger arising from discussions with respect to the tenure of Bishops in the House of Lords, prudently avoided these questions; and the result is, that from the Reformation downwards there is not, as far as I am aware, a single instance of the resignation either of the episcopate or of a seat, quà spiritual Peers, in the House of Lords, with, I believe, the exception of the nonjuring Bishops, and in that case the thing was done by an Act of Parliament, and partook of the character of an attaint. After the discussion which took place last night, I did not wish to occupy too much of the time of the House, but, I trust I may be permitted to read shortly the particulars of a very remarkable case which is described by Bishop Pearce in his own Life, and which bears directly upon this subject? Dr. Pearce was Bishop of Rochester and Dean of Westminster, and was very anxious to retire from the high station to which he had been raised. I quote the words of the Bishop himself:—In the latter end of the year 1761 died Dr. Sherlock, Bishop of London, and, upon his death, Lord Bath spoke to the Bishop of Rochester, and offered to use his endeavours with His Majesty for appointing the Bishop of Rochester to succeed him.1306 I beg the House to mark the next sentence:—Many thought that he (Dr. Pearce) had long had a view to that eminent see, as he had for seven years before that Prelate's death ordained all candidates for Holy Orders in his diocese, and done other business for him who, through age and bodily infirmities, was wholly disabled to do most parts of his office in person.Such was the state of the diocese of London at the commencement of the reign of George III. While held by no less eminent a man than Dr. Sherlock, its affairs for the space of seven years were for the most part administered by the Bishop of Rochester without, as it appears, any scandal to the Church, or any inconvenience; and it was not till the death of Dr. Sherlock that any question arose respecting the claims of Bishop Pearce. I will not trouble the House with the long details which follow as to the earnest desire of Dr. Pearce to resign the see of Rochester and the deanery of Westminster. Suffice it to say, that he intimated that desire to George III., who, in the first instance, was disposed to accept the resignation. But, to show how dangerous these attempts to resign are, even on the part of men of virtue and eminence, and how certainly political influences, when these vacancies are about to take place, rise up and multiply, it may be, perhaps, not uninstructive to the House that I should read the passage describing in what manner the attempt of Dr. Pearce to resign the see of Rochester and the deanery of Westminster, failed. Dr. Pearce was a particular friend of Lord Bath, who, though he retired from office before the accession of George III., still possessed great influence over the mind and in the councils of that Sovereign. I will now read the Bishop's own words:—About two months afterwards (after the first intimation of his desire to resign made to George III. himself) the King sent for the Bishop, and told him that he had consulted about it with two of his lawyers; that one of them, Lord Mansfield, saw no objection to the resignation of the bishopric and deanery; but that the other said he was doubtful about the practicability of resigning a bishopric; but that, however, the same lawyer, Lord Northington, soon afterwards had told him that, upon further considering the matter, he thought that the request might be complied with.Upon that Bishop Pearce tendered his resignation to His Majesty in person, and, in order that there might be no mistake about it, asked the King whether he might kiss 1307 his hand, which he thought the most formal and binding manner of concluding the business; and, having so kissed the Royal hand and completed his resignation, he retired. Now comes the marvel: —But, unfortunately for the Bishop, Lord Bath, as soon as he heard of the King's consent being given, requested him to give the bishopric and deanery which were to be resigned to Dr. Newton, then Bishop of Bristol.Observe how soon intrigues spring up in such matters:—This alarmed the Ministry, who thought, as other Ministers had done before them, that no dignities in the Church should be obtained from the Crown but through their hands. They therefore resolved to oppose the resignation, as the shortest way of keeping the bishopric from being disposed of otherwise than they liked.Dr. Pearce goes on to say—And the lawyer who had been doubtful (Lord Northington), and soon after had been clear, was employed to inform His Majesty that he was then again doubtful, and that the Bishops generally disliked the design.See, now, into what disrepute this transaction brought all the great personages who were connected with it—the Bishop in possession wishing to resign, the Minister who had the constitutional right to advise the Crown, the ex-Minister who buzzed round the closet and exerted his influence in a matter so important; and then you have the scandal of the Lord Chancellor, first doubting the right to resign, then admitting it, and afterwards permitting himself to be persuaded to doubt again. Well, what took place? I read this, because it is the Bishop's own account, and he was a good man, who for many years discharged the duties of the episcopal office in a most exemplary manner. This is his own account, which I read with some humiliation:—His Majesty upon this sent again, but at some distance of time, to the Bishop of Rochester, and, at a third audience in his closet, told him that he must think no more about resigning the bishopric, but that he would have all the merit of having done it. The Bishop replied, 'Sir, I am all duty and submission,' and then withdrew.He only lived for a short time after that, and in the space of a year the bishopric of Rochester and the deanery of Westminster became vacant. The noble Lord who seconded the Motion justly said he touched upon delicate ground in doing so. I admit that, but I object altogether to the grant of bishoprics in reversion. The Bill, as it appears to me, is neither 1308 more nor less than a grant of bishoprics in reversion. I acquit the noble Lord at the head of the Government of any desire to obtain or procure such an advantage. It has been thrown into his lap; but still this Bill is intended to grant by Act of Parliament the sees of London and Durham in reversion, which are to be placed at the disposal of the First Minister of the Crown. Now, Sir, I am one of those who think the Crown does exercise a very salutary influence over the bench of Bishops; but I am jealous of any redundancy of control being suddenly thrust upon the Crown. The House must not forget that these Bishops who are referred to in the Bill which we are invited to pass are Peers of Parliament, and as such can vote by proxy. Surely, then, that is a consideration which affects the votes in the other House. What, too, will be the effect of this measure upon Bishops seeking translation? With all respect to that venerable body, I may say Bishops are only men and subject to human infirmities, and you cannot bring this kind of influence suddenly to bear upon them without perilling their independence and endangering, in the jealous eyes of the public, the respect which is due to their sacred offices. Then I would ask what is the immediate necessity for dealing with this question at the present time? I admit that the incompetency of Bishops to perform the duties of their offices is a serious matter for consideration; but I am greatly deceived if at this moment the business of the see of Durham is not satisfactorily transacted by the Bishop of Manchester, and transacted upon a direct pecuniary understanding between the Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Manchester; that, in consequence of the expense entailed upon the latter prelate in the performance of the duties in the see of Durham, he receives from the Bishop of Durham a fixed annual sum, exactly as in the case which has been put of a rector taking a curate to assist him in his duties and paying him for his services. The business of the diocese of Durham has been so conducted for some time. It has answered tolerably well, and therefore I do not see any serious inconvenience in prolonging that arrangement for a few months longer. I regret that the Government, having received an intimation from the Bishop of Durham, in November last, that he was unable any longer to perform the duties of his episcopate, did not at the 1309 very commencement of the Session, if it deemed it expedient to deal with this question at all, introduce a general measure upon the subject. The state of health of the Bishop of London also has been known for some time, and I think if a general measure had been introduced, it would have been free from many of the difficulties which attach to exceptional legislation of this kind. If a general measure had been introduced to meet the cases of resignations by Bishops, and guarding against abuses—providing that such resignations should be in conformity with the Canons of the Church and for sufficient cause, without any specific bargain beforehand for more or less money, but should be upon certain fixed terms—then I think the whole difficulty as to the simoniacal character of these transactions would have been avoided [Mr. WALPOLE intimated dissent.] The right hon. Gentleman opposite seems to differ from me, but if the Legislature shall think fit to deal generally with the question of resignations by Archbishops and Bishops upon fixed terms, then the sooner that question is discussed and decided the better, time lost cannot be regained. I regret that Her Majesty's Ministers, being determined, notwithstanding all difficulties, to deal with this question of resignation of Bishops, which since the Reformation our ancestors have carefully avoided, did not introduce a general measure at a much earlier period of the Session; but even now I do not see why it should stand over until February. If the matter is so very urgent you can have a Session before Christmas. (Cries of "Oh !") The House scouts that notion. Well, I will make another suggestion. The House is very much disposed to abolish purchase and sale in the army. If you extend the principle of this measure, I cannot but think you will introduce a system of sale and purchase among the members of the Episcopal Bench, and the only difference there will be to the system which prevails in the army is, that officers purchase promotion with their own money, while in the case of the Bishops the Government deals with money drawn from the most sacred fund—the Common Fund set apart for the most sacred uses—viz., the endowment of small livings and the augmentation of the stipends of those unhappy curates who are now serving in the Church for about £80 a-year, little more than the wages of an ordinary mechanic. But are there not other steps which might be taken? I speak upon this 1310 matter with some knowledge, because, as Secretary of State in 1843, having the advantage of Lord Lyndhurst's assistance as Lord Chancellor—Sir Robert Peel being the First Minister of the Crown—and I hardly venture even now to speak of him, so much is my heart impressed with a recollection of his virtues and his kindness. He, however, was a man who neglected no duty—who investigated every matter with which, as Minister of the Crown, he was called upon to deal, whether it related to Church or to State. At the time to which I refer Sir Robert Peel was the First Minister, and my confidential friend. The Duke of Wellington was the leader of the House of Lords. The case of the Bishop of Bath and Wells arose, that Prelate suffering from a mental infirmity, and it became my duty, as Home Secretary, to frame a measure to meet that case. Did we deal specially with the case? It was open to us to make out the strongest special case, but, instead of that, the advisers whom I have mentioned and my other colleagues in the Government at that time deliberated carefully, and we absolutely repudiated the idea of any special measure, and accordingly we brought in a general measure. I hold in my hand the Bill which came down from the House of Lords on July 21, 1843, and as it was framed by the Government of Sir Robert Peel, introduced by Lord Lyndhurst, and adopted by the House of Lords with the full consent of the Archbishops and Bishops in that assembly; it applied to all cases, and provided not only for Bishops suffering from mental, but also from bodily infirmities. If, in an evil hour, this House had not pressed the Government, and the Government had not unadvisedly, as I think, consented to restrict the operation of that measure to cases of mental infirmity alone, the whole subject would have been fully and satisfactorily dealt with. [Sir G. GREY: Not satisfactorily.] Not satisfactorily. No, because it would not have given the Bishop of London £6,000 a year, nor would it have given the Bishop of Durham £4,500. I have the greatest respect for my right hon. Friend's opinion, but I would ask him whether he has seen the Bill which came from the House of Lords in 1843? I think he has not. I have a copy here, and can inform him that it met all cases, and that, too, in a measure which renders it even at this eleventh hour worthy, in my opinion, of the consideration of the Government. The right hon. and 1311 learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) has said very truly that the Bill before us has been altered since it was introduced in another place, in order to meet an argument which had been urged against it—the offer of the resignation of the Bishop being put forward in the most perfunctory manner, to be accepted or declined like an invitation to dinner. The Bill, as corrected, provides for formal resignations, but I contend that, if it passes, it will still be difficult for the Bishops to resign according to the Canons of the Church, and the preamble of the Bill requires that resignation should be duly made and duly notified to the Archbishop. In the other Bill to which I have referred the course proposed to be taken was, I believe, unexceptionable. By that Bill, in the case of a Bishop labouring under any infirmity, bodily or mental, the Archbishop had power to appoint a Commission, to consist of the Vicar General, of a suffragan Bishop, and of a third person to be named by the Archbishop. Notice was to be given to the Bishop whose case they were to inquire into, and the Commissioners had power to proceed to examine witnesses upon oath. Having taken evidence, the Commissioners were to report upon it their opinion whether the Bishop was or was not able to perform the duties of his see. An appeal to the Privy Council was given to the Bishop affected by their decision, and upon the hearing of such appeal all Archbishops and Bishops who were Privy Councillors were to be summoned to attend, and to have voices in the decision. In cases where it should be decided that the Bishop was incompetent to perform the duties of his office, those duties during the remainder of his incumbency should be performed by some other Bishop, to be appointed by the Crown, but only the expenses of the Bishop so appointed were to be defrayed out of the revenues of the see. Provision was also made for the case of the temporalities of the see, and a spiritual person was to be appointed for that purpose, who was to receive one-fifth of the income of the see, and to pay all the expenses incident to the administration of the temporalities. Provision was also made to meet the case of an incapacitated Archbishop, and the proceedings were, mutatis mutandis, the same as in the case of a Bishop, except that it was the Lord Chancellor who was to appoint the Commission. Such are the outlines of a Bill which would have met the whole case to my satisfaction, 1312 because I am not one of those whose earnest desire is to multiply the number of Bishops —I differ greatly from my right hon. Friend in that respect. The Bill does not propose to increase the number of the Bishops, but it provides in the cheapest and most effectual manner for the discharge of the episcopal functions of the Bishops. However, there are various other matters open to us for consideration. I am not prepared at once to repudiate the statute of Henry VIII. relating to coadjutor Bishops. I can see objections to a provision that the choice of the Crown should be limited to two clergymen selected by the Bishop. I think that is too narrow a choice, but I remember that in each diocese in England there is resident at the seat of the episcopate a dean, performing important functions, but certainly not overworked; and I do not see why deans may not be called upon to act as suffragan Bishops ad interim in cases where the Bishop himself is incapable of attending to the business of his diocese. There is an example, if I am not misinformed, in Ireland under the Act of 1812. I am given to understand that that venerable and most excellent man, the Primate of all Ireland, although very active and discharging many of his high functions, yet is assisted by the Bishop of Tuam, who performs for him some of the most important duties attaching to his office as Archbishop. It is not my duty, Sir, nor would it be consistent with the station I now occupy, to do more than to trace an outline of any practicable measure; but I do say that the measure which was introduced by Sir Robert Peel's Government was a practicable measure. I cannot believe that the difficulties in the way of a general measure are insuperable. A measure such as I have referred to is not open to any one of the objections which, taken together, appear to be insuperable in the Bill now before us. I can only remind the House that the measure of 1843 had the approbation of the Cabinet; the unanimous opinion of the House of Lords was expressed in its favour, as was also that of the Archbishops and Bishops. That measure would involve no surrender of sees nor of seats in the other House; thus avoiding two immense difficulties in the measure which we are now called upon, in the dog-days, to sanction. Such a Bill as I have referred to would not make any grant in reversion of a bishopric, it would not involve any private arrangement with the Minister of the Crown, it would 1313 contain no contract for money payment, but provision would be made for the performance of the episcopal functions from the current revenues of the see, and a coadjutor Bishop would be appointed who would only receive the necessary expenses he incurred, and would derive no other profit from the performance of the duties imposed upon him. Ample care, too, would be taken of the temporalities of the diocese through the medium of the Ecclesiastical Commission, which did not exist in full operation at the time the Bill I have mentioned was framed. But then I shall be asked, "What will you do with this measure?" Well, Sir, to adopt the dainty phrase of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, I am disposed quietly to inurn it with the remains of those departed measures which strew the floor of this House, and over which the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, after the manner of Pericles, is about to pronounce a funeral oration on Friday next. If, however, that should be considered too severe a course, I would ask where is my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. R. Currie)? Why not transfer this measure to the limbo to which has been consigned the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill? Several of the most experienced Members of this House have been selected to drynurse that Bill, and they will be able to take ample care not only of the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill but of this measure also. Both these Bills are bantlings of the House of Lords. I do not know their parentage, whether it be the Lord Chancellor, or an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, or an Archbishop, or any particular Minister who is their putative father, but certainly this Bill does bear upon its face the mark of official origin. It comes down to us with red tape round its neck, but if you will intrust it to our tender care upstairs we will so dandle it during the recess that, I think, at the commencement of next Session we shall be able to produce in this case, as in the other, a fine chopping boy, with whom we can disport without fear of discredit or self-reproach. I am indeed most anxious that this measure should either share the fate of the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill, or else be numbered among the departed Bills of the Session.
said, that upon behalf of his relative the Archbishop of York, he was most anxious that the House should be aware that many of the statements which had been made respecting that most 1314 rev. Prelate were gross exaggerations. It was quite true that, two months ago, the Archbishop had been suffering from an indisposition to which the Episcopal Bench, in common with the rest of mankind, were liable; but he had so completely recovered that, as had been correctly announced in The Times on Monday, he had proceeded to Bishopthorpe, in order to dispose of the business of the province.
I think, Sir, that the House must be glad to hear from the noble Lord who has just spoken that one of the statements upon which the opposition to this Bill is mainly based is ascertained to be an exaggeration, and I think, if the House will bear with me for a short period, I shall be able to show, notwithstanding the powerful address of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), that there are other exaggerations equally unfounded which have been employed in the opposition to this Bill. Most unfeignedly, must I say, at starting, that I never mistrusted my own judgment so much as I do at this moment in arriving at the conclusion that this Bill ought to be read a second time. That distrust arises, however, not from any difficulty I feel as to the propriety or the policy of the measure, but it proceeds entirely from deference to the high opinions of those who are arrayed against it—opinions, however, which I think have been formed too hastily. I willingly admit that those opinions proceed from sincere friends of the Church, but I fear that, in their over anxiety and zeal to obtain a general measure, which at this late period of the Session is, I believe, an impossibility, they have allowed themselves to overlook the great inconveniences which press upon the Church, and to oppose the remedy for them which is now proposed. I have listened most attentively to the statements that have been made, and I have endeavoured to gather all the objections which have been urged against this Bill. Those objections arc, as I understand them, four in number. The first is the lateness of the Session, and the consequent want of time and information to enable us to arrive at a sound conclusion. The second objection is, that this measure should be general and not special in its provisions and operation. The third objection is, that the provisions of the Bill are not such as ought to be sanctioned by this House; and the fourth that it will be a foundation or precedent for measures hereafter to be introduced fraught with most se- 1315 rious inconvenience and mischief. I believe that I have now fairly stated all the objections to the Bill which have been advanced in the course of the present debate, and I shall proceed to advert to them in the order in which I have stated them. With regard to the first and second objections—namely, that the Bill ought not to have been introduced at so late a period of the Session, and that it ought to have been a general and not a special measure, I am bound to say that I go along with these objections to a great extent. I think that it is a great misfortune that the Bill was not introduced into this House, or at least brought down to this House, at an earlier period of the Session; but that I must take as I find it, and the case being as it is, the real question which I have to ask myself is,—whether the inconvenience of discussing this measure as a special measure at the end of the Session is or is not greater than the danger of leaving two of the most important dioceses in the kingdom without spiritual superintendence during the autumn, the winter, and it may be the following spring? That is the question which I have often asked myself, and I have come to the conclusion that, if this Bill be not in itself objectionable, which is a question into which I shall enter presently, it would ill become this House to separate, and its Members to go into the country before it had settled a most important question—a question which concerns not the good of the Church alone, but also that of the whole community. As to the question of the Bill being a special and not a general measure, I have observed throughout the speech of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir James Graham), able as it was—and able and powerful the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman always are—that he urged objections not so much against this Bill as against a general measure, which he argues ought to have been introduced. I am satisfied, from hearing the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, that if a general measure had been introduced at the end of the Session, within a week of the prorogation of Parliament, he would have opposed it with even ten times more force and power, and would have maintained that it was necessary fully to consider and discuss the provisions of a general scheme for enabling Bishops to vacate their dioceses. Believing, as I do, that ample time ought to be afforded for their consideration, I say that, in my opinion, unless this Bill is objectionable in itself, it is better to pass 1316 it as a special measure than to introduce a general measure at the close of the Session. I think, with these short remarks, I have now answered the first and second objections to the present Bill, and I proceed now to notice the third objection, which I am afraid will occupy a little longer time to dispose of. The third objection is that the provisions of the Bill are such as ought not to receive the sanction of this House. The objections to the provision of the Bill, as expressed by the right hon. Gentleman are—firstly, that it is founded upon what might be considered a simoniacal contract; secondly, that the retiring allowances are preposterously large; thirdly, that there is no precedent in the history of our country for the resignation of a Bishop since the Reformation; and, fourthly, that even if there were such a precedent, it would be better to follow on the present occasion the Act of Parliament of Henry VIII., which provides for the appointment of suffragan Bishops. First, then, as regards the allegation that this is a simoniacal contract. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech did not in any way advert to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Cardwell), who pointed out most clearly to the House that, as regards the question of simoniacal contract, a great distinction is to be drawn between simony as malum in se and simony as malum prohibitum—that is to say, simony, which in itself is a corrupt bargain for Church preferment, and simony, which, by municipal law is constituted an offence, in order to secure proper appointments to ecclesiastical benefices. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) has commented strongly on this part of the case, but he omitted one portion of it which was essential to his argument. He led the House to infer that by the law of the Church no resignation can be made of an ecclesiastical benefice unless it be made simpliciter, purè et absolutè. Now, I should be sorry on a point of law to put myself in competition with my right hon. and learned Friend, but I must say, that as far as I am informed, such is not the law of the Church, nor has it ever been the law of the Church either before or since the Reformation. I find in a book of high authority that it is laid down that conditional resignations of ecclesiastical benefices are recognised and allowed, not only among the inferior clergy, but also among 1317 the heads of the Church. I find it also laid down in Gibson's Codex, a great authority respecting the law of the Church, that—Before the statute of Elizabeth a Bishop, in cases of resignation, might assign a pension during life, out of the benefice resigned to the person resigning, of which we have instances without number upon our books before the time of the statute.In the Reformatio Legum Ecclesiasticarum, the authority of which no one will dispute, it is said that a person cannot resign a benefice and receive a retiring allowance:—Nisi cujus vel propter morbum, vel senectutem, habenda sit ratio. Quæ; cum occurrunt impedimenta proprius illorum locorum episcopus adeat, et is fratrum constituet pensionem, quntum equam esse putabit. And, accordingly, in the Register of Grindal and Whitgift, as well as in those that are more ancient, we meet with several licences to clergymen, 'ad communicandum super pensione annuâ,' in order to resignation.Now, what words could better apply to the present case, "sickness" or "old age?" It appears to me that it is only in accordance with common sense, that it is only reasonable, that a person holding an ecclesiastical benefice, the duties of which he is on account of sickness or of old age unable to discharge, should be allowed to resign that benefice, and that provision should be made for giving him a retiring allowance. I think that the authorities which I have quoted prove that the law of the Church is not opposed to the retirement of a Bishop on a pension where there is no corruption; and, in addition to those authorities, I may add that by the 26th of Henry VIII., chap, iii., section 22, it is laid down that the retiring allowance to be paid to a Bishop shall not exceed one-third of his income, thereby clearly proving that the resignation of a Bishop on a retiring pension was not contrary to law. I utterly deny, therefore, that such a resignation without corruption partakes of a simoniacal character. I believe that such a resignation is in accordance with what the law of the Church now is and always has been. And I must say that I think for any right rev. Prelate—and I say it with sorrow—to have reflected in any way upon a brother Prelate labouring under the infirmities of disease and advanced age, that he would be acting contrary to the law of the Church, not, indeed, imputing anything like a simoniacal contract to him, but arguing that that imputation might be cast upon him by others, is a thing 1318 deeply to be deplored; and to hear that such a statement has been made has given me greater pain than anything which I have ever heard said with regard to matters connected with the Church since I have had a seat in this House. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) says that the letter on the one hand, asking for a retiring allowance, and the Bill on the other, to confirm that retiring allowance, taken together, form a simoniacal contract. But, where, I ask, is the corruption? There cannot be simoniacal contract without corruption, except in those cases which the law has designated as simoniacal contract. [Mr. HENLEY: Hear, hear!] My right Friend, who is one of the soundest and shrewdest reasoners in this House, seems to think that there is a flaw in my argument in this respect, but I will state a reason for thinking that there is no flaw in it. What has been done in the case of the colonial Bishops? Why, the Legislature has permitted them to retire on pensions, and on what principle have those pensions been granted? Simply on this, that they were not subject to the malum prohibitum, and that the taking of such a pension was not in itself malum in se. The Legislature, therefore, could in this instance remove the malum prohibitum, and make a similar provision. Were there no other offences prohibited by statute, which would not otherwise be offences? Did not the right hon. Gentleman know that it was an offence for any Member of that House to enter into a contract with the Government? When such a contract was made with respect to the Turkish loan was it not held that it was without the application of the previous statute, because it had been subsequently ratified by an Act of Parliament? How, then, can you tell me that the Legislature has not the power of making good these arrangements for the resignation of the Bishops without subjecting those right rev. Prelates to the charge of simony? If such resignations were corrupt in themselves, then, indeed, Parliament could not make them good and pure; but if they were not so, Parliament might have clearly the right to sanction them. The next objection to the Bill is, that the proposed retiring allowances are preposterously large, and with that objection I will now deal. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) has spoken some hard words, not distinguished by his usual legal acumen upon this sub- 1319 ject. He has said that the £6,000 a year to be given to the Bishop of London, and the £4,500 a year to be given to the Bishop of Durham, will deprive the poorer clergy of that which they now receive; and the hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) has entered into a minute calculation as to the extent to which the incomes of the clergy will be affected. [Sir J. GRAHAM: It was the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) who did that]. I beg pardon; I had for the moment forgotten that it was my noble Friend who made the calculation. But I would remind the hon. and learned Gentleman and my noble Friend that if this Bill be not passed, the Bishop of London will have the right to retain £18,000 a year, but if it be agreed to, you will secure to him £6,000 a year. You will obtain an efficient Bishop for £10,000 a year besides, and you will thereby leave a surplus of £2,000 a year to the "Common Fund" for the benefit of the poorer clergy, so that they in point of fact will be gainers instead of losers by the measure proposed. The same argument equally applies to the see of Durham. It may seem startling to some persons that a sum of £6,000 a year should be given to the Bishop of London as a retiring pension, but I think, under the circumstances peculiar to this case, it is perfectly justifiable. When a Bishop of our Church has—as I am authorised to state the Bishop of London has—expended the large income which he has enjoyed, not upon his own personal interests—not for his own personal benefit, but in giving largely liberally, and munificently to others, am among those others, to the poorer clergy of his diocese, it is surely too much to say that because he is unwilling to receive £18,000 a year, and is willing to receive £6,000 a year, he is seeking self-aggrandisement when, in fact, he is performing an act of self-sacrifice. I am informed that the Bishop of London has not made any provision for his family beyond the insurance upon his life, and that they will be left in a condition which many hon. Gentlemen in this House would consider a poor one for their own wives and families. I come now to the third objection—and I fear that it is an objection which will appear more difficult to overcome in the eyes of those who study ecclesiastical history, namely that there is no precedent for the resignation of a Bishop, although in point of fact, there is a precedent; for a Bishop did resign in the year 1543. [Sir J. 1320 GRAHAM: 300 years ago.] Yes; but 300 years ago these matters were as closely scanned and scrutinized as they are at present. The right, hon. Gentleman the Member for Carlisle has referred to the case of Bishop Pearce, and he has read a part of that rev. Prelate's account of the transaction, but he has omitted to state that Bishop Pearce, in his application to resign, stated there were many instances of such resignations. Upon that statement the King referred the application to Lord Mansfield and to Lord Northington. Lord Mansfield considered that the resignation was legal, but Lord Northington doubted. In ten months after, he came to the King and informed him that his doubts wore removed. The right hon. Baronet assumes that the second doubts of Lord Northington were caused by his being friendly to the Government and being pressed by them; but may they not have been caused by something else? May not they have been caused, as I fear some of the opposition to this Bill has been caused, by jealousy of the persons into whose hands the fresh appointment might fall? And that such was the case the following quotation from Bishop Pearce will, I think, show—They, therefore, resolved to oppose the resignation in the shortest way by keeping the bishoprics from being disposed of otherwise than they liked; and the lawyer who had been doubtful, and who soon after had been clear, was employed to inform his Majesty that he was again doubtful and that the Bishops generally disliked the measure.I am not supposed generally to agree with the policy of the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, but in dealing with such cases as the present, I look to the office and not to the individual, and unless the measure is a bad one in itself, I must place confidence in those who are to execute it. If it be right to pass a law, we must intrust the execution of that law to the advisers of the Crown, and we must give to the advisers of the Crown no grudging support in carrying it out. For myself, I confine myself to one—the main question, whether a law is a good or a bad one, and, if I determine that it is a good one, I would intrust its execution to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, though politically opposed to him, as readily and as confidently as I would to any political friend of my own. I warn the House not to act upon any principle of jealousy. Do not consent to leave these two dioceses 1321 without a superintending head because you have some jealousy of the hands into which the new appointments will be placed. [Sir J. GRAHAM: That is not the motive of my opposition to the Bill.] I hope that the House will not imagine that I ever thought that the right hon. Gentleman entertained any such motive, but I cannot shut my eyes to what I have seen in the public prints, or to what I have heard argued in society, and, I regret to say, have read and heard reference made to the existence of such a jealousy in several quarters. I have thus dealt with the three main objections which have been urged against this measure. I come now to the fourth, that is to say we are establishing a precedent which it would be dangerous to apply hereafter to a general measure, extending to all Bishops. My right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham), has referred to an Act of Parliament which was proposed by Sir Robert Peel's Government, and of which he was, I believe, the originator, providing for the discharge of the functions of Bishops when they were suffering under either mental incapacity or bodily infirmity. My right hon. Friend brought forward the Bill in that form, and he says now, and says justly, that it covers the whole ground, and that if it had passed into a law, as he proposed it, you would not have had any necessity for such a measure as the present. The Bill to which I am alluding was introduced into the House of Lords by Lord Lyndhurst, with the sanction of Sir Robert Peel's Government, and came down to the House of Commons with the clauses to which I have referred, rendering the measure applicable to mental incapacity and bodily infirmity. Now, why did it not pass? My right hon. Friend says there was not much pressure upon the Government; and yet that powerful Ministry, having the Bill brought down from the Other House, for some reason or another, must have changed their minds and withdrew that part of the measure. I suspect the reason which induced the Government to adopt that course, after the careful consideration which, I have no doubt, the Bill underwent at their hands, was that, though found to be a very useful measure for cases of mental incapacity, it might not be equally advantageous in cases of bodily infirmity. Now, this is probably a very good reason, because in a case of bodily infirmity, arising from old age, it is not likely that the Bishop should be so 1322 restored as to be enabled again to discharge his duties properly. I suspect, therefore—though it is a mere suspicion—that when that part of the subject came to be considered, it was found that, in providing for the superintendence of the see in that case, you ought not merely to procure the assistance of another Bishop to do the duties of ordination, confirmation, and so forth, but that you should have a Bishop whose whole time should be given to discharge the duties of the see, which of course could not be done unless you gave a proper remuneration. Whether that was the case or not, the Bill as proposed by my right hon. Friend did not become law; and we have not, therefore, the means of providing at the present moment for the sees of Durham and London. But I wish my right hon. Friend to consider this—True enough, the present measure will not be a precedent like that which he proposed in 1843, but I think it will furnish a precedent for a much better measure if you are to have all these sees effectually superintended and presided over. The principle of the measure, which I approve as a precedent for future legislation, is, that it will enable the Bishops to retire in cases of necessity, subject of course to proper restrictions and guards, which must be thrown around their resignations, so as to prevent, on the one hand, a Minister from using his influence to induce resignations, and, on the other hand, to prevent a Bishop from tendering his resignation for any other causes than those arising from positive incapacity. I think it will furnish a precedent for doing this by giving to the new Bishop two-thirds of the income of the see, and a retiring allowance of one-third to the Bishop who resigns. Upon considering the subject generally you will find that you can hardly make a better provision than this, because if the House will not give retiring allowances out of the funds voted by Parliament you have no other means of providing these allowances (without trenching on the funds devoted to the poorer clergy), except by distributing the income of the see between the retiring Bishop and the Bishop who will have to discharge the duties in a fair proportion between them. Speaking generally, two-thirds and one-third appear to me to be such proportion. Now, let me advert for a moment to the argument of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield. He drew a comparison between the retiring allowance given to 1323 Bishops and the possible retiring allowances which could be given to the poorer clergy. But there is no parallel, I apprehend, between the two cases. The Bishop has not the power of appointing a person to discharge the duties of his see for him with episcopal authority. A clergyman, on the other hand, has at any time the power of appointing a curate to officiate for him and to administer the affairs of his parish without an Act of Parliament for that purpose. There is, therefore, I repeat, no parallel between the two cases. I said I would not long occupy the time of the House; and I will therefore only add, in conclusion, that, believing, as I do, that this is a case of urgent necessity—believing, as I do, that the country will be benefited by it—sure, as I am, that there is nothing like a simoniacal contract involved in the measure—feeling confident that it will be for the ultimate advantage of the whole community, and that these two dioceses will be materially benefited by its adoption—I hope the House will pass the second reading, and that the Bill will become law before Parliament is prorogued.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he viewed the question under discussion entirely as a matter of business. In the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carlisle the interests of the diocese seemed to be kept entirely out of sight. The diocese of London was admitted to have been without the superintendence of its Bishop for a considerable period; and believing such superintendence to be useful he approved of any arrangement by which the diocese would secure an efficient Bishop, and a surplus would, at the same time, be left for the poorer clergy. It had been stated that the Bishop of Manchester had for some time been doing duty for the Bishop of Durham. He would like to know how it happened that that right rev. Prelate had so much spare time on his hands. In London the Bishop of Oxford did the duty occasionally, and whether it was that that rev. Prelate had an idea that if the Bill passed he would not be translated to it, and had, therefore, opposed the measure, he (Sir J. Shelley) could not say; but this much he would say, that disliking the views and opinions of the Bishop of Oxford, he thought the see of London would be benefited by his having no connection with it. He hoped the House would agree to the second reading of the Bill.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, he wished to say a, very few words in justification of the 1324 vote he had to give, which would be against the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) had stated that four objections were urged against the measure, and he put them before the House in a manner which, of course, suited his own argument. Two of those objections had reference to the time at which the Bill came before the House, and to the simoniacal character of the transaction. Now, those two objections did not weigh with him (Mr. Duncombe) at all. For his part, he should object to the Bill if even it had been brought in on the first day of the Session; and, as for the simony, the Bill itself would dispose of that point, because, in point of fact, it was a Bill of indemnity for the two Bishops on this subject. A Bill of indemnity was every year passed by Parliament to protect gentlemen who had not taken the oaths, and had so broken the law, on entering into certain offices, and he saw no reason why they should not also pass a Bill of indemnity to protect the Bishops against the consequences of a simoniacal contract entered into by them. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole) had taken exception to the remarks of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) because he had mixed up simony and corruption. But that was not the fault of the right hon. Baronet; it was the fault of the Bill; he found those things there, and dealt with the Bill as he found it. Now his (Mr. Duncombe's) opposition to the Bill was given, not because he did not regard with interest the spiritual welfare of the dioceses of London and Durham, but because he thought those two Bishops had no business to dictate to Parliament the terms on which they would resign. It had been well observed by some hon. Members that they could not look at this measure without coupling it with the correspondence which had passed between the right rev. Prelates and the noble Lord at the head of the Government; and there the Bishop of London said in effect, "I will resign, but only on condition that you will do so and so. I have not the smallest thought of resigning, old and incapable, as I am, unless you give me £6,000 a year and the palace at Fulham to reside in." With regard to the time of introducing the Bill, he thought the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had shown his generalship by bringing it forward at so late a period, because he was satisfied that the more it was considered by the people the greater would be the indignation entertained at it. He 1325 looked upon it as a most disgusting measure, and one calculated to bring both the Church and the religion of the country into contempt. Supposing this had been the case of a poor prelate, who had not been twenty-eight years in the service of the Church as a Bishop, who had not been receiving large fines on leases, as well as this £18,000 a year; and supposing that Bishop had come to Parliament and said—"I am infirm, and weak, and old; I think, for the sake of the spiritual welfare of my diocese, I ought to resign; I dictate no terms, but I throw myself on the generosity of Parliament,"—if a poor Bishop had come forward in this way Parliament would, without doubt, have dealt with him most generously. "But," said the Bishop of London, "I will only resign on certain terms. On those terms, and those only, will I accept"—what hon. Members would call the Chiltern Hundreds—"I must have my £6,000 a year and the palace at Fulham." Now, there was a question which he wished to have answered. The Bishop, it appeared, was no longer to sit in the House of Lords. As soon as he had given up his diocese, a new Bishop was to be appointed; and he would then be no longer Bishop of London. What would he be? Would they address him as Charles James Blomfield, Esq.? What were they to call him? They could not call him Bishop of London. Would he be addressed as Charles James only? It was most puzzling to know what he would be. At all events, he would not be a Bishop; he would only have £6,000 a year and the palace at Fulham. But the palace at Fulham belonged to the see of London; it was part of the property of the Bishop of London. Now, he wished to inquire what right that House had to transfer any portion of that estate from the Bishop that was to be to the person who would then be no longer the Bishop? He (Mr. Duncombe) maintained that Parliament had no more right to do this than they had to transfer the estate of A to B. Yet the Bishop of London stipulated for that. Would the House consent to it? If not, the Bishop would go on receiving his income of £18,000 a year in addition to the fines on leases. Those fines had been paid upon the great estate of Paddington—a complete California to the Bishop of London to an enormous extent. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Walpole) never said a word about those fines.
They are all in- 1326 cluded in the £18,000; that is the average income of the Bishop.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
Well, that might be, but he remembered a Committee which sat in 1837, with which he had something to do, and which was appointed to inquire into the administration of Queen Anne's Bounty, which was chiefly under the control of the Bishop of London. Now, what came out in the course of that evidence? Why, that the Bishop of London took £10,000 to rebuild his town residence, London House—a downright misapplication of that money. Interest was certainly paid for it, but still this sum of £10,000 was taken for the purpose he had mentioned, and London House, in St. James's Square, remained the private property of the Bishop of London. The Bishop of Durham was much better than his right rev. brother of London. He said he would take £4,500, and really his letter was conceived in a much more modest tone than the other. He only asked to be allowed to remain in his palace after the first of August, and when this was demurred to be mildly acquiesced, only suggesting that ho should like to communicate with his successor respecting the fixtures, and so on. Now, he (Mr. Duncombe) repeated that he objected to the Bishops dictating to Parliament at all the terms upon which they would resign. He thought they ought to resign the moment they became unable to attend to the spiritual welfare of their dioceses, leaving Parliament to deal with them in case there was any necessity for giving them any retiring pensions. They were told that when a Bishop was consecrated "Nolo episcopari" was his remonstrance; but it appeared now that, after the lapse of twenty-eight years, the mitre did not sit very heavily on the brow of the Bishop of London, for he would not consent to be relieved from it unless Parliament gave him £6,000 a year. If the present measure passed, that system would continue, and they would repeatedly be called upon to pay more pensions. He was only sorry that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had consented to soil his hands with so dirty a Bill; but, as far as his vote went, he (Mr. Duncombe) would be no party to this bartering away of public property for the purpose of creating episcopal retiring pensions.
Sir, I lament much the introduction of what appears to me an inconsiderate measure upon a subject of the greatest importance, and I fur- 1327 ther lament its introduction at a time which would have been unsuitable, even if we were dealing with the best-considered plan. I feel convinced also that, whatever he the issue of this debate, or whatever the final fate of this Bill, great evil and great scandal will be inflicted upon the Church from the proposition of the Government. I see an indication of that scandal in a quarter where, perhaps, we should have thought of looking for it the last—namely, in the speech delivered by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), who, acting in the capacity of what he terms a friend of the Church, yet thought fit, in his place in Parliament, under the compulsion of his sense of duty, to animadvert, in language of no ordinary gravity, upon sentiments which he believes to have been expressed by right rev. Prelates in another place. Now, Sir, I wonder it did not occur to my right hon. Friend that that is a sort of game which two can play at; that it is quite possible for other Members of the House to have seen great cause for scandal, great cause for mortification, in speeches delivered by other persons in situations not less exalted; that it is very easy to bandy to and fro these criminations and recriminations, and that it might be very difficult to say which party gets the best of it. But he and I ought both very well to know that the issue of these censures by persons in his position or in mine upon Prelates of the Church is an unmixed evil to the Church; and I do therefore trust that, in what may remain of these debates, my right hon. Friend will abstain from that course of personal criticism and of reference to secondary motives by which he thinks it possible that the votes of individuals may have been governed. Now, Sir, as regards this measure, I do not hesitate to say that, quite independently of its particular provisions, I think we ought not, under any circumstances, to be called upon to pass such a measure at such a time. It is impossible at this period of the Session to give to a subject of this grave importance and of this extreme difficulty the consideration which it requires,. Why, Sir, it is even impossible at this time fairly to collect the sense of, the House upon such a question. It is only a fortnight ago since this House virtually rejected the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill. Within that fortnight the business of the country has been almost entirely wound up. We have passed the 1328 Appropriation Bill—that which we look upon as the natural termination of the important business of the Session; our functions in Committee of Supply have ended. It is not merely the date of the 23rd July which we have to consider, though I must say that if Government continue the practice of introducing these most difficult Bills, these measures of such vast importance, when the Session is expiring, it will be necessary for this House in self-defence to resort to a measure which has been adopted in the other House, and to pass rules fixing positive dates after which they will not consent to entertain such measures. I am quite sure that the noble Lord at the head of the Government must feel that in expressing these opinions I am expressing the opinions generally entertained by the Members of this House. We have, in fact, come to a state of things in which some forty or forty-five persons holding office under the Government virtually decide every question before the House. It is hardly possible that any combination of Members, or the union of any body of persons, whatever their position or views may be, can face so formidable an official phalanx. In the first few weeks of the Session no evil can arise from meeting such an official body; on the contrary, it is necessary that there should be such attendance in order to conduct the ordinary business of the House. But I maintain that it is an abuse, and a gross abuse, and which we must not be prevented from commenting upon, to bring down to this House a body of Members to vote upon a subject of the gravest importance at the very last phase of the Session, and, when persons are asking whether the prorogation is to be on the Friday, the Saturday, or the Monday next, and when any determination of the House means, and can mean, very little more than the determination of these forty or forty-five Members who hold office under the direction of the noble Viscount. If the Appellate Jurisdiction Bill were proposed now, I should like to know what would be the result. Why, if the Motion were; to be put again no doubt that Motion would be carried, and by the aid of that phalanx the Bill would now have been the law of the land. I object, therefore, entirely on the ground of time to the House proceeding with the Bill under consideration. I wish to state this explicitly. I hold it is hard to throw the responsibility of leaving these dioceses unprovided with any superintendence upon those who feel a funda- 1329 mental objection to the principle of the Bill. It is not a mere matter of yesterday that these things have been talked of. The subject is nearly a year old. The Government has told us that nothing has passed upon the question previously to the correspondence which has been laid before the public. I freely and gladly acknowledge it—and proof is afforded of the fact by the date of the correspondence itself. If there are any persons who think that either party has been actuated by corrupt motives, the dates of that correspondence ought entirely to put an end to any such imputations. I trust, therefore, we shall not hear of any such charges in the further course of these debates. But there is no justification why, when this arrangement was made by the head of the Government in the month of June, and when many valuable weeks of the Session were rapidly sliding away, the noble Lord should have postponed the introduction of the Bill into the House of Lords until the middle of July. I have heard no answer to that objection, or justification on that ground; and even if a justification there may be, that is no reason why we should pass in an unbecoming and hasty manner a measure on a subject of great and vital importance, to the provisions of which we entertain a fundamental objection. With respect to the dioceses, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Card-well) has said that the arguments in favour of the Bill may be summed up into two:—one having for its object economy; and the other, the putting an end to the present state of the dioceses of London and Durham. With respoct to economy, I do not deny that the Bill will in a small degree effect that object. But the limited scope of the Bill in that point of view ought to be more clearly developed. I believe my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge said that the income of the Bishop of London varied from £18,000 to £14,000 a year. [Mr. WALPOLE: I did say £14,000, but I believe the accurate amount is £16,000.] The economy, then, to be attained by this Bill is the saving of a sum of from £5,000 to £5,500 a year, which will become available to the "common fund" during the joint lives of the Bishops of London and Durham. Then, with respect to the state of the dioceses, I must confess I know not why it is that upon this subject the Government should have passed the time during the earlier period of the Session in an 1330 apparent state of lethargy and indifference, and then, all at once, have evinced such unwonted activity. At an early stage of the Session the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (the Marquess of Bland-ford), called the attention of the House to this question. The noble Marquess did not certainly ask the Government whether they intended to legislate upon the subject, because he knew that legislation was unnecessary. But he referred to the statute which is at present in force, and by means of which a provision may be made for these dioceses. I really cannot understand why that Act should not be now enforced, as I feel assured it would meet the difficulties of the case. There is quite time enough for such a course to be taken. I am perfectly well aware that when my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) hinted at the possibility of an autumnal Session a kind of shudder appeared to come over hon. Members; at the same time I must say, that if the question is between an autumnal Session and an improper act of legislation upon a subject of the greatest importance, my belief is, that there is no man in this House who would venture to rise from his seat and say, that it would not be a breach of duty on our part to pass a Bill in an inconsiderate manner for fear of having a prolonged Session. It is not therefore a question as to the prolongation of the Session, if any legislation is required; but I do not know that any legislation is required. If any necessity exists for supplying the duties of these bishoprics, why not avail yourselves of the statute of Henry VIII. pro hâc vice? My right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) referred to the statute of Henry VIII.; and, when he quoted the precedent of 1534, he said that those were the times when these things were best understood. Very well, then, let my right hon. Friend go to the Act of 1534, which was the very year when the Papal jurisdiction was renounced in England, and in which a provision, wise, liberal, and effective was made for the purpose of affording assistance to the Bishops; that is to say, for the appointment of suffragran Bishops. If this statute had been resorted to you would not have required a new law; there would have been no scandal to the Church; no new pensions would have been forced upon us; no arguments such as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) has advanced would have been urged—all those evils which have arisen, all 1331 that public disapprobation which has been expressed, and all the public scandal which has been felt, would have been avoided, and the discretion of Parliament would have been preserved entire. Surely, no man will tell me that the appointment of suffragan Bishops pro hâc vice would have been at all a matter of importance in comparison with the bad and vicious precedent which you are now setting by pensioning Bishops? Let me just state what are the provisions of the Act of Henry VIII. The Act proposes the creation of twenty-six titular Bishops from the simple desire and purpose of assisting the Archbishops and Bishops in the discharge of their episcopal duties. The persons so appointed are to be considered suffragan Bishops. The mode of appointment is this:—The Bishop who requires assistance submits two names to the Crown. Out of those two names the Crown selects one. When a person becomes a suffragan Bishop he is essentially the Bishop of the diocese for all the purposes required of him by his office, but not with respect to the capacity of exercising any of those powers which the Bishops may exercise in other parts of the kingdom. The suffragan Bishop has no jurisdiction but such as is limited by his Commission, and the power conferred upon him is not only limited but reversible. In point of fact, he is simply the representative and organ of the Bishop of the diocese. I think there may be cases in which the resignation of a Bishop would be better than the appointment of a suffragan; but in other cases the appointment of a suffragan may be better than a resignation. There are duties which require corporal activity on the part of a Bishop; but there are other duties which depend upon the mental capacity, the knowledge, and the experience of the individual; there are also the moral influences—the affection of the Bishop towards the diocese, and the affection of the diocese towards him. Although, therefore, a Bishop may not be able to go about his diocese and exert any great bodily labour, still it may not be desirable, on the contrary, it may be a great calamity, that the connection of the Bishop with his diocese should cease and terminate. That measure, therefore, is one which, in my opinion, might, with advantage, have been resorted to for the purpose of meeting an emergency such as the present case presents. It has been said, that the case of a rector differs from that of a Bishop, be- 1332 cause a rector can appoint a curate, whereas a Bishop cannot. But the right hon. Gentleman is quite mistaken. A Bishop can appoint a curate. The Act of Henry VIII. enables him to do so. The only difference between the curate of a Bishop and the curate of a rector is this—that a Bishop cannot appoint absolutely, but must obtain the assent of the Crown; whereas a rector can choose any man he thinks fit for the office. Therefore, do not let us hear this story about these dioceses being entirely left without episcopal superintendence. The law, as it stands, provides means for supplying that want. I do not ask whether those means are perfect or not, but unquestionably they are better than those which you are now going to provide, and they, at least, afford an instrument of which you ought to avail yourselves, rather than seek the aid of an inconsiderate measure of legislation. So much, then, as to the question of the state of the dioceses. Now, after all, Sir, it appears to me that the real question which presses in this matter, is the one with regard to the nature of the arrangement to be made with the Bishops of London and Durham. No answer has been given to the argument advanced by my right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Napier) upon that point. I have listened to the ingenious speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole); but he has singularly enough passed over that part of the case. It may have been no fault on the part of the opponents of the Bill, that they have not alluded to this part of the question; but I confess that it does appear to me very remarkable, that it should have eluded so acute a reasoner as my right hon. Friend; at all events, however, he certainly has not grappled with that objection. We have heard a great deal about simony. My right hon. Friend says, that all acts of simony are not acts mala in se, but merely mala prohibita—that they are acts prohibited by the mere letter of the law; and that when we strike out that letter those acts are offences no longer. The offence of Simon Magus was the offering of money, in order to gain spiritual power. I know not what the right hon. Gentleman may consider to be spiritual power; but if I understand the state of the public mind in the 19th century and in the year 1856, I do not think it is likely that any man will give money in order to obtain spiritual power. Since the days of Simon Magus the world has 1333 changed—antiquitas sœculi, juventus mundi. These things have been turned inside out, and instead of men now using money to purchase spiritual power and rights, a modern practice has grown up of using spiritual power and rights to purchase money. The right hon. Gentleman may feel a dread and horror at the particular mode of proceeding by Simon Magus, but in my opinion he may rest assured that Simon Magus will not find many imitators in the 19th century. But when we come back and look at what is done, we find a multitude of imitators of that arch-offender, but whose acts it is hardly possible to coerce and suppress by the utmost vigilance of the law. And then comes forward my right hon. Friend and says, these acts are not mala in se—they are only mala prohibita; remove the prohibition and the evil is at an end. But my right hon. Friend is not justified at one moment in falling back upon Simon Magus, and in the next, quietly rejecting that doctrine and availing himself of the experience of centuries, which has established quite a different principle. There may be doubts as to the various ways in which corrupt motives work in the human mind; but there can be no difficulty in believing that those motives work most dangerously when they receive the sanction of respected and honoured examples. That is what I chiefly dread in what regards this measure. With respect to the right rev. Prelates to whom this Bill refers, I may state that as regards the Bishop of Durham, I never had the honour of his acquaintance. I have spoken of him in the course of debate, in a manner which I trust has shown that any comments I have felt it my duty to make in reference to his acts, have been made on public grounds only, and that they could not have been intended to offer any personal disrespect. With respect, however, to the Bishop of London, for the last twenty years I have had the honour of being closely connected with him, and that intimacy has enabled me to admire his great qualities, which have left on my mind a conviction, that in modern times there has scarcely been seen a man on the episcopal bench more disinterested in his transactions with the world, or a man whose name will be more memorable in the annals of the Church of England long after his ashes shall repose in the tomb. I have felt it my duty to say thus much of the Bishop of London, who I have no doubt has entirely dismissed from his 1334 thoughts all these matters of mere temporal concern; and that the course he has taken has been by the recommendation of those around him. But, be that as it may, it is our bounden duty, from which we are not authorised to escape, to treat and deal with acts in their public relations and circumstances, and we must not be intimidated by any remarks like those which have been made by my right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) from commenting and observing upon those acts, if their nature and tendency warrant us in doing so. Well, Sir, what is the point at issue? Parliament is called upon to give its sanction to a conditional contract for the resignation of a spiritual office by two prelates of the Church, who stand with the Bill at the bar of Parliament with this language in their mouths—"We are here conscious of our inability to discharge the duties of our dioceses, and, while conscious of that disability, we propose to resign those dioceses if a certain sum is assigned to us." This is the proposal made to Parliament, and we are asked to become parties to that proposal. Sir, it is not my intention to enter into the question of simony. My belief, however, is, that that contract would be a simoniacal contract according to the law of the Church. It may be perceived by the parties or not perceived. Now, what says the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge, and also the right hon. Member for the City of Oxford? (Mr. Cardwell.) They say that resignation upon a pension is not simony, unless there be corruption. [Mr. WALPOLE: Unless there be corruption, or unless the statute has made it so.] But, when we are talking of doing away with the statute, we must judge of the act by the nature of it alone; and then the right hon. Gentleman says, that the act is not simoniacal for a Bishop to resign on a pension, unless there be corruption. Now, I should like to know how there can be corruption in the mere act of resignation? If the doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman be sound, there is no such thing as simony in resignation. What is corruption? It is resigning a spiritual office for money. It is that fact which constitutes the corruption—the fact of making the bargain. And herein lies the fundamental and gross fallacy of my right hon. Friend. He thought himself secure when he pointed to the fact of the existence of a legal power under which the colonial Bishops may retire upon a pension of £1,000 a year; but the case of those 1335 Bishops is exceptional, and does not, in fact, touch the matter. That act of retirement is not simony, it is an act of the law. The offence of simony lies in the bargain made by the individual at the time of resignation. The right hon. Gentleman speaks of law; but I speak of the individual bargain for a valuable consideration, on the strength of which only the Bishop retires. That is what I maintain constitutes simony. I challenge my right hon. Friends to controvert that position. I am confident that they cannot contradict that doctrine. It is not the fact of receiving a pension on the resignation of the see; but it is the fact of making the bargain to receive that pension. By the Act of Elizabeth, the Bishop was authorised to assign to a clergyman who had resigned his benefice a certain pension. That clergyman, however, was not empowered by the Act to make a bargain for the pension. It was a discretionary power in the hands of a superior authority. But that is not the case in respect to the present Bill. We are not asking for powers to be given to others to permit a resignation of a see and to grant a pension on such resignation, but we are asked to sanction a bargain which has already been made by the very parties who are to receive that pension. What lesson does the statute of Elizabeth teach us? Why, this—that that law, limited as it was, had led to such gross abuses, that it was necessary to put a stop to it altogether. That Act neither authorised nor recognised any bargains of any sort or kind, but, notwithstanding, such abuses arose that it was found necessary to pass another law to correct the evil. Take the case of a Bishop who enters upon his see with a certain endowment attached to it, and if he retires he may have a pension of £1,000 a year as the colonial Bishops have; there is no simony in that; so with a man who takes a benefice with an income of £1,000 a year; there is no simony in that, because, in both these cases, the persons become possessed by the general law of the land. But if the benefice had no endowment attached to it, and if any man said, "I will take the benefice provided you will attach an income of £1,000 a year to it," that would be simony. So that the crime of simony depends upon the act of the individual. In the case before the House there is a distinct bargain. It is the whole spirit of the correspondence between the Bishops of London and Dur- 1336 ham and the noble Lord at the head of the Government. It stands in the very words used by the noble Lord, who says he will take steps to carry into effect the proposition of the Bishop of London; and we know what the condition was, which the Bishop of London made. The preamble of the Bill does not contain a true recital. It states that the Bishops of London and Durham had severally represented to Her Majesty that they were desirous to vacate their respective sees on account of their inability to discharge the duties of their office. If that were true—if it were wholly true—it would be a perfectly legitimate proceeding; and the whole measure would be founded upon a true principle in regard to ecclesiastical endowments, and would be consistent with that provision of the law which was made to insure the performance of certain duties by those who held such offices; so that when the duties cease to be performed the emolument attached to them should also cease. If this Bill goes into Committee I shall certainly move Amendments to bring the Preamble into harmony with the facts, because, as it now stands, it entirely misrepresents them. The Bishops state their desire to retire upon a contract as to pensions, and the Preamble of the Bill, professing to recite the correspondence of the Bishops, recites it untruly, and completely suppresses the fact of the contract upon which they propose to retire. I believe that this is the first time upon which the House of Commons has been asked to sanction an arrangement of this nature. I trust that I have already disposed of the argument of those who say that to resign for money is not simoniacal unless there be corruption. Then my right hon. Friend says that it is not a sufficient objection to this Bill that it is piecemeal legislation, and he says that it is necessary to legislate piecemeal sometimes. Undoubtedly you cannot upon all occasions undertake to deal with the whole of a subject, but every one must feel that there are great objections to piecemeal legislation. My right hon. Friend referred to a question recently tried, whether certain gentlemen who had contracted for a loan should be held to be liable to the provisions of the existing law, and they were held to be exempt from its provisions. But there we dealt with a whole class, while here we are called upon to deal, not with a class, but with individuals. If two contractors, A and B, had applied to the House and had said, "Exempt us from the penalties 1337 of contracting for a loan, but leave C, D, and every other contractor subject to them"—that would have been the description of piecemeal legislation which we are now invited to enter upon, and it is such a description of legislation that I believe nothing would have induced the House to sanction it. My right hon. Friend also dwelt upon the case of Bishop Zachary Pearce, but that was a very different case from this. Bishop Zachary Pearce went to George III. and asked to be allowed to resign, but, so far from desiring to resign upon a pension, he asked to be allowed to surrender entirely the ecclesiastical preferment which he held, and he intended to support himself for the remainder of his days upon the private means which he possessed. There is, therefore, no shadow of example or precedent for such a transaction as that to which we are now invited to give our sanction. As to the spiritual state of the dioceses and the necessity for episcopal superintendence, provision might have been made for that long ago, and it may be made now under the existing law without incurring any of the objections which apply to the present measure, because, if a suffragan Bishop were appointed it would simply be the duty of the Bishop, on whose behalf be was appointed, to make provisions for maintaining him in the duties of his office. I cannot help saying a few words on the unpleasant subject of the amount of the pensions proposed under this Bill. It is very remarkable that several of these hon. Members who have supported the second reading have felt that to be so sore a point that they did not scruple to recommend that those amounts should be reduced. My right hon. Friend the Member for the City of Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) expressed himself in favour of a reduction of those amounts; and I take that as a proof that whether he thinks the amounts reasonable or not, he believes that the granting of them by a Vote of Parliament would be productive of public inconvenience and public scandal. You know how these things are discussed out of doors, and you may have seen already in the last crop of Sunday newspapers that severe comments are being made on this transaction. Watchful antagonists of the Church of England have already found it worth while to print in the largest letters on the face of every little shop where Sunday newspapers are sold, the words "Simoniacal resignation of Bishops of the Establishment. I ap- 1338 prehend if my right hon. Friend give effect to the intention which he has declared of endeavouring to reduce the amount of the pensions, that after all there won't be any great difference between that and voting against the second reading of the Bill. I think that it would be, however, for the convenience of the House, before we go to a second reading, that the Government should inform us distinctly—and I now put the question to them—whether it is competent to the House to reduce the amount of the pensions in Committee without entailing the loss of the Bill? I hope that that question will be understood, because it is expedient and necessary that it should be answered; and it is necessary, among other reasons, in order to give contentment and balm to the conscience of my right hon. Friend, who, it is evident to me, would feel considerable difficulty, notwithstanding his able speech, as to the vote which he should give on the second reading, if he were told beforehand that his hands were tied as to the amount of the pensions, and that alteration of them in Committee would infallibly lead to the rejection of the measure. These are the grounds on which I shall vote against the second reading of this Bill. I will not consent to a measure which sanctions in individual cases a resignation conditional on the receipt of money, because I am satisfied that such a transaction is tantamount to an act of simony, and, because, although innocent in itself, it maybe made a covert and a cloak for other transactions, which would be taken under the shelter of it, and which would not be innocent. I will not sanction the pensions which are granted under this Bill, nor will I sanction a measure which deals with the resignation of Bishops without any guard or restraint in a matter which requires to be so carefully restrained. My right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham) spoke of the Act of 1843 as being suited to this case; why do you not then copy the processes of the Act of 1843? On that occasion so dangerous did the Legislature consider it to leave open the door for corrupt transactions between Bishops and Ministers, that evidence was taken upon oath to substantiate the facts; and there was an appeal to the Privy Council to provide that every means should be taken for the discovery of the truth. You are now going to throw over all those provisions, and to pass a Bill which recites that, because two Bishops are unable to discharge the duties of their 1339 dioceses, therefore, they are to be allowed to resign upon a contract for a pension. For these, among other reasons, Sir, I shall give my vote against the second reading of the Bill.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
Sir, the subject has now been so fully discussed, and the hour at which we must adjourn is so near at hand, that I shall compress my observations within a very brief compass. My right hon. Friend who has just sat down has repeated the objection which has been before taken as to the time at which this Bill was introduced; but I think that those who look at the dates of the correspondence will see that it was impossible for the Government to introduce the Bill at an earlier period. The letter of the Bishop of London is dated the 18th of June, and that of the Bishop of Durham the 21st of June; and the intention of the Government was announced almost immediately after they were in possession of these prelates' desire to resign. Of course it required some short time to frame the Bill; but within a fortnight or three weeks from the date of those letters the Bill was laid upon the table of the House of Lords; and I think that we should be neglecting our duty if, on the ground of time alone, we were to refuse to entertain this question, and were thus to subject the dioceses of London and Durham—two of the most populous and important dioceses in the kingdom—to be left for several months, or perhaps a year, without that episcopal superintendence which those who think that a Bishop has duties beyond the formal ones of consecration and confirmation admit to be so necessary. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham) referred to the Act of 1843, on which he looks with some parental affection as capable of accomplishing everything that was desired. Singularly enough, that Act came down from the House of Lords on the 21st July—the identical day on which this present Bill came down to the House of Commons. Without pretending to be a lawyer, having for so many years left the bar, I am bound to say, in answer to the question which my right hon. Friend who spoke last addressed to me, that I thought the answer given by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) to the charge that this was a simoniacal contract, was full and complete. I admit if any clergyman or Bishop, having reason to expect that he should succeed to the diocese of London on that see becom- 1340 ing vacant, had gone to the Bishop of London and had said, "Will you enter into a private arrangement with me by which, on resigning your see, I will give you £6,000 a year for life?" that that would have been simony. Or, if the First Lord of the Treasury, on application from the Bishop, or himself originating the proposition, had made a private arrangement, which he was capable of carrying out without the sanction of Parliament, to the effect that he would secure to the Bishop an annuity in consideration of his resigning the see, that would be a corrupt and simonical contract. But what is this case? I am prepared to argue that there is no binding contract or bargain at all. It is, that on the 18th and 21st of June these two prelates addressed a letter to my noble Friend at the head of the Government, stating the nature of their infirmities—which, it is notorious, incapacitate them from the active discharge of their duties—and being actuated by a sincere desire to promote the efficiency of the episcopate in their dioceses, they stated their desire to be relieved of their charge, accompanying their wish with the reasonable request that on their resignation provision might be made for them during the remainder of their lives, so that they might live with that degree of comfort and maintain that position to which, after so many years of active and faithful duty, they are justly entitled. Where is the contract there? My right hon. Friend says, that the letter of my noble Friend completes the contract; but the letter of my noble Friend merely stated the intention of the Government to give effect to those wishes. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Not wishes—conditions.] Is my right hon. Friend arguing the case as a lawyer, as he called me? It was a conditional resignation, no doubt. I admit that fully—that is, it was the expression of a desire to resign upon reasonable and perfectly legal conditions; and my noble Friend says, "I will give effect to your wishes." Was that a contract which my noble Friend made with the Bishops of London and Durham? No such thing. He does not write them a long letter sending them copies of the Act of Parliament, but he merely says, "I intend to give effect to your wishes." Every one knows that that meant that his intention was to submit that wish of theirs, accompanied with the condition—if you like to call it a condition—to Parliament; and, if Parliament sanctioned it, the Government had no doubt that the transaction was free from any taint of 1341 corruption or simony and was of a perfectly legal character. My right hon. Friend objects to any measure at all, and thinks that the Government should have put into force the Act of Henry VIII.; but that Act provides for the appointment of suffragan Bishops under totally different circumstances from those in which we are now placed. My right hon. Friend also thinks that those Bishops, instead of expressing a desire to be relieved altogether from the charge of their sees, and relinquishing two-thirds of the income of which they are in legal enjoyment, should have retained the whole of that income, and should have proceeded, under the provisions of an obsolete Act of Parliament which enables a Bishop to select one of two clergymen from his diocese, who is to be remunerated—how?—by holding two benefices in the diocese—the revenues of which are to be his remuneration. There is an express provision in the Act that no portion of the revenue of the see shall be paid to the suffragan Bishop. Independently of the objections which were stated last night by my noble Friend to suffragan Bishops, I think that the provisions of that Act will be found totally inadequate to the present state of things. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle states that his Act of 1843 would have answered the purpose, had he not, rather hastily, limited its operation to cases of mental imbecility. I won't call that Act a miserable expedient, but I think that it is a very unsatisfactory Act, and that the circumstances of its application to the only diocese in which it is applied should warn the House against it. It is generally supposed that Bishops have ample occupation to engross the whole of their time in the superintendence of their respective dioceses; but that Act provides that, if a Bishop is incapable, the Crown may appoint the Bishop of some other diocese within the province to administer the affairs of that diocese, for which duty he is to receive one-sixth of the income. That is a settlement which I think is most unsatisfactory. By it the Bishop of London, retaining five-sixths of his income and giving up one-sixth, would have had £15,000 a year; and his substitute would have received £3,000 a-year. I think therefore, that the Bishop of London deserves credit for not attempting to put that Act into operation. We have established a different standard of opinion now with regard to the duties of Bishops and clergy; we are not disposed to treat the 1342 office of a Bishop as a sinecure, and we will not put upon a man, already charged with duties sufficiently onerous to engross his whole time, other duties which he would be unable satisfactorily to discharge. At this hour (half-past five o'clock) I will not detain the House longer, but I hope that the House, by reading this Bill a second time, will enable provision to be made for the retirement of these two Bishops in a manner that will, be consistent with their wishes.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he should not detain the House many minutes, but he was unwilling to allow this question to go to a division without shortly expressing his opinion upon it. He deeply regretted that his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) should have thought fit to cast on those who differed from him the imputation that their opposition to this Bill arose from unwillingness to allow patronage to fall into particular hands. He thought the statement neither worthy of his right hon. Friend nor of the House. He, for one, disclaimed being actuated by any such feeling, and he did not believe the noble Lord at the head of the Government was actuated by the contrary motives. There was one subject connected with the debate which he considered had not been sufficiently brought under the consideration of the House. The matter had been argued altogether upon the ground that it was desirable to relieve the dioceses of London and Durham from temporary inconvenience. But would any one pretend that, if this Bill passed, it would not lay down a principle upon which general legislation must take place? He contended that it would be laying down a principle for general legislation, and that it was of less consequence that two dioceses should be subjected to inconvenience for a few months, even assuming that the inconvenience could not be remedied in any other way, than that they should legislate upon what he thought was a faulty principle. Another matter for consideration was, that this mode of legislation made no provision for those constantly recurring cases where a Prelate became not altogether unable to perform the duties, but partially inefficient. If a Prelate found he wanted some assistance, he would be shut out by this legislation from the means of getting that assistance. They drove him up in a corner, and said he should have no help at all unless he gave up the see, whereas, if he could get 1343 the assistance of suffragan or coadjutor Bishops, provided with sufficient means, the duties of the see would be more adequately performed than by the present scheme. He should not trouble the House upon the question of simony further than to say he should like to see any Member get up in the House and assert that if a rector or vicar had made a proposition similar in terms to those of the two Bishops in question it would not have been held by a court of law to be simony; and he should also like the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department to say that the paper which had been put in their hands as the correspondence, if put before the Court of Chancery, could not be enforced as a contract? [Sir G. GREY: The specific performance was to bring in a Bill.] The Government had been asked a question by an hon. Member as to the reduction of the salaries. Now, he wanted to put another question:—Would they tell the House whether, if the salaries were altered, or if no salaries at all were allowed, they would call upon the Bishops to give up their sees? because that was the way to test whether it was a contract or not. His right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) said this was not simony, and he went back to period? before the Reformation, when he said all these things were done; but he (Mr. Henley) thought these things were done after resignation, and not as conditions for resignation; and when it was found that the latitude allowed led to abuse, the State took care by statute law to say the abuse should go no further. Those were shortly the reasons why he should vote against the second reading of the Bill. He knew the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State would wish to answer the question put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone); and the other question he wished to ask was, whether, should the House think fit to allow no retiring salary, the Government would consider the Bishops bound in honour to resign? That would test more than anything else, whether it was or was not a bargain. They were told that it was no bargain. The answers to those questions, however, would show pretty clearly whether it was a bargain or not: and that was what they wanted to get at, because all the arguments that it was not simony were founded on the assertion that there had been no bargain.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, it is 1344 the intention of Her Majesty's Government to stand by the proposal contained in this Bill as to the retiring pensions to be given to the two Bishops. I trust the House will concur in opinion that the amount is not more than is right. What the Bishops will do, supposing the House diminishes that amount or takes it away altogether, will rest with them to determine, because there is no power on the part of the Government to require them to resign, and the Government would not deem it their duty to influence the Bishops in any way as to what might be their judgment under such circumstances. With regard to the bargain, the bargain has been fulfilled. The bargain was to propose a Bill to Parliament. That has been done, and it now rests with the House to decide upon the matter.
My noble Friend has not answered fully my question. My question is, not what course the Bishops will pursue if the House think fit to reduce the pensions, but what course the Government will pursue—whether, if we reduce the pensions, the Government will proceed with the Bill?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, we shall announce that after the division on the second reading is taken.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he regretted that there was no time to give his views upon this subject, but as a Protestant Dissenter, he was altogether opposed to the principle of the Bill.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 151; Noes 72: Majority 79.
|List of the AYES.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Cayley, E. S.|
|Antrobus, E.||Challis, MR. Aid.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Chaplin, W. J.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Chelsea, Visct.|
|Ball, J.||Cholmondeley, Lord II.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.|
|Bass, M. T.||Cocks, T. S.|
|Beckett, W.||Coffin, W.|
|Berkeley, F. W. F.||Corry, rt. hon. H. L.|
|Bethell, Sir R.||Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.|
|Black, A.||Craufurd, E. H. J.|
|Blandford, Marquess of||Cubitt, Mr. Ald.|
|Bonham-Carter, J.||Dashwood, Sir G. H.|
|Bouverie, rt. hn. E. P.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Bowyer, G.||Denison, J. E.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||De Vere, S. E.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Divett, E.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Drumlanrig, Visct.|
|Buckley, Gen.||Duncan, Visct.|
|Butler, C. S.||Duncan, G.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Dundas, F.|
|Castlerosse, Visct.||Esmonde, J.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Mowbray, J. R.|
|Feilden, Major||Mullings, J. R.|
|Ferguson, Col.||Neeld, J.|
|Ferguson, J.||Nisbet, R. P.|
|Forster, J.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Fortescue, C. S.||Osborne, R.|
|Freestun, Col.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Gower, hon. F. L.||Patten, Col. W.|
|Greene, T.||Peel, Sir R.|
|Gregson, S.||Peel, F.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Pellatt, A.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Pinney, Col.|
|Grey, R. W.||Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Portman, hon. W. H. B.|
|Gurney, J. H.||Price, W. P.|
|Gwyn, H.||Pugh, D.|
|Hall, rt. hon. Sir B.||Ramsden, Sir J. W.|
|Hankey, T.||Reed, Maj. J. H.|
|Hardy, G.||Ricardo, S.|
|Hastie, Archibald||Rich, H.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Ridley, G.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Robertson, P. F.|
|Herbert, hon. P. E.||Rolt, P.|
|Heywood, J.||Russell, F. W.|
|Horsman, rt. hon. E.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Howard hon C. W. G.||Sawle, C. B. G.|
|Hutt, W.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Ingham, R.||Seymour, W. D.|
|Ingram, H.||Shelley, Sir J. V.|
|Irton, S.||Smith, M. T.|
|Jones, D.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Spooner, R.|
|Kirk, W.||Stanley, Lord|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Stuart, Capt.|
|Langton, H. G.||Thompson, G.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Thornely, T.|
|Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C.||Tynte, Col. C. J. K.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Walcott, Adm.|
|Lockhart, A. E.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Lowe, rt. hon. R.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|MacGregor, John||Wigram, L. T.|
|Magan, W. H.||Wilkinson, W. A.|
|Malins, R.||Willcox, B. M'G.|
|Marjoribanks, D. C.||Williams, W.|
|Martin, J.||Williams, Sir W. F.|
|Martin, P. W.||Wilson, J.|
|Massey, W. N.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Moffatt, G.||Wynn, Sir W. W.|
|Monck, Visct.||Wyvill, M.|
|Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.||TELLERS.|
|Mostyn, hn. T. E. M. L.||Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.|
|Mowatt, F.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|List of the NOES.|
|Annesley, Earl of||Duncombe, hon. W. E.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Elmley, Visct.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.||FitzGerald, Sir J.|
|Brady, J.||Fitzgerald, W. R. S.|
|Bramley-Moore, J.||Fox, W. J.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Bruce, H. A.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W.|
|Clinton, Lord R.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Graham, Lord M. W.|
|Coles, H. B.||Grogan, E.|
|Conolly, T.||Hadfield, G.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Hale, R. B.|
|Deedes, W.||Hall, Gen.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Duncombe, T.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Henley, rt. Hon. J. W.||North, Col.|
|Herbert, Sir T.||Palmer, R.|
|Hildyard, R. C.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Hume, W. F.||Peel, Gen.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Pilkington, J.|
|Kennedy, T.||Powlett, Lord W.|
|Kershaw, J.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Knightley, R.||Scholefield, W.|
|Leslie, C. P.||Stafford, A.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Stracey, Sir H. J.|
|Lowther, Capt.||Taylor, Col.|
|Lushington, C. M.||Tite, W.|
|MacGregor, James||Tomline, G.|
|Meux, Sir H.||Vance, J.|
|Morgan, O.||Vernon, L. V.|
|Morris, D.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Mundy, W.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Murrough, J. P.|
|Napier, rt. hon. J.||TELLERS.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Cecil, Lord|
|Noel, hon. G. J.||Heathcote, Sir W.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for To-morrow at Twelve o'clock.
said, that Members sitting below the gangway might just as well be out of the House as in it after a division. They could hear nothing, no matter what efforts they might make. If he had heard the arrangement to take the Committee on the Bill to-morrow at twelve o'clock, he certainly should have represented that it was very desirable opportunity should be afforded of giving notice of Amendments, and he apprehended the mere statement of objection would have been conclusive. As the matter now stood, he did not wish to give trouble, but he begged to represent the case to his noble Friend at the head of the Government.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he hoped the noble Lord would, at all events, reconsider the appointment for twelve o'clock. Members hardly received the Votes by that hour.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, there was other business at six o'clock to-morrow evening, and it would be very uncertain at what time the Committee on the Bill would commence if it were postponed to the evening sitting. He thought the numerous attendance that morning was sufficient proof that they might consider the Amendments at twelve o'clock. The right hon. Gentlemen might move what Amendments they pleased, and the House would, of course, not object on the ground that they were moved without notice.
§ The House adjourned at Six o'clock.