§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he rose to move that the House resolve itself into Committee that day three months. He belonged to a class of Her Majesty's subjects who had no temporal interest in the Church of England, except so far as the temporalities of that Church were contrary to the spirit of true religion. It seemed to him as if Parliament was monopolised by one denomination of Christians. Nobody appeared to bear in mind that the Church of England comprised only one-third of the population of the United Kingdom. Of the 27,000,000 of inhabitants 9,000,000 only were members of the Established Church; the remaining 18,000,000 consisted of Roman Catholics, Nonconformists, and the established Presbyterians of Scotland. Yet there was this peculiarity, that while Parliament was constantly engaged in discussing questions concerning the temporalities of the Church of England, the remaining 18,000,000 of the people never troubled Parliament in any way respecting pecuniary assistance except in two very insignificant cases. The days were gone by when the character of a Bishop of this realm was not to be made the subject of public discussion. The halo which it had been attempted to throw around Bishops and the sanctity with which the State had sought to invest them, excited in him no sympathy whatever. When, therefore, the Bishop of London came before the House, the only light in which he (Mr. Hadfield) contemplated the right rev. Prelate was 1356 that of a fellow citizen and a fellow Christian subject. He apprehended that the right rev. Prelate did not stand so high in the estimation of the English people as some hon. Gentlemen would represent. Neither as a scholar, as a divine, or as a public teacher, did he stand on equal terms of competition with many Ministers of the various denominations into which the other two-thirds of the people were divided. The general opinion was, that the right rev. Prelate carried his High Church principles and his bigotry to an extent which rendered him unacceptable to a large number of persons. He believed it was a fact that many of the votes given yesterday in support of the Bill were for the purpose of relieving the diocese of that right rev. Prelate's supervision, replacing him by an abler and a better man. By a recent Act of Parliament, it was settled that the salary of the Bishop of London should be £10,000 a year, whereas the real amount had been stated, on good authority, to be £22,000 a year. Now, this was suffered to take place in a Church to which belonged 10,000 clergymen, whose annual incomes did not exceed, upon the average, £100 per annum. This right rev. Prelate was formerly a schoolmaster. He (Mr. Hadfield) mentioned it to his honour. Every man who raised himself by his industry, integrity, and abilities was entitled to respect; but surely such a gentleman was not to be allowed, after having had the administration of the vast territorial revenue of £22,000 a year, to retain on his retirement a pension of £6,000. Why, the President of the United States only received a salary of £5,000 a year. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had only £5,000 a year. What had the public done for that noble Lord, in a pecuniary point of view, whose services to the country were infinitely superior compared with those of any of the Bishops. The Pope of Rome received for his personal expenditure only £1,500 a year. The Cardinals of Rome received but £400 a year, and the Roman Catholic Bishops in this country, who worked in a way that no English Bishop worked, received but £300 a year. Notwithstanding that, this right rev. Gentleman, who was now in possession of such a territory and in the receipt of such an income as he had just stated, called upon the House to stipulate with him that he should receive £6,000 a year as a retiring pension. The right rev. Gentleman once held the bishopric of Chester, 1357 the income of which was £3,000 a year. He held it for four years, and was then translated to the see of London, which he had held for twenty-eight years. Four years at £3,000 would make £12,000, and twenty-eight years at £22,000 would make £616,000, amounting together to the sum of £628,000. That was the sum which had been given to the Bishop of London, beside the patronage he enjoyed, consisting of no less than ninety-seven livings, and which were reported to be worth £70,000 a year. He wished particularly to call the attention of the House to this fact, that all this worldly wealth was at the disposal of a disciple of Christ—the Divine Minister of Mercy, who came into the world ushered in a manger, and who died on the cross—who wrought miracles to raise tribute money, and whose great disciple Paul worked with his own hands, that he might not be a charge to any man. With respect to the Bishop of Durham, he had enjoyed an income of £5,000 a year as Bishop of Chichester for five years; and his present income was £16,000 a year. He had held his see for twenty years, so that he had received altogether a sum of £345,000. The Act of Parliament relating to the incomes of the Bishops fixed the amount of the Bishop of Durham at £8,000; but, in fact, the receipts of that right rev. Prelate had, by some unexplained means, doubled that amount. These two Bishops had together received a sum of £973,000 besides the patronage attached to their bishoprics. Such an enormous sum was an amount unparalleled in the history of the world. These two Bishops had received nearly £1,000,000 of the revenue of the Church, while there were 10,000 clergymen of that very Church each receiving a sum not exceeding £100 per annum. Now, he would ask was such a state of things to be endured by the House of Commons or by the people of this country? But besides such large incomes and the immense amount of patronage, the Bishops were allowed a seat in the House of Peers. That he conceived to be an injustice to the country. Not only did those Bishops exercise their own rights as Members of the House of Lords, but the acted, by virtue of their spiritual character, as a most influential power over the minds of the lay Lords in that assembly. It was, therefore, wrong and unjust that Bishops should have a seat in that House. Those were serious matters for the House to consider. Did the House suppose that their debates were 1358 not read? Did they not believe that the charge of simony would be believed in by millions of Her Majesty's subjects? Would not the fact of these two right rev. Prelates, after having received nearly £1,000,000 from the State, and coming to the House and asking for retiring pensions to the amount of £10,500 a year, be canvassed in every pothouse in the country, and be made the subject of the song of the scoffer and the mockery of the drunkard? It was a happiness to know that there were men, even in the Church itself, who lamented such a state of things; while there were men, without the Church, of the largest minds and who had ever trod in the footsteps of their Divine Master, labouring for a pittance, before whom those two right rev. Prelates would be made to bow their diminished heads. Was either of those two Prelates to be compared with Robert Hall, with Dr. Pye Smith, or with Dr. Robert Newton? He could not allow the Bill to pass without expressing to the House what he believed to be a strong prevailing sentiment on the part of a vast majority of the people, and he warned the House to be prepared for the time when that sentiment would be enforced by much abler men than himself. He begged to record his opinion against a measure which he deemed odious; which he believed to be injurious to the country, to strike at the very root of all religious sentiment, and calculated to destroy the Church itself. To the honour of the Colonies of this kingdom, he could say that no one of them had followed the example of this country in forming a Church Establishment; and it was time that the Church should set its affairs in order, for such was the force of public opinion on this question that it would be impossible for that Church to stand against it.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
, in seconding the Amendment, said, he very much regretted that such severe remarks should have been indulged in by the hon. Member for Sheffield. He considered that the Bishop of London had dispensed his revenue with a most liberal hand. It was, however, with much pain that he (Mr. Newdegate) voted against the second reading of the Bill, but he did so conscientiously, feeling that if the measure passed it would establish a precedent which would work the greatest possible detriment to the Church of England. The Bishops of this country ought not to be left in such a position as either to be obliged to retain their bishoprics 1359 after the state of their health made it irksome to them to discharge their duties; or to make a bargain with the Prime Minister for the time being in order to secure them from being left destitute. It was the general feeling among churchmen that that state of things rendered the Bishops subservient to the Minister of the day. Either the present Bill ought to be made an exceptional measure, or it ought to be a precedent for future legislation. He would, therefore, ask the noble Lord whether it was his intention in the course of the next Session to introduce a Bill of a general nature to provide for all retiring Bishops who were incapacitated by infirmity or age? His opinion was, that there ought to be a legal provision made for the retirement of the Bishops, which they might claim after proving before a competent tribunal that they were incapacitated from discharging their duties.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
THE MARQUESS OF BLANDFORD
said, he was most anxious to impress upon the noble Lord at the head of the Government the immense importance of acceding to the suggestion of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate)—to give a pledge that in the next Session a general measure on the subject should be introduced—because he could not conceive anything more prejudicial to the interests of the Church, or more calculated to discredit the character of the episcopate, than that upon every occasion of the retirement of a Bishop it should be necessary to pass a special measure. No one rejoiced more than himself in the connection between Church and State, but he thought that so close a political relationship with the State was really humiliating to the Church; and, seeing how aspersions had been cast in the course of the discussion on the characters and the acts of the Bishops of London and Durham, he could not suppose that, henceforth, any Prelate, however anxious he might be to surrender the responsibilities and the duties of his office, would venture to face the difficulties and annoyances incidental to special legislation. He supported the second reading of the Bill because 1360 the disadvantages of not passing it were greater, in his opinion, than those of passing it. It was impossible the diocese of London could continue in its present state, and the appointment of suffragans or coadjutors would not, he apprehended, meet the necessities of the case. Parliament had fixed the income of the future Bishop of London at £10,000 per annum for the entire performance of the duties; and if the measure now before the House did not pass they would leave a prelate in the see enjoying £18,000 or £20,000 a year, incapable of performing any of the duties. He regarded that as a conclusive argument in favour of the Bill. It had also been remarked that, after payment of the retiring pension, there would be a gain of £5,000 a year. The anomalous position of Church property might not be recollected. Parliament had sanctioned a mode of dealing with leases by enfranchisement, whereby the value of Church estates might be doubled. But the action rested with prelates and dignitaries, who were debarred, by their incomes being fixed, from obtaining any advantage from enfranchisement. Upon a vacancy in the see of London the estates would be transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who were interested in promoting enfranchisement, and the effect of the Bill would really be to give a much larger increase than £5,000 a year to the funds of the Commissioners. An appeal which he had made on a former occasion to the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) to put in force the Act of Henry VIII. might, at first sight, appear inconsistent with his support of the Bill now under consideration, but the two courses were perfectly compatible, because there might be cases for absolute retirement, as in this matter of the Bishops of London and Durham, and cases of Bishops, in full possession of health and strength, so overburdened with work as to be extremely glad to obtain the assistance of suffragans. He still, however, retained his opinion that great advantage would be gained from putting in force the Act of Henry VIII. It would not supersede a measure of retirement, and a measure of retirement would not supersede it. He hoped the present measure would be the prelude to a general one, and that the noble Lord would employ the recess in preparing a scheme which should be applicable to the general wants of the Church, and for ever set at rest this most important question.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he also wished to add his appeal to that of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, that the noble Lord would pledge Her Majesty's Government, if they should continue in office, to introduce a general measure on the subject in the next Session. A great deal had been said as to whether the Bill before them should form a precedent or not. In one respect he hoped it would. In other respects he hoped it would not. It was a valuable precedent, inasmuch as for three centuries since the Reformation there had been no instance of the resignation of a Bishop; but at the same time he must confess that he did not wish to see the details followed in a general measure. He did not complain of the amount of the retiring pensions, because, when they looked at the amount of the incomes those Bishops had enjoyed, it was nothing more than reasonable that their retiring pensions should in some degree accord with their previous incomes. If a general measure had been brought in, the bishoprics of London and Durham must have been dealt with as exceptional instances. That, therefore, was an answer to any complaint for not bringing in a general measure in the present Session; but, with regard to any general measure in a future Session, he hoped it would not be such as they might expect from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham), who regarded the present state of the diocese of Durham, part of the duties of which were peformed by the Bishop of Manchester, as "satisfactory." [Sir J. GRAHAM: I said tolerably satisfactory.] He thought, however, that the right hon. Baronet would not be disposed to describe the condition of the diocese of Durham as tolerably satisfactory, if, on his return to his constituents, he visited Durham and some of the more distant parts of Northumberland. He did not wish to reflect upon the imperfect superintendence of a Prelate bowed down by age and infirmities, but the argument of the right hon. Baronet was, he considered, extremely dangerous to the Church. It was now only eight years since Parliament created the see of Manchester. [Sir J. GRAHAM: Thirty years.] He thought the see was appointed in 1848, but however that might be, Parliament had assigned an income of between £4,000 and £5,000 a year to the see of Manchester, and was entitled to expect that the Bishop would devote the whole of his time to discharge the duties of his own diocese. 1362 To say that the Bishop of Manchester had time to place at the disposition of the Bishop of Durham was, without doubt, one of the strongest arguments which could be used against episcopacy. That such would be the general feature of any measure the right hon. Baronet might introduce was apparent from the fact, that the right hon. Baronet had pointed out how, in the dead and torpid state of the Church which prevailed in the reign of George I., a Bishop of Rochester administered, without scandal or inconvenience, the see of London; and how, in 1843, the Bishop of Salisbury performed the duties of the diocese of Bath and Wells during the incapacity of Bishop Law. They were told that at the present time several other Prelates were incapacitated by illness, and the inference from the cases cited was, that the healthy Bishops were to perform the duties between them. No argument, he asserted, could be more dangerous to the Church or inconsistent in itself. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Univerity of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) said the relations between a Bishop and his clergy should be of a close, intimate, affectionate, and personal character; but how could that be expected if his duties were performed in the most rapid and perfunctory manner possible by a Bishop coming for the purpose from a distant diocese. He trusted, therefore, whatever the measure might be which Her Majesty's Ministers would introduce, it would not be founded on the views of the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham). He hoped that the question of the subdivision of the bishoprics would not be overlooked. He believed there had been a recommendation, on authority, that subdivision should take place in both these dioceses. He had only that morning formed one of a deputation which waited on the noble Lord at the head of the Government to urge the subdivision of the diocese of London. He hoped that when bringing in a general measure for the retirement of Bishops, the Government would introduce some other measure for the extension of the episcopate, and he inferred that, there was some such intention from the concluding clause of the Bill under consideration, which provided that the new Bishop of London and the new Bishop of Durham should take their sees subject to any arrangement Parliament might make during the next three years relative to those dioceses. He must express his astonishment at the opposition which had sprung up against the Bill, and, 1363 although he had listened with attention to the arguments which came from right hon. Gentlemen exercising great authority in that House, those arguments appeared to him to be extremely technical. The opposition of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) was more reasonable, because he was opposed to episcopacy altogether, but, without following the hon. Gentleman into the lengthened disquisition by which he intended to show that there were Nonconformist divines with whom the divines of the Church of England could not compare, he would express his earnest desire that the House would support Her Majesty's Ministers in applying a practical remedy to a gross and glaring evil.
SIR JOHN FITZGERALD
said, he was opposed to the Bill, considering it one of exclusion. It granted retiring pensions to two right rev. Prelates, both of whom were in receipt of immense incomes quite adequate to provide for themselves and their families. It appeared these two right rev. Prelates had sent a statement to the effect that from age and infirmities they were rendered incapable of performing their duties, and therefore on receiving a certain amount of annuities they were willing to retire. But, he would ask, were not the working clergy equally liable to various infirmities as the two right rev. Prelates? yet not one word was mentioned of providing retiring pensions for them—certainly the most laborious body in the Church. Another objection to the Bill was the very nature of it—a proposition coming from the two right rev. Prelates, stating on what terms they were willing to retire and give up their bishoprics; and what was the construction placed on such a proposal? Several of the learned Members of the House, during the debate, had declared that they considered such a mode of proceeding as amounting to simony; and he, therefore, hoped the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown would pause and not persevere in attempting to pass the Bill. They had heard much of the "faith of a Christian" lately in that House, and they ought also, he thought, to bear in mind Christian charity, and not make such a Bill as the one now proposed an exclusive one, but have a regular scale of retiring pensions for all classes of the clergy drawn out—which, he was certain, would not only give general satisfaction to the country, but would also be of real service to the Church of England.
§ MR. HILDYARD
said, great wealth 1364 appertained to the See of Durham, and he recollected that much discontent was occasioned when a portion of that wealth was appropriated to the legitimate purpose of increasing small livings. The suggestion of the hon. Member (Mr. Mowbray), if carried out, would bring back that wealth, and, therefore, persons interested in the diocese had strong motives for urging the appointment of two or three more Bishops. The present Bill provided pensions out of the Ecclesiastical Common Fund, without injury to that fund; but as soon as those lives fell in that would not be the case, and he must protest against trenching upon the "Common Fund" for the retiring pensions of Bishops, because it was at present wholly inadequate to provide for the working clergy. He would remind the House what had occurred with respect to the retirement of Irish Judges. There was no class of functionaries looked upon with so much consideration as the Judges. But it was not so with the Bishops. Religious prejudices and animosities were excited and made imperative the utmost precautions, so that on the one hand, they should not cling to place after they ought to resign for the purpose of throwing the patronage of appointing their successors into the hands of their political friends; and, on the other, that an unscrupulous minority should not be enabled to compel them to resign when they were fully equal to the discharge of their duties. He hoped Parliament would not be considered as represented by the small number of persons now present, and that when a general measure was introduced they might be allowed to freely discuss it upon its own merits. Although he disapproved of the Bill, and should be glad to throw it out, he would suggest that, after the strong expression of the opinion of the House in the division yesterday, the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) would do no good by persevering with his Amendment.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he must beg to explain that he wished the see of Durham to be so divided as to give a Bishop to Northumberland, with which county he had no connection or interest. He was in favour of the appointment of two or three more Bishops for the whole of England.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he was very well aware that the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) was a most determined enemy to the Church Establishment, and, as the hon. Member was of opinion 1365 that this Bill would be most detrimental to the interests of the Established Church, he thought he might, on the hon. Gentleman's own showing, claim his support. If the hon. Member really thought the Bill would have the effect which he ascribed to it he ought to divide with the Government in its favour, and vote against his own Amendment. He could not express himself in clearer terms than those of the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Mowbray) upon the point, that even if a general measure had been proposed they must have had a clause making exceptional provision for these two sees in question, because it was only fair and just that the proportion of retiring allowance should be calculated, not according to the reduced incomes which those Prelates had never received, but according to the incomes which they had been in the receipt of. Any general rule must therefore be subject to those exceptions. As to what might be the intentions of Her Majesty's Government with regard to a general measure he was not at the present moment prepared to state them, but he was quite prepared to say that if the Government proposed a general measure next Session they would do it upon their own responsibility, and that nothing which had passed in the course of the debates would preclude hon. Gentlemen from considering the measure upon its own merits. At the same time, with respect to the topic on which the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Hildyard) had dwelt—namely, his objection to any arrangement by which retiring allowances were placed on the "Common Fund," because he considered that fund ought to be devoted to the general interests of the Church by the increase of small livings. Now, the interests of the Church lay in more directions than one, and although it might be the interest of the Church to give adequate stipends to parochial clergymen, yet, it undoubtedly was greatly to the interest of the Church that the duties of the episcopacy should be effectively performed, and in the case in which a Bishop by age or infirmity was unable to perform those duties it was the interest of the Church to supply his place by an active and efficient Bishop. He only mentioned that to show that much could be said both ways, and that the House might not run off with the conclusion that no answer could be made to the argument of the hon. and learned Member. With regard to the method of supplying the places of infirm Bishops, he 1366 had no hesitation in stating that his own opinion was very much the same as the hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Mowbray's), that the arrangement of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) would not be a good one. His opinion was—subject, of course, to the better opinion of the House—that if they were obliged by peculiar circumstances to relieve from duty an aged and infirm Bishop, it would be a bad arrangement to place under or over him, but in the diocese with him, an episcopal office, not having all that weight and authority which belonged to the actual possessor of the see. In his opinion, in that case they ought to get a clear see and appoint another Bishop, on whom the responsibility would be undivided, just as if a vacancy had occurred. He quite agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Hildyard) that retirement ought not to depend either upon the simple will of the Bishop or upon the discretion of the Government of the day. They ought to endeavour to find some independent authority which, having the interests of the Church at heart, and not being connected with the Government of the day, should determine in the two cases whether the Bishop wishing to retire was really by physical infirmities incompetent, or whether the Bishop, unwilling to retire, but evidently incompetent by physical infirmities, should not be obliged to retire. He thought it was quite right that that decision should not rest with the Government of the day, because any arrangement they might make would certainly be open to animadversion and the imputation of motives, to which, although persons who understood the political affairs of the country knew the Government were not really liable, yet it was undesirable the Government should be exposed. He therefore thought that, if there were a general measure, some such arrangement as he had suggested ought to be adopted. He was willing to admit that these partial measures were objectionable, because they raised discussion upon personal questions connected with dignitaries of the Church, to which it was unfair to expose them; but, without giving any pledge that the Government would be able to frame a fit measure, if they did propose any general measure it must be considered as the measure of the Government, and no one would be committed to approval of it by anything which might pass on the present occasion.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he thought that the answer of the noble Lord threw some light on the course which the Government would probably take next Session on this subject. He congratulated the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General on the task which he had undertaken, to form some kind of tribunal to decide on some general principle as to the claims of right rev. Prelates wishing to retire. The noble Lord had made up his mind so far, that he thought when the Bishop became unfit for duty he should be removed. He was quite of opinion with the noble Lord that it would be inconvenient to leave the decision of such matters to the Government for the time being. The noble Lord seemed also to have made up his mind as to the insufficiency of appointing suffragan Bishops. The hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Mowbray) had commented on the strange course which had been taken in opposition to the Bill by Members who had always been regarded as the friends of the Church. But he would call the attention of the hon. Member to the fact, that the Bill proposed a novel mode of dealing with Church dignitaries, and that they who had opposed it were desirous of adhering to the established rules of the Church. He agreed with the noble Lord, that episcopal wants ought to be supplied as well as parochial wants. The noble Lord had commented on the observations of his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Hildyard), who had entered his protest against trenching on the "Common Fund" to supply retiring allowances to Bishops; but the noble Lord seemed to forget that there was no "Common Fund" for the parochial clergyman to fall back upon if he became unfit for duty, either for a retiring allowance or for the support of a curate. If they were to act on a general principle, he saw no justice in providing for the pensions of Bishops out of the "Common Fund," while the parochial clergyman was left to support himself out of his own means. He was glad to hear that the noble Lord did not consider any one pledged as to future legislation on the subject.
said, that although he was not favourable to excessive episcopal incomes, and though he had objected to many things the Bishop of London had done, he could not let the criticisms of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield) pass without notice. He believed Dr. Blomfield had administered the revenues of the see with great liberality. 1368 During his episcopacy he had consecrated not fewer than 200 new churches; and he had built and endowed one of them entirely at his own cost.
§ MR. PELLATT
said, that, though a Nonconformist, he had voted for the second reading of the Bill, because it was a question of State, and he felt it his duty to support the Government in doing what was best to be done under the circumstances. He hoped that in framing any general measure the noble Lord would not overlook the propriety of removing the Bishops from the House of Lords.
§ Preamble postponed.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 1.
said, that, retaining all his objections to the Bill, and deeming it to be highly indecent that the House should be called upon within five or six days to pass the measure, yet, judging from the division of last night, that the House would not concur with him in that matter, he should confine himself on the present occasion to proposing an Amendment, with a view of embodying his protest against what he conceived to be the objectionable nature of the Bill. The hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Mowbray) had expressed great astonishment with regard to the course which had been taken by hon. Gentlemen who had opposed the Bill. The hon. Gentleman said that they ought to have done directly the reverse. His hon. Friend, no doubt, had arrived, with great satisfaction to himself, at that conclusion; but when he had devoted to public business as many years as those who had at present given four, five, six, and seven times as many years to the business of the public as he had, he would perhaps be less ready to express his surprise at the course which had been pursued. His hon. Friend had said that nothing but technical objections had been taken; but he (Mr. Gladstone) must tell his hon. Friend that one of the great dangers of the period in which they lived, and the most besetting sin of that House, was a disposition to live, in respect to legislation, from hand to mouth, and to make provisions for the moment and the hour, and then to call that practical legislation. When they were invited to direct their attention either to the general principles of the law, or to remote 1369 and ulterior consequences, they were told that these were mere technical objections. Now, he would ask hon. Members if it was a mere technical objection to consider the terms on which the resignation of a bishopric or of a benefice was made—whether it was made in connection with some emolument or not? However, his present object was to move an Amendment, for the purpose of recording his objection to this pecuniary bargain, which he considered to run counter to the common law of all Christendom. No answer had been given to the argument of the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Napier), that the resignation of a spiritual office on a bargain for the receipt of money, as an essential condition for resigning, was simony. He challenged contradiction to that proposition, and he felt bolder in so doing in consequence of the able arguments of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was the bargain of the individual, it was the making the receipt of money a condition of resigning a spiritual office, which constituted the offence of simony. His opinion was, that no general measure would have given a sanction to any particular bargain; but it would have been perfectly easy to avoid any difficulty on that point. He entertained strong objections to making a particular bargain, and he believed his noble Friend at the head of the Government had fairly admitted, to a certain extent, those objections. He should, therefore, move that, instead of the words, "accept the resignation of his see by the said Charles James Lord Bishop of London," there be inserted, "accept the resignation of his see by any Bishop of his province."
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the object of his right hon. Friend was to make the Act a general Act, instead of it being a particular Act, confined to two cases only. The first objection to such a proposition was, that no measure of the kind could be passed during the present Session. If his right hon. Friend enforced his Amendment, it would in fact negative the Bill.
§ MR. MOWBRAY
said, he was sorry to have incurred the censure of his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford. He certainly thought that when the Bishops of London and Durham were about to surrender two-thirds of their income, they were setting an example of which no one could disapprove. He considered it to be an act of great disinterestedness on the part of those right rev. Prelates, and that no corrupt motive could be 1370 assigned to them. He therefore did think that the argument concerning simony was of a strictly technical character, and he still remained of that opinion.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, he wished to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government whether the letter from the Bishop of Durham, bearing date the 21st of June, was the first communication which had passed between that Prelate and the Government? It was known that the Bishop of Durham first intimated to the Government in November last, his intention to resign upon terms which had reference to the amount of income to be provided for him on his resignation. He therefore wished to ask whether the letter of the 21st of June, 1856, in which the Bishop stipulated for an annual allowance of £4,500, was the first communication that had passed between him and the Government with reference to the amount to be allowed to him on his retirement? His reasons for putting the question so distinctly was, that he wished to know whether the Bishop of Durham had not in the first instance required a larger sum, and whether the Government did not object to propose to Parliament a larger sum, and whether, after much communication with regard to the amount, this letter of the 21st of June was ultimately the result of frequent communications between the Bishop and the Government, and that the Government at last consented to recommend £4,500 as the maximum amount to be provided for the Bishop?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
I beg, Sir, to say that I shall feel very glad to answer the question of my right hon. Friend since it has been put, though I must say that this is the first time I have heard of the circumstances which have been referred to. It is perfectly true that in the course of last autumn, or rather shortly before the Christmas holidays, I was informed verbally that the Bishop of Durham wished to resign. I took those steps upon that communication which I thought to be necessary, having then an intention of bringing forward a measure relating to these cases. But after a certain period I was informed, from the same quarter, that the Bishop of Durham no longer wished to resign; therefore the matter dropped. The first communication made to me by the Bishop was by letter. It may be, and very possibly was, the fact, that some days before that letter was actually written a verbal communication was 1371 made to me on the point; but this I do state—that at no time was any larger sum proposed than what has been mentioned, nor was there any communication or negotiation such as has been talked of, or any objection made by me to any larger sum than that which is mentioned in the Bill.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, that with regard to the Bishop of London, information from a source which he knew to be correct had reached him, that on the part of that right rev. Prelate no proposition of any kind had been made by him, except what was contained in the correspondence.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
said, he very much regretted, now that they had got into Committee, that their attention should have been directed to matters not strictly before them. With respect to the Amendment, he doubted whether, if the proposed words were introduced, it would not be necessary to recast the whole Bill. He thought it would be impossible to transform the present Bill into a general measure, and he should therefore vote against the Amendment.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he did not think the words proposed to be left out would by any means have the effect of making the Bill a general Bill; nor did he believe that, if the Amendment were agreed to, the other clauses of the Bill would require recasting. The only effect of the Amendment would be that no special cause of resignation would be shown.
said, the hon. Member for Malton (Mr. E. Denison) was quite mistaken in supposing that the adoption of the Amendment would make it necessary to change the other clauses of the Bill. The principle he wished to lay down was, that the law of resignation should be a general law. The Bill did not authorise resignation, it only recognised resignation.
said, the Bill, if amended as proposed, would not give the two Bishops any new power to resign which they did not already possess by law; and a great portion of his objection to the measure would therefore be removed. The Bill would be simply a measure to make a pecuniary provision for two Bishops who had unconditionally surrendered their sees.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, in consequence of indisposition, he had not had the opportunity of expressing an opinion upon the Bill on a previous discussion, he therefore hoped the Committee would bear with him while he made a few remarks on the measure. It was not a subject 1372 on which he would venture to offer an opinion without much consideration. He deeply deplored that any observations should have been made to the effect that if the Bill were carried an imputation of simony would attach to the right rev. Prelates whose names were connected with it. That ought not to have been stated by any one who could not conscientiously aver that he was perfectly well informed upon the subject of the law and conversant with ecclesiastical proceedings. He ventured to say, with great humility, but with much confidence, that any man who would devote an hour to ecclesiastical history, or to ascertain what were the ecclesiastical duties of the Bishops—which any man might do who would look through the Statutes—would be perfectly convinced that what was now proposed to be done was in strict conformity with the law of the Church, and in strict conformity with the municipal and conventional law of simony, which was all that they were bound to recognise. Now, what was the practice of the Church in ancient times? He would read what was the history of the resignation of the Bishop of Durham in the fourteenth century. He quoted from Strype's History of the Life and Acts of Archbishop Grindal:—Purificatione Beatæ Mariæ imminente, Episcopus Dunelmensis Nicolaus, sentiens se annosum, valetudinarium, et infirmum, &c., Episcopatum suum Dunelmensem, obtcntâ tali à Domino Papa licentiâ, resignavit,—[hon Members should observe the peculiar phraseology of what follows]—et datis ad hoc provisoribus, Archiepiscopo Eboracensi et Londinensi et Wigorniensi Episcopis, assignata sunt ei tria maneria,—viz., de Hoveden cum pertinentiis, Stoctuna et Esingtuna. Recedens igitur à Dunelmo, acceptâ ibidem à fratribus licratiâ ad alterutrum dictorum maneriorum mansurus, perrexit, ut in pace ibidem, sine querelarum vel causarum strepitu, exutus à sollicitudinibus mundanis, sibi jam expectanti donec ejus veniret immutatio, liberius orationi vacaret, &c.It might not be unworthy the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) to consider in what way objections to arrangements for retiring Bishops were met in those days:—Adulatores quidam pessimi cupientes placere Dunelmensi Episcopo Waltero, petierunt à Papa Episcopatum vel redintegrari, vel saltim minus damnificari. Quibus Papa. Miramur super his. Nonne facta fuit distributio illa, et partitio per magnam deliberationem et considerationem virorum peritorum, et consensum partium; et res jam confirmata est per nos, et regem Angliæ, et per piovisores. Et sic repulsi sunt accusatores cum probris.There was another case—the case of Archbishop Grindal. He was Archbishop of 1373 Canterbury in the reign of Elizabeth, and, being blind, was incapable of performing the duties of his office. The Queen sent the Lord Treasurer to him, and, after an interview, the Lord Treasurer sent a message to some person attending about the Queen:—To inform Her Majesty at his leisure, that the Archbishop was now ready at Lady Day, being the end of the half year allotted him, to resign his bishopric, to be conferred by her upon some other, to enter into actual government of the Church of England, which sustained, he said, great lack for present action. That he yielded himself to Her Majesty's goodness to have some pension during his short life, which he (the Treasurer) wished to be great and honourable, although it should be to the successor burdenous for the present. But he that should have it must shape his garment with his cloth for the time. That he had seen into the value of the Archbishop's possessions, and found them to be about £2,780 per annum, according to the rate of the book of first-fruits. That he had also seen the particular books of the annual receipts, which grew somewhat, but not much, above; and if the then Archbishop might have £700 or £800 a year pension, he thought his successor with good husbandry might, make the rest to be £2,000.[Mr. GLADSTONE: What is the book you are quoting from?] The passage is from Strype's Life of Archbishop Grindal. The Archbishop made two petitions to Her Majesty, that she would grant him the house at Croydon, andThis he signified to his Friend the Lord Treasurer, showing him that in all resignations of Bishops, so far as he had read or heard, there had been always one house at the least, pertaining to the see, assigned to the resigner, as partly might appear by a note which he sent him, taken out of the history of Mathew Paris.The other petition was—That he might not be called to trouble after his resignation for dilapidations. From which, as he was informed by the learned in the laws, he was by law upon a resignation excused. Notwithstanding, although he did not distrust the equity of his successor, yet because he had been so much troubled with suits for dilapidations, he was fearful. And therefore prayed, that he might have some good assistance if the case should so require.It was so arranged that the House at Croydon should be given, and also freedom from dilapidations; and those conditions were recited in the deed of resignation which was prepared. The deed was not completed, because the good old Archbishop died before the arrangement could be carried into effect; but no one in those days—and they knew the law of simony just as well as lawyers did now—ever dreamt that Archbishop Grindal was open 1374 to the charge of simony. The hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir W. Heathcote) referred to the statute 26 Hen. VIII., chap. iii. Whoever looked at the 2lst, 22nd, and 23rd sections of that Act would find that in every case of resignation by a Bishop, Abbot, or Dean, it was competent to the ordinary to assign a pension to the retiring dignitary, to be paid out of the revenue of the succeeding Bishop, Abbot, or Dean, and in some particular cases the statute provided that the pension should not exceed a limited amount. That particular statute was not in the smallest degree interfered with by 31 Eliz. The Act of Elizabeth struck only at corrupt resignations and pensions, which were the result of corrupt bargains. The consequence was, that by the law, as embodied in the statute of Henry VIII., and confirmed by the statute of Anne, it was competent to give pensions upon resignations, and, but for some difficulties in the manner and form of carrying these resignations into effect, there would have been no necessity to come to Parliament at all; but inasmuch as there had been no resignation of a bishopric since the time of the Reformation, there would be a difficulty, no doubt, in understanding accurately in what form to carry the law into effect; and it had therefore been thought best to bring in the Bill now before the House. He was surprised that a right rev. Prelate in another place (the Bishop of Oxford) should not only have objected to the Bill on the ground of simony, but also, he stated, because it was a privilegium introduced for the first time, and unknown to the law of the land. Now, that objection only showed that no man should deal in those observations whose knowledge of the subject was not so complete as to render it perfectly sure he could maintain them. It was said this was a corrupt bargain on the part of the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Durham. The words of the ecclesiastical law were that resignation should be spontè simpliciter et absolutè. He contended, then, that these resignations accurately fulfilled that interpretation that everything was done in facie ecclesiæ, and that there could not be the slightest ground for imputing a corrupt bargain to those Prelates. It was said that the Bishops offered to resign upon conditions; but he could not imagine a more perverse view of the question. The letter of the Bishop of London was merely to this effect—that he was desirous of receiving 1375 a provision for old age, and if it were allowed by law he would accept it; that if the law gave it to him, or if the law would give it to him, then he desired it. Was there any corruption in a man saying he desired to do nothing more than what the law authorised or should authorise? And when hon. Members spoke of a contract by the Government, they should remember that the arrangement made by his noble Friend the First Minister of the Crown was nothing more than that, if the existing law did not meet the case, a Bill should be brought in for the purpose. He trusted his right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford would give him credit for speaking with perfect sincerity when he expressed his belief that he had laid before the House the true grounds on which a legal decision of the question could be arrived at. Sound reason and good sense would be sufficient, even if the question would not stand the test of the law; but he believed it would stand the test of law and of ecclesiastical usage. He believed that the provisions of the Bill were framed in complete conformity with what the law was upon the subject, and in complete conformity with ecclesiastical precedent and the usage of former times. The right hon. Gentleman had read somewhere that simony was bargaining. It was so; but it meant corrupt bargaining—the receiving money or other consideration—and the right hon. Gentleman had taken the naked proposition without its proper interpretation. If they altered the first clause in the way proposed, they must alter the Bill altogether, in a manner unquestionably not contemplated when leave was given to bring in a Bill to provide for the retirement of the Bishops of London and Durham.
said, he was sorry to interefere with his hon. and learned Friend, but as the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman was addressed to him he trusted the Committee would allow him to say a few words in reply. His hon. and learned Friend said he would not pronounce a syllable of censure, and though he had not pronounced censure explicitly, he had come as near to it as possible with the interpretation he had put on the words repulsi accusatores cum probris. If there were any probra in this matter to whom did they belong? He thought he should prove that they did not rest upon him. The hon. and learned Solicitor General produced a book, which, 1376 by his learning and accomplishments—and no Solicitor General ever possessed greater talents and greater accomplishments—he had been enabled to discover, and from the extracts he had read he wished the Committee to believe he had convicted his opponents of gross ignorance, because, he said, any man who gave an hour to an examination of the law of the Church must have seen that the Bill before the Committee was perfectly conformable to the law, that the objections were nought, and that the accusatores ought to be repulsed cum probris. But what would the Committee think when he assured them that the cases quoted by the Solicitor General did not touch the matter in dispute in the slightest degree. The hon. and learned Gentleman had conveyed a perfectly untrue impression as to the character of the two cases. Now, what was the point of issue between him and his hon. and learned Friend? Had he ever said that it was improper to assign maintenance to persons who resign bishoprics? Did not the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe), representing a somewhat rigid rule with regard to the retirement of Bishops, and, at any rate, not taking a too favourable view of the case—did he not say that these Bishops ought to have resigned unconditionally and thrown themselves on the generosity of Parliament? His hon. and learned Friend's indisposition must not only have prevented his hearing the debate yesterday, but of knowing what was said, for if he had read what had been said in that House he could not have fallen into the gross error which he had displayed. The point at issue was not whether it was lawful to assign pensions. Who had ever said that a Bishop, if he resigned his bishopric, ought to starve? It was perfectly plain that provision ought to be made for a Bishop who resigned his bishopric, but the question was—and had the hon. and learned Gentleman exhibited only a hundredth part of the acuteness he was known to possess he must have known it—whether they ought to have, or had they ever had, an individual bargain for the resignation of a bishopric in which an engagement to receive a pension was made the condition of resignation, and without which condition the resignation was not to take place. The hon. and learned Gentleman produced two cases from Strype's Life of Archbishop Grindal to show the folly and inutility of the proceedings of his opponents. 1377 To support the doctrine he laid down the hon. and learned Gentleman quoted the case of a Bishop of Durham, and said it was perfectly plain there was no bargain in that case, for the words were, "sentiens se annosum, valetudinarium, et infirmum, &c., Episcopatum suum Dunelmensem, obtentâ tali à Domino Papa licentiâ, resignavit." Had it been that this Bishop had said he would resign if the Pope or the Archbishop would give him a pension, the case would have been parallel; but the "resignavit" preceded the words "et datis ad hoc provisoribus." The pension was provided by the will of the Pope, and when complaint was made, not of any bargain, but that too large a provision was made to the injury of the successor in the see, that complaint was found to be groundless, and the accusers were repulsed cum probris. So much for the case of the Bishop of Durham. He did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman would return to that case; at any rate, he distinctly gave him the challenge that there was not one syllable in the recital upon the subject of bargain; and the bargain here was the whole question. The precedent quoted had no more to do with it than with the question of Magna Charta. Then there was the case of Archbishop Grindal. He had not had an opportunity of examining fully into it, but, so far as he had been able to look into that case upon the instant, and so far as his recollection served, as to the peculiar circumstances attending the resignation of Archbishop Grindal, he thought it did not make one bit more in favour of the hon. and learned Gentleman's argument than did the case of the worthy old Bishop of Durham that he had quoted. Archbishop Grindal never voluntarily resigned at all. He was particularly obnoxious to Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth considered him a very bad Archbishop of Canterbury, and so strong was her opinion, that she actually suspended him from the discharge of his duties altogether. He was not quite certain whether that suspension continued to the end of his life or not—perhaps he might have resumed the administration of the see. At any rate he continued in possession of the see; but Queen Elizabeth signified her pleasure to Archbishop Grindal that he should resign, and the signification of the pleasure of Queen Elizabeth, he need not say, was more full of meaning than anything which proceeded from him, or even anything which proceeded 1378 from his hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General. There was no doubt that the whole meaning, purport, and significance of the communication from Queen Elizabeth was that he should resign. That was the basis of the whole transaction; but did Archbishop Grindal, or did he not, write to the Minister and say he was ready to resign, or did he write and say that he was ready to resign upon the assurance that he should have a pension?—for it was admitted that it was perfectly justifiable and honourable for a Bishop to ask for maintenance during the remainder of his life, and that was the outside of what Archbishop Grindal did. In his petition he apologised for not having offered to resign before, and then he continued—These were the considerations which hitherto had stayed him from offering of this resignation of his place. But now, knowing Her Majesty's mind, he would do it with all his heart; and would prepare himself accordingly to satisfy her pleasure, hoping for her favour, which he esteemed above all worldly things; trusting yet, and humbly praying, that by his lordship's means she would permit and tolerate him to continue in place till a little after Michaelmas next, when the audit of the see was kept for the whole year; that he might see some end of his said suits, the finishing of his school, and the multitude of his poor servants provided for; meaning in the meantime, both by his officers and himself, by God's grace, to have a vigilant care for the good government and well ordering of his cure. In which time he should also be more able to make a perfect account of all things, to the satisfaction of his successor.There was nothing in his petition of a bargain for so much per annum. The Archbishop said he was ready to resign. He stipulated only for provision for his poor servants, to finish some matters in hand, and to give a more perfect account of all things.And after that time he would be most ready, with all humble thanks to Her Majesty, to resign his place unto Her Highness's disposition. Which favour he wished to obtain by the interest of him, the Lord Treasurer.Then came a passage which had been quoted, to the effect that he had two petitions; one that he should be allowed the house at Croydon, and some small grounds pertaining to the same of no great value, and that he should not be held liable to his successor for dilapidations. [An Hon. MEMBER: That is very like a bargain.] Very like a bargain! why Archbishop Grindal neither made nor attempted to make a bargain. He resigned unconditionally, and there was not a syllable in 1379 the engagement to resign that would serve the argument of his hon. and learned Friend. His hon. and learned Friend said this was not a corrupt transaction, because it was a transaction in facie ecclesicæ. Were they really to take it for granted that the law was, as laid down by the Solicitor General of Her Majesty's Government, that a transaction with regard to resignation of benefice, if done publicly, removed all taint of simony, and made it a prudent, safe, and pure transaction? He could hardly suppose that his hon. and learned Friend intended the Committee to take that for law, but, if he did, he (Mr. Gladstone) must really request him to give his authority, and show them where it was so laid down in the Ecclesiastical Law. Where was his authority for defining simony as a resignation secretly made for money; but that, if the resignation were made for money publicly and under the sanction of the constituted authority, the bargain so made was not simony? Would the hon. and learned Gentleman produce his authority for that proposition? If not, his mere dictum could not be accepted. It was certainly in total contradiction to all that he (Mr. Gladstone) had ever heard or read. What a happy invention it was on the part of the Solicitor General! His (Mr. Gladstone's) right hon. Friend (Mr. Walpole) did not consider publicity a cure for simony. Where, then, was the authority of the Solicitor General for his definition? Where was his authority to show that at any period in the history of the Church it had been permitted to make a bargain to resign a spiritual cure for money, and that that transaction was to be considered a lawful and legitimate one because it was carried on publicly? He entirely dissented from such an opinion, and held his judgment in a state of suspense with respect to the law which his hon. and learned Friend had laid down.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, it was much to be regretted that his right hon. Friend had not been brought up to the bar, so great was the legal talent he had displayed, so great were his powers of special pleading. Observe the art with which he had shifted his ground. He had denounced the Bill, but now with a dexterity that would have done honour to a pleader, he changed the question into an inquiry into a Bishop's letter. He (the Solicitor General) had read to the House the case of the Bishop of Durham, and the right hon. Gentleman had endeavoured 1380 to pervert it to his own views. Unfortunately, however, in olden times a custom prevailed—and this only showed how dangerous was "a little learning"—that when a Bishop wished to retire he made application that provisores might be appointed to make provision for him, and his resignation was always conditional upon that being done. When this Bishop of Durham desired to resign he made application for a residence to be assigned to him, and his resignation was always conditional. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Where does he stipulate? Where are the words?] "Et datis ad hoc provisoribus." What was the case with regard to Archbishop Grindal? He threw himself upon the consideration of the Queen, but he stipulated for his house at Croydon, for freedom from liability on account of dilapidations, and for a provision for his domestics. These three things were granted before he resigned. With regard to what the right hon. Gentleman had imputed to him on the subject of simony, he denied having said that an act would be less simoniacal because it was done in facie ecclesiæ. What he said was that it was evidence there was no corruption when it was done in facie ecclesiæ. He had also said that by the statute of Henry VIII. the metropolitan might have legally made these arrangements without the necessity of an Act of Parliament, but that the peculiar circumstances connected with the cases of London and Durham he considered required an Act of Parliament.
said, he was very sorry that this conflict had arisen, but, as it had, they had better fight it out. They stood there upon a footing of equality. His hon. and learned Friend complained of his (Mr. Gladstone's) art as a pleader; but surely that was not a particular in which the hon. and learned Gentleman was taken at a disadvantage. He hinted at what he (Mr. Gladstone) might have done at the bar, but the unhappy fact remained that he had never been there, and on that score the hon. and learned Solicitor General had surely no right to complain. His hon. and learned Friend had made a quotation respecting the resignation of Archbishop Grindal, but that quotation was in the third person, and they were the words of the historian and not of the Archbishop himself. In Archbishop Grindal's own document he gave his promise to resign absolutely and without the slightest reference to any condition. At a subsequent period, but before the resignation took 1381 place, the Archbishop asked for the house and manor of Croydon, but he never attempted to qualify his promise of resignation. The promise of his resignation was one thing; the asking for a residence was another thing. Now, in the Bill before the Committee, these two things were connected by an indissoluble link, but in the case of Archbishop Grindal they were separate and entirely distinct. That was the case he wished to establish. The Committee could not fail to mark the contrast between the confidence with which his hon. and learned Friend commenced this discussion—producing this volume in their faces, and saying that any man who had considered the Ecclesiastical Law for a single hour might see the whole thing, and then ending in a tone of triumph with his sic repulsi sunt accusatores cum probris—and the subdued tone with which he had made his second quotation. The hon. and learned Gentleman then hung over his book in a manner much more gingerly, and did not indulge himself in that facility and promptitude of citation which had marked his first address. He made such a jejune and faint reference to the document as a man would do who only had "a little knowledge" of his subject, or who was venturing to speak upon it without having given so much as an hour to the study of ecclesiastical history. But let the Committee simply read the document, and then would they sec who was right:—Puriflcatione Beatæ Mariæ imminente, Episcopus Dunelmensis Nicolaus, sentiens se annosum, valetudinarium, et infirmum, &c., Episcopatum suum Dunelmensem, obtentâ tali à Domino Papa licentiâ, resignavit.That was the first portion of the document. Now, his assertion was, that the recital of the resignation was a thing apart from the question of the provision made for the Bishop, precisely as, he contended, ought to be the case with regard to the provision for the Bishops of London and Durham. The document then went on to say—Et datis ad hoc provisoribus, Archiepiscopo Eboracensi et Londinensi et Wigorniensi Episcopis, assignata sunt ei tria maneria,—viz., de Hoveden cum pertinentiis, Stoctuna et Esingtuna.This constituted the whole case between him and his hon. and learned Friend, and, without troubling the Committee further, he would leave them to decide who had taken the more correct view of the subject.
said, that if "a little learning" was dangerous there was sometimes even more danger in great learning. He (Mr. Napier) contended that there could be no lawful resignation without a condition annexed, and he would test that in this way. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman be content to let the Bishop of London send his resignation to the Archbishop, and let the Archbishop assign him a third of his income? He was surprised to hear the hon. and learned Solicitor General attempt to confuse the Committee by his mystifications upon a very simple question, and he challenged the hon. and learned Gentleman to state before the Committee that there had been an unconditional resignation.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, that to say a man could not bargain to resign upon such terms as the law allowed him to do was an idea consistent neither with law nor with common sense. He repeated there had been no corrupt bargain; and the resignations had not taken place under the statute of Henry VIII., for reasons he had already stated.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 2.
§ Clause 3 (Pensions to be payable to the said Bishops).
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, he should propose, as an Amendment on the clause, to omit the words conferring the pensions.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 2, line 14, to leave out from the words "There shall be," to the word "life," in line 17.
said, he would take that opportunity of protesting against the speech of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Hadfield). The noble Viscount at the head of the Government might just as well be reproached for the thousands of pounds he had received from the public during his long and splendid career. When the hon. Member talked about the receipts of the two right rev. Prelates he should remember their public services and their munificent charities.
§ MR. HADFIELD
said, he could not understand the hon. and gallant Member's speech. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had not attempted to refute his (Mr. Hadfield's) figures; he had only told them that these two Bishops were charitable. Charitable! With whose money had they been charitable? There was one who would not take robbery for sacrifice; and for those two Gentlemen to take bread of ten thousand families fixed a stigma upon the country. 1383 He dared not express what he felt when they talked to him of the charities of men who luxuriated on such incomes, drawn from such sources, and paid them for such services.
said, he considered that these discussions were of a very painful character. The Bishops did not boast of their charity. If there had been any vaunting at all on the subject, it proceeded from men of all parties who had a warm and conscientious admiration of the liberality of those right rev. Prelates. It was most desirable that the Committee should decide on the Amendment. He did not know whether it was the intention of the hon. Member for Finsbury to name a smaller pension, but he (Mr. Gladstone) accepted the Amendment as an objection to granting any pension as a condition of resignation. There was a difference between the case of the Bishop of Durham and that of the Bishop of London. The former succeeded to his diocese under a regulated income of £8,000 a year, and it was from a defect of the law that he had received a larger sum. The Bishop of London, on the other hand, entered upon his see quite free from any stipulations or Parliamentary enactments. In estimating the pension of the Bishop of Durham, Parliament ought, therefore, to regard the annual salary of £8,000, and not make a calculation on the basis of emoluments which accidentally resulted from the faulty provisions of the Act of 1836.
said, he could willingly bear testimony to the liberality of the Bishop of Durham's charitable donations in his diocese.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he should vote against the Amendment, not wishing to withhold all pension from these Prelates. He concurred in thinking that the allowance to the Bishop of Durham should be regulated by the salary that he ought to have received, not by the amount which he had received owing to the unfortunate circumstance of the Act of Parliament being nugatory.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, he was opposed to either of these Prelates having pensions upon the conditions expressed in their correspondence with the Prime Minister.
§ MR. WIGRAM
said, he held that, irrespective of any contract between the Bishops and the Minister of the day, a Prelate who had served his country so long was entitled to an allowance of not 1384 less than one-third of the existing salary on his retirement from old age or infirmity.
§ Question put, "That the words 'paid to the said Bishop' stand part of the clause.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 105; Noes 30: Majority 75.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he would now move to omit the words "six thousand," from page 2, line 15, and insert instead the words "three thousand five hundred," as the amount of the retiring pension for the Bishop of London. He understood that by the new regulations the salary of this Bishop would be £10,000; and, therefore, one-third of that sum would form a fair retiring allowance.
§ Question put, "That the words 'six thousand' stand part of the clause."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 104; Noes 19: Majority 85.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again this day.