HC Deb 17 February 1858 vol 148 cc1553-83

Order for Second Reading read.


in moving the second reading of this Bill, expressed his regret that the question had not fallen into abler hands; but having been the Chairman of the Select Committee on Church Rates, it had been thought desirable that he should be the person to take charge of the Bill. he hoped that both parties in debating this Bill would rely entirely on facts and arguments, and would avoid everything which savoured of acrimony. If Churchmen in arguing this matter would put themselves in the position of Dissenters, and Dissenters in the position of Churchmen, both parties would be more likely to take a fair and impartial view of the differences which existed between them. The law on the subject of church rates was not understood. It was generally supposed that church rates were a tax upon property; but that was altogether a mistake. It was a tax in personam, not in rem, and the Stock-in-trade Exemption Act does not apply to it. Though it might be a common-law charge, there was no common-law mode of enforcing it. The remedy was by means of the ecclesiastical courts, the procedure of which in such cases was entirely out of the question in these days; and the penalty for non-payment was, in former days, interdict and excommunication; but now, under a modern Act, two years' imprisonment for contempt upon significavit thereof to the Chancellor. The truth is, the law is a complete anachronism. It may have been suited for a time when dissent was an offence against the law, and when there-was but one homogeneous system; but it ceased to be tolerable when religious differences ceased to be visited with direct legal penalties. In illustration he could not do better than read an extract from the evidence of John Hodgkins, a barrister, and member of the Society of Friends, before the Committee of 1851:— He commenced by supporting the common-law obligation to repair the nave of the church, but contended that this originated at a time when -the same homogeneous religious system existed. In proof that the law contemplated this uniformity, he cited the law to enforce attendance at church and communion. Thus, by the Act of Uniformity (1 Eliz. c. 2, s. 14), every person was to resort to church, on pain of Church censures, and twelve pence for every offence; and by the 23 Eliz. there is a penalty of £20 a month for continuing to neglect to do so. By the 20th canon of James I., 1603, it is provided that 'churchwardens shall diligently see that all parishioners duly resort to church;' and similarly, the 112th canon provides for presenting the names of all persons, ' as well men as women, who, being of the age of sixteen, received not the communion at Easter before.' The 5 & 6 Edw. VI. c. 1, s. 6, imposes a penalty for being present at any other form of worship; for the first offence, six months; for the second, twelvemonths; for the third, imprisonment for life. By the 13 & 14 Chas. II. c. 1, Quakers, for assembling for worship were liable, for the first offence, to £5; the second £10, and for the third to be transported to the plantations as slaves. By the 22 Chas. II., which is called the Conventicle Act, further penalties are imposed on persons attending conventicles; all which laws prove that, in those days, nonconformity was not endured in the eye of the law. Dissent was, in short, treated as a. crime as well as a sin. Thus, by the 2 Hen., IV. c. 15, it was enacted that, 'none from hence-. forth anything preach, hold, teach, or instruct openly or privily, or make or write any book contrary to the Catholic faith or determination of the Holy Church.' And, in confirmation of the same view, the following question and answer of Sir S. Lushington is highly important. He is asked:— 2357. And yet I understand you, that if the majority of a vestry choose to negative a rate they can do so by law?—Yes. 2358. There seems to me to be an incongruity in those two opinions?—You must proceed against the majority until they obey you, and as they have no other means of obeying you but by making a rate, you compel them to make a rate; you would not admonish them to make a rate, you would admonish them to repair, and if they did not repair, you would pronounce them in contempt and commit them; and then, as they must have a rate to pay for the repair eventually, it is a compulsory mode of making a rate, but that is the course. It is a very unfortunate course, but really the whole thing is fully explained if you only look at the history of church rates; when you remember that the origin of church rates was this, that the whole people of this country were Roman Catholics, and that in those days the idea of any man refusing to contribute to what was necessary for the performance of Divine Service and for upholding the fabric, was an offence in the sight of the Church which would not have endured for one hour, and the Church would instantly have pounced upon him. So it went on till the Reformation, and when the Reformation came things were a little shaken; but then came the High Commission Court, and every person who refused to repair was put into the High Commission Court. I need not tell gentlemen here assembled that Archbishop Laud was not backward in enforcing the repairs of the church or making church rates. This went on till Charles the Seconds time, when we have a series of litigation. Then in William the Third's time, when things began to assume another appearance, the litigation commenced with rather another aspect, and so we have kept on from that day to this; but it is quite evident what the principle was; the principle was, that every individual was ex-necessitate a member of the existing Church, and no man living dare disavow himself so to be. Therefore, even if the retention of the tax were desirable, some alteration as to the mode of enforcing it was absolutely necessary. There was also great difference of opinion as to the objects for which a rate could be levied, and no less than five objections might be taken in the ecclesiastical courts on this ground alone, affording, of course, endless occasions of litigation. The two cases which governed the law on this subject were known as the two Braintree cases. The first, "Burder v. Veley," raised the point whether a rate refused by the majority of the parishioners, and subsequently made by the churchwardens alone, was good or bad. This was litigated through all the courts, and the rate was held to be bad. The other case, "Gosling v. Veley," raised the point whether the churchwardens with a, minority of the parishioners could make a rate. This also was carried through the different courts, from the ecclesiastical courts to the House of Lords, and the effect of the judgment of the House of Lords was that a minority of the parishioners could not make a rate. No doubt, the churchwardens might apply any funds which happened to be in their hands, either from subscriptions, rent of lands, or any other source, to discharge the common-law duty of repairing the fabric, but they could not levy a rate without the consent of a majority. Most people were acquainted with the general features of a church-rate contest. First of all, there was the election of the churchwardens, and here, of course, the Dissenters took all pains to get a Dissenter for one of the churchwardens. If both happened to be Dissenters the case of the church rate was desperate, for, of course, conscientious Dissenters would object to moving in any way in the ecclesiastical courts; and churchwardens having no assets in hand are free from liability if they do their duty by proposing a rate. But suppose that the churchwardens were members of the church, and that a 4d. rate was made. They tried to enforce it, and the case went before a magistrate. The person who was called upon to pay, driven to-the last resort, said, "I dispute the validity of this rate." The utterance of these simple words at once took the matter out of the jurisdiction of the magistrate, and it wont next to the ecclesiastical courts. In the Consistory Court, after a long struggle, perhaps the rate was established, and then it went to the Court of Arches. In the meantime subscriptions were often raised for the payment of all expenses, and the person who resisted the rate, instead of being a victim, not unfrequently reaped a benefit in the shape of increased custom in his business. From the Court of Arches the case might go to the common law courts, and thence perhaps it would get to the House of Lords. It was not ended even then, for there was a second court of appeal; it might go back again to the Court of Arches, and finally land in the Privy Council. He believed, on the authority of Sir S. Lushington in his evidence before the Committee, that the celebrated Braintree case had more than gone through all these stages. He could not imagine that this was a state of the law which the House would wish to perpetuate. It was neither for the interest nor dignity of the Church to rely for support on the success of struggles of excited meetings (the clergyman being in the chair), where the questions debated were the cost of washing surplices, or whether eight or four bottles should be used of sacramental wine. It was after all but a poor triumph to place a poor cobbler in prison for six months because his conscience compelled him to refuse to pay homage to doctrines he repudiates. Conscientious scruples were too rare now-a-days to be treated with censure or indignity. In the race of education, it was not fair that the Dissenter should carry weight. He know that it was commonly urged that church rates were a charge upon land. That was not true in principle; and even if it were true in theory it must be taken with great qualifications, and he did not think that the system would be defended upon the pedantic ground that it was a charge upon property; for after all it should be recollected that the tax is contingent upon a vote of a majority, and is not a certainty. He had read the Return which had been moved for by the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil), with respect to the number of parishes assenting to church rates and the number that resisted them; but he thought that that Return was in some instances fallacious, because it omitted all those parishes which were not within cities or Parliamentary boroughs, and it therefore did not include the whole of the population. He had come prepared with a long list of those places in which grievances had occurred under the operation of the church-rate law, but as he did not wish to be documentary, he would not trouble the House with them. The Return showed, however, in many instances that it was the church men who had to complain, and not the Dissenters; and he had extracted from the Return a number of cases in which, in the case of district churches, there were double church rates, which was, of course, a hardship upon churchmen who were called upon to pay them. It was true that, under Lord Blandford's Act, these districts were relieved from this double rate; but the district churches did not become parish churches until after the lapse of twenty years; so that, for that time, they were subject to the double rate. According to the Return which was made in 1854, the actual amount of church rates was £314,659; the debt charged upon them was £318,200, and the receipts from other sources besides church rates in that year were £170,195. If so large a sum were raised in that way might not more be obtained without compulsory enactment? In the days of the free-trade struggle, the landed gentry often complained of the burdens upon land, and objected to the repeal of the corn laws on account of those burdens. Now, if the argument be sound that these rates are a burden on land here was an opportunity for adjusting the scale a little; let the agricultural party pair off church rates against corn-laws, and aid him in getting rid of this impost. In parishes where there were no church rates the repairs were readily defrayed by voluntary subscription. In the borough which he represented church rates had been discontinued for twenty years. He understood that one Dissenter had given £25 towards the repairs of the church, which was kept up with great beauty and splendour. The objects for which church rates were granted were very vague and ill-defined; but the Government never appeared to have taken any trouble to minimize the evil as they might have done. For example, many Dissenters would not object to a burial rate; others again would not object to re-pair the fabric of the church; and so if but a little pains had been taken by the Government, he believed that the more objectionable features of the present system might have been removed. The very thing which he now asked the House to grant had been done in Ireland in 1833 by the abolition of the vestry cess. If the vestry cess had not been abolished, the Government would have found it impossible to maintain it now; and he suggested that, as in the case of church rates, we had an unworkable law against which the Dissenters had conscientious objections, the best thing that we could do was to abolish it at once; and he trusted, for the interest both of the Church and of the public, that that course would be adopted. Last year the Government had abolished ministers' money, which was unquestionably a fixed tax upon property in eight towns in Ireland. No one ever doubted that; yet, when somebody said that property had been bought subject to the tax, the noble Lord at the head of the Government never condescended to argue the point; but, with that happy manner of his, he brushed the cobweb away as indefensible on any principle of common sense. Although the Dissenters had been promised some relief, however, last year, they had not been so successful as to obtain a renewal of it upon their recent interview with the Premier. The noble Lord played with them in that facetious manner of which he was so capable, and seemed to turn them completely round his thumb. Of course, the Dissenters were not altogether satisfied with the answer they had received. He did not think that any substitute which had yet been proposed for church rates was satisfactory. Lord Althorp's plan was to charge a land-tax, which was not likely to meet with universal approbation; and the plan of pew rents was still worse; for it deprived the working classes of their right to go to church. On the Continent the church doors were open during the whole week, and everybody was invited to go in; here they were grudgingly closed on week days, and instead of short week-day services working people were offered treble services on Sundays—the only holiday they had—and there they sat in church for two hours at a time, listening to maxims from the pulpit which were systematically falsified in private life. Our cathedrals had been opened lately for the benefit of the labouring classes, but it would take a long time to convince the working man, after he had been struggling for years with the beadle for a square foot of pavement, that the church was the joint inheritance of the rich and the poor. His advice would be, to open the churches on the week days, to give short services on those days, to open the parks and museums, as well as the churches, on Sundays, and not to convert that day on which they preached glad tidings into a dull and sombre day of melancholy. Without trespassing longer on the time of the House, he should conclude with an appeal to the good sense and generosity of the country gentlemen—to their confidence in the strength of the convictions they held—to assist him in removing this burden from the shoulders of conscientious objectors to church rates, and to show themselves not behindhand in their efforts to promote the harmony, prosperity, and the civilization of the age.


seconded the Motion, and said, that by engagement with a highly respectable portion of his constituents he was pleged to support the present Motion. He mentioned this to show that he was not actuated by any hereditary or personal hostility to any of the parties in the contest. On the contrary, from ancient habit and many other ties, his feelings were in favour of the Established Church on all points where the charge of injustice was not to be brought against her. He remembered that the Church had often proved herself the champion of liberty; and in proof of this he need not go further back than the memorable occasion when the Bishops were the leaders of the popular cause, and were the great instruments in securing to us that comparative peace and happiness which we now-enjoyed. It appeared to him that what policy required at this moment, was a measure which should put an end to the heart burnings which arose from what was in fact a very inconsiderable cause, and which it would not be difficult for statesmen who had vanquished in far greater matters to achieve. The Established Church was not so strong as to invite a contest with men as learned, as eloquent, as honest, as popular, and, perhaps, as numerous as her own body. We all knew that the doctrines of the Established Church had been declared in a season of great and general agitation, and that it was not by one hand that her rules and a: tides had been prepared. There were unmistakable evidences indeed, of great diversities of opinion and doctrines, and hence her contradictory absolutions, her not-to-be-defended-in-all details sacraments, and her purposely enigmatical creeds. All these rendered her weak, and made it policy for her friends to cease from a war which could end in no advantage to the Church. It might be thought the present Bill was a feeler to ascertain the strength of the public interest on the subject; because it made no provision to supply the pecuniary deficiency which would arise from the abolition of church rates. If he were ever called upon to supply the deficiency, he should propose that it should be made up by a land-tax; because he knew the ardour with which the landed interest would agree to this, on the ground they had so often urged to the Dissenters, that land would be bought for less in consequence.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, that if the hon. Gentleman who had proposed the second reading of the Bill would but extend half the energy he had shown in the cause to the sweeping away of the system of pew rents, he would prove himself a great benefactor to the people. Without entering into the merits of the Church of England, he would address himself simply to the question of the church rates. The law as regarded church rates, as it had been laid down by the hon. Member, simply amounted to this—that any parish had the power of deciding for itself whether it would or would not impose a church rate. There might, indeed, be theoretical powers of enforcing a parish to raise a church rate; but, practically, every one knew that those powers could not be exercised. If that were the law, where, he asked, was the grievance? Those parishes which sent up so many petitions against church rates were not compelled to subscribe one farthing if they did not please. They might, and did, refuse to contribute to the support of the fabric of the national church; then, why did they interfere with those who were willing to subscribe and say that they should no more be allowed to do so? The hon. Gentleman said that it was hard upon the minority of a parish that they should be forced to subscribe against their will; but that simply involved the question of whether the minority were to carry their views on the subject of taxation in the teeth of the majority. If that were to be admitted, it would seem to impugn the principle on which all government was founded. Many persons altogether objected to war, and, of course, as a consequence, they objected also to contribute money to be expended in war; but would it be held, therefore, because it was a grievance upon those persons, that we should enter upon no war whatever? Any person who maintained such a doctrine would be said to be insane. The objection in the case of church rates was that the majority ought not to have the power of taxing the minority. But even if nine-tenths of the parishes were to object to pay church rates, he did not see that that would be any reason why the other tenth should not be permitted to do so if they wished. But how did the fact really stand with reference to the readiness, or otherwise, of parishes to contribute church rates? When this subject was last discussed the House was under considerable disadvantage in attempting to argue it, because there were then no returns to show how many parishes were really recalcitrant on the subject. That deficiency had now been supplied. The hon. Member for Tavistock objected that the Re- turns were in some respects fallacious, because they did not include parishes which were not within cities or Parliamentary boroughs; but if the hon. Member looked at the document he would see that it contained an abstract of a return of the names of "all parishes in England and Wales" in which church rates had been refused. so far, therefore, from being confined to parishes within cities and boroughs, it included every parish in the kingdom. He would read to the House the results which he had deduced from that return. In the first place he should observe that the questions had been addressed to the churchwardens, and as they were fallible men—very fallible—it had been found difficult in some cases to extract any meaning from their answers. There were other places in which it had not been necessary to levy a church rate within the last fifteen years; and there were other parishes in which, either from their being newly formed, or from immemorial custom, no church rate had been leviable. 541 parishes must be eliminated from the return as falling under one or other of these heads; 188 parishes in which the repairs of the church were fully provided for from other sources must also be eliminated from the return. There still remained in England 7,327 parishes included in the return, in which the question of church rates had been mooted within the last fifteen years. Of those 6,970 had adhered to church rates, and 357 had resisted them. In other words, more than 95 per cent had paid, and not quite 5 per cent had refused to pay them. That was the state of things in England. In Wales the case was not quite so favourable. In thirty-eight parishes the question had not arisen, and in four there was other provision. Of the remaining 540, 457 had paid, and eighty-three had resisted; the proportion being 17 per cent resisting and 83 per cent paying. In the seven purely agricultural counties of Sussex, Wilts, Somerset, Devon, Hereford, Salop, and Cumberland the number of parishes in which the question had arisen was 1,553, of which 1,501 had paid and thirty-two had resisted; or, in other words, a trifle more than 2 per cent out of the whole number had resisted. In discussion upon this question it was frequently said "that is as far as the disaffection has gone at present, but it is spreading every day." Instead of that being the case, however, he believed that the result of the Return was to show that in all places where the Church of England had held her sway for a lengthened period church rates had not been resisted; while in Wales, where a different language was spoken, and in thickly populated towns, where there had been a sudden congestion of population which her means, and, he was sorry to add, in some cases her energies, had not been able to meet, church rates had been refused. These places were so distinctly marked that you could place your hand upon them without difficulty; you could draw a cordon sanitaire round the localities, and indicate exactly the limits beyond which the church rate fever had not extended. His belief was, therefore, that if they would let things remain as they were, and would not object to a law merely because it was an anomaly—when our constitution was full of anomalies—the disease would not spread further than it had already gone; those parishes which had freed themselves from church rates would remain free, and those which had paid would continue to pay. The hon. Member for Tavistock had suggested that there was something mean in endeavouring to support the church by compulsory rates, and that it should be left to voluntary efforts. The Return before the House, however, showed that in many places where the rates had been refused the voluntary system had been tried, and that it had broken down altogether. In the matter of education even the voluntary system had failed. The hon. Member had truly said, with reference to pew rents, that they kept working-men out of the church, and prevented it becoming a really national church; but if church rates were abandoned they would be obliged to have recourse to pew rents, and then the preaching of the Gospel would be reduced to a mere commercial matter. He contended that the Church had a claim upon the people from the mere fact of it having been established for ten centuries, and from it being held so fast as it was within the rigours and fetters of the law. People called upon her to do as the Dissenters did, and to adopt the voluntary system; but they forget that she had been in action for many years, that the whole of the voluntary system as applied to her was out of gear, that it had rusted from disuse, and that there were many advantages possessed by other sects which were not possessed by her, and which rendered it very little likely that she could raise £350,000 a year by the voluntary system. The Established Church laboured under many disadvantages which did not attach to the other religious communions in this country, one of which disadvantages was, that to a great extent she did not appoint her own clergy or bishops. He was not prepared to impugn the arrangement as to their appointment, but the result was a cramping of the voluntary action of her members unknown among the other religious communions. It would therefore be very hard to make the Established Church depend upon voluntary contributions for the maintenance of her edifices. He opposed the Bill because, without any adequate cause, it would disarrange an ancient institution and would be the first blow against the union of Church and State. The severance of that tie would lead to great social demoralization. For the sake, then, of the clergy, the laity, and above all the State, he hoped the House would reject the Bill. The noble Lord concluded by moving that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."


avowed that, although he did not approve all the details of the Bill, yet oven if there were no other means of getting rid of the animosities excited against the Established Church by the collection of church rates, than by abolishing them without compensation, he should feel bound to support the measure as it stood. It would extinguish a great nuisance, and at the same time confer a great been on the Church, for church rates were a great obstacle to her advancement. It was a mistake to suppose that the bitterest enemies of the Church were those most opposed to church rates. He remembered having had, not very long since, a conversation with a wealthy Dissenter, who was a very bitter enemy of the Church, in the course of which he said that his ambition was to confiscate the whole of the property of the Church, and divide it among the different sects, graciously adding that he would consent to a portion of the robbed property being given back to the Church. He however said—"I am not at all in favour of abolishing church rates. No, no. They give the Dissenters, who are hostile to the Church, a good handle against her. That's a raw place which we like to rub." He should be very sorry to attribute those sentiments to all Dissenters, because he knew that many of them were actuated by a very different feeling, and at this moment contributed largely and generously to the sustenance of the fabric of the Church. There was in the city of Bristol a Dissenter, whose noble munificence to the Church surpassed that of many of the wealthy churchmen in that neighbourhood. He did not wish to sec church rates entirely abolished without some provision being made by the State towards supporting the fabric of the Church, and therefore suggested that an arrangement resembling that with regard to national education should be made, by which means one-third of the funds necessary for the maintenance of that fabric might be supplied by the State, and two-thirds by the voluntary contributions of the people residing in the district in which the expenditure was needed. He thought the question one on which the churchmen and Dissenters might meet halfway; and he trusted they would unite in bridging over the way for a full and perfect reconciliation.


said, that there was nothing he more heartily desired than to approach this question in the spirit of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, believing that it was a question which they ought to discuss in such a spirit of charity and forbearance as would best exemplify the principles of Him who was the Great Teacher of our common religion. He did not know a greater argument in favour of the abolition of church rates that the fact that the subject had created the greatest bitterness towards the Church itself. No one subject had produced more dissatisfaction, or had generated such bad feeling, as this horrible question of church rates. He thought that the man who exhibited the greatest desire for the advancement of the Christian religion was he who laid aside every point of sectarian feeling, and who cogitated upon that which would best conduce to its welfare and general advancement. he believed this to be one of the sources from which had emanated such hitter feeling and hostility towards the Church, and he, therefore, was heartily desirous to relieve the country generally from the obnoxious payment of church rates. He should have supposed, if any valid objections could be brought against the measure of the hon. Baronet, they would have been urged by the noble Lord who moved the Amendment. The noble Lord had had this question for a long period before him, and had, of course, prepared himself with all the objections that could be made against it. He had noted these objections, and would endeavour to reply to them. The noble Lord first of all argued that the minority ought to be bound by the majority, and as the great majority were in favour of the maintenance of church rates, the minority ought to rest contented and be satisfied with their decision. The noble Lord, by way of illustration, said it should be recollected that there were certain persons then opposed to war, and who might, therefore, object to contribute to the cost of it. In his (Mr. Ball's) opinion, if any regard be paid to the opinions of small parties the House should receive their objections, and not insist upon their contributing to the cost of the war against which they had conscientious objections. Let them consider the different position of the small minority who objected to the cost of war from that of the multitude of those who objected to the principle of church rates. The whole nation might be benefited by a war, whereas the Dissenters derived no benefit whatever from the ministrations of a Church, whose fabrics, nevertheless, they were compelled to keep in repair. One would suppose from the manner in which the noble Lord addressed the House, that the Dissenters wore a small part of the community—that they were few indeed when compared with the masses of the country—that they were a class of people who took little interest in the education of the masses, and in the conveyance of knowledge generally to the population. When the noble Lord illustrated his argument by comparing the case of the Dissenters to that of the small class who objected to war, he had evidently forgotten that there was between churchmen and Dissenters a very small and narrow space—that the Dissenter treads very nearly on the heels of the churchman, and that the two communities were, after all, very equally divided. The Dissenters had the same common interests as the churchmen; there was no bitterness felt by the former towards the latter, they only wished to unite with them in charging their common enemy. According to the last census, it appeared that the accommodation in places of worship was as follows:—There were 14,077 places of worship belonging to the Establishment, and the sittings inside 5,317,915. The number of dissenting places of worship was 20,300, being 5,000 more than those of the Established Church. The accommodation afforded inside was to the extent of 4,894,648, so that they were able to accommodate nearly 5,000,000 of people inside. These figures did not include the Roman Catholic places of worship: and if you added them to those of the Dissenters, the accommodation afforded by the Church was not greater, and probably not so great as those afforded by the other religious communities. The noble Lord made another objection: he said, there were very few parishes that had objected to the payment of the rates, and those few were so small, compared with those who concurred in them, that they did not deserve the attention of the House. Now that, he (Mr. Ball) considered an unfair argument. Did the noble Lord know that there were many parishes in which the Dissenters merely assented to the principle from an unwillingness to excite any religions strife or animosity amongst their neighbours? His own parish was an illustration of that fact. More than twenty years ago a parochial meeting was held there to get rid of those church rates. He attended that meeting, with a body of other Dissenters, and said that he could not lend his influence in any way that would be likely to produce a hostile feeling in the parish, and that he would willingly pay the rate so long as the law recognized it, in order to promote good will and kindly feeling amongst all classes. The mass of Dissenters in the parish shared with him in that feeling, and hence there was no agitation in that parish against church rates. Was it, then, becoming the noble Lord, because they wanted to promote kindly feeling amongst their neighbours, to make their non-resistance to the principle an argument for continuing the impost? That, he (Mr. Ball) considered, was a most unfair return for their patience. He was surprised that any one who put himself forward to move an Amendment to the proposition of the hon. Baronet should show such poverty of argument to support his views. The reasons urged by the noble Lord against the abolition of church rates rather tended to confirm him (Mr. Ball) in the propriety of getting rid of them, in order to secure "the general harmony and the common welfare of our common country. The noble Lord said that if church rates were abolished the Church would be unable to raise by means of voluntary contributions the £350,000 that would be necessary to maintain the fabrics in repair. Surely, when they considered that the Church of England was the representative of the great wealth of the country, and of almost the whole of the aristocracy, it could never be supposed that they would be unable to raise £350,000, or even ten times that amount if necessary, for the support of her edifices. He for one did not believe such an assertion, and he thought that the members of the Church generally would repudiate it. At any rate, a wealthy Church ought not to call upon the Dissenters who, generally speaking, are a much poorer class, to support the fabrics of the Church of England. In the parishes where the church rates were already abolished there was no difficulty in providing the necessary means for the repair of the church from voluntary contributions. The Dissenters themselves came willingly forward with their subscriptions. That class of people said that they did not wish the churches to be destroyed, but, on the contrary, they wished to preserve them as monuments of our forefathers' piety, within which they desired to worship if the system therein observed could only harmonise with their principles. If he were even a sound churchman he would be equally anxious to get rid of church rates, which he looked upon as the cause of much animosity and heartburning amongst Christian communities. He had now disposed of all the arguments of the noble Lord against the Bill, and they certainly were so very weak that he regretted he had not been afforded the pleasure of disposing of more of such feeble material. In conclusion, he sincerely hoped that Churchmen and Dissenters would cordially unite, in the spirit of their Great Master, in putting an end to church rates, which were a great injustice and a source of the bitterest animosity between large masses of the population.


said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had talked of those who were attached to ecclesiastical establishments uniting with those who were in favour of the voluntary system; but how was it possible for men, influenced by two such antagonistic principles, to unite? They must have either the one or the other. An attempt to combine them would be like trying to make a good fire by heaping on it logs of ice. the hon. Gentleman behind him (Sir A. Elton) said he would very gladly support the second reading of the Bill, because, although he did not entirely approve it, it was in such a shape as to permit of its being amended in Committee to his taste; but, unfortunately, there was no room for amendment in Committee. The Bill consisted simply of one little clause of a line and a half, which simply said that church rates should be abolished. [Sir J. TRELAWNY: No, no; read the Bill.] He would read it. First, there was Clause 1, which was in these words: "From and after the passing of this Act, no church rate shall be made or levied in any parish in England or Wales." [Sir J. TRELAWNY: Go on!] Go on! Why, the second clause had nothing at all to do with the matter. It merely provided that where church rates had been already mortgaged, the mortgagees should not be cheated,—that was all. The House should remember that this was the only rate levied in this country to which people were permitted to make any objection. With respect to poor rates, lighting rates, paving rates, police rates, gaol rates, lunatic asylum rates, the ratepayers had nothing to do but pay them. They had no choice in the matter. If the magistrates, or others charged with making these rates, did not make them, they could be compelled to do so. That was the way in which every other rate in the country was levied; and it was incumbent on those who opposed church rates to show in what way the church rate differed from every other. He supposed they would tell him that the decision of the House of Lords, in the Braintree case, determined that they were different. He did not believe that the history of England could produce a decision more scandalous, more contrary to all law and equity, than the decision in that case. That case, he regretted to say, would accomplish the ruin of the Established Church. It would have been somewhat more manly in the opponents of the Church to bring forward a proposition to do away with her at once—to remove at once the Bishops from the House of Lords, and to get rid of tithes and all the rest of things belonging to her, instead of coming in this petty-larcenous, sneaking way to work her ruin. Talk about conscience in the matter! Conscience indeed! If we had an Established Church at all, we must support the buildings as national property, exactly upon the same ground as we support the Houses of Parliament, the Royal Palaces, the British Museum, and all other similar buildings. If we withdrew national support from these buildings, why, then we might talk of bringing in the voluntary principle with regard to the Church. Every country in the world that had an Established Church gave national support to the fabric thereof. How inconsistent it was in those Gentlemen who professed to encourage, and even to have created, a love of the fine arts among the population of this country, to give their support to this Bill, which would cause the destruction of those magnificent architectural edifices for which England was pre-eminently distinguished. The arguments of the supporters of this Bill would tell as much against the monarchy as against church rates. By and by we should hear of hon. Gentlemen getting up in that House to relieve "a conscientious minority" from the burden of supporting the Throne, and the other institutions of the country. All these "conscientious objections" were always connected with the pocket some how or other. You never heard anything about them except when there was something tangible—quelque chose de positif—something more than a mere principle or a theory, but which the objectors tried to keep in the background. The Bill tended to destroy the Church of England, and on that ground he opposed it.


said, the hon. Member who spoke last maintained an argument which, whatever might be its abstract value, appeared to him somewhat unfortunate in relation to the present condition of the Church of England. He said that the principle of an Established Church and the voluntary principle were utterly incompatible with, and opposed to, one another. Now, he had always heard from the warmest friends of the Established Church that whatever might have been the case in former days, in their day, in order to carry out those plans of Church extension, which he knew no man desired more to carry out than his noble Friend who moved the Amendment, they must rely exclusively upon that voluntary principle which was now so loudly condemned. Now, as that principle had certainly not failed with regard to the extension of the Church, especially in the Colonies, he (Lord Stanley) believed it would prove equally efficacious with regard to the maintenance of the Church fabric at home. Well, then, his noble Friend who moved the Amendment (Lord R, Cecil) asked what, since the decision in the Braintree case, was the hardship of church rates? Now, he would not go out of his way to defend the Judges of the land, and inquire, as had been done, whether that was an iniquitous decision or not. He took the decision as an established fact. But his noble Friend asked how, since that decision, there could be any grievance to men's consciences, seeing that it was only a local question between the majority and the minority in each place. He thought his noble Friend was inclined to push the rights of a majority further than they had ever been pushed before by the most strenuous advocates of popular opinions. He never before heard it laid down so broadly that a majority could do no wrong. The arguments of the noble Lord undoubtedly applied where the majority was to tax the whole for purposes which were calculated for the benefit of the whole; but that was altogether inapplicable to church rates, which were levied on the whole for the benefit only of a portion of the population. When an hon. Member charged with inconsistency those who were opposed to church rates, but who supported a rate for educational purposes, his answer was, that, with regard to the benefits of elementary instruction, they believed that no difference of opinion would exist; but with regard to modes and forms of worship, unhappily, a very wide difference of opinion existed. That was the distinction between the two cases,—and it was a distinction which seemed to him impossible to overlook. Then his noble Friend descanted on the difficulty of obtaining money for religious and charitable purposes. He asked, did they suppose it possible that they could obtain £350,000 from private subscriptions? Now, he thought that in that argument of his noble Friend there was a little confusion of language. If he meant that it was impossible to obtain for the services of the Church, or for any purpose whatever, an additional sum of £350,000, besides what was now levied, he quite agreed with him; but there was no question of that kind. The question was, whether a sum of £350,000, being levied under some real or supposed sanction of law at present, the same sum would be equally contributed when it was left optional to each man whether he contributed or not. But it was not so much for the purpose of replying to these arguments of his noble Friend that he had risen, as to notice one or two facts in this case which had not been dwelt upon. His noble Friend cited a Return, and drew a contrast between the large number of parishes in which a rate had not been refused, and the very small number in which a rate had been refused. But there was one element in that calculation which he did not take into account. His Return included only the parishes in which rates had been refused. Now, a refusal must he preceded by a demand, and his noble Friend passed over the large and yearly increasing number of parishes in which no rate was asked, because it was known that it would not be granted or because a wish existed to preserve peace,—and in which, consequently, the rate could not he refused. That simple fact did away, in his mind, with the effect of his noble Friend's calculation, He was not aware that they had an accurate statement of the sums raised by church rates now, in comparison with former years; but one that he had seen might, he believed, be relied on. They all knew that in the last twenty-five or thirty years the wealth of the country had greatly increased, and that even proportionally to that increase of wealth, the zeal and liberality of the people in regard to church building and church repairs was far greater in the present than it was in the last generation. He supposed it was a fact which would not be disputed, that the sum now laid out for ecclesiastical purposes every year was far greater than it was twenty or thirty years ago. But what was the amount obtained from church rates as compared with what was obtained thirty years ago? One statement that he had seen, made the proportion now, to what it was in 1837, as three to five; and another statement, showing what it was in 1832, as compared with 1857, made the proportion two in 1857, to three in 1832. So that, coincidently with a large increase in the total sum laid out for ecclesiastical purposes, there had been a large decrease in the sum obtained from church rates. Surely the inference was obvious—that the reliance on church rates had been continually decreasing, and that they were tending more and more every day in the direction of that voluntary system which the hon. Member (Mr. Drummond) said was incompatible with the existence of an established Church. But there were parts of this case which were not to be found in Parliamentary Returns. There was a large number, of parishes in which were levied what were called voluntary rates; rates, that was to say, collected by the ordinary machinery, but on the understanding that no steps were to be taken to enforce payment if it were refused. He spoke within the knowledge of many hon. Members when he said that these optional church rates—which in reality were subscriptions, and nothing else—were very numerous, and were collected in many parishes which were included in the Parliamentary return as parishes in which church rates had not been refused. He need not say that a rate levied on such an understanding as this would be invalid in a court of law. But even where rates were regularly collected, he had heard lawyers of eminence say, that if they could analyse every church rate they would find a clear majority illegal, on account of the items they contained—items which, in many instances, had nothing to do with church repairs or the carrying on of public worship. Well, then, taking those four classes of parishes—first, that class, which was not very numerous, in which church rates had been refused; secondly, that larger class in which no rate had been refused, simply because it had never been asked for; thirdly, that class in which rates had been levied upon a voluntary understanding that no one would be compelled to pay them; and, fourthly, that class of parishes in which rates were levied and paid without dispute with the full knowledge of their illegality, which rates, therefore, became nothing more than a voluntary contribution; and, putting them together, there would be found a very large proportion of parishes, both agricultural and urban, in which, either openly or covertly, the voluntary system had been introduced. And it must be borne in mind that these parishes were generally the most populous and important, while it was in the smallest that rates were collected by compulsory means. Well, then, he might, perhaps, be told that, if that were the case—if year by year the voluntary system was becoming more and more substituted for the system of rates, there was no present grievance, and he might be asked what need at present was there for legislation? He would not dwell upon the question of the expense incurred by litigation, because upon that subject there could be hut one opinion; but this he could say, that he believed that it was an acknowledged fact that within the last few years the animosity which had formerly existed between the great body of Nonconformists and the Established Church had greatly subsided; and that being the case, surely the policy of the Established Church ought to be a policy of conciliation. Now, what was the practice at present? Why, in any parish where Nonconformists were weak or were amicably disposed, a tax was put upon them; whereas, wherever they were strong or hostilely disposed they escaped that impost. Now, he did not hesitate to say, as a matter of policy, that such a proceeding could not tend to strengthen the Established Church. With regard to the position of the clergy, he himself had often heard from persons practically conversant with the subject, that when attempts had been made by clergymen to dispense with a rate and to rely upon the voluntary system, they had been met with the reply—"Why do you come and ask us for a subscription when you have the legal means of obtaining what you want?" So that the power of levying the rate was made the excuse for refusing a subscription. He would for a moment glance at the various attempts which had been made to effect a compromise upon this subject. Some years back a proposition had been very fully discussed in that House, which was, that all persons who did not belong to the Established Church should be exempt from paying rates. Now, he confessed that that proposal did not appear to him to be unreasonable or unfair; he had given it, at the time, his best support; but it was objected to by Gentlemen on both sides of the House because it was said it would have the effect of drawing a social line of demarcation between members of different religious bodies, and on that ground mainly it was thrown out. Another proposition had been, that a rate should be levied for the maintenance of the fabric of the Church alone, and that no part of it should go toward defraying the expense of carrying on the ordinary worship. That plan had satisfied no one. It rested on an assumption historically untrue—namely, that the Church was, as regarded these buildings, in the position of a tenant, and the State in that of a landlord: a theory for which there was no foundation, and which if admitted would fail to make out the case desired, since a tenant paying no rent would be at least bound to keep the buildings which he occupied in repair. And, practically, such a compromise could not prevent dispute in any place where it now arose. A third proposal had been made by no less distinguished a person than the Primate of England for the settlement of the controversy, and that proposal went the full length of abolishing church rates; but it was accompanied by a somewhat curious provision, which was, that in every parish where church rates were abolished there must have previously been a certain amount of agitation, indicated by a refusal of the rate. Now, to the principle of that Bill he agreed, but he certainly objected to the provision that there was to he no abolition of the rates without that preliminary step. He confessed that it appeared to him that none of those proposals for a compromise met with the approbation of the House, for one by one they had been discussed, and one by one rejected. The present state of the law stood equally condemned. He was quite sure that there was no class of persons who were more eager for an alteration of the present law than a large number of the country clergy; and that being the case, the present law being intenable, and all attempts at compromise having been unsuccessful, he felt that he had no other option than to support the Bill.


said, that he felt considerable difficulty in approaching the consideration of the subject, because while upon the one hand he could not agree with his hon. Friend who had moved the Second Reading of the Bill (Sir J. Trelawny) in the opinion that church rates should be totally abolished, on the other hand he was by no means satisfied with the arguments which had been used by the noble Lord who proposed the Amendment (Lord R. Cecil) in order to induce the House to reject the Bill. Perhaps the House would remember that two years ago, when Sir William Clay was a Member of that House, he proposed a similar Bill to that before the House for the abolition of church rates, and that he (Sir George Grey) had supported the Second Reading of the Bill, at the same time pledging himself to propose certain Amendments in Committee, which would convert the Bill into one, not for the total, but for the partial abolition of church rates. Subsequent consideration had confirmed him in the propriety of the view which he had then taken, and he had been strengthened in his opinion that the course which he then recommended was the correct one to adopt by a careful analysis of the returns which had since that period been presented to the House. Although the returns were not very clear, yet be believed that the result which they disclosed was that out of all the parishes included in the returns, speaking in round numbers, about 90 per cent paid church rates, and 10 per cent did not pay them, either because they refused to do so, or because they had not been asked. There was, however, one important consideration which had not as yet been adverted to, and that was that it was not the number only of those parishes which had refused to pay church rates, or which had not been asked to do so, which was to be looked to, but it was also the amount of the population of those parishes. This appeared to him to be of great importance. If a comparison were made between the population of those parishes where the church rates were paid, which in number amounted to 90 per cent of the whole, and the population of those parishes where a rate had been refused or not asked for, it would be found that the population of the latter amounted to about 6,000,000, out of 13,500,000 the aggregate population, or about 40 per cent of the whole population. It was easy also to see how differently the present law operated in country parishes and in town parishes. If any hon. Gentleman would look to the returns of those parishes which had refused to levy church rates, and would stop at almost every large city or town, such as Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Blackburn, and others of the same size, he would perceive that almost all those places had refused a rate; while, on the other hand, in the great majority of country parishes, where Dissenters perhaps were not so numerous, church rates were made and levied without opposition. Well, then, that being the case, be thought that it would be acting in an unfair manner to the Established Church to say that because cities and large towns had practically abolished church rates therefore none should be levied in the country. To prevent the vestries of any parish levying a rate, however willing and desirous they might be of doing so, and however willing and desirous the ratepayers might be that such a rate should be levied, would be unjust and arbitrary. He thought, therefore, that Parliament should not interfere to prevent the rate being made in those parishes in which there was a desire that it should be made and applied to the maintenance of the fabric of the church. He could not agree with the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) in thinking that a church rate stood upon the same footing as those other rates which he had enumerated. The hon. Gentleman had himself said that in regard to those other rates there existed a power in some authority or another to require that they should be levied, but it was that very fact which constituted the difference between those rates and church rates; because they had the authoritative decision of the highest court of judicature in the land in the case to which the hon. Gentleman had referred—and he felt disposed to speak of that decision with more respect than the hon. Gentleman had done—that the imposition of church rates was a voluntary act—that the majority of the vestry might impose them or not as they thought fit. That there was a common law obligation to impose them was true, but there were no means of enforcing the fulfilment of that obligation. A majority of the vestry might, therefore, practically refuse to make a rate, and if they did so it could not be imposed. There existed no legal power by which a vestry could be compelled to make a rate; and that being the existing state of the law, it was perfectly competent to any vestry to exercise the power of refusing to impose a rate. The noble Lord who had just sat down (Lord Stanley) had certainly not held out much encouragement to a compromise; and he agreed with the noble Lord that it was a difficult task to propose a compromise; but, taking into consideration the present state of the law, and believing that the total abolition of church rates would be an arbitrary and unjust act as regarded the Established Church, he had suggested in 1856 a course which he still thought it might be desirable to adopt. The noble Lord had stated that he believed a great portion of the clergy were anxious for an alteration of the existing law, and in that opinion he quite agreed with the noble Lord, but they were not anxious for the total abolition of the rate. He, as well as some of his Colleagues, had received innumerable suggestions from gentlemen in different parts of the country, complaining of the existing state of the law, and suggesting amendments of it, but there was one radical defect in those suggestions—namely, that they all contemplated a modified system of church rates throughout the whole country. Now, it was necessary to recognize as an accomplished fact the abolition of church rates, where, practically speaking they had been abolished, and any attempt to revive them in those places where by common con-Bent they had been done away with, and other means substituted for maintaining the fabric of the church, would only revive dissensions that had ceased, and would be attended with most mischievous results. In those large cities and towns other means had been substituted for defraying the expenses which were formerly provided for by church rates; so that there, practically, church rates were not required. Church rates, again, only applied to the parish church. Now, in most of those large towns where the population had greatly increased district churches had sprung up in large numbers, and, there being no power to enable them to participate in any church rate, provision had been made by voluntary contribution as a substitute, and he believed that those objects for which the rate was applicable in a parish church had been as well provided for in the district churches by other means. In large towns it was easy to raise money from a congregation by voluntary contribution, aided by what might arise from pew rents or endowments. At the same time, to maintain the fabric of the church it required greater means than could, perhaps, voluntarily be raised in many country parishes. What he had ventured to suggest in 1856, and what he would suggest again now, was that the House, in legislating upon the subject, should recognize the abolition of church rates in those parishes where practically they were already abolished, but that they should not deprive the vestries of other parishes of the power of making a rate where they were willing to do so; but at the same time, with a view of relieving the consciences of individuals, that no one who differed from the Established Church should, upon making a declaration to that effect, be compelled to pay the rate. He further proposed that, towards raising a fund for purposes to which church rates are applicable, power should be given to the churchwardens or to the vestry, subject to the approval of the ordinary, to place a rent upon a certain proportion of the sittings. ["No, no!"] He knew that a great objection was felt by some persons to pew rents; but, by the law as it at present stood, in a large number of churches throughout the country pew rents were levied, and he did not think that it would be objectionable to give such a power generally to a limited extent, and subject to the control which he had proposed. He also proposed that power should be given to landowners to create a rent charge on their estates for the same purposes to a limited amount. Those were the heads of compromise which he had suggested in 1856; and as Sir William Clay had expressed himself satisfied with them, and would have agreed to his Amendments in Committee, he had supported the second reading of the Bill introduced by that hon. Baronet, with the intention of moving those Amendments in Committee. The hon. Member for West Surrey on that occasion objected to the course taken, and said that those Amendments would so entirely alter the character of the Bill that, instead of being proposed as Amendments, it would be better to propose them in a distinct Bill. Now, he admitted the force of that observation, and as he had not received the same assurance from the hon. Baronet which he did receive from Sir William Clay, he should be disposed to vote against the present Bill, and if it were rejected he would be prepared to introduce a Bill founded upon the suggestions which he had made in 1856.


said, that after having attended carefully to the discussion, he had observed that no two persons who had spoken had viewed the question from the same aspect, and that those who supported the measure were those who had brought forward the strongest arguments against it, while it had been most ably supported by its opponents. This question seemed to him most nearly to carry out the fable of the gold and silver shield, so very different were the aspects in which it might be regarded. On the one side was the prescription of ancient law, and the amount of 95 per cent in number of the parishes; on the other, the fact that church rates were virtually extinct in most of the large centres of population, and that in about 6,000,000 of population in twelve parishes they were no longer levied, against 7,000,000 in which they were. During the first part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had last sat down he thought that he should be able to agree with him better than with any one else who had spoken, but then at the end of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman came the sting—namely, his recognition of that objectionable principle which he had thought all would have agreed in looking upon as irreconcilable with the first principle of Christianity, which made the church the church of the poor man—he meant the imposition of pew-rents. They had heard that without legislation the system of compulsory church rates was in effect gradually being superseded by that of voluntary contributions. Well, then, if that were so, why not let the question settle itself? Why attempt to legislate at all, and thus subject the country to periodical agitation? Above all things he hoped that the Church would not degrade itself by accepting the compromise offered in the shape of a fabric-rate. He could not conceive how Churchmen could so far forget their principles as to ask Dissenters to pay a rate for the support of a building whose value consisted in its being a place of specific worship—on the score merely of its being a fabric, a quality it had in common with the Marble Arch or any other structure. This plan was hinted at by his hon. Friend the Member for Bath, and strongly enforced by the hon. Member for Surrey, and he was therefore compelled to protest against it. If it were adopted it would result in all earnestness and liberty of faith falling under the yoke of the State, which would crush those edifices, lend them out to the denomination it favoured, and oppress those it disliked, by refusing their use. Such was now the state of matters in various parts of the Continent, and we were bound to take warning by the example.


said, he had been a churchwarden, and could speak to the unpleasant duty cast upon churchwardens of having to seize the goods of dissenters for church rates. He believed that the abolition of this twopenny halfpenny rate would establish the Church of England on a foundation on which she had not stood for a hundred years. He cordially supported the Motion.


Seeing the natural impatience of the House to come to a division upon this subject, I only rise for a very few minutes in order to make one remark upon this question. The suggestion of my right hon. Friend (Sir G. Grey) is not a mere compromise of an ordinary nature, endeavouring to cut off a certain portion of the extreme, and to attempt to satisfy a portion of the community, but it would, I believe, bring about a practical solution of the question. As my right hon. Friend has explained to the House, there are two classes of parishes to deal with, and the circumstances of those two classes are entirely different. In large town parishes no church rates have been imposed for a number of years, a fund has been substituted to supply the place of church rates, and those parishes have practically acquiesced in the abolition of the rates. To attempt to force upon those parishes a revival of the system of church rates would be to revive strife and to create disturbance; and therefore what my right hon. Friend proposes is, with regard to that class of parishes where the question is practically settled, to recognize the practice which exists, and to say that where church rates have not been levied for a certain number of years there shall be no power to impose them in future. Then there is another large class of parishes in which church rates are regularly paid, in which there is no desire to abolish them, and in which there is no facility for acquiring means for maintaining the fabric of the Church in the event of the abolition of church rates. My right hon. Friend proposes that the power of these parishes to make church rates should not be taken away. But, then, this objection arises, that even in these parishes discord may occur from a minority of Dissenters going into the vestry and opposing the making of a rate. The objection entertained to church rates, be it observed, is a conscientious, not an economical objection; and therefore a provision will be introduced allowing any person who has a conscientious objection to the payment of them, upon a declaration that he is not a member of the Established Church, to have his name expunged from the rate, and to be exempted from the impost. Now, it is remarkable that those on whom the burden of church rates really fails, the class of landlords—because in effect the church rate is a reduction in rent—are persons who are willing to continue the present system in the rural parishes. If Parliament were to abolish church rates by a compulsory process, the gain would accrue, not to the ratepayer, but to the landlord, on whom the burden ultimately falls, it being in fact a deduction from the rent, which is a matter of agreement between the landlord and tenant. The persons on whom the tax really falls do not, however, object to its continuance; the objection proceeds from those who oppose it on conscientious grounds, and the plan proposed by my right hon. Friend would entirely obviate that class of objections. Therefore I think the House will see, on looking into the question, that this is not a more compromise, but is, in fact, a practical solution of all existing difficulties.


said, he had come down to the House with the intention of giving his support to the Bill of the hon. Baronet, and should have done so had not the Government pledged itself to bring forward a measure of its own upon the subject. That measure, as explained by the Home Secre- tary, was, in his opinion, infinitely preferable to the one before the House, inasmuch as it would at once meet all conscientious objections, and at the same time provide a fund for the maintenance of the fabric of the Church.


I shall occupy the attention of the House for but a very few moments, with one or two observations in reply. I must say it appears to me, from the course taken by her Majesty's Ministers in reference to this obnoxious tax, that they seem as if (to use a familiar illustration) they wore dancing the tight rope between opposite difficulties. Their proposal is, in fact, nothing more than a temporary stop-gap, and is equally unwise and unstatesmanlike. Why, they would act with infinitely more judgment if they brought in a Bill simply to define what are the objects of a church rate. That of itself would be sufficient to get rid of a considerable portion of the grievances at present complained of. With regard to the observations of the hon. Member for West Surrey, that it is no grievance for a minority to be compelled to pay a rate made by a majority, if the hon. Gentleman really thinks so, why does he not, being in a minority, bow to the decision of the House of Lords? The hon. Gentleman is the great Anarch. He said that the decision of the House of Lords was "scandalous." I can only say that I feel scandalized by that remark of the hon. Gentleman. Now I beg to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman opposite to two returns which I hold in my hands relating to the parishes of Streatham in Surrey, and Sydenham in Kent, and in which there are many items of expenditure charged to the church rate which I am confident cannot be supported in the Ecclesiastical Courts. The truth is, that in these cases the estimates are always made by a tyrannical majority; and when they do not know what else to put a charge upon, they put it upon the church rate; otherwise, how are we to account for such items as a ratcatcher's bill, and a bill for killing foxes, being paid out of a church rate? Yes, in one case I find a bill for killing foxes. Now the killing of foxes is bad enough, but to place the charge upon the church rate were a double desecration. I have only to say that I consider my Bill infinitely superior to that of which the Government has given notice, as it would settle the public mind on this much agitated question.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 214; Noes 160: Majority 54.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Dundas, F.
Agnew, Sir A. Dunlop, A. M.
Alcock, T. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Antrobus, E. Ellice, E.
Ayrton, A. S. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bagshaw, R. J. Elton, Sir A. H.
Bagwell, J. Esmonde, J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Evans, Sir De L.
Ball, E. Evans, T. W.
Baring, T. G. Ewart, W.
Barnard, T. Ewart, J. C.
Baxter, W. E. Ewing, H. E. C.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fagan, W.
Berkeley, F. W. F. Fenwick, H.
Bethell, Sir R. Finlay, A. S.
Biddulph, R. M. FitzGerald, W. R. S.
Biggs, J. Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W.
Black, A. Foley, J. H.
Bland, L. H. Foley, H. J. W.
Bonham-Carter, J. Forster, C.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Foster, W. O.
Bouverie, hon. P. P. Fortescue, hon. F. D.
Bowyer, G. Fox, W. J.
Brady, J. Freestun, Col.
Bright, J. Garnett, W. J.
Briscoe, J. I. Gifford, Earl of
Brocklehurst, J. Gilpin, C.
Bruce, Lord E. Goderich, Visct.
Bulkeley, Sir R. Greene, J.
Butler, C. S. Greer, S. M'C.
Buxton, C. Gregory, W. H.
Byng, Hon. G. Gregson, S.
Caird, J. Grenfell, C. P.
Calcutt, F. M. Grenfell, C. W.
Campbell, R. J. R. Greville, Col. F.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Grey, R. W.
Cavendish, W. G. Grosvenor, Earl
Cheetham, J. Gurney, S.
Clay, J. Hadfield, G.
Clifford, C. C. Hamilton, Capt.
Clifford, H. M. Hanbury, R.
Clive, G. Hankey, T.
Codrington, Gen. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cogan, W. H. F. Hardcastle, J. A.
Collier, R. P. Harris, J. D.
Coningham, L. F. Hartington, Marquess of
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Hatchell, J.
Coote, Sir C. H. Headlam, T. E.
Copeland, W. T. Henchey, D. O'Connor
Cowan, C. Hodgson, K. D.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Holland, E.
Crook, J. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Crossley, F. Hutt, W.
Davey, R. Ingham, R.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Ingram, H.
Deasy, R. Jackson, W.
Dent, J. D. Jervoise, Sir J. C.
De Vere, S. E. Kershaw, J.
Devereux, J. T. King, hon. P. J. L.
Dillwyn, L. L. Kinglake, A. W.
Dodson, J. G. Kinglake, J. A.
Duff, M. E. G. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Duke, Sir J. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Dunbar, Sir W. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E
Duncan, Visct. Langston, J. H.
Langton, H. G. Scholefield, W.
Laslett, W. Scrope, G. P.
Levinge, Sir R. Shafto, R. D.
Lyndsay, W. S. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Locke, J. Sibthorp, Major
Locke, John Smith, J. B.
Luce, T. Smith, A.
M'Mahon, P. Smith, Sir F.
Maguire, J. F. Stanley, Lord
Marjoribanks, D. C. Steel, J.
Marshall, W. Stuart, Lord J.
Martin, C. W. Stuart, Col.
Martin, P. W. Sullivan, M.
Martin, J. Sykes, Col. W. H.
Massey, W. N. Tancred, H. W.
Melgund, Visct. Taylor, S. W.
Mellor, J. Thornely, T.
Mills, T. Thornhill, W. P.
Mitchell, T. A. Tite, W.
Moffatt, G. Tomline, G.
Morris, D. Townsend, J.
Napier, Sir C. Turner, J. A.
Nicoll, D. Vane, Lord H.
Norris, J. T. Verney, Sir H.
North, F. Vivian, H. H.
Ogilvy, Sir J. Vivian, hon. J. C. W.
Paget, Lord C. Walter, J.
Pease, H. Weguelin, T. M.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Western, S.
Perry, Sir T. E. Whatman, J.
Philips, R. N. Whitbread, S.
Pigott, F. Willcox, B. M'G.
Pilkington, J. Williams, M.
Portman, hon. W. H. B. Williams, W.
Pryse, E. L. Willyams, E. W. B.
Raynham, Visct. Woods, H.
Rebow, J. G. Worsley, Lord
Ricardo, O. Wyld, J.
Ridley, G. Wyvill, M.
Robartes, T. J. A. Young, A. W.
Roebuck. J. A.
Roupell, W. TELLERS.
Russell, H. Thompson, Gen.
Russell, A. Trelawny, Sir J. S.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, C. B. Cobbold, J. C.
Akroyd, E. Cole, hon. H. A.
Baillie, H. J. Collins, T.
Baring, H. B. Deedes, W.
Bernard, T. T. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Barrow, W. H. Dobbs, W. C.
Beach, W. W. B. Drummond, H.
Bective, Earl of Du Cane, C.
Beccroft, G. S. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bennet, P. Du Pre, C. G.
Bentinck, G. W. P. East, Sir J. B.
Blackburn, P. Edwards, H.
Boyd, J. Egerton, W. T.
Bramley-Moore, J. Elphinstone, Sir J.
Bramstone, T. W. Emlyn, Visct.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Farnham, E. B.
Browne, Lord J. T. Farquhar Sir M.
Bruce, Major C. Fellowes, E.
Buller, J. W. Forster, Sir G.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Calcraft, J. H. Gard, R.
Carnac, Sir J. R. Gilpin, Col.
Child, S. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Clark, J. J. Goddard, A. L.
Clinton, Lord R. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Close, M. C. Greaves, E.
Greenwood, J. Morgan, O.
Gray, Capt. Mowbray, J. R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Naas, Lord
Griffith, C. D. Napier, rt. hon. J.
Grogan, E. Newdegate, C. N.
Gurney, J. H. Newport, Visct.
Haddo, Lord North, Col.
Hamilton, G. A. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Hardy, G. Palmer, R.
Hassard, M. Patten, Col. W.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Pevensey, Visct.
Heathcote, Sir W. Philipps, J. H.
Heneage, G. F. Powell, F. S.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Pugh, D.
Henniker, Lord Puller, C. W.
Herbert, Col. Repton, G. W. J.
Hodgson, W. N. Rushout, G.
Holford, R. S. Russell, Lord J.
Hope, A. J. B. Rust, J.
Hopwood, J. T. Sclater-Booth, G.
Hotham, Lord Scott, Major
Hudson, G. Seymour, H. K.
Hughes, W. B. Slaney, R. A.
Hume, W. F. Smollett, A.
Hunt, G. W. Spooner, R.
Ingestre, Visct. Stanhope, J. B.
Jermyn, Earl Stewart, Sir M. R. S.
Johnstone, hon. H. B. Sturt, H. G.
Johnstone, J. J. H. Sturt, N.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Jolliffe, H. H. Vance, J.
Kendall, N. Vansittart, G. H.
King, J. K. Vansittart, W.
King, E. B. Verner, Sir W.
Knatchbull, W. F. Waddington, H. S.
Langton, W. G. Walcott, Admiral
Legh, G. C. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Lennox, Lord A. F. Walsh, Sir J.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Warre, J. A.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C. Warren, S.
Lincoln, Earl of Westhead, J. P. B.
Lisburne, Earl of Whiteside, J.
Lockhart, A. E. Whitmore, H.
Lovaine, Lord Wigram, L. T.
Macartney, G. Williams, Sir W. F.
Macaulay, K. Wilson, A.
Mackie, J. Woodd, B. T.
Malins, R. Wyndham, Gen.
Manners, Lord J. Wyndham, W.
March, Earl of Wynn, Colonel
Maxwell, hon. Col. Wynne, rt. hon. J. A.
Miles, W. Wynne, W. W. E.
Miller, T. J.
Miller, S. B. TELLERS.
Mills, A. Cecil, Lord
Moody, C. A. Packe, C. W.

Main Question put, and agreed to: Bill read 2°, and committed for Wednesday, 3rd March.

House adjourned at half-after Five o'clock.