HC Deb 13 July 1859 vol 154 cc1129-87

Order for Second Reading read.


said, that in the unavoidable absence of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Trelawny), he rose to move the second reading of this Bill; but as the question had been already amply discussed, he should not detain the House by any observations of his on the subject, susceptible as it was of so little novelty in the way of argument. It might be said that the present was a new Parliament, and therefore some explanation of the Bill was necessary; but there were so few new Members in the present Assembly, and they were all so well acquainted with the bearings of the question, that he should simply content himself with moving the second reading of the Bill.

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


Sir, I rise to move the Amendment of which I have given notice, that this Bill be read a second time this day throe months. In one respect I can certainly agree with the hon. Member who has just spoken, that the question involved in this measure is one which has been so amply and ably discussed in this House, especially during the last two Sessions, that I could well imagine the House would be content to abstain from lengthened argument on the present occasion, and give a plain aye or no to the proposition before them. But remembering as I do that it is a new Parliament in which we are assembled to discuss this question, and having hitherto contented myself with a silent vote, I am induced to request the indulgence of the House while I state, as briefly as I can, the arguments I have to urge against the adoption of this measure. Sir, I am one of those who, in the absence of any satisfactory solution of this difficulty by way of compromise or equivalent, are prepared, as heretofore, to stand by the maintenance of the existing law with all its imperfections, rather than give their assent to the passing of a measure which they believe to be an act of simple spoliation, and the first step to the destruction of the Establishment of the country. I am willing to admit the signal failure which befel the measure of compromise attempted by Her Majesty's Ministers in the late Parliament, but I must say, at the same time, that I have always attributed that failure, not so much to the intrinsic demerits of the measure itself, as to the position of the late Government in respect to the avowed numerical strength of the whole body of its supporters. And I am not one of those who, looking either at the composition of the present House of Commons, or at what I believe to be the real feeling of the English people, con believe that the hour is come when the doom of church rates must be irrevocably pronounced, and that the measure before us is the sole solution of the difficulty. On the contrary I am induced, in the first instance, to offer my opposition to the second reading of this Bill, from a sincere and honest conviction that by allowing it to pass this stage of its existence any chance of arriving at a satisfactory settlement would be materially lessened, if not wholly destroyed. I know it may be said, only allow this Bill to go into Committee and you can there mould it to your own liking, and engraft into it such provisions as will attain the end of which in their hearts a majority of this House may be desirous. Now, we have heard a great deal of late, even I might say up to an early hour of this very morning, about going into Committee. And I think that during a recent very memorable debate we had these two broad principles urged with great force by hon. Gentlemen opposite; first, that when you dissent from the main principle of a Bill, it is impossible that you can consistently support its second reading; and, secondly, that it is impossible that you can make alterations or amendments in a Bill, in any way affecting its principle, without accomplishing the destruction of the measure itself. Now, the principle of the measure before us is one about which I think no difference of opinion can exist by any possibility in the mind of any Member of this House. It has been the custom in former church-rate discussions for those who oppose their abolition to appeal very justly to the extreme antiquity of the charge; but the principle of this Bill is, I think, a still more ancient one, and reminds us of those days of primeval simplicity when we were governed on — The good old rule, the simple plan, That those should take who have the power, And those should keep who can. The principle of this Bill is the simple and entire destruction of the maintenance of the fabric and services of the Established Church of this country by any other fund than that which may arise from voluntary contributions. There is no room left here to engraft a compromise; the Established Church is called upon briefly and emphatically by this Bill to stand and deliver, and she must either be prepared to give up all, or to offer to so resolute and determined an adversary an equally resolute and determined resistance. But then again, it may be said on the present occasion, as I have heard it urged on previous discussions, "Only abolish church rates once for all, and you will find your account in the subsequent ease with which you will be able to provide an equivalent in some other and less obnoxious shape." Now this is an argument which appears to me to be based on the principle on which we are told that Jeddart justice was formerly administered, "Hang your man first, and try the merits of his case afterwards." That all the evil consequences many have ventured to predict, and which I myself apprehend from the abolition of church rates, will eventually be realized, I cannot confidently pretend to say. But I will venture to predict thus much with some confidence, that church rates once unconditionally abolished any subsequent legislative attempts at providing an equivalent will be encountered with equal hostility, and will be found equally impracticable. You may, as I have heard it sometimes proposed, pass the sentence, and postpone the execution, with a view to its subsequent mitigation; but you will find it in vain then to talk of fabric rates to be paid by churchmen alone, of voluntary commutation, or any other form of compromise. We shall have crossed the Rubicon once for all, we shall have adopted "vestigia nulla retrorsum" as our watchword, and for better or worse, as the case may be, the fabric of the Established Church will lean for support alone upon the somewhat slender reed of voluntary contribution.

Now, Sir, I have no wish upon the present occasion to weary the House, by going at length into the complicated history of the church-rate controversy, or the various forms of compromise that this House has successively discussed and rejected. I consider that I stand here to-day to defend a principle, and not to argue a question of compromise. I have no wish to plunge into the lengthened annals of the celebrated Braintree case, or to investigate minutely the question, whether we are to regard church rates as a charge upon property, or a charge upon the person in respect of property. As far as this somewhat infinitesimal distinction is concerned, it will, I think, be sufficient to remember that for centuries past the property of this country has been held subject to this charge, and that every man who during that period has been an owner, occupier, or purchaser of property, has held, occupied, and purchased that property, knowing that it was subject to this liability. And as regards the Braintree case, it will also, I think, be sufficient to call to mind, that by the law of the land as repeatedly laid down by the Judges of the land in that case, every parish is bound to keep in repair the fabric of its church. It is very true, that by the final decision of another place, which laid down the principle that no rate can be legally levied that had not previously obtained the consent of a majority in vestry, that law is in many instances, especially in the large and populous urban districts of this country, rendered of no effect. But then comes the question, as far as the majority is concerned. "If this be the present state of the law, where is the grievance of which you complain." It is a sore grievance to the Established Church of this country, that owing to an imperfect and unsatisfactory state of the law, she is deprived of no inconsiderable portion of her just and legitimate revenues; but I cannot for the life of me understand the hardship to that majority who have long ago availed themselves of that imperfect state of the law to get quit of a burden they are indisposed to bear. I can understand the argument of a minority who urge, "We are called upon to contribute to the maintenance of a church from which we differ, and which we do not frequent, and we claim exemption from such payment on the ground of conscientious scruples." That, although I may dispute its soundness, is at least a plain intelligible argument, and to such I would say, "If you are honest and sincere in your use of it, meet us in that spirit of peace and conciliation in which we have offered, over and over again, to meet you; but in which you have never yet responded to our advances, and even at the eleventh hour an arrangement may be come to satisfactory to both sides." But I confess I have never yet been able to understand upon what principle of equity and justice it can be urged, that because in one twentieth of the parishes of this country a majority has the means of successfully objecting to the payment of this charge, it is the bounden duty of this House to subject the remaining nineteen twentieths to an act of arbitrary prohibition. Because it is urged on the one hand by the majority of the inhabitants of certain parishes chiefly in towns, "We have conscientious scruples against the payment of this rate, which under the present state of the law we have not paid for years past, and may never be called on to pay again—you are to say to the whole mass of rural parishes—'We forbid you also to make this payment which you have hitherto paid cheerfully, and against which you have never yet dreamt of protesting.'" And we call upon you to do this, knowing as we do that the voluntary principle is already insufficient, and believing as we do that by such an act of legislation, you will cut off from some hundreds of remote rural districts, the sole means by which a fund can be raised for the repair of the fabric. This, I venture to affirm, is the real spirit of legislation that the House is called upon to affirm, by passing the second reading of this Bill, and I say that so long as you maintain in this country the principle of an Established Church, such legislation as this is nothing but legislating in favour of the pockets of the rich against the interests of the poor. It is nothing but an act of injustice or of spoliation not merely to that Church itself, but to the labouring poor of the land, in whoso most vital interests it is that that Church should be maintained.

Well; but then, Sir, it has been a favourite argument of late in discussing this question, that the Established Church is no longer the Church of the majority of this country; and, indeed, it was only a short time since, that the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) in addressing his constituents made the somewhat startling assertion that at this moment, according to the statistics of the Registrar General, only one-third of the people of this country have any connection whatever with the Established Church. Now, Sir, that the relations of the Church towards the great mass of the people have most materially changed since the first imposition of this charge every one who is in his senses must, I think, most fully admit, but to say that only one-third of the people have any connection whatever with the Established Church is to make one of those somewhat reckless assertions with which, during the past few months the hon. Member has delighted to electrify his -Birmingham constituents. Why, Sir, Mr. Mann's analysis of the census of 1851 proves most fully that at that period the National Church provided accommodation for more than one-half of the total population able to attend at one time a religious service. This was the case in 1851 since which time an accelerated movement of Church extension must be taken into consideration. And the same report proves most fully another startling fact, which the hon. Member, if my memory serves me aright, forgot to state, but which is of the utmost importance in considering the efficiency of the voluntary system, that at this moment a million and a half of the population of the country are wholly unprovided with the means of any religious worship whatever. And was the hon. Member, when he made this assertion, also aware that recent educational statistics have proved that 80 per cent of the existing schools for the poor are in connection with the Church of England, and of two millions of children between the ages of 3 and 15 that are receiving education 78 per cent of the total are in connection with the Established Church. And did he, may I ask, know this fact also, that according to the official returns of the marriages contracted in England and Wales 84 per cent of the whole number were solemnized by the Church of England, 11 percent by Romish, Protestant, and Jewish ministers, and 5 per cent at the Registrar's offices. Surely in the face of such statistics as these, the assertion that not one-third of the people of this country have any connection with the Established Church will be found somewhat difficult even for the hon. Member for Birmingham, with all his well known eloquence and ingenuity of argument, to sustain, and ought not to have much weight with us in determining the merits of this question. Well, Sir, but then we are told by the hon. Baronet and others who support this Bill, that as far as the maintenance of its fabric is concerned, it is in the best interests of the Church itself that it should lean for support upon individual generosity. When we urge that even now the voluntary principle is notoriously insufficient, that even now in many places where the rate has been discontinued, the fabrics of the Church are falling into decay, we are told that the abolition of church rates will be the signal for the letting loose a flood of voluntary contributions, and that this stumbling block once removed, Dissenters will vie with Churchmen in liberality towards the parent establishment of this country. Now, Sir, God forbid that I should for one moment speak disrespectfully of that unostentatious and yet princely munificence in the cause of religion and of education which is common alike to Dissenters and to Churchmen, and which is to my mind one of the noblest features of the English character. But I am one of those who believe that a great truth is embodied in the saying that the spread of religion and education cannot be regulated by the ordinary laws of demand and supply. To quote again those expressive words of Dr. Chalmers, that were so effectively introduced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole) in his able and eloquent speech of last Session: "Christianity must go forth in quest of human nature, for human nature, unprovided and uninstructed, will never go forth in quest of Christianity." I must confess that if we are to augur from the present as regards the future I should like to have some stronger guarantee than mere assertion that we should not be realizing the old fable of dropping the substance to grasp at the shadow. How is it, I would ask, in the first instance, that even with this charge existing, the charitable resources of the country, public and private, taxed as they are to their utmost strength, increasing, too, as they are year by year, are utterly insufficient to minister to the spiritual and educational wants of an increasing population. And when we are told of the withheld contributions of Dissenters, how is it, let me ask again, that in many parishes where the rate has been for years discontinued, and where, as I maintain, no practical grievance as regards Dissenters can be said to exist, we are told that the voluntary system has entirely broken down, and the churches are fast falling into disrepair and decay. We were told only a few days since by a leading journal, that exercises a powerful hold on popular opinion, that it was the fashion of those who upheld this tottering cause, and caught like drowning men at every straw, to quote the case of some church in some remote district of Cumberland, that, whether church rates were abolished or not, would be more like a barn than anything else. I know nothing whatever of the state of church architecture in Cumberland, but I have heard something of churches nearer home in the large and crowded towns of this country. I have heard something of the state of the churches in Leicester, Northampton and Manchester, and I have read something of a memorial presented by the clergy of Birmingham. In 1856, the clergy of Birmingham presented a petition to this House in which they said, We are able to state that the voluntary system, after a trial of twenty-five years in our churches, has been proved inadequate to supply the want of a church rate. And in a memorial addressed to the Prime Minister in 1858 they say, We can affirm, after long and painful experience, that nothing can be more unsatisfactory, generally speaking, than what is dignified by the name of the voluntary system as a substitution for the legal rate; while some of the older churches are falling into decay, it is rarely that the contributions for the ordinary annual expenses are to be found sufficient for the purpose. Such is the testimony of the clergy of Birmingham: what again is that of the clergy of Liverpool? One of the most active and intelligent of their number, Dr. Hume, the incumbent of Vauxhall, Liverpool, says in an able pamphlet on this question:— There is another aspect of the question of still greater importance. At this moment there is practically no provision for the expenses incidental to public worship in any church of this town. In some (the wealthy) this is a question of no importance; in their present condition every want is readily supplied; but in others the case is different, as the people want the means and want the application of the Gospel. There are six or seven churches of this town in which pew rents have almost ceased to exist; and there are about as many others in which they are fast disappearing. So that just in proportion as a church is missionary in its character, and in proportion to the strength of its claims on the community, those claims are neglected and its wants unsupplied. Now, Sir, surely with these facts and this testimony staring us in the face, it would be a happy mixture of Quixotic madness and childish simplicity for the friends of the Church to say, we are ready to shut our eyes to the present and to forget the past; we are ready to believe that you who have somewhat disdainfully rejected all offers of compromise made by us in a genuine spirit of peace and of conciliation, have done so all along in our best interests, and that it is out of pure love and veneration alone for the Establishment that you call upon us to surrender this principle. And what, may I ask, is the time at which you call on us to do so? You call upon us to make this concession when each day that passes serves more clearly to develope the real object for which this question is agitated by the most zealous and active, if not the most numerous portion of the Dissenters; when at the very last meeting of the Liberation Society the question as to the expediency of bringing the severance of Church and State before this House was openly debated, and was only negatived on the significant ground that it was better not to attack a fagot bound up, but to endeavour to break it stick by stick. You call upon us to do this at a moment when this same Society openly avows that its ulterior object in pressing on this measure is to effect, at no remote period, (I quote its own words,) The application to secular uses, after an equitable satisfaction of existing interests, of all national property now held in trust by the United Church of England and Ireland and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and concurrently with the liberation of these Churches from all state control. And this is the time at which you call upon us to make an experiment which we consider fraught with peculiar danger to the institutions of this country, and this is the spirit of peace and conciliation we are fated to encounter from the moment we have made it. I venture to say to those who advocate the passing of this measure in the interests of the Church, who think that the abolition of church rates will be the prelude to a lengthened reign of peace and harmony, to such I venture to say you will find, when too late, that you have applied but a temporary salve to the wound of which you complain; you will find in the expressive language of our greatest poet, It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen. I cannot doubt that if we thus quietly allow ourselves to be smitten on one cheek we shall in the due course of time receive a much severer blow upon the other; that church rates once abolished we should soon find ourselves engaged in a battle for the defence of tithe and the maintenance of any Established Church whatever.

Sir, I have now stated the reasons for which I offer my opposition to this Bill, and I have said, too, that I considered I stood here to-day to maintain the justice of an ancient institution, not to argue a question of compromise. But I am far from wishing the House to suppose that I am blind to the imperfections of the present state of the law, or that I should not be ready to offer an impartial consideration to any scheme which might still be brought forward with a view of rendering the law more applicable to the present position of the Church and the great body of the people. In default of a fair measure of compromise, I feel myself compelled to stand to the last by the existing law; but most gladly indeed should I recognize in a new Parliament, and above all, in a new Ministry, any disposition to employ its energies in a fair and reasonable solution of this difficulty. We may remember the advice of the ancient satirist, that we should not introduce a Divinity on the stage, unless a difficulty represented itself worthy of his interposition. And, surely, when we consider the vital principles that we have at stake, and the embarrassing position of this question, if not dealt with, bids fair to assume, it may be truly said that here is a subject worthy the intervention of the strongest Cabinet, and the intellectual energies of the ablest statesman. I trust that ere this debate closes we shall hear from some one of Her Majesty's Ministers some clearer exposition of the course it is their intention to take as regards this measure, than was vouchsafed last evening in answer to the question of the hon. Member for Devizes. I venture respectfully to suggest to them that they could not more gracefully inaugurate their reign of practical legislation, or establish a better claim to the gratitude of the country than by devoting that talent which we know them to possess, and that powerful following we presume they can command, to effecting such a settlement of this question as may have a reasonable chance of becoming the law of the land, and allaying all further discontent and agitation. I am well aware that it is no easy task with which I am urging them to grapple. I know that other Ministries have trod the path before them, and failed in the attempt. But while past failures may tend to discourage for the moment a renewal of the labour, are you not warned by the lamp of past experience against the rocks and shoals which have proved the shipwreck of former measures? I am aware, too, that there is another obstacle they may be fated to encounter. I am aware that ere this debate closes they may be fated to hear language repeated in this House similar to that which I regretted to hear used on Wednesday last. They may be told that on the amount of support they are prepared to extend to this measure will depend the amount of support a certain class of politicians are prepared to extend to them. But I will venture to remind them that) though they may gain the temporary adhesion of a section of this House by an unconditional adoption of the measure before us they may find in turn that they have alienated others from their ranks who are not prepared for so wholesale a concession. They may find that there are those who, while they look to them as the exponents of a Liberal and progressive policy, are net prepared in the garb of Liberalism and under the name of progress to sanction the entire surrender of a principle this House has for centuries held in veneration. I trust, then, that I may claim for my Amendment the united support of Her Majesty's Administration, and that when the division is called this evening we shall not see in our lobby, as we did on Wednesday last, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer as the sole representative of what, I presume, I may term the Conservative element of the present Cabinet. But if the voice that was heard on Wednesday last should again prevail, and this Bill be accepted to-day in its entirety by Her Majesty's Government, the Conservative portion of this House and the country will at least know the ground upon which this battle is henceforth to be fought. They will know that the voice of peace and conciliation has been heard in vain. They will know that the day of compromise is past and gone, that the sentence has gone forth for open war. I doubt not that they will manfully accept the challenge, and present on such an issue a firm and united phalanx to the enemy. They will say to those who, under the guise of conscientious scruples, look upon the passing of this measure as the first step gained towards the permanent separation of Church and State, throw aside the mask you have hitherto worn, and do battle with us on this broad and intelligible issue. You will find, then, that your time and your hour has not yet arrived; you will find then, as heretofore, that a free, a generous, an informed nation, honours the chief ministers of its Church; you will find that in those ties you would so rudely snap, in that noble and ancient union you would so abruptly sever, it has learnt to revere the wisdom and the foresight of those who, by thus consecrating Government and people alike beneath the all-pervading influence of religion and morality, have erected one of the most vital, as I trust it may prove to be one of the most enduring, pillars of the English constitution.

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


said; that in rising to second the Amendment which had been so ably proposed by his hon. Friend, he must claim the indulgence which that House always extended to its new Members. He must ask this favour not only because it was such a short tittle since he had taken his seat, but also because he had never yet participated in the deliberations of the House. The subject was now indeed trite and worn. It had been handled and debated for the last thirty years. He could not expect, therefore, to add much to debates which had so long endured, nor hope to discover new arguments besides those which had been already employed. The House had now not merely to decide on a matter of church rates; that was not the real question before them. In the Bill before the House there was not raised any question whether the machinery for levying church rates was faulty; nor even whether the State should provide funds in some other way to support the Established Church. By the present Bill those funds were simply cut off; for the effect of this Bill, and the real intention of those who desired the abolition of church rates, was to have no Church at all supported by the State. The late Earl Grey regarded the question in this light, even when it was newly mooted in the year 1834. This was also avowed in an organ of the Dissenters, published in 1837, which said,— We give notice to Churchmen that, as far as we are concerned we shall not the less earnestly seek for the separation of the Church from the State because we have got rid of church rates. We require the Church of England to be reduced to what she is—one of the sects. And the noble Lord, the Member for the City of London (to whose opinions all on that, the Opposition, side of the House were bound to bow, and whose judgment hon. Members on his own side had learnt to respect) said, four years ago, that our national Church, our hereditary monarchy, and our hereditary aristocracy would stand or fall together, and that the abolition of church rates must tend to subvert that national Church. Moreover, the Bill at present before the House bore this intention upon the very face of it,—it did not propose to exempt, but to forbid; it did not extend our liberty, but created a new restraint; and if church rates were forbidden we should next hear scruples about paying tithes. If Dissenters now refused to repair the buildings—those silent monuments of the piety of our ancestors—could it be supposed that they would cheerfully pay the minister who preached and spread the doctrines of the Church from which they dissented? The House was now asked merely to abolish church rates; but more, far more, was desired of them. For why were the abolitionists never contented with one of those numerous Bills which satisfied their conscientious objections? Because there was something still in the background—because their objections were aimed at every national Church. If the small pecuniary charge were the real objection, even now a sacrifice could be made to satisfy them. But the 2½d. in the pound was not the real grievance; the real burden was the entire principle of an establishment —the connection between the Church and the State. The Society formed to obtain the abolition of church rates (called the Society for the Liberation of Religion from State Control) had openly avowed that they would nut have the Church as a national institution, and would oppose all legislation which proceeded upon that assumption. He had just obtained two documents at their office to which he must call the attention of the House. In one of these papers the objects of the Society were promulgated—namely, to procure "the discontinuance of all payments from the Consolidated Fund and of all Parliamentary giants and compulsory exactions for religions purposes;" and also to procure "the application to secular uses, after an equitable satisfaction of existing interests, of all national property now held in trust by the united Church of England and Ireland and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland; and, concurrently with it, the liberation of those Churches from all State Control." The former quotation was directed against church rates, Regium Donum, Maynooth Grant, and so on; the latter was aimed at a severance of Church and State, and the conversion of churches to secular uses. In the other document published by the Society, which stated, by the bye, that "the society was peculiarly dangerous to the establishment," he found the following passage taken from the Nonconformist newspaper, but republished by the society, and endorsed with their full approval and sanction:— The society has quietly moved the question into this more promising position without any violent shock to the prejudices of opponents Any one who remembers what the political world said and thought about the separation of Church and State when the society first came into existence may well stand astonished at the tone in which it is now alluded to by statesmen of all shades of opinion. If the Liberation Society had done nothing else this would entitle it to the respect and gratitude of the country. To it, and to it alone, as a designing agency, belongs the credit of having turned the doctrine of self-government and self-support of ecclesiastical institutions from a theological controversy into a political movement. Mr. Apsley Pellatt (a Dissenter, one of the executive committee of the Liberation Society, and lately a Member of that House) confessed in 1851 to a Committee of that House, that "Dissenters disliked church rates because of their objection to the union of Church and State." Mr. Sharman Crawford in 1842 (in speaking in the House in favour of the Abolition Bill), said, "The real question is the connection between Church and State, whether there should be a Church Establishment paid by the nation." A similar statement was made by Mr. Miall, another of the executive committee of the Liberation Society, and formerly a Member of that House. Mr. Miall said:— Such a change of law would extinguish the taxing power of the Establishment and dry up one of the sources of its revenue, while the ecclesiastical revenues, applied to the purposes for which church rates are now levied, would still be national property, and be capable of appropriation to secular purposes at a future time. As yet the Society could not secure such an appropriation; but in the meantime it is a gain if the application of the ecclesiastical funds is so altered as to remove the burdens now imposed on the Nonconformist body. The hon. Member for Birmingham used these words in this House while speaking in favour of the abolition of church rates:—"I oppose the Church as a religious institution, and doubt very much if it is of any essential benefit to the country." Mr. Apsley Pellatt said in the same debate:—"This (the abolition of church rates) is no longer a Dissenting question, for it is not the function of the State to teach religion." From all this it was manifest that the desire of their opponents was not merely to be freed from an objectionable tax; their principle, as expressed by themselves, was, "that the State has nothing to do with religion;" they desired a severance of Church and State, which was a repudiation by the Government of all care about the religion of the people. The real aim of the Bill, then, was pretty manifest. As the question was so much more momentous than would at first sight appear, he trusted that the House would allow him to turn their attention to the principle of an Established Church in the abstract, without reference to the application of that principle to any particular Church. For Dissenters did not object to the Church of England in particular as a false and unscriptural Church; they disapproved of the whole principle, they disliked a Church Establishment of any kind; they said that the State had nothing to do with religion. The principle of an Established Church was the maxim that every ruler should promote the spread of Christianity in some particular form throughout his dominions; some form must be chosen, for nothing could be real which was without a form. And that form of worship which was chosen by the ruler was the Established Church of the country. The issue, then, before the House was the truth of the maxim which he had mentioned, namely, whether it was the duty of every Government to choose some form of religion and propagate it in the nation which they governed, or whether the State had nothing to do with religion. Now, if they were about to colonize some tract of unoccupied country, they would surely deem it their first duty to establish a church in that country, as they did in New Zealand. They would feel that they must provide for the religious instruction of the people under their charge; that religion and worship would otherwise pine away and die in the colony. But this was still more necessary in an old country than on a virgin soil. There were millions in every country who could not afford to provide the means of instruction and of worship for themselves, and who would not care to do so even if it lay in their power. Were they to allow these to sink lower and lower in the scale of spiritual beings? or were they to levy a rate from those who could pay for the benefit of those who could not? When the State ceased to uphold some form of national worship—when the religion of the country consisted of nothing but a congeries of conflicting sects, how could they expect the untaught millions to make choice where so many differed, or to entertain any respect for a religion about which all were quarrelling? Every nation at all times, and in all places, had seen the necessity of a national Church, whether Asiatic or African, both in former days and up to the present time. The Assyrians had their national worship, and the Persians theirs. The Greeks were very jealous about their State religion, and sacrificed their greatest philosopher to the integrity of their system. The Roman Emperors levied a tribute in support of their religion; and our great Exemplar paid it cheerfully when demanded of Him, although it was not legally due from Him, and although it was in support of an idolatrous and unclean religion. Yet some refused to pay a rate which was legally due, and in support of a Church from whose doctrines they did not materially differ. With the Hebrew nation the principle of a union of Church and State (for he was still speaking of the principle, not of the application of that principle to any special religion) was carried out by Divine ordinance, and a rate of one-tenth was levied for the support of the national church; in obedience to a Divine command. Yet the Jewish Church comprised many sects, which differed more widely than the sects of our own day. Descending to later times, they found that the confession of faith of every Reformed Church had recognized the principle of an established Church. They were many in number, but he would not trouble the House with more than a short extract from two as an example of the rest. The Wurtemberg Confession said, ''A king has both a political and ecclesiastical function." The Augsburg Confession goes further, and says, "The proper office of kings is to decide in ecclesi- astical controversies, and so defend the unity of the Church." Both of these implied a strict union between Church and State; both asserted that the State had to do with religion. Moreover, all the most eminent Dissenting divines expressed themselves strongly in favour of an Established Church, and the payment of rates by all classes in support of it. If the House would permit, he would read two short passages in support of that assertion. Dr. Owen, in his sermon to the Long Parliament, used these words.— If it shall come to this, that you shall say you have nothing to do with religion as rulers of the nation, God will quickly manifest that He hath nothing to do with you as rulers. It is incumbent upon you to take care that the faith which you have received may be protected, preserved, propagated to and among the people which God hath set you over. That was the opinion of an eminent Dissenter, that the State had to do with religion,—an opinion that was accepted by the Long Parliament. Matthew Henry used these words:— Let us much more give God praise for the national establishment of our religion; that Christianity is supported by good and wholesome laws, and is twisted in with the very constitution of our Government. And again, "Church dues, when legally imposed, are to be paid, notwithstanding the existence of church corruptions." There were numerous similar passages in other authors, but he would not trouble the House further on that point. The same principle was recognized in the Coronation Oath; the Sovereign swears to— Maintain the Protestant reformed religion as established by law, and to preserve unto the bishops and clergy of this realm, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them or any of them. Now, would they ask the Queen, in the face of this most solemn oath, to give her Royal assent to such a measure as that before them, which did the contrary to "preserving unto the bishops and clergy and churches all such rights and privileges as do by law appertain unto them?" The question, then, for the House to consider was whether they would alter the character of the constitution, and be the only nation of ancient or modern times—of Europe, Asia, or Africa—that would govern a nation without a national church; or whether they would respect the examples of history, the principles of all governments and churches, and the opinions of even Dissenting divines themselves. But they were told that this was a matter of conscience; that Dissenters had a conscientious objection to the payment of church rates. They did not object on the score that the Church of England was false and unscriptural (at least that plea had never been urged in any of the debates). They objected to the State levying a rate in support of any national religion; they disapproved of the union, not of the Church. He was speaking of these who really had conscientious objections. For there were many who objected to church rates because they disliked every rate, and disapproved of every description of payment. He did not address himself to those whose consciences enjoined such a course of action as must result in pecuniary gain; but he spoke of those few whose conscience would cause them to follow a line of conduct, even if it should end in discredit and loss. Doubtless there were some such conscientious persons; but generally, when conscience and interest took the same road, interest led the way and conscience followed blindfold. He would consider the case of those whose conscientious objection to church rates was so great that it even overcame their conscientious objection to the guilt of breaking a law of the land, and outweighed their dislike to pass an act of spoliation and sacrilege. Now there were plenty of Dissenters before 1830; but they never heard of conscientious objections to church rates before that time. Where, then, were their consciences? No one before that year had any conscientious objections to pay tribute to whom tribute was due. In the debates of 1834 the church rate agitation was spoken of, on all sides, as having newly sprung up; conscientious objections were then, for the first time, heard. Neither did Dissenters, as a body, now object; it was merely a few noisy agitators who put on the cloak of religion, and called themselves Dissenters, like wolves in sheep's clothing. Dr. Pye Smith, an eminent Independent divine, discountenanced the opposition to church rates, urging as a reason that the public would have to pay more in police-rates if deprived of so civilizing an institution as the Established Church. Was he then destitute of conscience? Dr. Chalmers, too (a Presbyterian), was always strongly in favour of supporting the Established Church. He said:— We do apprehend that on the overthrow of this venerable institution (the Established Church), the same evils now so largely exhibited on all the unprovided remnants of the country, would be realized and multiplied over the whole length and breadth of the land. We must first behold the moral triumphs of voluntaryism, in the many hundreds of surplus localities which are before our eyes, ore we can consent to give up the whole territory into their hands. Had that great man, then, no conscience? Dr. Cook, of Belfast, also, although a Presbyterian minister, supported the Established Church as "an important bulwark of Protestantism." And, as to the Committee of the hon. Member for Tavistock, had they no consciences when they refused to recommend an abolition of church rates? The national Church of Scotland is the Presbyterian form of worship; and the Episcopalians in that country were in exactly the same position as the Dissenters in England. In Scotland the property of Episcopalians was rated not only for the kirk, but also for the manse. But the Episcopalians in that country did not agitate against the rate, nor assert conscientious scruples. In the same way Churchmen paid the Regium Donum to the Dissenting ministers in Ireland. And why, moreover, should the hon. Members for Warwickshire (and many others beside) contribute to the expenses of Maynooth? for they had conscientious objections to such a payment. Was the House prepared to do away with the Regium Donum or the Maynooth Grant in Ireland, and the church rate in Scotland, if they abolished church rates in England? If he bought an estate subject to a charge for the widow of the late proprietor, might he decline to pay that charge if he disagreed with that widow's opinions or disapproved of her character? Or was the hon. Member for Birmingham to be exempt from war taxes because he had conscientious objections to war? The State had increased the army and navy and levied additional taxes to defray the expenses, and the hon. Member paid his quota. He did not approve of the Established Church, so they would abolish church rates. He approves still less of war, but yet they do not talk of abolishing war taxes. No! They insist on his paying to create bloodshed and slaughter, but they let him refuse to support the institutions of peace; they force him to assist in destroying the bodies of his fellow creatures, but he, in their opinion, need not contribute to increase the life of their souls. He hoped the House would bear in mind the true scope of the present Bill, and the real and a vowed object of the opponents of church, rates, and not be beguiled by the cloak which they had put forward in the Bill before the House. Me hoped the House would not regard it as a conflict between a principle and qualms of conscience, nor as a battle between Church and Dissenters. It was a struggle of the principle of a national church against a band of noisy agitators without the piety of Dissenters; the resistance of the Church in the Wilderness against Korah and his crew. They wished to do away with the Established Church; so let them not equivocate and cower behind a church-rate question. They desired to sever Church from State, and would thus have to ran counter to the principles of every Government and every confession of faith, the examples of history, and the opinions of Dissenting divines themselves. Their intention was to rob the Church of that which for twelve centuries had been her legal right and due. But then, in the name of consistency, let the Regium Donum in Ireland be abrogated, let the Maynooth Grant be abolished, let the Church of Scotland also be spoliated, and let the oath of the Queen be done away with. The Romanist's forms and the Nonconformist's want of form would be on a par with the Church, which, for 300 years, had fostered our religion, guided our morals, and superintended our education. Thousands of our population were yet in a state of utter spiritual destitution; one-sixth of our churches were falling into decay. What would posterity say if, with these facts staring us in the face, we yet cut off from the Church a great source of revenue and income? The great rallying cry of old was "the Church and the State;" now the outworks of the Church were being assaulted; and, if these were surrendered, the State would soon share the same fate. Our forefathers once fought and died for that Church which the supporters of this Bill would now outrage and rob; for her degenerate "sons no longer take pleasure when they think on her stones."


said, that in discussing this question he thought it only fair and right to say that he stood up avowedly as a Dissenter, and as one of those who did not approve the union of Church and State. He felt it his duty to support this measure. Although a Dissenter, he had great respect for the Evangelical clergy of the Church of England. He agreed with their doctrines, and he highly regarded vast numbers of the members of the Church, but he could not forget that our Lord gave His religion into the hands of His own people charged with all the duties and privileges which belonged to it. He believed that one of the chief duties and privileges of Christianity was to maintain the worship in which they believed. The noble Lord appeared to have very curious notions of conscience and of truth. Was he to understand, that the noble Lord, as a member of the Established Church, held it to be equally right to support truth and error? Was the noble Lord prepared willingly and cheerfully to support the established religion professed in any part of the globe in which he happened to be? The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Du Cane) charged the Dissenters with saying to the Church "stand and deliver." What he said to the Church was "hands off." Let the House leave it to each religion to support its own faith and its own clergy, and if the Established Church knew its own interest it would recognize the grand duty and privilege of self-reliance. This was a question of plain justice towards Dissenters. The hon. Gentleman complained of the hon. Member for Birmingham for saying that only a third of the people were members of the Establishment. Well, that was true; only he (Mr. Baines) would prefer to put it another way, and to say that of those who attended divine worship at all one-half were not found to be attendants in churches belonging to the Establishment. The other half built and maintained their own places of worship, paid their own clergy, assisted their own poor, and largely contributed to missionary undertakings, and he insisted that it was a great injustice to call upon them to pay for a church to which they were not attached. It was, in fact, an outrage, and the Church would be enfeebled in its action so long as the injustice was permitted to endure. From his own personal experience in the towns of Yorkshire and Lancashire, where no church rates had been levied for years, he could assert that the position of the Church was vastly improved by the abolition of the impost. There was a large number of new churches, and a great increase in the number of clergy. The churches were more sumptuously adorned, and better supplied with choristers and whatever else made the services in them acceptable to those who frequented them. In Leeds they had pulled down an old church and rebuilt it at a cost of £30,000. In a word, he declared upon his honour that he had never heard of a case in which a church had suffered from the disuse of rates. The hon. Gentleman opposite seemed to think that the voluntary system had failed, and was inadequate to the wants of the people; but it was impossible to understand how such a notion could be entertained after the facts mentioned in the Census Report of Mr. Horace Mann. From that report it appeared that in 1801 there were in the churches and chapels then existing in England and Wales, 5,171,000 sittings. In 1851, half a century later, the number was 10,212,000. Of the increased accommodation thus afforded 188,000 sittings were provided by Parliamentary funds, and 4,852,000 from voluntary efforts, or 96 per cent of the whole. It was difficult, then, to comprehend upon what authority the hon. Members opposite could rest their allegation that the voluntary system had failed. Such, at least, was not the opinion of some of the most eminent and reflecting foreigners who had watched our career in late years, and especially the Chevalier Bunsen, who, in his letters upon freedom of conscience, said:— What other principle than this (that of the power of free spontaneous association) has during the same period in England achieved the erection of more new churches and chapels, with congregations of earnest worshippers, than all the Governments of Europe and all the clergy had been able to erect during the last four centuries? He (Mr. Baines) would only add that, if the apprehensions which the hon. Gentlemen opposite had expressed as to the ultimate designs of the Dissenters were well founded, the best way in which the Church could meet these designs would be to abandon this injustice towards Dissenters. If the Church would take its stand upon truth and justice, would not insult nor outrage the consciences of Dissenters—he might almost say, would not pick their pockets, but he did not wish to use harsh language—its friends need not fear the designs of Dissenters. He believed that the friends of the Church had to learn yet more completely the lesson of self-reliance, which, if perfectly understood, would enable them to provide all that was necessary for the services of their Church. Under such a system he believed her resources would prove illimitable, and he for one would never grudge them to her so long as she used them for righteous ends. He protested against the continuance of an injustice towards Nonconformists for the bene- fit of a Church which included among its members the wealthiest aristocracy in the world.


said, he had no wish to occupy the attention of the House with a lengthened speech on a subject which appeared to him to have been almost exhausted in previous debates, but he must make a remark or two on what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House. That hon. Member took objection to his hon. Friend who had moved the Amendment having described the Dissenters as calling upon the Established Church to "stand and deliver;" and observed that what they said was merely "hands off." But that was not what the Bill before the House said. Take the case of places in which Churchmen and Dissenters were unanimous in levying the rate. What did the Bill say? Why, this—"You shall not levy church rates, whether you be unanimous for doing so or not. You shall forego this claim whether adverse or of consent." The hon. Gentleman also talked of injustice and picking pockets. He (Mr. Adderley) should like to ascertain on which side a charge of violence lay. He regretted that the hon. Baronet who had charge of the Bill was not present. If he were he should ask him on what ground he could justify so violent a measure. It was urged by the advocates of the Bill that there was a difficulty in dealing with the case, and hence a necessity of wholesale legislation. It was certainly a very easy way to get rid of a difficulty in dealing with property to abolish it altogether. Now, what was the true state of the case? In the first place, church rates were a common law liability; and in the next, no church rates could be levied except by the consent of the majority of the ratepayers in vestry assembled. It was argued indeed against church rates that in some cases a minority were overriden by a majority, who imposed the rate on all. There might be a grievance there; but it was an infinitesimal grievance in this country, in which the majority rules everything. Supposing it was a grievance for the minority to have to pay rates levied by the majority, how did this Bill propose to remedy that grievance? By inflicting a greater grievance on the majority the abolitionists said that church rates were an injustice; but this Bill was replete with injustice to wards all those parishes which hitherto had always consented, and desired to pay the rates. The existing agitation was to be remedied by the application of a counter-irritant, and an exceptional grievance was to be met by general legislation, a course that had been condemned on all sides of the House. In order to show how the present law worked, and what would be the effect of this Bill if passed, he would refer to two cities near which he lived, Birmingham and Coventry. In Birmingham they did not wish for church rates, and they never had them. For the last thirty years there had been no church rates in Birmingham. In Coventry, the inhabitants of which were of liberal opinions and included an average proportion of Dissenters, there were several magnificent fabrics, the ornament and pride of the city, and the Church of England people and the Dissenters were unanimous in voting church rates for their maintenance. The people of Birmingham did not want church rates, and they had them not. The people of Coventry did want them, and this Bill would not allow them to have them. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baines) said there was no fear of the fabrics falling into decay if church rates were abolished. Did not the hon. Gentleman believe, however, that even in places like Coventry people would be found to shirka voluntary contribution who would not object to a general rate, passed habitually year by year. Hon. Members who opposed this and similar Bills had no wish to make the law more stringent than it at present was. They had no wish to claim legal security for what was now a voluntary rate. In all the propositions which they had submitted to that House they had even expressed a willingness to exempt Dissenters from the payment of the rate. But how had propositions of that nature been met by the Dissenters? Had not the Dissenters proved, by the manner in which they had met them, that something more than the abolition of church rates lurked behind? He felt convinced that even if all that was demanded by the present Bill were granted in toto it would be only the prelude for further demands, as this Bill clearly did not rest on any general principles of equity, but on blind hostility to the Church. Even where church rates had been proposed and rejected from year to year, why should they never be proposed again? Church rates might be refused because of some objection to the individual clergyman; and in this case the objection to the rates would end with that particular clergyman ceasing to have any connection with the parish. Seeing the manner in which the propositions coming from this side of the House had been received by the Dissenters, and that nothing was likely to satisfy the latter but such a Bill as that now before the House, he thought the interest of all parties would be best promoted by leaving matters as they were, and desisting from any attempt at further legislation. Such a course would probably end in the agitation speedily dying away, and all ill-feeling disappearing. At all events, he felt bound to record his vote against what appeared to him to be the unjust proposition contained in this Bill towards the great mass of country parishes whose interests were to be sacrificed to the claims of certain agitators in a few great towns.


said, he thought that if the Bill sought to do an act of justice—if it sought to allay irritation and heart burnings—if it sought to put the Church on a better footing in regard to her position towards Dissenters—the House ought to pass it. Having been at one time a candidate for the representation of Coventry he was somewhat acquainted with the circumstances connected with that city, and would only remark that all the candidates who offered themselves professed a desire for the total abolition of church rates. He was therefore surprized to learn that church rates were now so popular there. But did not every man know that all the great restoration of churches were the result of voluntary movements, and not of church rates? Take the case of Birmingham. The death-blow to church rates in that town had been given by the institution of a prosecution for their support, and if anything showed the advantage of dispensing with church rates it was the improved state in which the churches now were in that town. It was the same in Nottingham, Liverpool, and other large towns, where the religious element among the people had much improved since these rates were abolished. There was some plausibility, perhaps, in the argument sometimes used respecting the need of church rates in rural parishes, but in those places the rates, so far from being expended on the repairs of the churches, were expended on objects of a most illegitimate character, and entirely diverted from their legitimate object. The fact was, however, that in the rural districts the rates were in many instances made in consequence of a wholesome fear of the landlords; but if they were abolished those feelings would remain in full force, and would operate to produce a larger sum in the shape of voluntary offerings than was now raised by church rates. The hon. Mover of the Amendment had taken a rather sentimental view of the history of church rates, but he would have done better to examine what the Dissenters and Churchmen themselves had done on the voluntary principle. He found, by certain returns made lately, the voluntary payments far exceeded those made by compulsion of law. By a supplemental return on an average of seven years he found the gross expenditure was £41,653. Of this sum £14,870 was levied by rates, and upwards of £20,000 raised by subscriptions and voluntary payments. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had compared church rates with tithes, but they were wholly different, and it was unwise to attempt to include them in the same category. Chinch rates were originally freewill offerings at a time when there was no dissent permitted, but when liberty of worship was introduced one portion of the population loft the church, and it was, he thought, rather hard that churchmen, who enjoyed the use of the parish churches, which were the property of the nation, should not be content to pay for the repair of those churches. It was a great mistake to suppose that tithes and church rates were similar in their nature. There was a great distinction between them, the one having the character of property, and the other being only a voluntary impost made by the parish at large. It was true that by some persons church rates were said to be a charge on the land. He had hoped however he had heard the last of that argument. The church rate, in its origin, was only that a man was taxed in respect of his ability in land—that was, if a majority of the parish laid on the impost, he was bound in respect of his ability; but it was idle to say that the tax thereby became a charge on the land itself. Therefore, for the interest and peace of the Church, for the protection of magistrates, who were now frequently placed in positions of difficulty in enforcing these rates, and for the general interests of religion, he hoped that Bill would receive the sanction of the House. Let church rates be abolished, and he would have no objection to receive any application from the friends of the Establishment for any measure they should think it advisable to bring forward on the subject.


said, he thought it a sufficient reason for Baying that the Bill ought not to be proceeded with further, as that a Committee had been appointed in the House of Lords for the purpose of taking evidence upon the church-rate question, and he trusted that that Committee would arrive at some satisfactory report as to how best the matter might be settled for the advantage both of the Church and Dissenters. The noble Duke who had moved that Committee gave as a reason for doing so that the Committee of this House which sat in 1851 was unable to agree to a report, and that consequently no result followed from its labours. With regard to what had fallen from his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Mellor) as to the state of the churches in Leicester, according to a return which was produced last Session it appeared that two of those churches were then out of repair, and that altogether, in various parts of the country, the number of churches out of repair amounted to between 1600 and 1700. He would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, therefore, who contended for the abolition of church rates, and said "let the Church depend upon voluntary support," what chance there was of those fabrics which had been erected by the piety of our ancestors being kept in repair in the event of their proposal being adopted? Did they imagine, whilst so many churches were falling into decay, that when they had destroyed the means of keeping the building in repair sufficient money would come in on the voluntary principle for the purpose? There was no doubt that considerable sums had been subscribed for the building of now churches; but unfortunately when money was wanted to put them in repair it was not forthcoming. As to the impost of church rates being a hardship upon Dissenters, he could not answer that allegation better than by quoting the language of a great statesman in this House, to whose opinions hon. Gentlemen opposite were in the habit of paying the greatest deference. On the 5th of March, 1856, the noble Lord the present Foreign Secretary, in a debate on the second reading of Sir William Clay's Church Rate Bill in that House, said:— Certainly I for one cannot assent to the principle put forward by the Protestant Dissenters, that as a matter of conscience church rates ought to be abolished. That is a somewhat new scruple on their part. When it was proposed in former days that Dissenters should not be compelled to attend church, and that they should not be prevented from having chapels of their own, it was very properly argued that it was a principle of religious liberty that they should be allowed to worship God according to their own forms; but it was not then contended that they should not be compelled to make any payment to the National Church. That claim has arisen in more modern times. It seems to me to be a part, but only a part, of the voluntary principle; but I cannot believe with my hon. Friend (Sir W. Clay) that complete and universal peace would follow the enactment of the Bill which he proposes. On the contrary, I believe that, having carried this measure, having sanctioned the abolition of church rates without providing a substitute, fresh attacks would be made; and not being willing to countenance or favour those attacks I shall oppose the second reading of the Bill." [3 Hansard, cxl. 1918.] Such were then the opinions of the noble Lord, and those opinions he (Mr. Packe) most heartily endorsed. He was sorry to say, however, that through the influence of some spell which he could not account for, the noble Lord was reported to have since changed his sentiments upon the question. Now, this was a matter of principle, and although he could well understand young men being led away by certain impulses, yet, seeing the well-known principles of the noble Lord, and the length of time he had been before the public, he really could not understand by what process of reasoning he had so completely changed his opinions as he was reported to have done; for at the election of the noble Lord for the City of London on the 29th of April last he found him saying on the hustings:— I must tell you that I think that question has come to this point, that either the present law must be maintained or church rates must be altogether abolished. And being of opinion that the maintenance of the present law is not good for the country, that it produces much heart-burning in the view of Dissenters, it is objectionable, on the ground of conscience, and that they have a dislike to the payment of these rates, I am of opinion that providing means can be found for such voluntary collections as may be useful, church rates ought to be altogether abolished. Three days afterwards the noble Lord presented himself on the hustings at the election for the county of Huntingdon, and spoke as follows:— A gentleman seemed to he of opinion I am not in favour of abolition of church rates. I tell you I am. I was formerly in hopes some compromise could be found, and a compromise was attempted by a Member of Viscount Palmerston's Government, and a very able man—I allude to Sir George Grey. A compromise was also attempted by Mr. Walpole. They both failed, and I own it appears to me that it is not likely to prove of benefit to the country to maintain, to keep up the ill-will already excited on this subject, and that it would be far better to make at once provision for the voluntary maintenance of the Church than to rely longer on the imposition of church rates. He was sorry to say that the noble Lord was not then present in the House to explain, as he ought to do, the grounds upon which he had altered his opinions on the question. There were now two Bills on the subject of church rates before the House, one of which proposed a voluntary commutation, but how the hon. Gentlemen whose names were on the back of that Bill could vote for the measure under discussion he was at a loss to conceive; for how could they effect a commutation when church rates had once ceased to exist? The question, however, had been so often debated that he would not detain the House further than to say that it was his firm determination to do his utmost to defeat the second reading of this Bill.


said, that as it was hopeless to imagine that that House could ever find any substitute for church rates which would be satisfactory to the clergymen of the Church of England, it became a question whether that House should not take an enlarged view of the question and come to a conclusion upon it satisfactory to the country at large. The hon. and learned Member for Nottingham (Mr. Mellor) had referred to the very large amount which during the last seven years had been voluntarily subscribed by the members of the Church not only for the repairs of the fabric, but for the services of the Church, and it was a remarkable circumstance that the amount so subscribed exceeded the sum raised by compulsory means. There was, moreover, a great sum voluntarily subscribed for building churches, and these facts furnished the strongest possible evidence that in the absence of any church rate there would always be found sufficient zeal in the members of the Church to support the fabric. It was stated that church rates had existed time out of mind, but that circumstance furnished no reason why they should not be abolished by the State, like any other imposts, if the circumstances of the country required their removal. It was contended by some that as the Church of England was the national church all ought to contribute to it; but he denied the proposition generally that the Church of England was the national church. Legally it might he so, but practically it was not so, for a large proportion of the population conscientiously dissented from the doctrines of the Church, It was objected that, should church rates be abolished, funds could no be found to maintain the fabric of the church; but by a report presented to the House it appeared that where church rates had ceased to exist, there the largest amounts were subscribed by the zeal and religious fervour of the persons connected with the Church for the restoration of the fabric. He could refer to the borough of Boston, which he represented, where church rates had ceased to exist for the last twenty years, yet within the last seven or eight years the inhabitants had raised by voluntary subscriptions about.£10,000 which they had spent in the renovation of their beautiful church, besides which in Skiebeck, one of the parishes of the borough, another large church in addition to that they already possessed had been built, and two smaller ones in Boston. It was admitted on all hands, he believed, that in populous towns there would be no difficulty in raising the necessary funds, but there would be difficulty in doing so, it was asserted in rural parishes; but when he found that five-sevenths of the property in rural parishes in this kingdom were vested in churchmen, he did not despair of sufficient funds being raised even in remote places for the repair of the churches. Feeling that this impost pressed most hardly on the Dissenters, seeing that the Church was the most wealthy institution in this or almost in any other country, and feeling that it would be impolitic for the friends of the Church to seek as a basis for it the compulsory payment of rates by Dissenters, he should give his vote for the second reading of the Bill.


had listened with attention to what the hon. Member for Leeds, who addressed them as a Protestant Dissenter, had said upon this subject. He bad frankly declared his determination to oppose the Maynooth grant as vigorously as he had opposed church rates. The principle on which that hon. Member and the other English Dissenters acted was well understood. There was no disguising the fact, that to appropriate a large sum of money taken from the general taxes of all classes to the maintenance and repair of the College of Maynooth involved precisely the same political principle as that which was now under discussion. Of course there were wide differences of detail, but the principle in each case was the some. Hence it was that the division lists against Maynooth and against church rates bore such a striking resemblance to each other. Now, he (Mr. Henessy) was not prepared to acknowledge the soundness of the dissenting principle. Indeed, he found as a general rule, that when the Protestant Dissenters were attacking the Church of England, they did so by enunciating some principle which he, as a Catholic, could not approve of. It was only a few nights ago that the hon. Member who moved this Bill to-day (Mr. Dillwyn) had directed another attack upon the Church of England in the shape of an Endowed Schools Bill, which declared that all schools, except certain foundations specially belonging to the Church of England, should be conducted without any religious distinctions whatever. The Endowed Schools Bill, although it would affect nearly 3,000 schools in Ireland, and although it established the system of mixed education in nearly all intermediate schools, was supported by every Catholic Member present except himself (Mr. Hennessy). The Catholic Members who thus supported an assault upon the educational principles of the Church of England gave a severe blow to the very principles of public instruction which their own Church had always maintained. He was of opinion that no alliance, particularly on educational or religious subjects, should be formed between the Catholic Members in the House of Commons and the English Protestant Dissenters. For his own part, he viewed with extreme jealousy any movement of the latter against the Church of England. However widely he might differ on points of doctrine from members of the Establishment, he differed still more widely from the Dissenters. It happened that the very point on which the Dissenters differed from the Church of England was a point on which the Dissenters differed also with the ancient Church. The history of the Divorce Bill—a measure carried by the Protestant Dissenters against the wishes and efforts of the Church Establishment—should show the Catholics the absolute necessity of independent action. He could not see that this alliance between English Dissenters and Irish Catholics was either just or expedient. Throughout this debate, and on every similar occasion when the Church of England was assailed by the Dissenters, the latter boasted of being the friends of toleration, and charged the Church with intolerance. No boast could be more idle, and no charge could be more unfair. The Church of England has been at all times more tolerant and more enlightened than the dissenting communities. At one time the Church suffered very severely on account of its desire to shelter Catholics from the persecution of English and Scotch Dissenters. Even in our own day, when the noble Lord the [Member for London introduced the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, Lord Shaftesbury declared that "he hoped he might be allowed to express his admiration of the conduct of the Dissenters, who had agreed to cast aside their various differences and to withhold their assaults on the State Church, for the purpose of making common cause against the common enemy;" and in the same speech the noble Lord strongly censures the Church of England on account of "its sympathy with certain doctrines, discipline, and tenets of the Church of Rome." An hon. Member opposite (Mr. Mellor) had appealed to history. He (Mr. Hennessy) was ready at once to answer that appeal. What had occurred, for instance, in that House about eighty or ninety years ago? At that time a bate took place which in many respects resembled the present one. Lord North and his Conservative colleagues introduced a Bill, which, amongst other provisions, established a system of church rates in Canada. These rates were for the maintenance of Catholic churches and the support of Catholic clergymen. The Protestant Dissenters opposed that Bill on exactly the same general grounds that they now oppose church rates. Lord North and his Conservatives defended those Catholic rates on exactly the same principles that the supporters of the Church of England now defend the Church from the attacks of the Dissenters. The Catholics of that day were deeply grateful to the Churchmen and Conservatives, who thus, in spite of the opposition of the Dissenters and of Mr. Fox, succeeded in securing the rates for Catholic purposes. The struggle now taking place was, in principle, precisely the same, but the position of the three parties was altered. In 1774 the Dissenters assailed the Catholics and attempted to prevent them from getting these rates. The Catholics succeeded in getting the rates, and they did so because the Churchmen in Parliament fought the battle on their behalf. In 1859 the Dissenters are assailing the Church of England for the same object, and with the same arguments. Under such circumstances he (Mr. Hennessy) felt that it was his duty to resist this attack. The Government had adopted the Bill now before the House; the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had formed a coalition with the Dissenters and with the Low Church party. It afforded him (Mr. Hennessy) much satisfaction to have this opportunity of voting against such a coalition.


The question for discussion has been so frequently debated that I should not have troubled the House were it not that an appeal was made to me to state my views on it. I am therefore unwilling that a vote should be taken without my having done so. In the first place, then, though the House is well aware of the nature of the church rate, I wish to state distinctly that it differs in character from all other local rates in this country in being a voluntary rate, for which the Court of Queen's Bench will not grant a mandamus, but which depends on the vote of the majority of the vestry. This character is peculiar to the church rate as distinguished from all other local rates, such as poor rates, highway rates, and county rates. [Lord JOHN MANNERS: The library rate?] Well, the library rate is a small rate created by a recent Act of Parliament; but such being the character of the church rate, I should wish to call the attention of the House to the manner in which the rate operates and the receipts and expenditure under it. The most recent Returns received by the House extend to 10,749 parishes, and they have been made on an average of the last seven years, ending in September, 1858; so that they do not exhibit the exact return for any one year, but show what is the average expenditure for each of the last seven years. The gross amount expended for all purposes of the church rate was £635,880, £336,000 being expended upon the repair of churches and churchyards, £173,400 upon the celebration of divine worship, and £95,500 for other purposes. The gross amount of the receipts from which the expenditure was defrayed amounted to £580,000, which was derived from three sources—namely, £263,700 from church rates, £48,000 from special endowments, and £269,500 from voluntary rates and subscriptions. According to these Returns, therefore, the receipts from voluntary rates and subscriptions for the expenditure of the Church exceed the produce of the church rates. I would call attention to the fact that the whole sum in dispute amounted to £263,700 on an average of seven years; but considering that the payment of church rates is rather diminishing than increasing, this sum represents probably a larger amount than was actually collected last year. We do not know what the total assessment for the church rates is; but, supposing those rates to be levied all over the kingdom, which is not the ease, the property liable to them does not differ materially from that subject to county rates. The value of the property assessed to the county rate is £64,900,000, and a penny rate upon that amount would produce £270,000. Now, assuming the church rate to be levied upon only half that amount of property, the present church rate would not exceed a charge of about 2d. in the pound. The House will therefore see that the objection to church rates is not likely to be entertained upon strictly pecuniary grounds, but that it arises from different causes. I apprehend that the opposition to church rates mainly arises from a conscientious objection on the part of Dissenters from the Established Church to contribute to the maintenance of a Church from the doctrines of which they differ. The objection to church rates in such cases is not attributable to their oppressive amount, but it is an objection on principle. There is, however, another class of objections on the part of members of the Established Church, which arises from the existence, in almost all large towns, of district churches. According to the law as it existed until a recent period, wherever district churches had been built, the entire parish contributed to the maintenance of the mother church, and each district had to maintain its own church by pew rents, or from some other source. The consequence was that members of the Church of England residing in the several districts were called upon to contribute to the maintenance of two churches—the mother church and their own district church. This state of things excited considerable discontent and in many large parishes in towns the church rate has been opposed by members of the Established Church upon that ground. There is also another reason which operates in certain parishes to occasion opposition to church rates,—when the clergyman of the Established Church is extremely unpopular with his parishioners, either from eccentricity of doctrine or from immorality of life. In such cases the parishioners— I was going to say avenge themselves, but at all events show their displeasure, by refusing to make a church rate. This, however, is a ground of refusal which happily is found in but few parishes. I believe, on the other hand, that in the vast majority of rural parishes a church rate is annually made with little or no objection, and if any hon. Member will take the last Return of church rates, and will refer to parishes in any archdeaconry in his own neighbourhood, he will find that in almost every exclusively rural parish a church rate is made either with or without objection. In a very largo number of town parishes, in which a large population is collected, and where property is very valuable, for one or other of the causes I have mentioned the church rate is withheld. In some cases it has been withheld for a long series of years, and in others for a shorter period, but in the great majority of town parishes, from one cause or another, church rates are not paid. This great difference exists between the practice of the town and country parishes, and hence hon. Gentlemen who seek to amend the present law by introducing one uniform principle of compulsory levy in all parishes, without reference to the distinction existing between town and country parishes, will find that their plans, when tried by the test of practicability, will break down, and that it is now practically impossible to establish any new system of church rates which does not take into account the distinction between rural and town parishes. The hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) made some remarks upon the nature of the grievance which now exists, and I differ from him slightly upon one point. Where the population almost exclusively belongs to the Established Church, which is the case in a very large number of rural parishes, the rate is made without objection, and therefore in such cases there is no practical grievance. In the town parishes where, from different causes, the opposition to a church rate is overwhelming, no rate is made, and there there is no practical grievance. A substitute has practically been found; the fabric of the Church is maintained; the services of the Church are provided for; and there is no grievance. I do not believe, indeed, that the members of the Established Church will themselves pretend that there is in the great majority of parishes in large towns any practical grievance with respect to the maintenance of the fabric and services of the Church. But the practical grievances exist in parishes where the minority is controlled by the majority. It is in consequence of the discontent which exists in parishes where the two parties come into collision, and where the dissentient party is unable to prevail upon the majority of the vestry to withhold the rate, that the present law works unfavourably, and that irritation and dissatisfaction prevail. It appears to me a complete fallacy to argue from the fact that a church rate is made in a large number of parishes that the system works without friction or without exciting discontent. It is in those parishes where a church rate is imposed upon a reluctant minority that the defects of the present system are felt. Since the decision of the House of Lords, with regard to the absence of all power in the minority of a vestry to bind the majority to a rate, it is in vain to talk of the provisions of the common law where it must be admitted that there is no court by which those provisions can be enforced. That state of the law, declared by the House of Lords not many years ago, has given rise to various proposals for its amendment; and the right hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole) brought in a Bill on this subject, which was entitled, "A Bill for facilitating a voluntary provision for the purposes to which church rates are applicable, and for the extinction of church rates where such provision is made." The title of that Bill, therefore, seems to point to the desirability of extinguishing church rates, and I believe that many hon. Gentlemen opposite are far from being satisfied with the present law, and appear to contemplate a state of things in which church rates, at least in their present form, shall cease to exist. Now, the right hon. Gentleman proposed to facilitate the extinction of church rates, in the first place, by substituting for those rates a voluntary charge upon land. I venture to express a confident opinion that such a substitute for church rates would be found wholly inoperative and illusory. I do not believe that the owners of land, whether they have merely life estates or are proprietors of the fee, would voluntarily make such a charge on their estates as would afford an equivalent for the existing church rates. Another substitution suggested in the Bill of the late Government was a transfer of the rate from the occupier to the landlord. It will be remembered that the difficulties which formerly existed in Ireland with regard to the collection of tithe for the Established Church were removed by the Tithe Commutation Act, which fixed the obligation of payment upon the landlords instead of the occupiers; and I think it not impossible, that if a change of this nature with reference to church rates had been pro- posed some years ago, it would have led to a practical solution of the question, inasmuch as, certainly in the country districts, and possibly in large towns, landlords generally would have paid the rate without any material objection. At the same time I am not prepared to say, that at this time any settlement of the question can be effected in that manner. One great difficulty connected with this proposal is, that it would practically annihilate the power of the vestries, because in many parishes the rates would be paid by one person, and as the church rate is one which the ratepayers may grant or withhold the maintenance of the Church in such parishes would be dependent upon the will of a single individual. The third plan proposed in this Bill of the right hon. Gentleman is the conversion of the present church rate into a compulsory rate levied exclusively upon members of the Established Church in the parishes in which they reside. I confess that if the matter were left to my individual decision, I see great advantages in such a system; and I have more than once, both in and out of this House, recommended a plan founded upon that principle. I believe that if hon. Gentlemen opposite had been willing to accede to that plan—for when it was first proposed they met it with very decided opposition—it might have been adopted with the general concurrence of hon. Members on both sides of this House; but, as it often happens, a fair proposal unreasonably refused is not repeated. I do not sec in the position in which we now stand that there is any probability that the Government would be able to induce the House to agree to any compromise founded upon that principle. The three solutions of the difficulties of the existing system to which I have referred appearing to be, on different grounds, impracticable. I will now call the attention of the House to the objections which are made to the principle of the Bill under discussion for the total and immediate abolition of church rates, and to the evils which, it is said, will be likely to result from its adoption. If I understand the argument of hon. Gentleman opposite, the great evil anticipated from the cessation of the compulsory power of levying £260,000 a year is that the churches generally throughout the country will fall into decay, and that sufficient means will not be obtained for sustaining the fabric of the church, and defraying the charges for its services. The right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge in proposing his measure dwelt most emphatically upon the guilt this nation would incur if it suffered the fabrics of the Established Church to fall into ruin and decay. He quoted a passage from a Roman poet, describing the destruction and ruin of the temples of an ancient State, which had ensued from the evils and disorders of a long civil war. The passage, which hon. Gentlemen who were members of the late Parliament will remember, was:— Delicta majorum immentus lues, Romane; donec templa refeceris, Ædesque labentes Deorum,et Fœda nigro simulacra fumo. When I advert to the facts which wore mentioned by the hon. Member for Leeds, I cannot but think that the description given by the right hon. Gentleman of the sin of this nation in the probable neglect of its churches, however applicable it might be to the desecration of the churches of France after the Revolution of 1789, and to their state at the re-establishment of the church by the First Consul at the beginning of the present century, is entirely inapplicable to the state of things in this country. If I had to describe what has taken place of late years in England with regard to the attention paid to the fabric of the church and to church architecture, I should say that during the last ten or twenty years church building had undergone a revival. There is hardly any subject of national interest about which a greater number of persons have been employed, sonic from religious motives, and others perhaps from motives connected with the cultivation of art. We know that a section which has of late years grown up within the Established Church, and which approximates to the Roman doctrines, has distinguished itself by peculiar attention to church architecture, and persons in the Church entertaining very different opinions have also made most laudable and munificent exertions for the restoration of existing chinches and the construction of new ones. I confess, therefore, that if there is any national sin with which this country is less likely to be chargeable than any other, I think it is that of neglecting the repair and construction of her churches. It is my firm belief that if this compulsory tax of £260,000 a year upon the population of England and Wales were to cease, no serious difference would be perceived in the general main- tenance of the Church, or in the funds by which new churches might be constructed. I admit that there may be certain remote and rural parishes where the landlords perhaps are non-resident, or where the population is poor, in which considerable difficulty may be experienced in obtaining from the inhabitants the funds necessary for the maintenance of the Church; but I will not believe, taking the country through, that it would be found the churches would fall into disrepair. I therefore regard this, which is one of the main objections put forward to the abolition of church rates, as wholly unfounded and chimerical. But when I state my utter disbelief in the reality and soundness of that objection, I do not deny that there are many objections to the abolition of a compulsory church rate. Although a church rate is made upon the vote of a majority of the vestry, it does in a vast number of rural parishes operate in practice as a compulsory rate, and if you remove the obligation where the rate is at present paid without any serious objection or difficulty, you make a change in the existing distribution of property, and you virtually relieve property from a charge to which it is now, if not legally, at least practically, liable. I do not doubt that funds would be found from some source or another if the present rate were remitted, but I do doubt whether the distribution would be so equitable, or whether the voluntary mode of contribution substituted would on the whole work so advantageously in a large number of rural parishes, where at present no opposition exists, as is the case under the present system. Still with all the force that attaches to this objection, as it appears to me that none of the intermediate plans in the nature of compromise are likely to receive the sanction of this House, as I see no prospect of any agreement upon any one of those plans, and as it seems to me that in attempting to maintain the existing system of church rates we shall only be continuing a fruitless struggle, I am prepared to give my vote for the second reading of the Bill. I would, however, suggest that in the event of the Legislature, either now or at some future period, agreeing to the principle of the Bill now under consideration, it might be possible to establish an organized system by legislative enactments, which would give some facility and some not inconsiderable assistance, with regard to the receipt, the custody, and the administration of volun- tary rates and subscription for maintaining the Established Church and meeting the objects to which church rates are at present applicable. I shall not now lay before the House any detailed plan on the subject, but I think it might be possible to construct an organized parochial system which would be applicable in cases where local funds might prove insufficient. In order to afford assistance to those parishes in which local funds proved inadequate, it might be feasible to constitute Diocesan Boards, which should have powers with respect to the collection and distribution of money. This is the view which, after the best consideration I have been able to give to the subject, I take of the question before the House, and I cannot help expressing my confident opinion—although I confess I express it with reluctance—that unless, as I do not expect will be the case, the state of things foreshadowed by the right hon. Member for Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) should arise—unless all agitation against church rates should cease, and all parishes should agree to live harmoniously under the present law, it will be found impracticable to induce the Legislature to consent to any of the other solutions of this difficulty to which I have referred.


said, he had listened with the greatest pleasure and delight to nine-tenths of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, containing as it did a candid admission of the extreme futility of the objections commonly urged against church rates. To his great astonishment, however, the right hon. Gentleman's admirable preface had been followed by a most lame and impotent conclusion. For he came to the conclusion that it would be right to give his support to the second reading of this Bill, which in rural parishes would, according to his own statement, set up a less just and equitable system than it proposed to remove. And what was his argument? Beginning with an accurate description of the past and present state of the law on this subject, he went on to establish, in a clear and satisfactory manner, that the grievances of the Dissenters could not arise from the pecuniary pressure of church rates, but rather from their conscientious scruples to pay them. Now, however much force there might have been in the latter class of objections previous to the rejection of the late Bill of the right hon. Member for Cambridge University, putting an end ab- solutely and for ever to the alleged conscientious scruples of Dissenters in regard to this impost, yet, since the rejection of that measure, not by Churchmen, who might perhaps naturally have thought the liberal compromise it proposed went to the very verge of concession; but by those who more especially represented the Nonconformist interest, aided, he regretted to say, by many members of the present Ministry, it was impossible any longer fairly to urge this plea against church rates. Therefore, what had formerly been avowed out of doors might now be taken to be practically avowed within that House, and the present Bill, instead of being viewed as a measure for the relief of tender consciences aggrieved at the exaction of church rates, might be regarded as designed to subvert and destroy one of the fundamental principles of the existing constitution, namely, the union between Church and State. The right hon. Gentleman then proved how infinitesimal the grievance was; that in the great mass of the rural parishes this impost was paid without opposition or difficulty, while in the great commercial and manufacturing towns church rates had long ceased to be levied, the question being decided in the comparatively few remaining places where they were resisted according to the English principle of the minority yielding to the majority; and having also shown that any substitute for church rates would be less equitable and unobjectionable than that impost, he ended by saying he should support the second reading of this Bill. True, when the mischief had been done by abolishing church rates, the right hon. Gentleman held out a vague hope that at some future time he might propose the establishment of a diocesan Board to receive and distribute the funds that might be raised according to some plan, in the justness and sufficiency of which the right hon. Gentleman had himself no confidence; but was that the mode in which a member of Her Majesty's Government ought to treat a great and fundamental question of this kind? One part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was historically inaccurate. When exhausting the various schemes of compromise that had been suggested on this subject, he referred in terms of approval to the proposal made by Dr. Phillimore for the personal exemption of Dissenters, and cast the responsibility of rejecting that solution of the question on Members of the Opposition, who called themselves the friends of the Church. Now, if the right hon. Gentleman would turn to the records of their debates and divisions, he would find that he was in error. Dr. Phillimore's Bill was thrown out on the second reading by a narrow majority of 22, 185 Members voting for it, and 207 against it; and in the minority ranked, generally speaking, the great Conservative party, while in the majority ranked the Liberal party, headed by the present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Sir G. Grey), and by the representatives of the Dissenters, Sir William Clay and Sir Morton Peto. The right hon. Gentleman thought no evil would result from the abolition of church rates, because a large sum was now raised spontaneously to build and sustain new churches, and if this impost were withdrawn the void would be supplied by an increase of the same individual liberality. The fallacy of this argument was remarkable, proceeding as it did from so eminent a logician. The existing system, which the right hon. Gentleman eulogized, was partly voluntary and partly compulsory, and he asked them to abolish its present composite character, and yet to expect the same results to follow inevitably from the new system. That surely was a mode of reasoning upon which the House could hardly be induced to surrender an impost which had existed for 1,000 years, and which, let hon. Gentlemen talk as they pleased, had really secured to the poor of this country, without price, the free services of the Church of England. After the decision come to on the church-rate Bill of the late Government they might fall back upon the existing system, wholly unpledged and unfettered by anything that had previously passed. For himself he had no hesitation in taking that course, though he had always been anxious to relieve the conscientious scruples of Dissenters. He entirely agreed with a remark of the present Secretary of State for War (Mr. S. Herbert) —namely, that, after all, the present system was right, was easily defensible, that it worked well, and was far better than any of the substitutes offered for it. This opinion was expressed by the Secretary of State for War only a few short months ago, and it was to be hoped that that right hon. Gentleman was not now going to follow the lead of his right hon. Colleague in support of a Bill which the Government admitted to be unnecessary, and denounced as unjust, throwing the whole question open, and providing no substitute for what was to be taken away. Would that right hon. Gentleman combine with those who made no secret that in voting for the second reading they would do so for the express purpose of making the first great inroad against our existing institutions in Church and State? In conclusion, he wished to express his thanks to the hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Du Cane) for his most admirable speech in opposition to this measure, and he would always he happy to follow so good a leader in so good a cause.


explained that he had not referred to Dr. Phillimore's Bill, but to a plan subsequently brought forward, he believed, by those with whom he was now acting, and which was received with disapprobation by hon. Gentlemen opposite.


said, that he felt himself bound to address a few words to the House on the present occasion. They had had that day two speeches from the opposite side of the House of a retrograde character. One was the speech of the right hon. Member for Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), and the other was the speech of the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy). The right hon. Gentleman said it was his desire to leave the matter where it was. Let them remember that that right hon. Gentleman was a Member of a Government who introduced a Bill the principle of which was that the minority should not be obliged to pay for the church of the majority. The hon. Member for the King's County called on the Roman Catholic Members not to assist the Dissenters in this attack on the Church. But the Bill was no attack on the Church; it was not a step to abolish the connection between Church and State. They would only strengthen the Church by doing away with a grievance and an injustice. Look at what had been done in Ireland. In Ireland a measure had been carried by which tithes were no longer paid by the tenant, and no less than ten bishoprics abolished, with about one-fourth of the revenues of the Church. Yet the Irish Church, so far from being weakened, was stronger and more firmly established in connection with the State than ever before. The hon. Gentleman also asked the Roman Catholics to oppose the Bill, as they enjoyed the grant to Maynooth. If the hon. Gentleman put the grant to Maynooth on that footing, it was not worth two years' purchase; if it was put in the same boat with church rates, it would not last long. The hon. Gentleman ought not to forget the obligation owed by the Roman Catholics to the Dissenters of England. What would have become of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill but for the support of the Liberal party comprising so many Dissenters? The question must soon be settled; until it was, the Church would be weakened and society disturbed.


Sir, the result of this debate has so narrowed the question which has been discussed in this House for some years past that I am anxious not to repeat things that have been said either by myself or by others; but I wish to indicate to the House the exact point at which we have now arrived. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary dates this question truly from the decision of the House of Lords in the Braintree case. The natural way of getting rid of the evil then introduced was by bringing in a law to put church rates on the same ground as all other rates. This was the business of the bishops, but they did not do it; and, they having neglected their duty, there is certainly a grievance in the great towns, where additional churches have been built, and where the whole produce of the rates goes to the original parish church, leaving none at all for the new churches. Upon this the Dissenters have founded two grievances—one of them true, and the other false. The true grievance I have already mentioned; the false one is the plea of conscience. An hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baines) has told us how matters stood at the origin of Christianity. Why, in those early days a conscience was a troublesome thing, and cost people a good deal. The modern consciences of Dissenters gain them a good deal. For such consciences, Sir, I have neither respect nor tenderness. You have, I think, been very much shooting in ambush—exercising something after the fashion of the rifle corps. You have been discussing various collateral issues, being afraid to touch the main point. The Dissenters have, as I have said before, honestly told you in this House and out of it, that the question is a contest à l'outrance— Established Church or no Established Church. There is no disguising it. The noble Lord who spoke last has told us we had two retrograde speeches to-day. Of course, to get rid of the Established Church is an exemplification of progress. But which way are you progressing? Did the Romans or the Greeks—do the Sepoys or the Chinese, or any other people in the world, ever think of such a thing as a nation without an established church? On this ground I oppose the Bill of the hon. Gentleman as I opposed the Bill of my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge, and as I will oppose every Bill that enters into a compromise on these matters. For there are questions where you had better stand out to the last and be ruined than give way. It is stated of Prince Metternich that a very short time before his death he wrote a letter to the Emperor of Austria, in which he said, "Make no peace. Fight for what is your own; and rather give up Vienna to be sacked than compromise one tittle of your right." I say that is the counsel of duty, the counsel of principle; but it is not the counsel of expediency or of Liberalism.


said, he would not have trespassed on the House but for the appeal made by the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) to Roman Catholics. He believed he and every other Catholic Member would go into a different lobby from the hon. Member. From 1852 he had always supported the principle of this Bill, and would still do so. This was not an attack on the institution of the Church, but an attack on an abuse. It was not fair to make a Roman Catholic or a Dissenter pay for the worship of a Protestant. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland was entirely voluntary, yet what was the result? Every day saw new churches and convents rising up. So also if church rates were done away with the Protestants of England would be able to maintain their Church. In all the battles for Catholic freedom the Dissenters had supported them, and he would now return that support. The Established Church in Ireland was not a bulwark of liberty, but a monument of oppression. Take the case of a Roman Catholic landlord forced to pay a Protestant clergyman, who rendered no service to him or his tenants. The Establishment was an abuse, and the Irish Roman Catholics would be every day calling with a louder voice on the Dissenters of England to aid them in their attack on it.


Sir, I am anxious to state in a very few words the grounds upon which I shall give my deliberate vote in support of the Bill before the House. I think that I have never hitherto voted for a Bill of this description. [Laughter from the Opposition.] I am very glad to see that those who are themselves patterns and models of converts receive with such joy others who are also converts to an opinion which they have not always entertained. I have thought, and I still think, that it is essential for the interest and the honour of the country, as well as for the sake of religion, that the fabrics of our national Church should be maintained; and if it had been possible to continue; the system under which that object is accomplished by a rate I should have preferred that that system should be adhered to. But when I find from repeated instances that the public opinion of the nation, not only out of doors, hut in Parliament, has been declared strongly and by great majorities in favour of a change in this respect, I cannot set my individual preference against the force of that public opinion, and I am compelled to look about and see whether the same end cannot be attained by some other and less objectionable means. I find that we have vast numbers of district churches, fine structures, admirably built, well maintained, capable of receiving large congregations, erected and supported without the aid of church rates, and answering all the purposes for which such edifices are designed. I ask myself, then, whether it may not be possible for the parish churches of this country to be maintained in a similar manner? And it appears to me that arrangements may be made by which a sufficient provision shall be secured for the support of our parish churches, by the same means as those by which our district churches are constructed and maintained. Hon. Gentlemen have entered into and discussed the motives in which this opposition to church rates originates. Sir, I do not pretend to do that. I am persuaded, however, of this, that, although Dissenters may, for reasons of which they are entitled to be the judges, object to this impost, there are many cases in which they would voluntarily contribute to the maintenance and repair of churches which are ornaments of the cities and towns in which they live; and that their liberality of sentiment would induce them to give freely and spontaneously that which, upon principle, whether well or ill-founded, they refuse when it is demanded of them by compulsion. Then, Sir, I am ready to vote for the second reading of the Bill. I trust that in Committee arrangements may be devised—[Laughter from the Opposition] —yes, these are the Gentlemen who cheered to the echo a right hon. Member of the late Government (Sir B. Bulwer Lytton) in the discussion on the last Reform Bill, when, going through point after point of their measure, he said again and again to different objectors, "Ah! prove your case; that is a question for the Committee." These rapturous and enthusiastic applauders of a right hon. Member of their Government, who sought to evade pressure by referring his critics to the Committee, are now, forsooth, disposed to treat with levity and contumely a proposal to modify the details of this Bill in Committee! I hope that in Committee we shall have from them the same assistance which they would have given in the case of the Reform Bill. Again, it is said that the abolition of compulsory church rates would be destructive to the Established Church. I repudiate that argument. I think it is unfair to the Church of England to put its maintenance upon such a ground. I am convinced that the Church rests upon the affection and respect of the people, and that if it is ever to fall it will he not by the abolition of church rates but by the faults of its own ministers and members. I see no such faults at the present moment; the contrary, indeed, is manifested in the conduct of the clergy of the Established Church, and I am persuaded that the exemplary proceedings of its ministers and of those who belong to its communion will tend year after year to rivet still more strongly the attachment which now exists among the great majority of the people. So far, therefore, from agreeing with those who think that church rates are necessary and should be maintained for the support of the Established Church, I believe that the abolition of an impost which is disliked not only by Dissenters, but in many cases also by members of the Church itself, will tend to strengthen and extend the established religion of the country.


Sir, I have listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Viscount, and I quite agree with him that changes of opinion upon all subjects of public importance are open to every Gentleman who wishes to profit by the lessons of reflection and experience. The noble Lord has, upon several occasions, made interesting announcements of changes in his opinion to the House. I remember, when I first entered the House of Commons, he informed us that he had become a juvenile Whig. I am bound to say that was a change which brought to his party great power and lustre, and if I thought that by any change of opinion upon the present occasion he could assist a happy solution of a long-vexed question, I should not regret that the noble Lord had altered his views. Some Session or two ago, he advocated a conclusion very different from that which he has just recommended to the House. But the question is, seeing that the noble Lord has changed his opinion, has he come forward to-day in a manner becoming the difficulties of the situation, and has he indicated any course which ought at once to make us recognize him as one capable of a policy that will extricate us, in a wise and dignified manner, from the difficulty which every one must have experienced and acknowledged? I could collect nothing from the speech of the noble Lord which could give satisfaction to the House in that respect. The noble Lord has entered into some general arguments against church rates, which, if they amounted to anything, seemed to imply that the noble Lord is in favour of a voluntary system with respect to ecclesiastical establishments. A larger question could not be discussed, but the noble Lord, descending to details, has adverted to the satisfactory conclusions at which we ought to arrive from our experience of district churches. He has compared a district church with a parochial church. A district church, he says, has no rate, and yet it is built and maintained in a manner than which nothing could be more gratifying and satisfactory. But the noble Lord forgets that district churches are not churches of yesterday; that they existed and flourished when he addressed the House, not against, but as the earnest advocate of church rates. The noble Lord cannot believe that if we agree to the present Bill any of those serious results which have been so often predicted will occur. But who, let me ask, has impressed upon Parliament the conviction that the proposition of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Trelawny), if accepted, will lead to changes of the most serious and even revolutionary character, in a manner so forcible and so grave, and with so deep a sense of responsibility, as a not insignificant colleague of the noble Lord? I have heard sketches given by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House of what might be the possible consequence of abolishing church rates. I have heard from this side some views which may, perhaps, have appeared to me to be overstated or too highly coloured; but I have heard nothing that in its consequences, in its comprehensive view of disastrous results, can for a moment compete with that great historical sketch which the noble Lord the Member for the City of London offered to us not more than two years ago. Yet the first Minister of the Crown now rises in his place, and now speaks as if there were no persons in this House who have ever contemplated serious consequences from the change now proposed but hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side. But the noble Lord tells us, that although in favour of the abolition of church rates, he thinks that some substitute should be supplied, and he adds that this should be done in Committee. All the difficult questions of modern politics are no longer to be settled by the deliberate voice of a Senate; we are to leave them in future to the labours of Committee. The noble Lord has reminded us today, for the fourth time, of a speech made by a distinguished Member of the late Government, in which, referring to certain questions of detail that were then before the House, he said that Committee was the proper place for their consideration. That eminent Gentleman has achieved great celebrity, not only in politics, but also in other spheres of human distinction; but I believe there never was an individual who has obtained for one speech such an enduring celebrity as the right hon. Member for Hertfordshire, for that delivered during the discussion on the late Reform Bill. It really has become the stock in trade of the present Ministers to refer to that speech, and to avoid all the difficulties which press upon them by recommending that they should be settled in Committee, according to the prescription of my late colleague. I beg to say, however, with great deference to the noble Lord, that the question which we discussed last night, and that which we are discussing to-day are both of them questions of principle and not of detail, and questions of which those who offered a policy to us should include in their Bills at least the outlines of a settlement. It is not my intention to cast any reflection upon the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock. He has on this, as on every occasion, in a manly and straightforward manner, expressed his opinions, and has recommended to us the adoption of the only course which he believes will carry them into effect. He thinks that church rates ought to be abolished; he does not think that a substitute ought to be supplied. But Ministers are not of that opinion. I do not re- fer merely to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, with whose extravagant notions I never could agree, because I could never think that church rates were in the English constitution what the noble Lord has more than once represented them to be; but some of his colleagues have to-day, in their more temperate and tempered view of the question, acknowledged that if the proposed change took place, a substitute ought to be furnished. What I say, then, is that if such is their opinion they are bound to supply that substitute, or at all events not to support any measure which is recommended to the House without proposing a remedy which they think so desirable. But if, under ordinary circumstances, we lay down as a principle that a Government which believes that a substitute ought to be furnished for a rate which it is prepared to abolish is bound to support no proposition which does not meet that necessity, how much more strongly should we insist upon it in the case of Ministers who have on more than one occasion with matured experience and an extensive acquaintance with the subject, given it as their opinion that the existing order of things ought to be maintained. The course which the Government is taking is not statesmanlike. It cannot be said that the legislation of the country is carried on in a becoming manner when you have a Ministry which acknowledges that changes are necessary, which states that the change proposed is not desirable, but which at the same time is not prepared to propose a measure calculated to meet the necessities of the case. I cannot conceive any position which can be more injurious to the public welfare than the one now occupied by noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am prepared to admit that the present state of the question is highly unsatisfactory. I do not intend to discuss the merits of the proposal made by the late Government, but it was at least an honest and sincere effort, and I say that any Minister who professes the opinions of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton is bound to make an attempt to settle the question. If the noble Lord and his colleagues are prepared to adopt the views of the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock, they are quite justified in the vote they are going to give. If they came forward and said that the principle upon which church rates are levied is essentially unjust and intolerable I could understand them, and, though I should myself shrink from the respon- sibilty which a policy of abolition must entail upon any Ministry, I would be prepared at least to give them credit for a sincere and straightforward course. But I do not gather from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who is the most recent convert upon this subject, that the limits of his conversion reached to that point. He is ready to abolish church rates, but he announces at the same time that a substitute ought to be supplied. Who ought to supply that substitute? If the Ministers of the Crown are incapable of presenting a measure to the House, where are we to look for the persons, the power, or the authority competent and capable to deal with such a question? I protest against the subject being treated in this manner. It is the duty of the Government either to support the present law, of course expressing upon its policy all the conclusions at which, after mature reflection, they may have arrived, or at once to accept the Bill proposed by the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock, and so tell us that they are not prepared to offer a substitute for the impost which they are going to terminate. Such, I think, is a fair view of the case. For my own part, I am still of opinion, notwithstanding the failure of recent attempts, that the question may yet be settled in a manner satisfactory to the country. That, however, may be a matter of doubt, but I am quite certain that no Ministry is justified in voting for the abolition of church rates, while at the same time it acknowledges that a substitute ought to be supplied, and shrinks from the responsibility of affording the remedy which the country has a right to demand.


Sir, I wish to state as shortly as I can the reasons why I shall give my vote for the second reading of this Bill. I have, as the House is aware, defended the continuance of church rates, and I feel very much flattered by the remark of the right hon. Gentleman opposite that I have done so effectively. Certainly I did so to the best of my power, and not feebly or evasively. I am sorry, however, to say that in the efforts which I made to prevent the abolition of church rates I had no countenance or support from the right hon. Gentleman. I had to fight what I thought a good cause without any assistance from the great leader of the Conservative party. When it was a question of the maintenance of church rates, and my noble Friend and myself fought the battle much to the displeasure of hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, the leader of the Conservative party was entirely silent. Not a word had he to say for church rates, but now when public opinion has become, I regret to say, more and more in favour of abolition, the right hon. Gentleman comes forward and makes a speech rather of despair than otherwise on behalf of a cause which, when it was in conflict and doubt, he never defended. Now, as to the position of the question. The right hon. Gentleman says that if we maintain that church rates are utterly unjust and intolerable we shall be justified in voting for the second reading of the present Bill. I make no such assertion, nor do I understand that my noble Friend has made any such assertion. I do not think there is injustice in church rates. But I cannot conceal from myself the fact that the progress of public opinion has been entirely favourable to the cause to which I was opposed. There can be no doubt about that, and let me add—a point worthy of remarking—that though the opponents of church rates have been divided into two portions, it was against only one of them that I addressed the arguments which I used in this House. There are some who say that church rates are unnecessary, and that if they were abolished the Church would be more secure and would possess more of the affection of the people. There are others who say that it is incompatible with religious liberty that there should be any compulsory payment on account of religion. It was against those who used this latter argument that I opposed myself, and I should be equally ready to do so now. My argument was, that if there should be no compulsory payment on account of religion, then church rates must at once go, but that there is no very wide interval between that question and the question of tithes. Therefore, I said, I cannot support the abolition of church rates upon that ground. But the views of the other party are becoming more popular every day, and now the general belief is that church rates being unnecessary might be abolished without injury to the Church; nay, on the contrary, that their abolition would prove an advantage to the Church. What occurred, for example, at the recent election for the West Riding of Yorkshire? The two Liberal candidates, as might have been expected, declared that they were for the abolition of church rates—a declaration most agreeable, no doubt, to the great majority of the electors of that immense constituency. But what did the Conservative candidate say? Did he promise to stand up for church rates as absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the Established Church? Far from it. He was ready to give up that question, and unhesitatingly declared that it elected a Member of Parliament he would vote for the abolition of church rates. In fact, he had voted against them upon a former occasion, and claimed the support of even the Conservative electors upon that ground. Again, in this House, we at one time had majorities of sixty or seventy. Those majorities gradually dwindled down to twenty or thirty; at length they came to be on the other side, and for several years past there has been a considerable majority in favour of abolition. Then I have had to consider whether it was worth the while of the Church to stand upon the authority of Parliament, or rather upon the authority of the House of Lords alone, against a movement that has made great progress in the country, not only in those parishes where church rates have been contested, but in every part of the kingdom. I have had other questions to consider— questions relating, some of them at least, to the various compromises that have been proposed from time to time. Many churchmen and some bishops have thought that the question might be settled upon the following basis—that there should be two laws, a law of obligation for members of the Church, and a law not of obligation for Dissenters. I could not but see that such a change would be far more disastrous than the abolition of church rates, because a Church may well exist, as the Established Church of Ireland exists, without church rates,—for an Established Church and a church rate do not necessarily go together —whereas if you were to make a distinction and say that certain persons belonged to the Church and certain others did not, and that those who did not had not the same obligations as those who did, you would in fact separate for ever, and in all things, those who are divided now only by opinion and habit, which change from day to day. A man who has been going to a Dissenting chapel for a few months or a few years, finding that the service of the Church is better performed, or that the doctrine which is preached there is more conformable to the Gospel, may change his habits or his opinions, and again become a member of the Established Church. It is one thing to leave that daily-changing line of opinion and habit, and another to draw a marked line of separation by law, putting on one side all who belonged to the Established Church, and upon the other all who do not adhere to her communion. Such a proposal as that to which I have adverted would, if carried into effect, be very mischievous, and, instead of strengthening the Church, would degrade her into the Church, not of the nation, but only of a very powerful sect. That appears to me a question of great importance. Be it remembered, also, that there has been a great change in the aspect of this question of late years. When this question first arose there appeared little chance that if church rates were abolished the fabrics of the Church could be kept up by means of voluntary offerings, but we have seen of late years that the Established Church has become much stronger and has had much more popular acceptance, and the result is that the amount of contributions which have been made for new churches, the endowment of ministers, and other purposes of a similar kind, is far larger than twenty years ago would have been deemed possible. Moreover, the amount of compulsory church rates has very much diminished. It used to be £500,000 and upwards, while now it is about £260,000. A larger sum is derived from the voluntary contributions of the people. Considering, then, all these things, I have asked myself whether it was not probable that, if we abolished church rates and depended alone upon the voluntary contributions of the people, the various churches throughout the country would be repaired and maintained precisely as at present. There may be questions in Committee with respect, I will not say to a substitute, but to such regulations as may be deemed necessary for the collection of the voluntary offerings of the people; but what we have to decide now—I readily admit it—is the question whether the fabrics of the Church should be maintained by a compulsory vote or by voluntary contributions. I doubt whether any compromise could be made acceptable to this House or the country, but, so far from believing that the present Bill will destroy the Established Church, I am convinced that such a proposition would not meet with the approbation of this House, nor do I think that the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock has such an object in view. He thinks that the Church will be better supported and will become more popular if the compulsory rates are abolished. Such is one strong argument in favour of his Bill. Neither my noble Friend nor myself say that the exaction of church rates is unjust and intolerable, but we do say, looking at the state of public opinion out of doors, and looking at the feeling of this House, that it will be better and safer for the Church to rely upon the voluntary offerings of the people than to continue a compulsory rate which is disliked by almost all classes of the community.

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

The House divided;-Ayes 263; Noes 193: Majority 70.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Sir J. D. Clive, G.
Adam, W. P. Cogan, W. H. F.
Agnew, Sir A. Coke, hon. Col.
Alcock, T. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Andover, Visct. Collier, R. P.
Angerstein, W. Coningham, W.
Antrobus, E. Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.
Ashley, Lord Craufurd, E. H. J.
Atherton, W. Crossley, F.
Ayrton, A. S. Dalglish R.
Bagwell, J. Davey, R.
Bailey, C. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Ball, E. Davie, Col. F.
Baring, H. B. Deasy, R.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Denison, hon. W.
Bass, M. T. Denman, hon. G.
Baxter, W. E. Divett, E.
Beale, S. Dodson, J. G.
Beamish, F. B. Douglas, Sir C.
Beaumont, W. B. Duff, M. E. G.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Duff, Major L. D. G.
Berkeley, Col. F. W. F. Dunbar, Sir W.
Biddulph, Col. Duncan, Visct.
Biggs, J. Duncombe, T.
Black, A. Dundas, F.
Bonham-Carter, J. Dunlop, A. M.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Brady, J. Egerton, E. C.
Brand, hon. H. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bright, J. Ellice, E.
Briscoe, J. I. Elphinstone, Sir J. D.
Bristow, A. R. Ennis, J.
Brocklehurst, J. Esmonde, J.
Bruce, H. A. Euston, Earl of
Buchanan, W. Evans, T. W.
Buckley, Gen. Ewart, W.
Bulkeley, Sir R. Ewart, J. C.
Buller, J. W. Ewing, H. E. C.
Bury, Visct. Fenwick, H.
Butler, C. S. Ferguson, Col.
Buxton, C. Fermoy, Lord
Byng, hon. G. Finlay, A. S.
Caird, J. FitzGerald, rt. hon. J. D.
Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G. Fitz Roy, rt. hon. H.
Foley, J. H.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Foley, H. W.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Foljambe, F. J. S.
Castlerosse, Visct. Forster, C.
Cavendish, hon. W. Fortescue, hon. F. D.
Clay, J. Fortescue, C. S.
Clifford, C. C. Fox. W. J.
Clifford, Col. Freeland, H. W.
Garnett, W. J. Moncreiff, J.
Gavin, Major Monk, C. J.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Monson, hon. W. J.
Gilpin, C. Morris, D.
Glyn, G. C. Mostyn, hn. T. E. M. L.
Glyn, G. G. Napier, Sir C.
Gower, hon. F. L. Noble, J. W.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. North, F.
Greenwood, J. O'Donoghoe, The
Gregory, W. H. O'Ferrall, rt. hn. R. M.
Gregson, S. Onslow, G.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Paget, C.
Grey, R. W. Paget, Lord C.
Gurney, S. Palmerston, Visct.
Hadfield, G. Paxton Sir J.
Hanbury, R. Pease, H.
Handley, J. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Hankey, T. Perry, Sir T. E.
Hanmer, Sir J. Peto, Sir S. M.
Harcourt, G. G. Pigott, F.
Hardcastle, J. A. Pilkington, J.
Headlam, rt. hon. T. E. Pinney, Col.
Heneage, G. F. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Henley, Lord Ponsonby, hon. A.
Herbert, rt. hon. H. A. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Hodgkinson, G. Price, W. P.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Pryse, E. L.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Pugh, D., Carmarthen
Hutt, W. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Ingham, R. Raynham, Visct.
Ingram, H. Ricardo, O.
James, E. Rich, H.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Ridley, G.
Johnstone, Sir J. Robartes, T. J. A.
Keating, Sir H. S. Robertson, D.
Kershaw, J. Roebuck, J. A.
King, hon. P. J. L. Russell, Lord J.
Kinglake, A. W. Russell, H.
Kinglake, J. A. Russell, A.
Kingscote, Col. St. Aubyn, J.
Knatchbull-Hugessen. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Salt, T.
Laing, S. Schenley, E. W. H.
Langton, W. H. G. Schneider, H. W.
Lanigan, J. Scholefield, W.
Laslett, W. Scott, Sir W.
Lawson, W. Scrope, G. P.
Leatham, E. A. Seymour, H. D.
Leatham, W. H. Shafto, R. D.
Lee, W. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Levinge, Sir R. Sheridan, R. B.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C. Sheridan, H. B.
Lindsay, W. S. Smith, J. B.
Locke, Joseph Smith, A.
Locke, John Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. M.
Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Lyons, Dr. Staniland, M.
Lysley, W. J. Stansfield, J.
Mackie, J. Steel, J.
Mackinnon, Wm, Alex. (Lymington) Stuart, Lord J.
Stuart, Col.
Maguire, J. F. Sullivan, M.
Mainwaring, T. Sykes, Col. W. H.
Marsh, M. H. Talbot, C. R. M.
Martin, P. W. Taylor, H.
Martin, J. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Massey, W. N. Tomline, G.
Matheson, A. Turner, J. A.
Mellor, J. Vane, Lord H.
Merry, J. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Mildmay, H. F. Vivian, H. H.
Miller, W. Walter, J.
Mills, T. Walters, R.
Watkins, Col. L. Willoughby, Sir H.
Wemyss, J. H. E. Wilson, rt. hn. J.
Western, S. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Westhead, J. P. B. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Whalley, G. H. Wynne, C. G.
Whitbread, S. Wyvill, M.
White, Col. L.
Wickham, H. W. TELLERS.
Willcox, B. M'G. Dillwyn, L. L.
Williams, W. Baines, E.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Anson, hon. C. Goddard, A. L.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Gordon, C. W.
Astell, J. H. Gore, J. R. O.
Baring, T. Gore, W. R. O.
Barrow, W. H. Graham, Lord W.
Bathurst, A. A. Griffith, C. D.
Beach, W. W. B. Grogan, Sir E.
Bective, Earl of Hamilton, Lord C.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Hamilton, J. H.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Hanbury, hon. Capt.
Bernard, T. T. Hardy, G.
Blackburn, P. Hartopp, E. B.
Bond, J. W. M'G. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Booth, Sir R. G. Hennessy, J. P.
Botfield, B. Henniker, Lord
Bramston, T. W. Herbert, Col. P.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Heygate, Sir F. W.
Brooks, R. Hill, Lord E.
Bruce, Major C. Hill, hon. R. C.
Bruen, H. Hoare, J.
Burghley, Lord Holdford, R. S.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Holmesdale, Visct.
Cartwright, Col. Hood, Sir A. A.
Cave, S. Hope, G. W.
Cecil, Lord R. Hopwood, J. T.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Hornby, W. H.
Clinton, Lord R. Howes, E.
Close, M. C. Hubbard, J. G.
Cochrane, A. D.R.W.B. Hume, W. W. F.
Codrington, Sir W. Hunt, G. W.
Cole, hon. Col. Ingestre, Visct.
Cole, hon. J. L. Jervis, Capt.
Conolly, T. Joliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Darner, S. D. Jolliffe, H. H.
Dawson, R. P. Kekewich, S. T.
Deedes, W. Kelly, Sir F.
Dickson, Col. Kendall, N.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Kennard, R. W.
Drummond, H. Kerrison, Sir E. C.
Duncombe, hon. A. King, J. K.
Duncombe, hon, W. E. Knightley, R.
Du Pre, C. G. Lefroy, A.
Earle, R. A. Legh, Major C.
Edwards, Major Legh, W. J.
Egerton, Sir P. G. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Leslie, C. P.
Egerton, hon. W. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H. S. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Farquhar, Sir M. Long, R. P.
Farrer, J. Long, W.
Fellowes, E. Longfield, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Lowther, Capt.
Filmer, Sir E. Lyall, G.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Lygon, hon. F.
Galway, Visct. Macaulay, K.
Gard, R. S. Malins, R.
George, J. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Gladstone, Capt. March, Earl of
Matheson, Sir J. Seymer, H. K.
Miller, T. J. Sibthorp, Major
Mills, A. Smith, A.
Mitford, W. T. Smollett, P. B.
Montgomery, Sir G. Somerset, Col.
Moody, C. A. Spooner, R.
Morgan, hon. Major Steuart, A.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Stewart, Sir M. R. S.
Mundy, W. Stuart, Major W.
Mure, rt. hon. D. Sturt, H. G.
Murray, W. Stracey, Sir H.
Naas, Lord Talbot, hon. W. C.
Newark, Visct. Taylor, Col.
Newdegate, C. N. Tempest, Lord A. V.
Nicol, W. Thynne, Lord H.
Noel, hon. G. J. Tollemache, J.
North, Col. Torrens, R.
Northcote, Sir S. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Packe, C. W. Upton, hon. Gen.
Pakenham. Col. Valletort, Visct.
Pakington, rt, hn. Sir J. Vance, J.
Papillon, P. O. Vansittart, W.
Parker, Major W. Verner, Sir W.
Patten, Col. W. Vernon, L. V.
Paull, H. Walcott, Admiral
Peel, rt. hon. Gen. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Pevensey, Visct. Watlington, J. W. P.
Philipps, J. H. Way, A. E.
Potts, G. Welby, W. E.
Powys, P. L. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Pugh, D., Montgomery Whitmore, H.
Puller, C. W. G. Williams, Col.
Quinn, P. Woodd, B. T.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Wyndham, Sir H.
Rogers, J. J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Rolt, J.
Sclater-Booth, G. Du Cane, C.
Selwyn, C. J. Montagu, Lord R.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°.

On Question that the Committee upon the Bill be fixed for to-morrow,


said, he understood the noble Viscount to intimate that in Committee arrangements might be made for establishing some substitute in place of church rates. If clauses to this effect were to be introduced the Government no doubt would take them in hand, and give notice of their purport. This, however, would render it necessary to go into Committee to-morrow. Perhaps the noble Viscount would state his intention on this point?


said, that in speaking of a substitute for church rates he was referring only to voluntary contributions.


said, that in the lost Parliament he had proposed a Committee of the whole House to consider the propriety of imposing on all property with respect to which church rates had been paid for seven years a charge of 2d. in the pound, to be levied on the occupier, giving him the opportunity of recovering the same rom the landlord. He now gave notice that he should renew this Motion upon the order for going into Committee.


said, that the Bill had come very unexpectedly into his hands on account of the illness of the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock, and he was quite willing to take any course which was for the convenience of the House.

Bill committed for To-morrow.

House adjourned at half-after Five o'clock.