HC Deb 27 February 1861 vol 161 cc990-1058

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said, it was not his intention to refer at any length to the petitions which had been presented with reference to it. During six weeks of the late Session of Parliament, petitions, bearing 600,990 signatures, were forwarded in favour of the measure; and, although numerous petitions were likewise presented by its opponents, a considerable number of those who opposed the particular Bill by no means contended that some alteration in the law was not required. Neither were the petitions obtained by the supporters of church rates altogether as numerous as might be expected, remembering the high ground which they took as defenders of the Church of the poor. If, as was alleged, such perfect satisfaction was felt with church rates as now existing, why was it that many of the petitions only bore five, ten, or twenty names. Petitions also from important places had been sent in on printed forms, and one from a rector had that day been rejected altogether on account of its being printed, and, therefore, not in conformity with the rules of the House. He did not think that hon. Members on the other side had much to boast of as to the number of petitions they had presented, and very little fecundity of imagination had been shown in preparing them. It was unnecessary to dwell on the reasons which led to the diminution of the majority in favour of the Bill last year. He confessed he did not know to what cause exactly the result was to be attributed, but it might be accounted for in various ways. Perhaps it might be owing to an idea on the part of hon. Members opposite that the Lords would send down what some Conservatives would regard as a more statesmanlike measure in the sense of the Report of their Committee: perhaps the opinion had grown up that the House of Commons ought not to initiate tax Bills, but were bound to accept with humility such as the Lords should send down; or it might be that a reaction had been produced by what certain honest and plain spoken men had stated before the Committee of the House of Lords. It was not a point on which he was particularly interested. It had been used as an argument against this Bill that it was sup- ported by persons who had avowed themselves in favour of ulterior measures. But, if such were the reason, hon. Gentlemen would see that the argument based on such grounds would have held good equally against the Reform Bill or Roman Catholic emancipation. It was undoubtedly the fact that the Reform Bill was supported by many Republicans; but did it, therefore, follow that a republic had been established? On the contrary, it was, perhaps, by the passing of that very measure that the country had been preserved from a republic. In the same way many who voted for Catholic emancipation might have intended to apply all Church property to Catholic uses; but in point of fact they had been wholly unable to do so. Nothing could be more illogical than to say that, because two persons held peculiar opinions with regard to a question on which they were examined by learned divines and acute lawyers, and which very possibly they did not altogether understand—all the consequences which they were desirous to see accomplished would, of necessity, follow from the change which he was advocating. Great obloquy had been cast on him, and those who acted with him, for introducing this measure, but he hoped his calumniators and detractors would in time come better to understand the principles of our common Christianity. Some of the hardest work he had ever undertaken consisted in striving to effect a compromise of the church rate question, and he had no intention of carrying the matter further than was proposed by his Bill. He warned the House that it was of vital consequence that this question should be speedily settled, and that, by refusing to pass this Bill, that party that was agitating for ulterior measures would be materially strengthened. Within the last few days a very large number of persons attended a conference in London on the subject of this measure, and it seldom happened that the deliberations of any assembly were marked with so much zeal, earnestness, moderation, and concord—it was the most earnest body which had met in the City since the days of the Anti-Corn Law League. He thought the qualities adverted to were rarely found in combination, except to some purpose. In wishing for a settlement of the question, nobody supposed that he could have any personal object. The measure had grown to be a Parliamentary inconvenience, while out of doors its prolonged existence cast a slur on our legislative institutions. Yet his was the only plan which proposed to deal effectually with the subject, for it had been shown that all other suggestions would fail in enforcing the collection of church rates. Many of the supporters of the Bill felt comparatively easy, because by prolonging the agitation their strength would be increased, while if it were passed into law, their grievance would be taken away. The waste of time, indeed, had been such that it would have been almost worth while to subscribe for the purpose of buying up church rates; but as long as the grievance existed it was impossible they could relax in their efforts. He wished to show that he was acquainted with the case of hon. Members opposite. The case of those hon. Gentlemen was that in relinquishing church rates they would be depriving parochial edifices of the fund by which they were supported, and thus very possibly depriving the poor of opportunities of attending Divine worship. But that, he thought was what Paley would call a "violent improbability." In large towns the churches were always well supported, and he did not believe that, in country parishes, the churches they now possessed would be allowed to fall down for want of the contributions necessary for their support. The amount produced by this rate was on the average £50, or 2d. in the pound on the rental. Was it to be supposed that this amount would not be made up by the landlord, whose tenants and labourers, in addition to his own family, were directly interested in the maintenance of the church fabric? Gentlemen should be very guarded in their use of the expression "the Church of the poor," for there were awkward facts on the other side. In point of fact very little was done for the poor as matters now stood. He would read an extract from the Report of the Lord's Committee on Religious Instruction in 1858, citing some evidence of Archdeacon Rushton:— As to Manchester, Dr. Rushton states an instance in which he himself witnessed repeated, and at length violent, attempts to turn out of a church (Trinity, Hulme), professedly free, a poor devout worshipper by the verger. He, as archdeacon, examined the verger on the subject, and satisfied himself that in this free church 'pewrents are still in the question, and that the benches marked free are as much private property as the pews with doors paying rent.' He added, 'that even in churches that profess to be free the seats are not left free to the poor.' He does not say in every case, but as a general rule it is so. In one case, of a church in the patronage of trustees, he officially asked where the free seats were; for, by the Act under which that church was built, one-third ought to be given to the poor. 'The churchwarden was at a loss to point them out to me,' are Dr. Rushton's words; at last he said 'I have one free sitting to one pew.' 'Where is it?' and he pointed to a little bracket at the end of his pew outside, in the aisle, with a hinge under it, so that it could be raised at any time for his servant, or any poor person in the aisle, to sit upon it. I said to him, 'How often is it that your operatives from your works come and sit by your side?' 'Oh!' he said, 'it is out of the question; they never come there; it serves me to put my hat upon.' And this is the inheritance of the poor! A proposition had been put forward over and over again for the creation and endowment of 600 new livings by the sale of Church and Crown livings for about £1,000,000, which, with the addition of a voluntary fund which might reasonably be expected, would, perhaps, make up £2,000,000; but with his experience of the manner in which Church funds were often administered he must say that he did not expect any great success to attend that scheme; however, it had many years ago been recommended by a Royal Commission, yet little zeal was displayed in following it up. Neither was church patronage always bestowed in the best manner. He thought that the case of York last year proved that; but this year they had the Durham case, of Haughton le Skerne, which was not much better, and he would venture to say that half a dozen cases as bad would occur before another six months was over. A great deal had been said as regarded the effect of this measure in separating Church and State. He thought this objection was "a fallacy of confusion." The connection between Church and State should rather be called the dependence of the Church upon the State. If Parliament should see fit to abolish church rates, it would not at all follow that it would be disposed to relax the bonds that bound the Church to the State. The whole of the Bishops were appointed by the Government, who were responsible to Parliament; tithes, too, had been commuted under the same authority, and Church property repeatedly dealt with. After all, what was the effect of the existing law? To give power to the majority in a vestry to vote certain sums of money, amounting to a rating of about 2d. in the pound, for the maintenance of the fabric. If they looked back to the history of the question they would find that the history of it was not such as was commonly supposed. The doctrine of Blackstone was that the repair of the fabric of the church originally fell upon the tithes. Going back to first principles, it was not at all clear to him that they should, even on the precedent of ancient usage, call upon the population to support the fabrics of a Church, from the doctrines of which a large portion of them dissented. The most that could be shown in this way was that the monasteries got hold of the finances intended for the Church, and left the support of the fabrics to the population. He would like to quote Blackstone on this point— At the first establishment of parochial clergy the tithes of the parish were distributed in a fourfold division—one for the use of the bishop; another for maintaining the fabric of the church; a third for the poor; and the fourth to provide for the incumbent. When the sees of the bishops became otherwise amply endowed, they were prohibited from demanding their usual share of these tithes, and the division was into three parts only. And hence it was inferred by the monasteries that a small part was sufficient for the officiating priest, and that the remainder might well be applied to the use of their own fraternities (the endowment of which was construed to be the work of the most exalted piety), subject to the burthen of repairing the church and providing for its constant supply. And therefore they begged and bought, for masses and obits, and sometimes even for money, all the advowsons within their reach, and then appropriated the benefices to the use of their own corporation. An argument was raised against this measure, based on the circumstance that there had been a small percentage of parishes which had successfully resisted the levy of rates. But there were many causes for this. In many instances persons were afraid of exclusive dealings, of tyrannical landlords, or of interference with power; so that there might be a great deal of inconvenience resulting from these rates of which hon. Members knew nothing. Persons endured the evil in hundreds of cases through fear of oppression. Some had asked this question—why create a system which would oblige the working clergy to beg? Now, he had great sympathy with the working clergy, but he did not see why it should become necessary for them to beg for the support of the fabrics if church rates were abolished. The truth is, the clergy did not do themselves and their calling justice. They should not show themselves deficient in self-respect. They should say to their congregations that they rendered them a kind of service which they could not dispense with, and that it was for those who received the benefit of that service to maintain the churches, which were intended for the convenience of the laity, and not for that of the clergy. The clergy should add that their time is required for more important duties than the collection of church rates, and that, as in the early church, were found men who bore stripes, and shipwrecks, and great sufferings in the propagation of religion, so the clergy of these times would rather put up with some inconvenience in bearing with the condition of churches than put themselves in collision with their parishioners. That was the course the clergy should take, and not call upon Parliament to support the collection of the rate. A great deal had been said about the sacredness of church rates; that property was purchased subject to them, and that Parliament had no right to lay its hand upon a single sixpence of them. But who had the right to use that argument? Surely noble Lords in "another place" were not entitled to use it, for the Report of their Committee recommended that Dissenters should be exempted. Surely not the Conservative Government, for he had looked into their Government Bill and found that they also proposed to exempt Dissenters. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckingshire (Mr. Disraeli) of that fact. He had read a speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman during the recess, in which he expressed himself to be a great stickler for preserving the law as it was, or rather for making it more stringent; yet he was responsible for a Bill, brought in while he was in office, to exempt Dissenters. The right hon. Gentleman had therefore thrown over the principle; he had not left himself a single shred of principle to stand on. Then, as to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), the most rigid stickler for principle in this matter—what had he done? He had brought in a Bill, or made a proposal in some shape for throwing the onus on owners instead of occupiers, for abolishing rates in all parishes wherein they have not been collected for seven years past, and limiting the amount to 2d. in the pound. He had thus thrown over the principle; and, therefore, they were all in the same boat. Indeed, it had been thrown over twenty years before in the case of the Irish tithes. The Marquess of Blandford, too, proposed a scheme, by which it was provided that the inhabitants of a district formed out of a parish, should, after the lapse of twenty years, be exempted from payment of church rates for the mother church. That also was a surrender of the principle. It was urged in support of the present law that the rates went to supply accommodation for religious worship; but the fabrics of the Church of England did not supply much more than half the requisite accommodation. It was said, moreover, that the truth was preached in the churches but not in the chapels. Perhaps Churchmen would not give the Dissenters credit for what they preached; but, even if they were not disposed to approve the doctrine preached in the Dissenting chapels, they must admit that it was better than nothing at all. And all plans now contemplate the future exemption of Dissenters. Besides this, it was not at all clear to him that the Church of England was teaching uniform doctrine. After the Reviews and Essays which had been made the subject of proceedings in Convocation, he did not think the Church should profess that she teaches one uniform, exclusive, homogeneous body of doctrines. Formerly, when there was no expression of dissent, it was a matter of course that such doctrine should be taught by the Church; and if any one dissented he would have been excommunicated; but in these days, when they tolerated Dissenters, it appeared to him impossible to contend that uniform doctrine was preached by the Church. Under these circumstances, means should at once be taken to put an end to the existing discontent and animosity. He should like to give two or three statements in regard to some recent cases which would bring the evils of the existing law before the House. He had a letter from a gentleman living in the parish of St. Bartholomew, Sydenham, which stated that three years ago there was an amicable arrangement there that the church should be repaired by contributions raised on the voluntary principle. The arrangement worked well until the evil day when the cry was raised of "the Church in danger." Since the Parliamentary division of last year an attempt to raise a church rate, founded on a supposed reaction in public opinion, had been made, and now, in this once quiet and harmonious parish, preparations were made for fighting the question through the Queen's Bench and Ecclesiastical Court. Perhaps it would be well to read the letter he had received:— As the church-rate question promises to excite more than usual attention in the present Ses- sion of Parliament, and you will, doubtless, be glad of any information bearing upon the subject, I venture to intrude upon you a few particulars in connection with the contest which has been raging in the parish of St. Bartholomew, Sydenham, since June last. I forward you by this post a pamphlet, written by myself, as leader of the Anti-Church Rate movement, and a card of our Association. You will gather from the former an outline of the proceedings in the parish, and I may add that the attempt now making to enforce a rate has been encouraged by the supposed reaction in public opinion, deduced from the diminished majorities obtained by you last Session. The question was considered settled three years ago, a voluntary subscription having been substituted for a rate, and the most perfect harmony prevailed in the parish—movements for the social improvement of the neighbourhood taking the place of church-rate agitation, and all sects uniting in such objects; but, unhappily, the cry of 'robbery by the Dissenters' and 'the Church is in danger' was raised last summer, and a rate (of a grossly illegal nature) carried at a poll by a majority of votes, but a minority of persons. Summonses have been issued, and disposed of in the usual way, by ousting the jurisdiction of the magistrate; and we are now preparing on both sides to fight the following questions in the Queen's Bench and the Ecclesiastical Courts—

  1. "1. Does a district parish church, constituted under the Church Building Act (Marquess of Blandford's), possess the power of making church rates?
  2. "2. Can the rector, as chairman, arbitrarily fix the time for polling, without reference to the convenience of the ratepayers?
  3. "3. Is a rate legal when made for an unexplained item called ' contingencies,' &c. &c.?'—(I need not trouble you with details of the various illegalities in our rate.)"
The first question is one of great moment, and ought to be thoroughly sifted. In our neighbouring parish of Forest Hill two church rates are levied—one by the mother church at Lewisham, and the other by the district church, both being levied upon the same ratepayers, I believe it was distinctly understood when the Marquess of Bland-ford's Act was passed that no additional powers for making church rates were to be provided. Plurality of voting is another matter which ought to be altered. Our parish, like very many others, contains a majority of persons opposed to church rates, but their wishes are overruled by the votes of the wealthy ratepayers. Is there no chance of amending this part of the Sturges Bourne's Act? In Sydenham the leading opponents of church rates are members of the Church of England. All the summonses recently taken out were against Churchmen; and one wealthy Churchman has declared his intention of contesting the rate in the courts at his own expense, if necessary. Although the rate is only at 2d. in the pound, and was made by a majority of 107 votes, the churchwardens have been unable to collect even half the amount, the enforced rate having produced considerably less than the voluntary subscriptions in former years. At the Easter Vestry it is intended to nominate me as churchwarden, in the hope that the question may be disposed of in future by my refusal, in that capacity, to allow a notice for a rate to issue; and the vestry will also refuse to appoint organist, beadle, &c. &c, unless by a poll of the parish! In another case a captain in the navy, residing in Devonshire, paid for a pew in a chapel of ease; and at a vestry meeting at the mother church, a yeoman belonging to the Establishment got up and proposed that he should be exempted, which motion was carried by a large majority. When notice was given that the meeting would be held this gentleman asked a friend to go with him to oppose the rate, but he declined, thinking it would be useless. The gentleman, however, attended himself, and after being abused by the clergyman, moved an adjournment, which was seconded by a parishioner. The result was that seventeen voted against the rate and five supported it, including the two churchwardens, who would have voted with the majority, were they not warned that, as churchwardens, they could not do so. The letter containing this statement was as follows:— Some years since I took a house in a Devonshire parish, in which there was no Dissenting chapel. In addition to the parish church there was a Chapel of Ease in the most populous part of the parish. Having asked for a pew in the parish church, and been informed that they were all occupied, and that no new residents could be accommodated, I took a pew in the Chapel of Ease at a rent of £7 a year. Being then quite ignorant of parish business I was greatly surprised to find that I should have to pay church rates to the parish church, though refused a seat in it. When notice was given that a vestry would be held for the purpose of making a church rate I asked a friend who had a seat in the Chapel of Ease to go with me to the vestry to oppose it. He said it was useless, as nearly all present would be pew-holders in the church, and would vote for the rate. I, therefore, went alone to the vestry and found twenty-two persons present, all of whom had seats in the church, and were perfect strangers to me. On the rate being proposed I objected to it on the ground that as I and others had been refused seats in the church, and had to pay for our seats in the chapel, it was most unjust to tax us also for the church, when a much smaller rent on the pews than we paid would provide the sum required. After having been well abused by the reverend chairman, and accused of wanting to 'rob the Church,' I moved the adjournment of the vestry, not expecting even to find a seconder. To my surprise, one of the principal farmers in the parish seconded the motion, on the ground that it was unfair to make those pay who could not get seats in the church, and that they ought to pay a small sum for their pews in the parish church, which would make up the sum required. The result was that seventeen voted against the rate; and of the five that supported it, two were churchwardens, who would have voted against it had they not been told by the chairman that they could not do so while churchwardens. A voluntary pew-rent was then made out, and on another vestry being called the list was produced, signed by the parties, and it showed a larger sum than was required yearly; but the reverend chairman refused to sanction it, and was again refused a rate by about twenty-two votes to three. A third attempt was made under the directions of the Bishop, and threats of prosecution were liberally dealt out by the clergyman, who still persisted in refusing the pew rent. The result was that the rate was moved by the clergyman's churchwarden, who could not find one person to second it out of twenty-seven persons, not one of whom was a Dissenter, and twenty-five of whom had seats in the parish church, two being the churchwardens of the previous year. The parishioners' churchwarden refused to second the motion for the rate, though threatened with proceedings in the Court of Arches. Thus for two years no means were provided for the necessary repairs and expenses, though the offer of the voluntary rate was still refused. Nothing could more clearly prove that the present system is as unjust to a large body of Churchmen who support their own places of worship by pew-rents as it is to Dissenters. He should now call the attention of the House to the evidence of Dr. Lushington, regarding the working of the law, before a Committee of the House of Lords. He stated that the difficulty of rating was increased on account of the circumstance that property was not fairly rated for the poor. The rental, as a basis of the poors' rate, was often described as lower than it was in reality, in order to avoid payment of county rate, which follows the poors' rate. Perhaps, Dr. Lushington's own statement would best explain the point— (Q. 1454).—What does that difficulty arise from? It is this—and I may as well refer to facts within my knowledge—here is probably a rental of a parish £9,000 or £10,000 a year; there are a great many small houses; there are some mills, and a variety of property of every description. Now, to make an equal and just assessment is no easy matter; and the parishioners, in that case, made what would appear primâ facie to be a perfectly just and equitable rate; they followed the Poor Law Assessment, and where the Poor Law Assessment is just and right there can be no objection to a church rate being made accordingly; but it happens, unfortunately, that the Poor Law Assessment is not made according to law. In the first place, they are directed by the statute to make their assessment upon the true rental of the whole parish, and they frequently endeavour to avoid it, because they are taxed to the county rate according to the amount of their poor rate, and to escape that they lay the rental lower, and that makes a void rate to begin with; in those cases it is very seldom that they make a rate impartially. In the case I refer to, and that is an exemplification of what is done, they assessed the squire 25 per cent below what he ought to be assessed at, because he had so much game and so many plantations, which was death to the rate upon the lace of it; it was an unjust and unequal rate. The poor rate is not objected to in these places, because people do not wish to get into hot water with their neighbours; and the person who is the most relieved is generally the person who has the greatest influence in the parish. But then comes in the question as to church rate, and if there be the smallest hole to creep out of, any gentleman who opposes the rate will discover it, and bring it before the Judge, and the Judge has then no alternative hut to pronounce against the rate. (Q. 1492).—And these sort of objections are more common now than they were before? Certainly, much more common; the objection to the mode of assessment is a complaint that is much more common. It is very difficult to assess a large parish accurately: but my rule is that small inequalities shall never vitiate a rate. If you can show a direct violation of the law by the officers to any objectionable extent; that a person who ought to be rated is not rated, or that a certain class are under-rated, then, of course, it is not a just and equitable rate. He desired to take a practical view of this matter, and to inquire what could be done in this case. Was it possible to stand still? He thought that was answered conclusively, from the fact that so many measures had emanated from all sides of the House with a view to arrive at a settlement of the question. Could any more stringent measures be adopted with regard to church rates? He thought not; because, if they adopted more stringent measures, that could only be done by having a uniform measure. The application of a uniform measure to Manchester and the various other large towns in the kingdom must be attended with very great inconvenience, and, perhaps, with danger. If any attempt of that kind were made, he thought the best thing that House could do at the same time would be to increase the Estimates, and enlarge the size of their prisons, put Armstrong guns in them, and get a number of the Volunteers—Volunteers in particular—to man them, and to request their assistance in enforcing the law with regard to church rates. What said the Rev. Mr. Brooks and the Rev. Dr. Miller on this question— The Rev. Mr. Brooks asked (Q. 1173), Do you believe that if there were now a fresh attempt to raise a new rate (at Nottingham) it would succeed?" Answers:—"I think it might succeed, but I think it would be very injurious to the Church if it did; it would leave a great deal of exasperation. At the present the Church is becoming popular among the working classes. The Rev. John C. Miller, D.D., asked (302), It is almost unnecessary that I should ask you, but I suppose, from what you have stated, that any attempt to enforce the law as it now stands in Birmingham, could lead to none but injurious consequences?" Answers:—" It would set the town in a flame. Again (Q. 304), But I think I may assume from what you have been saying that any attempt to renew the law in Birmingham upon its present footing would be entirely out of the question?" "I should think there are not six sane men in Birmingham who would give any answer but one to that question, under the present state of the law. Chairman—What do you mean by setting the law in force? Do you mean calling the vestry together to propose a rate?" "If I were to call a vestry to propose a church rate in Birmingham that proposal would set the town in a flame. There is no Churchman in Birmingham who would think for a moment of proposing a church rate in the present state of the law. He agreed with the arguments contained in a letter written by Mr. Hopkins, a clergyman, of Wisbeach, who, in speaking of one of the Bills before Parliament, said that the measure proposed was only a step towards abolition, and that it was much better to come to abolition at once. He stated that it was very much like putting over a sore part a plaster not large enough for the sore. Looking to what had followed the passing of the Annuity-tax Bill, which might be regarded as a pilot balloon, he thought the House had enough before it to show that such measures would not be attended with success, and that if they intended to cure the evil they must go to the root. The system of levying church rates had been spoken of by Mr. Toulmin Smith in his evidence (which was a sort of archæological curiosity shop), as a part of the local government of this country, according to which parishes could make bye-laws for taxing the parishioners for any purposes of public utility. The question is what the courts of law say to the first parish that acted upon this supposed common law right? It was absurd to advocate church rates on that ground, unless it was at the same time proposed to pass a general measure giving every parish the absolute control of its own affairs. He had been curious to know how the churches of the episcopal and nonconformist communions were kept up in the New England States, and had written to a gentleman for information on that subject. His correspondent stated that a few were kept up by endowment, but that generally they were maintained on the voluntary principle. It was further stated that very few churches had any special funds for their support, and that all expenses were paid out of the pew rents and by subscriptions voluntarily offered. Thus it appeared that the Episcopal churches in the United States were not only built, but supported without any church-rate. He was not one of those who would be disposed to see a system of pew rents adopted in this country, but his object was simply to show that where no ancient endowments of any kind existed in America, means were found not only of building churches, but of supporting them when they were built. He would read an extract from the letter referred to— How are the Episcopal churches kept up in the New England States? A few by endowment, but generally by the voluntary offerings of the parishioners. What is the machinery by which the money for their support is collected? Simply by a tax assessed upon the pews, the tax being generally a percentage on the estimated value of the pews—say, about 10 per cent, the assessment varying from 6 dols. to 50 dols. per annum. To whom is it paid, and who collects it? There is generally a treasurer appointed in each church, who makes out the bills against the several pew occupants quarterly. These bills are sometimes left in the pews, sometimes sent round to the residences of the congregation, and the amounts received by a collector, who receives a small percentage for his services. Out of the amount so raised the salary of the clergyman, and all incidental expenses, such as fuel, organist's salary, &c, are paid. In whom does the title to the freehold of a church vest? In the owners of the pews, who form a corporation, and who, in the Episcopal Church, meet annually on Easter Monday, and elect the wardens and vestry, and the rector, if the parish is vacant. By whom are repairs decided on? Generally by the wardens and vestry, or by a building committee (so called) elected at the annual meeting. Is there any, and what, relation between the fund for supporting the church and the salary of the minister? None. Very few churches have any fund for supporting the church. All expenses are paid out of the pew-rents; if they are not sufficient, a subscription paper is handed round, and the required amount raised. The salary of the clergyman is paid quarterly, the churchwardens drawing an order for the amount on the treasurer of the church. (Non-conformist churches in America.) A tax is levied on each pew according to its value. It is paid to the treasurer. The title rests in a standing committee, chosen by the stockholders (who are the pew-holders) each year, of which committee the treasurer is one. The repairs are decided upon and made by the above committee. The salary of the minister is paid by the treasurer (under the committee), as any other part of the expenses would be. The amount of the salary is fixed (as may be agreed upon with the minister) by the stockholders. When a church is built, the pews are appraised at prices large enough to pay for the church; they are then put up at auction, and the highest bidder over the appraised value has the choice. The amount received for the choice goes into the church fund. The above refers to other than Episcopal Churches, of the management of which the writer knows nothing. The church rates had sometimes been likened to tithes, but he need hardly say that they stood on wholly different grounds. Tithes were recognized as legally authorized burdens on property, there was a remedy by levying a distress, or by taking possession of the land, and the amount was fixed by law. When a man had to do with property of any kind on which there was a tithe rent-charge he made up his mind to pay, and there was no more thought about it. But the imposition of a church-rate operated very differently on men's minds; and in stating this he was borne out by an undoubted friend of the Church, formerly a Member of that House—Mr. Beresford Hope—who drew a wide distinction between tithes and church-rates, and pointed out the great advantage which the Church had derived from the commutation of tithes, a measure which he said had conciliated the opponents of the Church while it had strengthened the Church itself. Mr. Beresford Hope also said that it would be best to acknowledge at once that if any person, dissenting from the doctrines as laid down by the Church of England, should decline to pay a fluctuating and variable rate for the support of the church, he should be treated as a man who was actuated by conscientious motives, and be exempted. The same Gentleman, alluding to the "no surrender" cry, said that he was fortified in the view he took of the evil effects of this non-surrender policy, when he recollected the inevitable fate of every question where that cry had been raised. It had been raised upon the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, against the Roman Catholic Emancipation, and, in later years, against the admission of the Jews into Parliament, but with what result the House were aware. Mr. Hope's words were as follows— It will be best to acknowledge that if any person dissenting from these distinctive doctrines, as held by the Church of England, shall decline to pay a variable and changeable rate for the support of the Church, they are not to be absolutely hunted from the top to the bottom of the town, and stigmatized as hypocrites who look only to their own pockets; but should be treated as men actuated by real and conscientious motives, which deserve the respect of every honest and good member of the Church of England. I say that distinctly, and the more so in consequence of the speech of my noble Friend, the mover of this Report, who did not hesitate to rest his cause upon the theory of that distinguished reformer who burnt Servetus, 'that the State was not God's State unless the Church and State were co-extensive.' The burning of Servetus was the logical sequence of that dictum. And in another passage the same speaker says— I am fortified in the view which I take of the evil effects of this 'no surrender' policy, when I recollect what has been the inevitable fate of every question where that cry has been raised. We have had this cry of ' no surrender' raised before in our own time. It was raised against the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, and against Roman Catholic Emancipation; in later years it sounded against the admission of the Jews to Parliament. In short the cry has been evoked upon almost every question in which the politics of religious liberty have been involved. Where are all those cries at this minute? Where is every one of those questions for which freemen were brought to the poll in boroughs, and freeholders in counties, to the cry of 'no surrender? On the other hand, when the Church had been timely wise, as in the case of the Tithe Commutation, what had been the consequence? A measure of peace was passed, which, while conciliating her opponents, added strength to the Church herself, and which, unless the present 'no surrender' policy interposes and spoils the game, will, I hope, and would fain believe, long continue; while a similar measure of happiness would follow from a like settlement of the church rate question. He (Sir John Trelawny) earnestly entreated hon. Gentlemen opposite to settle this question before it went further, because they might depend upon it there was a degree of excitement of which few of them had any idea, that would go beyond the power of the most influential leaders to restrain. Above all, he would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite, who were connected with the Church, to consider that many of the institutions of this country had been endangered, not so much from assaults from without as from imprudence within. It would be found, with regard to church rates, that those who stood out for what might be considered their extreme rights, would be found to be the worst enemies of the institution which they were supposed to defend.

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


said, he rose with much satisfaction to second the Motion of his hon. Friend. It appeared to him that this question had arrived at that stage which called for a settlement. Theoretically, the levying of church rates was the law of the land; but, practically, how stood the case? Wherever the Dissenters were in a majority, there was no church rate levied, but where they were in a minority they were levied. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were in this position, that they must either make the injustice uniform by making church rates compulsory all over the country, or they must come into their view and abolish them altogether. In common, he supposed, with every Member of that House, he had received a pamphlet, written by the Archdeacon of London, from which he would quote a few words, to show the unfair mode of arguing taken by the advocates of church rates. The Archdeacon said that, if church rates were abolished three things would follow. First, they would have the admission of all persons, Roman Catholics and Jews, into those places from which they were now excluded, and they would speedily concur in the expulsion of the Bishops from the House of Lords: secondly, there would be the refusal of a Parliamentary grant for any religious object whatever; and, thirdly, there would be a making over to the State of the land tithes and endowments of the Church of England and Ireland and the Kirk of Scotland, and a repealing of the law requiring the residence of the clergy in their parishes for the purpose of instructing the people in religion. What a monstrous bugbear this was! The best answer was to refer to the state of things in Ireland. In Ireland church rates had been abolished and tithes commuted to a rent charge; in tithes alone the revenues of the Church had been reduced one-fourth. Instead of this having made the Protestant Church there weaker it had made it stronger. His Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen—who generally sat among the good Tories opposite, but who were that day mainly "conspicuous by their absence"—who did not come down there to help Dissenters to free their consciences, although Dissenters had helped them—what did they always say when any vote, however small, was taken for schools in Ireland? They always said that proselytism was increasing in Ireland. That meant that the Protestant Church was becoming stronger, and encroaching on the Roman Catholic Church. If that had followed in Ireland upon an abolition of church rates, why should it not be the case in England? It was clear to anybody who studied the history of the question that if a reform had not been made, if just concessions had not been made to the truthful and reasonable demands now made, the existence of the Government Church would not have lasted five years longer. When that measure was carried Mr. Stanley was Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he expressed his opinion to that effect. It had been said that the Earl of Derby had some qualms of conscience for what he had done. It was not surprising that he who had been and was the advocate of the divine right of kings and of despotism all over the world—and who fought in favour of protection and high prices for the food of the people—it was not surprising that he should feel that the concession he had made of popular rights with regard to the Church in Ireland was not exactly in accordance with the rest of his political career. But be that as it might, the principle applied to Ireland ought to be the principle applied to England. The fact was the Church ought now to study how to become less of a State Church and more of a missionary Church; and how would she become a missionary Church so long as she held the means of coercing the consciences of those who did not agree with her? Another good reason why this measure should pass was that the Church required a readjustment of her revenues. At present he believed the general rule with her was that where there was very much work there was very small pay, and where there was very small work there was very much pay. Now, the abolition of church rates would compel the readjustment of these things, and thereby greatly strengthen the Church in the country. He was sorry to say he saw an indication of an intention on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite to make a party cry of this question. He saw a strong desire to appeal to the country. As far as he was concerned—and he thought those who sat with him on that side of the House would agree with him—he had no disinclination to make it a party question. But if it was so dealt with on the shoulders of hon. Gentlemen opposite be the responsibility as to what might follow with regard to the very much wider question of the very existence of the Church Establishment itself. He and his friends wished to settle the question on its own basis within the limits of its own merits. But if Gentlemen opposite raised the wider question, upon them must he the responsibility. He asked to settle the question by argument. But, if they liked, let the question go to the country to be settled.


Sir, if the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock thinks that his own position with reference to this question is fairly described, when he says that he is in the same boat with those who have thrown principle overboard it is not for me to dispute it, though I should not have presumed to bring such a charge against him; but when he proceeds to give instances, and to mention the names of those to whom he imputes desertion of principle, I must say that I think him singularly unfortunate in his selection. He first complains of my hon. Friend, the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate). But his plan was to make the church rate more definite and more certain than now by adopting that change which the hon. Member for Tavistock has himself this day extolled as so efficacious in the case of tithes, namely, a commutation into a rent charge. The hon. Baronet next reflects upon the Act passed on the Motion of the Duke of Marlborough, when Marquess of Bland-ford, and a Member of this House. But the noble Duke's measure was no abandonment of the principle of church rates; but, so far as it dealt with that subject at all, was an attempt, to a certain extent successful, to get rid of a difficulty in the way of imposing them; namely, that very hardship pointed out by the hon. Baronet himself, to which the inhabitants of certain ecclesiastical districts are exposed, where the law lays on them a share in the burden of maintaining the mother Church, as well as the whole of their own. And lastly, we are told that the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard) has abandoned principle in a Bill now before the House. But my hon. Friend's Bill, though it exempts from the payment of church rates certain persons who claim the exemption on religious grounds, actually improves the position of these rates in other respects, simplifies the mode of their recovery, and gets rid of difficulties and anomalies; as for example, those arising from the double district rates which had been partially dealt with by the Duke of Marlborough's Act, to which reference has been already made. A charge of desertion of principle, supported by such instances as these, may be safely left to the judgment of the House. The hon. Baronet, in making his Motion, has used temperate language, has declared his attachment to the Established Church, and his belief that the measure which he advo- cates would, among other advantages, tend to strengthen and secure that Church. I do not doubt that the hon. Baronet has satisfied himself of the soundness of this opinion; but I must take leave to tell him that if he can demonstrate it to the conviction of his supporters, he will lose the countenance of nearly all those adherents who keep up the agitation out of doors, and of many who vote with him in the House itself. No one who has read the evidence given before the Committee of the House of Lords can doubt that two propositions are incontestably proved by it. First, that a very large and important section of those who do not conform to the Church, being precisely those who do not desire to disturb her establishment, have no feelings of hostility to church rates. Second, that those Dissenters who do feel strongly against church rates repudiate entirely any suggestion that they care about them otherwise than as their abolition will be a moans to an end; that they avow, in the emphatic words adopted by one of the witnesses, that as long as the Church Establishment lasts so long will this controversy endure. Therefore, whatever be the complexion of the hon. Baronet's language, his action must be taken to be one of unmitigated hostility to the Establishment of the Church, and no one who votes with him has a right to shut his eyes to that fact. But I must not be understood as pressing this argument beyond my real meaning. I believe that this measure is intended as a blow upon the Established Church, and that it will operate as such; but that it will be a final, or even a decisive blow—as its plain spoken supporters out of doors confidently predict, and as its opponents in this House and elsewhere have sometimes urged, or, as I should rather say, have unadvisedly admitted—I do not apprehend. I believe that the Established Church rests on a wider basis and a deeper foundation than this apprehension would imply; but this does not touch the question as to our concurring in the vote proposed today, except to strengthen the argument against it. There may be reason on the side of the man who states that he desires to destroy the Church of England, and that he takes this as a step towards that end. His statement is intelligible and consistent. But for him who deprecates the destruction of that Church, and yet proceeds to vote for this Bill, because though a step on the road to destruction it does not go the whole way, there can he no justification whatever. There is also another aspect of the case, as to which I should desire to guard myself at the outset from being supposed to overstate the argument. I mean the nature and amount of the vested interest in the church rates which belongs to the Established Church. It is sometimes stated that the interest in church rates is a property as definite and indefeasible as the property in lands, or in tithe rent charge. Now, as the amount to be voted for each church rate is contingent, and as the duty to vote any at all, though abundantly recognized by the law, is not practically capable of being enforced, it appears to me that to treat this rate as property, in the same sense as real estate, is mistaken in fact, and unwise in argument, so that it places on the same level complete and incomplete rights. But to this extent I have a right to say that the interest of the Church is complete and incontestable; namely, in the right to submit to the local authority of each parish the estimate of the sum required as a matter of public concern, applicable to public objects, with respect to which the decision of the local authority shall be conclusive within its own jurisdiction. The whole right of dealing with this matter of local taxation is complete between these two parties, the Church and the local authority; and the more you extenuate and disparage the share of the first, the more must you enlarge and exalt the remainder which belongs to the other. But it is to abrogate both parts of this right that you endeavour by this Bill. It is not merely the right of the Church to ask, but the right of the parish to grant which you desire to put down, over-riding and stifling local discretion by the strong hand of central and imperial power. In both aspects of this question, therefore, whether I look at it as a Churchman, or as one who desires to maintain the local privileges which have heretofore been cherished by the English Constitution, I find myself bound to oppose this Bill. In appealing to Churchmen I am sure that I need not confine myself to one side of the House. I know that on the benches opposite there are men whom I regard in an enlarged sense, and with reference to those considerations which are not to be lightly brought into debate in this House, as among the best Churchmen whom I have ever known; and with reference to that more narrow view of the case with which we are now concerned, wherein the Church is regarded chiefly in its position as an establishment, I am sure that there are Members on the Treasury Bench who would go even farther than I should in their estimate of the value of that position; and would desire to purchase its continuance by sacrifices of liberty as to self-regulation and self-development for which I might think the price not sufficient. All these are men to whom the immediate effects, and still more the ultimate objects of the hon. Baronet's Bill must be most obnoxious, and I have a right to call on them to concur in my attempt to throw it out. And so far as the mere pecuniary result will be affected I do not know that anything more is to be desired than a successful resistance to this Bill. The state of the case will then be that those parishes in which a rate cannot be obtained will be those in which there are greater facilities for providing a substitute by voluntary contribution; namely, the parishes in large towns, while in those rural parishes in which to lose the rate would cause very great inconvenience, they are not likely to be refused. But in a subject-matter such as this, I will not look only to pecuniary results, but desire by some sacrifice of money to put an end to strife. Whenever any scheme for exempting any persons or classes from the payment of church rates is suggested it is sure to be assailed on both sides by opposite objections. On the one hand, those who clamour for abolition represent exemption as no boon at all, and in effect say, "We care nothing for payment or for exemption—what we insist upon is the power to prevent you, who are willing to pay, from regulating these matters among yourselves under legal sanction;" and on the other hand those who oppose all concession are accustomed to tell us that such a precedent is fatal to all taxation, and that if we grant exemptions from church rate we cannot in consistency exact taxes in support of the army from those who condemn all war. Whatever may be the force of argument with which either party, having assumed its own premises, proceeds to its conclusion, I do not believe that on the practical dealings of life either of these objections will be really operative. It seems to be one of those controversies which will never be closed by argument, but of which the difficulties may be solved by action. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard) has a Bill before the House in which the exemption from payment is granted to Nonconformists as such. The Duke of Marlborough has introduced a Bill into the House of Lords founded mainly on the recommendations of the Committee of that House, in which the exemption is wider, though the process by which it is readied is longer and less simple. Into the details and comparative merits of these Bills this is not the time to enter. Both of them are open to the objections in argument to which I have already adverted; while to neither of them do I believe that those objections would be fatal in practice. It is true that the leaders of the agitation against church rates will not be satisfied with anything short of total abolition, because their agitation is with a view to ulterior objects, for which abolition only and not exemption would be useful; but that all their followers will continue to follow them after an exemption is granted is not ascertained, and little to be feared. It seems to me improbable that those whose real objection to the impost is, that j they have themselves to pay it, will trouble themselves more about the matter when the payment is no longer required, and although the noble Lord, the Member for Marylebone (Lord Fermoy) in seconding the Motion for the second reading of the Bill, threatened us with a rebellion if it was not passed, yet I think that even his expectations would not extend to the probability of men rebelling, not because a tax was demanded of them, but because other persons continued, quite willingly, to pay it. And on the other hand I am equally confident that, whatever argument may be raised, after the grant of an exemption from church rates, as to the inconsistency of levying other taxes from unwilling payers, not one single Member of the Peace Society will be able, with impunity, to refuse payment of his taxes in time of war, nor will my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer lose one penny of his Ways and Means for the year through the default of disputatious logicians, or obstinate adherents to precedent. But any one of these arrangements pre-supposes the rejection of the present Bill. It is impossible to engraft the regulation, reduction, or modification of the rate upon a scheme for its total abolition. And here I must venture to express strongly my opinion of the heavy responsibility which rests on both sides of the House—on the Government to clear the ground by throwing out the Bill—on the Opposition to make use of the opportunity, when the ground is cleared, for promoting a well-devised scheme of conciliation. Some attempt has been made to impede this co-operation of opposite sides by importing party feeling into these discussions, and by imputing to the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) that he had made the defence of church rates a party object. Now, in the first place, I doubt the fact, because in the only Report which I have seen of the speech to which allusion is made he appears to have carefully guarded himself against such an interpretation of his words; but if this be otherwise, if the right hon. Gentleman has really claimed for his party the monopoly of attachment to the Church, do you mean to fall into his trap, and proclaim yourselves her enemies? If he really has inscribed "Church Defence" on his banner, do you mean to exhibit "Church Destruction" on yours? If not, if the argument does not mean all this, it means nothing; because mere advice from the right hon. Gentleman to his friends to be earnest in maintaining the institution under attack, loses all party significance as soon as it is shown by a small number of Gentlemen opposite, or even a single Cabinet Minister, voting in the same lobby with the right hon. Gentleman, that they do not recognise the line of partition which is alleged to exist. But, in truth, this reference to party is a mere trifling with the outside of the question, probably designed to influence a few doubtful votes. We may safely disregard it, and turn to the realities of the case. There are eminent men on the Treasury Bench who, after long resistance to Bills similar to this, have on one or two occasions supported them. If I refer to the strong opinion against the abolition of church rates expressed in former days by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), and by my right hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Sir George Grey), it is not for the purpose of taunting them with their more recent votes, which they gave, as I believe, most unwillingly; but for the purpose of entreating them to consider seriously whether the disclosures in the Committee of the House of Lords have not altered their position, and dissipated misapprehensions under which they gave those later votes; whether we have not entered upon a new phase of this subject, in which it becomes their duty to assist the House of Commons in retracing some recent steps, or at least in pausing before farther advance is made; and whether if this Bill is rejected we have not an opportunity such as has not offered itself before for composing this dispute by conciliatory arrangement. And to my hon. and right hon. Friends on this side of the House I will earnestly appeal, with the entreaty that if this opening is given to them, they will frankly avail themselves of it in a spirit of self-denial and of conciliation; that they will not stand out for complete satisfaction of their extreme rights, or their individual judgments, but that they will give up something of their cherished opinions, something of strict justice, something of logical and scientific legislation, for the sake of a result which, as practical men, they may see to be most likely to terminate an agitation which is hostile to the best interests and grating to the best feelings of all who are exposed to it. I beg, Sir, to move, by way of Amendment on the hon. Baronet's Motion, that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.


said, he had for many years taken so deep an interest in this question that he rose with great pleasure to second the Amendment. He could not help adverting to the great changes of opinion that had taken place in the Cabinet on this question. In 1859 the House was startled by the announcement of a change of opinion on the part of the noble Viscount, the Prime Minister; in the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs; and in the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department. In that year, the noble Viscount said— 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. I ask myself, then, whether it may not be possible for the parish churches of this country to be maintained in a similar manner. The noble Lord the Member for London, said— I do not think there is injustice in church rates. 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. The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary said— It is my firm belief that if this compulsory tax were to cease, no serious difference would be perceived in the general maintenance of the Church. I will not believe, taking the country through, that it would be found the churches would fall into disrepair. But since the Braintree ease had been decided church rates had been refused in a number of places where the churches had since fallen into dilapidation. He might be told that a large sum had been expended in church restorations; but there could not be a more wasteful plan than to allow a church to fall into ruin and then restore it. Every one knew that where a church had been allowed to fall into ruin it cost £1,000 to restore it, when £100 would have sufficed at the right time to keep it in repair. It was to prove whether the reasons given by three Cabinet Ministers in 1859 for their change of opinion were founded on fact, that on the 25th January, 1860, he (Mr. Packe) moved for A Return of all the Parishes in England and Wales where church rates had ceased to be collected, when a rate in such parish was last levied, what sum was collected by rates to keep the church in repair during the last seven years before the rate ceased, and what sum had been raised by voluntary contributions for that purpose since the rate ceased. He thought he might justly complain that the right hon. Baronet (Sir George Lewis) had not acted quite fairly in reference to this Return, the unfairness was not so much towards him (Mr. Packe), it was a total disregard of an order of this House; for what were the facts, the right hon. Baronet made no objection to an address for the Return, and it was granted without opposition. On the following 17th of July, he (Mr. Packe) asked When the Return as to rates to keep churches in repair, and voluntary contributions for that object ordered on the 25th January last would be laid upon the table. The right hon. Baronet's answer was,— I am afraid very little progress has been made with these Returns, arising from the necessity of sending out a circular to every parish in England and Wales, and I am informed that when these voluminous Returns are received, it will be necessary to employ two or three clerks for several months in order to abstract them; the House has lately passed a Bill under which there will be an annual return of the amount expended under this head, and when that Act is brought fairly into operation, the House will be in possession of more complete and satisfactory statistics on church rates than they could obtain from any single Return. On last Thursday, he (Mr. Packe) repeated the question, when the right hon. Baronet said,— The House would perhaps recollect that last Session an Act had been passed giving power to the Secretary of State to obtain a general return of all the rates, under that Act a Return of a more comprehensive kind would be obtainable than any yet called for by the House; and, as unnecessary expense and confusion would only be created by calling for two Returns, he had thought it better to wait till the information under the Act, which was now being furnished had been completed. He hoped to present the required account before the end of the Session. This, under any circumstances, would be too late for the present Bill; but he (Mr. Packe), since the right hon. Baronet's answer, had obtained a copy of the form issued from the Home Office for information on church rates under the Act of last Session, and he had no hesitation in saying it was utterly useless for the purpose of giving the information required, for there was a note appended to it— This Return does not extend to voluntary payments for church repairing. Now, he (Mr. Packe) must beg to observe that the Return he asked for only required four columns, which the right hon. Gentleman said, it would take two or three clerks months to abstract; while the useless Return, now in course of preparation, would extend to seventeen columns, with, of course, so much additional labour to the clerks. Had the right hon. Baronet laid on the table of the House the Return which had been ordered, he (Mr. Packe) might have claimed the votes of the two noble Lords and the right hon. Gentleman opposite in favour of the Amendment he now heartily seconded.

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


said, it afforded him unfeigned pleasure to observe the conciliatory tone of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote), and the cheers with which his remarks had been received on the opposite benches; for it seemed to him that the time had now come when they might arrive at an amicable settlement of this miserable question. This could be done if there was a little concession on both sides. All the great questions of our day—Catholic Emancipation, Parliamentary Reform, and even the Corn Laws—had been more or less compromised. The same course ought to be followed in the present instance. He was convinced that the constant irritation which was kept up on the subject of church rates was doing a great deal of damage to the interests of the Church of England, and he hoped that the question would be now approached and dealt with in a conciliatory spirit, with a view to its final settlement. It was making the Church unpopular. He had himself a proposition to submit which he hoped would meet with a favourable reception on both sides of the House as a measure of compromise. Under the existing law no rate could be imposed upon a parish except with the consent of a majority of the vestry; and even after it was imposed no person need pay it if he chose to object. Many remedies had been proposed. The late Ministry introduced a Bill exempting Dissenters who declared themselves in writing to be so. He objected to such a measure. There was a vast number of people who were neither Dissenters nor Churchmen—who were in the habit of going to church in the morning and to the meeting-house in the afternoon. So long as those persons were not called upon to make a declaration of their religious faith they might be induced to draw closer their connection with the Church; but if they were once compelled to sign a paper declaring themselves Dissenters the Church might regard them as lost to her for ever. The remedy he proposed was, that every man who signed a declaration that he objected to pay the rate should be at once exempted from any future liability, and that he should not afterwards be permitted to vote in his vestry upon any subject connected with the making or the appropriation of the church rate or the affairs of the Church. The only difference between that proposition and the recommendations of the Committee of the House of Lords was that the Lords' Committee proposed that the objector should announce his intention not to pay the rate prior to the vote of the vestry. He thought, on the contrary, that the declaration should be made after the vote. There were many persons who, if pressed to a decision before they knew anything about the amount or the appropriation of the rate, would at once say that they objected to pay it, but who would be loth to object if they found the rate reasonable both in extent and purpose. His proposition was more truly liberal than that embodied in the Bill now before the House. The hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock not only exempted all those who did not wish to pay church rates, but he also prohibited Churchmen from paying them even if they liked. He had found by experience in new countries, where no rate existed, that the best way of raising subscriptions was for Churchmen to meet together and agree to pay a certain sum, each in proportion to his means. The same system might be adopted here with very great advantage; for he could see no reason why the Church of England people should not be allowed to pay the rate if they pleased.


Sir, I did not gather distinctly from the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down what vote he intends to give on the present occasion; but, however that may be, I find in his speech, and in the other speeches which have been delivered in the course of this short debate, indications of a cheering character. I find that, on both sides of the House, there is a growing persuasion that it would be for the credit of the Legislature that it should bring this contentious matter to an end. We had presented yesterday a very brief Return which conveyed an important lesson. In the twenty years which have just elapsed, twenty Bills have been introduced, and twenty Bills have suffered shipwreck. It is not desirable that those who may sit on these benches in 1881 should in like manner call for a return of Church Bate Bills during the next twenty years, and should have presented to them a beggarly account of empty consequences in the shape of twenty more Bills shipwrecked like those whose fate we have now to deplore. For my own part, I retain the opinions which I have always entertained; and, while I gladly acknowledge the excellent spirit of the speech made by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Tavistock, I must refuse to vote for the second reading of his Bill, because I think it cannot be made the basis of satisfactory legislation. My opinions on this subject are unchanged; but I am bound to avow publicly that if they had been changed I could not act in any other sense consistently with personal honour as the representative of the University of Oxford. "With the conviction—I may say the knowledge—which I have of the hard and even cruel bearing which, in practice, the present Bill would have upon the interests of the Church, I should feel it due to those whom I have the honour to represent, supposing my opinions to have undergone a change, to give them an opportunity of having their interests and claims stated in this House by some one whose opinions were more congenial to their own. In that case, considering the office I now hold, I should find myself in no small difficulty. It has been recently ruled by the courts of law that a clergyman may not marry himself, and I am not sure whether it is open to a Chancellor of the Exchequer to confer upon himself the office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds. Upon the present occasion I shall endeavour to discuss this question without the slightest reference either to abstract principles or to extreme opinions. I shall pass by much of what fell from the hon. Baronet, the Member for Tavistock, because a good deal of the speech he delivered did not touch the matter at issue. To set forth the grievance of a double contribution for district and mother churches advances us nothing towards a conclusion—we are at all events agreed as to the fact that the existing state of the law, as regards church rates, is a grievance which calls for remedy. Let us cast aside all details and look broadly at the subject before us. Neither shall I, for one, enter into the question whether the present Bill is the commencement of a crusade against the union of Church and State. In the view of some Gentlemen our condition is rather disagreeable. We are told on one side that the logical consequence of abolishing church rates is the dissolution of the union of Church and State, and through that dissolution the ruin of the Constitution; and we are told on the other side—as in the opinion quoted by the hon. Baronet—that the logical consequences of maintaining church rates is the burning of Servetus. I should be sorry, even if I had the power, to burn Servetus; while, on the other hand, I am not disposed to quarrel with the intentions of the hon. Baronet and his friends. I do not believe, in the first place, the people of England are prepared to part with the union of Church and State. I am of opinion, on the other hand, that it is a matter fairly open to argument whether the practical effect of abolishing church rates would be to endanger the union of Church and State or not? In the case of Ireland, where church rates wore abolished in 1833, the practical effect has been materially to strengthen the position of the Church in that country. Nothing could be more irrelevant than the quotation by the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone (Lord Fermoy), of the case of the Church of Ireland as a proof of the facility with which country churches could be main- tained without a legal church rate. Undoubtedly, country churches can be maintained without a legal church rate, provided you are prepared to supply adequate funds for the purpose from other sources. I do not know whether the noble Lord, as the representative of a great borough, is prepared to tax his constituents for the maintenance of country churches; but as the representative and guardian of the Consolidated Fund, I, for one, must respectfully decline to be a party to any arrangement by which the maintenance of churches would be thrown, wholly or in part, upon it. Neither shall I dwell upon the question raised in the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard)—the question, namely, of the exemption of Dissenters. I do not concur in the broad objection taken upon abstract principles to that proposition. If it had been possible to give to that proposition, or if it were now possible to give to it, a shape which would make it acceptable to those for whose benefit it is intended, I would gladly confront some abstract difficulties for the sake of attaining an end so beneficial; but that undoubtedly is not the prospect at present before us. It is vain to press upon any party as a boon that which they, through their organs, think fit to consider as an offence; and, if so, I must reluctantly confess that, whether the proposed exemption be good in itself or not, we cannot look to it as amounting to a settlement of this question. I am bound to say, at the same time, that those who have made that proposition, and those who in principle, even if with reluctance, are ready to assent to it, are entitled, at all events, to ask that they may no longer be regarded as enemies of religious liberty. A desire to obtain the money of Dissenters for purposes which belong exclusively to the Church is a desire which I, for one, do not entertain, and which I believe is not entertained by any party in this House. But it is obvious that there is a real division, both in Parliament and in the country, upon this subject. It is a mistake to suppose, even though the spirit of party should be imported into this debate—which I sincerely hope it may not be—that the marshalling of forces on one side or the other depends in the main upon party organizations, or upon the prosecution of party purposes. If it be true—and it is true—that there is a strong sentiment in favour of the abolition of church rates, I think that those rate- payers who come forward by tens and twenties of thousands, not to claim exemption from a tax, but to ask of Parliament that they might be allowed to continue to pay, evince a strength of principle and of purpose which the hon. Baronet, the Member for Tavistock, would do well to take into his consideration. With respect to the question of church rates, if we wish to get at the merits of the case, in my opinion there is no mode of proceeding, except by the recognition of the fact that it is divided substantially into two questions. I mean two questions as respects different portions of the country. I cannot divide those portions by any arithmetical or statistical lines; I may not be able to find a designation for them which shall be perfectly satisfactory; but in substance what I mean is that the operation of the law of church rates in your populous parishes is one thing, and in your small and rural parishes it is altogether another thing. That is no formal distinction; but it is an essential one, and goes to the very root of the matter. I do not hesitate to say, indeed, that while I think your church rate is a good law in your small and rural parishes, in your populous parishes it has ceased to be a good law, and has become a bad one. In populous parishes you have large masses of Dissenters and other numerous classes of persons who are not in practical and ordinary communion with the Church. In small and rural parishes you have comparatively few of either class. In rural parishes property which bears the rate is either stationary or slowly progressive, and the rate is understood by those who pay it as falling on the same property, and in the same proportions as in the times of their forefathers. But, on the other hand, in populous parishes property is undergoing development so sudden and gigantic that the ratepayer cannot understand you when you say he took his holding subject to church rate, and that it is a breach of faith or a violation of his covenant if he shows reluctance to pay it. But what is of more importance is, that this good old English law of church rates connected, in the spirit of our institutions, the burden and the benefit together. The burden was to pay rate out of property—the benefit was to have a seat and place in the parish church. That is still the operation of the law in the small rural parishes. But in the populous parishes it is totally forgotten, and become absolutely inappli- cable. In many cases free seats have disappeared altogether; in others, those who enjoy them are relegated to the meanest, darkest, coldest, dampest places in the church; in many places the walls of the church will not receive one-tenth of the population. The law has lost its meaning, and having lost its moaning it has become justly unpopular. But then, having become unpopular, must we not admit that this state of things has supplied its own remedy? It has been found, in the hands of the people themselves, to indicate the unpopularity of the law by declining to pay church rates; and, therefore, although I admit that the law is unsuited to such parishes, yet I say that the grievance in those parishes generally is not the grievance of the Dissenter, because the Dissenter by the exercise of his own rights as a vestryman has relieved himself of the burden. There is one grievance, and that is one reason why I think we ought earnestly to desire, with some abatement, perhaps, of our own opinions, to see a settlement of this question. We must all be painfully aware—the best and most laborious of the clergy are painfully aware—that a grievous, compulsory, secularizing influence comes upon them,—at any rate a most burdensome and cruel absorption of their time, from the fact that, instead of their being the shepherds of the people, they are compelled, in the first place, to view themselves as restorers, or the main and sole promoters of the restoration of their parish churches. It is all very well for the hon. Baronet to say—in good faith, I have no doubt—that the clergy ought to take high ground, and to say to their flocks, "Our business ought to be to look after higher things, and not serve tables; it is your duty to look after the preservation of the fabric of the church and the means by which its decent preservation is to be maintained." The clergy may be very ready to listen to the recommendation of the hon. Baronet; but will the flocks be as ready to listen to their recommendation? And are the clergy—for that is the practical point—are the clergy to see Divine service unprovided for and the fabrics go to decay, while the laity are learning to practise the more excellent mode recommended by the hon. Baronet? It is easy for the hon. Baronet, and those who think with him, to recommend that the people belonging to the Church shall at once, in consequence of the abolition of church rates, adopt the modes and habits of what is called the voluntary principle. There is, I think, one practical defect; namely, this, that they forget how serious a thing it is to change the traditional and ancestral habits of a nation. I pass from the populous parishes, and I now come to the rural parishes. I abandon, in principle, the rate for those I call the populous parishes—that is as, in the main, applicable to the entire community. But now look at the rural parishes. I want to know why, in the 8,000 or 10,000 parishes where the rate is levied with as much satisfaction and as much assent as any other public charge, we are to abolish this ancient law? The hon. Baronet says it is not an ancient law; it is a comparative innovation; for originally, the repairs of the churches were charged on the tithes. I think he quoted, in support of his assertion, the authority of Mr. Toulmin Smith, who, he said, had collected a great deal of antiquarian evidence. I know that Mr. Toulmin Smith, in his evidence, refers to very old precedents indeed, but I did not know that he ever went so far back as when he tells us that we must remount to a period anterior to church rates, when the repairs of the church were charged on the tithes. Church rates in this country are, at all events, 600 or 800 years old; and I think that is an honourable prescriptive title. But I am not going to defend church rate because it is old; I am going to defend it in regard to the rural parishes—in good faith, and not for party objects—because it is good, and because anything you propose to substitute for it is, in my judgment, worse than we have now got. I want to know who pays the church rate in the rural parishes. The land pays it. It is a burden upon the land, not as to the real disbursement of the sum, but as to its real and substantial incidence. My hon. Friend, the Member for Lambeth (Mr. Williams), the other night spoke of the undue exemptions enjoyed by the land, which he wished to redress; yet, here he is himself, with 200 or 300 more, going to confer another exemption on the land, the most groundless, and I must say the most irrational that can be conceived; for if it be true that, on the one hand, there are many who wish to force on Dissenters, in the shape of exemption, a boon they do not ask, here, on the other, are a large number of gentlemen who are so fanatically enamoured of the landed interest that they are determined to compel it to receive a present of £250,000 a-year, amounting in the lump to £10,000,000 or £12,000,000, which, in the main part, the landed proprietors refuse to receive. So much as to the payment of church rates. Then, who manages the church rate in rural parishes? If it is paid by the land, it is managed by the occupier of the land. And what more suitable, what more becoming function can there be, what more congenial to the whole spirit of the English Constitution than that the occupier of the land should look to the management of this fund—controlling its amount and its expenditure in a befiting manner—that he should be called to the vestry—that he should serve in his turn the office of churchwarden—that he should consult with the clergyman—that he should bring to bear on the clergyman that salutary influence of opinion the action of which is good for clergymen as for other men? And then who enjoys the benefits? If the land bears the rate, if the occupier of the land manages it, who enjoys the benefits of it? Why, the peasantry of the country. The hon. Baronet says he, or some one else, went into a district church and asked the pew-opener where the free seats were, and that he was shown a single ledge, which was sometimes put up for that purpose but not often used. Such a statement is by no means applicable to the rural parishes. There you have got fabrics that still maintain the just relation between burden and benefit. There the church is adapted to receive the population, and, thank God, the church receives the population generally of all classes, but especially the poor, the old, the maimed, and the infirm; and it is with respect to these that I make my appeal to the hon. Baronet and say that to tell these persons that after the rate is abolished they may set to work and support their churches on the voluntary principle is little better than a mockery. And, moreover, the law of the land having given these persons the privilege of a free place in the church, I want to know why that privilege should be taken away from them. The hon. Baronet says that where there is no opposition—no open opposition—to church rates, still there is a great deal of real heartburning and exasperated feeling on the part of the Dissenters regarding them. But let us consider who the Dissenters are, and where they are. I put the rural parishes out of the case—for that is an exception; but, in the main, the Dis- senters are aggregated together in the populous parishes—in the rural parishes they are not bodies, but scattered individuals. But the offer is made to them, though they do not think fit to accept it, to exempt themselves if they please. But they do not please; and if they do please—they may be right or wrong, but this I must say, that if the church rate law is an old law, it still retains the vigour and pliabibility of youth—if it is an old law—if it is a good law—if it is congenial to the spirit of our institutions—if it provides gratuitously the means of Divine ordinances for the poor, and if these amount in the aggregate to a large portion of the people, I must hold it is too much to say that we are to abolish such a law as that in order to meet the scruples, or not the scruples, but the convenience of individuals who dislike to pay the tax, but will not accept an exemption. That, Sir, is really the issue that is before us. Sir, if we abolish church rates in rural parishes, on whom will the burden fall? Unfortunately we have the guidance of experience. In those cases in which church rates have been abolished, but where there are ample means to supply the want of the rates, practically a very great evil has been inflicted by the burden imposed on the time and mind of the clergyman. Some of your most efficient parish priests have told you that they have no difficulty in providing means for the maintenance of their churches, but great difficulty in providing the machinery by which these means may be brought into operation. If we take the example of schools, every one acquainted with the state of popular education in the country must acknowledge that a most disproportionate share of that burden falls on the clergy, the working clergy, of the Church. There are, no doubt, many landlords, men of high station, of liberal minds, who would spare the clergyman both the anxiety and the burden; but when we look at the multitude of landlords—one part of them in distress, another part of them minors, another in trust, another portion in Chancery, another here and there having some quarrel with the clergyman—in all these cases the position of the clergy must be most painful; and I, for one, confess that I am not willing to intrust to mere speculation the fate of those venerable fabrics the parish churches of England, which to this hour are among the chief glories of the country. If I am asked how I would endeavour to proceed in this case, I will endeavour to explain my views in the best manner I can. I admit that those who talk of conciliation should show that they wish their plans to conciliate; and, however imperfect their suggestions may be, however difficult to indicate their precise objects, they are bound to show that in their own view they are not using idle words. I can only say, without attempting or presuming to enter into details, that I see no abstract reason why we should not proceed in some such manner as this—begin by frankly accepting that power of the majority of the parish, which until this time we have never converted into a right; for, so far as legal dicta are concerned, I apprehend that the gist of the authorities is that there is a legal obligation on a parish to support the church, although the means of giving effect to that obligation are wanting. If you are to legislate in the sense of conciliation, you must convert that power of the majority into a right. Then you must enable the parish, by its own deliberate and solemn act, to pass as it were, into a new state; of which new state the characteristic shall be the absence, or, as the hon. Baronet prefers calling it, the abolition of the present law of church rates. Well, along with that I must as firmly maintain the right of the parish to tax itself; where the will of the parish is in favour of continuing in the accustomed course; but I do not think your duty would stop there. Looking to the state of the parishes in which the old system has lapsed you ought to give effect to a suggestion of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Fox); you ought to give powers to all the parishes where the ancient church rate has lapsed to form a voluntary church vestry, which, when formed by willing consent of those who choose to constitute it, shall take the place of the old vestry, and still exercise the powers of taxation. It appears to mo, on a basis like that, some settlement of this kind might be arrived at. And if with that is not combined the exemption of Dissenters, I wish it to be clearly understood, so far as I am concerned, that it is not because I am afraid of entering upon that subject, but simply because we are told that Dissenters are unwilling to accept exemption. If, on these terms, or any terms like them, it be impossible to come to agreement, I can only say I shall deeply regret it; but if we cannot I have no option but to record my vote as I have recorded it before. In that case we have little before us but the prospect of endless and hopeless agitation. The question of the hon. Baronet has not made much progress in this House since he first took it up. The kind of opposition raised to him is an opposition in itself strong, just as the support he receives is also strong. But we have not to deal with this House alone, and we must ask ourselves plainly and frankly, whether this is a case in which we have a right to assure ourselves of the assent of the House of Lords. Sir, a gentleman distinguished in the service of this House (Mr. Erskine May), in an admirable work, added to other admirable contributions to our literature, has pointed out that in substance and for certain purposes you cannot deny that the House of Lords possesses many of the elements of a representative character. It is representative, at any rate, of one class, I mean especially of that class which is interested in the land; and when the House of Lords shall or may think fit from year to year again and again to reject Bills going up from this House on the Motion of the hon. Baronet for the purpose of exempting the land from charge, I think the House of Lords, in refusing to confer on themselves such an enormous pecuniary boon as is proposed to be forced upon them by the excessive and officious attachment of the hon. Baronet and his colleagues, the country will feel that in taking that course the House of Lords is not interfering with the privileges of Parliament, but is occupying a strong and probably an impregnable position. I do earnestly hope that we may bethink ourselves on the prolongation of this almost hopeless warfare. No one will more rejoice than I shall if the end of this reflection should be the attainment of a satisfactory settlement of the question; but I am bound to say as a member for a clerical constituency, and, I must add, on broader and larger grounds, it is my absolute duty to record my vote in opposition to the second reading of this Bill.


Sir, the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman has now sketched to the House is the same, I believe, in all its points, as he laid before the House two or three Sessions ago. It appears to me to have just the fault that he has attributed—and that almost every Speaker has attributed—to all the plans that have been offered for compromise and conciliation in regard to this question. If I understand him literally, he must begin by accepting the Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock, because he said it would be necessary entirely to abolish church rates; and that, having abolished church rates, then it would be necessary for certain parishes to enter on a new state of being, where his new system might be applicable and might be established. Well, I am quite ready to go with him so far as the acceptance of the Bill now before the House goes; and when we have proceeded so far, if it can be shown that there is a necessity for further legislation with regard to those parishes for which he mostly fears, then I shall be ready in a conciliatory spirit to consider any proposition offered to the House. But the fact is, if you strip the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman of the gloss which he has put upon it, it comes to this—which is now the state of the law—that where you cannot get any church rate you shall be content to go without it; but where you can you shall use the law to compel the payment of it. Now, I am of opinion that, unless the House is prepared to adopt the Bill of the hon. Member for Tavistock, the proper course is to leave the question exactly where it stands. I am quite sure I speak, knowing more of this matter, so far as the feelings of the opponents of church rates are concerned, than hon. Gentlemen opposite are likely to know—I speak, I think, with knowledge, when I say that not one of the propositions that has been made is likely in the smallest degree to pass this House by consent of those by whom this measure is promoted; and, if it were possible to pass, I believe it would have no sensible effect in allaying the continued agitation of this question in the various parishes where church rates have not yet been abolished. I am very glad to find that the question to-day is not, so far as hon. Gentlemen opposite are concerned, in the hands of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin. I thought it unfortunate last year that a Gentleman coming from a country where church rates were once abolished by the votes of English Members, himself an eminent lawyer, should have had this case in his hands. I think to-day the cause of the Church—if the cause of the Church, as I believe it is not, is really identified with the cause of church rates—should be in the hands of the hon. Baronet the Member for the University of Oxford. Nothing can be more—what shall I say?—to be applauded, than the spirit in which he has discussed this question. But when I see his right hon. Colleague get up from this side of the House, just with that sort of misty notion upon this question that he had some eighteen years ago, when I first came into this House, upon so many other questions—I am led to believe that there is an influence in that ancient and eminent University which busies itself with the learning of the past, but sees little of the present, and shuts its eyes resolutely to the future—that there is something which prevents such intelligent men from seeing the real truth of the matter which is before us. Now, Sir, last year I took the liberty of addressing the House upon this matter, and the hon. Gentlemen who heard me will bear me out in what I say. I endeavoured on that occasion to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite—to appeal to their self-respect, to their generosity, to their feeling of justice, which cannot, I trust, be obliterated from the mind of any Member of this House. I showed them how much the Nonconformists of England have done, how much the Nonconformists of Wales, how much the Free Church of Scotland, how much the unendowed Catholic Church of Ireland; and I did them the justice—and I am sure it was only justice—to say that if the congregations of their Churches were placed in the same position—less church rate, less tithe, less endowment altogether—I believed that, being more rich than any other class, they would show a generosity and a liberality in the affairs of their Christian organization, certainly not less than that shown by any of the unendowed Churches of the United Kingdom. I believe that I appealed to hon. Gentlemen opposite on the question of the amount—I think £250,000 is the whole matter; of that, I think, it may be fairly assumed £100,000 probably—but I will take any figure you like—is paid by those whom you are now prepared to exempt. And, therefore, the whole question, probably, for the great Church of England is only this—a matter of £150,000 a-year, which is not in the position stated by the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; it is not a thing of actual loss in all those country parishes which he describes; because it is clear that if there was no law to compel the land, or the occupier, or anybody else to pay still in those parishes, not only the high probability but the absolute certainty is, that the great bulk of those persons in con- nection with the Established Church would be willing to pay at least as much as they now pay under the form and action of an uncertain law. Of course, not being a member of the Established Church, many persons will say I am not an authority upon a point like this. I think I am as good an authority as you as to what Churchmen will do. The right hon. Gentleman has paid some unfortunate compliments to the Church. He says, "What are these people to do, who are to be landed at once in a system of voluntaryism?" He talked about ancient and ancestral customs, and if you break these down and make them voluntary what dreadful things will happen. Those are just the things said with regard to the cultivation of land, and a thousand other things. We have heard these vague predictions before, and experience teaches that nothing wrong ever comes from doing that which is just. You may depend upon it, in this case, that not one of the evils which the right hon. Gentleman has, insultingly to the members of his own Church, described as likely to happen, could happen. But if his prophecies are true, what a conclusive argument it is of the deadness of the Church Establishment! And he turns upon my hon. Friend and says he talks with great sympathy about the clergy having all to do with education and the repairs of the church, and so on, and that the congregation should do it. Well, the congregation does it amongst all the unendowed Churches. There is a committee—there is an organization—there is a treasurer— there are all the appliances for carrying on this work, and the minister of the Dissenting churches is not troubled with these considerations—they are done by the lay members of his congregation, and he never for a moment imagines it to be possible that the windows of the chapel will be left unglazed, and the slates off and the building tottering, because he cannot go to the whole parish or town and by force of law raise a rate for the repairs of the place in which he is to minister. There is one point to which I ask the attention of the House. I perceive that in all these discussions—although the temper of the House has very much improved in the discussion of these questions—I speak of hon. Gentlemen opposite particularly—if you had shown a disposition to arrange this question some twenty or thirty years ago who knows but it might have been done; but you always neglect this mode- ration until you get into that kind of difficulty where an army becomes very civil—namely, when it is on the point of surrender. What I perceive in these debates is this. Hon. Gentlemen opposite not being themselves connected with the Nonconformist Churches are not aware of the exact state of feeling of their members with regard to this question. And, in point of fact, we know very well that with regard to Dissenters talking about the Churchmen, and Churchmen talking about Dissenters, there has been such a wide difference—we are so much the creatures of association and education—that we know very little really of each other and of each other's modes of thinking. And now I will tell the House what Dissenters do object to, and how they feel in regard to this question. They feel it is a struggle for supremacy. I have nothing to conceal in this matter, because it is not the slightest question to me—except so far as I regard the good of the country—whether this discussion is put an end to in this Session of Parliament or not. But the Dissenters regard this matter as a matter of supremacy. It is not as a matter of twopence in the pound they regard it. You will bear in mind that I could as easily taunt you with exacting twopence in the pound as you could taunt the Nonconformist with not wishing to be plundered of twopence in the pound. Remember, if it is a question of twopence in the pound on one side, it is a question of twopence in the pound on the other. But that is not the question with the Nonconformist body; it is with them a question of supremacy on the part of a great Establishment which is at least as much political as religious—against which their forefathers have fought, and against which they are obliged inevitably still to contend. I will tell the House what—if you were discussing the matter with a number of Dissenters—they would say about it. They regard certain things in your Church as highly obnoxious and utterly to be condemned, which you do not condemn at all, for you have been accustomed to them, and do not see the ugly features which the Nonconformists fancy they can discern. There is not a church but yours in Christendom in which the highest dignitaries are not appointed by ecclesiastical authority. In the Church of Rome the bishops are appointed by the Pope. In the Episcopalian Churches in America, whether in connection with your Church or not, no one ever heard that Mr. Buchanan or General Cass appointed the bishops. They are either appointed by the devout men of the congregations, or by the clergymen who minister to those congregations. In this country it is not so. I am not going to argue whether that is a good thing or not; but I am going to show that this matter has made a great impression on the minds of Nonconformists for centuries past, and that anything which binds them in subjugation to the Established Church, or gives that Church supremacy, is a thing that it is impossible for them in any shape whatever to be content with. Seven years ago the Prime Minister was a Presbyterian, and appointed the Bishops of the Church of England. It is said that the present Prime Minister has appointed nearly one-half of the bench of Bishops. Now, although many persons may regard him as a great statesman, few persons think him exactly to be regarded as a divine or ecclesiastical authority. I believe the noble Lord is not here; but he has been considered, as everybody knows, not very orthodox in some of the opinions he has expressed. I saw a paragraph lately in a newspaper, that he is now sitting under a noted Scotch Presbyterian divine, and I do not suppose he would be considered worse qualified on that account amongst Churchmen to be the appointer of Bishops of the Established Church. But it is not so amongst the Nonconformist body; and if you go amongst the thousands that compose the Nonconformist congregations in England and Wales on the Sunday, if you were to enter their houses and listen to their conversation on these subjects, you would hear them expressing their astonishment that there should be twenty-four or thirty dignitaries of the Church enjoying from £5,000 to £15,000 a year, living in palatial residences one-half of the year; and partaking of the business of politics in the arena of Parliament during the other half. All this to you is familiar, and by its familiarity does not offend; but to the great body of Nonconformists it is positively appalling; and if you were to propose to establish in their churches anything approaching to an organization like that in yours, it would produce something tantamount to a rebellion throughout the whole kingdom. If they leave that altitude and come down something lower, they find again things that shock them exceedingly, and which strengthen their resolution not in any way to make payments to the Established Church, and not in any way to acknowledge its supremacy. You have 10,000 livings and more in your Church; and 5,000 or more of them are in the hands of private persons. The Nonconformists know what grievances and evils this system leads to, and they believe that the system of selling Church livings which has obtained in this country is a departure from an original trust—a thing offensive to common reason, and offensive also in the eye of Heaven. My lion. Friend the Member for Tavistock has referred to a book recently written, which has caused a good deal of sensation. There is an article in it on the national Church, which, no doubt, many Gentlemen opposite have read, and in which, no doubt, there is a great deal that hon. Gentlemen might consider with great advantage. On this very question of the private property in church livings, Mr. Bristow Wilson, the writer of one article, makes these observations:— In accordance with the strong tendency in England to turn every interest into a right of so-called private property, the nominations to the benefices of the National Church have come, by an abuse, to be regarded as part of the estates of patrons, instead of trusts, as they really are. No trustee of any analogous property—of a grammar-school, for instance—would think of selling his right of appointment; he would consider the proper exercise of the trust his duty; much less would any court of law acknowledge that a beneficial interest in the trust property was an asset belonging to the estate of a trustee. If the nomination to the place of a schoolmaster ought to be considered as purely fiduciary, much more should the nomination of a spiritual person to his parochial charge. I believe that a large majority in the House will agree with that observation; it is impossible to disagree with it. The Nonconformists of England constantly read accounts in the public press of the transactions that take place under this system, and I can assure hon. Gentlemen that the repulsion created in the minds of thousands and millions of them to the Establishment is something which makes it impossible that you can satisfactorily settle this question on any other basis than that offered by the Bill of my hon. Friend. I am not myself wishing to take up the question in a carping or cavilling spirit. I know that much of what the Church holds, and the holding of which is deemed inconvenient and bad, is derived from a system established in old times, for which neither you nor I are responsible; but the opinion of the Nonconformists is of a character which causes them to believe it to be hopeless to do anything with the question but totally abolish the exaction. With regard to the sale of livings, I saw not long ago an announcement in a very influential paper, that the benevolent patron of a living worth about £700 a year had advertised for a clergyman of not less than eighty years of age—"of sound High Church principles—to whom he is desirous of presenting it." The advertiser was called a disinterested patron in the newspaper paragraph; but we all know very well how disinterested he was. Not long ago in a metropolitan parish—the parish of St. Luke's, Chelsea—there appeared this appeal:— To all who are interested in the truth of Christ this appeal is made by the parishioners of St. Luke, Chelsea, under the following circumstances: On the 27th of this month the next presentation to the living of the above parish is to be sold by auction, unless previously purchased by private contract. The parishioners are most anxious to secure a faithful ministry, and to prevent the calamity of a Tractarian purchasing the living, especially in the present times. The only way of effecting this is to purchase the living themselves, and present it to an Evangelical clergyman. But as the time is very short, and the sum demanded large, they must, to succeed, obtain the aid of all those who wish to preserve the preaching of the Gospel in its purity. They then appeal to good men who do not like the Tractarians—I do not know anything particularly offensive about them—they appeal to the public to subscribe to buy this living, which is going to be offered under the auctioneer's hammer, in order that this great Christian parish and congregation, in this nineteenth century, and in this England of the present day, may be able to free themselves from the calamity of having a minister, whom the parishioners might wholly condemn, thrust upon them by a private patron. Only two or three weeks ago I observed a case of this kind that would be most amusing if it were not absolutely shocking. I do not know if any of the hon. Members for Norfolk are in the House. At a place near Diss, in that county, a living called Shelfanger was sold, and the following account is given of the sale:— From the Norfolk Times. SALE OF THE PRESENTATION TO THE RECTORY OF SHELFANGER. The right of next presentation to the Rectory of Shelfanger was sold at Garraway's Coffee-house, Change-alley, Cornhill, on Wednesday last, by Mr. Clark, of the firm of Farebrother, Clark, and Lye. There were between twenty and thirty persons present. The auctioneer in offering the property said,—It is not my intention, gentlemen, to read to you the conditions of sale. They have been published with the particulars. If there should be any question that you think necessary to ask, I shall be very happy to give you any information in my power. If there be no questions upon the conditions, I shall proceed to read to you the description, which is, 'The right of next presentation to the rectory of Shelfanger, in the diocese of Norwich, situate about two miles from the town of Diss, subject to the life of the present incumbent.' [Always an important matter.] There is a residence, containing five bed-rooms, parlour, two kitchens, dairy, and the necessary outbuildings, and about forty acres of glebe land. He then comes to a question of antiquarian research. The age of the incumbent is based upon a minute in the possession of the vendors, obtained in 1816, in reference to the rector, by which his age was then stated to be forty-five. The incumbent informed me that he was born on Easter day, which occurred about 1770. On reference to the old prayer books of that period, I found that Easter day occurred on the day mentioned, in 1771, and did not occur again till 17S3, nor again till 1795; therefore there is no doubt that he was born on the 13th March, 1771. That is the day he always puts it at himself, and no doubt it is correct. The auctioneer then says the population is about 500, and that the service is double—morning and afternoon—and adds:— Now we sell to you the absolute right of the next presentation to the rectory of Shelfanger, and the question, of course, is what it may he worth. The auctioneer, it appears, had been down to see Mr. Morris, and he remarks:— I was very much struck when I saw Mr. Morris yesterday. The first question almost that he put to me was, 'I suppose you have come down to see when I am going to die. There have been gentlemen for the last four or five years visiting me about every five or six weeks, and at last, all I did was to show my nose at the top of the stairs, and say that I was engaged.' 'Well,' I said to him, 'I have really come down for no such purpose, for it is no part of my duty to say when you are going to die; but of course, having arrived at your age, beyond the ordinary age of man, you cannot be expected to live very long. All I shall state to-morrow will be that which I always do state, that one can only take the age of an incumbent according to the present duration of life, the same as the insurance offices do.' He further remarks:— I have not said a word as to whether you will have the presentation to-morrow, or not for the next ten years; I can only say that the incumbent is at the advanced age of ninety, and you may calculate that any day it may fall in, or it may not fall in for three or four years, but the tables give you for his life about a year and a half's purchase. Then there were bids—£2,000, £2,500, £2,600, and £2,700 were bid. The auctioneer then says:— As regards the house, if anyone who has it thinks it is not good enough, he has only to borrow the money from Queen Anne's Bounty, the payment of which will extend over thirty years. I believe an estimate was made to build a nice rectory house, from the designs which I saw, for about £600. Anyone desirous of putting a son into the Church will find this an opportunity that is not likely to occur again soon. That raised the bidding to £2,800 at once. He then begins in a reproaching tone, The question is whether an income like this of £450 a year, in a beautiful part of the county of Norfolk, is to be given away for the sum of £2,800. Now, gentlemen, is it your pleasure to advance upon this bidding? You may buy bushels of incomes, but they are what I call 'starvation incomes,' not at all suitable for gentlemen who have had a college education, and upon whose education their fathers have spent some thousands of pounds, and it is not sufficient to place them in the position in which gentlemen ought to be placed. But here you have an income of £500 or £600, ample means in an agricultural district, and with the prospect of immediate possession. I cannot understand anything like this being sold for £2,800. Is it your pleasure, gentlemen, to increase? Let me impress upon you all; because do not go away with the imagination that this is brought here by trustees to test its value and not to be sold. I assure you that on the fall of the hammer it will be actually sold; and unless you increase the bidding it will be sold for £2,800. The writer of the account adds:— There being no other bidder the property was sold for £2,800. The name of the purchaser did not transpire. That account has excited the laughter of the House, and, as I have said, it would be very amusing if it were not very shocking. There may be things to be deplored amongst the members of the Nonconformist Churches in England and Wales; no one denies it; they are inseparable from human infirmity and human passions; but no such thing as that can be pointed to. And if hon. Gentlemen opposite, without exception, could by a stroke of the pen remedy grievances like those existing in the Church of England, would they not be but too glad to do it? You should consider that the Nonconformists of England have been brought up with different feelings and traditions from you, before you ask them to continue in any shape to support a religious and political establishment that admits of such abuses as those I have narrated. Whatever was done in the ancestral periods to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has referred, amounts to nothing. You do not now appeal to the people by the powerful authority of the united Church. You know you have in your belief—I am not speaking of your creeds and articles—every kind of difference. You have a torrid zone of belief; you have a frigid zone; and for aught I know you have a temperate zone between them. You have a difference greater, far greater, than that which separates the Dissenting sects—a difference far greater, I believe, than that which separates the main Dissenting sects of England from a very large sect within your borders. My hon. Eriend has referred to that book which has been recently published, and which is a work in regard to which it would be unbecoming in me to express any very strong opinion. But I see that Bishops and other persons, some of whom I am told are not qualified to give an opinion, do pronounce a very positive opinion. Now, it would be presumptuous in me, who am not acquainted with the ancient languages, and who have not made Biblical study any part of my occupation so far as regards the original writings, to express any strong opinion with regard to those Essays—but I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite what must be the effect upon the Nonconformists of England and Wales, when they see what is now taking place in your Church? It may be distressing to you; probably it is. I hope it is. But there is an effectual bar against their admitting your theory that they ought in any way to support your Church, or can in any way permit it to be supreme, by the continuance of an exaction such as this to which we object to day. I shall not detain the House by reading to them extracts from those Essays. ("Question.") It is the question. In discussing the question of church rate it is necessary to glance at these matters, because I think they bear upon this question. You must recollect that you have eminent men of your Church who have written certain of these Essays which will live. Some of them are written in the very finest style of English composition. There is much that is bright, and liberal, and true in what they say, and which will be sure to commend itself to many thinking men. There are, however, other matters contained in them which will give distress, because there are passages occurring in the discussion of the question of the authenticity of Scripture which are not written in an affectionate and reverent spirit. These writers are denounced by an Archdeacon Cox in the North of England, by the Bishop of Durham, in language which, if it is not just, is violent, and, also, as I understand, by the great body of the Bishops. As I have said, I shall not trouble the House by reading any of those extracts which have given me pain—some of them extracts from the Review; but I have felt even more pained by some things which have been said in condemnation of them. But if it be true that you have got seven Champions of un-Christendom—for that appears to be the allegation, and I do not make the statement myself—I ask the House to consider who these champions are. If you have a Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen, and a Head Master of one of your greatest and most renowned schools—if you have the Principal or Vice Principal of an institution whose object is to raise up young men for the service of your Church, and if you have likewise a great Professor at the University of Oxford, and a Regins Professor, who has written one of the most elaborate of those Essays—bear in mind that those seven gentlemen are not the only men who hold those opinions in your Church. They are seven men who have stood out from the ranks and propounded what they believe to be true and what they believe to be necessary to be known; but they are the representatives of many hundreds of men who have great doubts upon those points, and who groan under the burden of the creeds, the articles, and the subscriptions, which your Church imposes upon them. If, therefore, you go to the people on the authority of a divided Church, and when you can only show that in numbers you are about equal to the number of the Nonconformists, I do ask the House to consider whether it is worth while to accept the proposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or that of the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Hubbard), or of the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), or that which has been introduced in "another place" by a nobleman, not long since a Member of this House? I say that all these propositions are based upon an ignorance of the state of feeling amongst the Nonconformist population of England, and if the House of Commons should legislate in favour of any one of those measures it will do so in the dark. I am anxious that it should not do so, and, therefore, I have risen, for the purpose of asking the House if it be possible to give their assent to the Bill of my hon. Friend. I have shown you that it is only a miserable question of £150,000 a year that is involved. I should wish to recall to the recollection of hon. Gentlemen opposite some remarks which fell from the Bishop of Oxford in the course of a speech which he made in the House of Lords a few years back on the subject of Parliamentary grants for church building purposes. I believe he is a great authority with hon. Gentlemen opposite: and what did he say on this subject? He objected altogether to Parliamentary grants, and said he felt sure that there was nothing which was so injurious to the Church as public aid which hindered the development of its own zeal and its own liberality, and he trusted, therefore, that no man who valued the Church would ever again come to Parliament for any public grant whatsoever. But if that be true with regard to the building of your churches, it must be equally true with regard to the maintenance of them. Therefore, I would ask whether for this miserable £150,000 a year it is worth while to run the risk of failure, which, I believe, must necessarily attend any of those projects which have been submitted to Parliament in substitution for the Bill of my hon. Friend? Now, the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) gave evidence about ten years since before a Committee of this House with respect to church rates. I recollect perfectly well what he stated to that Committee. He stated that in a certain Independent chapel in the borough of Leeds, with which he was intimately acquainted, they paid £670 a year for the ministers and for the expenses of that chapel. He said that in ten years and a half previous to that time they had raised £14,900 for building chapels and schools, and £1,270 per annum for missions and other religious objects, showing that one congregation in these ten years and a half had raised a total sum of £35,309, or £3,363 per annum. In a discussion which took place the other day in Edinburgh upon the annuity tax, which is an analogous question, Mr. M'Laren—a gentleman of great accuracy, which every gentleman who knows him must admit—stated that there were in the year 1860 raised out of four congregations of the Free Church in Edinburgh these sums:—By Dr. Guthrie's, £2,700; by Mr. Bruce's, £2,700; by Mr. Rainy's, £3,000; and by Dr. Candlish's £7,600. I believe that at this moment the Dissenters of England and Wales raise every year at least the sum of £2,000,000 for the purpose of carrying on their worship in their congregations, and of carrying on their various missionary enterprises. I believe that they have now invested in their chapels throughout the country a sum of something like £15,000,000 sterling. Are these facts correct? If they are, then, I ask, are your congregations less generous than ours? Are they less rich, or less Christian, or have they less zeal? Surely, if they are as good, and if this £150,000 be taken away by the Vote of Parliament upon this Bill, they can, if they like, raise that sum as easily as can the Dissenters of England; and who, if they were put to it, would raise £150,000 a year more than they do for any great object, and you would not hear a murmur with regard to it from any part of the country. Now, Sir, I say, in conclusion, that you must not misunderstand the character of the Nonconformists. They come down from the Puritans of an earlier period, who, I believe, have gained for England all that there is of freedom in the English Constitution. That is the opinion of Hume, the historian, and I think it must be the opinion of every one who carefully reads history. The lamp which these Puritans first lit has been kept burning by the Nonconformists of a later day. Those Puritans took their rise from the hour when the religious organization of England was first dissevered from the Church of Rome. The principles they held have never died out, but have continually spread, and have found greater and greater acceptance with all classes of the people. I assure the House, in all sincerity, and I believe in my conscience that I speak only the literal truth—that any attempt to settle this question by leaving any shred of church rate unrepealed will be a failure, and that the Nonconformists themselves will never abandon this question until a complete victory is won.


Sir, the Bill we have to consider to-night is a Bill for the abolition of church rates. If this Bill were carried, the first effect would be to deprive the parishioners, in vestry assembled, of the privilege they now possess of self-taxation. That may be a result which may find favour with philosophical liberalism; but at the first blush it does not ap- pear to be a consequence which ought to be supported by those who are the professors of popular principles. On the other hand, if they are not deprived of that right, what is the object to which they may apply the produce of this rate? It is to secure to every inhabitant of this realm the privilege of Divine worship. That does not seem at the first blush also to be a consequence of so odious a character; it might be supported by Gentlemen in this House whatever their religious opinions. Thus, the first consequences of acceding to the Bill brought forward by the hon. Baronet, appear to be these—an assault upon the independence of the parish, and upon the integrity of the Church. On what ground, then, is a change recommended, which, upon the surface, appears to be opposed to popular principles, popular privileges, and popular rights? One great ground is, that in its present state the law occasions a grievance—a conscientious grievance it is said—to many of Her Majesty's subjects. Is that so? We have heard a great deal of Dissenters in this and previous debates on this subject, and one would almost suppose, from the manner in which the Dissenter was mentioned that he was some stranger in the country, or some wild animal. Why, Sir, a Dissenter is our friend, our neighbour, our tenant, our tradesman; he is an Englishman, animated by all the feelings and principles of Englishmen. What is the position of a Dissenter with respect to this? If he finds himself in a majority in any parish where a rate is proposed, he has a victorious power of self defence in that majority, and he can, by the votes of himself and friends, shield himself from these grievances of which you say that he complains. What is the position of a Dissenter in parishes in which he is in the minority. In that case, if he be animated by the same feelings as any other Englishman—and I know by experience he is so—he yields to the opinion of the majority, for such he knows is the principle upon which our social system is established. If the majority is overwhelming, he yields without a murmur; if it be slight, he can exercise his influence if he chooses, so that next year the majority may change into a minority. And who grudges him that right? Why, Sir, when we come practically to consider the question, it is impossible to say that there is a class of Her Majesty's subjects who are experiencing a grievance from the exercise of a law, ancient in its character, popular in its principle, and which all must admit is, if not for a general, for a public purpose. But if it be true that there is a grievance arising from the present state of the law for raising church rates, and if it be true that the Dissenters can, with any justice, make this plea a grievance, has there been no inclination on the part of the Legislature to relieve them from that grievance? Has there been any indisposition on the part of the Queen's Government to make the effort? Have no measures been brought forward which, so far as the grievances are concerned, might not completely and satisfactorily have met them? We have been reminded to-day that a measure was brought forward in this House two years ago, and that with the authority of the Government, which would have exempted Dissenters from the payment of church rates. Why was not that passed? Did the Dissenters support it? Well, then, it is certain, whether you consider the incidence of the rate on Dissenters in a practical point of view as it now stands, or the disposition of Government and Parliament to afford real relief, that no one can fairly say that on the ground of grievance, the abolition of the law can be urged by Dissenters. Now, I never find fault with any Gentleman who does me the honour of noticing any observations which I may make out of this House. On the contrary, I feel such notice a compliment. But, on the whole, I confess I think it is not so convenient to notice expressions used out of the House, as expressions used in it. Because error, if made here, is in a moment corrected; whereas, if you notice observations made out of the House, you may be dealing with arguments which were never used, and commenting on expressions which were never uttered. That is a general observation, but it applies to remarks which have been made by the hon. Baronet with respect to something which has fallen from me in "another place." It is impossible that the Baronet could with justice urge against me that I was the supporter of the law as it at present stands because it is a perfect law, and that I was prepared to make it even more stringent. If the hon Baronet will consider, he will remember that I, by sanctioning and supporting the Bill brought forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), had shown no indisposition to deal with the deficiencies of the law, to remove its anomalies and inconveniences, and afford relief from the grievances which the hon. Gentleman on behalf of his friends seems to claim. But, Sir, recently when I had to consider the question of church rates in the presence of my neighbours and constituents, and give them that advice, which, I thought, to the best of my belief, was sound advice on the subject, I certainly did not encourage, and I do not encourage now, the attempt at what is called making a settlement of the question in a House where there is a pledged majority against the principle of the rate itself. I think that, when there is a pledged majority against the principle of a measure, it is most unwise to come forward and attempt a compromise. It appears to me that if you do that you weaken compromise, you vitiate conciliation, and render settlement impossible. I think the House of Commons, in an unlucky hour, came to a Resolution in favour of the total and unconditional abolition of church rates. I think it was a hasty and unfortunate decision; and ever since I have been of opinion that, until the House virtually rescinds that Besolution—until, by frequent decisions of more prolonged thought, the majority of the House should show that they were of opinion that it would be unwise totally and unconditionally to abolish church rates—it would be worse than useless for any Gentleman on either side of the House to come forward with any project, the object of which would be to improve the law and remove the inconveniences and anomalies which we all agree exist. That is the advice which I gave to my constituents—I have been charged with giving it for party purposes. It is very easy to make these charges, but the question is have they any foundation? Why, Sir, for years and years I have been in the habit of addressing my neighbours in the country, not generally merely on politics, but on this very question, which they are greatly interested about. I did so at a time when the law as it at present exists was supported with so much power, and, as I thought, irresistible eloquence by the noble Lord the Secretary of State, who sits opposite to me. When I counselled them under these circumstances five or six years ago—and I could refer to the observations which I then made if it were necessary—was I then speaking for party purposes? I wish hon. Gentlemen would define a little more clearly what they mean by a party object. If they mean that a large party in the House of Commons—not enemies, I hope and as I think they have proved, to political progress and social improvement, but bound together by a resolution to uphold its institutions—if they consider that these follow a party object, when an institution or an ancient law is attacked and assailed, they exert their utmost influence to uphold it, that is an imputation I would not quarrel with. But if hon. Gentlemen opposite mean to say that I particularly had any personal or sinister object in the observations I made on the subject, I say that is an inference which has been very hastily drawn, and drawn in a spirit of injustice. Why, Sir, it would not be likely, if I wanted to take up a position on a mere party question for the most limited objects, that I should choose one which separates me from that one of my colleagues in public life, with whom I have the most intimate relations, but who, on this subject, differs from me—or that would place me side by side with the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us, and with whom I am unfortunately in frequent collision. Nor is it a question, if I were to consider the convenience of many of my Friends who represent cities and boroughs, that I should have chosen. These, circumstances, I think, will show that I have not been actuated by the mean and unwise spirit which has been imputed to me by some Gentlemen opposite. Still at the same time I think we should have been wanting in our duty to the country if we had not exerted ourselves to the utmost practically to rescind the fatal Resolution at which this House has arrived for the abolition of church rates, and, by rescinding that Resolution, have laid the foundation of what I do not despair of obtaining—a just, wise, and satisfactory settlement. Now, Sir, with regard to the speech which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Birmingham. It consisted of two parts. It consisted of irrelevant observations which could have no other object—and I suppose had no other object—than that of assailing and discrediting the Church of England. I throw that part aside, and address myself to the other and more important part of those observations—the valuable admissions made by the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Baronet (Sir John Trelawny) intro- duced this question with that temper which always distinguishes him, and which, it appears to me, more truly furthers the views of his friends than the tone and spirit which were adopted by the hon. Member for Birmingham—the hon. Baronet took the precaution to remove from himself and from his case the consequence of the evidence which was given by the Liberation Society before the Committee in "another place." The hon. Baronet took great pains to show that he had no connection with such sentiments, and would not credit such results. But the hon. Member for Birmingham entirely threw over the order of battle which had been prepared by the hon. Baronet. He accepted, recognised, acknowledged, and sanctioned the whole of the evidence of the Liberation Society. Nay, he illustrated and aggravated it. No one can say from this moment, so far as the precepts of the hon. Gentleman are concerned—no one can say that they are unacquainted with what are the purposes of those who are at the bottom of this movement and who advocate this claim. The hon. Gentleman has given us a history of the Nonconformists; but it is a history that is not confined to the past or present—it touched upon the future. The hon. Gentleman has not concealed his object and design. I honour such adversaries. They are men that it is, indeed, a pleasure to deal with because we know who we have to encounter. Sir, the hon. Gentleman tells us we owe our liberties to the Nonconformists. Well, with submission to the hon. Gentleman, and with due respect to the Nonconformists, I think the liberties of England are older than the Nonconformists. Sir, the hon. Gentleman has introduced into the question religious opinions. Now, I say, we have nothing to do with religious doctrines in the House of Commons. He read from a book which I suppose most people have read. I have read it, and I found there stated, with an ostentatious air of great discovery, many things that I knew before. I will not enter into any criticism on that book or others in this place; but I may say that the Church of England has had many books written about her, and that, too, by clergymen who have not intended to do her good; but their names are forgotten, their books no longer read, and the Church of England exists as she has done for centuries. I protest against the hon. Gentleman introducing into these discussions religious doctrines. But it is not merely on account of doctrine that he calls upon us to abolish church rates. He has not been blind in some degree to the character of the Church of England. He says that in the United States and other places you do not have the head of the State selecting the chiefs of the Church. The President, he says, does not select the Bishops. We know there is no similarity between the status of the Church of England and those merely religious communities and associations to which the hon. Member refers. There is a great, there is a complete difference, and that difference, if possible, we are determined to maintain. The Church of England is not a mere depositary of doctrine. The Church of England is a part of England—it is a part of our strength, and a part of our liberties, a part of our national character. It is a chief security for that local government which a Radical Reformer has thought fit to-day to designate as "an archaeological curiosity." It is a principal barrier against that centralizing supremacy which has been in all other countries so fatal to liberty. And it is because the Bill of the hon. Baronet is opposed to these great influences—it is because the parishes which now are spoken of with contempt, and the Church with feelings of a more vindictive character, are assailed by this Bill, that I shall give it my uncompromising opposition.


I think we are bound to consider, in our deliberations upon the fate of this Bill, what is the actual state of the Church of England, and how its friends can best promote its interests. The property of the Church of England consists, in the first place, of a large revenue from tithes. Those tithes were formerly the subject of dispute in almost every parish, and those disputes caused ill feeling between the clergyman and his parishioners. That question has been settled by the wisdom of Parliament, and now that large revenue is enjoyed without dispute by the Church of England, and is devoted to the holy purposes for which that Church was intended. There is another large portion of property belonging to the Church which consists of landed estates. With respect to that portion of her property likewise Acts of Parliament have been passed, and the questions between the Church and the lessees have been the subject of compromise and arrangement, and there exists now no dispute or dissatisfaction in relation to that large portion of Church property. We have, therefore, with regard to two sources of property—the two largest sources—the Church enjoying them without dispute and without dissatisfaction, and applying their revenues to the purposes for which they were intended. But there is another and a much smaller item of Church property which is the subject of dissatisfaction and quarrels, which creates ill-blood, which provokes complaints of the Church of England, and which is almost annually subjected to the votes of ratepayers in many parishes. With respect to that portion of property, we find that not only are there disputes in parishes, and that there are many parishes in which rates are not granted, but we have also a strange decision upon the law of church rates. It has been decided that it is an obligation upon the inhabitants of every parish to provide for the repairs of the church: but the same judgment also says that there are no means of enforcing the obligation. All these circumstances lead me to regard this question as one which deserves the consideration of Parliament. Is it possible or is it not to place the Church of England, in respect of church rates, in the same position as it now holds with respect to tithes and landed property? If we could do so we should, in my judgment, be justified in looking forward to an uninterrupted career of usefulness from the Church of England, against which Nonconformists would then have no ground of quarrel, and the objection of my hon. Friend (Mr. Bright) against the Church could no longer be urged. My hon. Friend has alluded to the connection between the Church and State, by the appointment of bishops by the head of the State, and to the sale of presentations. As far as the sale of presentations is concerned, it is an abuse which I should wish to see put an end to; but it does not appear to me to afford any argument that Dissenters are justified, in consequence of an abuse existing in the Church, in refusing to pay the rate which is imposed upon them. But the question is not one of mere abstract right, it is what will be most for the advantage of the Church of England. And looking at the matter in that light, I cannot forget the very important example we have had in the vestry cess in Ireland. Lord Derby, then, at the commencement of his public career, made a speech in favour of the cess which, for its ability, marked him out to be one of the great leaders in Parliament in after times. It, however, afterwards fell to the lot of that noble Lord to propose legislation upon the subject. He submitted measures which, in his opinion, would consolidate that Church, that would reform it, and at the same time would strengthen the Church in Ireland, and enable it to withstand the storms of parties and the effects of time. What, then, was the first measure which Lord Derby proposed with that view? The first measure he proposed with that object was the abolition of church cess in Ireland; and he did so, not to weaken, but to strengthen the Church, of which he was a sincere adherent. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, "Yes; but there was other Church property to apply to." That is true, and it is also true that the same means do not exist here—at any rate to the same extent—to supply the place of church rates. Various propositions have been made to meet this grievance, and to settle this question. One proposal was that Dissenters should be exempted from paying the rate. I agree with much that has fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Disraeli) upon that point. I do not think the exemption of Dissenters would prove a settlement of the question. The right hon. Gentleman opposite says it has been stated that his speech upon the subject was dictated by party considerations only; but I confess I am not one who will join in that accusation. It is very easy to avoid arguments which it is difficult and inconvenient to meet by saying, "Although I do not answer your speech, yet I know the motive which dictated it." I think the right hon. Gentleman has been dealt with on that principle. But let us consider the value of the proposition I have mentioned, which has high authority to support it, and which was received with favour in the House of Lords. It seems to me, in the first place, that in assenting to that arrangement you would be parting with the principle of a national Church; because the value of a national Church is not that it differs from Independents or Baptists, but that it is a Church which the State has established and sanctioned for the worship of God. I never could see why those who differ in opinions from the Church, and who object to its connection with the State, why they could not recognize the advantage of a nation like this being actuated by a feeling of religion, and providing the means of rendering homage to the Almighty. But if this plan were adopted, would you not be saying to the Dissenters, "True it is that we have a Church for the benefit of those who adopt the Thirty-nine Articles; but you can have no benefit from it; you are exempted from payment of church rates because you can derive no advantage from the Church." But I deny that such is the fact. I say the Church of England is for the national benefit, and not for the benefit solely of those who belong to the Church. In the next place, there would be great difficulties in carrying such a law into operation. If you pretend to draw a hard line between Dissenters and Churchmen you will immediately fall into the difficulty which has been mentioned today, that many men who do not choose to call themselves Dissenters, who worship in the Church, but who feel themselves at liberty to attend a Dissenting place of worship, if they were called upon to declare themselves they would call themselves Dissenters, and thus the Church would sustain a loss to that extent. Then, again, it is said, "Make no such declaration necessary, but simply require that a man should object to the payment of the rate." But if it is to be a question merely of payment, who can say that there may not be many Churchmen very fond of money, and very indifferent towards the wants of the Church, who would avoid payment, and would leave the whole charge to be borne by those who were more seriously attached to the Church? The result would be that a compulsory rate would be levied only upon those who were zealous supporters of their Church. Thus, then, there appear to be great difficulties in the way of adopting that plan. If this be so—and we agree in condemning all the plans proposed—it remains to be seen whether there are other means by which the Church can obtain a substitute for the revenue now devoted to the repairs of the sacred edifices. I own I was rather surprised to hear it said that this difficulty would be found in the country parishes. In the large towns, where Dissenters are numerous it is probable there would be difficulties in the way of voluntary rates, but in the country districts nearly all our Churchmen and the landowners would be certain to contribute. But the fact is, that in the towns which have almost entirely freed themselves from church rates, the churches have been kept up and repaired when necessary. With regard to the country, if this Bill is passed, I suppose there can be no ob- jection to the introduction of clauses similar to those in a Bill that was introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Sir George Grey). It was proposed, that as in olden times the clergyman of the parish was endowed with tithes by the owners of land in the parish, power should now be given to landowners to charge their land with payments for the repair of the parish church. In comparison with tithes a very small sum would be required, and I believe the landowners of this country would not be unwilling to create rent charges for that purpose. Then, again, I believe that voluntary contributions not only from farmers, but from the landowners would provide a fund sufficient for the repairs of the churches. We have seen of late years, I am glad to say, a great revival of sympathy for the Church in this country. No one can travel through the country without noticing the number of new churches that have been built, not by funds derived from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but by the voluntary offerings of landowners who have been desirous in this way of contributing to the comfort, and promoting the religious welfare of their neighbours. In the present state of feeling I do not believe that if this £250,000 a-year is taken away the parish churches, of which my right hon. Friend is so justly proud, would be allowed to fall into decay, but I believe that voluntary endowments and contributions would sustain them in all their ancient beauty and perfection. If such be the case—if there be a just prospect that the, churches will be adequately maintained—then I say it would be a great advantage for the Church—and it is an object which those who wish well to the Church ought to promote—to get rid of this source of difference between Churchmen and Dissenters. As in the case of tithes, and the settlement of Church estates, I do not think any one in the House of Commons could, for the next thirty years at least, venture to make any proposition touching Church property, if church rates were abolished. And how does this question really stand? Does any one expect that if by a majority we reject this Bill to-day the agitation will be at an end? or that the committees which have been formed to bring about the abolition of church rates will cease to exist? I cannot suppose that if adopted here by a small majority my hon. Friend's Bill would pass the House of Lords; but what a triumph that would be for the Church, and what a pleasant prospect it is to look upon! I know well what a Dissenting agitation is. I remember the Dissenters combined to put an end to the slave trade, and afterwards a Dissenting agitation put an end to slavery. I remember the number of papers they sent throughout the country to promote those praiseworthy objects. They will use the same machinery in this instance. At a general election the question will be fought upon every hustings, and the agitations will certainly be continued until church rates are finally abolished. But is it for the advantage of the Church that there should be this continual agitation? Can it derive any benefit or advantage from the continuance of such an agitation for a period of five or ten years? I believe, as the right hon. Gentleman opposite said, that many books have been written against the Church of England; those books have been read and been forgotten; they have disappeared; they have died and gone to oblivion; but the Church of England remains after all those books have perished. I believe that to be the case—but I do not believe that the existence of the Church depends on the existence of these church rates, and the sooner they are abolished the better it will be for the Church, and the stronger will be its foundations.


I will not detain the House many minutes, but I wish to say a few words in reply to the noble Lord. Considering the arguments we have heard from him on other occasions, and considering the arguments he has now adduced, so strangely illogical and inconsecutive as they have been, I am induced to say a few words before the division is taken. The noble Lord says, and I concur with him, that the existence and prosperity of the Church of England does not depend upon church rates, but the noble Lord used also to say that church rates were a part of the institutions of this country, and that all of them hung upon and were connected with each other. The noble Lord also points to the settlement that has been made on previous occasions of the questions of tithes and of church lands and of vestry cess in Ireland; and then the noble Lord wishes it to be inferred, though he does not say so in words, that there might be a similar settlement on this question as there was on those. But did we, in any one of those cases, wholly abandon the property of the Church? Did we give up anything, but agree to a reasonable settlement of the question? And is that the case now? The proposition before us does not propose an arrangement of church rates, but their total abandonment. My hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir William Heathcote) suggested the basis of a settlement, and made an appeal to Government, but Government has not answered the appeal. My hon. Friend said he would resist the pure abolition of the church rate, but he would clear the ground by voting for that abolition, in order that the Government might propose an arrangement which the House might accept. But, if the Government neglects its duty altogether, is it hopeless to defend a portion of one of the institutions of the country—a portion with which the noble Lord once said the whole was involved, and that if one part were taken there might be a danger lest the whole would be destroyed? Can they not pause a moment, and consider whether the more temperate advice of my hon. Friend is not advice to which, for the welfare and peace of the country, it might be well to listen? My hon. Friend made another remark, that has not been touched by the noble Lord, though it is most important. My hon. Friend said that this question had now assumed a new phase, one endorsed by the noble Lord, though he ought to have been the last to adopt it. Hitherto we have had to consider when a grievance was alleged, whether that grievance was felt, and whether a remedy could be found that would be sufficient and adequate to meet and get rid of it. If that were done, then the controversy was at an end. But now we are told that the remedy proposed is to be rejected, not because it is inadequate in itself to meet the grievance, but because the grievance itself is to be kept alive—a trumpery grievance at best—a twopenny grievance the hon. Member for Birmingham called it—for ulterior objects. The grievance might be got rid of, but it is to be left alive—the hon. Member for Birmingham has admitted it this day—for the ulterior object of severing the Church from the State and to apply Church property to secular purposes. I ask the Government of the country, which is bound to defend the institutions of the country unless it sees some good reason to alter and amend them—I ask them whether they will fling those institutions aside because it is too much trouble, or because it is inconvenient for them to apply a remedy? The question, therefore, is not one of a practical grievance requiring a remedy, for a remedy has been proposed and refused. Neither is this a parochial grievance—the question is, as the noble Lord has stated it, whether it is not reasonable that the nation should maintain our national places of public worship. Are we, then, to destroy the local law that provides for the maintenance of public worship for the poor of this country, without having provided a substitute for it? The noble Lord, indeed, says that a substitute will be found in voluntary contributions. It is true much may be trusted to voluntary contributions; but I ask whether there are not already sufficient spiritual objects for the liberality of the Church's members without imposing on them the additional burden of maintaining the fabrics of the churches. Voluntary contributions are admirable things whenever there is a special object to be attained—local wants to be met—or particular emergencies to be provided for; but as a substitute for what is and ought to be permanent in its character, and certain in its collection, and universal in its application voluntary contribution never can be and never will be a substitute. Well, then, Sir, if that be so, why are we to give up that which we now possess, offering as we do to you a complete remedy for the only grievance that has ever been alleged? You may rely much on voluntary contributions, but those voluntary contributions never can reach the poorer and more remote districts, though I agree that you might be able to collect them in the larger towns. Now, if that be the state of the case, I still want to know why the temperate offer made by my right hon. Friend is not to be accepted. I still want to know why you should not reject this Bill for abolition, not with a view, remember, of refusing a remedy to the Dissenters, not with a view of leaving the question a fit theme and subject for future agitation, but with a view of giving a remedy to an alleged grievance, and with a view, at the same time, of providing for public worship in this country, by means which those who are the owners of property in this country are willing still to apply, but which you by this Bill are determined to take away. All reason, all argument, all principle, are in favour of that pro- position; and if agitation does continue by the rejection of this Bill, the cause of that agitation, the blame of that agitation, must rest with those who refuse to receive an adequate remedy for a grievance alleged, not because they say the remedy is incomplete, but for the purpose of obtaining an advantage which they think they gain as a kind of vantage ground from whence they can direct their assaults against that institution of which down to this moment the noble Lord has been the conscientious and consistent supporter.


replied, but the House was now crowded with Members impatient for the division, and the hon. Baronet's remarks were inaudible.

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

The House divided:—Ayes, 281; Noes, 266: Majority 15.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Sir J. D. Bruce, H. A.
Adair, H. E. Buchanan, W.
Adam, W. P. Buckley, Gen.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Buller, Sir A. W.
Agnew, Sir A. Bury, Visct.
Alcock, T. Butler, C. S.
Andover, Visct. Buxton, C.
Angerstein, W. Caird, J.
Antrobus, E. Calthorpe. hn. F. H. W. G.
Arnott, Sir J. Cardwell, rt. hon. E.
Ashley, Lord Carnegie, hon. C.
Atherton, Sir W. Castlerosse, Visct.
Ayrton, A. S. Cavendish, hon. W.
Bagwell, J. Childers, H. C. E.
Bailey, C. Clay, J.
Baines, E. Clifford, C. C.
Ball, E. Clifford, Col.
Baring, H. B. Clive, G.
Baring, T. G. Cobbett, J. M.
Barnes, T. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Bass, M. T. Collier, R. P.
Baxter, W. E. Coningham, W.
Bazley, T. Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.
Beale, S. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Beamish, F. B. Crawford, R.W.
Beaumont, W. B. Crossley, F.
Beaumont, S. A. Dalglish, R.
Bellew, R. M. Davey, R.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Berkeley, Col. F. W. F. Davie, Col. F.
Bethell, Sir R. Denman, hon. G.
Biddulph, Col. Dent, J. D.
Biggs, J. Dillwyn, L, L.
Black, A. Divett, E.
Blake, J. Dodson, J. G.
Blencowe, J. G. Douglas, Sir C.
Bonham-Carter, J. Duff, M. E. G.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Duff, Maj. L. D. G.
Bouverie, hon. P. P. Duke, Sir J.
Brand, hon. H. Dunbar, Sir W.
Bright, J. Duncombe, T.
Briscoe, J. I. Dundas, F.
Bristow, A. R. Dunkellin, Lord
Brown, J. Dunlop, A. M.
Egerton, E. C. Leatham, E. A.
Ellice, E. Lee, W.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C,
Enfield, Visct. Lindsay, W. S.
Euston, Earl of Locke, J.
Evans, T. W. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Ewart, W. Lysley, W. J.
Ewart, J. C. MacEvoy, E.
Ewing, H. E. C. Mackinnon, W. A.
Fenwick, H. M'Mahon, P.
Ferguson, Col. Marjoribanks, D. C.
Finlay, A. S. Marsh, M. H.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C. W. W. Martin, P. W.
Foley, J. H. Martin, J.
Foley, H. W. Massey, W. N.
Foljambe, F. J. S. Matheson, A.
Forster, C. Mellor, J.
Forster, W. E. Merry, J.
Foster, W. O. Mildmay, H. F.
Fortescue, hon. D. F. Miller, W.
Fortescue, C. S. Mills, T.
Fox, W. J. Milnes, R. M.
Freeland, H. W. Mitchell, T. A.
Garnett, W. J. Moffatt, G.
Gavin, Major Moncrieff, rt. hon. J.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Gifford, Earl of Monson, hon. W. J.
Gilpin, C. Morris, D.
Glyn, G. C. Norris, J. T.
Glyn, G. G. North, F.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Gower, hon. F. L. Onslow, G.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Osborne, R. B.
Greene, J. Padmore, R.
Greenwood, J. Paget, C.
Gregory, W. H. Paget, Lord C.
Gregson, S. Palmerston, Visct.
Grenfell, C. P. Paxton, Sir J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Pease, H.
Hadfield, G. Peto, Sir S. M.
Hanbury, R. Pigott, Serjeant
Handley, J. Pilkington, J.
Hankey, T. Pinney, Col.
Hanmer, Sir J. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Harcourt, G. G. Ponsonby, hon. A.
Hardcastle, J. A. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Hartington, Marq. of Proby, Lord
Headlam, rt. hon. T. E. Pryse, E. L.
Heneage, G. F. Pugh, D.
Henley, Lord Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Hervey, Lord A. Raynham, Visct.
Hodgkinson, G. Ricardo, J. L.
Hodgson, K. D. Ricardo, O.
Holland, E. Robartes, T. J. A.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Robertson, D.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Roebuck, J. A.
Hutt, rt. hon. W. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Ingham, R. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Jackson, W. Roupell, W.
James, E. Russell, Lord J.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Russell, H.
Johnstone, Sir J. Russell, A.
Kershaw, J. Russell, F. W.
King, hon. P. J. L. Russell, Sir W.
Kinglake, A. W. St. Aubyn, J.
Kinglake, J. A. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Kingscote, Col. Scholefield, W.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Scott, Sir W.
Knatchbull, H. E. Scrope, G. P.
Langston, J. H. Scully, V.
Langton, W. H. G. Seymour, Sir M.
Lawson, W. Seymour, W. D.
Layard, A. H. Shafto, R. D.
Shelley, Sir J. V. Vane, Lord H.
Sheridan, R. B. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Sheridan, H. B. Vivan, H. H.
Sidney, T. Vyner, R. A.
Slaney, R. A. Warner, E.
Smith, J. B. Watkins, Col. L.
Smith, A. Wemyss, J. H. E.
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. M. Western, S.
Westhead, J. P. B.
Stacpoole, W. Whalley, G. H.
Staniland, M. Whitbread, S.
Stanley, Lord White, J.
Stanley, hon. W. O. Wickham, H. W.
Stansfeld, J. Wilcox, B. M'Ghie
Steel, J. Williams, W.
Stuart, Col. Willoughby, Sir H.
Sykes, Col. W. H. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Talbot, C. R. M. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Taylor, H. Woods, H.
Thompson, H. S. Wyld, J.
Tite, W. Wynne, C. G.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Wyvill, M.
Tomline, G.
Traill, G. TELLERS.
Turner, J. A. Fermoy, Lord
Tynte, Col. K. Trelawny, Sir J.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Cross, R. A.
Anson, hon. Captain Cubitt, Mr. Aid.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Cubitt, G.
Archdall, Capt. M. Curzon, Visct.
Baillie, H. J. Dalkeith, Earl of
Baring, T. Damer, S. D.
Barrow, W. H. Dawson, R. P.
Barttelot, Major Deedes, W.
Bathurst, A. A. Dickson, Col.
Bathurst, F. H. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Du Cane, C.
Beecroft, G. S. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Duncombe, hon. W. E
Bentinck, G. C. Dunne, Col.
Benyon, R. Du Pre, C. G.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Bernard, T. T. East, Sir J. B.
Blackburn, P. Edwards, Major
Bond, J. W. M'G. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Botfield, B. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bovill, W. Egerton, hon. W.
Boyd, J. Elcho, Lord
Bramston, T. W. Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H. S.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Farquhar, Sir M.
Brooks, R. Farrer, J.
Bruce, Major C. Fellowes, E.
Burghley, Lord Fergusson, Sir J.
Cairns, Sir H. M'C. Filmer, Sir E.
Cartwright, Col. Forde, Col.
Cave, S. Forester, rt. hon. Col.
Cavendish, Lord G. Forster, Sir G.
Cayley, E. S. Franklyn, G. W.
Cecil, Lord R. Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Galway, Visct.
Clive, hon. G. W. Gard, R. S.
Close, M. C. Gilpin, Col.
Cobbold, J. C. Gladstone, Capt.
Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Codrington, Sir W. Goddard, A. L.
Cole, hon. H. Gordon, C. W.
Cole, hon. J. L. Gore, J. R. O.
Collins, T. Gore, W. R. O.
Conolly, T. Graham, Lord W.
Greenall, G. Macdonogh, F.
Gray, Captain Mainwaring, T.
Grey, de W. Visct. Malcolm, J. W.
Griffith, C. D. Malins, R.
Grogan, Sir E. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Haliburton, T. C. Miles, Sir W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Miller, T. J.
Hamilton, Major Mills, A.
Hamilton, Visct. Mitford, W. T.
Hanbury, hon. Capt. Montagu, Lord R.
Hardy, G. Montgomery, Sir G.
Hardy, J. Moody, C. A.
Hartopp, E. B. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Hassard, M. Morgan, O.
Heathcote, hon. G. H. Morgan, hon. Major
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hennessy, J. P. Mundy, W.
Henniker, Lord Mure, D.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Murray, W.
Heygate, W. U. Naas, Lord
Hill, Lord E. Newdegate, C. N.
Hill, hon. R. C. Newport, Visct.
Holford, R. S. Nicol, W.
Holmesdale, Visct. Noel, hon. G. J.
Hood, Sir A. A. North, Col.
Hope, G. W. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Hopwood, J. T. O'Hara, C. W.
Horsfall, T. B. Packe, G. H.
Hotham, Lord Pakenham, Col.
Howes, E. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Hubbard, J. G. Palk, Sir L.
Humberston, P. S. Palmer, R. W.
Hunt, G. W. Papillon, P. O.
Ingestre, Visct. Parker, Maj. W.
Jermyn, Earl Patten, Col. W.
Jervis, Captain Paull, H.
Johnstone, hon. H. B. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Jolliffe. rt. hn. Sir W. G. H. Peel, Sir R.
Jones, D. Peel, rt. hon. G.
Kekewich, S. T. Peel, rt. hon. F.
Kelly, Sir F. Pennant, hon. Col.
Kendall, N. Pevensey, Visct.
Kennard, R. W. Phillipps, J. H.
Kerrison, Sir E. C. Philiips, G. L.
King, J. K. Potts, G.
Knatchbull, W. F. Pugh, D.
Knight, F. W. Puller, C. W. G.
Knightley, R. Quinn, P.
Knox, Col. Repton, G. W. J.
Knox, hon. Maj. S. Richardson, J.
Lacon, Sir E. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Leeke, Sir H. Rogers, J. J.
Lefroy, A. Rolt, J.
Legh, Major C. Rowley, hon. R. T.
Legh, W. J. Salt, T.
Leighton, Sir B. Sclater-Booth, G
Lennox, Lord G. G. Selwyn, C. J.
Lennox, Lord H. G. Seymer, H. Ker
Leslie, C. P. Shirley, E. P.
Leslie, W. Sibthorp, Major
Liddell, hon. H. G. Smith, Montagu
Lindsay, hon. Col. Smith, A.
Lockhart, A. E. Smith, S. G.
Long, R. P. Smyth, Col.
Longfield, R. Smollett, P. B.
Lopes, Sir M. Somes, J.
Lovaine, Lord Spooner, R.
Lowther, hon. Col. Stanhope, J. B
Lowther, Capt. Stanhope, Lord
Lyall, G. Stirling, W.
Lygon, hon. F. Steuart, A.
Macaulay, K. Stewart, Sir M. R. S.
M'Cormick, W. Stuart, Lieut. Col. W.
Stracey. Sir H. Walcott, Adm.
Sturt, H. G. Walker, J. R.
Sturt, N. Walpole, rt. Hon. S. H.
Talbot, hon. W. C. Walsh, Sir J.
Taylor, Col. Watlington, J. W. P.
Thornhill, W. P. Welby, W. E.
Thynne, Lord E. Whitmore, H.
Thynne, Lord H. Williams, Col.
Tollemache, J. Woodd, B. T.
Torrens, R. Wyndham, hon. H.
Tottenham, C. Wyndham, hon. P.
Trefusis, hon. C. H. R. Wvnn, Col.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Wynne, W. W. E.
Upton, hon. Gen. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Valletort, Visct.
Vance, J. TELLERS.
Vansittart, W. Heathcote, Sir W.
Verner, Sir W. Packe, C. W.

Main Question put, and agreed to: Bill read 2o, and committed for Wednesday next.

House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock.