HC Deb 14 May 1862 vol 166 cc1674-727

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he must once again ask for the patience of the House while he brought under its notice the Bill which he asked the House to read a second time that day. When he considered that this measure had in former times received a large amount of support, had had large majorities in its favour, and that gradually it lost its supporters, until on a division it was actually defeated, he might possibly feel discouraged on the present occasion, were it not that he derived great comfort and consolation from this consideration—that their defeat was in fact their own act; for it must not be forgotten that on the back of the Bill which was introduced last year, with a view to a compromise of this question, stood the names of several Liberal Members, and that considerable division existed on that (the Liberal) side of the House. His hon. Friends seemed to have been led away by the vain hope of effecting some satisfactory compromise, which they must now see had become wholly impracticable. He had considered the grounds upon which his right hon. Friend the Member for North Wilts (Mr. Sotheron Estcourt) could logically oppose him. He could not logically oppose him on the ground that no legislation was necessary, because he him- self a few years ago introduced a measure which was intended to compromise this question; and they had the opinion of almost every person, lay and clerical, in favour of some alteration in the law of church rates. There was but one solitary exception in Archdeacon Denison, who had given great attention to the subject, and had put forward a pamphlet, in which he expressed the opinion that the true course to adopt in respect of church rates was to do nothing at all. He, no doubt, was an authority, but he (Sir J. Trelawny) did not think that his opinion ought to be placed in opposition to the deliberate opinion that had, on various occasions, been expressed by Parliament. The question he had to consider was, what would be the nature of the opposition with which be would be met that day? The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Sotheron Estcourt) thought that some other measure than that which he proposed ought to be adopted. He did not meet the second reading of the Bill with a direct negative, but by an Amendment, declaring that this impost ought not to be abolished until some other provision should have been made in lieu of it. In the form of this Resolution he saw hopeful signs, for it seemed to him (Sir J. Trelawny) to throw overboard altogether the sacredness of church rates, because it implied that it was possible that church rates might be abolished; and therefore it would save him a great deal of trouble, inasmuch as it would not be necessary for him to advert to the arguments of the sacredness of the character of church rates, and their being a trust for the benefit of the poorer classes. Moreover, the Resolution was open to the old objection, that it would in all probability throw a new charge upon the Consolidated Fund, and was likely, therefore, to be anything but acceptable to the Members for Ireland and Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman had fallen somewhat into an error with respect to the nature of the law on this subject, in stating in his Amendment that the churchwardens were liable for the parish. He (Sir J. Trelawny) had put a question to a learned Judge, whether the churchwardens in calling a meeting and proposing a rate did all that was required of them; and the answer was to the effect that they could do no more—they were neither compellable nor able to enforce its imposition. Hon. Gentlemen opposite were very confident in their power to effect a compromise, and it had been said that his Bill was the only obstruction to the settlement of this question, and that it was only necessary to get rid of the measure in order to effect this object. But what did he find? Why, that almost every hon. Gentleman opposite had a plan of his own, none of whom he believed had a follower. When he considered the multitude and contrariety of the schemes suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and then had regard to the unity of counsel which prevailed on his side of the House, he was reminded of the saying attributed to an ancient philosopher, that "truth is one and error is infinite." Theirs was the simple and straight course, but on the opposite side of the House there was an infinite diversity from the straight line. The various attempts at compromise had failed, because they had attempted to apply one rule to varying interests. No two parishes were alike in respect of church rates, and yet some hon. Gentlemen would introduce a law to exempt Dissenters from church rates, and apply it to Liverpool, Manchester, or Birmingham, allowing church rates to be resuscitated supposing the parishes wished to have church rates. The result of that would be that young gentleman fresh from their collegiate studies would come and say, "Why should we not have church rates? We have lost them, it is true; but we may restore them, and let us do so." Several of the compromises that had been suggested offered exemption from this impost to Dissenters; individually, if they would make a formal claim for that privilege. Dissenters, however, objected to that expedient, because they did not like a line of demarcation to be drawn between them and members of the Church of England. Surely, if a skilful surgeon had to treat a diseased limb—for in that light some seemed to regard dissent—he would consider whether it was possible to heal it, and bring it again into useful action, instead of at once adopting the summary process of amputation. It had been asked why the descendants of the English Puritans, who would suffer anything for their faith, should object to be "ticketed" before the world as Nonconformists. Now, he did not wish to say anything offensive, but these were not days in which our toleration was as great as we boasted that it was. A question was asked the other night of our Foreign Minister respecting the treatment of Protestants in Spain. Had it been in order, he was ready to ask the hon. Member what he meant, and whether he did not think the Spaniards might not be dis- posed to ask questions about the treatment of certain persons in England; and had he been a Spanish Minister, he would have written an insolent despatch, reminding us that we were by no means so tolerant as we pretended to he. We were by no means tolerant in certain instances of extreme belief in this country. If the evidence of certain persons were necessary even to defend the reputation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it would not be accepted unless each witness commenced by stating a blasphemous lie. He would be asked what his opinions were. If he stated the truth, he would be incredible the must therefore commence by telling a lie in order to be credible. That was neither right nor just. What were the gradations between that and other cases? Some persons might object to a Unitarian, who might be punished in a similar way. Therefore Dissenters were right in holding fast their own in this respect, and would not be right in allowing themselves to be ticketed.

He would, however, now refer the Church party to the condition of some of their churches, which had been repaired by means of the ordinary machinery. When hon. Members had come there and supported church rates, they thought they had done their duty. But let them enter some of their churches—they would find marble pillars carefully whitewashed, modern windows where there should be antique, galleries extending far into the chancel, ventilation controlled by an asthmatic churchwarden who opened the door when he pleased a. damp pavement, end altogether a dismal chill, which produced upon the worshipper a sense of discomfort only in keeping with the lugubrious tones in which some clergymen were in the habit of proclaiming the glad tidings of the Gospel. Why should this be? Let them trust to the voluntary principle. Church rates were the dry-rot of the Church. The time had come when the Church, which had learned to swim on dry land, should strike out boldly, and swim in deep water. Why not have more confidence in the voluntary principle? Were there not evidences of its being capable of any work? If the impost were done away with tomorrow, he believed that before the year ended a machinery would be set up in every parish to supply the deficiency. There were among the clergy men of untiring and unconquerable zeal. In Smiles's Lives of Engineers, a stranger, writing under the title of "The Bristol Churchgoer,' thus describes the value of Mr. Ellacombe's labours— The viear of Bitton is one of those men, who, if you placed him in the deserts of Arabia, would, I believe, have half-a-dozen churches up about him in little more than that number of years. I am afraid to say how many he has built in the parish of Bitten, which was once as bad as Arabia; but I think I am correct in stating that he found it with one, and that he has managed to add four or five others, and by the time he is gathered to his fathers as many more will, I expect, stand as monuments of his untiring, his unconquerable zeal. Where he gets or got the money for them all, Heaven knows, I do not; but I should say he must have been a most intrepid beggar and indefatigable man to do what he has done. He restored the mother church, he rebuilt Oldland, perched a pretty new chapel on Jeffries' Hill, and planted another among the coalpits of Kingswood. He rubs on, enlarging the borders of the Church while others are squabbling about her; erecting altars, while others are fighting about turning their faces toward or from them. The Saturday Review recently contained a notice of what had been done with Stone Church, in Essex—one of our best specimens of the early pointed style. It was a good illustration of the mischief which was done to the most beautiful ecclesiastical edifices when subjected to the neglect or the eccentric taste of the churchwardens, as well as of what could be done when the work of restoration was carried out by the voluntary principle and a first-rate architect. How many men in England were to be trusted with the restoration of in old church? Half-a-dozen at the utmost. Incongruous element were sure to be introduced if the restoration of a church were intrusted to churchwardens, many of whom were often Dissenters. The abolition of church rates would be quite consistent with the improvement of the churches, and that was proved by experience in all cases where the voluntary principle had been acted upon. The person most interested in a parish in keeping the church in repair was the landlord, because if the church were out of repair, he would have less chance of letting his tenements. Therefore a year would not clapse before machinery would be established to supply a substitute for what was lost by the abolition of church rates. The following was a description of Stone Church to which he had referred:— Of all the monographs of churches which have fallen under our notice, we have not seen one of greater artistic interest than Mr. Street's description of Stone Church in Kent—a building which has been fortunate in falling into such good hands, both for its written history and its material restoration. This Kentish village church is well known to antiquarians and architects for its extremely beautiful design and detail. It has been described and illustrated more than once; but proper justice has only now been done to it. Indeed, in its late mutilated condition, it was impossible to discern its full merits. There was enough left to show that the building had once been a perfect gem of Gothic architecture, but it required a thorough examination and removal of the modern accretions and debasements before many important but lost features of the original design could be recovered. For if few villages can boast of a finer relic of the earliest pointed style than Stone Church, the successive parsons and churchwardens of the parish for many generations have excelled all their contemporaries in the destructive treatment of the beautiful specimen of art intrusted to their care. A recent change of incumbent, however, has been followed by a zealous endeavour to 'restore' the church. The new authorities seem to have had the good sense not to put the building into the hands of the nearest builder dubbing himself an architect; nor, on the other hand, to call in the professional aid of any artist, however eminent, who was not able to devote himself to the personal study of the work. Mr. Street, an architect almost as distinguished in the literature as in the practice of his profession, undertook the task, and he has fulfilled it most admirably. The present sumptuously printed and illustrated paper records the discoveries which he made during the progress of the works, and his interesting hypothesis as to the original designer of the church. It is sold, we may add, for the benefit of the restoration fund. In an article on "Cornish churches," in The Gentleman's Magazine for this month, it was stated that the church of St. Paul, Mousehole, near Penzance, had been "sadly disfigured," and the following description was given of the building:— The arches appear to have been clumsily repaired, for they incline a little to the north and south of the nave, and to prevent them from falling they are connected by unseemly iron braces, bolted through the spandrels. The windows and aisles are of churchwarden insertion, ugly and round-headed, and each window is a perfect caricature. All have wooden frames, with large panes of glass. A monument there is of Stephen Hutehens—'He hath given £100 towards the repairing and beautifying this church.' What would Stephen Hutchens say now, if he could see what had been done to this church? And yet gentlemen calling themselves the friends of the Church insist in the year 1862 upon leaving the preservation of the buildings in the hands of the churchwardens.

It was frequently asserted that he and those who acted with him were not the friends of the Church; but there were persons professing to be friends of the Church who really showed by some of their acts that they were not so. There were many estimable persons in the Church—original thinkers—brilliant writers—highly cultivated men—thorough scholars—who were told that, however opposed to their wishes, in the Church they must stay. He, and those who agreed with him, were better friends of the Church than those who would keep such men as he had described under canonical subjection. There were many excellent young men who might now wish to enter the Church, but would not do so lest the day might come when they might change their opinions and yet be unable to leave it. The gentlemen who maintained such a system were greater enemies of the Church than the Liberation Society. Those were the true enemies of the Church who would keep her servile, timid, ignorant, or stupid. They should not make the words of subscription so difficult as to render it impossible for a person to keep them and still be an honest man. The hon. Gentlemen opposite were inconsistent in saying that the Liberation Society have ulterior views, because, according to their own account, it was only a portion, or rather a noisy portion, of the Dissenters that were favourable to the separation of Church and State. They alleged that the Wesleyans were favourable to church rates—and he admitted that there were moderate men amongst them who would retain church rates—but hon. Gentlemen who said so would not give him the benefit of the argument that should be drawn from it. Both sides of the case should be heard; and on hearing the statements respecting the Wesleyans, the argument about the ulterior views of the Liberation Society must fall to the ground. He considered the church rates as altogether unsuited to the age, and an anachronism since the passing of the Toleration Act. They admitted the status of the Dissenters—they gave them a certain degree of power—but a majority was allowed to override a minority, and they compelled the Dissenters to pay the rate. What would be said hereafter, when it was told, that having given the Dissenters the power possessed by them, they still levied this tax upon them? He could fancy the impression that would be produced on the minds of the Japanese Ambassadors on receiving an explanation of the way in which the church rates were imposed and the payment of them enforced. The time would come when the existence of this impost would be regarded as a political monstrosity, and the sooner it was got rid of the better it would be for the happiness of many communities and the benefit of the nation. He might fairly ask hon. Gentlemen from the Sister Isle to assist him on this occasion, because he had risked his seat by the vote he had given in respect to the Maynooth Grant. He hoped the opponents of the Bill would not rely upon idle declamation. He perceived that a right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) had just come in who he supposed was going to do again what he had done on a former occasion in reference to this question. He would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite, that notwithstanding their high-flown declarations that, without committing sacrilege, church rates could not be touched, they had belonged to a Government who consented to exempt Dissenters from church rates: therefore let them not rely upon declamation, which was a dangerous weapon, and might be turned against the person who endeavoured to use it. There would be no clear or sharp line of division between the Conservatives and the Liberals till this matter was put at rest. They might upset a Government, but they could not govern till they had got rid of the question of church rates. In conclusion, he expressed a hope that hon. Gentlemen, having found that all their attempts to effect a compromise had failed in spite of every opportunity which he and his friends had offered them, would see the necessity of withdrawing their opposition. He confidently asked the House to support the second reading of the Bill.


said, he rose to second the Motion, although his views differed to a very great extent from those of the hon. Baronet. In doing so he did not hesitate to say that he was not so much influenced by either the expectation or the hope of their succeeding in abolishing church rates as by the desire, if possible, to wring from hon. Gentlemen opposite a fair compromise upon this subject before it was too late. No doubt, what had occurred last year was somewhat discouraging. There appeared at that time to be a very strong feeling on both sides of the House in favour of some arrangement being come to; and yet, after a great deal of negotiation, and after a most reasonable proposal had been made from the opposite side of the House, all proved to be of no avail, and nothing could be determined upon. But notwithstanding this, and although there were considerable difficulties in the way, he believed that every year, both on the Conservative side and on the Liberal side, there had been an increasing feeling that this was one of these questions which ought to be settled, not by violent action, but by a fair ar- rangement between both sides. On the one hand, the evils of the present system had become more generally acknowledged than was formerly the case. It was perceived by many sound Churchmen that it was not really for the interests of the Church of England to set herself against public feeling, and to seem to be extorting money by force from the pockets of the people. There could be no doubt at all that the bitterness that in many parishes had arisen from church rate disputes was most unfavourable to the Church of England herself, and most annoying and humiliating for her ministers. Upon this ground it was that so many sincere Churchmen were willing to give up their opposition to a reform if not to a surrender of the present system. This feeling had certainly been growing of late years. On the other hand, they on that side of the House had to bear in mind that they were not quite in so desirable a position as formerly—that they were much less supported by public opinion in proposing the total abolition of church rates than they formerly were. Their majorities had dwindled away; they had actually been defeated upon this question, and that by no contemptible majority; and it therefore behaved them to listen with more patience than they had formerly done to proposals for a treaty of peace. At the same time, he thought the hostility to the Established Church among Dissenters had become far less violent of late years. The tendency, therefore, in the public mind was to a compromise; but the difficulty was, among the various compromises that had been offered, to select one on which there could be a general agreement; but he thought they might see that by degrees, through a process of exhaustion, they might reach that which, as he believed, was by far the most desirable of all the compromises that had been suggested. For many years the proposal had been urged that Dissenters should be exempted from the payment of the rate. That was formerly rather popular scheme, and was suggested on that (the Government) side of the House. He need not say a word upon that proposal, because now nobody, except a few clergymen in their studies, dreamt that it could possibly be carried out. Much more satisfactory was the proposal made last year by Mr. Cross, to the effect that any one might exempt himself from the payment of church rates without specifying any reason. That pro- position, however, fell to the ground, although it obtained a wide general approval, because it could not be worked out in detail without serious difficulties. Passing over one or two other schemes, the one that appeared to him to deserve most serious consideration was the proposal that the whole existing machinery should be maintained, but that no penalty should any longer attach to a refusal of payment. The objection to that proposal on the part of Churchmen no doubt would be that in surrendering so much they would surrender all; but practically that would not be the case. The truth was, that in making that concession the Church would not give up any real tangible advantage, though she would give up that seeming power of compulsion which at present created great dissatisfaction and ill-will. It was notorious that even now not one church rate in a thousand could be legally enforced. There was almost always some illegality that would prevent their enforcement in a court of law, and practically the attempt to enforce them was scarcely ever heard of. It might be true that the ratepayers in many parishes were not as yet aware of their power, but it would be absurd to suppose that such ignorance could be lasting. The Church, therefore, would lose little by surrendering the penalties attached to the nonpayment of church rates, but only a semblance of power which gave rise to much bitterness; while, on the other hand, her relation to the State, her position in the country, would not be damaged, and, moreover, there would be preserved one of the most ancient and interesting forms of local self-government that exist in this country. He had always felt that it would be a serious evil to deprive the parishioners in each parish of the machinery by which they at present met together to provide for the maintenance of the fabric of their parish church, and defraying the expenses connected with Divine worship. It seemed to him, therefore, that they might fairly expect that proposal to receive a considerable amount of support from the moderate part of the Conservative party. On the other hand, it might well commend itself to the Liberal Members, because the grievance of which they had so long been complaining would be brought entirely to an end. No practical annoyance to any one would any longer remain; the bitter feeling that had been stirred up in many parishes would be allayed; and although, no doubt, the theory of Church and State would remain undisturbed, and thus the minds of many Dissenters and of some Churchmen would not be fully satisfied, still an agitation could not be fed upon a purely theoretical ground when no practical grievance was felt by any one. His object in rising was mainly to urge the Government to bring forward a measure founded on such a principle. Meanwhile, there was no alternative for those who disapproved the existing state of things but to give their thorough support to this Bill, and he trusted that they would that day gain for it a majority so large as to compel hon. Gentlemen opposite to listen with due candour to the idea of a compromise.

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


said, he thought the hon. Gentleman had risen to second the Motion of the hon. Baronet for the second reading of the Bill; but he would put it to the House whether the logical conclusion of that speech ought not to have been that he would vote in favour of the Resolution which he (Mr. Estcourt) had placed upon the paper. In making that observation he intended no disrespect towards his hon. Friend—on the contrary, he was glad to find that his hon. Friend's opinion was so much in accordance with his own. The hon. Baronet, who had been his consistent, but courteous, opponent upon this question, had fairly interpreted his intention in not, as in former years, meeting the Motion with a direct negative. He desired to keep open the opportunity of settlement which in the course of last Session presented itself, and they had now come to a point of the discussion when the matter was likely to be treated in a more business-like way than had hitherto been adopted. He observed that his hon. Friend seemed to draw a distinction between the clergy and the Church. This he could not understand—they might as well try to separate the officers from the army. For instance, the hon. Baronet spoke of the enforcement of the payment of church rates being an exercise of tyrannical power oh the part of the clergy, as though it was for their own benefit, whereas, in fact, the rate was the result of a vote of a majority of the parishioners in order to carry out an object in which they conceived they had a common interest. The hon. Baronet had also created a confusion between the restoration of a church and the ordinary repairs, and had expressed his belief, that if the Bill; passed, a machinery would be created in every parish that would provide for the restoration of the parish church by voluntary subscription, and he cited the cases of a church in Essex, and another in Cornwall. But the question of ecclesiastical architecture had nothing to do with this question. The church rate was a small annual payment for the purpose of maintaining the parish church in a sufficient state of repair and for the performance of the ordinary Church services, and for nothing more. But no one supposed it possible to undertake large restorations by; means of a rate—such operations were undertaken by voluntary subscriptions. There was no doubt that the law did not sanction a rate for any other purpose than for keeping the church in ordinary repair. There was only one argument advanced by his hon. Friend to which it was desirable to devote any special notice, and that was the argument that there was no prospect of relief in this case, except by means of such a measure as that then under the consideration of the House. The hon. Baronet justly claimed the credit of having exercised considerable forbearance in this matter, and of having afforded his opponents every possible opportunity of bringing in a Bill of their own. But why was it that after the remarkable division of last year, and with four Bills upon that subject on the table of the House, nothing had yet been done for a settlement of the question? They had got far beyond any attempt at reserve in the case, and, for his part, he should declare his opinions at that moment as freely as if he were engaged in a private conversation with the hon. Baronet. The reason why no proposition for an arrangement was made from either side was, that they were not agreed upon the principle of such a settlement. But was that any reason why they should vote for the second reading of this Bill—unless, indeed, they acted upon the arguments of the hon. Member for Maidstone? It was worth while to see what had been their course of proceeding in reference to this matter. He found that since the year 1834, when the question was first mooted, there had been laid upon the table of the House twenty three different Bills for an alteration of the law of church rates, and that upon more than a hundred occasions the subject had been more or less under discussion. He admitted that they had made some progress in the consideration of the question, but they were still very far from any agreement; and progress was not a settlement. It might he that they should come here-after to a settlement. He hoped that, might be so; but surely it was a discredit to the British Legislature that in the whole of that time they had not dealt with the church rate question in the same businesslike and practical mode in which they would have dealt with any other subject. Every one had insisted that any Bill relating to this subject must contain the particular scheme of some individual Member, or of the Government of the day. Some of the Bills that had been brought forward might be put down as simple crotchets; some were mere repetitions, in other words, of the Bill now under consideration; but the majority were the schemes of individual Members, and, besides that, there had been many propositions ventilated in the speeches of their propounders. He believed, that if they were dealing with any other question, they would first endeavour to ascertain the facts of the case; that they would next try to determine what were the duties to be discharged; that they would, in the third place, attempt to provide for the fulfilment of these duties; and, fourthly, that they would resolve to get rid of as much of the tax as was not absolutely necessary. But they had not proceeded in the case of church rates in any such business-like manner. The first proposal that was made was that the amount of the church rate should be paid out of the general taxation of the country. But there were manifest objections to such a scheme—the amount might be too much or too little—and in his opinion it was a vital point that they should not in such a case substitute a tax for a rate. Then there was the scheme of voluntary commutation, including a system of self-exemption, which was proposed by the late Government. He had supported that scheme; but, after the consideration he had since given to the subject, he was led to the conclusion, which; he felt it his duty frankly to state to the House, that it would be impossible to establish the principle of self-exemption without doing that which he for one could never consent to do—namely, dividing the inhabitants of each parish into Churchmen and Dissenters. The parishioners ought to be regarded as a body of men with common rights, and that character would be destroyed if any such distinction were made. Putting aside those two schemes, he next came to the plan which was proposed by the right hon. Baronet, the present Home Secretary, two years ago—that was to say, a system of pew rents, which had since been very strongly and cleverly urged upon public attention in a pamphlet that had been widely circulated. There was, no doubt, a good deal to be said in favour of that scheme; but it seemed to him that it was open to this great objection, that it would establish an absolute right for the time in a portion of the church. [Sir GEORGE LEWIS intimated dissent.] The right hon. Gentleman appeared not to concur in that view; but he (Mr. S. Estcourt) thought, that if they granted to any persons a positive right, in return for their contributions, to appropriate certain seats, they would pro tanto give them for a time the right to keep others out; and such an arrangement would, in his opinion, be at variance with all the principles of a national establishment. The right hon. Baronet at present at the head of the War Department (Sir George Lewis) had, in the course of their last discussion of tins question, given a slight glance at a scheme of which he (Mr. S. Estcourt) would be glad to hear something more. It appeared to him that the plan in question would palliate, and not get rid of the difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman himself said he thought it was not a sufficient scheme; and if it were not a sufficient one, it would surely be better not to attempt it. [Sir GEORGE LEWIS said, he had not stated that it would not be sufficient.] He could not discuss the scheme as only a glimpse of it had been afforded to the House; but that was the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, as he understood it; but he should like to hear more about the scheme before he expressed any decided opinion upon its merits. For his part, he believed, that if they were to deal with the matter at all, they ought so to deal with it that their settlement should be of a permanent character. He would not enter into a consideration of the proposal which had been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright), or the numerous other plans that had been presented to the House for a settlement of the question; he would only express his opinion that all of them were liable to objections of a vital nature, and that not one perhaps of their proposers had met with a single unqualified supporter. The hon. Baronet had stated as the reason why all those plans had failed, that truth was one and error was infinite; and the inference he meant to draw from that statement was that he represented the truth, and all his predecessors represented error. It might be so; but that did not meet the difficulty. He (Mr. S. Estcourt) had his own solution, and that was that all those schemes had failed because they had not been founded upon any distinct and constitutional principle. They were mere expedients devised by persons who took up the subject with a view to get rid of that particular difficulty which was most apparent at the moment, but who did not stand upon any plain, distinct, and constitutional principle, and who did not, therefore, find any support in that House. He had himself offered a scheme to the hon. Baronet in a kind of private negotiation; but his scheme was rejected by the hon. Baronet, and he (Mr. S. Estcourt) could not regret that fact, because the plan in question would not have effected a settlement of the subject. He had brought forward the present Resolution with the view of suggesting to the House the propriety of dealing with the question upon principle; and the principle which they should first of all recognise was, as it seemed to him, that they had a light to call on the inhabitants of a parish, whatever might be their religious differences, to contribute to the support of that which was their common property, and in which they had a common interest. It might be said, "What interest has a Dissenter in the services of the Church?" He was persuaded that they must look back to the history of remote times if they wished to deal wisely with that question. The agitation against church rates was of recent date. Down to the period of the Reformation no one thought of the possibility of disputing the liability of every inhabitant of a parish to the payment of the church rate, because no one would have dared to avow a dissent from the established religion of the country. Then followed a period of about 150 years during which all ecclesiastical matters might be said to have been in a state of transition. At the expiration of that period they came to the turning point in our ecclesiastical history—the commencement of the reign of William and Mary, when the right of every man to worship God according to his own conviction, or even his fancy, was established by Act of Parliament. Now, what were the charges which in the first year of William and Mary were habitually defrayed out of church rates? The Nonconformist had just as great an interest as the Churchman in these items of expenditure. The obligation to repair the parish church was of most ancient date, and the duty thus cast upon the parishioners had so often been asserted upon the highest legal authority that it was in vain to dispute it. In the first place, there was the Report of the Royal Commission of 1832, which was signed by Lord Tenterden, and by constitutional lawyers of great authority, who declared that it was the duty of the churchwardens to take care that the body of the church was repaired, and that the law imposed on the parishioners the burden of raising by a church rate the funds necessary for that purpose. Chief Justice Tindal, in a decision which he pronounced in 1845, recording the unanimous opinion of himself and seven other Judges, said that the repair of the church was a duty which the parishioners were compelled to perform; that it was not a voluntary act, which they might decline or not at their discretion, and that the only question to be decided by them was not whether they would repair the fabric, but how and in what manner the common law obligation should be fulfilled. [Sir GEORGE LEWIS: That decision was afterwards overruled.] The right hon. Gentleman said that that decision was overruled. He was no lawyer, and he could not undertake to say whether that was so or not. But Lord Denman, Lord Truro, and Lord Campbell had stated the law of the case in similar terms; and only a few weeks ago, on an appeal from the parish of Sydenham, he understood that the legal obligation to pay church rates was affirmed in the strongest manner. The hon. Baronet, however, desired to abolish church rates. But if the hon. Baronet wished to proceed in a practical manner, his first business ought to be to contrive some means by which the expenditure incurred in the maintenance of churches might be met; and if he could succeed in that object, he need not trouble himself any further about the Bill. If you provided for the expenditure, you need not take any precaution respecting the rate, which was the consequence, and not the antecedent, in this question. He contended that you could not go against the old common law, or ask Parliament to blot out that common law obligation; and, this being so, it was hardly business-like to pass a Bill which would leave that obligation staring you in the face. In his opinion, the first thing to be done was for the House to assent to his Amendment. That would, of course, get rid of the Bill, but it would at the same time put upon their Minutes a principle on which action might be afterwards taken. He assured the House that he had proposed this Amendment, not with any intention of using it to achieve a result which might have been accomplished by a direct negative, but with a view to pass a substantive Resolution upon which action might be based. That action, it seemed to him, ought to originate with the Government, because it was the Government alone which possessed sufficient influence in the House to enable them to guarantee that a Bill should go through Committee substantially in the same shape in which it passed the second reading. Therefore the Bill upon this subject ought to be brought forward either by the Government or by some Member who would receive their direct support. If, however, the Government declined the responsibility of introducing a Bill, and the matter thus fell into the hands of private Members, he, for one, would not place another Bill on the table of the House. There were four upon the table already, though not one had the smallest chance of passing. These Bills appeared to him only to darken, and not to clear, the atmosphere. Something, however, ought to be done, and he thought that the House should begin by endeavouring to ascertain some distinct principle upon which their legislation should proceed. A Resolution should be submitted with a view to test the opinion of the House; and, although exceedingly unwilling to give any pledge upon a question of this kind, he was resolved that if, by the fortune of war, his Amendment should be carried, he would follow it up with some proposal in the form of a substantive Resolution. The Amendment which he now submitted appeared to him to be such that it was not open to dispute. He proposed— That it is unjust and inexpedient to abolish the ancient customary right, exercised from time immemorial by the ratepayers of every parish in England, to raise by rate among themselves the sums required for the repair of their Church, until some other provision shall have been made by Parliament for the discharge of those obligations to which, by custom or statute, the churchwardens, on the part of the parish, are liable. It had been suggested that he meant that this provision should come out of the public taxes; but nothing could be further from his intention. He regarded the burden as entirely a local one, and to be defrayed from local resources, and he would far rather abolish the rate altogether than commute it into a tax. According to his view of the case the parishioners were the owners of the property belonging to the parish, and had the power of making a rate for objects which they considered to be of common use and benefit. According to the usual habit of Englishmen, this question was to be determined by the majority. Now, if it could be shown that the minority had thrust upon them, under the disguise of a rate for a common object, any expenditure which was really applied to no such object, he was quite ready to get rid of it. He would put on the most voluntary footing—whether by offertory, collection, subscription, or whatever else you chose to call it—every item of expenditure, now sometimes defrayed by a church rate, in which it could be shown that all the parishioners had not a common interest. But the common interest of a Dissenter in his parish church depended in no degree upon the religious dogmas which he held. That Church was a religious standard erected before the eyes of all the people. It was an edifice erected for common use, into which every man had a right to enter, from which no one could be thrust out, and in which Sunday after Sunday the Bible was read and moral doctrines at least were taught to the people. Now, if you abolished the obligation of the whole parish to contribute to the support of the church, it followed that the church, now common property, would become the property of those who agreed with the doctrines taught there and who did in fact support it. Was the House prepared thus to disinherit all Nonconformists? Were they to be thrust out from participation in that which was the birthright of every Englishman? For his part he was not willing to deprive the Dissenters of this right. He would meet any reasonable, conscientious scruples on their part, but he thought he should be doing them injury instead of good by saying, "Stand aside. You have nothing to do with this place. We will repair it, and you have no right here." On the other band, he would venture to say that those within the Church, whether ministers or laymen, who obstructed the entrance to her communion, who encumbered it with petty obstacles, whether by too exclusive an interpretation of its doctrines, or by too great a superfluity in its ornaments, did not understand the trust which was confided to them. The true spirit and the true interest of the Church of England was comprehension, not exclusion; and no man, he believed, could act in a manner more unpatriotic than those who threw impediments in the way of entering that place of worship which was open to every inhabitant of the parish. If his views were sound, he might almost hope for his Reso- lution the support of the whole House, including even the hon. Baronet. The first step towards the abolition of church rates was to ascertain what the charges upon them were, and to provide for them. The hon. Baronet would, perhaps, reply—" I provide for them by voluntary contributions." In this statement he did not agree; but still, in order to put the question in a business-like form, the hon. Baronet ought to vote for the Amendment. He thought that he might also claim the support of those who, being unquestionable friends of the Church, desired with equal sincerity that no change should take place. In this opinion he did not agree, but those Gentlemen ought to support the Amendment, because, as it was to be no idle Resolution, they would hereafter have the opportunity of making out their case. The great majority of this House desired to have this matter settled, and he had so strong an opinion in favour of the Amendment, that his difficulty lay in not seeing what could be said against it. Surely, unless you could get rid of judgments and statutes, and of the existing common law right, the second reading of this Abolition Bill could not be assented to. If, however, the House adopted his Amendment, they would have an opportunity of fairly investigating the merit or demerit of the different charges upon church rates, and of afterwards making whatever provision appeared desirable. The present position of this question was very remarkable. The last debate upon it ended by a division in which the numbers were equal, the Speaker's casting vote being given in favour of what might be called an armistice. And he might be permitted to say, speaking only his own opinion, that the right hon. Gentleman, in the course which he had taken upon that occasion, had acted not only with suitable dignity, but with a strict adherence to constitutional propriety and usage. From that remarkable division two conclusions might be drawn—one, that the House of Commons was not satisfied to leave the law of church rates as it stood, and the other that the House was not prepared to accept the total abolition of church rates. Of such a state of things it seemed to him that his Amendment was the logical and natural consequence. It was the first step towards dealing with this subject in a business-like way, and it was not intended as a mere Amendment for indirectly securing the defeat of the Bill, but indicated a policy to which he desired the House to give effect. He himself would take care that it should be followed by some substantive action, and therefore he now, with some confidence, asked the House to give their assent to it.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it is unjust and inexpedient to abolish the ancient customary right, exercised from time immemorial by the ratepayers of every parish in England, to raise by rate among themselves the sums required for the repair of their Church, until some other provision shall hare been made by Parliament for the discharge of those obligations to which, by custom or statute, the churchwardens, on the part of the parish, are liable, —instead thereof.


Sir, in the necessary absence of my right hon. Friend; (Sir G. Grey), I came down this morning to listen to this debate, and with no intention of taking part in it; but, after the remarks which have fallen from the right hon. Gentleman, I cannot well avoid offering a few observations upon the second reading of this Bill. I think it will be felt that there is nothing very tempting to any person to take part in the discussion of the church rate question. As we have been reminded, twenty-three Bills respecting it have been successively submitted to this House; and when we remember the number of fruitless debates to which they and other Motions have given rise, and, following them, the balanced vote of last Session, any person must be very sanguine who hopes to-day to lead the House to any practical conclusion in the matter. It must, be admitted, I think, that the existing operation of the law is not satisfactory. We know that in a large number of parishes the rate is absolutely refused by a majority of the vestry, and that in other parishes, where it is not refused, an even worse state of things exists—namely, that the minority in the vestry vehemently, but unsuccessfully, resist the imposition of the rate. To meet this unsatisfactory state of things two proposals are made—one being the repeal of the existing law, and reliance; upon the voluntary principle; the other, a less sweeping change in the existing law. As I understand, the Amendment may be included in the latter class; and, if it passes, the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to submit to the House a substantive proposal for a change in the existing law. He is therefore not one of those who think that the present state of things should be continued.


said, that what he stated was, that he was disposed to recommend proceeding with the subject by a Bill, if the measure were to come from the Government; but that a private Member could best deal with it by way of Resolution, and that he should himself be prepared to propose a substantive Resolution, if no other Member undertook that duty.


That agrees very much with what I stated; for a plan may be brought forward by Resolution as well as by Bill, and I presume that such a Resolution would not be confided to mere negations, but would include some definitive plan. The right hon. Gentleman, then, is one of those who are not satisfied with the existing law, and who think that it admits of a remedy. The question is, what amendment of the law can we adopt? Now, looking at the history of the twenty-three Bills, and at the course of the discussions in this House, I confess that I despair of any such amendment being made while the present law continues; and therefore I am prepared without any hesitation to take the alternative of the voluntary system, and to vote now, as I have voted on former occasions, for the second reading of the Bill of the hon. Member for Tavistock. Supposing that the Bill passes—which does not appear to be a very proximate event—and that we have to deal with a purely voluntary system, it is not at all unlikely that plans would be proposed for establishing a voluntary system of assessment to supply the place of the present church rate. Last Session I had, perhaps, the rashness, to mention a plan which I thought would be acceptable, and, as it has just been alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Wilts (Mr. S. Estcourt), I will restate it to the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Trelawny) has brought forward what may now be called the Japanese argument. It is said that when the Japanese ambassadors go back to their own country they will describe a monstrous and barbarous institution existing in one of the most civilized countries in Europe—namely, church rates. Now, I confess that I should question altogether the justice of that supposed opinion of the Japanese ambassadors. It does not appear to me that church rates are either a monstrous or an unintelligible institution. When church rates were established, there was but one religion in every parish in England. The whole community belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. As it was necessary that the fabrics should be sustained, it does not appear very unreasonable or unnatural that the parishioners, there being then no dissidents, and all professing one religion, should levy a rate for the sustentation of those fabrics. If, therefore, any Japanese embassy had visited England before the Reformation, they could hardly have carried back the opinion to which my hon. Friend adverts. But he seems to think that that which was reasonable then has become barbarous and outrageous at the present time. Whether these strong epithets are deserved I will not undertake to decide, but there certainly is great authority for the principle that at the present day, when the people do not all profess the same religion, those persons whose religious faith differs from that of the Established Church should not be compelled to pay church rates. If I am not greatly mistaken, the Archbishop of Canterbury laid upon the table of the House of Lords a Bill embodying the principle—abolishing church rates as a compulsory tax, and substituting a voluntary rate imposed by a vestry constituted in a particular manner. Again, there was an important Committee of the other House, of which Lord Derby was a member, and in the Report of which he concurred, and this Committee recommended that every person who alleged that he differed from the doctrines of the Established Church should be allowed, without even declaring that he was a Dissenter, to remove his name from the list of those liable to church rates. These propositions, sanctioned by high authorities even within the precincts of the Church, go to establish the principle that church rates should be limited to members of the Establishment, or, at all events, to those who do not object to pay. I believe that several measures have been introduced into this House embodying that principle, but first authorizing a rate to which all occupiers within the parish should be liable, and throwing upon Dissenters the onus of removing their names. An objection has been raised to these propositions, that they could only be carried out by—what has now become a familiar term—"ticketing" the Dissenters. My proposal was made with a view of obviating this objection, and I suggested that, instead of assuming that every parishioner was a member of the Establishment, a list of persons attending the parish church should be drawn up, and that those only should be called on to pay the rate. This was, in fact, the same principle as the one adopted by the Archbishop of Canterbury and by the Committee of the House of Lords, only it was applied in a different manner. You may say that a church rate founded upon attendance at church is, in fact, nothing more than a system of pew rents; but I really cannot understand on what the objection to pew rents is founded. In the first place, they are specially authorized by many acts of Parliament creating district churches, which are maintained by pew rents under that obnoxious name. The Anglo-Catholic portion of our Church seem to object to pews because they are an innovation, and because, when they go to the Continent, they see none in the Catholic churches. But I believe that in the Catholic churches seats are commonly let out for small payments; and anybody who has been on the Continent during Lent will have seen that in large churches, where sermons are preached, seats are provided for the congregation. The Protestant is generally longer than the Catholic worship, and for that reason it is necessary to make a more convenient arrangement for the accommodation of those who attend it. I cannot see any rational grounds why payment for sittings in church should be objected to. The right hon. Gentleman who moves the Resolution says, if payment according to the sittings in church were established, it would confer some proprietory right on those who occupy the church. That would depend on the obligation involved by the payment. It would be easy to frame a clause in an Act of Parliament preventing any proprietory right being given. But I ask whether it is the fact that persons paying pew rents in London churches acquire any proprietory right in them? I do not believe that at present any person who simply pays a pew rent acquires by it any right of ownership of the seat. The right hon. Gentleman says his Resolution is so clear, it enunciates not only truths, but almost truisms. I differ from him on that point. The Resolution appears to me inconsistent, partly with fact, partly with the law. In the first place it says— It is unjust and inexpedient to abolish the ancient customary right, exercised from time immemorial by the ratepayers of every parish in England, to raise by rate among themselves the sum required for the repair of their Church. If "exercised from time immemorial" means the uninterrupted exercise, then nothing can be more contrary to the fact. In a large number of parishes the majority of the parishioners have refused to make a rate. The law in those parishes, therefore, is virtually repealed; and this is one of the great difficulties of the existing law. The right hon. Gentleman says it is the duty of the parish to make a rate. He read some passages with regard to the law from the reports, but he did not advert to the most material part of the case. The House of Lords, in the Braintree case, decided that no valid church rate can he made without the assent of the majority of the vestry. There is no power to compel the churchwardens to make a rate; then how can it be said they have any legal obligation to make a rate? The duty is merely ideal. The question is, have they such a duty as the law gives them the means of discharging, and may, possibly, compel them to perform? I say that the law does not enable any person to compel the churchwardens to make a rate where the majority of the vestry refuses to do it. Therefore the terms of the Resolution really amount to nothing. All it affirms is that the churchwardens are bound by law to perform a certain duty that the law gives them no means of performing. Under these circumstances, the Resolution is perfectly nugatory and unmeaning, and those who intend to vote for it may save themselves the trouble of going into the lobby. I have stated to the House the course that appears to afford the best hope of a practical solution of this question. If the rate is once repealed, and any difficulty is found in raising the necessary funds, there may be a chance of coming to some agreement between both sides of the House, on the principle I have indicated; I believe this means would be effectual as far as regards the maintenance of the fabric of the church, without giving any possible offence to those who differ from it.


said, he had listened to the extraordinary speech of the Secretary for War with considerable surprise. The right hon. Gentleman had assigned some very strange reasons why the Government should abdicate their functions and refuse to bring in a Bill on this subject to tranquillize the public mind; but this abdication of their duties was the general characteristic of the course pursued by the Government throughout this Session. Last night the House was engaged up to a late hour in discussing an important measure—a Scotch Police Bill—introduced, not by the Government, but by a private Member; and with regard to Ireland, an important question affecting marriages was also left to be dealt with by an independent Member. These were subjects which were within the peculiar province of the Government; but if there were any question on which it was the duty of the Government of the country to initiate legislation, it was a question so nearly affecting the Church of England, of which our Gracious Sovereign was the head. The reasoning of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War he would meet with a direct negative. The right hon. Gentleman denied "that it is unjust and inexpedient to abolish the ancient customary right exercised from time immemorial, by the ratepayers of every parish in England to raise by rate amongst themselves the sums required for the repair of the church," and he based that denial on the allegation that no such ancient customary right existed. But there was not one among the numerous eminent lawyers who possessed a seat in that House who would venture to endorse the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. For his own part he (Mr. Macdonogh) gave it the flattest contradiction. As a lawyer, he contended that it was the ancient custom of the realm to raise the sums required for the repair of the church by rate. It was true that there were great difficulties in enforcing this ancient and customary right, and the rate had not been collected in many places; but this did not show that the right did not exist. The hon. Baronet (Sir J. Trelawney) who introduced the Bill, and did so in a very temperate speech, appealed to the Irish Members for support, requesting them to argue the case with calmness, and hoping by anticipation to have their undivided support. His reply to the request of the hon. Baronet was, that he should have his (Mr. Macdonogh's) decided opposition. The hon. Baronet spoke of proceeding illogically; but a more illogical composition than the Bill itself had never been presented to the House. What was the reason it assigned for this proposed total abolition of church rates? The preamble of the Bill recited that in particular districts the rate had not been enforced, and then the Bill proceeded to enact that from and after the passing of that Act no rate should be levied anywhere. This was a direct breach of one of the simplest rules of logic, because it was an argument from particulars to universals. It affirmed that it was expedient that church rates should he abolished—and why? Because of the 12,000 parishes in England and Wales a large proportion were adverse to the church rate? No—because in certain parishes there was an objection to make a rate, no other parishes were allowed to make a rate. The argument was, because the rate had ceased in some parishes, it was to he abolished in all. He opposed the Bill because it offered no concession or compromise; because it destroyed the whole system by which the fabric of the church was maintained, without proposing any substitute; and because it was at variance with the principle of moderation which was the true line of political wisdom. The Bill proposed to abolish the ancient law. What was the law the Bill assumed to deal with? The law was essentially English—that he thought was no reason for its abolition. It had prevailed in England from time immemorial. Its origin was lost in the obscurity of antiquity; but if they examined the records of the courts of law, they would find it pleaded in the time of Edward IV. as even then an immemorial custom; and there was evidence that it was in existence as far back as the reign of Canute—and yet the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War told them that it was not a legal right. The House of Lords in the Braintree case declared it to be the duty of the parishioners to maintain the fabric of the church; but that in order to make a valid rate, it must be imposed by the majority of the parishioners. What hardship was there in that? They were a nation governed by majorities, and after such a decision no section in the country had a right to complain if the majority resolved to enforce the rate. But this question was not raised by a religious majority. It was raised by agitators who were now in the minority, and were seeking to tyrannize over the majority. The hon. Baronet who introduced the Bill had referred to Ireland. He (Mr. Macdonogh) was in a position to give some information in reference to the law in that country, which he thought would strongly sustain the principle affirmed by the Resolution of his right hon. Friend the Member for Wilts (Mr. S. Estcourt). He had often heard it said, "You have abolished church rates in Ireland; why do you not apply the same principle in England?" But was any such measure ever introduced into Ireland as the total, unconditional, absolute abolition of church rates, without providing a substitute? Certainly not. What really occurred was this:—From the time of Henry VIII. the Crown had been entitled to what was called "first fruits," which took away the first year's salary of a newly-appointed clergyman. This was, no doubt, a hard exaction upon the clergy generally, and the Church Temporalities (Ireland) Act passed in 1833 abolished the payment of first fruits altogether, and imposed upon every benefice a small annual tax, commencing at 2½ per cent, instead. The income of the Bishops was assessed at a higher rate. In England the opinion was that they required more bishops than they possessed. In Ireland, on the contrary, it was found, from the state of the country, that certain bishoprics might be dispensed with; and these sees having been suppressed, the incomes so saved, together with the sum received in lieu of first fruits, were consolidated into a fund, which was appropriated to maintaining the fabric of the church and defraying the expenses of Divine service. Therefore in Ireland a revenue that had been the property of the Crown in the time of Henry VIII. was applied to the purposes to which the church rates had formerly been applied and were still applied in this country. The churches were well maintained in Ireland on this public property. Would any one wish the churches in England to be in an inferior condition? In Ireland the State had provided not only for the maintenance of the fabric of the church, but for all that was necessary for Divine service, and the surplus of the fund that remained went to the augmentation of small livings, which was the destination given to that fund by the piety of Queen Anne and the wisdom of her advisers. That measure had been most beneficial to the Church in Ireland. He believed that that arrangement was in the true spirit of legislation; and was altogether different from a proposition to abolish church rates totally without providing a substitute, or to adopt the recommendation of the Secretary for War, and first pull down the building in the hope that assistance would subsequently be given towards raising it again. He was greatly astonished to find such a proposition made by the members of a Government who were bound to assist Her Majesty in protecting the interests of the Church. He contended that the "customary right" existed in every parish still, the difference being that between a right existing and a right not exercised. The Secretary for War said the right did not exist, because practically it had been discontinued in certain places.


What I said was this:—That it is not a legal right, inasmuch as it cannot be enforced by any process of law.


Whichever way the proposition was phrased, it was not sustainable. Suppose the income tax were resisted in any locality for seven years, would it be said that the parties acquired an immunity by wrong, and could they then be told by a Minister of the Crown that the tax must be abolished, because it could not be levied in particular cases? Yet this was a precisely similar case. The right hon. Gentleman said a legal right does not exist because it cannot be enforced; or, rather, not that it cannot be, but is not, enforced. But there cannot be the slightest doubt, that if a majority agree to a rate, it may be recovered by law. The statute law in Ireland was clear on this point. By the 7 Geo. IV. it was provided, that if the parishioners did not make a rate, a monition was issued to the churchwardens, compelling them to make it; and that rate was by the Act as enforceable as if all the parish had made it. The Act gave every power that might be supplied in England. The argument, that because the rate had been refused in some 400 or 500 parishes out of 12,000, and had not been enforced in others, that therefore the common law right was gone, was absurd. He thought the proposition of his right hon. Friend the Member for Wilts (Mr. S. Estcourt) was fair, reasonable, and just. His right hon. Friend said he could not assent to the principle of the total abolition of church rates until some other provision shall have been made by Parliament for the discharge of those obligations to which, by custom or statute, the church wardens, on the part of the parish, are liable. The single proposition upon which his hon. Friend relied could not be disturbed—namely, that the right to make a rate was the ancient customary right subsisting by force of the common law of England, and that it could not be abolished until a substitute had been plainly indicated. He urged that it was the duty of the Government to come forward with a proposition which would have the effect of terminating this angry discussion; and in the mean time he trusted that the House would reject the present Bill by an overwhelming majority, and so compel the Government to do its duty.


wished to remind the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, that when the agitation against church rates first commenced, Lord Monteagle, then Mr. Spring Rice, brought in a Bill charging the amount of the church rates on ecclesiastical property. That measure was rejected only by a majority of three; and the Conservative power in the House at that time prevented its renewal. If hon. Gentleman opposite would recur to the principle of that measure, he believed they would not encounter much opposition. Since then it had been declared to be the common law of the land that a church rate could not be levied except by the will of the majority of the parishioners. But the fact was, that the population had outgrown the common law as to church rates. At the end of the 16th century there were 9,284 parishes in England, no doubt with as many churches. The population was 5,500,000; and he calculated, making a reduction of 58 per cent on the gross number of the population for those who could not attend public worship, that there was one church to every 320 persons. Taking the census of 1851, it appeared that there were 14,000 churches in England; the population was 18,000,000; and making the same reduction on that number, there were now 1,270 persons demanding admittance to every church. The accommodation the Church afforded had diminished three-fourths since the end of the 16th century in relation to the increased population. There were 10,000,000 persons for whom church accommodation ought to be provided; but the Church could only give that accommodation for 5,300,000. Consequently, there were nearly 5,000,000 persons for whom there was no accommodation whatever. The Church said it could not provide it; it could do nothing; it had no room. It was all very well to talk of common right, but common right meant common use; and if a man could not use his common right, his right was to little purpose. With regard to Churchmen themselves, they were required to pay for churches which they never entered. Though churches had increased to the number of 14,000, only four fifths of them were entitled to rates as parish churches, while the persons who attended the other one-fifth were compelled, not only to find church accommodation for themselves, but to pay for the maintenance of fabrics in which they could find no room. The erection of the district churches had not done away, in many cases, with the obligation of the people who frequented them to pay for the expenses of the parish churches, and they are among the most strenuous opponents of church rates for their parish church. The question before the House was one that could not be settled by simple composition. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. S. Estcourt) thought that by putting a truism on the paper he was advancing, the settlement of the question; but the only way to do that was to submit to the House a practical proposition. There was another reason why the Bill of the hon. Baronet deserved support—namely, that the question of church rates was now the only one in which the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts extended over the laity of this country. If any reasonable compromise could be effected, the House would do well to adopt it; but to abolish church rates altogether appeared to him the only safe constitutional course. The only way of doing justice to the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists was to relieve them from this impost.


said, that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Wilts showed that they on that (the Opposition) side of the House were open to compromise, and he thought that some proposition ought to come from the Government bench. They stood in a very different position now with regard to the question from that which they occupied some years ago. The opinion out of doors formerly was widely different from what it was now. Circumstances had occurred and language had been used which had had the effect of shaking the strong opinion held by certain classes who were in favour of total abolition, and now the general desire was that some compromise should be effected. The large and populous towns—such as Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, which were as distinct as possible from the agricultural districts—had so far settled the question that they had abolished church rates as far as they were themselves concerned. These places, therefore, had no grievance to complain of. Then, taking the case of towns of from 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants, in which, if any grievance existed, it was there to be found, any hon. Member who took the trouble to look into the matter would see that in those towns the opposition had decreased, and the rates were carried by large and increasing majorities. In the country districts, farmers knew that they were rated according to the land they held; they therefore understood the principle of the rate, and were satisfied with it. Dissenters as well as Churchmen were willing to contribute, for they knew that they had not only been married in the parish church, but that they would be buried in the churchyard. Even for the sake of their poorer neighbours and their farm servants they were anxious that the fabrics should be maintained, because, no matter how they might differ on certain points of doctrine, they felt that the money was given for the honour and glory of God. In 1854, Lord Russell, speaking on this question, said— We have a national Church—we have an hereditary aristocracy—we have an hereditary monarchy; and all these things stand together. My opinion is, too, that they would decay and fall together. I see no reason why we should prefer to these institutions those of the United States of America; and I must therefore oppose this Bill, as, in my opinion, tending to subvert one of the great institutions of the State."—[3 Hansard, cxxxiv., 475.] He did not know whether Earl Russell still maintained these views, but there was certainly not much to be said in favour of the example of America just now. That noble Lord might, however, have changed his opinions, as other noble Lords had done; but no one who had uttered such sentiments would stand in the way of a compromise which should have for its object the final settlement of this question, not upon the peace-at-any-price principle, but upon an arrangement based upon a due consideration of the rights of all whose interests might be affected.


Sir, it is at least interesting to the House, if not convincing, that the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken should have read an extract from the speech of a late Member of this House, now a Member of the other House, and adopted him as a great authority upon this question. I presume the hon. Gentleman would not take Lord Russell's opinion upon a great many subjects; and I presume that he will admit it is not unlikely that the opinion which Lord Russell holds in the year 1862 may at least be as wise as that which he held in 1854, inasmuch as rational opinions on a question of this nature must be assisted to a considerable extent by the experience which a man gains as he advances in life. I do not despair in the least of finding the hon. Gentleman opposite, like other Gentlemen opposite on other questions, eight years hence admitting that he was wrong to-day, and that the abolition of church rates, when it shall have taken place, was a very wise measure. We have heard an hon. Gentleman and a very learned Gentleman from Ireland speak this afternoon—and it is very odd, that on this question the English Church has had frequent occasion to rely upon the advocacy of legal luminaries from Ireland. But what did the hon. and learned Gentleman tell us? He told us that a measure which abolished no end of bishoprics in Ireland, abolished church cess, and something else which I do not now recollect. [Mr. MACDONOGH: Tithes.] And tithes—the hon. Gentleman told us that this was a healing measure. I have no doubt it was a healing measure, and I will undertake to say, that if it had been carried much further, it would have been a measure still more healing. But having that opinion of a measure which was passed some five-and-twenty years ago with regard to Ireland, surely the hon. and learned Gentleman need not have drawn such a picture of the ruin that would happen to the Established Church in England if the same principle were applied here. I do not believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite believe it. I believe you are acting not as religious Churchmen in this matter, but as political Churchmen. Unfortunately, this has become in some way a party question. ["No, no!"] You feel that there is something of a question of political supremacy as regards your Church involved in it—["No, no !"]—and therefore you fight it here. ["No!"] Well, then, if you are not of that opinion, I can only say that you have very little faith in the principles of your Church, and you have gained very little from the experience of the last half century with regard to the wonderful things that your Church can do if it be allowed to act from religious zeal, and be in no degree interfered with, hindered, or assisted by the action of Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilt shire (Mr. S. Estcourt) has discussed this question, as he always does, and as a question that touches religion and conscience should be discussed—namely, in a spirit the most moderate, the most friendly, and, so far as he can see into it, the most just. But his justice has been shown also in another particular, for he has—I was going to say depreciated—but not only depreciated, but he has repudiated and rejected absolutely every scheme that every one, of whatever party, has hitherto submitted to the House on this question. I do not complain that he objects to the measure of my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Sir J. Trelawny). He objects even to his own measure. He has repudiated that. He says that now he clearly sees that that which he thought would be a simple and admirable settlement of this question a year ago would have been no settlement at all; and he admits, further, that a Bill which would not be a final settlement of this question is of no value at all. I admit that, and for that reason I think he does not give the House good advice in asking it to agree to his Resolution. I was amused at the reason which the-right hon. Gentleman assigned for the failure of all these Bills. What would one suppose if, in the ease of medicine or of mechanics, everything tailed? His own Bill, the proposition of the light hon. Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Walpole), that of the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate), one brought in by the late Member for Preston (Mr. Cross), another by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary (Sir G. Grey), and half a dozen others, have all failed. Then, I should say, there is something radically wrong about them. Either they did not meet the ease, or, meeting the case, the opponents of the case would not agree to them, and therefore they failed. He says they failed because they were not founded on a constitutional principle, and he quoted the opinions of several lawyers and judges to show the constitutional right. Nobody disputes about the question of constitutional right—which, I presume, means legal right. The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. R. Mills), in a maiden speech, has placed this question with great fairness and force before the House. He says—though in language not quite exact—the population has outgrown the state of things to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. Is it because 800 years ago, as one learned Gentleman from Ireland says, and 500 years ago, as another hon. Gentleman says, a practice or a law existed, that therefore it must exist for ever? That is the question which is placed before us. We have had changes in almost every department of State government. The facts are altogether changed. What reason is there, therefore, that the law should not change, and the practice change with the facts? We have been twenty eight years discussing this question, because a great majority of the people have discovered that what you call the constitutional or legal principle of church rates was at variance with their true rights and interests. I recollect an admirable work, I think a History of the Anglo-Saxons, by the late Dr. Lingard, the historian of the Roman Catholic Church, and a man of singular accuracy and impartiality, in which occurs a passage which points to that very fact. He says in effect, that in times past nothing could be more equitable or just, nothing more proper in his view, than the system of the church rate as it then existed in the various parishes of England; but he says that the men who in past times, with exact justice, established the system of church rates by local organization and collection, and so forth, would, had they lived in our time, have repudiated the very thing which they established in their time; because a man who could say it was just and wise to do that 700 or 800 years ago, in the then circumstances of the country—if he were here, he would tell you it was not wise and just, all the circumstances having undergone a complete change. I must call attention to some phrases used by the right hon. Gentleman, which did not appear sufficiently definite. He speaks of the "common interest" we all have in the church. I recollect a "common interest" a clergyman once asked me to share. He asked me to subscribe towards what he considered the ornamentation of his church—for some curious and grotesque figures which were to peep out from under the slates. I told him I did not like to subscribe to places of worship which were to be handed over to bishops, and that I had other things to do with any surplus funds I might have. "Well, but," he said," one thing we do—you can't deny we do something to keep the people quiet." The right hon. Gentleman says that in those churches every Sunday you have the Scriptures read and morality preached—he might have gone further, and have said that the principles of Christianity—I will admit it—are, to a large extent, faithfully preached. I deny none of this; for there is no one more ready to admit the good in every sect than I am. It is quite true all this is done, and we all have an interest that it should be done; but I have no more interest in its being done in the parish church than I have in its being done in the Wesleyan chapel. I have the same interest in them all. I fancy I know what the right hon. Gentleman is communicating to his neighbours at this moment. The right hon. Gentleman had a further meaning than that in what he said about "common interest:" he meant that we have citizens' rights in the Established Church. That is quite true; and we do not in the least propose to interfere with them. As regards the common interest every man has, that the truth, so far as he knows it, should be taught in every place of worship, that morality should be upheld, and the highest sanction should he offered to influence the conduct of the people, we have precisely the same interest that this should be done in the churches of the Established Church that we have in its being done in the chapels of every other sect in the kingdom; and we have no more interest in the one than in the other. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Toleration Act, and admitted that it was quite right. By that Act, the natural right of men to worship according to their conscience—he even said according to their fancy—was made legal by the Parliament of the country. What is it we want now? We want that the natural right of men, not only to worship according to their consciences, but not to be mulcted for any other kind of worship which is not according to their consciences, should be made legal. What was the good of your Toleration Act if it amounted merely to this? "Walk out of our church—build chapels—do what you like—have any kind of religious service you please, but still you shall contribute to the full, as heretofore, for the performance of services in a manner you do not approve or you do not think necessary." I say that what we ask now is merely, to a certain extent, the complement of the Toleration Act. If it was right to legalize a natural right 170 years ago. it is right now to legalize the natural right which we now assert. I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite if there be any friend of the Church who will say, as I wish some one would get up and say, that Churchmen will not maintain their place of worship, will not wash a surplice, will not do any of those things which the humblest congregations of Primitive Methodists constantly do. I want some one to get up and say to the party which owns the great bulk of the land, which holds the patronage of the Government and enjoys it, and has enjoyed it in all time past, which boasts itself to be the richest, which has the great seats of learning at its disposal, which assumes in both Houses of Parliament a pre-eminent authority—I want some one to dare to stand up in this Parliament and say, that with all this power, and with all this greatness, that party is not liberal enough to support its own churches. Now, we do not in the least want to diminish the number of your churches or their usefulness. To my certain knowledge, it gives the greatest pleasure to the loading men whom you blame so much as connected with this agitation, to see the voluntary activity which has been displayed on every side in your Church. All we want is, that the voluntary action which has done so much in every other department of your Church should be allowed full play in regard to this particular department to which the church rates have heretofore been applied. I recollect sitting on a Committee some years ago, when the hon. Member for Leeds (Mr. Baines) produced statistics of what had been done by your Church since the beginning of the century, chiefly in the county of Lancaster and in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The whole character of your Church has been revolutionized in that time. All the vast increase that has taken place, and of which you constantly and justly boast so much—so far as such things can be made matter of boasting—all this has been effected by the very principle which in this House, as political Churchmen, you. so constantly deride, and, though perhaps you may not mean it by your language, sometimes you are not even ashamed to insult. Why is it, after all this change has taken place, and when in all parts of the country you find churches raised up by the people in greater numbers than heretofore, you fear to trust to them for this small matter of £200,000 or £250,000 a year, which, with every kind of evil that can be conceived, you extort—a portion of it, at least, from those who are unwilling to pay? I maintain that the whole country affords abundant evidence that this side of the House, in the course it takes upon this question, is perfectly right. As you are obliged to admit a dozen great measures of legislation which in past years you opposed to be wise, so I have not the smallest doubt that five or ten years after this Bill, or such a Bill, shall have been passed, you will all admit you were wrong on this matter as you were on the others; and you will find the whole breath of society in England and Wales will have been purified by this change which we now propose.

I think the Resolution which the right hon. Gentleman has submitted to the House is one which the House ought not to assent to. The right hon. Gentleman has stated, that if nobody else did anything, he should—though he thought it was the duty of the Government to do it—he should be ready to submit to the House, after consultation with his friends, a Resolution which, I presume, would define or shadow forth a proper settlement of the question. I do not think the House ought to place much confidence that he will be able to perform that which he undertakes. He has brought forward one measure—he was confident it was a good thing; and he is now as confident it was worth nothing. I say, upon his own principle, that a measure which does not finally settle the question is not worth anything. So has the right hon. Member for Cambridge University tried and signally failed. The Resolution says that it is unjust and inexpedient to abolish an ancient customary right until some provision has been made as a substitute for it. It is only the old story; the language is rather more difficult to comprehend, but it means the same thing—that the friends and partisans of the Established Church, and the political party with which it is mainly connected, do not intend to part with this levy of the church rate until Parliament shall grant a substitute, that shall be equal to it. ["Hear, hear!" from the Opposition benches] Well, that is honest. The right hon. Gentleman's proposition comes simply to this—he proposes to give a substitute for what exists, but he proposes nothing which will in any degree, so far as I can find, be a remedy for the grievance. Where can you get the £250,000? I hope somebody on the opposite side will get up after me and tell us. You would not have it when it was proposed to get it by a proper management of the Church funds: the "healing measure" you repudiated. Then it was proposed that it should come out of the Consolidated Fund. Of course that was opposed by those who are against church rates; and now the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire admits he would rather have the Bill of the hon. Member for Tavistock than come to this House and ask for a vote as a substitute for church rates. If you cannot get it out of Church funds, nor out of the public funds, and you cannot get it out of a mixed rate collected like this, partly from Churchmen and partly from Dissenters, where are you likely to get it? Every year, every day, this matter goes further, you will get less and less from the Dissenters. You may get more from Churchmen, but I do not suppose you will, except where church rates are abolished. Where they are abolished, I find Churchmen willing to give twice or even six times as much as they paid in rates. If anybody were to tell me of a district in which the rates collected were insufficient for the repair of the church, my advice would be—Abolish the rate; appeal to all your own people; point to the venerable fabric in which they have so long worshipped, and tell them the things likely to excite their liberality and their sympathy, which you know how to do so well, and you will not be long without all you want. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said, "They marry in our churches; they bury in our burial-grounds." Why, do not you marry yourselves in your own churches? Do not you bury in the burial grounds? Are not these reasons why you should cling to your own church, and subscribe freely to it? If you would but have faith, even as a grain of mustard seed, you might remove this great mountain at once. I believe you cannot maintain this rate. I believe no theory of "common interest" will convince the Nonconformists of this country that it is their duty either as citizens or as conscientious Christians to continue to pay this rate. They may pay it—some of them—but they pay it with grudging, with no friendly feeling to your church, and with no advantage to your system. The right hon. Gentleman says nothing is of any value except that which will finally settle this question. He does not believe himself—I appeal to him, as an honest man—he does not believe that any one of the propositions that have been submitted to the House on this subject, unless it be that of the hon. Member for Tavistock, can at all do anything materially to settle this question? There was one proposition I made which I think he would be almost willing to accept, and I have a strong suspicion, that if the right hon. Member for Wiltshire and I were appointed to settle the question, we should not be long in submitting a satisfactory proposition to the House. I judge as much from the speeches he has made, and from the opinions he has often undisguisedly expressed. I proposed a very simple plan—(it was not one of my discovery; I do not pretend to be a discoverer)—by which you might leave everything as it is, except the power to enforce the rate. The hon. Member for Derby (Mr. Bass) claims to be a discoverer; and he has expressed his regret that he has not had an opportunity of bringing his admirable proposition before the House. If you leave everything just as it is—your citizenship, your common interests, your vestry meetings, your discussion as to the amount of rate for the services of the Church, your determining the rate and the time of payment, your issuing your little notes, your going about from house to house to collect, I doubt if there be a single parish in England—and recollect I am not a Churchman, and never have had an enthusiasm for Churchmen as such, nor for the Church itself—but speaking honestly, from my knowledge of the people of this country, I do not believe there is a single parish in England, in which it would be found difficult to raise by voluntary subscriptions as much as is considered necessary to expend on the services of the Church. If I am of that opinion, and I have repeatedly expressed it, hon. Gentlemen opposite will not blame me for urging it upon them. Let us get rid on this question, if we can, of all party feeling, and anxiety for party triumph. If you are willing to entertain such a proposition, I will ask the hon. Member for Tavistock to withdraw his Bill, or when it goes into Committee to take out of it the clauses which you consider offensive, and to put in one clause that would withdraw the legal power of enforcing the rate. If you will do so, I believe that the next year, and the year after, and the year after that, the House will have a pleasant Session in anticipation that there was no church rate debate or division to come on; and the Church throughout the country will feel that it is placed in a stronger position, and the religious and social harmony of the country will not be interrupted by those broils which so incessantly take place in connection with this question. I tell hon. Gentlemen opposite that a greater question is growing with this question. I believe the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire (Mr. S. Estcourt) is aware of this fact, that every vestry meeting—every meeting which is held on this question in any parish—has become a meeting for teaching a lesson which some hon. Gentlemen may think pernicious, and many may think advantageous, but which tends to greater changes than the mere abolition of this miserable tax. The Liberation Society is a dreadful object—I do not say in the night dreams—but in the waking visions of hon. Gentlemen opposite. It has been greatly abused in this House—most undeservedly and most unjustly so. It is an honest Society, composed of earnest men, working for what they consider noble objects; and, however hon. Gentlemen opposite may abuse it, it is not to be despised. The Liberation Society can have at every meeting at which this question is discussed some person quite competent to go into the general question of Church Establishments. And while this assembly is engaged in settling this little tax, great principles wholly opposed to those which hon. Gentlemen opposite hold may sink too deeply for eradication into the minds of those who listen to them. I can wait; that is no harm for me; I am not an enthusiast in favour of the Established Church; but I speak here as wishing this question to be settled on its own basis and in its own time, leaving all greater questions to the further discussions and deliberations which an intelligent and Christian people will, no doubt, give to them.

Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire, and I think the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Macdonogh) appealed to the Government on this matter. On that point I shall have no difficulty in agreeing with them. I believe that the Government ought to take it up, not merely because it is a great question in itself, but out of respect to the great party on this side the House by whom alone they hold office. It has been for many years past the course of Governments to take every question into their hands at a certain period of its career, because a Government is more fitted to effect a settlement than any private Member can be. But what is the case with regard to this particular question? While individual Members have not become more potent to settle the question, we see the Government more and more indisposed to take it up. I recollect when the Government of Lord Aberdeen was formed, an hon. Friend of mine on this side of the House, who is not only a politician but a wit, said that the Government of Lord Aberdeen would get on very well so long as it kept clear of politics. That appears to me to be rather the course of the Government of the noble Lord. There are two reasons why the Government should change their course in regard to the matter. One of them is sure to have the sympathies of hon. Gentlemen opposite. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire made a very remarkable speech some time last November—it was in the days of fog—and the right hon. Gentleman attempted to clarify this great question. He never made a speech more remarkable or more ingenious. I would have given a good deal to have seen the countenance of that Bishop who was on the platform listening to it. But the right hon. Gentleman did not confine his sympathy to the great Church Establishment—his commiseration was excited for Members on his own side of the House. He complained that the country had not sufficiently supported them in the almost superhuman efforts which they made on behalf of the Church. He said this was only done by a strain upon the physical energies of those who repelled the attacks, and that it was not in human nature to continue such efforts unless the country and Churchmen generally came forward to support them. At the time when I read this, the eye of my mind turned to the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) and other hon. Members, whose physical energies never seem to fail them. To prevent the strain upon these valuable energies, the Government ought to take up the subject. But the right hon. Gentleman called upon the country, if it wished to defend the Church against attacks, to give him and his party the benefit of its support in the opposition which they gave to this Bill. I hope, if this be any reason with the noble Lord, he will take the Bill into his own hands. But there is another reason. We, on this side of the House, have a substantial grievance. I do not know how many on this side will vote to-day against the Bill—perhaps none—very few. There is no question which can be brought before the House—not even the question of a vote of want of confidence in the Government—that would unite a larger number of votes on this side of the House than the question about to be submitted to it. If that be so—if this question affects the feelings of millions of the people—if all reasonable men (who I hope are still the majority) wish this question to be settled, I think that we, and you indeed also (the Opposition), have a right to call upon the Government to take up this matter, and submit to the House a measure founded on some basis that will be acceptable to the great body of their supporters in the country. Let them do what we always find Government unwilling to do—let them stake their existence on carrying the measure. If the Government ignores politics altogether; and if this question is only to be used in the boroughs to return Members to support the present Government against the Conservatives; and if the present Government care nothing for its being carried, then, I say, let them abdicate their functions as statesmen, and take their places on that bench as—what shall I call them—as superior clerks. I am anxious for the final settlement of this question on some principle so simple and so just that it will recommend itself to the great body of the people, and never invite further contention in this House. I believe, that if you on the benches opposite will drop your feelings of hostility towards those who—as you suppose—are attacking the supremacy of your Church; if you look only to the harmony which air religious sects ought to endeavour to cultivate; if you look to those great principles which are mainly taught, as much in your Church as in our Churches, you will come to the conclusion that there is not in this question any thing that makes it worth the while of the country and of Parliament further to debate about it. Twenty-eight years have not exhausted the attacks which are incessantly made upon this odious and unjust impost, and the assailants have not yet been driven off. If you maintain it for twenty-eight years longer, you will not drive off those who feel that it is their imperative duty to assail it. Let us then, in a Session in which nothing has been hitherto done except the spending of money which is hardly gathered from the people, agree to settle this question—let us, I implore you, make this Session famous for one thing—namely, that we have allayed a source of constant irritation throughout the country, and embodied in English law one of the plainest precepts of Gospel morality—that we do to all our neighbours as we would wish them to do to us.


rose to support the Amendment, and to enter his protest against dragging into this discussion matters which had nothing whatever to do with the question under discussion. The law relating to this subject was founded upon the common law, and that was founded upon the principles of common sense and justice. He wished to express his disapproval of the attempts to treat this question as one merely involving political considerations.


Sir, every one who has heard the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham will allow that I am justified in making two remarks on it. The first is, that all the arguments of the hon. Member are applicable as much to the payment of tithes as the payment of church rates; and the other is, that he forgot, as all who take his line on this question are prone to do, that the Church of England is essentially the poor man's church. There is no place of worship belonging to the Church of England throughout the land which the poor man is not at all times free to enter without payment of any kind; and that forms one of the grounds on which we rest our vindication of the rates. The hon. Member applied to us the designation of political Churchmen. I might, with more reason, speak of him and his friends as political Dissenters. I must take exception to the answer which the hon. Member for Birmingham made, upon the quotation which my hon. Friend the Member for Sussex (Major Barttelot) made from a speech delivered some years ago by Lord John Russell. The hon. Member observed that the noble Lord had as good a right to an opinion in 1862 as in 1854. My objection is that the answer does not apply. The noble Lord has never told us that he has changed his opinion. The complaint I made against the noble Lord is that he has changed his vote—that he has changed his conduct, but that he has never changed his opinions. ["Oh !"] At least, he never told the House that his views had undergone an alteration. In the same speech, I believe, to which reference has been made, the noble Lord used words which have already been verified in a remarkable degree. He said, "I do not think that a general who has to defend a fortress is apt to say, 'I will abandon the outworks, and then the citadel will be safe.' "Those words involved a great principle, and again and again the noble Lord, as the leading champion in this House of church rates, uttered that warning. There are points, however, in the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham in which I heartily agree. I am glad to hear from his lips a distinct declaration that he desires a settlement of this question. I join most cordially in that wish. The subject is painful. It is inconsistent with the interests of religion, and fraught with acrimony and bad feeling. I believe there is no man on either side of the House, whether Churchman or Dissenter, who does not in his heart feel that the time has arrived when this question ought to be disposed of in some way or other, and that this annual debate and perpetual controversy should cease. Holding those views, I heard the remarks of the right hon. Baronet the War Secretary (Sir George Lewis) with surprise and regret. He asked what was the objection to parents? It is that the church ought to be free to every man. The right hon. Gentleman told us, moreover, that last year he had suggested to the House a plan for the solution of this question, and that he still adhered to it. But why does not the Government of which he is a Member take up that plan and present it to us? What have been the main obstacles to the solution of this question? One is the violence manifested by a portion of the Dissenters, and the other is the tergiversation of certain eminent politicians in this House. I have never spoken otherwise than with respect of the Protestant Dissenters. I readily acknowledge that the ministrations of the Church have not kept pace with the rapid increase of the population, and that those who have at heart the interest of true religion are under deep obligation to the Protestant Dissenters for the extent to which they have supplied the deficiency. I believe there is a section of our Dissenting brethren who sincerely feel that the payment of rates is a matter of conscience; but there are others who do not sympathize with the agitation against the rates, and are ready to contribute as individuals for the support of the Church. Some of the Dissenters, and especially those connected with the Liberation Society, have carried on the controversy with great acrimony towards the Church, and are open to the charge which the hon. Member for Birmingham made very unjustly against us, of offering insult to their opponents. [Mr. BRIGHT: No, no!] To show the spirit and language of this section, I will read a few lines from a high authority in the Dissenting ranks. Mr. Miall, in one of his published works, says— What we require is, that when the present incumbent shall depart this life, the successor shall not be appointed, and that the funds should be sequestrated to the use of the civil Government. The next extract is from the Nonconformist's Sketch Book, edited by the same gentleman— The Church of England is an image carved with marvellous cunning, tricked out in solemn vestments, a part woven by human fancy, a part stolen from the chest of truth—an image, we repeat, an outside semblance, a counterfeit…empty, without heart, destitute of any well-spring of vitality…Kings, nobles, and bishops under the sanction, and on the behalf of their Church, perpetuate a thousand enormities, violate every maxim of religion, degrade, insult, harass, imprison—regard neither justice nor mercy in their pursuit of pelf. An attention to rites for the performance of which fees may be exacted—heartless formality—a blind, unreasoning, ignorant superstitious obedience to the priesthood—payment of tithes and Easter offerings and church rates—these are the great objects of our Establishment. To shatter this image, and give the dust of it to the four winds of heaven…is the sacred mission of Protestant Dissenting ministers. The Christian's Penny Magazine, edited by John Campbell, D.D., denounces the Church, of England as "an engine of Satan to delude and deceive the people." I will not weary the House by repeating the language of Mr. Morley, Dr. Foster, and other eminent Nonconformists, as they are doubtless already acquainted with it. I will only remind hon. Members of one statement made by Mr. Morley before the Lords' Committee. He was asked, "You have stated that there is a very strong opinion on the part of Dissenters that church rates ought to be abolished, even as applicable to Churchmen?" His reply was, "Yes, clearly." Dr. Foster took the same view. I ask the House whether that is not a degree of extra liberality which borders closely upon tyranny and oppression? The church rate abolitionists not merely wish to abolish a grievance upon Dissenters, but they wish to prevent Churchmen from paying church rates. I regret much that the question should be embarrassed by such questions as these. When one reflects on how much the difference between Dissenters and Churchmen relate to form rather than substance, considering how nearly they are agreed upon the great loading doctrines of the Christian faith, it is impossible to deplore too much the acrimony and extravagance of the views I have just cited. But how came these opinions to be elicited before the Lords' Committee? I believe it was owing to the measure introduced by Lord Derby's Government in 1858, who deserved credit for doing that from which the present Government shrink—grappling with the subject. I am sorry to hear that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wilts (Mr. S. Estcourt) does not attach very great value to that measure, and thinks it ought not to be repeated. I still adhere to it candidly. What is the effect it produced upon the extreme party who advocated the abolition of church rates? Up to that time church rates had been objected to on conscientious grounds; but since Lord Derby's Bill of 1858 that ground could no longer be maintained. It was proposed in a conciliatory spirit, and gave relief to conscientious scruples. It was rejected by the Dissenters, and from that moment the conscientious grievance was gone. But the agitation was to be prolonged and a new platform had to be sought. The real ground of opposition was then disclosed. It was not relief from the payment of a rate which conscience disapproved, but the destruction of the Church as a State establishment which was desired. I am deeply sorry that this course should have been adopted by the Dissenters. As a Churchman—as one who is anxious to uphold church rates as the legitimate means of maintaining the fabric of the house of God, I am not sorry that the Dissenters adopted this violent policy; for it has told against their own cause. It has opened the eyes of many Liberal Members, who formerly supported them, to their ulterior designs, and has done probably more good than harm to the Church. But I regret it, because it has postponed a settlement. To that result the tergiversation of certain political leaders has also contributed, and I am glad to see that the noble Lord at the head of the Government has arrived in time to hear my remarks. With deep respect for the noble Lord, I must express my regret at the course which he himself, Lord Russell, and some other gentlemen on that bench have pursued on this subject. I have no right to impute motives, but it certainly appears to me that the change in the Votes of these noble Lords was dictated by party considerations—that they sacrificed the interests of the Church to the interests of party. They changed their votes, but I never heard that they had changed their opinions. With regard to Earl Russell, I am quite confident that I am justified in using that language, and I believe that I am equally justified in using it with regard to the noble Lord at the head of the Government. In conclusion, I will only repeat the expression of my earnest desire to see this question settled, and settled upon fair and equitable principles. I will go further and state my deep disappointment that it has not been settled this year. I confess that last Session I was very san- guine that the time had come when a compromise might be effected. I had the honour of conferring with no inconsiderable number of Gentlemen who sit on the opposite side of the House, and I found them influenced by a most moderate spirit, and anxious to come to an equitable compromise. There was really scarcely any difference of opinion between the Gentlemen who sat on different sides of the House, and who took part in those conferences as to the grounds on which an arrangement might have been made; but I am sorry to say that, I believe under pressure from their constituents, hon. Members opposite receded from the ground which they had taken, and those attempts to bring about an arrangement were productive of no result. I am, however, sanguine enough to think that, notwithstanding that failure, the time is not far off when the moderate and conciliatory course which has been taken by the Church party on this subject will prevail. I believe that the Church of England is the most tolerant Church in the world, and I believe that she will never lose by continuing to act, as she has hitherto acted, upon conciliatory and truly liberal principles. I, for one, as a member of that Church, shall be happy at any moment to lend my humble aid to bring about a fair adjustment of this painful and difficult question, and I do most earnestly hope that at no distant day the Church and religion may be relieved from the scandal of these annual squabbles in the British Parliament.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had placed church rates and tithes in the same category, whereas they stood upon entirely different principles. The tithe was a rent-charge, enforced by a distinct and recognised principle of law, whereas church rates were little better than an illusory possession. The desirability of having a compromise had been urged on both sides of the House; in his opinion, however, the advances, if a compromise Was to be made, should be made by the Conservative party. Her Majesty's Government had very little encouragement to propose such a compromise, as their own supporters were nearly unanimous in favour of total abolition; while the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bucks, with all his power of rhetoric, had not been able to induce his party to combine in support of a measure which he understood was to proceed from that side of the House. Probably the Opposition would be able to manage things better when they came again into power; and when this Bill was before the House last Session, the right hon. Gentleman opposite certainly promised, that if it were thrown out, he would bring in some other measure for a settlement of this question. No doubt that promise induced many of the supporters of the hon. Baronet's measure to go into the lobby with the right hon. Gentleman; and the Speaker of the House gave his casting vote against that measure upon the understanding that the House was in favour of some other plan than that of abolition. The Liberal Members had a right now to call upon the right hon. Gentleman to fulfil his promise. But what did the opposite side of the House now offer to them? A compromise in the terms of the Resolution proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Wiltshire. That proposition was by no means such a one as the Liberal Members had a right to expect. It cast upon the Government the responsibility of bringing in a measure to settle this question. It contained conditions which were impracticable, and which would not be accepted by the country. He deprecated the breaches of faith which the two great political parties had committed on this subject. He thought he was the best friend of the Church who endeavoured to settle this vexed question by supporting some such measure as was proposed by the hon. Member for Tavistock. ["Divide, Divide!"]


Sir, the House being anxious to come to a division—an impatience at which I am not at all surprised—I shall occupy but a very few minutes in the observations I am desirous of addressing to you. But, if I were to pass over the remarks of the hon. Gentleman, so far as they have reached this side of the House, we should go to a division with an imputation resting upon the conduct of hon. Gentlemen on this side, in reference to their dealing with this important question, which is, I think, quite undeserved. We have been reminded during this discussion that this question has occupied Parliament for now nearly thirty years, during which time twenty-three schemes have been brought forward for its solution and settlement, two of them under the auspices of Ministries of the Crown, one of those Ministries being Whig and the other Tory, and all of them; have proved wholly ineffectual to effect the object their framers had in view. The; inference which I draw from these circumstances is very different from that which has been deduced by some hon. Gentlemen. My conclusion is, that if such a remarkable history could be brought forward with respect to any public question in this country, it only proves that the question was not ripe for legislation, and that the country did not really require it to be dealt with. No doubt, when you are dealing with an ancient law and an ancient custom, there must be many abuses which might be removed, and many improvements of which it is susceptible. So it may be said with regard to this question. No doubt, in the appropriation of the sums levied by church rates there were appropriations which could not be altogether justified, and in other cases appropriations which were of too limited and exclusive a character. But who can suppose, that if those were the abuses and grievances which required a remedy, the House of Commons, the most practical assembly in the world, would have wasted thirty years, and made twenty-three legislative experiments—experiments emanating from Ministries formed from both the great political parties of the country—and yet never advanced a single jot towards the solution of the difficulty? Why, what was the cause of this? It was that the pretext for legislation was not the real cause of the movement. And it was only after these repeated discussions, after these repeated attempts, and after these influential interferences, that the truth was at last discovered, and the issue was recognised as one which concerned not the management of church rates, but the existence of Church Establishments, and the connection of the Church of England with the State. When you come to deal with an issue of that magnitude, I am not surprised that twenty-eight years should have been occupied without producing any effect; I am not surprised that so many projects have failed, and that such influential interferences have had no result. But now the hon. Member for Swansea (Mr. Dillwyn) says that we on this side of the House entered into an engagement with himself and his friends, and that by not fulfilling that engagement we have deceived and misled them in this matter. That is a very grave imputation. Whatever may be the differences of opinion upon any subject in this House, we are all interested in the observance of good faith; and until I heard that accusation from the hon. Gentleman, I had hoped that both sides of the House had always been nice and delicate in the observance of engagements of this character. The hon. Gentleman, with great inaccuracy, singled me out individually as the person who had misled the House by undertaking, that if the Bill of the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock was withdrawn, I would make an effort for the settlement of the question. The hon. Gentleman must be under a great mistake. I have certainly always exerted myself to the utmost to ensure the defeat of the Bill of the hon. Baronet; but I have always maintained, and have always given my opinion, both publicly and privately, that no settlement of this question could be advantageously undertaken except by a Government. It is very true that many of my friends, whose assistance and advice upon all questions are my greatest pride, have entertained different opinions upon the subject. It is very true that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wiltshire (Mr. S. Estcourt) advanced with regard to this question a long way in the line indicated by the hon. Gentleman; but did my right hon. Friend shrink from attempting to fulfil his pledge? It is in the memory of the House that, after the defeat of this Bill last year, my right hon. Friend brought forward, or made known to those who were deeply interested in the question, a Bill upon the subject; and we all know that that Bill was received with no favour or satisfaction by them. My right hon. Friend then stated publicly in the House that he had fulfilled his engagement, and that he should make no further effort in that direction. His words must be remembered by the House; and I ask with confidence, is there any foundation for the grave imputation which the hon. Member for Swansea has made upon Members who sit on this side of the House? I am of opinion, with the hon. Member for Birmingham, that this is a question which ought to engage the attention of the Government. Upon that point the hon. Member for Birmingham takes quite a different course from that of the hon. Member who has just addressed us with so much acerbity of feeling. The hon. Member for Birmingham says that it is the duty of the Government to attempt to settle this question; but the hon. Member for Swansea says that no one ought to attempt to settle it except the Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House. I think it is the duty of the Government; because they have voted for the total abolition of church rates, and therefore it can be no longer pleaded for the Government that they have not unequivocally adopted the policy which has been recommended by the hon. Baronet. I cannot, however, say that I am more sanguine than is the hon. Member for Birmingham that the Government will undertake this great responsibility, seeing that several important questions regarding the United Kingdom are left in the hands of private Members to be dealt with in this House. Observe what has taken place this Session as regards both England, Ireland, and Scotland. I certainly see great questions trying to be solved, but I do not find them in the hands of the Government. When an alteration in the Marriage Law of Ireland is proposed—no inconsiderable question—I find that it is brought forward by a Member of the Opposition sitting to my right. The Excise law of Scotland, another great question fit for the consideration of the Government, occupied our attention last night. That is in the hands of a Gentleman who sits on my left. When Ireland and Scotland have these important questions in the hands of private Members, I am not at all surprised that a not unimportant English question, the abolition of church rates, should also be in the hands of a private Member. But notwithstanding these circumstances I am still of opinion that it would be a great public advantage if Her Majesty's Government would take up this question; and I have the more hope that I may induce them to do so because the question of church rates is the only question of importance in the hands of a private Member in which Her Majesty's Government have shown some public interest. At least this we can say, that a Member of Her Majesty's Government took the chair the other day at a meeting of the Liberation Society. That was intended as a compliment, no doubt, but it may be taken also as an indication of the future policy of Her Majesty's Government on this question. The Member of the Government I allude to is certainly not a Cabinet Minister, but then he is a Minister celebrated for his acquaintance with Cabinet secrets. The Secretary of State for War who has addressed us this morning did indicate a plan. He did not say that Her Majesty's Government were prepared to adopt it, but he did indicate a plan which he recommended as worthy of all attention; and it was, he said, the plan of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The plan of the Archbishop of Canterbury is, I dare say, well known to many hon. Gentlemen, I will only speak of that most reverend Prelate with those feelings of sincere respect which are due not merely or mainly to his high station, but to his amiable character, and to the simplicity and perfect unaffectedness with which he discharges his high functions; but I may be allowed to say that on this question of church rates the opinion of the Archbishop of Canterbury bears no special weight with me; no more than that of any other individual of eminent station and cultivated mind. Sir, this is not a clerical question. It is not a question to be decided, as the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think, by the weight of the opinions of Prelates, and I entirely differ from the right hon. Gentleman, who adduced the opinion of the Archbishop of Canterbury as one which ought to have overwhelming influence with us. I bring forward that as a proof that the right hon. Gentleman does not apprehend the real character of this question. The question of church rates is not a clerical question—it is a popular question, it is a question of popular rights. It is a political question—not, indeed, in the sense in which the hon. Member for Birmingham used the epithet—but it is a political question, because it involves the public rights of the people. It is a question that is to be settled by statesmen, and not by Archbishops, and I entirely protest against the contracted view which the Secretary of State for War would take of it. That leads us to the mode in which this church rate has really been levied. It has been levied by popular election. It has been imposed by the popular voice, expressed in the ancient and constitutional manner of this country, by a majority; and I have been perfectly astonished to hear from so many quarters, and from so many gentlemen distinguished for what we call liberal opinions, the expression of utter contempt which they seem to entertain for this decision by the majority. Why, the principle of ruling by a majority is the moving spring of our social and political life, and upon it the remarkable order of this country mainly depends. Why, Sir, if it is a grievance for a minority in a parish to submit to a majority, under what a grievance does a member of the minority of a constituency labour who sees returned to this House a gentleman who is in mockery called his representative, with whom he does not agree upon any single public question, and who is passing all his time in opposing those views and principles which the unhappy constituent advocates. Why might not he come to us and say, "Here is a political grievance which touches me every hour of my life, which makes me feel degraded and enslaved, and I ask for some relief in these particulars. This monstrous proposition that my borough is to be represented by the opinion of the majority is, in fact, an obstacle to all sound principles of government; and if this rule of a majority is adhered to, those ideas, which I am convinced are the only ones upon which beneficial legislation can rest, will not have the slightest chance of successful assertion?" What would you say to a person who addressed you in that manner? You would say, "All this may be very well; but the fact is, society could not be carried on upon your principles." On this occasion we have been told that the people of England have outgrown the common law. I must say that I never before heard so remarkable an opinion expressed in a maiden speech. The hon. Member who expressed it (Mr. R. Mills) sits for a borough in the county which I have the honour to represent. The county of Bucks having been for a long time the nursing mother of political liberty and constitutional rights, I beg that it may be clearly understood that the opinion that the people of England have outgrown the common law was not obtained by the hon. Member from that county. His connection with the county is political and not local, and I beg it to be understood that, so far as that opinion is concerned, he may represent the Liberation Society, but he does not represent the opinions of, I hope, a single person in the county of Bucks. We have now found out what is the clear issue which is to be decided. You have at stake, in the division which is instantaneously impending, some of the greatest objects and some of the most important principles which can engage the attention of Englishmen. You have at stake the principle of an Established Church, the practice of local government, the right of self-taxation, and the hereditary privileges of the great mass of the population. That is the issue before the House. Upon that, and upon that alone, we are going to divide, and to that division I go with greater confidence than I ever before went into the lobby.


, in replying, regretted the language which had been applied by the hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich, when he said that some members of the Government, and especially Earl Russell, had upon this question changed their votes, but not their opinions. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet would, before the debate closed, state that those expressions had escaped him in the haste of the moment, and that he did not intend to say anything so unjust. The expression that the population had outgrown the common law had been made the subject of a play upon words. What was meant by it clearly was, that the population had outgrown the accommodation which was provided for them under the ancient common law.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 286; Noes 287: Majority 1.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Sir J. D. Bruce, H. A.
Adair, H. E. Buckley, Gen.
Adam, W. P. Bulkeley, Sir R.
Adeane, H. J. Buller, Sir A. W.
Agar-Ellis. hon. L. G. F. Butler, C. S.
Agnew, Sir A. Buxton, C.
Alcock, T. Caird, J.
Andover, Visct. Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G
Angerstein, W.
Antrobus, E. Cardwell, rt. hon. E.
Ashley, Lord Carnegie, hon. C.
Atherton, Sir W. Cavendish, hon. W.
Ayrton, A. S. Childers, H. C. E.
Bagwell, J. Cholmeley, Sir M. J.
Bailey, C. Clay, J.
Baines, E. Clifford, C. C.
Ball, E. Clifford, Col.
Barnes, T. Clifton, Sir R. J.
Bass, M. T. Clive, G.
Baxter, W. E. Cobden, R.
Bazley, T. Cogan, W. H. F.
Beale, S. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Beamish, F. B. Collier, R. P.
Beaumont, W. B. Coningham, W.
Beaumont, S. A. Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.
Bellew, R. M. Cox, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Berkeley, Col. F. W. F. Crawford, R. W.
Berkeley, hon. C. P. F. Crossley, F.
Biddulph, Col. Dalglish, R.
Black, A. Davey, R.
Blencowe, J. G. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Bonham-Carter, J. Davie, Colonel F.
Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P. Denman, hon. G.
Bouverie, hon. P. P. Dent, J. D.
Brand, hon. H. Dillwyn, L. L.
Bright, J. Divett, E.
Briscoe, J. I. Dodson, J. G.
Bristow, A. R. Doulton, F.
Brocklehurst, J. Duff, M. E. G.
Brown, J. Duff, R. W.
Dunbar, Sir W. Layard, A. H.
Dundas, F. Leatham, E. A.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Lee, W.
Dunlop, A. M. Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C.
Egerton, E. C. Lewis, H.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Lindsay, W. S.
Ellice, E. Locke, J.
Elphinstone, Sir J. D. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Enfield, Visct. Lysley, W. J.
Euston, Earl of M'Cann, J.
Evans, Sir De L. MacEvoy, E.
Evans, T. W. Mackie, J.
Ewart, W. Mackinnon, W.A. (Lym.)
Ewart, J. C. Mackinnon, W. A. (Rye)
Ewing, H. E. C. M'Mahon, P.
Fenwick, H. Maguire, J, F.
Fermoy, Lord Marjoribanks, D. C.
Finlay, A. S. Marsh, M. H.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C.W.W. Marshall, W.
Foley, II. W. Martin, P. W.
Forster, C. Martin, J.
Forster, W. E. Massey, W. N.
Foster, W. O. Matheson, A.
Fortescue, hon. F. D. Mildmay, H. F.
Fortescue, C. S. Mills, T.
Freeland, H. W. Mills, J. R.
Gavin, Major Milnes, R. M.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Mitchell, T. A.
Gilpin, C. Moffatt, G.
Glyn, G. C. Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.
Glyn, G. G. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Monson, hon. W. J.
Gower, hon. F, L. Morris, D.
Greene, J. Morrison, W.
Greenwood, J. Norris, J. T.
Gregory, W. H. North, F.
Gregson, S. O'Brien, P.
Grenfell, C.P. O'Connell, Capt. D.
Greville, Col. F. O'Conor Don, The
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. O'Ferrall, rt. hon. R.M.
Grosvenor, Earl Ogilvy, Sir J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Onslow, G.
Gurney, S. O'Reilly, M.W.
Hadfield, G. Osborne, R. B.
Hanbury, R. Padmore, R.
Hankey, T. Paget, C.
Hardcastle, J. A. Paget, Lord C.
Hartington, Marq. of Palmerston, Visct.
Hayter, rt. hn. Sir W.G. Paxton, Sir J.
Headlam, rt. hon. T.E. Peto, Sir S. M.
Henley, Lord Pigott, Serjeant
Herbert, rt. hon. H. A. Pilkington, J.
Hervey, Lord A. Pollard-Urquhart, W.
Hibbert, J. T. Ponsonby, hon. A.
Hodgkinson, G. Portman, hon. W. H. B.
Hodgson, K. D. Potter, E.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Powell, W. T. R.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Powell, J. J.
Hutt, rt. hon. W. Proby, Lord
Jackson, W. Pryse, E. L.
Jervoise, Sir J. C. Pugh, D.
Johnstone, Sir J. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Kershaw, J. Raynham, Visct.
King, hon. P. J. L. Ricardo, O.
Kinglake, A. W. Robartes, T. J. A.
Kinglake, J. A. Robertson, D.
Kingscote, Col. Roebuck, J. A.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Rothschild, Baron L. de
Knatchbull-Hugessen E. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Langston, J. H, Russell, H.
Langton, W. H. G. Russell, A.
Lanigan, J. Russell, F. W.
Lawson, W. Russell, Sir W.
St. Aubyn, J. Tomline, G.
Salomons, Mr. Ald. Traill, G.
Scholefield, W. Turner, J. A.
Scott, Sir W. Tynte, Col. K.
Scrope, G. P. Vane, Lord H.
Seely, C. Verney, Sir H.
Seymour, Sir M. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Seymour, H. D. Vivian, H. H.
Seymour, W. D. Vyner, R.A.
Shafto, R. D. Waldron, L.
Shelley, Sir J. V. Walter, J.
Sheridan, R. B. Warner, E.
Sheridan, H. B. Watkins, Col. L.
Sidney, T. Weguelin, T. M.
Smith, J. B. Wemyss, J. H. E.
Smith, M. T. Western, S.
Smith, A. Westhead, J. P. B.
Smith, Sir F. Whalley.G. H.
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. M. Whitbread, S.
White, J.
Stacpoole, W. Wickham, H. W.
Staniland, M. Wilcox, B. M'G.
Stanley, Lord Williams, W.
Stansfeld, J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Steel, J. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Stuart, Col. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Sykes, Col. W. H. Wynne, C. G.
Talbot, C. R. M. Wyvill, M.
Taylor, P. A.
Thompson, H. S. TELLERS.
Tite, W. Trelawny, Sir J.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Douglas, Sir C.
List of the NOES.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Butler-Johnstone, H. A
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Cairns, Sir H. M'C.
Anson, hon. Major Cartwright, Col.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Cave, S.
Archdall, Capt. M. Cavendish, Lord G.
Astell, J. H. Cecil, Lord R.
Baillie, H. J. Chapman, J.
Baring, A. H. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Baring, H. B. Clive, Capt. H. G. W.
Baring, T. Cobbold, J. C.
Barrow, W. H. Cochrane. A. D. R. W. B.
Barttelot, Colonel Cole, hon. H.
Bathurst, A. A. Cole, hon. J. L.
Bathurst, F. H. Coles, H. B.
Beach, W. W. B. Conolly, T.
Bective, Earl of Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Beecroft, G. S. Cubitt, G.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Curzon, Visct.
Bentinck, G. C. Dalkeith, Earl of
Benyon, R. Damer, S. D.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Dawson, R. P.
Bernard, hon. Col. Deedes, W.
Bernard, T. T. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Blackburn, P. Du Cane, C
Bond, J. W. M'Geough Duncombe, hon. A.
Booth, Sir R. G. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Botfield, B. Dunne, Col.
Bovill, W. Du Pre, C. G.
Bramley-Moore, J. Dutton, hon. R. H.
Bramston, T. W. East, Sir J. B.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Edwards, Major
Brooks, R. Egerton, Sir P. G.
Bruce, Lord E. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bruce, Major C. Egerton, hon. W.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Elcho, Lord
Bruen, H. Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H. S.
Burghley, Lord Fane, Col. J. W.
Burrell, Sir P. Farquhar, Sir M.
Farrer, J. Knight, F. W.
Fellowes, E. Knightley, R.
Fergusson, Sir J. Knox, Col.
Filmer, Sir E. Knox, hon. Major S.
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. Lacon, Sir E.
Forde, Col. Laird, J.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Leader, N. P.
Forster, Sir G. Leeke, Sir H.
Franklyn, G. W. Lefroy, A.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Legh, Major C.
Galway, Viset. Legh, W. J.
Gard, R. S. Leighton, Sir B.
George, J. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Getty, S. G. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Gilpin, Col. Leslie, C. P.
Gladstone, Capt. Leslie, W.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Lever, J. O.
Goddard, A. L. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Gore, J. R. O. Lindsay, hon. Gen.
Gore, W. R. O. Long. W.
Graham, Lord W. Longfield, R.
Greenall, G. Lopes, Sir M.
Gray, Capt. Lovaine, Lord
Grey de Wilton, Visct. Lowther, hon. Col.
Griffith, C. D. Lowther, Capt.
Grogan, Sir E. Lyail, G.
Gurney, J. H. Lygon, hon. F.
Haliburton, T. C. Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B.
Hamilton, Lord C.
Hamilton, J. H. Macaulay, K.
Hamilton, Major M'Cormick, W.
Hamilton, Viset. Macdonogh, F.
Hardy, G. Mainwaring, T.
Hardy, J. Malcolm, J. W.
Hartopp, E. B. Malins, R.
Hassard, M. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Hay, Sir J. C. D. Maxwell, hon. Col.
Heathcote, Sir W. Miles, Sir W.
Heathcote, hon. G. H. Miller, T. J.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Mills, A.
Henniker, Lord Mitford, W. T.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Montagu, Lord R.
Heygate, Sir F. W. Montgomery, Sir G.
Heygate, W. U. Moody, C. A.
Hill, Lord A. E. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Hill, hon. R. C. Morgan, O.
Hodgson, R. Morgan, hon. Major
Holford, R. S. Morritt, W. J. S.
Holmesdale, Viset. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hood, Sir A. A. Mundy, W.
Hope, G. W. Mure, D.
Hopwood, J. T. Murray, W.
Hornby, W. H. Naas, Lord
Horsfall, T. B. Newdegate, C. N,
Hotham, Lord Newport, Visct.
Howes, E. Nicol, W.
Hubbard, J. G. Noel, hon. G. J.
Humberston, P. S. North, Col.
Hume, W. W. F. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Hunt, G. W. O'Hara, C. W.
Ingestre, Visct. Packe, C. W.
Jermyn, Earl Packe, Col.
Jervis, Capt. Pakenham, Col.
Johnson, Capt. J. S. W. Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Jolliffe, rt. hn. Sir W.G.H. Palk, Sir L.
Jones, D. Palmer, R, W.
Kekewieh, S. T. Palmer, Sir R.
Kelly, Sir F. Papillon, P. O.
Kendall, N. Parker, Major W.
Kennard, H. W. Patten, Col. W.
Kerrison, Sir E. C. Paull, H.
King, J. K. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Knatchbull, W. F. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Peel, rt. hon. Gen. Sturt, H. G.
Pennant, hon. Col. Talbot, hon. W. C.
Pevensey, Visct. Tempest, Lord A. V.
Philipps, J. H. Thornhill, W. P.
Phillips, G. L. Thynne, Lord E.
Potts, G. Thynne, Lord H.
Powys, P. L. Tollemache, J.
Puller, C. W. G. Torrens, R.
Quinn, P. Tottenham, C.
Reptoh, G. W. J. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Richardson, J. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Turner, C.
Rogers, J. J. Upton, hon. Gen.
Rolt, J. Vance, J.
Rowley, hon. R. T. Vansittart, W.
Salt, T. Verner, Sir W.
Sclater-Booth, G. Walcott, Admiral
Scott, Lord H. Walker, J. R.
Selwyn, C. J. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Seymer, H. K, Walsh, Sir J.
Shirley, E. P. Watlington, J. W. P.
Smith, M. Way, A. E.
Smith, A. Welby, W. E.
Smith, S. G. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Smollett, P. B. Williams, Col.
Somerset, Col. Woodd, B. T.
Somes, J. Wyndham, hon. H.
Spooner, R. Wyndham, hon. P.
Stanhope, J. B. Wynn, Col.
Stanhope, Lord Wynne, W. W. E.
Stirling, W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Steuart, A.
Stewart, Sir M. R. S. TELLERS.
Stuart, Lieut. Col. W. Taylor, Col.
Stracey, Sir H. Whitmore, Mr.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided:—Ayes 288; Noes 271: Majority 17.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Bramston, T. W.
Annesley, hon. Col. H. Bridges, Sir B. W.
Anson, hon. Major Brooks, R.
Arbuthnott, hon. Gen. Bruce, Lord E.
Archdall, Capt. M. Bruce, Major C.
Astell, J. H. Bruce, Sir H. H.
Baillie, H. J. Bruen, H.
Baring, A. H. Burghley, Lord
Baring, T. Burrell, Sir P.
Barrow, W. H. Butler-Johnstone, H. A.
Barttelot, Col. Cairns, Sir H. M'C.
Bathurst, A. A. Cartwright, Col.
Bathurst, F. H. Cave, S.
Beach, W. W. B. Cavendish, Lord G.
Bective, Earl of Cecil, Lord R.
Beecroft, G. S. Chapman, J.
Bentinck, G. W. P. Churchill, Lord A. S.
Bentinck, G. C. Clive, Capt. hon. G. W.
Benyon, R. Cobbold, J. C.
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Cochrane, A. D. R.W. B.
Bernard, hon. Col. Cole, hon. H.
Bernard, T. T. Cole, hon. J. L.
Blackburn, P. Coles, H. B.
Bond, J. W. M'Geough Conolly, T.
Booth, Sir R. G. Corry, rt. hon. H, L.
Botfield, B. Cubitt, G.
Bovill, W. Curzon, Visct.
Bramley-Moore, J. Dalkeith, Earl of
Darner, S. D. Hotham, Lord
Dawson, R. P. Howes, E.
Deedcs, W. Hubbard, J. G.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Humberston, P. S.
Du Cane, C. Hume, W. W. F.
Duncombe, hon. A. Hunt, G. W.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Ingestre, Visct.
Dunne, Col. Jermyn, Earl
Du Pre, C. G. Jervis, Capt.
Dutton, hon. R. H. Johnson, Capt. J. S.W.
East, Sir J. B. Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H.
Edwards, Major
Egerton, Sir P. G. Jones, D.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Kekewick, S. T.
Egerton, hon. W. Kelly, Sir F.
Elcho, Lord Kendall, N.
Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H.S. Kennard, R. W.
Fane, Col. J. W. Kerrison, Sir E. C.
Farquhar, Sir M. King, J. K.
Farrer, J. Knatchbull, W. F.
Fellowes, E. Knight, F. W.
Fergusson, Sir J. Knightley, R.
Filmer, Sir E. Knox, Col.
FitzGerald, W. R. S: Knox, hon. Major S.
Forde, Col. Lacon, Sir E.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Laird, J.
Forster, Sir G. Leader, N. P.
Franklyn, G. W. Leeke, Sir H.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Lefroy, A.
Galway, Visct. Legh, Major O.
Gard, R. S. Legh, W. J.
George, J. Leighton, Sir B.
Getty, S. G. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Gilpin, Col. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Gladstone, Capt. Leslie, C. P.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Leslie, W.
Goddard, A. L. Lever, J. O.
Gore, J. R. O. Liddell, hon. H. G.
Gore, W. R. O. Lindsay, hon. Gen.
Graham, Lord W. Long, W.
Greenall, G. Longfield, R.
Gray, Capt. Lopes, Sir M.
Grey de Wilton, Visct. Lovaine, Lord
Griffith, C. D. Lowther, hon. Col.
Grogan, Sir E. Lowther, Capt.
Gurney, J. H. Lyall, G,
Haliburton, T. C. Lygon, hon. F.
Hamilton, Lord C. Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B.
Hamilton, J. H.
Hamilton, Major Macaulay, K.
Hamilton, Visct. M'Cormiok, W.
Hardy, G. Macdonogh, F.
Hardy, J. Mainwaring, T.
Hartopp, E. B. Malcolm, J. W.
Hassard, M. Malins, R.
Hay, Sir J. C. D. Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.
Heathcote, Sir W. Maxwell, hon. Col.
Heathcote hon. G. H. Miles, Sir W.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Miller, T. J.
Henniker, Lord Mills, A.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Mitford, W. T.
Heygate, SirF.W. Montagu, Lord R.
Heygate, W. U. Montgomery, Sir G.
Hill, Lord A. E. Moody, C. A.
Hill, hon. R. C. Mordaunt, Sir C.
Hodgson, R. Morgan, O.
Holford, R. S. Morgan, hon. Major
Holmesdale, Visct. Morritt, W. J. S.
Hood, Sir A. A. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Hope, G. W. Mundy, W.
Hopwood, J. T. Mure, D.
Hornby, W. H. Murray, W.
Horsfell, T. B. Naas, Lord
Newdegate C. N. Somes, J.
Newport, Visct. Spooner, R.
Nicol, W. Stanhope, J. B.
Noel, hon. G. J. Stanhope, Lord
North, Col. Stirling, W.
Northcote, Sir S. H. Steuart, A.
O'Hara, C. W. Stewart, Sir M. R. S.
Packe, C. W. Stuart, Lieut. Col. W.
Packe, Col. Stracey, Sir H.
Pakenham, Col. Sturt, H. G.
Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J. Talbot, hon. W. C.
Palk, Sir L. Tempest, Lord A. V.
Palmer, R. W. Thornhill, W. P.
Palmer, Sir R. Thynne, Lord E.
Papillon, P. O. Thynne, Lord H.
Parker, Major W. Tollemache, J.
Patten, Col. W. Torrens, R.
Paull, H. Tottenham, C.
Peacocke, G. M. W. Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Peel, rt. hon. Gen. Turner, C.
Pennant hon. Col. Upton, hon. Gen.
Pevensey, Viset. Vance, J.
Philipps, J. H. Vansittart, W.
Phillips, G L. Verncr, Sir W.
Potts, G. Vcrnon, H. F.
Powys, P. L. Walcott, Admiral
Puller, C. W.G. Walker, J. R.
Quinn, P. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Repton, G. W. J. Walsh, Sir J.
Richardson, J. Watlington, J. W. P.
Ridley, Sir M.W. Way, A. E.
Rogers, J. J. Welby, W. E.
Rolt, J. Whiteside, rt. hon. J.
Rowley, hon. R. T. Williams, Col.
Salt, T. Woodd, B. T.
Sclater-Booth, G. Wyndham, hon. H.
Scott, Lord H. Wyndham, hon. P.
Selwyn, C.J. Wynn, Col.
Seymer, H. K. Wynne, W. W. E.
Shirley, E. P. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Smith, M.
Smith, A. TELLERS.
Smith, S. G. Taylor, Col.
Smollett, P. B. Whitmore, Mr.
Somerset, Col.
List of the NOES.
Acton, Sir J. D. Biddulph, Col.
Adair, H. E. Black, A.
Adam, W. P. Blencowc, J. G.
Agnew, Sir A. Bonham-Carter J.
Alcock, T. Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.
Andover, Visct. Bouverie, hon. P. P.
Angerstein, W. Brand, hon. H.
Antrobus, E. Bright, J.
Ashley, Lord Briscoe, J. I.
Atherton, Sir W. Bristow, A. R.
Ayrton, A. S. Brocklehurst J.
Bagwell, J. Brown, J.
Baines, E. Bruce, H. A.
Barnes, T. Buckley, Gen.
Bass, M. T. Bulkeley, Sir R.
Baxter, W. E. Buller, Sir A. W.
Bazley, T. Butler, C. S.
Beale, S. Buxton, C.
Beamish, F. B. Caird J.
Beaumont, W. B. Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W.G.
Beaumont, S. A.
Bellew, R. M. Cardwell, rt. hon. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Carnegie, hon. C.
Berkeley, Col. F. W. F. Cavendish, hon. W.
Childers, H. C. E. Hankey, T.
Cholmeley, Sir M. J. Hardeastle, J. A.
Clay, J. Hartington, Marq. Of
Clifford, C. C. Hayter, rt. hn. Sir W.G.
Clifford, Col. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Clifton, Sir R. J. Henley Lord
Clive, G. Herbert, rt. hon. H. A.
Cobden, R. Hervey, Lord A.
Cogan, W. H. F. Hibbert, J. T.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hodgkinson, G.
Collier, R. P. Hodgson, K.D.
Coningham, W. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Cowpcr, rt. Hon. W. F. Hutt, rt. hon. W.
Cox, W. Jackson, W.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Jcrvoise, Sir J. C.
Crawford, R, W. Johnstone, Sir J.
Crossley, F. Kershaw, J.
Dalglish, R. King, hon. P. J. L.
Davey, R. Kinglake, A. W.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Kinglake, J. A.
Davie, Col. F. Kingscote, Col.
Denman, hon. G. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Don't, J. D. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E.
Dillwyn, L. L.
Divett, E. Langston, J. H.
Dodson, J. G. Langton, W. H. G.
Doulton, F. Lanigan, J.
Duff, M. E. G. Lawson, W.
Duff, R. W. Layard, A. H.
Dunbar, Sir W. Leatham, E. A.
Dundas, F. Lee, W.
Dundas, rt. Hon. Sir D. Lewis, rt. hn. Sir G. C.
Dunlop, A. M. Lewis, H.
Egerton, E. C. Lindsay, W. S.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Locke, J.
Ellice, E. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Enfield, Viset. Lysley, W. J.
Euston, Earl of M'Cann, J.
Evans, Sir De L. MacEvoy, E.
Evans, T. W. Mackie, J.
Ewart, W. Mackinnon, W. A.(Lym.)
Ewart, J. C. Mackinnon, W. A. (Rye)
Ewing, H. E. C. M'Mahon, P.
Fcnwick, H. Maguire, J. F.
Fermoy Lord Marjoribanks, D. C.
Finlay, A. S. Marsh, M. H.
Fitzwilliam, hn. C.W.W. Marshall, W.
Foley, H. W. Martin, P. W.
Forster, C. Martin, J.
Forster W. E. Massey, W. N.
Foster W. O. Matheson, A.
Fortescue, hon. F. D. Mildmay, H. F.
Fortescue, C. S. Mills, T.
Freeland, H. W. Mills, J. R.
Gavin, Major Mitchell, T. A.
Gibson, rt. Hon. T. M. Moffatt, G.
Gilpin, C. Moncreiff, rt. hon. J.
Glyn, G. C. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Glyn, G. G. Monson, hon. W. J.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Morris, D.
Gower, hon. F. L. Morrison, W.
Greene, J. Norris, J. T.
Greenwood, J. North, F.
Gregory, W. H. O'Brien, P.
Grcgson, S. O'Connell, Capt. D.
Grenfell, C. P. O'Conor Don, The
Greville, Col. F. O'Ferrall, rt. hn. R. M.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Ogilvy, Sir J.
Grosvonor, Earl Onslow, G.
Grosvenor, Lord R. O'Reilly, M. W.
Gurney, S. Osborne, R. B.
Hadfield, G. Padmore, R.
Hanbury, R. Paget, C.
Paget, Lord C. Stacpoole, W.
Palmerston, Visct. Staniland, M.
Peto, Sir S. M. Stanley, Lord
Pigott, Serjeant Stansfeld, J.
Pilkington, J. Steel, J.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Stuart, Col.
Ponsonby, hon. A. Sykes, Col. W. H.
Portman, hon. W. H. B. Talbot, C. R. M.
Potter, E. Taylor, P. A.
Powell, W. T. R. Thompson, H. S.
Powell, J. J. Tite, W.
Proby, Lord Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Pryso, E. L. Tomline, G.
Pugh, D. Traill, G.
Ramsden, Sir J. W. Turner, J. A.
Raynham, Visct. Tynte, Col. K.
Ricardo, O. Vane, Lord H..
Robartes, T. J. A. Verney, Sir H.
Robertson, D. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Roebuck, J. A. Vivian, H. H.
Rothschild, Baron L. de Vyner, R. A.
Rothschild, Baron M. de Waldron, L.
Russell, H. Warner, E.
Russell, A. Watkins, Col. L.
Russell, Sir W. Weguelin, T. M.
St. Aubyn, J. Wemyss, J. H. E.
Salomons, Mr. Ald. Western, S.
Scholefield, W. Westhead, J. P. B.
Scott, Sir W. Whalley, G. H.
Scrope, G. P. Whitbread, S.
Seely, C. White, J.
Seymour, Sir M, Wickham, H. W.
Seymour, H. D. Willcox, B. M'G.
Seymour, W. D. Williams, W.
Shafto, R. D. Willoughby, Sir H.
Shelley, Sir J. V. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Sheridan, R. B. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Sheridan, H. B. Wyvill, M.
Sidney, T.
Smith, J. B. TELLERS.
Smith, M. T. Douglas, Sir C.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Trelawny, Sir J.

Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That it is unjust and inexpedient to abolish the ancient customary right, exercised from time immemorial by the ratepayers of every parish in England, to raise by rate amongst themselves the sums required for the repair of their Church, until some other provision shall have been made by Parliament for the discharge of those obligations, to which, by custom or statute, the churchwardens, on the part of the parish, are liable.

House adjourned at two minutes before Six o'clock.