HC Deb 01 June 1865 vol 179 cc1122-3

said, he would beg to'ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is true that the Crown has granted a Licence to the Convocation of Canterbury to alter the form of Subscription now taken by the Clergy; and, if so, what grounds there are for granting such a Licence pending legislation by Parliament?


Sir, no licence has as yet been granted by the Crown to the Convocation of Canterbury for the purpose alluded to by my hon. Friend. What has occurred is this—Her Majesty's Government were informed by the Archbishop of Canterbury that he had reason to believe that the Convocation of that Province would concur in the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Clerical Subscription, and would desire to express that concurrence by an alteration of the 36th and one or two other canons relating to the subject, so as to bring them into harmony with the alteration of the law to be made by Parliament; and the Archbishop expressed the hope that the Convocation would be allowed to do so. Her Majesty's Government thought it right to decline to invite, as was suggested, the action of Convocation on this matter, as such a course might have implied an opinion, which they do not entertain, that the concurrence of Convocation is necessary to the proposed change in the law; hut the Archbishop was informed that if, on the meeting of Convocation, it should apply to Her Majesty for a licence to enable it to alter the canons for the above purpose, Her Majesty would be advised to comply with such a request. I have only this day received from the Archbishop an address from Convocation praying for a licence, but the form in which the application has been made is one which prevents me from saying without further consideration and communication with others how far Her Majesty can be obliged to comply with the prayer of the address. I may add that the Convocation of the Province of York unanimously agreed to an address to Her Majesty approving the recommendations of the Commission, and expressing their desire that legal effect should be given to them. The Archbishop of York has since requested that this address may be considered as an application for a licence in the event of a licence being granted to the Convocation of Canterbury.