HC Deb 12 April 1869 vol 195 c581

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been drawn to the expediency of making some adequate provision, for the retirement of those Eight Rev. Prelates who, either from their advanced age or from mental or physical inability, are permanently incapacitated from performing the duties which devolve upon them?


I have observed, Sir, with very great regret, as I think all Gentlemen in the House must have observed, that, at the present moment, no inconsiderable number of dioceses are, in a great degree, deprived of the advantage of responsible episcopal government, through the illness or the infirmities of old age of several of the Prelates; and no doubt it, would be desirable that some adequate provision should properly be made for the purpose of meeting the case. At the same time, looking at the effect of any such provision on the arrival of episcopal vacancies, I think it is a matter on which it is desirable that the Executive Government should, if possible, not proceed on the authority of their own judgment only. It is very much to be desired that the Bishops of the Church themselves should consider the matter, and, if possible, propose a plan, for the purpose of applying a remedy to the evil. I am not authorized to make any communication of a definite character on the part of the Right Reverend Bench; but I am under the impression that their attention has been given to the subject, and T therefore hope that some result of their deliberations on it may within a reasonable time appear. Of course, I do not mean to say that the Government are precluded from considering it, and making some proposal in case the Bishops do not; but I think the House will be inclined to agree with me, that it is desirable that the Bishops themselves should be associated from the very commencement with any proposal we may find it our duty to make.