§ Bill, as amended, considered.
MR. GLADSTONE moved, after Clause 61, to insert the following clause:—
(Moveable chattels belonging to see or Church.)
Nothing in this Act shall affect the property in or the right to any plate, furniture, or other moveable chattels belonging to any see or to any Church or Chapel, or used in connection with the celebration of Divine worship therein, and where any property is vested in any Ecclesiastical or Cathedral Corporation in Ireland in trust for the poor or any other charitable purpose, the dissolution of such Corporation shall not affect the continuance of the trust, but such property shall immediately upon such dissolution vest in the representative body of the said Church, or in default of, and until the same shall be constituted, in the Commissioners for the execution of this Act, but subject always to the trusts affecting the same, and under the same supervision, local or otherwise, as theretofore, or as near thereto as the circumstances of the case will admit; and in all cases where ecclesiastical persons are at present in right of their dignities or offices entitled to be members of any lay Corporations constituted for the management of any private endowment, or are trustees for the management of property belonging to institutions of private foundation for purposes not ecclesiastical, then the persons (if any) who shall hereafter at any time discharge duties similar or analogous to those now discharged by such ecclesiastical persons, shall be entitled to succeed in their room, and be members of such lay Corporations, and to act as such taustees.
§ Clause (Moveable chattels belonging to see or Church.)—(Mr. Gladstone.)—brought up, and read the first and second time; amended, and added.
MR. BENTINCK moved, after Clause 15, to insert a new clause (Provision for the officers of Cathedral Churches in Ireland). The officers to whom he referred seemed to have been altogether
lost sight of by the framers of the Bill; but he submitted that any person, holding an appointment which it had been the custom to give for life, subject, of course, to good behaviour, had virtually a life interest in his office. If equity were disregarded, it might be said these officers had no strictly legal title for life: but it would be very unjust, on this account, to deprive them of compensation, if the Bill made it impossible to retain them in their offices. He styled them non-capitular members in his clause because, although they did not belong to the governing Body of the Church, they were members of the foundation. They were of two classes—those appointed to some of the older cathedrals in Ireland under charter, and those appointed under special contract with the Dean and Chapter according to the customs of the Church. Thus it would be seen they held office on terms precisely similar to those regulating the tenure of non-capitular members of English cathedrals. By Clause 14, there was a power to give compensation to ecclesiastical persons other than curates; and in the early part of the clause it was provided that the Commissioners should ascertain the amount of their annual income with a view to such compensation. The Interpretation Clause, Section 68, was, in his opinion, applicable to those who held lay offices, vicars choral, and others, in cathedral and collegiate churches. But then came a declaration by the Attorney General for Ireland, and another by the First Lord of the Treasury, from which it would appear that it was not intended that any person should be included who did not hold a freehold. Now, it was quite clear that this question was very important as affecting the rights of individuals. He understood there were two objections to this clause. First of all, it was said that these persons had not an estate of freehold, and therefore could not take any advantage under Clause 14. But the right hon. Gentleman who held that opinion seemed totally to forget that there were many individuals who had not freehold offices, and yet retained their life interest under the Bill; for instance, the Professors of Maynooth. No one would maintain that they had any freehold office, neither had the curates, nor the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. He would illustrate the position for which
he contended by a reference to two officers in the Cathedral of St. Patrick's, Dublin. Mr. William Murphy, for the last thirty-five years, had been master of the boys, and librarian of St. Patrick's. This gentleman held the office of Master of Song, which was of very ancient date, and was mentioned in the original charter of Charles I., in 1640. In consequence of the change in the value of money, the sum of £20, which was the salary attached to the office, was no longer able to maintain the master of the boys, and. therefore, an addition was made to it which brought if up to £100 a year. Then there was the case of Mr. Carnegie, the verger of St. Patrick's. He had served twenty-five years, and his position was analogous to that of Mr. Murphy. Under the provisions of the Bill, as it stood at present, these officers were intitled, in the one case, to £20 a year, and in the other to a small stipend, but not to the augmentation they had received; and, therefore, if the Bill passed in its present shape, it would form a most dangerous precedent with respect to the English cathedrals. He would take, in illustration of his argument, the case of Westminster Abbey. In that church certain officers were only entitled to be paid their statutable stipends. The augmentations of those stipends were derived from the fund made up of the fees taken for showing the Abbey. When it was found, some years ago, that it was impossible that these officers could be maintained by their statutable stipends, the Dean and Chapter handed over the money, which was received for showing the Abbey, to be divided among them, just as the money taken for showing the cupola of St. Paul's was now divided among the non-capitular members of that cathedral. Well, if the precedent under this Bill was established—if Westminster Abbey ever came to be dealt with in the manner that St. Patrick's was dealt with now, the officers to whom he referred would only be entitled to a very small sum indeed. Under these circumstances, he would submit that those officers who held their places by charter, and were maintained by augmentations were legally entitled to the whole of their stipends. Then he came to the second class of cases, which involved still greater hardship,—namely, where officers held their places by distinct-contract with the Deans and Chapters;
in the case of the cathedral of Armagh, and he believed also of another cathedral, for a great number of years past the office of vicars choral had been filled by persons not skilled in music, but who acted as trustees of the funds to be paid over to the Dean and Chapter for the benefit of persons who held their places on the distinct understanding that it was to be for life and on good behaviour. Persons who had held places in the English cathedrals had been induced to go over to Armagh and Dublin to fill posts better in regard to annual income, believing that they would stand exactly on the same footing as they had done in England. He had in his pocket a letter from a gentleman of the highest respectability, who was originally in the choir in Armagh, was then appointed to a place in Westminster Abbey, and was afterwards elected to a stipendiary office in Dublin, and had since been placed on the foundation there. That gentleman had been led to believe that his first situation would be precisely the same as regarded tenure as the place he formerly held in England. Another case was that of a distinguished person, Dr. Stewart, organist of Christ's Church in Dublin. Dr. Stewart assured him that if the terms of the contract had not been what he understood them to be, and what were stated to him by the Dean and Chapter, he would never have accepted the office. It might be objected that those interests were provided for by the Amendment in Clause 17, which was partly suggested by himself during the discussion in Committee. By that clause, as amended, it was competent for claimants to go before the Commissioners and state their case, and the Commissioners were vested with a discretionary power of giving them a sum of money by way of compensation, either by a single payment or by a Life annuity as they should, with the consent of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, determine. Now, as all those individuals, under the circumstances which he had stated, not only supposed themselves, but were held by those who engaged them, and the other parties to the contract, to have interests for life, or during good behaviour, he he would ask whether it was fair to say to them—"There was no doubt as to what was your understanding, and no doubt that you have an equitable title;
the onus of proof is thrown upon you; yon must go before the Commissioners and prove your case. If they think you have no case they will dismiss you, and you shall have no right of appeal; and after all, even when the Commissioners have decided in your favour, you are to be remitted to the tender mercies of the Treasury." That was a most unjust proposal. He believed the present Commissioners would be disposed to do justice; but then they were removable, and might be succeeded by other Commissioners less favourable to those claims; and last of all, they saw looming in the distance the iron hand of the Treasury. The Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary of the Treasury might be unwilling to entertain those claims, which might be treated in a manner similar to the clerks of certain departments, who had great hardships to complain of lately. Therefore, he could not think the right hon. Gentleman opposite would object to the very reasonable proposition which he now humbly submitted, more especially, too, as those claims wore extremely few in number. In introducing that Bill the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government said—
We must respect every vested interest, every proprietary right, every legitimate claim, and in every case of doubt that may arise we must honestly endeavour to strike the balance in favour of the other party and against ourselves.
Now, as he thought, he had made out to the satisfaction of the House that the individuals to whom he referred had a just and equitable right, he called on the right hon. Gentleman to consider favourably their "legitimate claim," and. if need be, "to strike the balance against himself and in their favour."
§ Clause (Provision for the officers of Cathedral Churches in Ireland)—(Mr. Bentinck,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."—(Mr. Bentinck.)
§ MR. PIM
said, he hoped the Government would accede to the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for White-haven (Mr. Bentinck.) If these persons had not an absolute freehold right, they had certainly a fair equitable claim. Their predecessors had held their offices 756 for life, and they themselves had had no doubt that they would do the same. It appeared to him that that was more than a case of doubt; that the case strongly inclined in favour of these officers; and he hoped the Government would accept the clause.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he had himself already brought the case of these persons before the House, and he would not repeat his previous arguments; but he must remind the right hon. Gentleman that members of the stipendiary choir at Armagh, though not the holders of freehold offices, have claims on the freehold. He would give his earnest support to the clause.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it was quite impossible for him to accede to that proposal. In truth, the matter had been discussed before, and decided upon by the House. It would be quite absurd to treat an organist or a singer in a choir as a freehold officer. If a singer lost his voice was he to be compensated out of the funds of the Dean and Chapter for the rest of his life? The Bill carefully drew a distinction between offices which were freehold and those which were non-freehold, and in regard to the latter category words were introduced at the end of Section 17 to give the Commissioners the widest discretion in dealing with those non-freehold officers where it was conceived that they were, or might be, deprived of any income by that Act; and that was the utmost limit to which they could in reason possibly go. Inasmuch as it was quite possible that some of those officers connected with cathedrals might be able to establish that they had a freehold office, they ought not, perhaps, to be precluded from establishing that. For instance, there was a very nice question connected with one office—that of the Master of Song in the cathedral to which the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Bentinck) had referred; and there was also the case of the vergers of cathedrals. What he therefore proposed to do in order to meet those cases was to insert in Clause 16, line 22, after ''Ireland," the words "or other holder of a freehold office of a similar nature connected with such church." That would enable everyone of those officers to establish that he had a freehold office if he could, and if he could not he must fall back upon Section 17.
said, he would not press his clause at present; but he wished to correct his right hon. and learned Friend on one point. If his right hon. and learned Friend walked across to Westminster Abbey he would find a number of singing men who had freehold offices limited to the extent that he had pointed out; and it was not possible in Westminster Abbey or in any of these cases for the Dean and Chapter to deprive those singers of their places if they lost their voices. Under the circumstances, however, he would accept the crumb thrown out by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.
§ Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
MR. PIM moved, after Clause 17, to insert the following clause:—
(Compensation to ecclesiastical persons not otherwise provided for.)
In any case, not here in otherwise provided for, in which any ecclesiastical person shall or may be deprived of yearly income, or may suffer pecuniary loss in any manner through the operation of this Act, the Commissioners may, if they think fit, pay to such person such sum by way of compensation, cither by a single payment or by a life annuity, as they shall, with the consent of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, determine.
§ Clause (Compensation to ecclesiastical persons not otherwise provided for,)—(Mr. Pim,)—brought up, and read the first time.—(Mr. Pim.)
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."
said, it would not be in the power of the Government to accede to a clause worded so widely. Its operations extended not merely to any persons deprived of a yearly income—though that was wide enough—but to any person who might suffer pecuniary loss, and that in any manner, under the operation of the Act. The words, though confined at present to ecclesiastical persons, would, if extended to the laity, carry compensation to a tradesman who had been in the habit of supplying some rich ecclesiastical establishment. The Commissioners would carefully examine any case that might be raised.
§ Motion, and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he had communicated with the Attorney General for Ireland relative to the clause of which he had given notice for admitting the proctor of the diocesan court of Ferns, a solicitor. He understood from the right hon. and learned Gentleman that a Bill for transferring matrimonial causes to the Probate Court would shortly be introduced, and therefore he should withdraw it.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
, in moving after Clause 65, to insert the following clause—(Annuities not to be forfeited because annuitants do not consent to alterations in articles of Church.)No alteration which may be made in the present articles, doctrines, or formularies of the said Church shall be deemed binding in law upon any person entitled to an annuity under this Act, who shall not consent thereto, or agree to be bound thereby, so as to render him liable to forfeit or be deprived of his annuity, in case of his not conforming to such alteration, and by reason thereof.said, he should be disappointed if any objections were raised to the principle which it embodied. Nothing could be stronger or more sincere than the declarations which had been made that in the view of the Government it was strict right and mere justice not to take away the vested rights of individuals without giving them full compensation for their life interests. As matters at present stood, no life interest of a clergyman could be taken away except for non-compliance with the conditions upon which his emoluments were held, and no one could deprive an ecclesiastical person of his freehold by imposing upon him new terms of ecclesiastical communion. The House had declared that the present life interests should be respected, but subject to the condition that the discharge of spiritual duties was also to be continuous. It was provided by the Bill that the present rules and ordinances of the Church should continue, subject to a power of alteration after the 1st of January, 1871, by the new Governing Body which was then to come into existence. Such a power of alteration was, of course, perfectly good as regarded those who agreed to be bound by it, but it should not be exercised to the detri- 759 ment of those who had acquired life interests under the existing condition of things. Power ought not to be given to the new Church Body to compel clergymen to perform duties different, in a religions sense, from those which they had undertaken, or to submit to new terms of communion, as the condition of continuing to receive the payments to which they were now entitled. Originally he had given notice of this Motion in somewhat wider terms; but as it was apprehended that difficulties might, perhaps, be raised by unreasonable persons as to the exact meaning of the words "discipline and ordinances." it was thought better to limit the wording of the clause to "articles, doctrines, and formularies," because these were distinct and intelligible, and comprehended everything that could be matter of conscience to an individual in the discharge of his spiritual duties. He need not vindicate the use of the words articles and doctrines, and he need not say much as to formularies; but it should be remembered that formularies might operate as exclusive tests. Take the case, for instance, of the Ordination Service, or of the Offices for the administration of the Sacraments. A change in any of those formularies might be considered by those disapproving as involving important points of doctrine. It was quite right that the future authorities of the Church should have the power of making arrangements with regard to the government of the Church; but it would be most improper that they should have the power of introducing changes, so as to take away the livelihood of men who conscientiously objected to those changes. It might be said that it was not likely such changes would be made; but there could surely be no harm in guarding against the possibility of terms being imposed which would alter the spiritual conditions of tenure of an ecclesiastical office—changes which, as matters now stood, could not be introduced. He trusted that, the House would not permit such gross and flagrant injustice to be inflicted upon individuals as that they should lose their annuities, not in consequence of any breach by them of the regulations of their Church, but because they were unable to comply with alterations of substance in those regulations which might be made without their consent.
§ Clause (Annuities not to be forfeited because annuitants do not consent to alteration in articles of Church,)—(Sir Roundell Palmer,)—brought up, and read the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now read a second time."—(Sir Roundell Palmer.)
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman was quite right in supposing that upon the main principle which formed the foundation of his argument, the Government were ready to agree with him. It was not to the principle, but to the mode of applying it suggested by the clause, that they objected. The Bill would, undoubtedly, effect an immense change in the condition of both the Irish Church and its clerical officers, and in their endeavour to carry out that change the Government were bound to the observance of two points which it was not very easy to reconcile, and the difference between which the clause of the hon. and learned Member brought out in its sharpest force. The first of these points was the protection of the individual rights of the clergy, whether as regarded pecuniary matters or their status. The second point to be kept in view was that this great change should be effected with as little shock and disturbance to the general community of the Church as possible. In framing the Bill, these two points had been kept in view as far as possible. The hon. and learned Member had argued with perfect truth that by this Bill they were going to place the clergymen in a position in which they would be liable to have the terms of their communion altered without their individual consent. They were subject to that liability at the present time, under the authority of Parliament and of their ecclesiastical constitution. Under the Bill, however, a new ecclesiastical constitution would be created, and the argument of the hon. and learned Member was that they should not be made liable to the action of an ecclesiastical constitution without their own consent. Some time since, in answer to a question put by the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Dr. Ball), he had stated that in the whole of the communications which he had had from the Irish clergy no de-sire had been expressed for the particu- 761 lar kind of protection proposed to be given by the hon. and learned Gentleman's clause, and that, therefore, in his opinion, the feeling of the House would be that it would be better not to disturb the action of the new Body by recognizing unnecessarily an element of dissent. The truth of that statement had since been modified by what had occurred. One single clergyman, whose attention had probably been drawn to the matter by the debate upon it, had written to him asking that some protection might be afforded the clergy against the possible intolerant action of the new Body. Under these circumstances, when the hon. and learned Member placed his clause upon the Paper, he had laid that clause before persons of the greatest authority, weight, and judgment in the Irish Church, and had invited their judgment upon it. The effect of the hon. and learned Member's clause, in the opinion of the Bill, was to allow persons to join the new Body, to take part in its proceedings, to make laws binding upon others, and then to dissent from those laws themselves, and to agree to some laws and to reject others. There might be 100 clergymen, each dissenting from 100 different parts of new regulations relating to articles, doctrines, and formularies, so that there would be a different state of the law for every clergyman in the disestablished Church. This would be to carry the principle of anarchy and confusion into the new Church: toties quoties, a man might be able to obey and disobey, to assent and dissent. This, it appeared to him, would be a principle of anarchy in practice. He could understand that an existing clergy-man might lake part in the general action that would be binding upon all those who should become clergymen after the passing of this Act, and yet that he was to be at liberty not simply to retire and withdraw, but to remain, and yet dissent, from particular acts of the Body. It now appeared to him quite plain that some small portion of the Irish clergy were anxious that they should have some protection against a possible spirit of intolerance that might prevail in the disestablished Body; and, therefore, in his opinion, those who wished to do so should be permitted to sever themselves from that Body, and to give them such security for their pecuniary rights as Parliament might think 762 just. Some persons had suggested that the dissentients should be allowed to go on receiving a proportion of the commutation money of their annuities, while others had proposed that they should receive the whole of their annuities. Upon that point he was indifferent as long as some clear, definite, and intelligible principle were adopted. The question was not one between the State and the Church, but between the Church and its own clergy, and therefore, in no way, involved the principle of the Bill. Having submitted the clause of the hon. and learned Member to the consideration of those whom he believed to have most weight and authority in the Irish Church, he had been informed that the general opinion was adverse to it. They were of opinion that some provision should be inserted in the Bill, but that it should be of a nature to enable those who desired it to discharge themselves of their own obligations, while, at the same time, they were to have sufficient security for their pecuniary interests. Undoubtedly that was the opinion held by persons of weight and authority, and who. he felt bound to say, had been objecting parties to the Bill from the first. In the teeth of such an opinion, it was not possible for him to agree to the clause proposed by his hon. and learned Friend. On the other hand, if there was a general opinion among the body of the clergy that such a clause should be adopted it was no part of the duty of the Government to oppose it. The question raised by the clause was not one of disestablishment or disendowment. The conclusion to which they arrived was this—that there was another branch of the legislature in which the Church was far more fully represented, in which there were Irish Prelates whose own interests were involved in the clause; and probably the ultimate form of any provision to be framed would be more satisfactorily considered there than in this House. At the same time he did not decline to entertain the question in the House of Commons if it was expedient to entertain it there. He spoke in the presence of hon. Gentlemen opposite—and he alluded more particularly to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin—who, he believed, were of the same opinion as he was, that the question was not ripe for decision in that House. He could not there- 763 fore accept the clause of his hon. and learned Friend.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, the Prime Minister had accused the hon. and learned Member for Richmond of attempting to introduce an element of confusion into the future Church Body. He wished to call attention to the postulate -which the right hon. Gentleman was obliged to as- sumo in order to maintain that proposition. It was that the laity had no concern in the effects of this measure. Now, the terms on which the clergy hold then freeholds and their salaries as curates were that they should abide by the discipline and teach the doctrines of what was at present the United Church of England and Ireland. By these obligations they were bound by the law. as it now stands. These obligations were enforced by law upon the clergy for the protection of the laity from the inculcation of unsound doctrine by the clergy. The refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to entertain the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond was equivalent to a declaration that no legal security was to be given to the laity of the Irish Church that the clergy who enjoy the benefices of that Church—or if this Bill pass, the clergy retaining their position for life—should not hereafter depart from the doctrines and discipline of the Church. The postulate of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman was not one recognized by the Church of England, but. it was one on which the Church of Rome relied, because in the Church of Rome the clergy governed the laity, while in the United Church of England and Ireland the clergy and laity were considered equal, in their relative positions, as members of the Church, and were relatively bound by the same laws. Nothing could more forcibly illustrate the disorganizing character of this Bill than the refusal of the right hon. Gentleman to accept the clause of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond. It indicated that the Church was going to be made over to a Body, of whom it was hoped that, they would depart from the doctrines held by her at the present time. It might be right to give a new Church entire freedom; but they were not dealing with a new Church. They were dealing with a Church whose clergy by their ordination vows were bound to the doctrines of the United Church of England and Ireland. Compensation 764 was to be given to that clergy, and therefore he thought that the refusal of the Government to agree to the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Gentleman afforded the strongest evidence that the intention of the framers of this Bill was not only to disestablish and disendow, but also to disorganize the Irish Church.
§ DR. BALL
said, that before coming down to the House to-day, he had had an opportunity of learning the opinions of persons of the highest authority, and it was in favour of the clause proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond (Sir Roundell Palmer). Since he came down the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government had communicated to him the opinions which he had received, and he felt bound to say that they were those of persons of the greatest authority. This showed that on the question of the clause there was a difference of opinion among persons of the greatest weight. His own opinion was that the laity would be perfectly safe without this clause; but as the incomes paid to the clergy were paid to them for the benefit of the laity, he thought that in this case each member of the Church was entitled to say non hœc in fœdera veni, and to ask that the Church Body might be afforded the protection which the clause would give them. There was, however, a good deal of force in what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) in reference to the clause being discussed and considered in "another place," where great experience and knowledge could be brought to bear upon it; but for himself he must say that if there were a division he must, in deference to those with whom he had conferred, vote for the clause.
§ MR. BAGWELL
thought the less this Bill interfered with the future government of the Church Body the better. He did not agree in the opinion that this question should be left to the decision of the right rev. Prelates in "another place." The Church of Ireland was in a very different position to that of Scot- land, and his opinion was that the more they were permitted to settle their own matters the easier it would be to carry out their intention of disestablishing and disendowing the Irish Church without injury to the Protestant faith. Let there not be a new Church with old 765 laws. The right hon. Gentleman had said that the laity was not concerned. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Except as part of the general body of the Church.] He had, however, very great doubts whether they would be able to form a Church Governing Body at all; and, if they did, he should be still more surprised if they did not fight over every point that was under their consideration.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he did not think that the hon. Member (Mr. Bagwell) had solved the difficulty, for if no Governing Body were got together it could not matter whether the clause were passed or not. Agreeing as he did with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Richmond as to the necessity for securing a provision for the clergy of the Irish Church, and strongly desiring that the present articles, doctrines, and formularies of the Church should, be regarded as binding on the Church in its new condition; still, he felt considerable difficulty about this clause, because it appeared to him to go to rather an extreme length, and because it might possibly give rise to difficulty where none would otherwise exist. The use of the word "formularies," which might, for instance, embrace alterations in the Prayer Book, might possibly afford an opportunity to some persons to avail themselves of the provisions of this clause in a manner which was not intended by his hon. and learned Friend and those who agreed with him. He was, however, rather inclined to ask his hon. and learned Friend to assent to the course which had been suggested, and to allow the clause to be dealt with by the right rev. Prelates, when the Bill came before them for their consideration.
remarked, that the compensation which, under the 14th clause, was to be given to the clergymen of the Irish Church was intended, as he understood the Bill, to continue as long as they performed the duties at present in trusted to them. If the clergy had not sufficient protection in this direction, he should be glad to assent to anything which would tend to give security to their position; but he could not help thinking that this clause would also open the door to those clergymen, who felt disposed to do so, to retain their money and do the duty of another Church. Though desirous that the clergy should be protected from any attempts to force 766 religious changes upon them, he should feel safer with the 14th clause as it stood than with the clause now under discussion.
§ MR. BRUEN
thought there could be no mistake in supposing that the duties they would have to perform would be to teach according to the doctrines and formularies of the Church of England. There was a discrepancy between the 14th and 20th clauses, which could only be explained by some such clause as that moved by the hon. and learned Member for Richmond.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
thought, that after the opinions which had been expressed on both sides of the House, it would be wrong in him to do otherwise than defer to the suggestions which had been made, and to allow the matter to be considered after the Bill had passed through this House. He must, however, express his surprise at finding a man, of the great acuteness which his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Henley) possessed, so misunderstanding the clause and its connection with the Bill. If his right hon. Friend had read the clause in conjunction with Clause 20 of the Bill, he would not have made the observations which had fallen from him.
§ Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ DR. BALL
rose to move the following clause:—(Benefices of Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, and Saint George, Dublin).The Commissioners shall ascertain whether the Prebendaries of Christ Church, Dublin, are entitled to any right of succession in the benefices of Saint Mary, Saint Thomas, and Saint George, Dublin, and if so, shall award to them respectively such sum in compensation for the same as shall seem to them just.The Chancellor of Christ Church had a right of presenting himself to a benefice in the county of Kildare, and the three prebendaries had the right of presenting to the benefices mentioned in the clause. That would not at first sight appear strictly to resolve itself into a right of succession, but they invariably exercised these rights of patronage in their own favour, and there was not, he believed, a single instance on record of their having conferred the benefices upon any but themselves. The three Commissioners who had been appointed were persons in whom the House might have perfect confidence, and this was a matter that the House might safely leave to their discretion and judgment.
accepted the clause, and suggested the amendment of it by the insertion of words to make it read, "are or are not entitled" and "if so entitled." He said there might be a risk of doing injustice if they were to settle the matter, and he wished to hand it over to the Commissioners without prejudice.
§ Clause, as amended, added to the Bill
DR. BALL moved, after Clause 82, to insert the following new Clause:—
(Commissioners may purchase surrender or assignment of lease).
The Commissioners may, in order to the commutation of tithe rent-charge, purchase the surrender or assignment of any subsisting lease of tithe rent-charge made by an ecclesiastical person or corporation.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, the clause was a proper one, and there was no objection to it.
§ Clause added to the Bill.
DR. BALL moved the following new Clause:—
(Compensation to trustees of Armagh Observatory).
Whereas the trustees of the Observatory at Armagh hold a lease of the rectorial tithes of the parish of Carlingford, customarily renewable by the see of Armagh, and under the provisions of this Bill such lease will cease to be renewable, and the a foresaid scientific institution be deprived of a portion of the annual income available for its support, it is hereby provided that the Commissioners shall pay to the trustees of the said institution such sum as shall appear to them a fair compensation for the loss of the said customary right of renewal.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the Armagh Observatory was a distinguished astronomical institution, and was one of private foundation. All the Archbishops, following the example of Dr. Robinson, had renewed the lease it held of certain tithes without any fine. Under the Bill the Commissioners would have no power of renewing that lease, and all he asked was that the Commissioners might be enabled to give such a sum as they thought fit in lieu of the customary right of having the lease renewed without fine.
§ Clause (Compensation to trustees of Armagh Observatory.)—(Dr. Ball,)—brought up, and road the first time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, ''That the said Clause be now read a second time."—(Dr. Ball.)768
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
, admitting the fame of the observatory, regretted that it was impossible for the Government to accede to the proposal. The trustees of the observatory could not be dealt with otherwise than as trustees of Church property; and, if compensation were given to them on the principle contained in this clause, it would be hard to say why it should not be given to every tenant holding under any see in Ireland. To carry out the clause would almost amount to the dreadful act of sacrilege. If the observatory suffered any pecuniary loss, that might be a good ground for claiming for it a grant from the Government as for a scientific institution. To do it by this Bill would be foreign to its purpose and contrary to its principle, and for these reasons the Government regretted that they could not accept the clause.
§ Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
rose to propose the omission, from the 10th line of the Preamble, of the words "nor for the teaching of religion." He said he could quite understand that those words had been put in the Preamble for good reasons. The Members of the Government had given certain pledges to the House and the country as to the principles on which the Bill was to be framed, and it was very natural and perfectly justifiable that they should put on the face of the Bill and in the Preamble the strongest possible expressions, to show that they intended to adhere strictly to the engagement which they had given, which, indeed, they had done. But these words grated strongly upon his feelings, and he could not help thinking they must grate on the feelings of many others. The peculiar circumstances of Ireland might be such that it might not be desirable to apply the surplus funds for the maintenance of any Church or clergy; but it was certainly not necessary for any practical purpose to declare that the funds should not be used to teach religion, as 769 if that were a thing bad in itself. His objection might be considered a sentimental one. They had heard a good deal about sentiment during the discussion on the Bill; and it had been justly regarded as a matter, which might sometimes have substantial weight and important consequences. But if the Government did not agree to the omission of the words he would not ask the House to divide.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 10, to leave out the words "nor for the teaching of religion."—(Sir Roundell Palmer.)
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
said, he hoped the Government would; assent to the proposal; it would be more consistent to do so because, funds having been given to the Presbyterian Church and the College of Maynooth, it could not be said the funds were not devoted to the teaching of religion.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he had the deepest possible respect, in common with those sitting round him, for the hon. and learned Member, and the views he had expressed; but he confessed the reasons given for the alteration proposed were not satisfactory. Those reasons appeared to amount to a declaration that the omission would menu nothing; but it Mould be scarcely possible to make that omission without at least the appearance of a change of intention. As they had framed the Bill—not, of course, without many painful sacrifices made under a sense of duty—in consequence of a well-defined intention, and as that intention had not been changed, it would be impossible to omit the words ''nor for the teaching of religion" from the Preamble.
§ MR. G. GREGORY
supported the Motion, on the ground that the clause under which the money could be given to reformatory and industrial school, sconnected with conventual or monastic institutions, was inconsistent with the Preamble.
said, that the words of the Preamble afforded a part of the assurance given to the country, and it was necessary to complete that assurance. The state of the House showed that hon. Members evidently did not expect a division would be taken on the question, nor that it would be seriously pressed.
objected to any conclusion being drawn from the state of the House, and complained that the Bill ignored all religion whatever in Ireland. He must, therefore, protest against it.
§ MR. BREWER
observed on the point of consistency that, although the giving of compensation might incidentally result in the teaching of religion, the Bill itself made no direct provisions to that end.
§ Question, "That those words stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ MR. O'NEILL
desired to limit the power of the Commissioners to some extent. At present they were arbitrary, and far greater than the powers given to any body of men in times of quiet. The Commissioners would stand in the double relation of litigant and judge—an invidious position, and unsatisfactory to those who came before them, and there would be no appeal from their decision. He hoped the House would be of opinion that this power of deciding without appeal was too large to be given to any persons, no matter how great their ability or high their character. The object of the House and of the Bill was to provide a tribunal which should command the full and entire confidence of those who might come before it, and it was with that view he wished to submit the Amendments which he had put on the Paper.
§ Amendment proposed, in page 3, line 7, to leave out the word "whatsoever."—(Mr. O'Neill.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'whatsoever' stand part of the Bill."
§ SIR FREDERICK W. HEYGATE
supported the Amendment, believing that such powers ought not to be conferred on any body of men. The Commissioners were empowered to decide on all matters. Powers of appeal was given to the clergy and to private patrons, but no power of appeal was given to the laity. Questions might arise as to the amount of the tithe rent-charge and the boundaries of glebes and Church lands, and it would not be fair that such parties should have no appeal except to the Commissioners who had decided against them. Unless some appeal were given, as to matters of law and practice, great injustice might be done.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
pointed out that the Amendments of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Neill) were merely verbal, and would make no practical difference in the operation of the Bill. He did not think that anything would be gained by those who had any interest in the Church by giving facilities for the multiplication of litigation.
§ DR. BALL
concurred in the opinion of his hon. and learned Friend. If power of appeal were given it might induce the Commissioners to restrain their liberality, in as much as they would have before their eyes the possibility of an appeal to a court which would be bound by the strict rules of evidence, and might therefore cut down the compensation awarded by the Commissioners. In his opinion anyone who was entitled to compensation had a popular tribunal to appeal to.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Other Amendments made.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that Clause 10, as it stood at present, might have the effect of preventing the appointment of Archbishops and Bishops in the Disestablished Church, for the clause consisted of these sweeping words—Save as herein-after mentioned, no person shall, after the passing of this Act, be appointed by Her Majesty or any other person or corporation to any archbishopric, bishopric, benefice, or cathedral preferment in or connected with the said Church.The words "save as hereinafter mentioned" related to mere temporary appointments during the two years in which such appointments might be made. He thought the interpretation clause, so far as concerned the words "benefices fend cathedral preferments," did not exclude all ambiguity with regard to the application even of those words; and, as the words "archbishopric" and "bishopric" were not interpreted at all, when they took those words in connection with the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, he apprehended there could be no doubt that the 10th clause at it stood would absolutely prohibit, after the temporary period, the appointment of any Archbishop or Bishop of the disestablished Church. That certainly was not the intention of the Government. For the purpose of preventing the clause having the effect of prohibiting such appointments, he would suggest that after the word "corpora- 772 tion," in the 10th clause, the following words be inserted:—"By virtue of any right of patronage or power of appointment now existing." That would comprehend every species of patronage, Royal or other, which might prevail, but would not extend to any which might exist under the new system of the Disestablished Church. Before concluding, perhaps the House would allow him to express an earnest hope, which he thought justified by the answer given a few days ago by his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, that the Government would think it right under the circumstances in which the Established as well as the Roman Catholic Church would be placed by this Act, not only to support the Motion made by the hon. Member (Mr. Mac Evoy), to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, but to appoint an early day in the present Session, or to give other facilities for passing the hon. Member's Bill into law. He thought it would be most unsatisfactory to pass the present Bill, and at the same time to leave upon the statute book a measure like the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, to which he, for one, had always been opposed, and which had turned out as useless as it was predicted that it would prove. Unless that Act were repealed, the Disestablished Church would be prohibited by law from having any diocesan titles. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving the insertion of these words in Clause 10—"By virtue of any right of patronage or power of appointment now existing."
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, he was glad to say the Amendment was one which the Government could accept. It really did carry out the intention which Her Majesty's Government originally entertained in framing the clause.
§ MR. VANCE
said, the hon. and learned Member for Richmond had recommended that, as a necessary consequence of the passing of the present Bill, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act should be repealed. But he would suggest that before they decided on the repeal of so important 773 a measure they should wait and see that the present Bill actually became law.
§ Amendment agreed to.
MR. CHARLEY moved to insert in Clause 18, page 8, after the word "person," in line 6, the following words:—
Who shall make application to them in writing to this effect, for or in respect of any rent-charge in lieu of tithes vested in or belonging to him as lay impropriator, and also the amount of compensation which ought to be paid to any person.
The hon. Gentleman said that he had, put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of Her Majesty's Government respecting the mode in which he proposed to deal with the impropriate tithe rent-charge of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply, said that there was a distinction between public and private property; but it must be remembered that the impropriate tithes were originally public property, quite as much as the tithes of the Church. Could anything be more anomalous than that these tithes, to which, if to any ecclesiastical property in Ireland, the Church of Rome could show a title, and which are not devoted to religious uses, as the donors intended; should continue to be paid to laymen, while the Church tithes which, or the greater part of which, never belonged to the Church of Rome, and which are devoted, as the donors intended, to religious uses, should be merged in the land? The very name of this property suggested the mode in which it originated. First, when the grasping monks seized upon the property of the Church, paying a vicar a miserable pittance for performing the spiritual duties. Secondly, when a grasping King seized upon the property of the grasping monks, and lavished it upon his equally grasping lay favourites. The Duke of Devonshire, the Earl of Cork and other Whig Peers, stood in the shoes of those lay favourites at the present day. The impropriate tithe rent-charge, he believed, of twenty-six parishes belonged to the Duke of Devonshire, and of fifteen parishes to the Earl of Cork. It was. of course, impossible for him to say whether the fact that this impropriate tithe rent-charge was not dealt with in the Bill was owing to the circumstance that the Duke of Devonshire had exerted himself to se-
cure the large majority at the back of the right hon. Gentleman. The house of Cavendish had certainly assisted as much as any noble family in the country to bring about the state of things at present existing. And it was to the fact that the Duke of Devonshire had hounded on the cry against the Church, while drawing large revenues from these impropriate tithes, that the noble Lord the Postmaster General owed the loss of his seat in North Lancashire, and the necessity of finding a more congenial seat among the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists. It was not, however, for Gentlemen upon the Conservative side of the House, and especially for members of the Bar, like himself, to emulate the revolutionary policy of Gentlemen on the other side, and to raise a cry for dispossessing wealthy Whig Peers of their property; but something ought certainly to be done to remove the anomaly of tithes continuing to be payable to laymen after tithes payable to the Church have ceased to exist. This was, from the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, a relic of Protestant ascendancy, and he ought, therefore, to assist in removing it.
In page 8, line C, after the word "person," to insert the words "who shall make application to them in writing to this effect, for or in respect of any rent-charge in lieu of tithes vested in or belonging to him as lay impropriator, and also the amount of compensation which ought to be paid to any person."—(Mr. Charley.)
reminded the hon. Member that this was not a tithe Bill; it was a Bill for the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church, consequently they could only deal with the tithes that were in the hands of the Church. Having taken possession of those tithes on the part of the State, it was for them to settle the process by which they should make them over to the landlord; but the hon. Member referred to the impropriate tithe rent-charge, which was wholly external to this Bill. The clause, after all, would not. if adopted, settle the question, for it only provided that the Commissioners should purchase from these willing to sell; and they might still have the country patched over with impropriate tithe rent-charge, even after the provision of the hon. Gentlemen was adopted. He would not say it was not a subject 775 fit and proper to consider, but it was a question totally distinct from this Bill.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER, moved to omit the words, in Clause 22, page 9, line 23, "but not further or otherwise," and insert "and to such further extent as Her Majesty shall think fit to authorize." Unless this Amendment wore adopted Her Majesty would have no power under any circumstances to authorize the Church Body to hold lands other than those they would hold under the Bill, and they would, therefore, not be able to invest any savings they might effect in land.
In page 9, line 23, to leave out the words "but not further or otherwise," in order to insert the words "and to such further extent as Her Majesty shall think fit to authorise,"—(Sir Roundell Palmer,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
said, the subject had been discussed upon a former occasion, and a vote had been taken upon the proposal of a right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Dr. Ball) to the effect that all restraint on the holding of land in mortmain by the Church Corporation should be removed. The division had then been taken on the Amendment: but the question really involved had been whether the House should or should not affirm the clause as it stood. They had then decided by a considerable majority, in a very full House, in favour of the clause, and he did not think they would, at present, be justified in reversing that decision. In looking forward to the future ecclesiastical position of Ireland, they had to contemplate a perfect equality of all bodies before the law. If power were given, as proposed by the Amendment, to acquire quantities of land, there might be hereafter a renewal of jealousies in Ireland, arising from the extensive holding of landed property by any religious community.
§ SIR ROUNDELL PALMER
said, that after what the right hon. Gentleman had stated he would withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.776
DR. BALL moved, in Clause 23, page 10, line 5, after "made," insert—
But with power to the representative body of the said Church to make such arrangements in respect of the commuted value of the annuity with the annuitant, and as to the disposal of such portion thereof as shall after such arrangements be applicable to Church purposes, as shall to such body deem fit.
That Amendment would, he believed, only carry out the general object of the clause.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he thought there were very good reasons why some special provision should be made for the maintenance of some, at least, of the cathedrals throughout Ireland. Considerable sums had been expended either in completing them or repairing them by private individuals, and those persons would never have incurred that outlay if they had not been under the impression that ample funds would be available for the preservation of the buildings. The late Sir Benjamin Leo Guinness had expended upwards of £100,000 on St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. A sum of £28,000 had been expended by the late Primate on the Armagh Cathedral, and a further sum of £7,000 raised for the purpose by private contributions. The cathedral of Down had been lately repaired at a cost of many thousands of pounds; the cathedral of Cork had been restored by means of an outlay of £25,000, the greater portion of which sum was derived from a fund left by a private individual; and in Kilmore, Kilkenny, Limerick, and other places, similar works had been undertaken. It was possible that in the great cities the necessary funds would be raised by private subscription for the maintenance of the cathedrals; but he believed that in the smaller towns those edifices, not being parish churches or having any peculiar congregation, would fall into decay unless some special fund was provided for their repair. The cathedrals must necessarily fall into ruins unless Parliament did something, and he appealed to the sense of justice of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government to avert such a catastrophe taking place.
In page 11, line 16, after the word "therein," to insert the words "The Commissioners may by order declare what sum of money will be required towards maintaining any cathedral in respect to
which an application is made as aforesaid by the representative body of the said Church to the Commissioners, and which is of such a size as in the opinion of the Commissioners to make it beyond the means of the congregation which will probably use the same to maintain it in proper repair, and shall pay such sum to the representative body of the said Church, to be set apart by them, and applied for the purpose of maintaining the said cathedral: Provided, That the number of cathedrals towards the maintenance of which money may be contributed by the Commissioners as aforesaid shall not exceed twelve."—(Mr. Vance.)
supported the Amendment of the hon. Member for Armagh. The Irish cathedrals had done much for the cultivation of Church music, and England was much indebted to them on that account. He understood that Handel's Messiah was first produced in Ireland.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. SULLIVAN)
said, it was quite impossible that the Government could agree to this Amendment. The question had been decided in even a much stronger form on a division when the Bill was in Committee.
§ MR. BERESFORD HOPE
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman was mistaken in thinking that this was the same question as the one to which he had alluded as having been decided in Committee. What had been decided was that funds were not to be given to the Church Body to maintain certain of those cathedrals as "national monuments." Irish Churchmen objected to receive the money on those terms; because they thought, that if they accepted the wages of the State for maintaining those el lurches as national monuments, their possession of them might be hereafter imperilled. As an English Churchman he thanked them, but the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Armagh was not open to that objection.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and negatived.
§ MR. STAPLETON moved, at the end of sub-section 1, Clause 26, to insert words authorizing the Church Body, at the option of representative body, to vest Church burial grounds in the Guardians of the Poor Law Union, within which the same shall be situate. The clause provided for the right of way for persons resorting to the church for Divine worship; that they should not permit funerals to take place during the usual 778 times of Divine service in the church and otherwise providing for existing interests.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR HERVEY BRUCE moved, in Clause 27, an Amendment, the object of which was to make over to the Church Body the glebe houses free of charge in cases in which there was no building debt upon them.
§ Amendment proposed, In page 13, line 4, to leave out from the word "say" to the word ''where," in line 9.—(Sir Hervey Bruce.)
said, the Government adhered to the decision on this point arrived at in Committee by a largo majority.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
MR. GLADSTONE moved in page 14, line 34. after "expedient," to insert—
And where any person proves to the satisfaction of the Commissioners that he has at his own cost recovered by legal proceedings for the benefit of the said Church any property which will remain at the disposal of the said Commissioners under the provisions of this Act, they may pay to him such sum in respect thereof as they may think fair and just, not exceeding in any case the value of the property so recovered.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ DR. BALL moved to add to the clause words which will authorize the Commissioners to pay to any persons the costs bonâ fide incurred in proving a private endowment.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ MR. M'MAHON
complained that the Bill, as it at present stood, made no provision for the continuance of the salaries of the Professors and officials of Maynooth in case of illness or accident—a provision which was always secured in the case of Presbyterian ministers, and which, by an Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Richmond, was made for the ministers of the Irish Church. The Trustees would feel themselves prohibited from doing more than what was strictly enjoined by law, while the College, with its diminished revenue, could not afford to be so liberal as it hitherto had been.
In page 21, line 11, after the word "sum," to add the words "Provided always, That if any of
the present officials and Professors of the College of Maynooth shall be disabled from discharging his duty by age, sickness, or permanent infirmity, or any cause other than his own wilful default, he shall receive from the Trustees of the said College an annuity equal to the amount of his present salary."—(Mr. M'Mahon.)
said, that in the communications which they had had with the authorities of Maynooth no demand of this kind had been put forward. The Government could not assent to the clause because it created rights which at present did not exist. An allowance of this kind was secured to the Presbyterian ministers by a regulation of their Church, and to the clergy of the Irish Church because they possessed a freehold, but to accept this clause would be to give the Professors of Maynooth an entirely new tenure.
§ Question. "That those words be there added." put, and negatived.
§ MR. MAGNIAC
contended that the terms on which by the 49th clause laud was to be sold were too severe to allow the present holders in many cases to become the purchasers. He therefore moved the following clause, in which, he had adopted almost verbatim the words employed in the tithe rent-charge clauses.
In page 24, line 35, after the word "number," to add the words "and upon the application of any purchaser purchasing under the right of preemption as herein provided, any quantity of land not exceeding fifty acres of which he is the bonâ fide occupier, the Commissioners may declare his purchase-money, or any part thereof, to be payable by fifty-two annual instalments, each at the rate of four pounds nine shillings per centum of the purchase-money, to be secured to the satisfaction of the Commissioners."—(Mr. Magniac.)
said, that to give a purchaser who purchased under the right of pre-emption a positive preference in pecuniary terms would be selling to him upon terms different from those in which they sold to anybody else. That was an exception which it would not be safe to adopt; and. above all, they could not accede to the Amendmendment because it required no deposit. They had required that one-fourth of the purchase money should be deposited, and it was going beyond the ordinary rules of mortgage to say that a man should become a purchaser by undertaking to pay small sums annually.
§ Question, "That those words be there added," put, and negatived.
§ Other Amendments made.780
§ MR. W. SHAW
declared his intention not to persist in a Motion of which he had given notice. He had some doubts about there being a surplus; but if he saw any chance or mishap come to the Bill in "another place," he would take care that a better chance was given for the interests of the rate-payers in Ireland being looked after.
said, that all the Amendments of which notice had been given having been disposed of, the House might wish to know the order of business in reference to the further progress of the Bill. It would be necessary to introduce a clause with respect to stamps upon vesting orders, and for that par-pose there must be a limited re-commitment in the Friday after the Recess; and he proposed to take the Order for Recommitment for Friday, May 28, so that it would not interfere with the third reading on Monday, May 31.
§ Bill re-committed for Friday 28th May, in respect of a Clause for imposing a Stamp Duty on any Order of the Commissioners of Church Temporalities in Ireland operating as a Conveyance or Mortgage of Property.
§ Bill, as amended, to be printed. [Bill 123.]