HC Deb 14 February 1871 vol 204 cc273-4

, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to repeal an Act for preventing the assumption of certain Ecclesiastical Titles in respect of places in the United Kingdom, said, as the Bill was substantially the same as that of last year, he would postpone any remarks which he might have to make until the second reading.


observed that the Bill was not discussed last year until the 5th of August, and during the discussion there were never 150 Members present. It might be useful that he should advert to the history of this proposal. In 1867 the House appointed a Committee, which sat during the greater part of the Session on the subject of the Bill now introduced, and reported in favour of the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act by a majority of one. In 1868 the House of Lords appointed a Committee to consider the same proposal, and the Committee reported against the repeal. Early last Session a Member of the Government (the Earl of Kimberley) introduced a Bill into the House of Lords. The second reading was strongly objected to, and in Committee the first clause, which contained the principle of the Bill, was essentially altered. In that state the Bill reached the House of Commons, and was not debated or considered in any way until nearly the end of the Session. The second reading was then carried by the Government, and in Committee they introduced the very clause which the House of Lords had struck out. Several other Amendments were proposed, which the Government rejected, and the Bill was sent back to the Lords; where it was dropped. If the Bill was the same as that of last Session, it dealt with two different subjects. First with the disability created under the Irish Church Act of the Session before last, whereby the successors of the present Bishops of the disestablished Church would be forbidden to call themselves by the titles of the sees of those whom they will have succeeded, these titles having been originally conferred by the authority of the Crown. The other object of the Bill was far more objectionable, for it would sanction the assumption of territorial titles by the nominees of his Holiness the Pope. Now, considering what had passed in the Œcumenical Council, which had become fully known since the sitting of that council, he believed that, if at a former period the Bill was justly held to be inappropriate, it would be found to have become still more inappropriate now.

Motion agreed to.

Bill to repeal an Act for preventing the assumption of certain Ecclesiastical Titles in respect of places in the United Kingdom, ordered to be brought in by Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL, Mr. GLADSTONE, and Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 27.]