§ Consideration of Benefices (No. 2) Bill, as amended, resumed.
Page 2, after clause 2, insert the following clause—
In case the bishop proposes to collate or institute on his own nomination to a benefice situate in a parish in Wales in which the Welsh language is spoken, it shall be lawful within the said period for three parishioners of full age who have resided in the parish for one year, or for two beneficed clergymen in Wales, having given security for costs in the prescribed manner, to apply to the court to restrain the bishop from collating or instituting on the ground that the person proposed to be collated or instituted has not a thorough and familiar knowledge of the Welsh language, and the court shall have jurisliction to grant an injunction on such ground, and from its decision there shall be no appeal."—(Mr. Bryn Roberts.)
MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)
When I was interrupted the other night I was anticipating a possible objection that might be made to my clause, that objection being that it might be said that the power that already exists with regard to the institution of the clergy is sufficient for the purposes, designed to be met by this clause. I think it is very doubtful whether any such power does exist. Although a caveat might be entered against such a proceeding, it has been held that even on the entering of such a caveat the bishop may present and institute and induct, and after presentation and induction there is no further appeal. But this is certain that, whether there is any power or not, it is admitted by all that the proceeding must be of the nature of an established ecclesiastical proceeding—a proceeding that will be very expensive and very dilatory to such an extent as to be absolutely prohibitory. Under these circumstances I say that we are entitled to a remedy for the grievous evils which now exist in the Church in Wales, and which it is the object of the clause I am proposing to remedy. I beg to move the clause.
* MR. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
I would like, Sir, to offer a few remarks upon this Amendment, and I am sure that in the remarks which I am about to make the House will acquit me of any desire or any feeling against either the Welsh people or the Welsh language. It is part of my duty as Parliamentary representative of the Charity Commissioners to move from time to time for the translation of certain documents into Welsh. I believe I am the only Member of the House who has public documents translated into Welsh for the benefit of the Welsh people; and I have also, in the discharge of the duties belonging to my office, to discharge the very duty which this clause would establish under this Act. In appointing Assistant Commissioners in Wales we are making it our duty to see that they are gentlemen with a familiar and colloquial knowledge of the Welsh language, but we are placed in this difficulty: on the one side we hear that this man is an excellent Welsh scholar, and on the other hand the friends of some rival say he does 777 not know Welsh a bit, and we have to decide whether he is in possession of a familiar and colloquial knowledge of this exceedingly difficult language. Now, Sir, I say myself that I consider it is a regrettable matter that there should be persons in any considerable number who cannot speak, and who will not learn to speak, the language which is certainly spoken by 19 out of every 20 of their fellow-inhabitants. I say that is a regrettable thing, but it is a thing which is not to be escaped from. Those men shut themselves out from much employment which they might receive if they would only take the trouble to learn the English language. It has been the practice of the Government of this country not to encourage the speaking of Welsh only in Wales. It is a rule of the English Education Department not to give a grant to any school in Wales which does not teach the English language; so that whatever Government is in power there is no encouragement such as would be offered if this clause were adopted as to the speaking of Welsh. Then the question arises, How many people are there in Wales who can only speak Welsh? That is a subject which was discussed in this House in 1894, on the subject of the North Western Railway, because it was then stated that a great number of the Welsh employees of that company could not speak English at all. I think that the number was put as high as 87 per cent. But then we heard the other side of the case. We had it explained to us that 73 per cent. of those men also spoke a certain amount of English. The honourable Member who has proposed this Amendment in the interest of the monoglot Welsh has given us, or gave us on the last occasion on which he addressed the House, one or two instances of hardship by the appointment of clergymen who could not speak Welsh in parishes in which Welsh was the tongue. In doing so he went back as far as the year 1773. That was no slip of the tongue for 1873—he actually said and meant 1773, so he goes back 120 years for his illustration of these instances of alleged hardship. One of the instances was that in a village or parish there were only five men who could speak English, and yet an English-speaking clergyman was appointed. But so 778 many things have happened since 1773. I daresay in 1773 that famous statute was in force which forbade any man not of the Clan Gregor calling himself Macgregor. It might have been in force then, but it certainly cannot be in force at the present time. If the honourable Member says that those were matters which were regulated by statute and this is a matter regulated by custom, I will say that trial by combat was still a possible method of settling differences; but though that might have existed in 1773 it would be quite impossible now. I mention these instances in answer to his observation that though his illustrations were taken a hundred years ago, yet that the same thing might, and possibly will, occur again. The honourable Member last Thursday went on to give another illustration of the great disadvantages which he alleges will be removed by the passing of his proposed clause. He says there was considerable dissatisfaction amongst the clergy, mainly in consequence of a gentleman being appointed to the post of archdeacon who could not speak Welsh. That gentleman is archdeacon in a district in which there are many Welsh people. But, as I understand, the dealings of an archdeacon are generally with the clergy, so that the force of the honourable Member's contention is this: that there are already in North Wales so many clergy who speak Welsh only, and who cannot speak any other language, that they object to the appointment of an English-speaking archdeacon. That appears to me to be the force of his argument, and if that is so, it goes even further than this clause. It was not proposed by this clause that the clergy to be appointed should be able to speak Welsh only. I suppose the honourable Member has some respect for those who speak English only, and not Welsh. What is to happen to them? If a man is to be appointed who is so much of a Welsh speaker that he objects to his archdeacon not being able to converse with him in that particular tongue we shall be in the same difficulty very much as the court was in San Francisco. There they have an interpreter to interpret Chinese into English. He was objected to on the ground that his interpretations were too free, and his 779 explanation of that was that he did not understand a word of Chinese. He was dismissed, and I suppose that would also have happened had he possessed an intimate knowledge of Chinese and have not been able to speak a word of English. So that if this clause were carried out, and you have men who can speak one language only, there would be a minority certainly who would be placed in a very awkward position. Now, Sir, I want to call the attention of the Committee to the actual terms of the clause we are now discussing, because I think that this is a very remarkable Amendment. It says—In case the bishop proposes to collate or institute on his own nomination to a benefice situate in a parish in Wales in which the Welsh language is spoken.Sir, what is the interpretation to be placed upon these words, which are to be put into an Act of Parliament, "in which the Welsh language is spoken"? Is that equivalent to the notice that we sometimes see in a shop window, Ici on parle français? Is the parish in which Welsh is spoken to be designated by the fact that one or two people in it are able to speak the Welsh tongue, the same as the enterprising proprietor of a shop who puts in his window, Ici on parle français possesses, perhaps, one assistant who may have some elementary knowledge of the French language. This clause is delightfully vague, because, as it stands, it would apply to any parish in which somebody can speak the Welsh language, and I think the honourable Member should give us some explanation as to the extent to which that language is to be spoken. There is a grave dispute as to how many people there are in Wales who cannot speak English. When we attempted to get at some figures it was said that a very large number of people in Wales were put down as not being able to speak English. An examination took place, and it was found that all the babies who could speak no language whatever were put down by the Welsh enumerators as not being able to speak English. If the honourable Member says that his clause is to apply to parishes in Wales where Welsh is spoken, and that expression is to be interpreted by the number of 780 people who speak Welsh in the parish, let it be clearly understood that the figures given are not to include babies. Now, Sir, there is another passage in this clause which has caused me some difficulty. How is it to be settled whether a clergyman, whom it is proposed to collate or institute, has a thorough and familiar knowledge of the Welsh language? How is it to be ascertained? It is to be ascertained by the court, the court being the court as defined under this Act, and as referred to in clause 3; and, as a matter of fact, that court would consist of the archbishop and a judge, and these two gentlemen would examine the clergyman as to his knowledge of Welsh. But what I want to know is, who will examine the archbishop and the judge as to their knowledge of Welsh, because it is they who have to ascertain whether the clergyman whom it is proposed to institute has or has not this familiar and thorough knowledge of the Welsh language? For these reasons, Sir, I think it is obvious that this clause cannot be accepted as it stands, but there is one part of the clause with which I fully agree, and that is its suggestion that bishops are capable of making improper appointments, inasmuch as the clause will deal with the bishop only, and does not deal with the private or lay patron at all. So far as it deals thus with the bishop I agree with it, but so far as it deals with those matters which I have already spoken of I cannot vote for it.
§ * MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomery)
While I cannot congratulate the honourable Member for Thirsk upon his attitude towards the Welsh language, I must congratulate him upon having made what we do not often hear—a thoroughly old-fashioned Tory speech. The whole of his argument is based upon the old Tory idea, which I thought everybody had got rid of nowadays, that the speaking of Welsh was a great evil, that there are a great number of Welshmen in Wales who only speak Welsh, and that the way to get rid of this evil was by making the speaking of Welsh as unpleasant to everybody as possible. Now, I know that the existence of that view is partly the reason for the unrest which this Act has aroused in Wales, especially in North Wales, because the 781 view is believed to be held in very influential clerical quarters in the country. The view which Welshmen, not only on this side of the House but on both sides of the House, take upon this subject is that the knowledge of Welsh and the possession of a second language, so far from being an evil, is a distinct advantage to those who possess it. I know something of those who are connected with Welsh education, both those who are connected with elementary education and those who are connected with secondary education, and they all agree in saying that the knowledge of a second language and the constant habit of translating one language into another is a great intellectual benefit. I know also that so widely dispersed is the knowledge of Welsh, and so important is it in matters of business, that in a secondary school on the borders of Wales the headmaster has been frequently requested by English parents to see that their children learn Welsh, in order that they may be able to do business with their Welsh neighbours. If that is the case in Wales with regard to secular matters, still more is it the case with Wales in spiritual and religious matters. I have had now the experience of nearly a lifetime in studying the feelings of the people on that subject. I know thoroughly well that the language that appeals to the Welsh people in a way that it is absolutely impossible for the English language to appeal to English people is the Welsh language; and I know, moreover, that the Welsh ear is as critical in its judgment of the accent in which Welsh is spoken as the ear, I will not say of an Englishman, with regard to the English language, because I am afraid that does not exist to a very large extent, but I will say as critical as the French ear is in this regard. Now, Sir, my honourable Friend has dealt with the question as if it were one which related only to a few parishes, but the fact is that the number of monoglot Welshmen in Wales is something like one-third of the whole population of 17 millions, and I put it from the point of view of supporters and friends of the Church, what a terrible evil it is to the Church itself that it has identified itself with what it is really regarded as in Wales, as the 782 prejudice of our English governors, in attempting to force upon the Welsh people, singularly religious as they are, the consolations of religion in the language which is alien to them. My honourable Friend opposite referred to the case of an archdeacon who was appointed, to whom objection was taken on the ground of his imperfect knowledge of Welsh, and he said that he thought that the archdeacon had only to deal with the clergy, and therefore it was not a matter of great consequence.
§ * MR. HUMPHREYS-OWEN
Very well, the principal—that is rather a large term, and is generally used to cover a multitude of sins. The honourable Gentleman must know that the archdeacon has a great deal to do with delivering charges, and he also controls the churchwardens, and I have told the House before of the correspondence I have received from Welsh clergymen, and the instances of the archdeacon swearing in churchwardens, or delivering a charge in broken Welsh, was one of those which were brought forward as an instance of the absurdity of the appointment. My honourable Friend says that the Welsh people cannot, or will not, learn English. There I assure him he is mistaken. The monoglot Welshman is disappearing, and he is being replaced by a newer man who regards Welsh as his native language—the language of home and of religion—whilst he still uses English for all those business purposes which my honourable Friend referred to as being important to the Welshman's daily life. It is, therefore, because I think it is for the interest of the Church itself, as well as for the interest of the nationality of Wales, that I shall support the Motion of my honourable Friend the Member for Carnarvonshire.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
I entirely agree with the honourable Member who has just sat down that it would be very inimical to the interests of the Church in Wales if it could be alleged with any degree or semblance of truth that the Church was being used as an engine for Anglicising the Welsh 783 people. There was a time, no doubt, when it never occurred, or seldom occurred, to the authorities of the Church that a necessary qualification of a clergyman in Wales should be a knowledge of the Welsh language, but that time has now gone by. It has not been alleged by any speaker in this Debate that the bishops are insensible of the duty thrown upon them by Act of Parliament in this particular matter.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I have taken some trouble to inquire—I will not say into the particular instances given by the honourable Member—but in order to get a general view of affairs in Wales, so far as this matter is concerned, and I have arrived at the conclusion that no abuse exists which calls for any exceptional legislative treatment either by the Bill before us or in any other Bill. I will pass from that consideration and will came to the proposal of the honourable Member, and I should say that if this clause were to be adopted it ought to be greatly extended in one direction, and on the other hand, so far as the knowledge of Welsh is concerned, it will defeat the very object for which this clause is brought forward. The whole object of the clause is to take out one particular subject in reference to which the bishop might refuse to institute, and say that with regard to that subject, and that subject alone, in the case where the bishop was himself the patron, there should be an appeal on behalf of the parishioners or by other persons from his decision. If that principle be a sound one at all, then that is a question which we shall have to argue practically, and I do not think it ought to be confined to the case of Welsh-speaking parishes alone. If it is to be simply an appeal against the action of the bishop, it should be an appeal stating generally the subjects upon which the bishop is, by the existing law, empowered to refuse institution. On the other hand, my honourable Friend behind me, who has got a clause on the Paper, has challenged that statement. I hope that he will not interpret anything I say as indicating a desire to support his Amendment, but I simply say that if this sub- 784 ject is to be dealt with at all, and if we are to have an appeal against the bishop in matters of patronage, it should be on the lines suggested by the Amendment of my honourable Friend behind me, rather than on the lines of the clause we are now discussing. If we are to deal with this subject of Welsh-speaking clergymen, the terms of the clause are far too general. It would never work in the interests of existing charity and local harmony that two or three persons speaking Welsh in a particular parish of which the vast majority were probably monoglot English-speaking persons, should give a right to those two or three parishioners, with perhaps very little interest in the welfare of the Church, to raise all this scandal, which is inseparable, I am afraid, from a question of this character. Therefore, if I were disposed, which I am not, to accept the principle of this clause, the matter would have to be qualified a great deal in detail before it would become a workable scheme. I hope that the honourable Gentleman will not press this Amendment, but will be content to carry out his object, if he desires to do so, by supporting the wider Amendment of my honourable Friend behind me, which covers the whole of the ground covered by him, and which is, I think, a far more radical one than his own.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT () Monmouthshire, W.
I am glad that the First Lord of the Treasury gives no encouragement to the contention of the honourable Member for Thirsk, who started by saying that the English educational policy had been to make the learning of the Welsh language an accusation against the Welsh people. The fact that the Education Department has pursued that course—and I am sorry to say that I think it does—is, in my opinion, a mistake, because I am acquainted as well as anybody with the very deep attachment which the Welsh people have to the Welsh language.
* MR. GRANT LAWSON
In 1894, when the right honourable Gentleman was in power, that was the rule; I do not know what has happened since.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I am very sorry to hear it, because it is a very bad rule. 785 I can call attention to what is the fact in the Highlands of Scotland, which anybody who is acquainted with them knows perfectly well—that in every place where there are persons who talk the Gaelic language there are two services held in the church—there is the Gaelic service and there is the English service. That is the practice in Scotland, and a very right and just practice it is. I remember becoming acquainted with the practice owing to being at a service in Inverary. I thought that the minister was speaking rather indistinctly, and I did not understand what he was saying; but the person who acted as sexton came up to me and said, "You are not aware, sir, that you have come to the Gaelic service," and that was so. Is nothing of the same kind done in Wales? I do not know whether it is, but in my opinion it ought to be done, and the ministers ought to be capable of doing it. You send clergymen to Wales who have spent a great many of the best years of their life in acquiring the Greek language, which I contend is a less useful knowledge in Wales than the knowledge of Welsh would be; and I remember that a great friend of mine, one of the greatest scholars that ever adorned this country—I mean Bishop Thirlwall—set to work to learn the Welsh language as one of his first duties as a Welsh bishop. Take another example—take the instance of the Foreign Office when it wishes to send a man to a country where some language is spoken which is not generally known, or not known at all. In that case the Foreign Office naturally insists upon his acquiring a knowledge of that language before he goes to take up his appointment. That is exactly what is required here—that the clergyman should have a full and familiar knowledge of the language of the country to which he is going, and we ask that he shall not be instituted unless he possesses this very necessary qualification. The delusion which the honourable Member for Thirsk seems to labour under is that it is not worth while to learn anything excepting the English language; that is his predominating feeling, and I think it is a very injurious feeling, because I think a man ought to know other living languages than his own, and if that principle applies in commercial matters it certainly applies to a much greater extent in 786 religious matters, and therefore it seems to me not too much to require that a man who is sent to work amongst these people should be acquainted with the language of those with whom, and amongst whom, he is expected to work. That is all that is demanded by this clause. It seems to me that the clause is a most reasonable one, and I shall certainly vote for it.
§ * MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
The right honourable Gentleman who has just sat down is regarded, I presume, as a Welsh Member, but he certainly has not a great knowledge of Wales, because if he had he would know that there is not a parish in Wales where Welsh is spoken where there are not both English and Welsh services held. I have lived in Wales for a good many years, and I can assure the right honourable Gentleman that, so far from the tendency being to appoint clergymen who cannot speak Welsh, it is all the other way. If in a parish there are any Welsh people at all, or if they are a small and insignificant minority of persons, care is taken that a Welsh-speaking clergyman is appointed. Therefore I really think we are arguing to-day about a matter which is, in my opinion, quite unnecessary to argue about, because everything that is necessary to be done in this direction is done at the present moment. I entirely agree with the right honourable Gentleman that the clergymen should know the language of the people amongst whom they are called upon to minister, and, if some of the people speak one language and some another, the clergy ought to be able to speak both languages; but it is a fact that I have never heard of a case—certainly the honourable Member who brought forward this Amendment mentioned no case whatever—in which a clergyman has been appointed to a Welsh-speaking parish in Wales who did not know Welsh.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
I mentioned the cases of Rhyl and Wrexham, and I said that the Vicar of Rhyl had expressed his regret at having accepted the appointment, and that he thought he had made a mistake in so doing, without knowing Welsh.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
He was the vicar; he is dead now. He was appointed by the present Bishop of St. Asaph.
§ * MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
Then we need not trouble anything further about him, but at the present moment there are clergy in Rhyl who can speak both languages. There seems to be a very great doubt as to what the law is at the present time. As far as I know, in the, case of private patrons presenting a man who cannot speak Welsh, in places where Welsh is necessary, the bishop has the right to refuse to institute him, and that is done. I know it was done in a very well-known case, where the Bishop of Llandaff a few years ago refused to institute a man for that very reason. But the honourable Member proposes to go far beyond that, and to give an appeal against the proposal to institute—not an appeal against the refusal to institute—on the ground that the presentee does not know Welsh. I object to that, because, in the first place, it is going far beyond the scheme of the present Bill, and I object to it because, if you grant it in this case, you must grant it in nearly every other case, and in all cases there must be a right of appeal against the proposal to institute on the part of the bishop. Because it goes beyond the scheme of the Bill, and because I think it will be very unnecessary, I object to it. Even if it were necessary, I object to it on its merits. I am willing to admit that there are private patrons who, perhaps, through ignorance let us hope, have occasionally wished to appoint clergy in Welsh-speaking places who did not know Welsh. But I have never heard of a case of a bishop, at the present time, or, I will go so far as to say during the last half century, that has ever made any such appointment. On the contrary, my experience is that the Welsh bishops go to the opposite extreme, and have appointed Welshmen in places where no Welsh is spoken at all, and these clergymen, if they attempted to speak English, speak it so badly as to be almost unintelligible to an English 788 congregation. I remember the case of a clergyman in a parish where there was not a single Welshman whose English was of the most mediocre description, and he used to preach in the following manner. He wrote his sermons in Welsh, and translated them into English as he went along, and the result was that it was a very difficult matter to follow his warnings and his precepts. My experience is that the Welsh bishops are most careful always to provide for Welsh services whenever they are needed, and they go rather to the extreme of having Welsh services in places where they are not wanted rather than not have them at all. I do not say that we ought to discourage the Welsh language; on the contrary, I think we ought to encourage it, but I do not think the proposal is at all necessary. The honourable Member opposite relied upon a variety of cases. He quoted cases from 1773, when I admit persons were appointed who could not speak Welsh, and he gave us the case of the Archdeacon of Wrexham, and he objected to that Gentleman being appointed archdeacon because he could not speak Welsh.
MR. BRYN ROBERTS
No, it was a different case. I quoted that as being the culminating point which caused the rebellion in St. Asaph diocese which took place a few months ago.
§ * MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN
I do not know whether the appointment of the archdeacon is the culminating point which induced the honourable Member to put down this Amendment, because this Amendment does not deal with archdeacons at all; and, inasmuch as the Archdeacon of Wrexham is the archdeacon of a district in which far more English is spoken than Welsh, I venture to think that his appointment is a most proper appointment. If the honourable Member knew Wrexham as well as I do he would know that the percentage of people who speak Welsh there is infinitesimal. I do not believe that there is a single person living in the parish who is a monoglot Welshman, and who does not understand English at all. I venture, therefore, to say that although I take the deepest interest in. the Welsh language, this Amendment 789 entirely alters the scheme of the Bill, and therefore is not one that we ought to support. But beyond that, it is, in my opinion, quite unnecessary, because all that is wanted in that direction is being done at the present moment.
§ * MR. HOWELL (Denbigh Boroughs)
I wish to support the Amendment moved by the honourable Member on the other side of the House, and I think that my friends will agree with me that during the progress of this Bill this Session, and the Benefices Bill of last Session, I have done what I could to assist in the passing of those Bills into law. I have not altogether at times agreed with everything that has been done by those Measures, but I do not expect that everybody should come to absolute agreement with respect to the provisions of any Bill which passes through this House. I therefore restrained myself from making any speech of any kind whatsoever with regard to those Bills. But with regard to this matter I believe that I should be absolutely untrue to my convictions if I did not get up and say in this House how absolutely I agree with this new clause which is proposed by my honourable Friend opposite. As regards the remarks which have fallen from the honourable Member for Thirsk, I am not quite sure that he was altogether serious in what he said. I feel that those remarks must be attributed to ignorance of the condition of affairs in Wales. He does not understand the Welshman's attitude towards his native language. He does not understand that above all things Welsh is the language of religion in Wales, and I can refer him to the fact that when Welshmen come even to a great city like London—men who have made their way in business in London—still continue, whilst going forward to the very highest positions in your commercial world, to worship in the national language of their country. These men build their Welsh chapels and churches here amidst you in London and worship at them in their own beloved tongue. I am not what you may term an ardent Nationalist. I do not go as far as a good many of my friends opposite in that direction; in fact, I disagree with some of the instances which have been quoted, where it is said mistakes have been made in connection with patronage. I cannot, 790 however, forget, when I think of the history of Church matters in Wales, that there is a chapter which is most dismal reading for anybody who is a true Churchman, and that chapter is one that closed not very long ago. I have heard of a time when bishops were appointed who could not speak the Welsh language, and, beyond that, who were out of sympathy with the Welsh people, and who were unable to understand their attitude in matters of religion. Most of them were estimable men—some of them were most distinguished scholars, and were of a sympathetic nature, but they entirely failed to do for the Welsh Church what the Welsh Church has a right to expect from its bishops. These gentlemen pursued a policy which no doubt they thought to be a correct policy—they assumed that the Welsh language would disappear from amongst the people, and, therefore, they appointed men to livings in which there were Welsh-speaking people to whom those men were unable to minister. No doubt these clergy appointed curates to look after the welfare of the Welsh-speaking people, but I put it to some of my English friends whether they would like to have a Welshman appointed as vicar of their parish, and then for him to appoint an English curate to look after the welfare of the English people of their parish. If there is a substantial number of Welsh people in the parish, there ought to be a Welshman placed there as vicar or rector as the case may be.
§ * MR. HOWELL
An honourable Member says that is not the Amendment. I will show him how it becomes the Amendment. It is the effect of the Amendment. What has been done in the past we hope and trust will not be done in the future. But we do not only want to hope and trust; we want to have some absolute guarantee that it cannot happen in the future, and the new clause proposed by the honourable Member for Carnarvonshire asks for that guarantee, and if these things are not happening now what possible harm can this new clause do? If there is no grievance with regard to appointments made by bishops, what 791 objection can there possibly be to this clause? Because, if they do what is right and just with regard to the Welsh people, then no application will be successful under this new clause. Let me point out to the Souse what exactly will happen under this new clause. Where the presentee is presented, and the bishop is going to institute him, if a lay patron has presented him, the bishop may take the objection that he cannot speak Welsh. But if the bishop himself has placed the man in the incumbency, there is no one who can suggest to the bishop that he has made a mistake, and in this particular instance we will assume there is the case that the people of the parish think they have been unjustly dealt with. An application is made to the archbishop—the archbishop is not likely to lean away from the bishop, but rather towards him, on a question of this kind—and if the application is considered frivolous and refused, the costs have to be paid. The clause provides for security for costs. Therefore, these people who wish to make an application of this kind will know quite well that all they will get for their trouble in a frivolous application will be that they will have to pay the costs of both sides. Therefore, it is a safeguard that no frivolous application will be made. There is one other suggestion that may be made—that you are limiting the discretion of the bishop in making appointments. I know there are honourable Members in the House who do not feel inclined to limit the discretion of the bishops in any way. I understand their position, and I respect it, but I do not agree with it. That does not affect my position in regard to the matter, but I might point out to those honourable Members that they are hardly consistent if they vote for this Bill, because, if this Bill does anything, it limits, most strictly, the bishops with regard to certain matters. Then, as to clause 2, where a bishop may refuse to institute, the grounds are very particularly set out with regard to that refusal to institute. You do not give him a discretion. You strongly define the cause of refusal to institute. Well, in that case, are not you limiting the discretion of the bishop? And then let me point out that the next 792 section—section 3—in the very first line, you are not trusting your bishop, or allowing him discretion. You are not allowing the bishop to exercise his discretion; you are telling him that he is not allowed, on the grounds of doctrine or ritual, to refuse to institute. You have limited your bishop again and again in this Bill. You have done it still further, because, in connection with this Bill, you give the right of appeal to the archbishop where the bishop refuses to institute. You are not trusting to the discretion of the bishop absolutely. You are saying that the bishop may make a mistake, and because he may make a mistake you therefore allow an appeal to the archbishop and a judge of the High Court. I do not say it is wrong to limit the powers of the bishops, but again and again you have done it in this Bill. Now, just another word or two. Of course, I do not altogether agree with some instances suggested by honourable Members—mostly from the other side of the House. They have suggested, for instance, the town of Wrexham. Well, with all due respect to honourable Members, I think I ought to know something about Wrexham, seeing that I represent it. With regard to my position there, paying every respect and compliment to the present vicar, I say it is not necessary to have a Welshman there. I say there is a large number of Welsh-speaking people in Wrexham, and that there is a large number of Welsh chapels, and there is a successful Welsh church, and it would be a desirable thing if the present vicar could minister to the Welsh as well as to the English people. But I take the position in point of view of languages as such that I would not put forward the demand for the appointment of a Welsh-speaking vicar. I would not put forward a demand for the appointment of a Welsh-speaking vicar in cases like Cardiff or Swansea, and there are other places; but in none of these cases would a successful application be made under this new clause proposed by the honourable Member for Carnarvonshire. In all these cases the application to the archbishop would be unsuccessful, and those who made the application would have to pay the costs out of their own pockets. Again I would suggest that we should rather keep clear of arguments about appoint- 793 ments which have been recently made. Let us look back rather to the time when these things were rampant in Wales. If we do, I think that honourable Members on this side of the House will agree with me that we are not asking too much from the House when we point to what has happened in the past, and we say that what has happened before may happen again. We are entitled to secure that they will not happen again. Even if they are not happening now we are entitled to security, and if honourable Members believe we are entitled to that guarantee—and I think we are—I hope they will support this new clause when the Division takes place. With regard to the suggestion by the First Lord of the Treasury, that this clause should be withdrawn and the next clause supported, of course, I have no influence with honourable Members opposite, but I should have thought it was a proper suggestion myself.
§ honourable Member, I think, if I may say so, he did not quite understand me. What I did say was that those in favour of this clause should withdraw their support of it and adopt a wider scheme.
§ * MR. HOWELL
I had expected a more sympathetic answer. If the First Lord of the Treasury will assure us that on the withdrawal of this clause he will help us on the other clause, I will do my utmost to have this clause withdrawn, but as long as a Division is to be taken, I hope honourable Members on both sides of the House, who are Churchmen at heart, will say that it is a reasonable clause for us to ask for.
That the clause be read a second time.
§ The House divided.—Ayes 99; Noes 185.—(Division List No. 145.)795
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Holburn, J. G.||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Horniman, Frederick John||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Jacoby, James Alfred||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Billson, Alfred||Kemp, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Blake, Edward||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Labouchere, Henry||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Langley, Batty||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Spicer, Albert|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leng, Sir John||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lewis, John Herbert||Strachey, Edward|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Lloyd-George, David||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Logan, John William||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Crombie, John William||Lough, Thomas||Tennant, Harold John|
|Daly, James||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Digby, J. K. D. Wingfield-||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||McArthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Ure, Alexander|
|Donelan, Captain A.||McEwan, William||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Maddison, Fred||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Farrell, Thomas J. (Kerry, S.)||Mellor, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Yorks)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. John||Wilson, H. J. (Yorks, W.R.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Wol'tn)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carm'then)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Gedge, Sydney||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woods, Samuel|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Gold, Charles||Owen, Thomas||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Gray, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Pease, Sir J. W. (Durham)||TELLERES FOR THE AYES—Mr. Bryn Roberts and Mr. Howell.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H.||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F||FitzWygram, Gen. Sir F.||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Flower, Ernest||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Ambrose, William (Middlesex)||Folkestone, Viscount||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Arnold, Alfred||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Milton, Viscount|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Galloway, William Johnson||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.)||Monk, Charles James|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r.)||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmouthsh.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. G. W. (Leeds)||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Banes, Major George Edward||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Murdoch, Charles Townshend|
|Barry, Francis T. (Windsor)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Myers, William Henry|
|Bathurst, Hon. A. Benjamin||Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||Newark, Viscount|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bethell, Commander||Graham, Henry Robert||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Biddulph, Michael||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Penn, John|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Greville, Captain||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Hall, Sir Charles||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Brassey, Albert||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Rankin, James|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Hardy, Laurence||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Holland, Hon. Lionel Raleigh||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry||Shaw-Stewart, M.H. (R'nfr'w)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Houston, R. P.||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Howard, Joseph||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Hozier, Hon. J. Henry Cecil||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)||Spencer, Ernest|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M.|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Lafone, Alfred||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny.)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Thorburn, Walter|
|Curzon, Rt Hn G. N. (Lanc, S W)||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. E. H.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Usborne, Thomas|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Leighton, Stanley||Verney, Hon. R. Greville|
|Davies, Horatio D. (Chatham)||Llewelyn, E. H. (Somerset)||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Denny, Colonel||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Warkworth, Lord|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Lorne, Marquess of||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Lowther, Rt. Hon. J. (Kent)||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lucas-Shad well, William||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Maclure, Sir John William||Wyndham, George|
|Finch, George H.||McArthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Younger, William|
|Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||McIver, Sir Lewis|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Marks, Henry Hananel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.|
Page 4, after clause 4, insert the following clause—
In case the bishop proposes to collate a clerk or institute him on his own nomination,
it shall be lawful within the said period for any parishioner of full age who has been a parishioner for one year, having given security for costs in the prescribed manner, to apply to the court to restrain the bishop from so collating or instituting the clerk on any of the same grounds as those upon which the
bishop is by this Act himself entitled to refuse to institute, such grounds being specified in writing and made known in the prescribed manner to the bishop and to the clerk, and the court shall have jurisdiction to restrain such collation or institution, and from its decision there shall be no appeal. This application shall be heard in the same way and subject to the same rules as in the case of a refusal of a bishop to institute, and the decision of the court stall be final."—(Mr. Gedge.)
§ * MR. GEDGE (Walsall)
Although I cannot claim the support of my right honourable Friend the First Lord of the Treasury for this new clause it is, at all events, satisfactory to hear him say that it is logical and covers the whole of the ground, and is not open to the objection that was urged against the last clause. My proposal is a simple one, and I hope to convince the House that it is a right one. There are in England about 14,000 livings, and the patronage of about 2,700, or nearly one-fifth, is in the hands of the bishops by virtue of their sees,, while the patronage of four-fifths is in a great variety of hands, from Her Majesty the Queen, the Lord Chancellor, and the First Lord of the Treasury, down to the parishioners and private patrons. Every one of these latter, whether the Lord Chancellor, the First Lord of the Treasury, the Dean and Chapter, or any private individual, or the parishioners or trustees, is subject to the provisions of this Bill. If any of them makes an improper appointment, application may be made, on specific grounds, to the bishop, who, exercising his discretion as judge, will, or will not, institute the presentee who is presented; and, if he refuses to institute on any ground his refusal may be appealed against to the court which is constituted by this Bill, and the court will have to consider whether these grounds are, or are not, sufficient reason for refusing to institute. Accordingly, the court can either confirm the refusal or direct that the appointed presentee shall be instituted. But with regard to a large number of livings—one-fifth of the whole—of which the bishop is the patron by virtue of his see, there is no appeal. The proposal of my new clause is to give the parishioners of these 2,700 parishes the same right as in the other four-fifths of the livings, to enable them, in case they think the 798 wrong man has been appointed, to go to the court and state their views upon it. It will certainly, I think, stand to reason that, if all these other patrons, the First Lord of the Treasury, the Lord Chancellor, and private patrons or trustees, can none of them be trusted to make, in all cases, a proper appointment, it is surely but fair that the inhabitants of a parish should have protection against episcopal patrons. Bishops are not infallible. I speak with the utmost respect for the bishops' bench, but, as the honourable Member who spoke last said we have not only to deal with existing bishops, who may be perfect, but we have to look to the future, and it may be that there will be bishops on the bench who will not be perfect. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Bishops have relatives, and even Lord Chancellors have been accused of giving a good deal of their, patronage to relatives. Bishops have wives, and even a Lord Chancellor has been known to appoint a man whose chief claim was his relationship to his lordship's wife. Family feeling is strong and bishops are but men. I have had very strong letters on this subject, and have in my pocket a letter from a clergyman eminent in the Church of England, in which he complains very strongly of the manner in which bishops sometimes exercise their patronage; and as the bishops are not immaculate nor infallible it seems to me only right that their doings in the matter of patronage should be subject as nearly as possible to the same sort of jurisdiction as in the case of other patrons. Even the Bill recognises that the bishop is not immaculate, because he is obliged to give notice to the parishioners of what he is going to do, and he cannot present until a month has passed. What is to be done during that time? All the parishioners can do is to tell the bishop that they have discovered something which they consider bad, or of evil life—something that comes under the second clause of the Bill, by reason of which the bishop ought not to institute the man. I am told by those who object to this new clause that that is quite enough. I very much doubt that. It would be if the bishops were always infallible. But they are not. I have a case within my knowledge where an 799 eminent bishop of the Church of England—a man whom I knew personally, and for whom I had the greatest respect—desired to appoint to a very important living a relative of his own. Representations were made to him that this man was a drunkard, but he would not believe it. He told the remonstrant he had seen the clergyman, who admitted that he had drunk, but had reformed. The bishop decided to present the man, and he was instituted. But he went back to his old habits of drunkenness to such an extent that the bishop had to engage someone to do his work. At last the man's condition got so bad that the bishop was obliged to use his influence as a relative to get the man to retire. That is one case; but if it is possible that such a thing should happen in regard to a living of which a bishop is patron, surely the power of appeal, as in the case of the other patrons, ought to be introduced! The very fact that there is such an appeal will make a bishop more careful not to be led away by family considerations; and, indeed, it will be a very good thing for the bishops to know that there is a higher court to which the parishioners can appeal. It is probable that there will be no appeals, but the possibility will make the bishop more careful not to be influenced by family considerations. The second objection to my clause is that it proposes an appeal to the court against an institution, while under the Bill the only appeal that can be made to the court is when a bishop has refused to institute against his refusal and in favour of institution. I do not think that is a strong argument against this proposal. I am giving to the court no new function. The court has to consider the facts, and determine whether the refusal was right or wrong. Precisely the same facts will come before the court under my clause, and the lay judge will determine what they are. He will also determine the law of the case, and the archbishop will decide whether or not the bishop ought or ought not to refuse institution. The consideration is the same, and the mode of carrying on the investigation is the same in each case practically, and the appeal lies against the bishop. In the one case it lies against his refusal to institute, and in the other case it lies 800 against his willingness to institute; and it does not seem to me to be any greater hardship upon the bishop in the one case than in the other. Honourable Members may depend upon it that the sympathy of the archbishop will be rather with than against the bishop, and the bishop will therefore sustain no harm. This Amendment was moved and lost in Committee by a majority of 16 to 12, and of the 12 who voted in favour of it when introduced in Committee more than half were Unionist Members who usually support the Government. This is not a Party matter cat all, but it is a matter in which many honourable Members on both sides of the House agree with me, and I have very little doubt whatever that if the First Lord of the Treasury will not exercise the Government authority in the matter, and will give honourable Members on this side a free band, the clause will be carried. I know that more than one bishop desires the change. I can hardly believe that any bishop will venture in the House of Lords to stand up and say that he objects to an appeal against the exercise of his discretion, such as all other patrons are subject to. It is quite likely that they will say that they are not conscious of ever making a wrong appointment. Perhaps they are not, but I think I may venture to say from what I have heard that some of them are deeply conscious of each other's wrong-appointments, and it is these I wish to obviate in the future. This clause will very much sweeten the Bill to all patrons. I was the other day speaking at a large meeting in London, consisting of some 700 or 800 ladies and gentlemen, about the Bill and this clause, and the whole audience was unanimous, if I may judge from the general cheering, in favour of this clause, and my intention to propose it in the House, and I am sure from the correspondence I have had it will be popular amongst the clergy and very popular amongst the patrons, at a time when they are being put under the control of the bishops. I do not believe for one moment that the bishops will seek to place this burden upon other patrons and decline to touch it with their own fingers. I believe that they themselves will see that this clause is a just one. They cannot wish to be in a Better position than other patrons, and they will 801 receive the clause as only enforcing upon them all the grave responsibility which they incur in the exercise of their patronage. There are others upon whom it will have a still better effect. I mean what is called the Palace party, which is too apt to get round the bishop, and having more intimate acquaintance with the individual clergy than his lordship, with all the work he has to do, can possibly have, to influence the appointments unwisely. For these reasons, which I have endeavoured to put as shortly and fairly as possible, and feeling sure that the House thoroughly understands what the effect will be, I beg leave to move my Amendment, and I hope that the Government will allow it to be carried.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
My honourable Friend has made an appeal to me not to exercise any Governmental authority in dealing with this matter. Sir, I hope that I shall be able to persuade the House by argument addressed to the reason of the House that my honourable Friend's Amendment, very taking as it is at first sight, is really not one which should be introduced into this Measure. I admit it is a very plausible proposal, and I admit that it appears at first sight to rest upon the simple principle that equality of treatment should be measured out to every class of patron, whoever that patron may be, and, in vulgar parlance, whatever is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander also. I would venture to observe, in the first place, though that is not my strongest objection to the Amendment, that, in reality, whatever view may be taken of the bishops and their qualifications or disqualifications for the task, they cannot be regarded by this House as on an equality with other patrons, or even in the same category Other patrons have the responsibility which patronage thrusts upon then largely by accident. Sometimes they select themselves by the process of purchase, sometimes they are patrons by the accident of birth, and in no case is there any procedure by which a man is selected from among his fellows as being particularly qualified to exercise a position of authority in the Church, and on that score given large power of patronage Of the bishop, and of the bishop alone is that statement true. The bishop, and 802 the bishop alone, so far as I know, among those qualified to exercise patronage, is really selected for that task by his special fitness to exercise governmental functions within the Church. It is therefore, not accurate to suggest, as has been suggested, that the bishop should be classed with those who have by purchase or by inheritance become the patrons of livings, or to suggest that he should be treated n an absolute equality with them. But now, Sir, there is another argument on which I do not wish to lay undue stress, but which I think is not without weight. The bishop, in refusing institution, is acting at least as much ministerially as judicially, if I may so express it. Long before the process comes before him in his capacity as a judge he probably has been making personal inquiries into the case, and has possibly exercised personal persuasion upon the patron or presentee. I imagine that there would be a very large number of cases in which the intervention of the bishop will be found of the utmost utility, which will never become public, there being nothing in the nature of a court at all. But under the process suggested by my honourable Friend, of course, there is no exercise of any ministerial functions by the bishops. If the parishioners, through competent persons, raise any objection to the presentation, it must at once come before a public court and be tried before two judges, with all the inevitable surroundings which must stamp public proceedings of that kind, and all the scandal which must inevitably attach to the machinery proposed by the Amendment, but which will be avoided by the machinery under the Bill. I think my honourable Friend will admit that my argument has a certain amount of force in it which ought not to be lost sight of by the House. But, after all, there is a more serious objection to this proposal which I will venture to lay before the House. The Amendment, if I may so express it, turns the Bill inside out and twists its machinery to a wholly new purpose and function. At present the appeal lies against the bishop, not on behalf of the parish, but on behalf of the presentee. There is no appeal against the indiscreet institution by the bishop of an unfit man, and my honourable Friend does not 803 propose to have an appeal in any case except where the bishop is patron. But in that case, and in that case alone, there will be an appeal on behalf of the parish, not against injustice done to the presentee, but against a wrong done to a parish and to its parishioners. I have two observations to make upon that. If my honourable Friend's contention is to be accepted we shall have greatly to extend the scope of the clause and even to remodel the Bill. I think the honourable Member admits the principle that a parish has the right of appeal against the appointment of an unfit person; that appeal ought not to exist solely in a case where the bishop is patron, but ought to be extended to other cases in which the patronage is exercised by a private individual, and in which the bishop, either through ignorance or some other cause, has not exercised his power of refusing presentation in the manner in which, in the opinion of the parish, it ought to have been exercised. Now, Sir, I will go a step further and say that I think, if you are going to extend the clause to every case of patronage, you ought, to be logical, to leave the appointment to the parish itself, though I do not advocate that course, but if you take my honourable Friend's clause to its logical conclusion, that is the result. The extension which my honourable Friend proposes will destroy the whole plan upon which the Bill has been framed; and I am strengthened in my opinion that the House ought not rashly to accept it by the fact that I do not think there can be any abuse against which the Bill is levelled which it will fail to meet even if passed without my honourable Friend's clause. My honourable Friend gave one case in which a bishop, now deceased, appointed a person about whom the parishioners had information which would entitle them to take steps under my honourable Friend's clause. Bishops may make bad appointments; they may, as my honourable Friend suggests, be too fond of appointing their own near relations; but I do not believe that any bishop would knowingly appoint to a parish anybody against whom any statutory objection could be alleged, and if that be so, the difficulties which my honourable Friend fears would not be met by my honour- 804 able Friend's clause or by any clause. I do not believe that any bishop would so misuse his position as deliberately to appoint to a living in his gift any person against whom any clause in such a Bill as this could be said to apply. If that is so before the Bill is passed it will be doubly so afterwards, and I beg honourable Members, who may be at first sight enamoured of my honourable Friend's clause, to remember that there is actually a provision in the Bill by which a parish shall have one month's notice of any appointment about to be made, whether the patron of the parish is a lay patron or a bishop. If I am right in saying that no bishop would really abuse his patronage in a way so gross that his case would be dealt with under my honourable Friend's clause, is it not doubly certain that any parish in the position that it will be placed in after the passage of this Bill would bring to the notice of the bishop anything it might have against the proposed presentee, and is it not also certain that no bishop would so scandalously neglect his first duty as to wish to appoint any person against whom these objections could be taken? No bishop, I say, would have the courage to face the public opinion not only of the parish, but of the Church as a whole by making such a scandalous misuse of his patronage. I venture, therefore, to suggest to my honourable Friend that in the first place his clause would in more particulars than one run counter to the general policy, framework, and scope of the Bill, and in the second place that there is no present necessity for it. There is no public need and no public scandal which would require us to alter the theory of our Measure by accepting the clause, which is undoubtedly very ingenious, and has been so ably laid before us by my honourable Friend.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
Mr. Speaker, the right honourable Gentleman objected to the last Amendment on the ground that it did not go as far as the Amendment now under discussion. He objects to this Amendment because it does not go still further. The right honourable Gentleman objected to the last Amendment on the ground that, if the absence of a knowledge of Welsh were made the ground for appeal against the induction by a bishop, 805 that right of appeal ought to be extended to every ground of objection. He now objects to the present Amendment because, as he says, if you are going to give parishes the right of appeal in these cases you ought to give it in every case. But surely the right honourable Gentleman could object to every Amendment proposed and to every Bill on that ground. It means that unless you propose an Amendment dealing with all conceivable evils, an Amendment dealing with a particular evil ought not to be considered at all. But I may point out to the right honourable Gentleman that he is wrong in one respect. He says if this Amendment is accepted it will really remodel the Bill. I challenge that proposition altogether. What does the present Amendment propose to do? The third clause of the Bill proposes that there shall be an appeal by the patron against the refusal of the bishop to institute his nominee. All the present Amendment proposes is to give parishes the same right of appeal against the person appointed by the bishop. It is not a remodelling of the Bill; it simply extends the right of appeal. The right honourable Gentleman said that a bishop is a totally different kind of patron—a superior kind of patron. Of course he is; I accept that, although, as a matter of fact, private patronage in the Church has worked remarkably well, and persons appointed by lay patrons compare in every respect with persons appointed by bishops. I am not prepared to challenge the right honourable Gentleman's statement on that ground, but he talks of bishops and patrons as if they were the only persons interested. Surely the parishioners are interested; but if the right of appeal is given to patrons whose sole interests are the interests of property, why should it be denied to parishioners whose spiritual interests are concerned in having the right man in the living? As I understand the Amendment, it is to give the same right of appeal against the appointment by a bishop as is given in the case of an appointment by a lay patron. I think there is another point which is of very great importance. I do not wish to criticise the actions of bishops, but at the same time it is a very dangerous thing to increase the powers of one man in a diocese, be he 806 bishop, prebendary, canon, archdeacon, or even a private patron. The right honourable Gentleman must be aware of the state of things in the diocese of St. Asaph, where, owing to the arbitrary action of the bishop with regard to presentments to livings, there is something in the nature of a public scandal. These are facts well within the knowledge of everybody. I am not criticising the action of the bishop or defending the action of the clergy, but at the same time the bishop has exercised his right of patronage in a manner which has created a spirit of insurrection among his own clergy, who are mainly dependent on him for promotion. The case is that he has promoted his friends, promoted persons who flatter him, and are most intimate with him, promoted persons with no knowledge of the language of the people—all at the expense of the parishes. This Amendment would affect such a state of things. Eighty or 90 of his clergy presented a memorial to the Bishop of St. Asaph, protesting against the way he exercised his patronage.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
I know a great number of laymen supported the protest, and when the bishop tried to enlist the sympathy of laymen he could only secure the attendance of a few—Lord Powis, the Duke of Westminster, and a few more. The most popular Churchman in North Wales, Mr. Kenyon, late Member for Denbigh, was not present, and I am perfectly certain that if the diocese of St. Asaph were polled the sympathy of the people would be found almost exclusively, certainly overwhelmingly, against the action of the bishop. I am simply pointing these facts out in order to show the danger of giving more power to bishops, and that there ought to be the right of appeal suggested in the Amendment, and also to show how germane the Amendment is to the action of the Bishop of St. Asaph. One objection is that he promoted friends to livings without any knowledge of the Welsh language. What happened in the diocese of Llandaff? A clergyman was nominated who did not understand the Welsh language, but the bishop instantly refused 807 to induct him on that ground. The same bishop, when a private patron presented a person to a living who did not understand Welsh, sent down to the parish to inquire whether any of the parishioners were Welsh-speaking. But suppose that was in St. Asaph: what would have happened? Suppose the bishop had created a vacancy, and that he instituted a friend of his own, would he refuse induction? The right honourable Gentleman, when we were discussing this matter upon the last occasion, said that the proper time to discuss this question would be upon the Amendment of the honourable Member for Walsall, and I agree with him to a certain extent. You would simply have given a right to appeal in one case: the honourable Member for Walsall, by his Amendment, would have given a right of appeal in every case. The Bishop of St. Asaph, who was appointed because of his knowledge of the Welsh language, who is the head of a school the induction of which was to provide for the teaching of the Welsh language in that diocese—
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
This is the question. I say that the Bishop of St. Asaph might exercise his rights to appoint under this Bill clergymen quite ignorant of the Welsh language just as much as if they were fully acquainted with it. I say that no right should, under this Bill be given to the bishop without a right of appeal being given to the parishioners. As I understood the First Lord of the Treasury, he said that if you give a right to appeal to the courts the courts cannot execute the administrative functions, because they are not the proper tribunal for that purpose. That was his contention; but I think, if he had read this Amendment, he would have discovered that that observation was absolutely irrelevant to this matter. The honourable Member for Walsall does not propose that the court should present. As I understand the Amendment, the proposal is that there should be a right of appeal by the parishioners to the court, and then, if the appeal was allowed by the court, the right of presentation comes back to the bishop again. It is not the court which presents. What happens is this: the bishop presents a 808 man who does not understand the Welsh language—as he has done; then there is an appeal to the archbishop and to the court. It is decided that the person presented is not a proper person for presentation to this living. What would happen? Under this Amendment the presentation would go back to the bishop, and the parishioners have a right to object again to the next presentation if they think necessary; but if the next presentation is one which suits the parishioners then there is an end to the matter. The Amendment gives the same right exactly to the parishioners as it does to the patrons, and to say it alters the Bill to any great extent is absurd. It does not remodel the Bill—it does not change it or effect any revolution in it. It simply extends it to a very slight extent, and gives equal rights to the parishioners and to the patrons to object and appeal from the presentation. I support very strongly the Amendment of the honourable Member for Walsall. There is one point which was made by the First Lord of the Treasury which, perhaps, I might allude to. He said that no bishop would face public opinion by presenting an objectionable case, but the Bishop of St. Asaph, as the right honourable Gentleman knows perfectly well, has not only faced public opinion in Wales, but in his own church, and has made an exceedingly objectionable presentation.
§ * MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)
If this Amendment goes to a Division I intend to vote for it. This matter was very carefully considered by the Committee, and there was considerable feeling expressed in favour of the principle of the Amendment. I have no doubt a number of persons consider that a mistake was made by the Committee in not carrying such a clause as this in the Bill. Now, when a person is appointed to a living, a freehold for life is given to him, and I think we should take the greatest possible care that when a freehold is given to a man for his life he should be fit for it. I think that when the law is being altered, and more power is given to the bishop to protect parishioners from injudicious and improper selections by private patrons, we ought not to leave too much power in his hands, but that some power should be given to the parishioners to protect themselves from his mistakes. I have vet to learn that 809 the bishops are infallible; certainly we have not been told that infallibility imputed to English bishops, and I have yet to learn that they are more free than the rest of mortals from making mistakes, though they may be actuated by the purest motives and the highest aims. The clause which is now brought forward seems to give an opportunity to those honourable Members who, at an earlier stage of this Bill, claimed to advocate the rights of petitioners. During the Second Beading of the Bill we heard it said from the opposite side of the House that the rights of parishioners are the main rights to be considered in this matter. I agree with that, and as the Amendment is to secure the rights of parishioners, and is moved in their interest, I shall support it. This Bill protects the parishioners from everyone but the bishop himself. There are three occasions when the bishop may present or collate. In the case of a vacancy arising from a lapse he must fill the vacancy, and then he collates. He may, besides, as bishop of the diocese, have advowsons, to which, he may present. Then, again, he may, as an individual owner, be a private patron. I ask why, if he is the owner in his private right of an advowson, is he to be subject to some different law to that to which any other private patron is subject s If he were the owner of an advowson he would be entitled to present, and there would be no power to review any exercise of the right of presentation by him. If this Bill passes he will review the exercise of any other private patron's patronage, but his own exercise of patronage cannot be reviewed unless this Amendment is passed. The bishop, when making an appointment, must in future give notice to the parishioners that he intends to appoint a particular person. One month must elapse, within which the parishioners will have a right to make any representations they like to the bishop, but there is nothing in the Bill to show that the bishop need pay the slightest attention to such representations. The representation which is sent in may be at once consigned to the episcopal waste-paper basket. There is nothing to prevent the bishop going on with an appointment which may turn out to be an exceedingly bad one, and the person who is appointed will enjoy his freehold for life. I venture to think that in a 810 case where the bishop may exercise his right of collation, or right of institution, as bishop of the diocese, he is much more in the position of trustee for the parishioners than a private patron is, because he cannot sell his advowson or the right of next presentation. There is nobody at present who can compel him to discharge his trust, and there will not be unless the Amendment is earned. In the case of ordinary trusts the Attorney General or the Charity Commissioners can enforce them, but in the case of parishioners—on whose behalf, as trustee, the bishop is supposed to exercise his functions—there is no means of enforcing them unless we adopt this proposal. The bishop is in the position of judge in his own case. The right of patronage is a difficult one to exercise, but it is a pleasant one. You may give the appointment to someone whom you think is deserving of your patronage, though the bishop always has the right to review the appointment. I think it would be right to curtail the powers which a bishop has of pleasing himself while he is acting as judge in his own case. In the second clause we are creating many fresh grounds as to which we are giving powers of refusal to institute to the bishop. How will that act where the bishop collates or institutes by virtue of his office? Assume, for instance, a case where a bishop will have the right to institute through, lapse by a private patron. If this Bill should pass without this Amendment the bishop may continue to appoint persons though they may not have been in Holy Orders five years. It seems to me that if it is thought right that the bishop should, on the presentation of a private patron, refuse to institute persons who have been less than five years ordained, we ought to take away from the bishops the temptation and opportunity of collating or instituting them on their own nomination. I do not suggest that a bishop is likely to select a person who is notoriously leading an evil life. That is not a case against which we need protection from a bishop. We require it in the cases in which a bishop has selected someone without adequate knowledge of that person's disqualifications—somebody, perhaps, who is physically not able to discharge adequately the duties of the office. It is possible that an elderly 811 gentleman, who has returned from the colonies as a bishop, is desired to be appointed here as a suffragan or assistant. Take the case of a man who is far advanced in years, whom it is desired to put into a living with a large emolument, in order that he may have adequate means to assist as coadjutor the bishop of the diocese. The parishioners may think—and ought to be allowed to say, if they choose—that they do not wish to have the rectory, or the vicarage of their parish left to a gentleman of advanced years, and whose vocation it is intended shall be followed somewhere outside the parish. Take another case. A bishop may appoint someone who is in a state of pecuniary embarrassment. Pecuniary embarrassment is a ground upon which a bishop may refuse to institute if a private patron presents. But why, if the bishop has the right to fill up the appointment, is he to be allowed to put in a person who is in pecuniary embarrassment? Suppose a person had been guilty of, I will not say ritualism, but of a breach of his duties with regard to public worship, and had adopted practice which are inconsistent with, and contrary to, the law of England. The bishop, according to recent decisions, has a right to refuse to institute him if presented by a private patron unless he will undertake to give up violating the law. But suppose a bishop acts as patron, with no one to test or to question the appointment that he wished to make, there may be somebody brought forward by him who, in a way most disagreeable and offensive to the parishioners, will continue to persist in observances which are breaches of the law. Will a bishop, having once given a notification to the parish that he intends to appoint a particular individual, be at all likely to listen to remonstrances which may be addressed to him, particularly if there is no way of bringing the matter before a court to be tested? My hypothesis is that the bishop has not complete knowledge of the person whom he is appointing, and that when representations are made to him which he is not bound to notice he may and probably would say, "I believe the statements which my presentee has made to me with reference to the alle- 812 gations of the parishioners; I believe he is an honest and upright man, and I think he is slandered." But, nevertheless, the statements may be true. If we are to require bishops to give a notification of their intention to appoint one month before institution, we ought to give an effective opportunity for the suitability of the presentee to be tested by a proper tribunal. I am not going into the question of nepotism on the part of the bishop—I will suppose there may be occasional nepotism—but what I wish to secure an opportunity of testing the action of the bishop for is to prevent bonâ fide mistakes on his part in persisting in being insufficiently informed, when the truth would be ascertained if a tribunal were constituted. The bishop is protected abundantly by the Amendment. It assumes that his action was right. It provides that the parishioners shall have to give security before they can attack his action. No step can be taken by an aggrieved parishioner unless security for costs is given in the prescribed manner, and, therefore, a bishop will not, in all probability, be harassed by unnecessary or speculative action. He will be secured. It is assumed that he is right until the contrary is shown. It gives him the advantage of immunity from expense, which is an advantage for the bishop, and there is no reason to suppose that this provision will be unnecessary, or with undue frequency applied. There was one observation made by the First Lord of the Treasury to which I should like to refer. He told us, as I understood him, that the clause would not often come into operation; that it was not wanted; that there was no grievance. If there is no grievance it is quite true it will not often come into operation; but if there is a grievance the Amendment will provide a remedy. I hope that Members on both sides of the House will support the Amendment. I hope that Nonconformists will not assume an attitude which in earlier parts of these proceedings was taken up by them, but that they will assist in this matter. It seems to me—I may have done them an injustice—that they regard this Bill as a matter merely concerning the internal government of the Church of England, 813 and as one which does not concern them. Let me remind them that in almost every parish there are Nonconformists. They ought to feel an interest in the clergyman of their parish, who is frequently the person with whom they have to be associated as the head of charitable or philanthropic work, and of work of various kinds. I do think that when it comes to be a question of whether a person is or is not fit to discharge pastoral duties in a particular parish, that Churchman and Nonconformist ought to feel an equal interest in seeing that the right person is appointed, and equal powers should be given both to Churchmen and Nonconformists, to see that only a suitable man is put into the living. Under these circumstances, as no injustice would be done to any class whatever by the Amendment, with my whole heart I shall support it.
§ * MR. H. S. FOSTER (Suffolk, Lowestoft)
Mr. Speaker, I agree with the words which have fallen from the honourable Member who has just sat down, and shall certainly support the clause of my honourable Friend the Member for Walsall. I can only hope that the First Lord of the Treasury will consent, on behalf of the Government, to make a graceful concession in the matter. I venture to express the hope, because a very special appeal has been made by my honourable Friend the Member for Walsall; he expressed the wish that the Government would not exercise the pressure of the Government Whips in the Division; and my right honourable Friend said that he would rather rely on moral suasion than anything else, adding that he did not consider, even if this clause were passed, it would be vital to the Bill. Well, Sir, we had a great deal of contention in Committee with regard to the clause, and there was one incident to which I should like to call attention. After a very full discussion the clause was defeated by only four votes. There were four gentlemen in the minority who had consistently supported the Government in every other division in the Committee, but so strongly did they feel the justice of this demand that they did what I suppose must have been contrary to their own feelings, by voting for the minority in this particular matter. What, Sir, is the claim upon which this Bill is brought 814 forward? It is to ensure that fit men only shall be presented to livings. So anxious are the Government to ensure that that they would not only give the bishop power to refuse the presentee on one ground, but they even allow him, under the Act, to amend his ground, so that if, a week or a month afterwards, he heard of something else of which he ought to have been informed before, the Government give him the power to change his ground of refusal. In the case of private patronage the bishop is made the most convenient guardian in the interests of the parish, but in the case of his own nominee obviously a man is not fit to be the judge in his own case, and there may be many grounds of objection to the presentee of which the bishop may not himself know, and in ignorance of which he has acted. The First Lord says, and says quite truly, that the Bill provides that every nominee, whether a private patron or a bishop, is to have his nomination posted on the church door for a month. But I want to know what is the value of that if, in the case of the bishop's nominee, it is not to be followed by effective action? A bishop is not obliged to respond to any representation made to him. A notice is to be put on the church door, but unless a full opportunity is afforded the parishioners to state their grounds of objection it may well be that the bishop may set aside as unworthy every representation which may be made to him, when, perhaps, a full inquiry would satisfy him as to their truth in substance. The bishops themselves have not done the injustice to this proposed clause which has been done by some of those who claim to represent their interests. The Bill was very fully discussed in the Upper House of Convocation, and the Archbishop of Canterbury said—I wish to say something here about a proposal which has been made, and which I have very little doubt will be made again, that the bishop himself should be subject to this Act in the same way as any other patron, with a difference that the parishioners where the bishop collates shall have the power of going to the court direct instead of appealing to the court to prevent the bishop collating the person whom he proposes to collate if the parishioners think that they are able to prove that in one of the particulars mentioned in sub-clause (b) there is good ground for arguing that the man ought not to be collated. There are a good many people who think that they 815 ought to have the power of proceeding before the court to prevent the bishop from collating, so as to put the bishop as regards livings in his own patronage in somewhat the same position as other patrons are. It seems to me, I confess, that such a proposal would not be quite in accordance with the general spirit of this Bill, because the general spirit of this Bill is to put the admission of persons to livings under the authority of the bishops and to trust to the bishops to look after the patronage in their own dioceses.Well, Sir, a discussion took place on that proposal. The Bishop of Southwell said—I should think it would be better to admit such a clause if it is desired—not to raise any objection to it. I do not know whether the parishioners are a body of sufficiently defined persons.The Archbishop: It would be any parishioner, of course. As far as the actual powers given by this Bill are concerned the bishop might collate to a living in his own gift a person to whom any or all these objections were applicable, and of course it is obvious that if there is a power of appeal against him, there is this absurdity, that he is to be trusted to decide whether a man should be instituted, but he is not to be trusted to institute the man whom he himself has chosen.The Bishop of Salisbury: Would not the proper way be to give a general power of appeal to the bishop first to hear the case against himself?The Archbishop: You could add a clause which would give the parishioners a right to appeal to any court against the bishop's refusal to collate.The Bishop of Bristol: Could not we have it that a churchwarden might present an appeal—not any parishioner? I would rather not have an appeal, but, if we must have it, we might have it by the churchwarden.The Bishop of Ely: I think, if it is given at all, we should have to give the parishioners or somebody a right to appeal against the bishop's decision to institute.The Archbishop: I am quite clear it is better to let it alone; but I think it well that it should, be mentioned here, because it is tolerably certain that some such clause will be proposed, and those who object to any clause of the kind will have more weight by saying so now beforehand. Of course, if it were put in, we could resist it in the House of Lords, but that is not quite the same thing.The Bishop of Salisbury: I think I ought to say I should not at all object to the parishioners having this power, but it should apply to all cases, institution as well as collation.The Bishop of Southwell: I think it would be very much better that it should be understood that if people in the House of Commons thought the right a fair thing we did not oppose it.816 It appears to me that the trite saying that "what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander" will be applied with telling effect to this Bill if it does not contain this very fair and very just proposal. If a parishioner comes forward and gives proper security for costs, and is prepared to prove, even at his own risk, that the bishop's nominee is not a fit man for the parish, I do not think the House ought to deprive him of that opportunity, cither in justice to the parishioners or in justice to the bishop himself.
§ MR. S. T. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)
I desire, Sir, to say one or two words to express my views upon the clause moved by the honourable Member for Walsall. Mr. Speaker, I propose to go into the same Lobby as the honourable Member, if he goes to a Division, as I think he will, on the broad ground that the men who are to be subject to the disabilities pointed out in the second clause ought to be considered without any reference at all to the person who collates or nominates or presents them. You give the bishop the sole right of saying whether the person proposed to be presented shall be presented or not. I venture to assert that it is not right to say that every man the bishop may appoint is a man fit to be appointed without any inquiry being made at all, or any right given to the parishioners to institute any inquiry of the kind. Now, I am not a Churchman myself, and I do not wish to characterise bishops as positively indiscreet persons or persons who are not fit persons to nominate. I desire to read to the House some words used by Mr. Gladstone on the Public Worship Regulation Bill with reference to this matter. I much prefer, of course, that the House should take the opinion of the most eminent Churchman of this century as to the nature of the duties to be entrusted to bishops rather than the opinion of a person who is outside the pale of the Church. With regard to the discretion which was given to the bishops Mr. Gladstone said—I pledge myself to take the opinion of the Committee—if the Bill goes into Committee—upon, the question whether a legal charter to break the law is by an Act of 1874 to be given to bishops. I desire that what I say should not be interpreted as meaning more than what 817 I have said. I have a reasonable respect for bishops. For the appointment of some of the present bishops of the Church of England I am in a degree responsible, and I am not in any way ashamed of the recommendations which I made as to appointments to bishoprics. But if instead of bishops they were saints or angels I would not be a party to pass an Act of Parliament to enable them to break the law without the consequences which follow a breach of the law.Now, Sir, I just want to read one more passage in support of the argument that you have no right to trust bishops in presenting livings or anybody else. The Pope claims infallibility, but I am not aware that the bishops claim it in this country. Mr. Gladstone, further said, having remarked that they were a most laborious and a most conscientious body of men, with which I entirely agree—I believe that, on the whole, they are in no ordinary degree a discreet and a wise body of men. But we have 27 or 28 diocesan bishops and archbishops in England. The discretion of these bishops is not collective but single. Now, I want to know what security we have that every bishop shall at all times be discreet, and then I want to investigate the consequences which would arise, and to expose those consequences to the view of the House, and to the view of the right honourable and learned Gentleman, if, at some period or other, there should happen to be one bishop who is not discreet. I have no individual in my eye, but I am making a general assumption. Even in a Cabinet of 16 members one member may prove to be indiscreet, and it is a very fair allowance if I admit that 26 of the bishops are certain to be discreet, but that there may be a fear as to the 27th. Even if all the 27 bishops of the present day are discreet, still there will come some fussy bishop, or some bishop who loves power, or some bishop who is fond of meddling, or who does not join to discretion the quality of courage, and who dare not say 'No' when to say 'No' would be unpopular. And therefore my anticipation and assumption that at some time or other there will be an indiscreet bishop.That is Mr. Gladstone's description of bishops, and if that be an accurate description—and I assume nobody here will deny it—are you going to allow an "indiscreet bishop," or a bishop "who loves power," to act in cases where he himself is the patron, and in. a totally different way from which you would act in cases where a living is presented by a private patron? Well, Mr. Speaker, I assume that in all cases the bishop cannot possibly know personally the clergyman who is nominated for a particular benefice. There may be 818 representations made to him by persons in very high authority in favour of certain clergymen, and he may, relying upon those representations, collate, or desire to collate, a man to a benefice whom he does not know personally at all. Well, it is very hard to say that the persons who are to be administered to by the beneficed clergyman are to have no right to represent to the authority that this man is not fit to be collated to the benefice, according to the terms of the Act of Parliament. For my part I desire to see this Measure very much widened. I desire that parishioners should have the right in every case, if not themselves to select, at any rate to represent to the bishop what their views are with reference to the fitness of a clergyman for a particular parish. There may be two excellent men—excellent in moral character, and excellent in every way—but one man may be perfectly fit for one parish, and he may not be so fit for the other parish. You are, under this Bill, perpetuating in the Church of England this monstrous injustice to the parishioners—that a private patron or a bishop, as the case may be, shall have the right to say, "So-and-so must be the clergyman of a particular parish," whether or not he is the man who would be selected in the ordinary course of things if the parishioners had the right of appointment. The Bill does not go so far as I should like to see it; but, Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as this new clause does extend the right of the parishioners to some degree, I shall have very great pleasure in supporting it.
§ MR. LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
The appointment of bishops is not upon such a very safe foundation that the House will feel absolute and unlimited confidence in the bishops in the future in regard to the question which we are discussing. But apart from that, the First Lord of the Treasury appealed to us to discuss the questions raised by the clause of my honourable Friend the Member for Arfon, and this particular clause upon no narrow ground, and that is the reason why I wish to say a few words upon the new clause we are now discussing. Sir, there are some of us on this side, Nonconformists, who feel bound to take an 819 interest in this question, because, after all, we represent our constituencies as a whole, we represent a certain number of Churchmen, and we represent a certain number of clergymen as well, and we know what the opinions of those Churchmen and clergymen are. The noble Lord the Member for Rochester, when this subject was last before the House, said that the Leader of the Opposition did not know what was contained in the private correspondence of the bishops. Well, there are some things in the private communications of the clergy which the bishops do not see, and some of us have received communications from the clergy with regard to this Bill, clergy who could not possibly be affected by it in any way, clergy whose character and position are as high as those of any other clergy in the Church of England, who detest this Bill—in fact, from clergy who have actually gone so far as to say that they would rather see the Church of England disestablished and disendowed than see this Bill passed into law.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order! The honourable Member is now discussing the whole Bill. The question now before the House is whether this new clause shall be added to the Bill.
§ MR. LEWIS
I was about to refer more particularly to one of the grounds upon which I support the clause moved by the honourable Member opposite, because in Wales there is a very strong feeling among the clergy that the principle of the clause moved by the honourable Member for Arfon, which is also contained in this clause, ought to be carried into law. In obedience to the right honourable Gentleman I am discussing it now rather than at an earlier stage. I am glad to think that not only many Unionist Members from Wales support us in the contention—
§ * MR. LEWIS
I was trying to follow the advice of the First Lord of the Treasury. [Mr. BALFOUR expressed dissent.] Well, I thought it was his advice; I apologise to the right honourable Gentle- 820 man if I have mistaken him. But the main question, after all, in connection with this Amendment is this, whether the parishioners are or are not to have a say in regard to the appointment of clergymen to their parishes. We, as Nonconformists, are accustomed to have that matter entirely left in our own hands. Well, I will only venture to suggest that the member of the Established Church surely ought to have the same right; that if he is not actually to select his spiritual pastor and master, at all events he should have the right to say with regard to such and such a man, "That man is objectionable, and I appeal against the decision of the bishop." It is possible that the bishop may have been inadequately informed with regard to any particular individual, and surely it is a reasonable thing that the inhabitant of a parish should have the right of drawing attention to the appointment which has been made, and that before a man is fixed in his parish for the whole of his life, to be the spiritual guide for perhaps 10 or 20 or 30 years, the parishioners should have a right to say that the objection he raises shall be investigated in the first instance. I hope, Sir, that a great number of Members of the House will support the new clause which the honourable Member has moved, and that the feeling of the Grand Committee upstairs will be reflected in this House.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Norfolk, Lynn Regis)
I have taken the interest of an outsider in the discussion which has taken place on this clause. It seems to me at first that the clause was calculated chiefly to promote litigation, which, considering the source from which it has come, one would never have expected. Secondly, it seems to me to diminish the responsibility of the bishop in making the appointments which are particularly aimed at by this clause. Consequently I was inclined to vote against the new clause, but I have been converted into a supporter of it. What does this Bill do? It seems to me, so far as the Bill is active, that it proposes to restrain the possible misdeeds of the incumbent. There are three authorities—first, second, and third—each of whom controls the 821 one beneath. I think if the patron makes a mistake, the bishop controls him, and then appeal—
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
Precisely; but against refusal. In this case, it seems to me, one of the three is eliminated. In the case where the bishop himself is patron and bishop rolled into one there is no appeal, because there is no power of appealing to the court. Therefore two of the three authorities to whom this appeal is committed disappear in the particular case which is referred to by this section. But, Sir, there is another reason—and a much more important and serious reason—why I think this clause should be added to the Bill. It has been laid down by a very great judge that a parson exists for the ease and comfort of the parish, and not the parish for the ease and comfort of the parson. That is a true, sound, constitutional doctrine; but the effect of this Bill, so far as it goes, is to diminish the popular element in the Church of England. It tends to restrain lay patronage. It tends to diminish the action of the outside, lay, popular element. I admit that this clause has inconveniences. I think it may possibly lead to increased litigation. I think it is possible that instead of its being given to one parishioner
§ to put in force the whole of this machinery, it ought to be given to a number or a majority. That is possible; but I believe the principle of the clause to be sound in that it tends to reintroduce into the Church of England the lay or popular element. Sir, I cannot conceive why any objection should be made to this. If affairs had been left as they were before, had the lay patron been left where he was without any further restraints than have existed with regard to him up to this time, I for one should have been inclined to resist any clause of this kind; and had the honourable and learned Member for Walsall introduced this clause as a separate Bill of one clause I should have opposed it. But by reason of the enormous changes introduced by this Bill into the ecclesiastical system of this country, and of the increased sacerdotalism which I think has been imported into the Church of England, and the great dangers, ritualistic and otherwise, that have arisen, I think some corrective is needed in the sense of the clause suggested by the honourable and learned Member for Walsall, and therefore I, as a convert made during the Debate, shall certainly vote for the clause.
That the clause be now read a second time.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 117; Noes 204.—(Division List No. 146.)825
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Channing, Francis Allston||Holburn, J. G.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Colville, John||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. Henry||Crilly, Daniel||Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry|
|Austin, Sir J. (Yorkshire)||Crombie, John William||Howard, Joseph|
|Baker, Sir John||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Howell, William Tudor|
|Banes, Maj. Geo. Edward||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Donelan, Captain A.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Dunn, Sir William||Jones, D. Brynmor (Sw'ns'a)|
|Billson, Alfred||Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.|
|Blake, Edward||Ferguson. R. C. M. (Leith)||Kinloch, Sir J. G. Smyth|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Knox, Edmund F. Vesey|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Labouchere, Henry|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Galloway, William Johnson||Langley, Batty|
|Burns, John||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Gold, Charles||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)|
|Caldwell, James||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Leng, Sir John|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lloyd-George, David|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm.||Logan, John William|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Lough, Thomas|
|Cawley, Frederick||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||Macaleese, Daniel|
|McArthur, C. (Liverpool)||Robertson, E. (Dundee)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|McArthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Robson, William Snowdon||Wallace, Robt. (Edinburgh)|
|McEwan, William||Savory, Sir Joseph||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Maddison, Fred||Shaw, C. Edw. (Stafford)||Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Mappin, Sir Fredk. Thorpe||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Sidebottom, Wm. (Derbysh.)||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)||Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)|
|Morley, C. (Breconshire)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Owen, Thomas||Souttar, Robinson||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Spicer, Albert||Woodall, William|
|Philipps, John Wynford||Steadman, William Charles||Woods, Samuel|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Stone, Sir Benjamin||Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.|
|Price, Robert John||Strachey, Edward||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Pryce-Jones, Edward||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Reckitt, Harold James||Tennant, Harold John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Sydney Gedge and Mr. H. D. Greene.|
|Rickett, J. Compton||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Curzon, Rt Hn. G. N. (Lanc. S W)||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)|
|Ambrose, Wm. (Middlesex)||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Hoare, E. Brodie (Hampstead)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Daly, James||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Davenport, W. Bromley-||Houston, R. P.|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Davies, Horatio D. (Chatham)||Hozier, Hon. James Henry C.|
|Baird, John George A.||Denny, Colonel||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn|
|Balcarres, Lord||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Hughes, Colonel Edwin|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Jameson, Major J. Eustace|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Douglas-Pennant, Hon. E. S.||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Barry, Francis. T. (Windsor)||Doxford, William Theodore||Jenkins, Sir John Jones|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Drage, Geoffrey||Joliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Edwards, Gen. Sir James B.||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lafone, Alfred|
|Bethell, Commander||Fardell, Sir T. George||Laurie, Lieut.-General|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Fellowes, Hon. A. Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)|
|Biddulph, Michael||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Bigwood, James||Finch, George H.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Bond, Edward||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Fisher, William Hayes||Loder, Gerald Walter E.|
|Brassey, Albert||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Flannery, Fortescue||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Liverpool)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Folkestone, Viscount||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Brown, Alexander H.||Forster, Henry William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Bucknill, Thomas Townsend||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H. (C. of Lond)||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Butcher, John George||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Gilliat, John Saunders||McIver, Sir Lewis|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh||Godson, Augustus Frederick||Maple, Sir John Blundell|
|Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Marks, Henry Hananel|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r.)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Melville, Beresford Valentine|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon Henry||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Graham, Henry Robert||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Clarke, Sir Edw. (Plymouth)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Milton, Viscount|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs)||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Coddington, Sir William||Gretton, John||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hall, Sir Charles||Monk, Charles James|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)|
|Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Hanson, Sir Reginald||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hardy, Laurence||Mount, William George|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G||Murdoch, Charles Townshend|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Myers, William Henry||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Newark, Viscount||Seely, Charles Hilton||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Sharpe, William E. T.||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Shee, James John||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Pease, Arthur (Darlington)||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Penn, John||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Williams, J. Powell- (Birm.)|
|Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Pollock, Harry Frederick||Smith, Hon W. F. D. (Strand)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks)|
|Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Wodehouse, Edmd. R. (Bath)|
|Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Pym, C. Guy||Stephens, Henry Charles||Wyndham, George|
|Rankin, James||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Richards, Henry Charles||Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.||Younger, William|
|Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uny.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Rothschild, Baron F. J. de||Thorburn, Walter|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
The following new clause stood on the Paper:—
Before the declaration set forth in the schedule to this Act is taken sections 1 and 2 of the Clergy Resignation Bonds Act, and section 1, sub-section 3, of this Act shall be read to the person making the declaration."—(Mr. Herbert Lewis.)
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The new clause standing in the name of the honourable Member for Flint Boroughs is not in order as a new clause. It should come in as an Amendment at the end of sub-section 4.
§ Amendment proposed—