HC Deb 02 March 1899 vol 67 cc1031-3
MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is responsible for advising Her Majesty to appoint the Rev. Henry Whitehead to the Bishopric of Madras, which had been previously filled by an Evangelical; whether he is aware that the Rev. Henry Whitehead w as not only a member or the English Church Union, bat is the Superior of the Oxford Mission at Calcutta, whose official anniversary sermon was preached by the Bishop of Lincoln at St. Mary Magdalene's on Epiphany Tide at a service announced in the parish magazine as High Mass, and at which banners, crucifixes, sacrificial vestments, multiplied lights, incense, sacring bells, and elevation were included, and above all there were no communicants; whether he is aware that, at the college chapel presided over by Mr. Whitehead, according to the "Tourists' Church Guide" published by the English Church Union, vestments, altar lights, incense, and other illegalities are practised; and whether this appointment may be taken as an indication of the ecclesiastical policy of Her Majesty's Government?


I am responsibe for advising as to the appointment recently made to the Bishopric of Madras. I am aware that Mr. Whitehead has of late held the official position of chaplain to the Bishop of Calcutta and Principal of the Bishop's College, Calcutta, and he has also voluntarily undertaken the work of Superior of the Oxford Mission in that city. As to the details of services held in this country in connection with the Oxford Mission, I have no information; nor can I understand why the Bishop Designate, who has been working continuously for the last 15 years in India, should be held responsible for them. The ritual practised in the Chapel of the Bishop's College at Calcutta has been and is such as is approved by the Bishop for the time being. The honourable Member must be aware that the interpretation of the law on this subject is a matter of much difficulty; but I am in a position to state that the Bishop Designate regards it as a duty not to go beyond the limits laid down in the Prayer Book, and that he is prepared to tender all due reverence and obedience to the Metropolitan. I may add that men of all phases of religious opinion speak in the highest terms of Mr. Whitehead's ministrations in India, and agree that, by his intellectual attainments, daily life, and devotion to duty, he has, wherever he has laboured, made Christianity a living and speaking reality. The honourable Gentleman asks mo if, from this one appointment, a general indication may be obtained of the ecclesiastical policy of the Government. The honourable Gentleman must know that any generalisation from a solitary appointment must be invidious and misleading; but, if he is disposed to indulge in such conjectures, I think it would be more appropriate for him to take as his illustration the appointment of Dr. Well don to the Bishopric of Calcutta, in which capacity, as Metropolitan of India, he is and will continue to be Mr. Whitehead's ecclesiastical superior.