HL Deb 09 April 1840 vol 53 cc838-9
Lord Ellenborough

said, that with regard to the questions proposed to be put to the learned judges on the question of the Clergy Reserves Bill, they had stated that on questions of such importance it was not fitting that an answer should be given by any small body of them, and that therefore they would rather not take the question into consideration until the first day of term—that was two days after the day on which the right rev. Prelate had given notice of his intention to bring forward a motion to address the Crown to refuse the Royal Assent to the bill. Now, it was desirable that this matter should be as little discussed as possible, and even if the House were to assemble on Easter Monday he feared that that would be hardly time enough to enable the motion to be brought forward within the thirty days. Under these circumstances, he thought that it would not be too much to ask the noble Lord opposite to give a pledge that in the event of the right rev. Prelate postponing his motion he would not advise that the Royal Assent should be given to the bill until the right rev. Prelate had had an opportunity of bringing forward his motion; also, that in the event of that motion being carried, he would advise her Majesty to refuse her assent to the bill. So that the House and the right rev. Prelate should be placed in the same position as they would have stood in if the learned judges had been enabled to give their opinion, so that the debate might have come within the thirty days.

Viscount Melbourne

said, that the noble Lord must perceive that it was placing him in rather a difficult position to exact a pledge from him, to advise her Majesty not to give her consent to a bill of which he for one approved. Of course, the question having been referred to the judges, it was important that no steps should be taken until their opinion should be known; he agreed entirely with the noble Lord as to the evils likely to arise to the Colonies from the unnecessary discussion of this question; he however, understood that a pledge had been given on this subject in another place—he was not aware of the precise nature of that pledge, and therefore could not at present give an answer to the noble Lord. He would however, give him an answer to morrow.

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