The Bishop of Exeter
presented two Petitions from Pen with and Powder, praying the House to introduce such enactments into any Bill for amending the Poor Law as shall make due provision for the Spiritual Instruction and Religious Worship of the Inmates of Union Workhouses in England. The right rev. Prelate said, these were the Petitions which he gave notice of his intention to lay on their Lordships' Table; and, having done so, he should now, with permission of the House, proceed to move for the appointment of "a Select Committee to consider the provision made, and which may require to be made, for Religious Worship and Spiritual Instruction in the Union Workhouses in England and Wales." It might in the outset be convenient for him to state, that noble Lords might not be detained by the observations with which he might deem it necessary to preface his Motion, that it was not his intention to press that Motion to a division. If Her Majesty's Government concurred with him in the necessity of appointing a Select Committee to inquire into the facts which be should bring forward, he would be prepared in that Committee, if the opportunity were given him, to prove every tittle which he might advance by the most respectable, the most irrefragable evidence. Still he did not mean to press this question to a division. It was his intention to leave the question of "Committee or no Committee" to the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government; but he should state on what grounds he thought, not that himself, but that the country, was entitled to the appointment of a Committee to inquire into matters of such grave importance. Now, for ten years past, his attention had been strongly directed towards, and excited by, the operation of the Poor Law Amendment 108 Act, and he had witnessed daily more and more the evil effects of that Measure; but, in no portion of it had he seen such lamentable defects as in the spiritual destitution which it entailed on large bodies of the Poor in the different Unions throughout the country. Let it be understood that he did not mean to call the attention of their Lordships to that general spiritual destitution which was said to prevail in different parts of the country. He should speak only of those deficiencies which came within his own immediate notice. The representations which had reached him on this subject came from most respectable portions of the Clergy and Laity: and his own inquiries satisfied him that their complaints were perfectly well-founded. The cases which he was about to place before the House had reference exclusively to Unions in his own diocese. The first Union to which he should advert was that of Liskeard. With respect to that Union, an hon. Gentleman, a brother to a noble Earl—a man who was dear to every one who was acquainted with his virtues—who, as he knew, represented a very ancient family—informed him that the question of the appointment of a Chaplain, had been settled very unfortunately. They had proceeded to the election of a clergyman to the office of Chaplain, but the proposition was rejected. A motion was then made to the effect that a Chaplain was necessary; and he (the informant) was very much surprised to learn afterwards, that a Dissenting Minister, who was not sent for by the inmates of the workhouse, was performing the duty. The most deplorable effect of this proceeding was, that it formed a precedent for similar irregularity elsewhere. The success of the Dissenters in this instance urged them to further exertion, and, leagued with the economists, they prevented the appointment of Chaplains throughout the different Unions of the diocese. He held in his hand a remarkable proof of the accuracy of that statement. It had reference to the Union of St. Austel's. That Union contained fifteen parishes, and a population of 31,000 persons. Here there was no Chaplain. It appeared that there was a very large room adjoining the Union-house, which was planned and erected for a chapel, but which had never been used for that purpose. Some years since a struggle was made by some of the Clergy to get a Chaplain appointed, but without success. At the same time a motion was made for admitting Dissenting Ministers, and carried, 109 Ever since, that room was occupied twice on a Sunday by the Wesleyans, and on alternate Tuesdays, the Union finding candles. This proceeding was decidedly in the teeth of all the regulations connected with the government of the Unions—and, nevertheless, the attempt to turn this room into a Dissenting chapel was successful. This very room, under the name of "Union-house," appeared in the Wesleyans' quarterly printed directions. They had always preachers on trial, and it would appear that the Union-house was made a training-place. Inquiry was made as to what instruction was given to the children, eighty-six in number, and by whom? The answer was, that no instruction whatsoever was given to the children, except by the schoolmaster (who was also porter) and the mistress, his wife, so that their Lordships would observe here, that the Church was actually sacrificed, and prevented from imparting instruction; and that such instruction as was given was supplied by others who were opposed to her tenets, and hostile to her ordinances. The next case was that of Bodmin; and there he found that no Chaplain was appointed. All the religious instruction that was destined for that Union was gratuitously supplied by the curate of the parish. The parish in which he lived consisted of about 4,000 persons. The curate had most kindly and charitably extended his services to the Workhouse. They had service every Sunday once, and once a week. Now that was done without licence, and indeed was in violation of the law, but in the breach of that law, in such a matter as this, he (the Bishop of Exeter) must say that he could not but honour the rev. Gentleman. The next case was that of St. Colomb, to which he begged the attention of the House. The Union of the parishes consisted of 16,000 persons. They had no religious instruction except such as could be supplied by the Clergyman of a large parish, whose time was almost entirely occupied in attending to his own duties. In that workhouse there were forty-five children, and the only religious instruction they received was that from a schoolmistress, and when prayers were read to them, they were read by the master of the workhouse. He now came to notice the case of St. Germain's in which no religious duties were performed except such as were given by the Clergyman, who had a large parish to attend to. In that workhouse there were thirty-three aged and infirm persons thus 110 left without any religious instruction. The next case was that of Helston, in the workhouse of which gratuitous religious instruction was given by the curate. The parish where he lived consisted of 4000 inhabitants. The curate had to go five or six miles once a week to perform those duties, for which no pecuniary remuneration was afforded. The Minister of the parish had the whole of his time employed in attending to his duties, and he could not give any religious instruction. The right rev. Prelate then came to notice the case of the Union of Penzance. That Union consisted of no fewer than nineteen parishes, and the population extended to the number of 49,951 individuals. On an application for the appointment of a Chaplain to that workhouse, that application was resisted. True it was, that there was a person appointed, but he was one who had apostatised from the Church. A Clergyman of the Church living in the neighbourhood, knowing the facts of the case, undertook to do the duty, but the Board of Guardians refused. What the Board of Guardians did was contrary to the rules of the Poor-law Commissioners. For, in the first place, no Chaplain could be appointed to a workhouse who had not received the sanction of the Poor Law Commissioners, and the licence of the Bishop of the diocese was also requisite in the second place to complete it. But what did the Board of Guardians do in this instance? They elected the individual to whom he had alluded, who had apostatised from the Church. Now he (the Bishop of Exeter) begged here to be understood as bringing no charge of moral misconduct against that individual. He had been a member of the Church, he withdrew "reverend" from his name, and he appeared in public in coloured clothes. He attended the meetings of the Independent Dissenters of Penzance, and attached himself to their body. He married the daughter of a Dissenter of fortune in the place, and the children the offspring of that marriage, were all baptised in that faith. On his being appointed to act as religious instructor to the Union Workhouse no notice was given to him (the Bishop of Exeter) as Bishop of the diocese, which was required by law, but the whole facts of the case were transmitted to the Poor Law Commissioners in London, who sent an Assistant Commissioner down, and the result was that that individual was elected. The right rev. Bishop then proceeded to call the attention of their Lordships to an 111 inquiry into a frightful tragedy which took place in the workhouse. There was in the Union Workhouse an unhappy woman who was brutally treated by the master of the workhouse, and it was determined that she should be placed in solitude and darkness. When she heard what the nature of the punishment she was destined to undergo was, she at once said that she could not endure such solitude, and if she were sent to undergo the punishment with no one to speak to she very much feared that she should lose her senses and that she should commit suicide. She was sent there, and she did destroy herself. When it was proposed to remove the master of the workhouse for his inhuman conduct, the Board of Guardians refused to dismiss him. When the proposition was made to the Board of Guardians, one gentleman, Colonel Wade, whom he (the Bishop of Exeter) named to his honour, insisted upon the man's removal, but without effect. He mentioned this with a view of insisting that the Poor Law Commissioners in London were bound to have an especial eye to the manner in which the Poor Law Act was carried out. The individual to whom he had before alluded as being elected, was still in the same situation. The rev. gentleman the vicar of the parish, who acted as an ex-officio Guardian to the Poor Law Union, told him that the Church prayers were much abridged by him; and that he administered the Baptism in the workhouse on all occasions when births took place there without considering whether it was necessary that there should be private Baptisms, and also without making any registry in the parish. The rule was, to consider the children always in danger, and to have them privately Baptized by the Chaplain a few hours after birth. The Lord's Supper was administered by this individual contrary to all law and authority four times a year in the chapel. So much for Penzance. He now must draw attention to another Union—that of Redruth. This would not present the horrors of the last case, but there were here carried on irregularities of the most startling kind, and irregularities of which the Commissioners in London were cognizant from the Reports of the Assistant Commissioners. The Union of Redruth contained only eight parishes, with a population of 48,987 persons, and there was no doubt at this time the population was 50,000 persons, and was increasing annually. There was a Chaplain there, but how was he appointed? Why, it seemed that 112 there, too, the Dissenters, encouraged by the success of the Dissenters at Liskeard, had made exertions and passed resolutions that the Clergyman who was to perform the duty which the law required of him, should only perform service once on each Sunday, and that the Methodist teachers should perform the other service in the Chapel of the Union. It was with great difficulty that the appointment of a Chaplain could be obtained, and when it was obtained the Assistant Commissioner had entreated them to give some salary, if only a nominal one; and he proposed that 1l. a year should be given, which would satisfy the letter of the law. At the same time the Guardians pressed upon the Commissioners the necessity of having these Methodist meetings in the Chapel on Sunday to go hand in hand with the Church Service; and upon the whole, the Assistant Commissioner had thought it better to submit to it. Sometime afterwards the same Assistant Commissioner, thinking the salary of 1l. a year somewhat small, had entreated the Guardians to give 30l. a year; this was agreed to, and the ex officio Guardians and some wealthy individuals had made a subscription also, to the amount of 60l. a year; making in all 90l. a year as the remuneration for the Chaplain. But in this case no Clergyman of the neighbourhood would undertake the office. And for two years the parish had been using every effort, by advertising, to obtain a Chaplain, but, from the extent of the duties to be performed, and the smallness of the remuneration, no chaplain could be obtained; and the office was filled, after a manner, by a stranger to the diocese, who happened to be in the neighbourhood, and who, he rejoiced had, been permitted most irregularly to perform Service in this Church. In this Union-house there were no fewer than 306 inmates, about 150 being children. These persons being concentrated from a large Parish, imposed a heavier duty on a Minister than attendance to a Parish of 306 inhabitants. Almost every individual must occupy a large portion of his time, if he did his duty. It was therefore really impossible, unless the whole time of one Clergyman were given to the duty, that the office could be effectually fulfilled. There was no means of giving education to the children except by means of the schoolmaster of the house, and he need not state what kind of education that was. There were other places in the County of Cornwall where there was similar remissness; 113 but, without going into all these cases, he would only say that there was not an Union Workhouse where there was available provision in this respect, even in the eyes of the greatest defenders of this law. In Devonshire the first Union he would notice was that of Axminster. A Gentleman who had recently filled the office of Chaplain there had informed bins that on the whole the religious services of the Church were satisfactorily performed there, and were most gratefully received by the poor. He had entreated the Board of Guardians to permit one of the rooms of the workhouse to be set apart solely for religious worship, and had obtained this boon. In the great majority of places the dining-hall was made the only place for religious service. The poor people were most grateful at having this room granted to them, which they called the chapel, and had been delighted at the idea of having a place which bore some resemblance to the House of God. He mentioned this because it was a duty of their Lordships to take care, in the Bill to be brought before them, that a part of every workhouse should be set apart solely for religious worship. He was not asking their Lordships to run into any great expense for erecting fine Chapels, but he implored them to take care that in each workhouse some room should be set apart for the purpose, free from all the degrading exhibitions which must take place in the dining-hall. From Axminster he would proceed to Kingsbridge. There the appointment of a Chaplain had been insisted upon. The Chaplain, however, soon after his appointment, was obliged to resign his office, and then the Board of Guardians had thought fit to try the patience of the Commissioners and to refuse to appoint another. Remonstrances had been made by the ex-officio Guardians, and by a large portion of the inhabitants, who had implored the Commissioners to insist on the appointment. The Commissioners had sent down word to the Board of Guardians that unless they made the appointment they should be compelled to do so by a mandamus. The Board of Guardians had disregarded this threat, and the consequence was, that the remonstrances had become more and more urgent. A correspondence had taken place on the subject, and the Guardians had given an assurance no less than six different times that the question should be taken into their consideration, and the case rested now where it was, notwithstanding what had 114 been stated by the Commissioners. He was bound in justice to state that the Guardians entreated the Commissioners to wait until a Chancery Suit in which the rector was engaged had terminated, as they thought of appointing him the Chaplain. This state of things had gone on for two years. He lamented that owing to the absence of the Earl of Devon he should not have the benefit of his advocacy on this question. The Clergyman of the Parish, who had two charges on his hands, and a cure of 2,000 souls, had felt himself compelled to undertake, not the performance of the duties of chaplain, but to give what assistance was in his power. Whilst a Chaplain had been appointed divine service had been performed in a kind of pulpit placed against one of the walls of a room in which the people took their meals, and in which the Dissenting Ministers of all denominations alternately preached on Friday evenings. There were 266 paupers in this Union, 115 of whom were children under fifteen years of age, who had no religious instruction whatever. The visitors' book of the Union House contained entries such as "The Rev.—to preach the gospel of Christ and to visit the sick." All this was in the very teeth of the regulations of the Commissioners and of the provisions of the Act of Parliament. He now proceeded to the Union of Oakhampton, and from the Minister of that Parish he had that day received a statement of the condition of things there:—The average number of paupers in the house is about 140, children and adults being of nearly equal proportions. The paupers were formerly allowed to attend the parish church on Sunday, but for the last two years have been unable in consequence of the destruction of the church by fire, and the present place of worship not being sufficiently large to receive them with the rest of the congregation. Those who apply to the Board of Guardians have leave granted them to attend divine service on Wednesday evening, and I am happy to say many avail themselves of this privilege. The Guardians have hitherto always refused to appoint a salaried Chaplain, and a motion which Mr. Woolcombe, a Magistrate and ex-officio Guardian, twice brought forward for the appointment of a Chaplain, with the consent of the legal authorities, to be paid by himself for one year, met with a similar result. A number of most ignorant human beings are, therefore, congregated together without any spiritual superintendence, and the Governor of the Workhouse assures me how disgraceful is their behaviour, and how unpleasant his position in consequence. Most of the children 115 born in the house are illegitimate; they are never brought to the church to be baptised, some of the parents appearing totally indifferent about the matter, and I have no power to perform the sacrament of baptism in the Workhouse, unless in cases of dangerous illness. This I have always expressed myself as ready to do when required; several children however having lately died unbaptized, and having been buried in consequence without any service performed over them; (this I know has occurred two or three times within the last six weeks in the parish of North Tawton alone), I feel it my painful duty, acting with the advice of some of my brother Clergy, to call your Lordship's attention to the degraded state of our Union Workhouse, in the hope that something in the way of improvement may be effected.He would not weaken the effect of this plain statement. But one result could ensue from this tremendous fact. That was not a place, though it was an occasion, in which he ought to enlarge upon the inestimable blessing of baptism; but he could not help believing that there was a tremendous responsibility attached to the hazarding of their eternal salvation by the non-baptism of infants. But most tremendous was the responsibility of those who had permitted such a state of things, and who had put to hazard the eternal salvation of these children. In the Union of Tavistock. which was the next case he had to submit to their Lordships, there had not been one sixpence given by the Board of Guardians to supply the place of Chaplain, and in consequence they permitted the curate of that parish of 1,000 souls, when exhausted by two services in the Church, to give one service at the workhouse. All this was in direct contradiction to the mandates of the Somerset House Commissioners. He now came to Tiverton, and regarding that place it so happened that he had received a letter that morning. There was a chapel there, and the poor inmates had been permitted to attend church once a day on Sunday. But something was to be done in this chapel, and therefore, in the afternoon, service was to be performed there;—by whom? By the master of the workhouse, who went into the chapel, and there enacted the part of Clergyman. It appeared that in consequence of his having given notice of this Motion before their Lordships, the Board of Guardians of this place had taken alarm, and had had a meeting, and passed a resolution, which had been sent to him with breathless haste—what did their Lordships think to do?—to appoint a chaplain? No, 116 but to permit the poor to go to the church twice on a Sunday. These were cases which had occurred in his own diocese, and these cases were of a kind in which he should confidently rely on the consequences of the Motion which he now made. He contended that the whole of these cases were of such a kind that, if true, it would be absolutely necessary that the Poor Law Commissioners should be called on to explain to the country how they had dared to neglect, or rather to abuse their trust. When he moved for this Committee, he was ready to prove everything which he had brought forward. He thought it was due in justice to these Commissioners themselves, that they should have the opportunity which he was ready to give them of disproving his statements. Since the notice of his Motion, he had received several letters on the subject—one from York, and this opened an important case, because it had shown what had been the main stirring principle which had prevented the appointment of Chaplains in the north of England. The Union of York contained seventy-nine parishes, and a population, according to the census of 1831, of 900,000 souls. In August of last year, a Motion had been made before the Board of Guardians there, to appoint a Chaplain. That Motion had been successfully opposed. On what grounds? Why, almost entirely on the ground of pounds, shillings, and pence. They would not incur the expense of having a Chaplain. He appealed to the noble Lord near him (Lord Wharncliffe) if that were not the motive which prevailed in refusing to appoint a Chaplain to the York Union? [Lord Wharncliffe: Yes, it is.] He said, it was the expense which prevented the appointment of Chaplains to Unions in the North of England. [Lord Wharncliffe expressed his dissent.] He was aware that in the neighbourhood in which the noble Lord lived, no such motive could be imputed to the Board of Guardians. A petition was sent to the Commissioners, and the Commissioners returned expressions of regret that such a state of things should exist. The question was brought forward again in December, and then they were told with a jeer that the Commissioners in London had been informed of the circumstance—that they (the Board of Guardians) had expected a mandamus before this, but that the Commissioners had contented themselves with merely saying they regretted what had been done; and so the Board ridiculed the notion of appointing a 117 Chaplain, and thus the friends of religion were again disappointed in their hopes. He should now call their Lordships' attention to the state of another Union, and that a very important Union in the county of Lancaster. In that Union there were twenty-nine parishes, and those parishes contained a population of 59,000 persons, the Workhouses being four in number. The paupers in the Union Workhouse at Preston amounted usually to 491 persons. It appeared that no Chaplain was paid for attending to the spiritual wants of this large amount of inmates, and this fact he was enabled to state upon the authority of one who was himself an ex officio Guardian. He stated, that in all there were 718 inmates in the four Workhouses of the Preston Union, that about two-thirds of them were Members of the Church of England, 139 were children within the age of education, that there was no full service on the Sunday, that the Clergy of the town attended voluntarily, and that they were not able to perform full service on more than one day in the week, and, whether instructions or spiritual comfort were regarded, it must be admitted that the common gaol was preferable. There was no moral control, no inspection, no superintendence. That was the state of things in the Preston Union, a place where, whether the morals, health, education, or religion of the inmates were considered, were less preferable than the prison. At Stockport, they said that they wanted no parson, as they had assistance from the Dissenters for nothing. In the York Union, since September, 1840, there had died in the Workhouse fifty-two persons, of whom fifty were Protestants, principally members of the Established Church, and not one of those persons was afforded the opportunity of receiving the Sacrament from the time of admission into the house till their death. But the case of Macclesfield was much worse than that at Preston—there matters were of a still more painful character. At Macclesfield, in the adjoining county of Chester, the curate had been obliged to make efforts for the instruction of the poor which were quite beyond his strength, and when he quitted the workhouse the aged paupers expressed the deepest regret. Since he left, another clergyman had taken up the case. From that Gentleman's letter, received this morning, which was a document of some length, it appeared that he was usher at the free-grammar-school at Macclesfield, and that he was accustomed to give a portion of the 118 small quantity of leisure that he enjoyed to the duty of affording religious instruction to the inmates of the workhouse. He hoped that their Lordships would allow him to read, if not the whole, a considerable portion of the letter with which he had been favoured by this Gentleman:—I have the honour to lay before your Lordship the following facts,—1. As to the Union Workhouse: the number of its inmates has sometimes reached 300, but at present it is slightly under 200, and I think I am correct in saying, that during the last seven months, the number has varied from about 240 to 170. Of these, the adults would certainly average more than 150 and the great majority would, if asked, either profess themselves members of our Church, acknowledge that they had gone to no place of worship, or, what is as common, 'to all sorts.' For these there is no religious instruction or ministerial superintendence whatever, provided by the Guardians. The natural results are, that the very little religion which does, or at all events which till lately did exist, is either entirely Sectarian, or savouring strongly of Schism. The state of moral depravity and religious destitution is frightful, and the utter shamelessness and moral degradation which prevails among the young women in particular are quite appalling. From the construction of the house—an old factory converted into a Workhouse—anything like classification, is impossible, and a moderately modest woman (unless indeed, she should have the good fortune to be sufficiently ill to secure her a place in one of the sick-wards, where it is practicable to enforce stricter discipline) would, after a stay of some weeks in the house, it is my firm conviction, go out, almost infallibly, a hopeless prostitute. The language which sometimes has met my ear has been most dreadful, and the Governor, who is anxious to do his duty, I believe, to God as well as to man, laments the state of things; but, until the removal of the paupers to the house, which is being built for them, he sees no prospect of amendment. In August last, I found that, excepting very rare visits of one clergyman, no one (save some Methodists on Sunday) went near the sick and dying; and at the time to which I allude, I found two or three persons actually dying, without any care having been taken to warn, to instruct, or to comfort them. The paupers have frequently themselves complained of the way in which they had been neglected. An old woman one day said to me, 'Why, Sir, no one has been near us since Mr.—was obliged to give up, and here we are, a parcel of old blind creatures, hard at death's door, and no one seems to think of us, or to care whether we go to heaven or hell.' And oh, my Lord, she spoke the sad, the shameful truth! When I said that no religious instruction was afforded by the Guardians I ought to have mentioned, that they did give permission to 119 the Wesleyan Methodist body to have two regular services on Friday and Sundays, and to hold prayer meetings; which is still continued to them, though I am in a manner acknowledged by the same body. I grieve to say, that this 'religious instruction' has done more harm than can easily be imagined. The poor creatures, from confinement and other causes, are easily wrought upon, and in several instances, in one most melancholy one, my endeavours to bring about anything like a wholesome religious feeling, as far as by the Lord's blessing I might be enabled so to do, have been entirely, and most mischievously baffled. I could, did I not fear lest I should swell this letter into a volume, supply your Lordship with many instances of the wretched state of things among those (both men and women) who are not ill enough to find an asylum in the sick-wards. The Governor's constant complaint is, that the young men and women, having nothing to do, and there being no means of instructing them, are running wild, and always in mischief. One case I will give. A young woman who had been seduced in a very shocking and disgraceful manner, came to the house; of course, she had a place assigned her among the common herd; fortunately she became very ill, and was for long confined to one of the sick-wards. She seemed for a time exceedingly penitent, and I really believe that she sorrowed after a godly sort. She told me, that she was very thankful that she had been brought into that ward, and that she felt how good the Lord had been in his dealings with her, for had she stayed in the room she had previously occupied, she should have been driven distracted. She said, I could have no notion 'how bad they were.' And yet for the reformation of these persons, not one step has been taken, excepting the efforts which I have been able to make, in aid of which I receive no kind of encouragement, nothing but the same permission given to the Dissenters, not even a grant for books. First, as to the children. The children are taught by a pauper school master occasionally in the evenings, and at intervals. On Sunday they have, till last Sunday, gone to the Sunday-school, in connexion with the parish Church. Now, this will no longer be the case, the master, whose business it was to go with them to Church and bring them back, having but little authority over them; and the Governor, being unable to find a pauper whom he can trust, has to-day told me, that he has found it necessary to put an end to their going out of the walls on Sunday, and we have just been trying to organize something like a plan for a Sunday School in the house. Whom we are to procure to teach the poor children, I have yet to ascertain. The last pauper school-master, who also acted as my clerk, was dismissed for being in a state of intoxication during divine service, about six weeks ago. He was in the habit of availing himself of his privilege of going out with the children, to procure in- 120 toxicating liquors, and this resulted in a disgraceful exhibition. This person can, moreover, read but indifferently, and writing is an accomplishment which he possesses in the smallest possible degree, As to my own connexion with the Workhouse, it is voluntary; and when my services were first tendered, the acceptance of them was by some of the Guardians opposed, on the ground, that to interfere with the Methodist would be unhandsome treatment. However, it was at last decided, that the Methodists should either have their service in another room at the same time as that which I had fixed on for the performance of divine service, or should fix upon some other hour; and I, on my part, was not to interfere with their Friday evening service, as at first I proposed to do. I have for the last six months (with the exception of an interval for my Christmas holidays, when I arranged with my clerical friends to take the Sunday services for me) performed divine service (as far as a deacon can) regularly on Wednesday and on Sunday evenings. I can only give them evening service, because in the week I am engaged as one of the masters of the grammar school, and on Sunday I have two services in the little church of which I am minister. The sick-wards I visit after school hours every evening in the week, excepting generally Monday, on which evening I rest, and Saturday, which I spend in my little district at B—, three miles and a half from this place. I have procured the assistance of clerical friends in Priests' orders to administer the holy eucharist to the sick several times; on one occasion to as many as six of the old and infirm, with whom I took some pains previously. Indeed, I have always taken care to employ all possible caution before I admitted any of the paupers into the number of those who were permitted to receive that holy mystery. I have also formed plans for the improvement of the young men and women, but I fear that I lack bodily strength to carry them out; and, after all, my Lord, what can I do among so many? I have but little leisure, and the people are perishing for lack of knowledge. I can, indeed, visit the sick, and have without intermission done so since August, excepting during the short interval to which I before alluded; but, oh! how seldom is it that the most unremitted attention on the dying pauper avails anything! In nine cases out of ten when they become confined to their beds, it is too late. I fear that I shall have wearied your Lordship with this long history, and I will only further say on this head, that a more wretched instance of negligence, and consequent spiritual destitution, than is presented in this miserable Workhouse, cannot well be imagined. I think it also exceedingly doubtful whether the guardians have any immediate notion of appointing a chaplin; in fact, I fear that many avail themselves of my gratuitous services to delay taking any steps towards this most desirable object,121 He had been requested by the Gentleman from whom this letter came to refrain from mentioning the names of places or of parties, and he should readily comply with this request, if his not doing so could in any respect prove injurious or dangerous to the good and single-minded man from whom that letter proceeded. He then went on to say:—I am about to make an appeal to the guardians to entreat them to bestir themselves, and to inform them that I doubt whether my health will permit me to continue my present labours, and to work out my plans for improving the condition of the adults for many months; and were they to feel that their flagrant conduct had been exposed through my instrumentality, I should have no chance of carrying my objects, and it is possible that the Dissenting guardians would make my supposed treason an imaginary ground for renewing their opposition to the appointment of a chaplain.This single-minded man, only desirous to do good, had begged him (the Bishop of Exeter) not to mention his name; and for this reason, because he was about to make another appeal to the guardians, from fear that his health would not much longer permit him to work out a plan he had conceived for the improvement and instruction of the poor—and because it was not impossible that the dissenting guardians might make his leaving a ground for refusing to appoint a Chaplin. He had been assured that the author of this letter was a man of the most incorruptible integrity, and that his lightest assertion was as worthy of credence as the solemn declaration of the most honourable of men. That Gentleman was a man who could have nothing to fear from the displeasure of the guardians; he might defy the guardians, or any other authorities connected with the Administration of the Poor-law. He had nothing to apprehend, and no man could doubt that the Poor-law Commissioners would feel it impossible any longer to refrain, after the present exposure, from sending down a peremptory order for the appointment of a chaplain. He could hardly bring himself to suppose that that order would not be immediately issued and attended to. If not, he (the Bishop of Exeter) should feel it his duty to propose to their Lordships that a humble address be presented to Her Majesty praying for the removal of the officers, whose duty it was to make provision for the instruction of the poor. He was not vain 122 enough to suppose because he brought forward such a Motion that it would be obeyed, but if they placed any faith in the statements which had been made, he was satisfied that the noble Lords would feel anxious to carry to the Throne their united expressions of indignation against those who would thus dare to palter with the high office conferred upon them. Would their Lordships endure to hear it said by the guardians, that the poor needed no assistance of that kind except what the Dissenters afforded them; and that they were able to have that without any ex-pence? It was clear, then, expence formed the real impediment in this case. The trifling amount of the pounds, shillings, and pence was the difficulty. Happily, the state of the poor was not the same in all parts of the country. Religious instruction was best provided for in the places where the Unions were first formed. There were in all 587 Unions, of which seventy-one had no Workhouses. To 414 there were Chaplains, thirty of whom had no salary. There were 102 which had no Chaplains; and if Liverpool, London, Manchester, and one or two other places were excepted, it would be found that the average salary enjoyed by those Chaplains did not exceed 37l. per annum. Liverpool, Manchester, and London, had done as became them. In Liverpool the payment to the Chaplain was 250l.; in Manchester 200l.; and in London, where they had more than one Chaplain, the gross payment to them all was 400l. He would just ask the House to look how the distribution of Chaplains took place in the country. Here was a statement of the different counties:—The county of Rutland pays in salaries to the Chaplains of its two Union Workhouses 75 l., nearly double what is paid to Chaplains by the united counties of Durham, Northumberland, and Westmoreland, and half as much again as those three counties and the North Riding of Yorkshire united; the county of Huntingdon pays to its three chaplains 150l., exceeding all that is paid by Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, and Westmoreland, and the North Riding of Yorkshire: the county of Hereford pays 255l., a sum exactly equal to what is paid by all the three Ridings of Yorkshire, Durham and Westmoreland: the counties of Bedford, of Herts, of Bucks, every of these pay more than the three counties united: the county of Cambridge pays 300l., a sum larger than by all Yorkshire, Durham, Westmoreland, and 123 Northumberland: the county of Dorset pays 380l., a sum exceeding all that is paid by Cumberland, Durham, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and the three ridings of Yorkshire (in all 376l.); the county of Berks pays 580l., a sum much more than double of all that is paid by Yorkshire, Durham, and Westmoreland, and much more than half as much again as is paid by all those five northern counties; the county of Cornwall bears a very discreditable rank in comparison with every other of the southern counties. Upon these and other details he rested his claim to the vote of their Lordships in favour of his Motion. The Poor Law Commissioners, he was bound to say—and he said it with pleasure—were most frank, open, and ready to communicate all they knew, even when they were aware that the declared object of the inquiry was to form a case against themselves. He said this in their praise. Nothing could be more frank and obliging than the behaviour (more particularly of one gentleman) of the Poor Law Commissioners when he applied to them for information. He might go so far as to say these gentlemen admitted that the "moral case" was a very strong one. They were honourable, and good, and charitable, and religious men; and having these, or any one of these qualities, they could not deny there was, morally speaking, a strong case. "But then," said they, "there are the Dissenters combined with economy." There might be some feelings of sectarianism in the matter, but the great point—the point which had the greatest weight—was the dread of paying 6d. additional for this necessary and indispensable purpose. On the question of economy he hoped their Lordships would say that the question must not be allowed to rest. He did not think it possible that the noble Lord near him—should he take the trouble to reply to the observations directed to the House—would attempt to resist his defence of the Commissioners, and his resistance to the Motion, on this petty, mercenary consideration. It was an absolute injustice to deal with the question in this manner. It was the duty of Government to stand its ground and reprobate so sordid a principle. What, then, could it be rested upon? It was in the recollection of their Lordships what had taken place last year—the tumultuous proceedings and the bickerings which had disturbed the peace and tranquillity of the country during the last Session of Parliament. He could not do the noble Lords near him the injus- 124 tice of supposing that they would yield to prejudices of any kind against the interests of the poor man; but he had been induced to consider all the reasons for which this Motion could be resisted, and this had suggested itself. But the question of last year was, whether a certain measure, which was not the law of the land, should become the law of the land; and the Dissenters had raised so serious a resistance to it, that the Government had thought fit to give way, and not to pass that law. Was that the case now? No; the law was in their favour, and the law must not be disregarded in deference to the assertions of those whom, he was sure in his heart, the noble Lord could not respect. The present state of things was in direct opposition to the law, for by the Poor Law Act, the Commissioners were not merely empowered, they were bound to appoint, it was their duty to appoint, Chaplains to every Union Workhouse; they had themselves admitted that the Chaplain was an indispensable officer in every Union, and in their letter of instructions, they had told their Assistant Commissioners on no account to give way upon this point. And it would be extraordinary indeed, if it were otherwise, for he would remind their Lordships, how the law stood with respect to other unhappy men. If these poor people were the tenants of a prison instead of a Union Workhouse, they would be sure of the services of a most pious, able, and indefatigable clergyman, one who would receive such remuneration as would entitle them to require that his whole time should be devoted to their service. By the Gaol Act, where there were fifty prisoners, the Chaplain received 100l. Where there were 100 and not more, 200l. Where more than 100, not more than 250l. per annum. Such was the rate at which the Legislature provided for the remuneration of those who had the spiritual charge of the inmates of a prison. Now, suppose that instead of being felons they were lunatics. Then also, in their lucid intervals, they would receive by law the consolations and assistance of a paid Chaplain. But did it rest there? No, for if they were Irish paupers it was peremptorily enjoined by the Irish Poor Law that there should be a Chaplain for the inmates of every workhouse. It was only in England for want of a direct expression in the Act, though it was implied in it, that any poor-house could be without the services of an authorised and paid Chaplain. He would, therefore, ask 125 their Lordships whether it were possible, with all these analogies in support of his claim, for the Poor Law Commissioners to satisfy Parliament or the country that it was even decent any longer to refuse to appoint Chaplains to our Union Workhouses. With respect to the Dissenters, he believed it was well known, that however strong they might be at Boards of Guardians, they were not strong in number in the workhouses themselves—that there the great majority were those who professed, at least, to be members of the Established Church, or who unhappily, from the destitution in which they lived, were members of no church or religious denomination at all. He admitted that he felt strongly for the gentlemen who held the office of Poor Law Commissioners. They had much to encounter, and so had their predecessors in office. They had much obloquy thrown upon them—some, he must fairly say, deserved obloquy, and much that was otherwise. He could, therefore, understand that they had some little disposition to yield to the pressure of these wretched guardians, lauded on by the Dissenters, and threatening opposition to them when they proposed, in this respect, to perform their duty. He felt, therefore, that they wanted some assistance, and that they sought for it that night from their Lordships' House. Nothing could help them so importantly as an intimation of opinion by that House that they would be right in performing what the law required, and what they must feel to be their first duty as men and as Christians. He asked their Lordships, therefore, to give them their support, by giving him a Committee to inquire into this important subject. In respect of all the particulars he had mentioned, although they ought to have cognizance of them from the reports of their Assistant Commissioners, and therefore nothing that he had stated would come upon them for the first time, yet, now that the case was made known to their Lordships, and through their Lordships to the country, there would be no excuse for them if they did not instantly enforce the discharge of this duty. If they would send forth their orders, there was no doubt but that they would be obeyed directly. But, at all events, if it were important to obtain a mandamus, every one of these counties—even Northumberland itself, once a kingdom—would fall prostrate before the majesty of the law. And why was not the law put in force in this great county? He 126 appealed to the noble Lord (Lord Wharncliffe), one of its most distinguished ornaments, whether that great county, which it had been his honour once to represent, and which was so highly honoured by his representing them, would any longer endure the disgrace and infamy (for such it was) of granting only such a miserable pittance for the subsistence of the souls of all their paupers? But in connection with the question of expense, there was one painful matter which remained to be spoken of. The Commissioners had thought fit to prescribe the duties of Chaplains, and to put those duties on the lowest possible scale on purpose to get Chaplains cheap. It was not denied that this was their reason. They required but one sermon on Sundays, in the hope of finding a neighbouring clergyman able to perform the duty, for a small remuneration, in addition to his own duties. He was required to read prayers and to preach a sermon to the paupers on Sundays, unless the Guardians, with the consent of the Commissioners, directed otherwise. He was also to read prayers to them—not to preach—every Good Friday and Christmas-day. Next, to examine the children, and to catechise such as belonged to the Established Church. How often? At least once in every month. Could these Commissioners seriously imagine that examination and catechising once a month was sufficient food for the souls, as well as minds, of these young paupers? If they would consult the Rubric, that would teach them that it was the duty of Chaplains, and, under them, of the schoolmasters, to make children the constant objects of their care. Lastly, the Commissioners required that he was to visit sick paupers and to administer religious consolation to them in the workhouse. How often? When applied to for that purpose by the master or matron. They were not to make these paupers the objects of their spiritual care. It was not to be their duty, as of the incumbents of parishes, to be the spiritual instructors, monitors, and guides of the inmates of workhouses, and to make themselves acquainted with their state and the periods when they required their ministrations. No; but to save expense, their sacred and important duties were to be neglected or performed only in the inefficient manner stated. It was mortifying to be obliged to enter into these sordid considerations, but when they were dwelt on by the Commissioners themselves, he could not forbear reminding their Lordships what 127 would be the expense incurred by appointing a Chaplain to every Union Workhouse in England, with a salary of 100l. per annum. There were in all about 600 Unions, and therefore to appoint a Chaplain to each, with a salary of 100l. per annum, would amount to between 50,000l. and 60,000l. Now, what was the annual value of the property rated to the poor? At least 60,000,000l. The rental of England and Wales was not less than 32,000,000l. many years ago, and it appeared, by a table published by the Commissioners themselves, that rent bore proportion to the other valuable property of the country, as 52 to 48. Therefore, the whole rateable property of England would not be less than 60,000,000l. Now, as a question merely of economy, what was the charge of 60,000l. a-year on property of 60,000,000l.? It was as 1l. in 1,000l. And what was the proportion of 1l. in 1,000l.? Something less than one farthing. It therefore, appeared, as plainly as figures could make it, that these sordid Guardians, for a sum so insignificant as a farthing in the pound, were willing not only to act differently to other Guardians, but to sacrifice all the best interests, eternal as well as temporal, of all these paupers. This view of the question was shocking as well as degrading, and he had endeavoured in vain to conjecture what argument could be urged against him. He sincerely rejoiced, however, that there was now a prospect of something being done for the children in workhouses. It appeared that the Government had introduced a provision in their Poor Law Bill for providing for them District Schools. He rejoiced at it, and he hoped that England would soon be studded with institutions similar to the school at Norwood, which he believed was the greatest blessing ever bestowed on the poor people of this country. He was also thankful for it, for it would remove an evil which had been felt for many years without any attempt to provide a remedy. Four or five years ago the Assistant Commissioners warned the Chief Commissioners of the horrible state of schools in Workhouses. Mr. Tuffnell said—By far the worst evil to be apprehended from the present system arises from the danger of sending forth into the world a set of beings, vicious in habit and pauperised in feeling, to be future burthens on the parochial rate, or candidates for the gaols and hulks. If there be any truth in the maxim, 'As is the master so is the school,' there must assuredly, be in many Workhouses little chance of the children ever becoming high-minded and respectable 128 members of society. There is no class of officers of whom such continual complaints are made, or for whose dismissal you have been called upon to issue so many orders. I need not call to your recollection the numbers you have been obliged to discharge for drunkenness or other immoralities. I have reason to believe great cruelties are practised, at times, on the children, which, probably do not come to light, as a schoolmaster has no difficulty in awing an unhappy orphan, who, probably has not a friend in the world, into silence, and suppressing the complaint. In one case a child was beaten so severely, that had not the punishment been stopped by the fortunate entry of the Governor into the apartment, death would probably have ensued. In another, the schoolmaster was in the habit of tying up with a handkerchief the jaws of those boys whom he thought deserving of punishment, to prevent their screams being heard, and then beating them in the most savage manner. The persons who were guilty of these cruelties had been village schoolmasters, where they could not have practised such conduct, as a child so treated would immediately have complained to its parents, and would have been taken away from the school, which would quickly have shown the master, from policy, if not from charity, the necessity of mildness in future. But where is a poor friendless orphan or foundling (for of these classes a great proportion of. the workhouse children consist) to turn for assistance when it knows no one on whom it can place confidence, or to whom it can utter complaints? Hence, it seems incumbent upon us, for humanity's sake, to be doubly cautious whom we select as schoolmasters for children thus situated, that is whom we make rulers of these little worlds, lest we introduce a tyrannical despot rather than a father.The following is extracted from a letter I received from a Chaplain to an Union Workhouse:—The evidence I produced against that man (the schoolmaster) was quite disgusting in its nature. I now have a schoolmaster and mistress of good principles. Their faithful discharge of duty has enabled me to exclude a man who, when schoolmaster, at least endeavoured to seduce several of the elder girls in the school.Here was a striking illustration of the necessity of having Chaplains. The Chaplain was always regarded as a friend in the poor-house—to him always were brought their complaints—they had no feelings of horror towards him, but regarded him as the Minister of charity and peace. "Friend of the wretch whom every friend forsakes," he entered the workhouse only conferring blessings, and receiving them from those whom he relieved. The Chaplain was always considered by the poor as their best friend, and for that reason, as well as many 129 others, it was the duty of the Commissioners to take care that they did withhold from them that invaluable officer. One of the Commissioners himself bore this testimony, "Very frequently the presence of the Chaplain, both on Sundays and other days, is mainly instrumental inn establishing a tone of religious feeling and principle which is highly satisfactory." He was afraid that be had now trespassed too long on the attention of the House, but he hoped what he had said would not be altogether useless. He thought it imposible for the details he had brought forward not to make a deep impression, though he had not sought to heighten it by resorting to any rhetorical artifice. Having made his plain statement he would leave the question in the hands of Her Majesty's Ministers. If they would grant him the Committee he would thank them—if they would not grant it, but would say that such a case had been made out, or offered to be made out as would induce them to require the Commissioners to do their duty, he would also thank them. If they would do neither the one nor the other—if they would not let him prove his case, he would yet have proof, for their refusal to let him go into proof must be as convincing as any proof he could possibly have. He was not afraid to say that he thought a most grave responsibility rested on Her Majesty's Government respecting the question now before them. If they attempted to put it down by the strong hand of power that responsibility would be great indeed. There was no man in that House or in the country, who had a higher respect for those noble and right hon. persons than he had. As an Englishman he thanked them for undertaking, as he verily believed in the instance of almost every man amongst them, most reluctantly as far as self was concerned, the responsibility and cares of Government. He gave them praise, he gave them thanks for it. He honoured them also, for the good measures which, under God's blessing, had been the instruments of producing a degree of prosperity long unknown to this country. They had been successful in terminating our disputes in the western hemisphere, they had extended our dominion in the East, they had pacified England, they had vindicated the law elsewhere, they had restored the finances, they had done more in the short period in which they had held office than any Ministers who were ever before placed at the head of the Councils of this country. But 130 while they had done all this—while he honoured them for it, and while they received for it the gratitude of the whole country—he must yet tell them this, that if they refused to do justice to the wretched inmates of our Workhouses, their glory would be darkened, their fame would be impaired; and though the 19th century would honour them for what they had done, it would also do them justice for what they had refused to do. The right Rev. Prelate concluded by moving—"That a Select Committee be appointed to consider the provision made, and which may require to be made, for religious worship and spiritual instruction in the Union Workhouses in England and Wales."
§ Lord Wharncliffe
I am sure that your Lordships will not expect that I should go at length into the details which are contained in the very able speech of the right rev. Prelate. In the first place, I should be unable to do that, because I am not acquainted with the facts to which be has referred. At the same time, although I confess that he has made out a very strong case with respect to the non-appointment of Chaplains in some parts of the country, yet he has not, in my opinion, succeeded in affixing to the Poor Law Commissioners so much blame as he supposed. I wish to call his attention, in the first instance, to what the law is under which the Commissioners are to act in this matter. It is not clear, that when that Act passed, there was any intention on the part of the Legislature to give the Commissioners power to enforce the appointment of Chaplains. There is nothing in the terms of the Act, that in point of fact, gives that power to the Commissioners; and it is only by a decision of the Court of Queen's Bench since the passing of the Act that the power of appointing Chaplains is created at all. Under these circumstances the Guardians are bound to exercise this power, which was incidentally given to them by the law, with considerable discretion. With respect to the Guardians I agree with a great deal of what the right rev. Prelate has said, and think that, in many cases, they have no excuse whatever for not having appointed chaplains, and a great deal less excuse for not fixing an adequate salary to the office when the appointment has been made. We must take mankind as they are, and it is not easy to persuade some people against their pecuniary in- 131 terests—it is not easy to persuade them that they should open their pockets for purposes of which they do not themselves see the direct necessity. The right rev. Prelate says, and most truly, that upon these occasions the ex officio Guardians are generally quite ready to do their duty; but the other Guardians are persons taken from a class who are apt to consider those demands upon them a mulct; and it is with the greatest difficulty, therefore, that the ex officio Guardians, and those who are likely to press these matters upon the attention of the Board, can get them to consent to such appointments. I hope the right rev. Prelate will not think that I consider the Guardians right in so doing. It is their duty to appoint a Chaplain, with a proper salary; but I say that, taking the Boards of Guardians generally, they are persons who are not satisfied that they ought to incur any expense of which they do not perceive the necessity. There is another motive which operates in the particular part of the Kingdom to which the right rev. Prelate has referred—I mean the North of England—and it is this:—that in many of the towns the Boards of Guardians are composed principally of Dissenters, and among them there does exist the utmost indisposition to appoint Chaplains of the Established Church. In dealing with those persons I think it requires the greatest discretion on the part of the Poor Law Commissioners; and I think I can show that this discretion has been exercised by the Commissioners in such a way, that if time be allowed and no violent steps be taken against them—by mandamus, for instance—all the Unions, or all with very few exceptions, will have appointed Chaplains with adequate salaries. The Commissioners have thought it best not to proceed by means of the law to enforce the appointment of Chaplains by the Guardians, but rather to persuade the Guardians to point out to them the necessity, and to impress upon them that it is their duty. Their endeavours have already been successful to a great degree according to the statement of the right rev. Prelate, who says, most truly, that out of nearly 600 Unions, which have Workhouses fit for Chaplains, there are but 102 without Chaplains. In 1840 there were 206 Unions without Chaplains, so that that number is now reduced to 102. Now, I think that that is considerable progress to make by means of persuasion, and with- 132 out having recourse to those other means which, whatever the right rev. Prelate may say, are calculated to defeat the object he desires. The right rev. Prelate will see that he and I do not differ, nor do the Commissioners differ, with respect to the necessity for the appointment of Chaplains with proper salaries affixed to the office. But they differ rather upon the mode according to which this is to be carried into effect throughout the Kingdom. With respect to the Motion of the right rev. Prelate, I object to it, because I am convinced, that if once this question is opened in Committee, it would excite feelings out of doors, and perhaps I do not say in this House, but elsewhere, that might have a most prejudicial effect; and instead of doing all the good which he and I mutually desire, tend to prevent the accomplishment of our wishes. There is now a Bill before the other House of Parliamen for the Amendment of the Poor Law; and it appears to me that it would be far better if there were introduced into that Bill some provision for the appointment and payment of Chaplains. I should prefer that infinitely to any inquiry before a Committee; and I hope that an effort will be made to introduce such a provision into that Bill, and that the law may be made as perfectly clear upon the subject as it has been in the instance, which was quoted by the right rev. Prelate, of the Irish Poor Law. As the matter now stands I do think it is on a most unsatisfactory basis. As I said before, in the original Bill there is no actual power given to the Commissioners for the appointment of Chaplains. They have it indirectly, but I think they ought to have it directly. I think they ought to have the power of calling on the Guardians to appoint Chaplains, giving to the Bishop of the Diocese, as now, a veto on the appointment. And I think also that something should be clone in order that the Chaplain may be enabled to perform Divine Service in a proper place. These are the views I take of the subject. I agree with the right rev. Prelate in a great deal that he has said. I agree with him as to the necessity for such Chaplains, and that they should have adequate salaries. The Commissioners, in my opinion, have acted wisely in not unduly forcing the law upon the Guardians, but rather trying persuasion; and I think it would be better if the right rev. Prelate were to endeavour to amend the Bill 133 which is now in the other House of Parliament than to have a Committee here, which, whatever he may think now, would rouse the feelings and passions of a great number of persons, and go far to defeat his own object.
The Bishop of Salisbury
said, that having heard the statements of the right Rev. Prelate, he could not remain altogether silent upon a subject of such great importance. He was thankful to believe that the Union Workhouses in his own diocese did not generally exhibit so great a lack of spiritual instruction as those which had been referred to. Nevertheless, they could not but admit that the subject was one of deep importance, vitally affecting the character of the Legislature and of the Executive Government, and therefore deeply interesting to their Lordships' House. He could not forbear expressing his entire concurrence in nearly every word that had fallen from the noble Lord who had just sat down. He hailed the noble Lord's statement as a proof that the Motion which the right Rev. Prelate had made was not indeed in vain, and that it had been productive of good, by calling forth a declaration which could not but be deeply satisfactory to all who had the welfare of this destitute and unfortunate class of our fellow subjects at heart. He would only remind the House that these poor persons were not only their fellow-subjects, but by far the larger portion of them were Members of their own Church, every one of them in his respective parish having a vested interest by birthright in those spiritual consolations, which, unhappily in too many instances, appeared to be denied them in those houses to which they were removed, not by their own free choice, not as those who went forth and renounced voluntarily the rights, privileges, and blessings they had enjoyed, but as men who were constrained to do so by hard necessity. He rejoiced that there was now a prospect of this deeply important matter being satisfactorily settled.
§ Lord Camoys
suggested that the Clergymen of every parish in a Union should contribute towards the support of the Clergyman who might be appointed to perform the duties of Chaplain in the workhouse. This he suggested as the means of avoiding dissatisfaction among the Dissenters.
The Bishop of Exeter
expressed his gratitude for the intentions which had been 134 stated by the Government upon this question. He understood the noble Lord to say that Government would introduce an enactment. [Lord Wharncliffe: No; I did not say that.] He confessed that, if it were not so, he himself must be under a great delusion; for the impression on his mind was, that the declaration of the noble Lord was, that instead of granting a committee, the better course would be to introduce into the new Bill a provision for the appointment of Chaplains, and that in fact it was intended by the Government to propose it. That was the only interpretation he could put upon the noble Lord's remarks.
§ Lord Wharncliffe
What I stated was, that my opinion was very much in concurrence with that of the right Rev. Prelate; that I thought every Union ought to have a Chaplain, with a proper salary. That I undoubtedly stated; and then I said it appeared to me that his Motion was not the best way to obtain his object, but that the best way was to amend the Bill now before the House of Commons.
The Bishop of Exeter
was thankful that he had obtained the judgment of the President of the Council, that the best way of dealing with the subject was to amend the Bill now in progress through Parliament. The noble Lord did not commit his Colleagues; he had merely declared his own judgment. He (the Bishop of Exeter) knew the value of that judgment, and particularly in the Councils of Her Majesty; and though be could not say that the Government was committed, yet he rejoiced that the noble President of the Council had declared that such ought to be the course.
§ Motion negatived.
§ House adjourned.