§ The Earl of Powis
presented a great number of petitions. The noble Earl added, that the petitions he had this day presented came from bodies residing in seventeen different counties. Lord Powis then proceeded to say, that previously to submitting to their Lordships the Bill he held in his hand, "To enable Her Majesty to make certain provisions for Preventing the Union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, and for the Appointment of a Bishop of Manchester," and moving its second reading, he thought it well, as an index to public opinion upon this important Church question, to state to their Lordships what its progress had been, as far as he was himself concerned. In the year 1843, when he had first the honour of bringing the St. Asaph and Bangor Diocesan question before their Lordships' notice, petitions from only nine English counties, five North Welsh counties, and two South Welsh counties, had been entrusted to his care. In 1844, they were increased to fourteen English counties, six counties in North Wales, and two in South Wales. In 1845, he had been honoured with the charge of petitions from various bodies of the clergy and laity connected with twenty-five English counties, and every county in North and South Wales, making an aggregate of thirty-seven counties out of the fifty-two of which England and Wales were composed. He must avow that it was a gratification of no trifling nature to witness this increased and increasing anxiety on the part of Churchmen in general in England, in favour of a question in which the religious interests of the Principality of Wales were 42 so much involved. Everything he had seen and heard upon the subject out of their Lordships' House tended to confirm his conviction of the eagerness and anxiety felt by Churchmen for its success; and hence the reiterated entreaties to him to persevere, and his determination again to submit this important measure to their Lordships' consideration. In moving the second reading of the St. Asaph and Bangor and Manchester Dioceses Bill, he would not go over the ground which he had trodden in the former debate; but he would endeavour to bring before their Lordships, clearly and shortly, the principal points. Their Lordships would bear in mind that the duties of the right rev. Prelates who presided over the Welsh dioceses, were in one respect more onerous than those of their brethren in England. This arose from the mixture of the two languages, and the consequent difficulty of selecting individuals to fill vacant benefices where this mixture prevailed. About four-fifths of the livings in North Wales were in the gift of the Bishops of St. Asaph and Bangor; he believed a greater number in each diocese than the average of English dioceses. Their Lordships would hardly form an opinion, without local knowledge of the dioceses, of the difficulties which the right rev. Prelates had in discharging this duty, (he was bound to say no persons could be more anxious to discharge it faithfully,) while their patronage was limited to their respective bishoprics. That portion of the Act which he sought to repeal, doubled this duty, while by increasing the area over which the right rev. Prelate had to preside, it increased the difficulty of communication between the bishop and his clergy. Another subject which confirmed him in the opinion he had entertained, that the union of the two dioceses would be fraught with injury to the Church, was the knowledge they had of the sentiments of his right rev. Friend (the Bishop of Salisbury) on the bench behind him, who had undertaken the government and management of two dioceses. If he felt the difficulty which he had expressed to their Lordships, how could they expect that individuals less qualified should be able to discharge such duties? An additional evidence of the inconvenience of uniting the two dioceses was to be found in the reiterated opinions of the clergy of the Sees of Gloucester and Bristol, already united, of the inconvenience and injury arising from their union. They had the advantage of being 43 presided over by a Prelate in every way fitted for the office, and as much respected by the clergy as any one could be; and yet the practical inconveniences were so great, that there was almost a universal opinion against the union. He need hardly inform their Lordships that the clergy of North Wales were almost to a man opposed to the union which it was the object of the present Bill to prevent. He did not think that he should be going out of his way if he availed himself of certain expressions of public opinion, to show the great anxiety which prevailed universally upon this subject. The first he should take the liberty of reading, was an extract from a petition he had had the honour to present, signed by a very considerable number of persons, clergy and laity, in Manchester, all anxious to support the claim for a Bishop of Manchester. He must do the clergy of Lancashire the justice to say, that in supporting their own rights, they did not forget what was due to their Welsh brethren and the Church of North Wales. The extract he referred to stated that—The immediate consequence of the measure has already been to deprive Manchester of a bishop during the last ten years; and its future effect must be to inflict the same injury on North Wales for ever.He would next read to their Lordships a note accompanying a petition from a parish in Denbighshire, in which the writer said—I have taken the liberty of forwarding to your Lordship, for presentation in the Upper House of Parliament, a petition signed by the clergy, churchwardens, magistrates, gentry, and farmers, resident in this parish, against the threatened Union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor. My parishioners feel very deeply upon this subject, and every farmer and householder capable of writing has affixed his name to the enclosed petition.Another petition was accompanied by a note from a clergyman of the name of David Davies, who stated that he had been minister of the parish for a quarter of a century at 75l. a year. In a petition from the parish of Rochdale in Lancashire, the petitioners entreated their Lordships to consider in what light this nation must stand before the world—If she shall be seen on the one hand lavishly enlarging by many thousands a year her grants from the national Revenue to a Romanist College; and on the other hand dealing out with such niggard parsimony towards the Established Church, that she cannot rom the same source endow a single 44 bishopric, even in Manchester, the great centre of her commercial resources, the teeming hotbed of that population which at the same time creates her wealth, and creates the necessity, and the obligation in the sight of God and man, for increasing the number of the bishops.Your petitioners humbly pray that your Lordships will leave untouched the ancient See of St. Asaph, and reject the proposed annexation of it to that of Bangor, as a scheme fraught with dishonour to the British name, with discouragement to Protestants in general, and especially to the members of the Established Church; and above all, with ingratitude and sinfulness against that Almighty Father, to whose unmerited mercy and unbounded love they are indebted, for not only the religious pre-eminence, but also the temporal greatness and prosperity of this favoured land.He thought he was justified in reading these extracts, which showed that the opinions and feelings prevalent in the country upon this subject were stronger than their Lordships were probably aware, and far different from the representations made to them last year; but of this as respected the clergy he should presently have an opportunity of conveying to their Lordships a still more decided testimony. In addition to these statements, there was evidence on record which could not but weigh, as it did upon a former occasion, with their Lordships, namely, the opinion expressed by Members of the Ecclesiastical Commission. A noble and venerable Earl, who had addressed their Lordships upon this subject last year (the Earl of Harrowby), was not now, he regretted to say, in a state of health to come down to the House; but that noble Earl had last year avowed his entire change of opinion on this subject, and had declared his belief that the projected union of the sees was both injurious and unnecessary; and he (Lord Powis) was happy to be able to assure their Lordships that the noble Earl still entertained the opinion he had then expressed. The opinions of other members of the Ecclesiastical Commission, who had not yet expressed themselves on the subject in public, had undergone a similar change. But there was one document which he must take the liberty of reading to their Lordships, as it would prove to them that the sentiments of a most rev. Prelate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) did not differ from those of the noble Earl to whom he had alluded. It was the reply of his Grace to a memorial addressed to him by the parochial clergy of the diocese of St. Asaph, on the subject of the union of the two sees. The most rev. Prelate, after approving the very temperate 45 language of the memorialists, "in regard to a subject on which they feel so deeply," went on to say—Were the measure to which they object at this time under consideration, I should hardly be justified in pressing it forward in opposition to the opinions of so highly respectable a body of clergy. But when it forms part of an arrangement which received the sanction of the Legislature several years ago, I feel a difficulty in engaging to aid in the undoing of what was then deliberately done. I wish I could acknowledge the memorial in a manner more satisfactory to your Lordship, as well as to the clergy of your diocese; but when you consider the position in which I am placed I may rely on your kind indulgence.He (the Earl of Powis) could not help thinking that at the present time another circumstance rendered the subject worthy of the consideration of their Lordships—he alluded to the state of the population. Their Lordships would recollect that the dioceses they were about to unite were those where the difficulty of communication was greater than in any part of the country, and that the population was rapidly increasing. In 1801, the population of North Wales was only 250,000, and by the last census it was 396,000. The enormous population of another district might give it great claims to the appointment of a bishop; but he thought that the increasing population of North Wales entitled it to retain the two that it already possessed. The next point was the introduction of the Bishop of Manchester, and upon that part of the subject it was not necessary for him to enlarge. Their Lordships were aware of the enormous population of that part of the country, and how necessary it was for the interests of religion that there should be a bishop there; he thought that on a former occasion, the expression used by a right rev. Prelate was, that "it was indispensable that there should be a bishop at Manchester." He (the Earl of Powis) was ready to accede to the observation; and anxious as he was, for the sake of his own countrymen, to secure their interests, he was far from being willing to see those of Manchester neglected. The next topic was one which had been brought before their Lordships by a noble Friend of his on the other side of the House (Lord Monteagle), who had given notice of an Amendment to the following effect:—That, subject to Her Majesty's gracious consent, this House is prepared to take into its early consideration the Act of the 6th and 46 7th William IV., c. 77, so far as relates to the bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor, with a view to the Amendment of the Law by adopting the principles of the First Report of the Church Commission, dated the 17th of March, 1835, in which it is set forth, that 'one advantage which will result from the union of these two sees will be the opportunity afforded of applying a part of the impropriations, which constitute nearly the whole property of the bishoprics, to the augmentation of poor and populous vicarages in the united diocese.'This proposition had been propounded by other persons besides his noble Friend. He wished his noble Friend had entertained the same opinion at a time when he had the opportunity of giving effect to the proposition he was about to recommend to their Lordships. Unfortunately, a different view was then taken by his noble Friend from that entertained by a right hon. Friend (Sir Robert Peel) and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who acted with him. The Report of the Commissioners quoted in the noble Lord's Resolution, was dated the 17th of March, 1835; in the year following, in March, 1836, a different view was taken as to the revenues of the dioceses of Bangor and St. Asaph, or rather, he should say, as to the mode of dealing with the surplus episcopal revenues. It appeared that the Report of 1836, after going through the revenues of the other dioceses, came to St. Asaph and Bangor. It stated that the revenue of the Bishop of St. Asaph was 5,200l., and that of the Bishop of Bangor 3,800l., and the income of the united see was to be set at 5,200l. The reduction proposed from the revenue of all the sees would give a surplus of 28,500l. a year, to which, if there be added the revenue of the See of Bristol, amounting to 2,300l., the total sum saved would be 30,800l., which being divided amongst the thirteen bishoprics requiring additions, and two new sees, would provide an income varying from 4,000l. to 5,000l. per annum, to be appropriated according to the circumstances of the different dioceses. This Paper, which bore not the signature of Sir Robert Peel, but of "Thomas Spring Rice," provided, therefore, that the whole of the 30,800l. should be applied to the benefit of the poorer sees. Lord John Russell, shortly after, brought in a Bill to carry out the recommendations of the Report. A deputation waited on Lord John Russell upon the subject, consisting of persons connected with all the political parties, the question being one in which party was not concerned. 47 The noble Earl then read the following minute of an interview with Lord John Russell and Mr. Spring Rice, Tuesday, May 30th 1837:—A deputation of Members connected with the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor, were received by Lord John Russell and the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Home Office; present, Lord Clive, Right Hon. C. W. W. Wynn, Hon. R. H. Clive, Captain Paget, Hon. Lloyd Mostyn, W. O. Stanley, esq., R. Price, esq., Colonel Edwards, W. Ormsby Gore, esq., Wilson Jones, esq., Richard Richards, esq.Lord John Russell admitted that that portion of the revenues of the Bishops of St. Asaph and Bangor, which arises from commendams allowed by the Law Officers of the Crown to be legally such, was not legally applicable to the fund for increasing the incomes of other bishoprics. Lord John Russell refused his consent to withdraw from the general fund the remaining surplus of the incomes of St. Asaph and Bangor, after deducting the amount arising from commendams, which the Deputation urged according to the recommendation of the first Report: viz.—'That one advantage which will result from the union of the two sees, will be the opportunity afforded of applying a part of the impropriations, which constitute nearly the whole property of the bishoprics, to the augmentation of poor and populous vicarages in the united dioceses.'It appeared to him (the Earl of Powis) a little hard that his noble Friend should take so different a view of the subject now, from that which he took in 1836, when, if he had been so disposed, he might have carried out his views with the influence his official position gave him; instead of which he had not only allowed that opportunity to pass by, but had been a party concerned in swamping the very measure which he now brought forward. Their Lordships would bear in mind how much benefit would have attended that measure. He (the Earl of Powis) should have had much of the ground taken from him which he had been occupying for the last two or three years, and their Lordships would perhaps have been saved the trouble and pain of listening to him. There was a feeling that a different measure was meted out to Welshmen from that which was afforded to their brethren in the dioceses of England. When the arrangements with regard to Cathedral establishments were made, the least that was allotted in England was a dean with 1,000l. a year, and four canons with 500l. a year each; in North Wales, a dean and two ca- 48 nons only; and, therefore, though in south Wales the Legislature was establishing that which did not previously exist, yet in North Wales, where there was to be this reduction of their deaneries, from a competent income to a state inferior to that of the English dioceses, the greatest repugnance was felt to that measure, and, indeed, to it might be traced the feeling which had brought the present case before the House. In consequence of the expression of that dissatisfaction, while the Cathedral Chapters Bill was passing through the House of Commons, Sir J. Graham was induced to consent to allow the number of canons to be the same as in the chapters in England; but still the dean was to have 1,000l. a year in England, and only 700l. a year in Wales; and the canons 500l. a year in England, and only 500l. a year in Wales. There was also another description of property which had been at the disposal of his noble Friend (Lord Monteagle) for endowing and improving the poorer vicarages in North Wales—the sinecure rectories, which were to be put an end to. These amounted to about 9,000l. a year, of which nearly 4,000l. was from the diocese of St. Asaph alone. Why was this description of property overlooked by his noble Friend, who was now honouring Wales with his sympathy? This property was open to the disposal of Parliament, subject to the lives of the present holders, and could form a fund for the augmentation of small livings, without involving a violation of episcopal property by applying it to other than episcopal purposes? Should he (the Earl of Powis) now be justified in listening to such a proposition? Ought he not, in justice to those who entrusted their concerns to his care, to reject it? What, indeed, did it mean? Was his noble Friend's new application of tithes to be limited to North Wales, or extended to South Wales? Was it to be limited to North and South Wales, or extended to England? Was it to be limited to tithes held by the clergy, or extended to those possessed by the laity? Last year, there was a very interesting and important Report from Commissioners, in relation to South Wales, in which it was stated that one of the causes of the mischiefs which had arisen in that part of the country was the impoverished state of the Church; and this sprung in great measure from the tithes being not in episcopal hands, or even in the possession of ecclesiastical establishments, but mostly in lay hands. Now, was this proposition of the 49 noble Lord (Lord Monteagle) to be made the beginning of a new system; and did he mean to interfere not only with episcopal tithes, but ecclesiastical tithes generally—those belonging to ecclesiastical bodies, and also those in the hands of laymen? If so, did he intend matters to remain in other respects in the same position as at present? It was important, for the sake of justice, to know what his noble Friend's views were, before his Motion was made use of to defeat his (Lord Powis's) Motion for the benefit of the Welsh dioceses. For some parts of Wales might lose more than they gained; the dioceses of North Wales had only been little above a twelvemonth drawing upon the general fund; in the course of 1844, an income of 430l. had been given to St. Asaph, and only 51l. to Bangor. North Wales ought not to be left in doubt upon the noble Lord's proposal. But the fact was, that Parliament had given power to the Crown to deprive North Wales of one of its bishops; but a condition was annexed, which had not been complied with, and therefore, according to the analogy of the engagements between private individuals, the original state of things ought to be reverted to. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack would soon dispose of such a question as that, if brought forward by individuals in the Court of Chancery. He would now, with their Lordships' permission, notice some topics, which, although they had reference to himself, he thought he should be justified in alluding to, inasmuch as they must tend to prove to their Lordships the general earnestness of all classes of Her Majesty's subjects in favour of the North Welsh bishoprics; and he hoped he should thereby advance the cause he had in charge. It was his fate last year to be assailed by no moderate share of abuse for the part that he had taken on the St. Asaph and Bangor question. He was accused of having betrayed the sacred cause which had been entrusted to his care by his countrymen. A public man who does his duty is always liable to such an ordeal, and must reconcile himself to it as best he may. Happily for himself, supported and countenanced as he had been in and out of their Lordships' House, these attacks had fallen but lightly upon him. They were almost simultaneous with one of the highest distinctions which it is in the power of his fellow subjects to bestow on an English gentleman. He was last year selected by the University of Oxford to 50 have the distinction of an honorary degree conferred upon him. He had previously been utterly unknown to that University—he had the honour to be a Member of the University of Cambridge. The part he had taken in reference to the North Welsh dioceses had nevertheless found favour with the learned persons at the head of that University. Thence the greatest compliment paid to him since his entrance into public life. No man who had not been present in that theatre could appreciate the effect of a favourable introduction into it. There were those present in their Lordships' House who could feel what it was to receive such a distinction from the learned and enlightened body which assembled there. Of all the civil honours which had been conferred upon the noble Duke near him (the Duke of Wellington), he believed none had gratified his Grace more than those which he had received from the University of Oxford. There was also another noble Earl present who could bear his testimony as to what a reception was by that learned body. But in each of these cases the noble persons receiving distinctions had every recommendation which great public services rendered to the country could afford, to attract the notice of the University to them as fit objects for academical honours. Such was not the case as respected himself. He had no such advantages. His had been the quiet and unpretending life of an English country gentleman. The only passport to the favour of the University was his conduct as respected this measure. He might venture to add, and he thought he was entitled to add, that such a reception as he had met with from so large a portion of the youth, the blood, and the education of England, countenanced and supported by the learned and distinguished men who presided over that University, ought to secure to that Church question which was the cause of that reception a grave, and serious, and favourable attention. Such an expression of feeling ought not to be slighted by any Administration. Those who neglected to regard such expressions could hardly fail to fall into error. This, it should be noticed, was not a meeting hastily got up at a moment of public excitement by public clamour, and attended by ill-educated persons, careless or indifferent as to its result, and who did not understand the subject which was the cause of the meeting; but an authorized assembly of those who equally, and perhaps as justly, 51 as their Lordships, appreciated the evil the Church would sustain by carrying out the injurious union of the North Welsh dioceses. But great, and honourable, and gratifying as this testimonial was, he (Lord Powis) must not omit to bring to their Lordships' notice some sentences in a vote of thanks which came to him from his own countrymen, the clergy of the diocese of Bangor, who had affixed their names to it. It should be understood by their Lordships, that he had scarcely any connexion with the diocese of Bangor, or even the honour of personal acquaintance with those who signed the paper in question:—We, the undersigned, clergymen of the Established Church, resident within the diocese of Bangor, most respectfully request your Lordship to accept our most sincere thanks and most grateful acknowledgments for your Lordships' exertions in endeavouring to obtain a repeal of so much of the Act of Parliament (6 and 7 Geo. IV. c. 77), as provides for the union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor.Feeling that the efficiency of the Established Church depends, in great measure, upon proper episcopal superintendence, we freely acknowledge the good policy of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in providing for the creation of a bishopric at Manchester; but we cannot conceive why they should create in North Wales the very evil they are endeavouring to remedy in England. We feel, that by being deprived of our diocesan, we should be deprived of an aid for which no vicarial substitute can be found. We want the union, combination, and energy given to the efforts of the clergy, by the presence of their bishop; we want his example to incite, his presence to stimulate, his approval to encourage … We assure your Lordship that we are above all mercenary motives, and that we consider individual interest but as the small dust in the balance when compared with the general good … … We earnestly intreat that you will persevere in such measures as you may deem most effectual towards ensuring the future success of your efforts; and we most respectfully desire your Lordship to accept our most sincere expressions of obligation and gratitude.In the letter which transmitted this Memorial, the writer added—It is the best reply we could make to Lord Vivian's assertion that the clergy are indifferent on the subject.He had nothing further to add, except to notice the manner in which South Wales had been introduced into the discussion respecting the North Welsh dioceses; more he feared with a view of diverting the attention of the public from the injustice of which the people of North Wales com- 52 plained, than with a view to the benefit of the Principality. These dioceses were as distinct in points of income from the dioceses of North Wales as were any of the English dioceses. Those of North Wales contributed to the support of Chester and Lichfield, and to the Colleges of Christ Church and Jesus College, Oxford, from which they had hitherto received no return. It was now proposed, as a measure of reform, to cause them to contribute nominally to the maintenance of the bishoprics of South Wales, but in reality to relieve the episcopal fund of England by so much as they contributed to the South Welsh dioceses. He, therefore, entreated their Lordships to confirm their good work of last year, and replace, as far as in them lay, the power to do so, the North Welsh dioceses in the situation they stood before the issuing of the First Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and to continue to them that ecclesiastical superintendence which they considered necessary for the welfare of the Church and of the country whose claims he had the honour to uphold. The noble Earl concluded by moving the Second Reading of the Bill for enabling Her Majesty to make certain provisions for Preventing the Union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, and for the Appointment of a Bishop of Manchester.
§ The Duke of Wellington
My Lords, I am concerned to be under the necessity of again claiming your Lordships' attention for a few minutes, whilst I submit to your Lordships my reasons for thinking that it is desirable for your Lordships not to give a second reading to the Bill proposed to you by my noble Friend. Adverting to what my noble Friend has stated at the commencement of his address to your Lordships respecting the petitions presented by himself and other noble Lords against the union of the two Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, I cannot but express my admiration of the conduct of those persons; my sense of their attachment to their Prelates, who have so long instructed them; my admiration for those right rev. Prelates, who have merited and obtained the admiration of the people placed under their charge; and my satisfaction at seeing such an example of attachment as has been demonstrated upon this occasion. But I beg your Lordships not to be under any mistake as to these petitions—I allude to the petitions which have reached your Lordships' House from the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor. I 53 have taken the trouble of looking at those petitions; those presented this evening I have not had an opportunity of looking at—but, of the others, I find that, out of the 312 petitions which have been presented, not one-third, not above 100, have come from places in the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor; the others have come from all parts of England, from the clergy, and, as my noble Friend has stated, from others in all parts of England. My Lords, I will make some observations presently on these petitions, and the difficulties they have thrown in your Lordships' way; but that to which I wish now to draw your Lordships' attention is the particular provisions of this Bill, and the measure which this Bill is intended to put an end to. My Lords, this Bill is intended—neither more nor less—to produce the same effect as the two Bills introduced in former Sessions by my noble Friend. It is intended to repeal the Act of 5th and 6th William IV., which Act was introduced to carry into effect the recommendations of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Now, my Lords, I wish your Lordships to recollect the object for which those Ecclesiastical Commissioners were appointed. It was desired to remove from the Church many anomalies; to render the exercise of its duties more efficient and more general; to extend them over parts of the country in which they were not so available as might have been wished; to render the Church an object of attachment and of affection to all parts of the country, and particularly to certain populous districts which did not enjoy the full benefit of the ministry of the Church, and over which it was desirable to extend the benefit of the superintendence of a diocesan; to revise the system by which the diocesans were paid; and, in short, to review the whole system with the view to amendment and to such improvement as would render it more effective and more useful. Every one must admit that this was an object of essential importance, and that it was desirable to attain it through the means already possessed by and at the disposal of the Church itself. In the year 1835 my right hon. Friend, at present First Lord of the Treasury, being then in the same situation, recommended to his late Majesty, with the knowledge of the heads of the Church, and with their full consent, a Commission to examine all these points, to report upon 54 them, and to recommend such measures as should attain the object they all had in view of rendering the Church more efficient, and a greater object of attachment to the people at large than it was at that moment. My Lords, these reports were made, certain recommendations were given in, and it was well known at that time that the arrangements proposed must be attended with a great sacrifice of patronage, by the discontinuance of some offices in the Church, and by the diminution of the remuneration given to some other offices; at the same time, all having the same object in view—of increasing the efficiency of the Church, and of making it the object of attachment to the people—assented to the proposals. My Lords, not only were these sacrifices known, but they were actually carried into execution at the time. Great sacrifice of patronage was made not only by the Minister of the day and by the Crown, but also by the right rev. Prelates now on the Bench near me. The Crown, the Minister, and the authorities of the Church were perfectly ready to carry these measures into effect; and this was not done by one Government, or by one side of the House or the other:—noble Lords opposite entertained the same opinion, and acted on the same views. Every sacrifice of patronage was made by them, and by the right rev. Prelates, to carry into operation these measures; but although they made these sacrifices, they made them to obtain one single object—that object being to render the Church more efficient, and deservedly the object of attachment to the people of this country. But, my Lords, though this was the object—and undoubtedly a great object it was—and in the attainment of which both the great parties into which the State has been divided for a number of years cordially concurred, yet it cannot be denied that many persons out of doors did not look upon the attainment of that object, or the means by which it was to be attained, with the same degree of favour. Some thought it might be desirable to establish additional dioceses, and to make other arrangements in the Church, but that the public ought to incur this additional expense. I believe, however, that the feeling on both sides of the House was then, and is now, that it was desirable to attain these objects — that these changes should be made—but it was considered most advisable by those who 55 were intrusted with the carrying out of these measures, that it should be done through the means which the Church possessed within itself. Now, my Lords, to return to the subject of the petitions—in the great majority of the petitions which my noble Friend has mentioned, these feelings are still maintained; but it is made a subject of complaint that the temporal interests of many individuals have not been fairly consulted in their arrangements. No one, my Lords, feels more strongly than I do the propriety of making a handsome provision for the Church, and for the temporal affairs of the Church. I feel that it is one of the greatest advantages this country possesses that men of education and of attainments should be the men who fill the highest offices of the Church; and I hope that we may long enjoy those advantages. Not only do we associate with them in our private capacities, but in all the public objects of life; in the Council of State we meet them; in this place we meet them, and elsewhere; we know them to be proper and fit persons of the highest education and attainments; and it is impossible to expect that the public can enjoy the services of such men, unless their temporal advancement is taken care of, and unless their services are remunerated as the services of all public men in this country ought to be. I am aware that many think differently, but that is the feeling of a great majority—of two-thirds of the persons who have presented the petitions to which my noble Friend has adverted this evening. But, my Lords, the question comes to this — whether we shall now go back, having adopted these arrangements, and having carried them so far as to have passed the Act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., without any opposition here — an Act which was supported on the very ground, and by both sides of the House, of the necessity of a relief being afforded to the Church, and of a revision of the establishment of the Church being to be made by means in the possession of the Church at that moment? If I recollect right, there was no discussion in this House—I am sure there was no division—on the Act of the 5th and 6th of William IV.; and there was, I believe, no opposition, and certainly no division of any importance, on the other Act respecting the ecclesiastical appointments; and there was no discussion till two years ago, when my noble Friend 56 brought forward his Bill to repeal that part of the Act which relates to the union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor. My Lords, that union was Certainly the foundation of a principal part of the system relating to the dioceses, that is to say, the dioceses of Manchester and Llandaff; and it appears to me that your Lordships will hardly be able to maintain the other parts of the system if you adopt the plan of repealing that part of the Act of the 5th and 6th of William IV. Indeed, my Lords, it would suspend immediately the operation of the Act, if my noble Friend's intention be carried, of withdrawing from the system proposed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and already commenced. Therefore I call upon your Lordships at once to step forward, and to say you won't do that; and if you will attend to me a few moments I will show that the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor have no reason to complain of the whole arrangement. My noble Friend has adverted in the course of his address to night to the early part of the first Report, upon which my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack means to make some Motion to your Lordships to-night. My noble Friend says that the first Report contained an engagement that the appropriate tithes forming part of the revenue of the Sees of Bangor and St. Asaph should be devoted to the increase of small livings there. Now, I will not go so far as to say that the subject was not contemplated; and although there was no engagement, the Report did that which no public document ought to do—it did mention what was passing in the minds of those who signed the Report. Then my noble Friend says this was a secret engagement, and that as we have broken it we ought to put him in the same situation in which he and others were before they entered into it. But, my Lords, begging my noble Friend's pardon, nothing has been yet carried into execution. The appopriate tithes are still in the enjoyment of the old holders, and I hope they may be long enjoyed by them; and till that event occurs that engagement to which my noble Friend refers cannot be broken. I know not if my noble Friend has looked into the Reports, but if he has he will have found a tabular statement of the small livings in want of assistance; and I think he will find large sums placed under the head of these two dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor. I do not now say 57 that the funds are now in a state to give that amount; but my noble Friend says that a sum has already been given out of the common fund to augment these small livings, to which the diocese of Bangor has not contributed one shilling, notwithstanding the poor curacies in that diocese have enjoyed an augmentation by direction of these very Commissioners—they have in fact already benefited to the extent of 500l. or 600l. a year out of the Church funds. This will show, my Lords, that there did exist an intention on the part of the Commissioners to provide for the poorer livings in the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor out of the common fund, and that not upon the footing that my noble Friend has stated, but on the same scale and in as fair a proportion as the poor livings in other dioceses. I now come, my Lords, to the consideration of what the sacrifice is which St. Asaph and Bangor will be called upon to make when the measure by which those two sees are joined comes to be carried into full effect. That measure, my Lords, I need not remind you, has not yet been carried into execution, and I heartily hope the day is very far distant at which its accomplishment will take place; but in the mean time let us see what will be the sacrifice which the clergy and people of those two dioceses will have to sustain; and let us on the other hand examine what they will gain by the junction of the two sees, and place that in comparison with the inconveniences which will be felt. The sacrifice, my Lords, as the papers on your Lordships' Table, to which I have already referred, show, will amount in a pecuniary point of view to the sum of 4,700l., which will be contributed by the diocese of Bangor to the diocesan fund. On the other hand, the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor will acquire immediately the advantage arising from the funds of the sinecure rectories, as they are called, amounting to 3,900l. Now, observe, my Lords, this advantage which these sees will immediately acquire is derived by them in consequence of a part of the system which is not touched upon in the Act of 5 and 6 of William IV., but which results from the Act of 3 and 4 of Victoria. It is intended that these sinecure rectories shall be reformed throughout the whole of England and Wales, and that their revenues shall be applied to the purposes of improving the parochial services 58 of those dioceses wherein they exist. Nay, the Act, my Lords, goes further even, than this; for there is one clause of it by which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are able to dispense with awaiting for the decease of the incumbent, and are endowed with power to purchase the advowson at once. But, at all events, at the expiration of the existing tenures, the revenues of these sinecure rectories are to be applied as I have stated. Now, I do think, my Lords, that my noble Friend must admit this amount to be a set-off against the sum of 4,700l., which the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor will sacrifice eventually to the diocesan fund; and, mind you, this is an advantage arising out of that very system which is carried into effect in conformity to, and in consequence of, the Reports embodied in those volumes lying on your Lordships' Table. I beg your Lordships will bear this in mind, that the object of the noble Earl's Motion is to shake the foundation of these Reports, by which all the advantages pointed out by me have been gained. I now, my Lords, approach another branch of this question, namely, the consideration of the deaneries and chapters, and the archdeaconries, which are to be established in these two dioceses, when they are hereafter united into one. In each of these dioceses there will hereafter be constituted a dean and a chapter of four canons. My noble Friend has made it a matter of complaint that there are no estates out of the proceeds of which these deans and chapters can be supported. But an ample provision will be made for them when the two dioceses come to be united. In the meantime their salaries will, I think, be only from 700l. to 750l, for the deans, and 350l. for the canons. But I beg your Lordships to observe, that although the deans and chapters of the two dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor will be placed under different circumstances to those of other similar bodies, inasmuch as they will have no estates upon the revenues of which they may be supported, they will, nevertheless, be provided far more amply at the extinction of the bishopric, by receiving an allowance out of the diocesan fund—the deans of 1,000l., and the chapters of 500l. or 600l. a year. In some of the Welch dioceses there are estates for the support of the deans and chapters; but in others there are no means of providing for them, ex- 59 cept by their holding parish livings in commendam. This of course will be taken into account, and the surplus will either go into the common fund, or the diocesan fund; but in the meantime, I have shown your Lordships that here are actual charges on the ecclesiastical funds in favour of the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor amounting to more than 5,000l., whilst the whole prospective amount that will hereafter be derived from that source to the diocesan fund, after the extinction of the bishopric, will be only 4,750l. Now, my Lords, considering that the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor will gain, by the changes that are to be hereafter made, a dean and chapter each—that they will also gain very considerably in the improvement of their parochial services, to the full amount of the suppressed sinecure rectories; that they will be placed on an equal footing with all the other parishes in England and Wales, in respect to the division that will be made of the common funds at the disposition of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the augmentation of small livings; I say, my Lords, considering all these things, no man can say that these two dioceses are not handsomely provided for. I now, my Lords, approach the consideration of that part of the question which relates to the inconveniences to be apprehended from the loss or suppression of these two bishoprics, and the substitution of only one in their place. I do not mean, my Lords, to say that there may not result some inconvenience when this measure takes place; but in my opinion this evil will be in a great degree obviated or remedied by the appointment of three archdeacons in addition to the deans and chapters, for whom provision is made, whose duty it will be to aid the bishop in the supervision of the diocese. This duty will, according to my apprehension, my Lords, be very sufficiently provided for by the creation of two deans, four canons, and three archdeacons. The diocese, when it shall hereafter become united, will not exceed in extent many of the other dioceses in England. The number of livings will not be so great as it is in many, and there are only four dioceses which will be smaller than that formed by the junction of these two. There has been some difficulty apprehended with respect to the means which exist of travelling from one part of the diocese to another; but it appears to me 60 that this part of the country will soon present the same facilities in this respect that exist in other districts of England; and, as a greater number of persons will hereafter be employed in the task of supervising the ecclesiastical affairs of the diocese, I have no reason to apprehend that there will exist in future any just grounds for complaint on this head. Having now gone through the different grounds upon which I have deemed it to be right to maintain the decision to which Parliament came upon this subject, I trust, my Lords, you will not now afford any ground to the country for entertaining the belief that you are prepared to depart from the course which was recommended and agreed to by the leading men in this country, when the subject of the Church was taken into consideration by them—men, my Lords, I am bound to observe, of all parties and of every shade of political opinion. I have answered, to the best of my ability, the leading topics of my noble Friend's argument in favour of is proposal, and I now hope you will be of opinion with me when I move, which I now do, as an Amendment on the noble Lord's Motion, that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.
The Bishop of Bangor
said, it was with great reluctance he rose to address their Lordships, and it was only in his capacity as the representative in that House of those who asked their Lordships' concurrence in the noble Earl's measure, that he requested to be heard. He had, indeed, so often spoken upon the same subject, that he feared their Lordships would not again listen to him. The noble Duke had now, as upon a former occasion, represented the Bill before the House to be a measure calculated to overthrow the whole of the arrangements which had been made with respect to the cathedral establishments and the Church livings, in consequence of the Reports of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Now, he must distinctly beg to say that the repeal of the proposed union of the two bishoprics of St. Asaph and Bangor would in no respect affect any other parts of the proposed changes in the Church. The establishment of the See of Manchester was what every one well affected to the Church desired, above all things, to have carried into effect, without waiting for the termination of the life of himself or his right rev. Brother of St. Asaph. It seemed to be the general impression that the creation of 61 the See of Manchester was a matter of so much importance as to render it expedient, if not imperative, to devise some means by which it might be immediately rendered an effective bishopric. With respect to the union of the two Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, he must call upon their Lordships to listen to the prayers of the thousands who had petitioned against it, and particularly to the remonstrances and supplications of those who felt the deepest interest in it—the clergy of the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor. The noble Duke seemed to consider the question as one, in great measure, of pounds, shillings, and pence, in which the consideration involved was whether the two dioceses were greater gainers or losers in a monied point of view. But what he wished to impress on their Lordships' minds was the fact that the first wish and most earnest prayer of all the inhabitants of North Wales was, that both the sees might be preserved, and that sees which had existed during so many centuries, before even the See of Canterbury was founded, should not be absorbed one in the other. He was greatly indebted to the noble Duke for the obliging manner in which he had referred to himself and to his right rev. Brother of St. Asaph; but he must beg to remind the noble Duke that as long as he and that right rev. Prelate continued in existence, the calamity which was so much deprecated could not take place. The noble Duke had adverted to the circumstance that when the measure of uniting the sees was passed, there had been no opposition offered to it. It must, however, be borne in mind that at the period referred to, so strong was the feeling in the two Houses of Parliament in favour of all the measures recommended in the Reports of the Commissioners, that all opposition would have been worse than useless. He was ready to admit that none had been made at the time; but the fact was not the less notorious that from the very first it had been the uniform opinion of the clergy of his diocese that the union of the sees would in itself be a great evil; and this opinion they held in common with their bishops. The question of the surplus revenues arising from the union of the sees was then considered as of far inferior importance; and when the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners recommended that this surplus should be appropriated to the augmentation of poor livings, the clergy throughout the two dioceses, who were to have the benefit of this 62 arrangement were very far from considering the increase in their stipends to be a compensation for the loss which they were called upon to sustain. They looked upon this as a palliative, a something thrown in to reconcile them to the measure; and though they did not then openly oppose the change, still he must beg to state that in a communication which he had made in the year 1836 to the Ecclesiastical Commission, he had mentioned the objections entertained by himself and his clergy to the measure, on the grounds to which he now adverted. At last the feelings of the counties began to be strongly excited, and meetings were held at which it was unanimously agreed to petition Parliament to repeal so much of the Act as related to the union of the two sees. The noble Duke had alluded to the number of petitions which had come from other parts of the kingdom. In that they gloried, as a strong proof of the justice of their cause. So soon as it was known that they were anxious that the two sees should be preserved, they had immediately received the sympathy of the clergy, and of the laity likewise, in every part of the kingdom. The two Universities had also petitioned in their behalf. This was not merely a question of pounds, shillings, and pence; it was a cause which came home to their feelings. The noble Duke had fallen into some mistakes in his speech. He had stated, that the revenues of the Welsh sinecure rectories were to be given exclusively to the other clergy in Wales; but this was not so: they were to be thrown into the common fund, in the same manner as all sinecures. The noble Duke had spoken of the deans and chapters to be appointed in connexion with the sees. They had no desire to have them erected. They had gone on very well as they were, and wanted no change. There could be no difficulty in providing funds for the See of Manchester when created; and the other question regarding a seat in that House might be settled satisfactorily in some way or other. He entreated their Lordships not to be misled by the Notices of Resolutions that had been given by a noble Lord on the other side of the House (Lord Monteagle). No such measure as that adverted to by the noble and learned Lord was wished for so long as the sees were preserved. He recommended to their Lordships the humble and earnest petitions from his diocese, and begged their Lordships to mark the strong feeling which per- 63 vaded them. He trusted their Lordships would go along with the petitioners, and not give their support to the Motion of the noble Duke.
The Earl of Winchilsea
would crave their Lordships' attention for a few moments. This was a question which not only affected the religious interests of that part of the country with which the noble Lord (Earl Powis) was connected, but it involved a question which required from them the deepest consideration—whether, in point of policy, they were pursuing a proper course for the purpose of establishing a Bishop of Manchester?—whether it was wise, for the purpose of obtaining the paltry income for a bishop, to do violence to the religious feelings of a considerable portion of their fellow subjects? As Christian legislators it behoved them to guard the religious interests of their fellow countrymen. He maintained that they were not justified in inflicting the smallest injury on the religious feelings of any portion of their fellow countrymen far the purpose of obtaining the greatest benefit. If a Bishop of Manchester were required, the appointment of one ought not to have been postponed so long for the paltry sum of 5,000l. a year, when at this moment England was so gorged with wealth that she was scattering her millions in the most profligate speculations. He wished there were more bishops established. It was a question of minor consideration whether or no they should have seats in that House. Instead of one new bishop, he wished that six new bishops were about to be established, and let them come into that House by rotation. The bishops sat in that House not as spiritual Lords, but as temporal Barons; and it would be no dereliction of principle if they were to agree that bishops should sit in that House by rotation. He admired the honest zeal of his much respected Friend who had brought forward this question. By the course he had pursued he had not only gained to himself the approbation of his own conscience, but the approbation, and esteem, and respect of the Church, and of every well-wisher of it. He begged the House to look at the question in all its bearings. These ancient bishoprics might be preserved at no expense of the income for the Manchester bishopric. There were funds enough in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Cmomissioners to endow the See of Manchester; 64 and why, therefore, was the See of Bangor to be deprived of the benefit of a bishop, when they had it in their power immediately to concede to Manchester its bishop? He never gave a vote with more heartfelt satisfaction than he did that which he should give in support of the Motion of the noble Lord, which he sincerely hoped would be carried; and that Her Majesty's Ministers would not stand between that House and the Crown, and compel the Crown to take a course opposed to the wishes of the hereditary branch of the Legislature.
§ Lord Monteagle
said, in the discussion which had taken place, no reference had been made to the most important of all guides on this or any other subject—he meant experience. Could it be shown that the Church of England had worked so satisfactorily in Wales, that a departure from the present system need be apprehended as likely to produce effects injurious to the Establishment? Whatever claims the Church might have to their regard elsewhere, in North Wales it had not been successful; it was to be reckoned as a great misfortune that dissent had there increased to such an unparalleled extent. In no part of the United Kingdom had dissent made such progress as in the Principality. A century back there were only thirty-five Dissenting chapels in the whole of Wales; in 1810 there were 954 such chapels, and in 1832, 1,428. He believed that no one acquainted with the Principality would contradict him, when he asserted that at the present moment the Church in Wales was the Church of the minority of the people. What was the cause? Simply this—that the interests of the parochial clergy and the parochial system had been sacrificed to the episcopal system; the revenues of the local clergy had been absorbed in order to increase the incomes of the bishops. They had heard much of the antiquity of these sees; he would not exclude their antiquity as an element in the consideration of the question; but it was by their efficiency for the purposes of Church government and by the real interests of religion, that these sees should more properly be judged. Ancient as they were, still the present mode in which they were endowed, was not of that remote antiquity which might be supposed. He would call their Lordships' attention to the mode in which they had at different times been endowed. He believed the bishops of England, in the discharge of their own duties, relied very mainly on 65 the archdeacons; but in North Wales the archdeaconries had been in a manner extinguished, by being consolidated and united with the bishoprics; the very resources of the bishop had been wrested from his hands for the purpose of endowing the bishopric itself. It was an old phrase, that the archdeacons were oculi episcorum; but here the eyes of the bishop had been put in his pocket, instead of being made use of to assist him in the discharge of his functions. Again, many parishes had been withdrawn from the effectual superintendence of the parochial minister: they were not left in the position they would be if the bishopric had had been endowed in a different manner. These parishes might have perpetual curates or stipendiary curates; but these could not be the substitute for a resident parochial minister. He had stated that the additions to the bishoprics were not so ancient as had been supposed; in Bangor, some parishes had been annexed to the see as recently as 160, when the reason alleged in the recitals of the Private Bill that effected the union, was the small amount of the episcopal revenue. This argument could not now be urged. Such was the mode in which the working or parochial clergy had been deprived of the income that more properly belonged to them than to their bishops; it was to this fact that the failure of the Church of England in Wales was to be very mainly ascribed. North, and, to a certain extent, South Wales, had in former times been hardly dealt with; not only had the parochial tithes been wrested from many of the parochial clergy for the endowment of the sees, the same course had been taken by other public bodies, and had thus been the means of inflicting a similar wrong on the Principality. For the endowment of the diocese of Lichfield, a considerable portion of the parochial revenues had been taken from North Wales, and the same spoliation had been effected for Jesus and Christ Church Colleges, Oxford. The noble Duke had argued, that no positive engagement had been entered into to apply the funds in the hands of the Commissioners to the parochial clergy. But, at the period the Commissioners made their first Report, there was no expectation whatever of a surplus upon the episcopal fund like that which it exhibited at present; still less did they expect the greater surplus which future events might produce. They now had a surplus of 6,000l. a year: could it, then, 66 be necessary to take the revenue of one see of North Wales for the endowment of the new bishopric of Manchester? The question was, having that surplus, whether it was not better to use it in the one way than in the other? He intended, in his Resolution, to go as far as the Commissioners went in 1835, and not a point beyond; and surely there was no great danger to the Church in adopting this course when the recommendation bore the signatures of the Metropolitan, of all the Ecclesiastical Members of the Church Commission, of Sir R. Peel, of Mr. Goulburn, the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, of Mr. W. W. Wynn, and of other individuals whose opinions were entitled to the greatest consideration. He would now bring under the attention of their Lordships the state of the parochial clergy in North Wales. In the Isle of Anglesea there were seventy-five parishes, including nineteen benefices without a resident minister; there were nineteen parishes served by six ministers, of whom one travelled fourteen miles every Sunday; another served two churches and travelled ten miles; a third served two churches and travelled eight miles in the course of every Sunday.
The Bishop of Bangor
said, the noble Lord was reading from a book published twelve years ago, the inaccuracies of which were known to every one in the diocese.
§ Lord Monteagle
said, the work had been so far received as an authority that it was a prize essay, and had gained a medal from a public society. But if this was objected to, he could refer to another authority to be found in a work published by an hon. Friend of his own, a gentleman connected with the representation of the Principality, which gave a similar description of the state of the clergy. In Anglesea, which his hon. Friend (Mr. O. Stanley) represented, there were thirty instances of two churches under the care of one clergy man each; in some cases there were three churches under the care of one minister; scarcely in fifteen out of twenty-eight were there two services in the same day; in eight of these parishes, with a population of 12,000, the tithes were not vested in the minister, but allocated as part of the property of the see. The whole of the sinecure rectories did not amount to less than 8,000l. or 9,000l. a year; if 4,000l. of this amount were applied to the spiritual wants of North Wales, a step towards doing justice to it would be made. To make the 67 Church efficient in North Wales, they must re-establish the parochial system, and put the ministers in their proper position—of instructors of the people; that was the essence of the question; till they did that, all their arrangements with respect to the sees would be ineffectual for the real instruction of the population. He had omitted any notice of that class of persons who maintained from the first, that the legislation founded on the Report of the Ecclesiastical Commission was unjustifiable, on the ground that Parliament had no right to legislate for the Church, except with the approval of the Church itself. This he emphatically denied. If this were true, the whole course of legislation from the time of the Reformation to the present period had been but one series of usurpation on the rights of the clergy. He respected our admirable system of episcopacy; but it was one thing to respect it, and another to look up to it with a sort of superstition.
said, he should give his vote for the Motion of the noble Duke, and against the second reading of the Bill. He should do so from a full consideration of the subject in the manner presented by the noble Duke, and from a consideration of the Report of the Commissioners. With respect to the plan of his noble Friend (Lord Monteagle), that was totally wide of the consideration of the present measure; and, whether he should be disposed or not at a future time to support it, that was not the present question. The Motion before the House was the second reading of the Bill, and against that, as he had before stated, he should give his vote.
The Bishop of Salisbury
agreed with the noble and learned Lord, that the course pursued by the noble Lord who spoke last but one (Lord Monteagle) had diverted the attention of the House from the subject really before it. He sympathized most deeply in all that the noble Lord had said with respect to the privations of the parochial clergy in some parts of this kingdom, where the tithes originally intended for their support and sustenance had been diverted to other hands. It did not appear to him that the evil and grievance of such a diversion of the tithes was greater in a case like the present, in which the tithes had been appropriated to the support of a bishop, than in those in which they were in the hands of other ecclesiastical persons, 68 or, as was the case in the greater number of instances, in those of lay impropriators—or rather of the two, the violation of right principle was far greater in the latter case, which the noble Lord would leave untouched, than in this to which he was disposed to address himself. If the noble Lord were prepared with a Motion to bring the whole question of impropriate tithes before the House, he (the Bishop of Salisbury) should deem it well worthy of their Lordships' best attention. What would be the effect of that consideration he would not venture to say, but he did not believe that any full deliberation upon so important a subject would result in such a partial application of a remedy as that which the noble Lord now proposed. If the Legislature dealt with the subject, it must act on some principle. They could not deal with the tithes of Bangor and St. Asaph on a different principle from that on which they acted with reference to other dioceses. He had a right to ask what the principle was which the noble Lord was prepared to lay down. Would the noble Lord say that he would deal with ecclesiastical impropriate tithes, and not with lay impropriate tithes? He did not believe that the noble Lord would succeed in showing such a clear distinction between impropriate tithes in the hands of the laity, and those that were in the hands of ecclesiastics, as would justify him in proposing to deal with each in an entirely different manner. But suppose this distinction were admitted, what distinction would he be able to show between impropriate tithes in the hands of a dean and chapter, and those in the hands of a bishop? Were deans and chapters to be allowed to retain the impropriate tithes in their hands, while the bishops were to be despoiled? Did not the noble Lord know that very many cases could be shown of large parishes, the tithes of which belonged to deans and chapters, in which the provision for the parochial clergy was no less inadequate than in those parts of North Wales to which the noble Lord had referred? Was he prepared in these cases to bring in a Bill to remedy the particular grievance where it was shown to exist? And if not, how could he urge upon their Lordships to proceed in a different manner in respect of North Wales? But suppose for the sake of argument that a distinction were allowed to exist between lay tithes and ecclesiastical; and, again, between those belonging to deans and chapters, and those in the hands of bishops, what would the 69 noble Lord say to the impropriate tithes in the hands of the bishops generally? Was he prepared to say that it was right to deal with impropriate tithes in one bishopric in a different manner to that with which he would deal with them in another? He believed that there were many bishops who possessed a great amount of impropriate tithes. He thought it was an evil. It was an evil which in its present extent dated from the time of the Reformation; and was in a great measure the effect of an Act, which he had always considered to be a most iniquitous Act of Parliament, passed in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, empowering the Sovereign, on the vacancy of any see, to take into her own hands any portion of the manors and lands of bishoprics on making remuneration out of impropriate tithes which had come into her hands by the dissolution of the monasteries. That was the cause of so many impropriations being in the possession of the bishops of the present day. He believed that the see of his right rev. Friend (the Bishop of Lincoln) was endowed with impropriate tithes to no less extent than either of these Welsh dioceses. And would there then be any appearance of sound principle in applying a completely different rule to two cases altogether of the same character? He feared that the noble Lord would say that this clause had been recommended in the first instance by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. But he begged to remind the noble Lord, that though such a suggestion was hastily thrown out in the first Report made by those Commissioners, they afterwards changed their opinion on fuller and more mature deliberation, and embodied the result of their final judgment in the Bill proposed to the Legislature, which did not contain any provision of this kind. He had been led to say thus much in reply to the observations of the noble Lord. With respect to the subject now before the House, he did not intend to go in any detail into the arguments in favour of the Bill of the noble Earl. He had done so on former occasions, and would not now repeat what he had then said. He saw with satisfaction in each succeeding discussion some progress towards that result which he believed to be right and just. On former occasions pecuniary difficulties had been dwelt upon. It was now freely admitted that no obstacle of this kind could be shown to exist. He did not indeed think this was a question of a mere pecuniary consideration. The noble 70 Duke had not looked at it in that point of view. He had heard some of the noble Duke's remarks with great satisfaction; but he thought the noble Duke was disposed to treat the question too much as one of a mere local character, and on this ground to detract from the weight of the petitions which had been presented in favour of this Bill from persons not locally connected with North Wales. The noble Duke thought that such parties must have acted not from their own judgment, but from the instigation of others. But he (the Bishop of Salisbury) would venture to suggest to the noble Duke what he believed to be the true solution of those petitions. The petitioners knew that they were members of a body of which, if one member suffered, all the members suffered together with it. Therefore they came forward now to support that member which was suffering under oppression and wrong, no less readily than if the injury were done to themselves. They did this under a strong conviction—it might be an erroneous conviction, but he believed it was deeply felt by the great body of the clergy, and shared in by a large portion of the laity—that no greater wrong or injury could be inflicted on any portion of the Church than to be deprived of the aid and superintendence of those whom the members of that Church had been accustomed to look upon as their spiritual heads. The clergy felt already that the existing system of the Church gave them too few opportunities for holding communication with those placed over them, and with whom they would be glad to have greater facilities of intimate intercourse. They believed that this would tend to strengthen their hands and increase their usefulness; and therefore it was that they had petitioned for the preservation of these bishops in that part of the country where they had been so long established, and also for the establishing of bishoprics in those populous districts which had not hitherto enjoyed that privilege. He hoped that the petitioners would meet with the sympathy and support of their Lordships. Their request and hope was that their Lordships and Her Majesty's Ministers especially might be induced to take into consideration the means of making such a moderate, reasonable and practicable addition to the episcopal body of this country as its increased population demanded. The necessity of this was felt by all; and he believed there were means existing to effect it with- 71 out imposing any additional burthen on the public funds. He was yesterday reading a book written by a gentleman whom he was proud to call a valued friend of his own, and who had been thought by Her Majesty worthy of high promotion in the Church—he meant the Venerable Samuel Wilberforce, who was shortly, he believed, to be Dean of Westminster. That book was the history of the American Church; and he saw much in it which afforded an instructive lesson in reference to the question before their Lordships. It was instructive to see how the Church in that distant country had flagged and well-nigh expired for want of that episcopate which it was now wished to preserve and to extend at home. It was instructive to see how the wisest and best men in America, year after year, petitioned this country for that boon which should not have been withheld from them; and how a pious Queen (would that there might be an omen in this!) took into her Royal heart to attend to their petitions, and had wellnigh carried measures for fulfilling them. It was instructive to see how worldly statesmen, such as Walpole—Oh, that the statesmen of the present day might not prove like them!—turned a deaf ear to requests of that kind, caring little for what seemed to have a bearing only on spiritual things, and turning their attention to nothing else but immediate and temporal advantages. It was sad to see how they deferred, and obstructed, and delayed, and finally defeated every attempt of that kind. It was instructive to observe how the members of the Church in that country were mostly well-disposed and loyal subjects, giving no great trouble to their governors; and therefore perhaps it was thought that there was no very urgent necessity to attend to their requests, and so they were left unheeded; how there were many sectaries who were turbulent and discontented, and therefore it was thought important to conciliate and flatter them. And so true religion was disregarded, and schism encouraged; Statecraft flourished, or seemed to flourish, and the Church decayed, until the day of retribution came. And then in that hour of England's agony—in the day of shame, and degradation, and dismay, they reported too late that the seed of true loyalty had been so sparingly sown, and that they had failed to bind together the hearts of men in those bonds which have ever been found the best security for social order and abiding peace. It was instructive, again, to consider how 72 that Church revived from a state almost of dissolution; not by the wisdom and help of man, but under God, through her own native and divine energy, when she had obtained that complete form of constitution in which she had existed from the time of the Apostles, and which we hold to be essential to her perfect state; and now it was delightful to see how that Church was as "a city set on a hill," a tree taking root downward, and bearing fruit upwards. A Church with 22 bishops, and upwards of 1,200 clergy, the fairest and best daughter of her spiritual mother in England. The history of the Church in America, and the present condition of it, taught them a lesson which had indeed been given to the Church of old by high authority—a lesson which was needful for the Church to remember in every age—perhaps never more needful than in the present day. It was the lesson—"Put not your trust in Princes," no, nor in their advisers—"for there is no help in them." He would venture to bring this lesson to the remembrance of the members of the Church, and of its ministers especially. He would say, "Put not your trust in these: but put your trust, under God, in pure doctrine, in holy living, and in united counsels—and then if statesmen fail you, as fail you they most probably will, you will have a surer trust, a better confidence, a more abiding security in the hearts of the people, and in the protection of God."
I need hardly say that the high personal character of my noble Friend who has introduced this Motion, and the deep, and no doubt sincere energy with which the right rev. Prelate has supported him, would entitle it to the most respectful attention, even if it were not supported by the assent of many of your Lordships, and by the almost unanimous concurrence of that right rev. Bench, and, I am bound to admit, by a great portion of the public opinion out of doors, on the part of those most sincerely attached to the Church, and interested in its welfare; and yet, whatever may be the weight of authority in support of this measure, Her Majesty's Ministers, who have a duty to perform, are bound by higher considerations not to defer to any authority however high—to any talents however distinguished—or to any character however estimable; or to support, in deference to that authority, a measure which they believe not to be advantageous to the best interests of the Church. My Lords, it is an old warn- 73 ing, and one which should not be forgotten now—Evertere domos totas optantibus ipsisDii faciles.Shall I go on with the quotation?—Nocitura togâ, nocitura petuntur.We are not to be led, even by our respect and reverence for that Bench, to sacrifice those measures which we believe to be best for the interests—the real and permanent interests of that Church to which we owe a deeper affection—a still stronger reverence; nor to consent to a measure, however plausible it may appear, and by whatever arguments it may be supported, which seems at present attended with inconvenience, and probably with future danger to the interests of that Establishment. I agree with the right rev. Prelate who has just sat down, and the right rev. Prelate who spoke earlier in the debate, that this is not a question of pounds, shillings, and pence, but one that involves far higher considerations. It is not a question to be looked at with local considerations, and with reference to local interests merely. It is a question to be looked at for the interests of the Church, not in its temporal, but in its spiritual capacity, for the promotion of religion—for the general diffusion of religion and of religious knowledge—for episcopal superintendence in the best possible way—and for the most equitable distribution that can be made of the benefits, duties, and emoluments of the several prelates of that Church. I throw aside all the advantages I might derive from the objection that this measure has not received the previous sanction of the Crown. I will not argue the question whether it is necessary for the purpose of endowing the See of Manchester, that further funds should be provided. I will admit, for the sake of argument, that the funds now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are sufficient for the endowment of the See of Manchester without deriving anything from the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor. Setting aside all these considerations, I will still maintain that it is desirable for the good of the Church, and for the religious interests of this country, that the Sees of Bangor and St. Asaph should be united for the purpose of a more equal distribution of its revenues and religious duties. Having gone thus far, and having admitted that there is a surplus in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, probably sufficient to endow the See of Manchester, although it is liable to some future contingency, I must call your Lord- 74 ships' attention to a question with respect to the application of that revenue to the endowment of that see. Suppose that instead of the sum of 5,000l. a year, which you now have, and which you can apply to the endowment of the newly created see, it increased in a few years not to 10,000l., but to 15,000l., not to 15,000l., but to 20,000l., would you wish now to lay down the principle that all future surplus was to be applied to the purpose of increasing the number of bishoprics? ["Hear, hear!"] Well, but that is a very grave question; and we should understand it before we give our votes for the Motion of my noble Friend. The right rev. Prelate who spoke last said that this was but a small part of the original measure; but I differ in opinion from the right rev. Prelate in that respect; for I think it lies at the root of the whole arrangement which successive Commissions and successive Governments have recommended to Parliament, and which has been sanctioned by successive Acts. Let me ask your Lordships to go back to the period, and consider the circumstances of the Commission of 1835. It is stated that there is now no apprehension on the part of the Church; that it stands high in the estimation of the people, and has nothing to fear from external enemies. I hope and believe that is the case; but look at the period previous to 1834. You will not deny, that previous to 1834 and 1835, there was throughout a large portion of the community of this country a great and growing hostility to the Church, arising from a sense that the Church did not adequately fulfil those high and holy purposes to which it was dedicated, and did not make the best use, for the spiritual instruction of the people, of those revenues with which it had been endowed for those spiritual purposes. That state of the Church was viewed with triumphant exultation by the religious and political Dissenters; and it was viewed with alarm by the best friends of the Church, who were obliged to confess with shame the manifold deficiencies of that venerable body, owing, no doubt, to the change of circumstances in various parts of the country; the means of the Church, in some places, being inadequate and insufficient to discharge the duties, while in others its enemies pointed to the enormous endowments of certain dignitaries, and certain portions of the Establishment. If additional aid to the Church was called for, the answer was, the Church ought to respond to the call, and make the best use of the means at her disposal. Under 75 these circumstances, the Commission was issued by no unfriendly Government — by the Government of my noble Friend (the Duke of Wellington), and of my right hon. Friend now at the head of the Government. It was composed of some of the most eminent prelates of the Church; and they, without a dissentient voice, I believe, came to the conclusion that it was essential for the purposes contemplated that these sees should be united. For what purpose was the Commission appointed? The words under which the Commission was appointed were well-considered words, having been introduced into the King's Speech, and repeated verbatim by the Minister of the Crown. What was the charge thrown upon that Commission, and what was its object? With regard to the bishoprics, they were to consider the state of the several dioceses in England and Wales, with reference to the amount of revenues, and the equal distribution of episcopal duties. They were to look into the condition of the cathedrals and the cathedral offices, and to consider how means could be best provided for the cure of souls. What was the first and leading principle laid down by that Commission? This,—We are not prepared to recommend any increase in the total number of the episcopal sees; but we are of opinion that, by the union of certain existing bishoprics, of which the combined duties will not be too onerous to a single bishop, by the erection of two new sees in the province of York, and by the transfer of districts in some dioceses to others, arrangements can be made for the general performance of episcopal duties more satisfactorily than at present.The object is the equalization of the distribution of the revenues, on the one hand, and of the duties on the other; and the Commission proceeded by laying down this principle, that they were not about to recommend the augmentation of the number of sees; but the whole of their recommendation was founded on this, that the number of sees was to remain unaltered. Therefore, though this is a small part of the arrangement, it is one that lies at the root of the whole scheme. You cannot touch it without condemning—I was going to say stultifying—the whole arrangement, which scarcely left any see untouched—only three at least were untouched—Chichester, Exeter, and Winchester; for in the last there was but very little change made. With those exceptions, every see in England and Wales was altered in various respects. One, indeed, may be said to have 76 been virtually suppressed. The Diocese of Rochester originally consisted of a considerable portion of the county of Kent, and of that alone. What was done? Why, the whole of Kent, with the exception of the city of Rochester itself, was taken from the see, to which were added two entire counties, Essex and Hertford. Nay, the bishop's residence itself was removed without the limits of the former diocese; and the city itself was retained, by an inconvenient arrangement, as part of the new see, apparently with the object mainly of avoiding the suppression by name, except in a case of absolute necessity, of any existing see. Yet these Commissioners, with this obviously strong feeling on their minds, unhesitatingly recommended the consolidation of the Sees of Bangor and St. Asaph. We may be told that the Commissioners subsequently changed their opinions. Upon some points they did. But upon this question—the union of the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor—neither the Commission, nor Parliament, nor Government, has ever altered an opinion. It was the same in the year 1835, under Sir R. Peel's Government; in 1836 under Lord Melbourne's Government; and so downwards until the Order in Council of 1838. Neither doubt, nor change of opinion as to the propriety of uniting those two sees, was expressed. It is true that two new sees were created in consequence of the recommendation of that Commission. Mark how the facts of the case destroy the invidious character sought to be thrown upon this union of the two sees—that it is for the purpose of endowing Manchester! The Order in Council which consolidates the sees of Bangor and St. Asaph devotes the whole of the proceeds derived from the consolidation of those sees, not to Manchester, but to two other Welsh sees—Llandaff and St. David's. I admit that according to the principles laid down by the Commissioners, Manchester could not have been founded without the consolidation of St. Asaph and Bangor; nor could Ripon, without that of Gloucester and Bristol. Every Commission was of opinion that the Sees of Ripon and Manchester should be founded, and that four of the least considerable sees should be consolidated into two, for that purpose, without increasing the number of bishoprics. Upon no occasion has there been a moment's hesitation or doubt as to the propriety and necessity of consolidating the Sees of Bangor and St. Asaph, more than there was with regard to Gloucester 77 and Bristol. Right or wrong, the Commission reported that the number of sees ought not to be increased; and whatever advantages might be obtained by an increase would be far outweighed by the obstacles and hostility you would arouse against the Church—the political disadvantages would greatly overbalance any advantage derivable from the increase. I adverted to the hostility against the Church in 1834; I point with great satisfaction to the improved position which that Church now occupies in public opinion; and to what is it owing, but that for the last ten years all parties, friends and opponents, have seen the Church zealously and actively applying its means to the best purposes—for the support of its religious institutions, and for the augmentation of its spiritual efficiency? They have seen her cutting down superfluities here, for the purpose of supplying deficiencies there; they have seen her clergy more concerned for the spiritual welfare of their flocks than for the political advancement and ascendancy of that Church. Now, depend upon it, it is not one more bishop that is contemplated; no, a right rev. Prelate who spoke early in this debate has frankly avowed — and I thank him for it—that if the principle be admitted, it is not one prelate now, but it is (to use his own words) a reasonable and moderate increase of the number of the episcopate; and I ask you, my Lords, to consider carefully the impression which will be made upon the public mind by the declaration that now, turning aside from that wise, and judicious, and moderate course in which the Church has been engaged for the last ten years, there is to be an attempt to increase, not the spiritual influence, but the political power of the Church. [Cries of "Hear, hear!" and "No, no."] My Lords, you may say "No," but you may rely upon it that the proposal will be ill received to place another, and another, and another bishop in this House. ["No, no."] The noble Lord must take one alternative; there are but two courses. You must have an increase of the number of the bishops, who are to have seats in this House; and, if so, you will have an increase of the political power of the Church, and a still greater suspicion of an attempt to increase it: or you must take the other branch of the alternative, and have an increased number of bishops; but some of them, in some way or other—no one has explained how—the bishop of this see, or of the junior see, or of the three or four junior sees for the time 78 being, to be excluded from the privilege of a seat in your Lordships' House. ["Hear!"] I conclude, from the cheer given me by my noble Friend opposite, that this latter is the view. I see in it great danger. My Lords, I trust the right rev. Bench will forgive me if I speak plainly and frankly; for this is a question upon which one must speak out. There are many good and wise men, at all events many religious and Christian men, who think it would be far better for the interests of religion that that right rev. Bench had no place in this House. My Lords, I am not of that opinion; I value very highly the weight and the influence, and the authority which that Bench gives to the proceedings of your Lordships' House; and I value them not the less, and I express that opinion not the less freely, when I know that I am about, upon tills occasion, to encounter the opposition of a great portion of that Bench; but I cannot conceal from myself that the political advantage—the advantage to the State, which is gained by the presence of that right rev. Bench (of whom I see so many now in your Lordships' House), great as it is, is purchased by a certain degree of disadvantage in the abstraction from the duties of their dioceses which necessarily follows upon the discharge of their secular duties in this House. Let my noble Friend consider the consequence of this proposal. Suppose it should happen that the Bishop of Manchester—a bishop about to be created in the middle of a populous diocese, which has long felt the want of episcopal superintendence — should for the first year or two be indefatigable in the discharge of his religious duties—never absent from his diocese, constantly mixing with the clergy and with the population—suppose that this should continue so long as he had no seat in Parliament, and that at the expiration of two or three years, taking his place in this House, and being a man of ability, and zeal and character and talent, performing a distinguished part in Parliament, he should be drawn more and more into the discussion of political affairs, and be separated more and more from the superintendence of his diocese, and the discharge of the religious duties pertaining to it—do you think that would have no effect upon the public opinion, which at the moment, perhaps, may be inclined to hold it far better that the bishops were separated from politics, and entirely confined to the business of their dioceses? But, my Lords, go further; suppose that it should not be the Bishop of Manchester alone who 79 should be excluded from a voice in your Lordships' House, but that upon each diocese, separately, and successively, the same experiments were to be tried, and the same results were unhappily found to be the consequence; I ask you could you take a step more effectual for the purpose of spreading the opinion to which I have referred as backed by the religious feeling of many persons in this country? Could you take a step that would tend more to endanger the stability of the place of that right rev. Bench in this House, which I, for one, upon political considerations, so highly value as I do? These are matters, my Lords, which we ought well and carefully to consider, before we consent to augment the number of the bishops. At all events it should be well understood upon what principle you are about to proceed; whether you are about to augment the number by one, or to follow that up by two, or three, or four or five. For my own part, I will frankly avow, that if at this moment we were free to act, and to augment the number of the bishops, and instead of twenty-six, to have twenty-eight, or twenty-nine, or thirty (and I admit that there may be considerations so powerfully, so overwhelmingly important, as to override all those political considerations, to which, however, I attach great importance); if at this moment it were tabula rasa, I confess my own honest opinion to be, that if you were to proceed upon the principle laid down by the Commission of equalizing episcopal duties and revenues, the Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor ought to be consolidated, even though you increased the number of the bishops. I know that right rev. Prelates and noble Lords have spoken of the antiquity of those sees; but I do not know that there is anything more sacred in Bangor or St. Asaph than there was in Bristol or in Gloucester; and of this I am sure, that there is nothing more sacred in the maintenance of an episcopal see here, or an episcopal see there, than there is in the due diffusion throughout the country of episcopal superintendence, and the equalization of the duties which press too hardly upon some of the prelates, and must sit lightly upon the shoulders of others. Remember what was the object—the better distribution of revenues and of duties; I know how unwelcome it is at such an hour as this to trouble your Lordships with figures, but I am compelled to bring before the House a few, for the purpose of showing how the case stands with regard to labours in the 80 separate Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, and in the united see as compared with other dioceses. Let us take any test that you please, the principle being, to come to an approximation to equality of duties. Take the number of benefices, or the number of population, or the acreable extent of the diocese; for although I must contend that the last is, with regard to the duties of a bishop, the least important element of consideration, I admit that it is an element. Under the former arrangement, I think we have no returns of the acreable contents of the different dioceses; we have with regard to the new distribution. But with regard to benefices, I find the average of the whole of England and Wales, according to the former arrangement, gave 418 to each bishop. Lichfield and Coventry had 606, Exeter 632, York 891, Norwich 1,021 Lincoln 1,234; and how many had St. Asaph? It had 131. Bangor had not so many; it bad only 124. In the total number of the dioceses, ranging them with reference to the benefices, (a most imperfeet test, by the by,) they stood the 23rd and 25th upon the list of the 26 bishoprics. Now let us look at the population. The average amount of population, taking all the bishoprics, was 558,000. In Norwich there were 690,000; in Exeter 793,000; in Lichfield 983,000; in Winchester 729,000; in York 1,463,000: in London 1,688,000; and in the single diocese of Chester 1,902,000, being double the population of all the four dioceses of Wales put together. What was the population of St. Asaph and Bangor? That of St. Asaph was 197,000, and that of Bangor 153,000; and the two united were 350,000; being very little more than three-fifths of the average of all the dioceses in England and Wales before those sees were united. Now, according to the new arrangement, how does it stand? Why, the average number of benefices is 418; and St. Asaph and Bangor united comprise 255. I say that is a fallacious test, because in Wales it is notorious that the number of benefices bears a much larger proportion to the population, than in most of the dioceses of England. In Chester, for example, even according to the new distribution, there is one benefice to 1,880 of the population; in Durham one to 3,000; in Ripon one to 4,800; in London one to 7,000; but in St. Asaph and Bangor, under the improved distribution, approaching to equality, there are but 1,341 individuals to each benefice. Remember, too, that of that population one half are stated to be Dissenters; that so far as the 81 supervision of the clergy and bishops goes, the population of this diocese must be divided by two to give a fair estimate of the amount of duty to be performed. Then, with regard to the population, the average of all the dioceses is 558,000; and what is the population of the united dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor? Why it is 339,450. And yet, avowing that you proceed upon the principle of equalizing the distribution of the labours of the bishops, you are now to take two dioceses, which when united stand almost the lowest on the list in regard to population, and in regard to benefices, and for the purpose, forsooth, of this equalization, to divide into two these, which together form the smallest and least important of the sees; while you leave Exeter, and Lincoln, and Norwich, and London, untouched, with the enormous weight of population and benefices pressing upon them. Now with regard to area. Even including the item of acreable contents, there are no less than four of the dioceses in this country which, after Bangor and St. Asaph shall have been united, exceed that united diocese in all the three elements of acreable contents, of number of benefices, and of amount of population. Why, if you are to increase the number of bishops, and are not to be bound down by the rule which bound both sets of Commissioners, I should like to see some noble Lord arguing the additional advantage of dividing St. Asaph and Bangor (supposing them to be united), over the advantage of dividing the diocese of Exeter, and providing additional superintendence there. We speak about the unfortunate condition of Wales; but I would ask whether it is from any want of episcopal superintendence, or of deans and chapters, and canons, and other higher orders of the Church, that Bangor and St. Asaph are in that lamentable state with regard to the prevalence of dissent which has been so forcibly laid before us? Why, the labours of the bishop of the united sees will be lighter than the labours of almost any one of the bishops in England and Wales. And yet, when we consolidate these two sees, we are told that by our withdrawal of episcopal superintendence we are injuring the prospects of the Church, standing in the way of the religious instruction of the people, and pandering to the encouragement of dissent. Why, dissent, forsooth, reigns rampant throughout the two dioceses which have been blessed with the greatest amount of episcopal supervision; and it will not be by the increase of episcopal supervi- 82 sion that dissent will be checked. I admit with a right rev. Prelate that this is not a question of pounds, shillings, and pence. I agree with my noble Friend who addressed us the other night, although his observation was much commented on, that this is not a question on which you can separate Wales from England; I agree with the right rev. Prelate who has just down, that you must deal with St. Asaph and Bangor as with a diocese in England; and I hail that admission, because it is that upon which I desire your Lordships to proceed—namely, that in the consolidation of the whole episcopal staff of England and Wales, you should so arrange the whole as to distribute the burden and the emoluments with tolerable equality. But even if we were (as I am not prepared to do) to sanction a repeal of the union between England and Wales, and to say that Wales is to have a separate fund of its own, and distribute its own income among its own clergy upon a different principle from that adopted in England, that will not serve my noble Friend's turn, because he must not only repeal the union between England and Wales, but the union between North Wales and South Wales. He must contend that North Wales is to keep all it has got, and South Wales to get what it can from somewhere else. I do not understand that principle of distribution, by which everybody is to gain, and nobody is to lose anything. I do not know upon what principle my noble Friend could ask Durham to sacrifice 11,000l. a year, and not to apply 1s. of that to its own curacies and the wants of an increasing population. And here let me remark, that I have been arguing upon the population data of 1831, whereas we are speaking in 1845, and the disproportion has enormously increased. My Lords, I say that if you are to adopt the principle that Wales is to be separated altogether from England, then upon the whole, if you take episcopal revenues, and that which is called the common fund, or if you take either of the two, Wales would not be a gainer, but a loser, by the adoption of the principle for which my noble Friend contends; because, upon a distribution of the balance of either fund, Wales—I do not say North Wales merely — will receive a larger amount than it will pay into the fund. With regard to the episcopal fund, there is taken 4,750l. from the dioceses in North Wales, but the same sum has been paid to the dioceses in South Wales, and at this moment one of these dioceses is deriving an augmentation of 1,600l. from the common fund, which is the fund of 83 England, and the common fund of Wales has not yet subscribed 1s. to it. But take the common fund generally, and not the episcopal fund, there has been taken from Wales 1,950l., but there are charges payable to Wales, and actually in course of payment, to the amount of 3,430l.; and when ultimately the whole balance shall be struck, Wales will be found to have contributed 7,500l., against a payment to it of 8,280l., the fact also being that there are now plans under consideration for the augmentation of small livings from the common fund to the extent of 3,000l. My noble Friend said something about distance; but there is now a railroad in progress between St. Asaph and Bangor, bringing them as near as Manchester and Liverpool. One word with regard to the sinecure rectories. The 3rd and 4th Victoria, c. 113, s. 55, provides for the annexation of lands or tithes to rectories, where expedient. The first charge upon those sinecure rectories, which at present contribute nothing to the service of religion, is to provide for the spiritual wants of those parishes from which they are taken. I do feel, my Lords, that this whole question is one of serious and vital importance; it involves far more than the consolidation of these two bishoprics, or even the endowment of another. The question is, will you now, after the lapse of ten or twelve years, set aside the whole principle of a great and complicated arrangement, which, whatever may be its defects, has worked well for the public and for religion? An arrangement which, if you will allow it to be carried out by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, will remedy the spiritual destitution that at present exists, will confer great benefits on the community at large, and will supersede what has been admitted on all hands to have been a great and serious evil to the Church, the temptations to repeated translations, exposing the bishops to the charge of subserviency to the Minister of the day, and at all events transferring them from one district to another for the purpose of enlarging their emoluments. If you leave the matter in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, you will remedy the evils which, in former days, have been allowed to creep in of permitting the archdeaconries to became merged in the endowments of the bishops; you will restore the archdeaconries of St. Asaph, of Merionethshire, of Montgomeryshire, and of Bandon; you will allow what my noble Friend has rightly called the "eyes of the Church" to be multiplied, and the supervision to be 84 thereby increased; you will comer a great and lasting benefit on the interests of the Church and of religion; and I cannot too earnestly entreat your Lordships not rashly to interfere with the existing arrangements. I entreat you not again to rouse that hostility to the Church which is now, thank God, dormant, and which will lie dormant if you allow the Church to exert her own rights, and extend her own usefulness. I hope that you will not again raise the question of Church Ascendancy. I entreat you not again to raise all the other complicated questions which have been set at rest by this Bill; but above all I ask you not to consent to a redistribution of the sees, not by diminishing those of Lincoln, of Chester, or of Norwich, but by increasing to a frightful and almost to a ludicrous extent the labours and the comparative differences between the different sees, an assimilation in which was one of the first objects of the Commission. I have to apologize to your Lordships for the time I have occupied; but I commend the subject to your Lordships' attention. I know not what the result of this division may be; but I never gave a vote which is given with a more conscientious conviction that it is given in support of the great religious and political interests of this country, than when I oppose the Bill of the noble Lord, however powerful may be the arguments, and however estimable may be the authority with which it is submitted to the House.
The Bishop of St. David's
said, if he had risen under ordinary circumstances to address their Lordships, on a question which had been so often discussed, it would have been with extreme reluctance; and their Lordships might be sure that reluctance was not diminished when he found himself under the great disadvantage of following the speech of a noble Lord so experienced in debate, and of such commanding powers of reasoning and of eloquence, as the noble Lord who had just sat down. Yet he could not say that he rose with the same degree of reluctance now: he must acknowledge that he very much desired to obtain their attention, because he conceived that since he last addressed their Lordships the whole question had been very materially changed; and he freely confessed that his own opinions had been a little modified by what had been since said and done. And, first, he wished to clear up a misunderstanding, which he might unwittingly and unwillingly have contributed to cause. He had been very much surprised by a remark which fell 85 from a noble Earl (Ellenborough) the other evening, that it was something new to him to hear the Church of Wales spoken of as contradistinguished from the Church of England; and he was still more astonished to find from an observation of his noble Friend opposite (Lord Campbell), that he himself was supposed to entertain some such idea. Now, he begged leave emphatically to disclaim and repudiate any such idea on his own part; and he must add that nothing was more foreign to the position on which the question itself stood, and that nothing that had been advanced in favour of the measure of the noble Earl (Earl Powis) in the slightest degree implied that the advocates of that measure considered the Church in Wales in any other light than as part of the Church of England. But what they contended was, that as a part of the Church of England, it had its peculiar interests, and, therefore, its peculiar rights, and that it stood in many respects in a peculiar position. That this was correct, was recognised by an Act of the Legislature itself, which authorized the translation of the Bible into the Welsh language, and by which the Bishops of St. David's, Bangor, St. Asaph, Llandaff, and Hereford, were charged with carrying that object into effect. This implied nothing like a wish for the repeal of the union between the Church in Wales and the Church in England; but it did, as he conceived, show that there were peculiar rights and interests belonging to the Church in Wales, which were entitled to respectful consideration within certain limits. How much had they recently heard in that House of the sacredness with which local and particular interests ought to be guarded! And surely if the Campus Martins of Perth and the Curragh of Kildare had a right to their protection, for the peculiar advantages and enjoyments they afforded to the inhabitants of their respective vicinities, the Church in Wales, without separating itself from the rest of the community, might also fairly put in her claims to protection, especially as their Lordships must remember that the interests at stake, though of a different order, were not inferior in importance to those connected with a promenade or a horse race. He had, on a former occasion, spoken of this as a Welsh question, and as exciting a deep interest among the people of Wales: he repeated the expression; and so much was it considered in Wales as a national question, that there was almost perfect unanimity with respect to it, 86 even amongst those who differed from the Church—at least he was informed by the private letters accompanying the petitions which he had presented, that the feelings there expressed in favour of the noble Earl's (Powis') measure were by no means confined to the members of the Established Church, but were shared in equally by Dissenters; and he could easily conceive that this might, nay must, be the case, because it was perfectly consistent in Welshmen, though Dissenters, to object to a law by which they saw the interests of their own country sacrificed to those of any other portion of the Empire. He apprehended that the principle of the Constitution did not permit the interests of individuals to be needlessly sacrificed even to those of the whole community; much less ought the Legislature to sacrifice the interests of one part to those of any other. He was aware that when on a former occasion he had expressed this opinion, he had subjected himself to a gentle admonition from a right rev. Friend on his left (the Bishop of London), from whom he had more than once received similar admonitions, which he could assure his right rev. Friend he always received in the spirit in which they were bestowed. Notwithstanding that admonition, however, he did not think that in expressing these sentiments on a former occasion, he had outstepped his duty. He did say there was a feeling on this subject among the inhabitants of Wales, that in this measure, as well as in others affecting them, their rights and interests had been overlooked and neglected; and he did say that national distinctions did exist. Their Lordships would not get rid of them by shutting their eyes to them; and these national distinctions did create an additional reason why their Lordships should act cautiously in dealing with a subject that was likely to rouse those feelings; and he felt that he was the more entitled to use that language there, because he had been cautious not to use it elsewhere. If, indeed, he had been silent there, while he encouraged feelings of discontent elsewhere, or if he had concurred in measures calculated to excite such feelings, and then had endeavoured to conceal the effect they had produced, he might have been justly liable to censure; but having known, from personal experience, the existence of those feelings, he had thought that, in stating that fact, he had only made a fair use of the privilege he enjoyed of addressing their Lordships. He would venture even to ask, whether, reviewing the whole history of 87 this discussion, every thing that had taken place had not been calculated to rouse those feelings of jealousy among the people of Wales? It might, indeed, have appeared, upon the first recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, that the object they had in view was to confer a benefit on the Church in Wales. But what must be the construction put upon the original views of the Commissioners, when they were afterwards seen changing their first proposal, possibly in consequence of a change in the Members of the Commission? The change was material; and it took away what had been thought to have been the benefit intended by the Commissioners for the Church in Wales, and without giving any equivalent. They now deprived North Wales of one of its dioceses, and also drew away the revenue to increase the general fund. When this was compared with the original proposition, the conclusion was that the original proposition itself was not made so much for the benefit of the Church in Wales, as with the view of making a proposal that should be palatable, at first view, to the inhabitants of Wales. The circumstances of this question, however, had been changed by the remarks which had fallen from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Monteagle), which had resulted in the Notice of a Resolution he had given; and he felt deeply indebted to his noble Friend for the part he had taken in this discussion. His noble Friend had frankly declared, and had recorded his opinion in the Resolution of which he had given notice, notwithstanding his concurrence in the second recommendation of the Commissioners, that in that recommendation, and on the measure founded upon it, there was an injustice done to Wales; he revoked his consent, and declared that the law as it now stood ought to be amended. He therefore apprehended it was the concurrent opinion of both sides of the House that the law needed amendment, and that it was an injustice that required to be redressed. If this were so, the only question remaining was, how was this to be done? He admitted all that had been said about spiritual destitution in North Wales; and he admitted that if the surplus revenue of the united dioceses were applied as had been recommended, it would be a great benefit to the Church. Still, when his noble Friend mentioned this destitution, he had entirely neglected to connect the present unfortunate state of that Church with the existence of the two bishoprics, much less did he show that the 88 union of the two sees would supply any remedy for those evils. Before applying himself to the proposition of his noble Friend (Earl Powis) he must make a few remarks on what had fallen from the noble Lord who spoke last (Lord Stanley). He had endeavoured to follow the noble Lord through that able, and eloquent, and impressive speech; and, as he followed him, notwithstanding the consummate ability of that speech, he must say he had been impressed with an intimate conviction — and he said it without any intention of speaking disrespectfully of the noble Lord—that it was one series and tissue of fallacies from the beginning to the end, and that—not indeed its object, but its tendency—was to divert their Lordships' attention from the subject before them. What was his main argument? It was an endeavour to alarm their Lordships; and here he only followed the course which had been taken on every previous occasion by the noble Duke (Wellington) by his side, of endeavouring to lead their Lordships to think that if they concurred in the measure of the noble Earl, they would be undoing all that had been done by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and that they would give a sort of pledge that they did not mean those arrangements to stand. Now, not only was this not contemplated, but he denied that such would be the effect of this measure. He denied, on his own part, that he had the most distant design of interfering with or of condemning either the principle or the general operation of the Ecclesiastical Commission. He believed that this principle was most sound, and that its operation in general was salutary and beneficial. So far from this measure having a tendency to overthrow the principle adopted by the Commissioners, it was a measure to carry it out. The principle was to relieve religious destitution by redressing inequalities in the distribution of Church endowments, and applying the surplus to districts where it is most required; and he said that, in the case of the Church in North Wales, this principle had been violated, in consequence of the imperfect state of the information obtained as to the peculiar circumstances of this case. The measure before the House, so far from being counter to the principles upon which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners based their recommendations—so far from affording any ground for alarm that it was a step in a retrograde direction—carried out those principles, and sanctioned and confirmed them, by correcting mistakes which the 89 Ecclesiastical Commissioners were led into, in consequence of the want of information on the subject which prevailed at the time. The noble Lord had also adverted to the difficulty of preserving the two sees, without increasing the number of bishops in the House of Lords: and he had argued that the arrangement which had been proposed for meeting that difficulty, according to which the bishop last appointed would not immediately take his seat in that House, would be attended with danger, because it would seem to follow, and would not fail to be urged, that the rest might as well be relieved from their Parliamentary duties, and be allowed to devote themselves to the care of their dioceses. But the noble Lord had overlooked an obvious answer to this objection. It was not merely their attendance in that House that prevented the bishops from remaining constantly in their dioceses. If they were excluded from that House, they would still be drawn away from their dioceses by the occasions which would arise for conference on the affairs of the Church; and such occasions would probably in that case be more frequent than now. For it could hardly be imagined that if the Church ceased to be represented in that House, she would also be deprived of the power of meeting in Convocation. For his own part, he thought it far from desirable that the bishops should remain always isolated from one another; and he was convinced that their temporary absence from their dioceses was attended with many very beneficial effects. The only question, however, under consideration at that moment was, whether a law which the almost unanimous voice of the country had condemned as bad in some respects, should be corrected; and he very much wished to know, if their Lordships refused to permit the Bill to be read a second time, whether anything had fallen from the Members of Her Majesty's Government during the present discusion, which justified them in thinking that, if the present Bill were to be rejected, the alternative that had been suggested would be granted. Before any steps were taken to carry the proposed Resolution into effect, it would be well to collect the opinions of the parties most deeply concerned, more particularly of the clergy. He did not think the question had been fairly put to them. They had hitherto only had the alternative proposed to them of sacrificing their bishops, and of seeing the surplus revenues applied 90 in a manner which was wholly indifferent to them. But the question had never been placed before them as to whether they would prefer applying those surplus funds in the payment of a bishop, or in the augmentation of poor livings? When that had been done — when they were made quite certain that if they parted with one of these alternatives, they would secure the other, then they would be quite sure of what they were doing; and although he did not mean to imply that their Lordships were to be bound by the decision to which the persons interested in the question, and to whom such an appeal as he had described should have been made, might come, still it would form a very important ingredient in the consideration of the whole subject. And he thought that there were several considerations which might induce the clergy of North Wales to pause before they accepted the boon which his noble Friend tendered to them in his proposed Resolution. They might, for instance, refer to the success which had attended a like experiment where it had been already made; and they would find that in the case of Gloucester and Bristol, it did not seem to have given general satisfaction. They might also see reason to doubt the prudence of parting with an advantage which nobody grudged them—that of episcopal superintendence—for temporal endowments which were threatened by enemies against whom Parliament itself could provide no absolute security. They might also regard the actual law, which the present Bill was intended to modify, as an incongruous, inconsistent measure; for if the principle of multiplying episcopal superintendence was good in one place, it surely was equally so in another; and if this was an object of greater importance than the augmentation of small livings at Manchester, it was not of less importance in North Wales. They might think that the method in which the subject had been dealt with was on the homoeopathic principle, of curing a disorder in one part of the system, by a remedy which produced the same disorder in another part; and they might be of opinion that such a mode of treatment savoured strongly of quackery. In conclusion, he would observe that their Lordships were bound by every principle of reason, justice, and expediency, to affirm the proposition of the noble Earl.
The Bishop of London
would detain their Lordships only a very short time whilst he stated the reasons by which he was actuated in taking the course that he 91 had determined upon pursuing with respect to the measure before the House. As one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and as he had concurred in the recommendation made by that Board for the union of the two Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor, as that appeared to him to be, he would not say the best, but the most practicable mode of carrying into effect the arrangement which was in every respect so desirable, so necessary, and so much required—the creation of an additional bishopric for Manchester. And if all hope of seeing that plan carried into effect by any other means than those formerly contemplated, was shut out from his view, then and in that case he should have felt justified in adhering to the views which he had originally entertained with respect to the union of the two Sees of St. Asaph and Bangor; and, however reluctantly he might have pursued such a course, he should still have felt it proper to continue to resist, upon the judgment he had formerly arrived at, the strong and ardent feelings in favour of the preservation of the bishopric of St. Asaph, which animated the whole people of North Wales, and likewise the clergy, not only of the Principality, but also of the whole of England. It was not without much hesitation and doubt that he had resolved upon the course which he should pursue—not, he must beg to observe, any hesitation or doubt with respect to the principles upon which the Church ought to be dealt with, but with respect to other considerations by which his conduct was guided and swayed. He felt a deeply-rooted conviction, which every year's experience only tended to strengthen and confirm, that it was not only desirable, but would become absolutely necessary, to add to the present number of bishops. On this account, and having this conviction deeply impressed on his mind, he felt called upon to pursue a particular course upon the present occasion. The noble Lord who had spoken with such consummate ability, and with so much brilliancy and effect, had by his observations imposed upon him the necessity of stating the views which he entertained in opposition to the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord. Those sentiments were, that neither at present nor any future time were they to hope for or expect any increase in the number of bishops. Had he (the Bishop of London) the noble Lord for a coadjutor in his duties for one month, he believed he could very clearly convince him 92 that the same number of bishops which sufficed for a population of 6,000,000, was not adequate to the duties of attending to the spiritual government of 16,000,000. He admitted that there were very considerable aids given to the bishops by the archdeacons. He was quite prepared to admit the usefulness of the archdeacons; but there were many functions attached to the office of a bishop which could not be effectually supplied or adequately performed by an archdeacon. He would put it to the noble Lord whether one bishop could be considered adequate to the spiritual supervision of a diocese containing 1,800,000 persons. He was aware of all that hinged upon this question, both with reference to the position of bishops in that House, and to their endowments. He would not, however, enter upon those considerations at present; but would content himself with observing, that there was no addition to the bench of bishops to which some inconveniences or some objections could not be opposed. But he must assert, that there existed on the part of the people at large a very high estimate of the value of the apostolical institution; and that estimate of the value and utility of this branch of the Church became higher in proportion as the people came more into contact with their bishops. He should not have touched upon that part of the subject but for the remarks which had fallen from the noble Lord, whose speech would have the effect of involving in the vote of that evening the consideration of the principle, as to whether an increase of bishops was or was not necessary. If the bishopric of Manchester could be established with a seat in that House, he should abandon his opposition as an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, and withdraw his opposition to the measure of the noble Earl. Seeing that the Motion of the noble Earl did not go to prevent the establishment of a bishop at Manchester, and viewing the strong feeling which had been shown for increasing the number of bishops, he did not see how he could consistently reject the noble Earl's Motion. He was strongly opposed to breaking down the system of ecclesiastical reform which had been established by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; but still he thought that they ought not to adhere pertinaciously to a particular measure which the almost unanimous voice of the Church condemned. That feeling which had been expressed year after year, and most strongly this year, appeared to him to exempt this case from the general 93 rule, and made it necessary to give this measure further consideration. In respect to that feeling he should forbear voting against the measure of the noble Earl; but, at the same time, he trusted that their Lordships would acquit him of inconsistency, if, in deference to the peculiar position in which he was placed, he abstained from voting altogether.
§ Earl Fitzwilliam
begged the House not to be led away by the eloquence of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) opposite. The whole burden of the noble Lord's argument was, that they must not add a single bishop to that House. They must beware of having political bishops. But if they were to have a Bishop of Manchester at all, he was to be a substitute for the Bishop of St. Asaph or Bangor. Would he then be the less liable to the imputation which might be thrown out upon him as an addition? What was the difference between the substitute and the addition? All the arguments in the one case were applicable in the other. The unpopularity of the proposed measure in the Principality might be traced to the opinion that the interference had no adequate object. It applied no beneficial remedy to the great evils under which the Church laboured. The great evil was inadequate episcopal supervision; and the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) had put a case to the noble Lord which it was almost impossible to resist. He was desirous to have bishops in that House; he thought they would do very ill on many questions without the assistance of that right rev. Bench; at the same time he could not shut his eyes to the evil of their being too much abstracted from their dioceses thereby. He thought, however, that there would be means of avoiding that difficulty. What did they do with regard to the Irish bishops? He thought they might apply the same principle to English bishops, and very considerably increase their number. His opposition to the scheme of the Church Commissioners was, that it was an inefficient remedy. They had not done half enough. His noble Friend now called on the House to take a course which was to pledge them never to do anything more upon an episcopal question. He should vote with his noble Friend, and he called upon their Lordships to avoid the trap laid that they should pledge themselves never to increase the number of bishops. On this ground he should support the Motion of the noble Earl.
§ Lord Lyttelton
felt the difficulty which would attend any great increase in the number of bishops. But that was a difficulty which must inevitably be met in a short time, and which might be as well met now as at any other time. With the population increasing at the rate of 1,000 a day, it was impossible to maintain on any rational ground that the number of bishops must not be increased. He should give his most hearty support to the Motion.
The Earl of Carnarvon
said, after what had fallen from the noble Lords and the right rev. Prelates, he could see no reason of sufficient magnitude to render it advisable to withstand the strong current of local, and, so far as Wales was concerned, of national feeling, in favour of this Bill. He did not think that the addition of another prelate, if even it took place, would be calculated to rouse the dormant hostility of the people against the Church. There was no magic in the number of bishops, and there would be no jealousy created by adding one more to them, particularly when they recollected the greater number of spiritual, compared with temporal Peers, that existed at the time of the Revolution. The recommendation to incorporate the sees was rendered unnecessary, by funds being provided in another way sufficient for the endowment of the Bishopric of Manchester. The sacrifice was determined on when they had but an imperfect knowledge of the subject. The Bill of his noble Friend had the double advantage of gratifying the feeling of the people of Wales, and of making the endowment of the bishopric of Manchester, admitted to be an important measure, immediately practicable. He had heard with great pain the statements of the noble Lord (Lord Monteagle) of the condition of the Welsh clergy, and the allusions he had made to the enormous growth of dissent in Wales. But this was not likely to be remedied by removing that clergy still further from the arm of episcopal authority. When he considered the number of petitions that had been presented to their Lordships, and who the parties were from whom this pressure came—the clergy and laity of Wales, the natural friends of established Government, to those respectful remonstrances he was unwilling to turn a cold or adverse ear.
Their Lordships then divided:—Content, Present 63; Proxies 34–97:—Not 95 content, Present 71; Proxies 58–129:—Majority against the second reading 32.
|List of the CONTENTS.|
|Dartmouth||Willoughby de Broke|
|List of the NOT-CONTENTS.|
|Archbishop of Canterbury||DUKES.|
|The Lord Chancellor.||Wellington.|
|Leitrim||Stuart de Rothesay|
|Polsimore||Stanley of Alderley|
|Godolphin||Stuart de Decies|
|Earl of Sandwich||Earl of Shaftesbury|
|Lord Skelmersdale||Earl of Rosebery|
|Duke of Beaufort||Earl of Morley|
|Lord Rayleigh||Earl of Lovelace|
|Earl of Digby||Lord Gardner|
|Viscount Beresford.||Lord Brougham.|
§ House adjourned.