HL Deb 21 June 1847 vol 93 cc753-5

, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, adverted to the number of petitions which had been presented, both to that and the other House of Parliament, praying for an increase of episcopal superintendence in Ireland, when the circumstances of a district were such as to render it necessary. The Bill he now proposed would not compel the Queen's advisers to take any steps whatever; but it would enable them, when a case of necessity arose, to effect the restoration of any bishopric, the re-establishment of which was contemplated as desirable. There were several cases in which existing deaneries or archdeaconries might present the means of calling such bishoprics into activity. In the case of colonies, though the inhabitants were few, and scattered over a large extent of country, yet this was not deemed any ground for refusing to maintain the civil and ecclesiastical establishment necessary to their good government and welfare in a state of efficiency. Now, the Church of Ireland might be considered as a colony from that of England; though its members might be comparatively few, scattered as they were over a wide surface, it was incumbent on the Legislature to provide them with effec- tive pastoral superintendence. In his own see of Dublin, he had felt how great an advantage he should derive from the establishment of a suffragan bishop at Kildare. The present Bill would give the Sovereign the right of re-establishing bishoprics as they were needed, and thereby the means of rectifying any abuses or inconveniences that might be found to spring from the operation of the law as it now stood.


supported the second reading. The principle of the Bill was to enable Her Majesty to restore certain forfeited bishoprics in Ireland, and to that principle it was impossible for him not to express his hearty assent.


was most reluctant to oppose any Bills brought in by most rev. or right rev. Prelates, especially upon subjects connected with the episcopal establishment of the country; but he felt bound to say that he did not think the Bill now before their Lordships could pass into a law without essentially disturbing the foundation of the settlement which had been made fourteen years ago, with respect to the Episcopal Church of Ireland, with the object of proportioning the episcopal establishment to the spiritual wants of the Protestant inhabitants of that country. He believed that the episcopal establishment of Ireland was fully adequate to the wants of the Protestant population of the country, even admitting that, in judging of the adequacy of that establishment, they ought to consider that the Protestant population was scattered over a very wide surface. It must, however, be remembered that the whole Protestant population of Ireland did not exceed the Protestant population of two English sees he could name; and he could not think, therefore, that their Lordships would be justified in reviewing their past decision, with a view to increasing the episcopal establishment of Ireland. With regard to what the most rev. Prelate had said, as to the difficulty of exercising efficient spiritual superintendence, in consequence of the Protestant population being scattered, in some cases widely apart, over the surface of the country, he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) was certainly scarcely prepared to hear the most rev. Prelate adduce that as a reason for reviving the bishopric of Kildare. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) did not question the authority of the most rev. Prelate upon that subject; but he felt satisfied that, if their Lordships sanctioned this measure, they would be called upon to revive other extinct Irish bishoprics. He held in his hand a statement from which it was manifest that, if their Lordships passed this Bill, and the bishopric of Kildare was consequently re-established, not a year—nay, perhaps not a month—would elapse before they would have an application for the revival of the bishopric of Clogher, which was annexed to the primacy of Ireland. He considered that any increase in the number of Irish bishoprics had been rendered unnecessary by a provision in the Church Temporalities Act, under which archdeacons were enabled to perform certain ecclesiastical functions which they were not previously allowed to discharge. He must also say, that the most rev. Prelate had omitted to point out any practical means by which funds might be provided for the support of the bishopric of Kildare. An attempt had already been made to annex the Provostship of Dublin University to a bishopric; but it had been abandoned in consequence of the strong opposition which had been manifested to the proposal by the members of the University. He was convinced that the arrangement made fourteen years ago had, in conjunction with other measures, been productive of great advantages; and he must appeal to their Lordships, on the part of the Church and of the country, not to sanction any disturbance of that arrangement. He would, under these circumstances, feel it his duty to move that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.


observed, that the Fellows of the University of Dublin had unanimously petitioned in favour of the revival of the bishopric of Kildare, well knowing that it was proposed the Provostship of the University should be annexed to that bishopric.


, after a few observations which were inaudible, recommended the most rev. Prelate to withdraw the Bill.


assented to this suggestion, and

The Bill was withdrawn.

House adjourned.

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