§ LORD REDESDALE
, who had given notice of his intention to move for a Copy of a Petition from the Clergy and Laity of the province of Canterbury, presented to both Houses of Convocation on the 5th of February, 1851, said, he rose with considerable diffidence to deliver a few words on the subject of his Motion. He should have left a subject of this importance to be introduced to their Lordships by those more competent than himself to undertake the task; but it was just one of those subjects in respect to which many persons felt reluctance to come forward, and yet it was one to which, in the present state of the Church, it was necessary that the public mind should be directed. It was for this reason, and because others did not come forward—and his own convictions on the subject were strong—that he had ventured to take the duty upon himself. He was persuaded that at all events he was fortunate in the place in which the question was to be discussed, being confident that however many of their Lordships might disagree with him in that assembly, at least everything said, and the manner in which the subject would be treated, would be perfectly temperate, and only with a view to promote the advantage of the Church. In the form in which he had brought forward the Motion, he hoped it would be observed that he had avoided committing any one to any decided opinions. All he had desired to secure was a discussion; and in so doing he desired to do nothing which could pledge their Lordships to any particular course. He hoped that it would be enough to excuse himself for having brought forward the question, that it was necessary to disabuse the pub- 517 lic mind on the subject of the synodical action of the Church, and to bring the question fairly before them, so that they might see what was to be said for it, and what against it. An impression had grown up in the country that convocation, or the synodical action of the Church, had somehow been given up as impracticable; and, after four generations, and more than one hundred and thirty years, during which no convocation had met for the despatch of business, people in this country were living under the idea that such a thing was not to be thought of; and this was the reason why be little feeling had been hitherto excited about it. But the present state of the Church, and the position in which many questions connected with it stood, had gradually raised in many persons' minds a conviction that matters could not remain as they were—that there were many circumstances exceedingly unsatisfactory and dangerous—and that unless something were done, and matters were put into a more settled state on many points, the Church was not safe, and that there was the greatest danger to our constitution in Church and State. He repeated, it was necessary that something should be done, on account of the position in which matters at present stood. The Church appeared to be governed, and was governed, in fact, by extreme parties; and it must be so wherever there was no regular system of representation in any body. This was very observable during the time when Parliament was not sitting, when violent men came forward, and were able to create an impression that they were of far greater importance than they really were—an impression which they could not maintain while Parliament was sitting, and the regular representatives of the people were assembled. So it was in the Church. Quiet, moderate men would not go upon the platform; it was contrary to their principles and feelings; and all that came before the public on the subject of the Church was in the hands of extreme parties; and so an impression had gradually grown up, which was really unfounded, that these, parties really represented the feeling and condition of the Church; and that the divisions in the Church were as great, as numerous, and as decided as they were represented by these extreme parties to be. He believed the reverse of this to be the case, and that if on inquiry an expression of opinion could be obtained on the part of the majority of the clergy and laity, more unanimity would be found of 518 faith and belief than many persona supposed; nay, that among the majority little essential difference of opinion existed, and that great numbers of those who believed that there was now serious diversity of opinion, if they could be brought together in an assembly in which they would have a right to speak and vote, and power of action on the subject, would find their difficulties and differences far less than they supposed. If such were the case, was it not desirable that an opportunity should be afforded for obtaining the expression of such opinions? Unless this were done—unless, by means of convocation, the Church herself were enabled to speak, her representation would remain in the hands of those unauthorised parties who were ready to speak violently in one extreme or the other. Let him, then, consider the objections against the proposed revival of convocation. Was it contrary to the law and constitution of the country, or to the habits of the people? So far from its being contrary to the law and constitution, it was an ancient and essential part of the constitution, which by an extreme exercise of Royal power had now been kept for more than one hundred and thirty years in abeyance. And so far from its being opposed to the habits of the people, the very reverse was the case, for every other religious body except the Church of England had its religious assemblies or synods, which answered many ends of great utility and advantage. Nor was this the case only in nonconformist and unestablished sects; it was equally so in the Established Church of Scotland, which had its regular system of synods; and nothing would be more likely to rouse the respectable people of that country into rebellion than the suppression of its synodical action. The Church of England alone was deprived of an advantage enjoyed by every other religious community in the empire, and which she herself had anciently enjoyed in her Convocation. The present constitution of Convocation, he considered, was a very faulty one; and throughout the whole country there was hardly any one who was not sensible of the necessity and propriety of some change in it. If, however, it should be thought expedient that the Church should be represented in a body of that kind, it would be necessary that the present Convocation should be allowed to assemble for the purpose of discussing and determining the matter; for if the constitution was to be changed, that body itself must change it—it was im- 519 possible for other bodies to do it. It was, however, objected, that if they met, nothing would ensue but a series of violent discussions without any practical result. He (Lord Redesdale) did not think that it would give rise to anything like the amount of heat that was displayed in Parliamentary debates—on the contrary, he believed that all discussions on such subjects would be carried on in a manner creditable to the body itself; and the general tone of public feeling at this moment was that which would secure such a result. But admitting that there would be disputes, were there not disputes now? Did the Church stand free from that objection at the present moment? Certainly not; and from the circumstance of all public discussion regarding the Church being in the hands of violent partisans at the present moment, the questions were not treated in the manner that he wished to see them. In all such matters, if the questions were left to a regular discussion by practical men, with a practical object before them, it would he found that the discussions would be conducted in a very different manner from discussions between persons who wished to secure particular party objects. Another objection was, that there would be a greater division between Churchmen and Dissenters, in consequence of the Convocation. That, however, was not the case when Convocation existed before. On the contrary, he believed that, although Convocation existed during the whole time of the Revolution, there were not more divisions between the body of the Church and those who were separated from it, than there were at the present moment. At the present moment, in the absence of the Convocation, there was perhaps as much bitterness of feeling between the Church and Dissenters as ever existed. Another objection was, that this was a movement started solely by the High Church party, and that the tendency of the Convocation would be favourable to what are called the Romanizing practices in the Church. Of all the charges that could be brought against. Convocation, that was the one which could least hold good. He did not believe that the revival of Convocation would promote the Romanizing tendencies in the Church. Some of the parties to those Romanizing practices had been induced at different times to join in asking for Convocation, but in most cases to obtain a declaration of opinion on one particular question; and it was well known that most of them 520 were very strongly opposed to its revival for general purposes. Any person who knew the real feeling of the Church of England must know that there was no Church existing upon earth that was more vehemently opposed to the Church of Rome than the Church of England, and there could be no surer way of putting down what were called the Romanizing tendencies in the Church, than by giving free action to that Church. The opponents of Convocation were found in a great measure amongst the extreme of both parties, because neither of them liked the assembly of a body which would give a triumph to moderate people. Another objection had been raised that the Convocation would never be able to conclude anything in matters of dispute. All assemblies of that sort were more or less open to objections of this nature; and, indeed, it was not desirable that questions of serious importance should be readily or quickly decided in bodies of this kind. The matters likely to be introduced were things upon which people were apt to take up prejudices before they came to the discussion, and it required some time before those prejudices could be removed. But he would remind their Lordships that the Council of Trent, which met to settle certain points, sat for many years, and after all did not come to any conclusion upon some of the questions which had been before them. The objection, therefore, did not apply peculiarly to a Convocation of the English Church, but applied generally to any body met for similar purposes, in which differences of opinion might arise. But the Church of England occupied a peculiarly strong position in discussions upon these subjects, because its sole resort for an ultimate decision upon all matters was the Word of God itself—that must be the basis of every argument which took place in the Church of England; and where inquiries were conducted seriously in that manner, he believed that the inquiry sooner or later must lead to practical and satisfactory results. It must be remembered, too, that where the Church of England had attempted to come to conclusions upon any important questions, their conclusions had generally been most satisfactory. By means of Convocation the Church of England held a most favourable position amongst all those connected with her; and if the Convocation had been continued instead of having been put an end to altogether, there would have been 521 infinitely more unity of opinion in the Church, than there was at the present moment. A most important guard to the constitution and safety of the Church was, that no subject could be discussed without the expressed authority of the Crown; and the lay element thus introduced had a most beneficial effect. The discussions of Convocation were thus so much guarded as to prevent any danger arising of a nature to cause any serious alarm even in the minds of those who were most anxious for the safety and welfare of the Church. And not only was there this safeguard, but further, the Convocation could not alter any canon without the consent of the Crown; nor could it do anything against the common or Statute law; nothing could be done which would affect the laity in any way without the consent of the Crown. He would ask their Lordships, then, what apprehension could possibly exist in the mind of any one as to the meeting of a body so constituted? He would now direct their Lordships' attention to some of the evils which had arisen from a want of Convocation. In the first place, the Church had been completely paralysed, and after a certain time there arose in it that great movement which was known as the evangelical movement. That certainly was extremely useful to the Church; but it, at the same time, separated from her many men who were not indisposed to her. Take the case of Wesley himself. There was no man who had a stronger disposition towards the Church than Wesley; and if there had been any opportunity for a man like him to carry his own enthusiasm and religious zeal into the body of the Church, he never would have left it, but have given it the benefit of all his energies. Instead of separation, there would have been union; and the activity which he brought to bear upon the religious feeling of the county, would have been in every way beneficial instead of creating a schism. But, to come nearer our own time, we found that another great movement had taken place in the Church. That movement was one which those persons who took up a strong Church side were the first to commence, and no doubt the movement was a sincere one; but when people of a very enthusiastic and excitable turn took up extreme views, they necessarily required guidance. If they looked to the low Church and the lowest body of Dissenters, who conceived themselves most at liberty to form their own opinion on every 522 religious subject, they would find with how much respect those persons were ready to look up to their favourite preachers and make Popes of them. If there had been church guidance at the moment when that party in the Church to which he alluded were trembling on the verge of those dangers into which they now had fallen, he believed the effect would have been most salutary and gratifying. They wished for direction upon various points, and could not get it, and the consequence was that some of them had left that Church in which they were brought up. There was a want of law about it. Many people wanted something certain in matters of this kind, and for that reason they were desirous of uniting with a Church which offered that certainty. It was no doubt very captivating to a man to tell him, "There is the Bible, and every man has a right to draw his own conclusions from it." The Bible was at the foundation of the Church of England, but there were interpretations of that Bible against which they most decidedly protested. The faith of the Church of England was that which had been accepted at all times, in all sound churches from the beginning, and upon the interpretation of the Bible, adopted by them, the Church took its stand. In fact the difference was this, as between the Church of England and the Church of Rome, that we believed that the Apostles knew the whole faith, and that they told us all that they knew. The position of the Church of Rome was, that Pope Pius had a development of religion beyond that which the Apostles had. For instance, St. John, to whom was revealed the Kingdom of Heaven, saw nothing, knew nothing, and could reveal nothing of a Queen of Heaven; but the Pope could say that he knew there was such a person as the Queen of Heaven, and that the Blessed Virgin was that being. There was this great difference between the two faiths. We took our stand upon the Bible as interpreted from the earliest time by all sound churches; and the Church of Rome upon her own traditions. Our position is the soundest; but on too many occasions when doubts on questions of doctrine arose in the minds of members of our Church, and they turned to their clergymen for advice, they found a difference of opinion; not one which could be fairly reconciled, but a difference so wide that it was impossible both opinions could be true. Then they asked to whom they could refer as authorities? and they found there was 523 no authority of any kind. That made the advice coming from our clergy powerless, and the individual then went to the Church of Rome, simply because there he found a decided and authoritative opinion given. That was what was going on at the present moment. It would be remedied by allowing the Church to speak as a body. And when we saw that the very offspring of our Church—the Church in America—and the Church in Scotland, could meet in convocation to advantage, why take away the power from our own Church of doing the same? He (Lord Redesdale) believed most fully in the high mission of the Church of England. He believed that of all the Churches which sprang up at the time of the Reformation she was the one who was most favoured by being allowed to continue the uninterrupted succession of that Apostolic constitution which had been handed down from the earliest period. Many persons might not value this advantage so highly as he did; but none could deny the fact that it influenced many minds in favour of the Church. When he saw that this advantage had been given to their Church alone—when he saw that since the time of the Reformation she had been blessed in a most extraordinary degree, by being permitted to extend her power over every quarter of the globe—not only over the new continent of America, but in India and Australia and New Zealand—and that our Church was now spreading from one end of the earth to the other, he rejoiced that we had now latterly, though too lately, established the constitution of the Church in its full integrity in our Colonies. He hoped the number of our bishops at home and abroad would be largely and extensively increased. When he recollected that our Church sprung originally from the East, and that afterwards, through the mission of St. Augustine, it was connected with the Western Church, and when he saw that it embodied the principle which above all others built itself upon rational faith and the Bible, he could not but believe that the Church had been preserved in the manner in which it had for a special purpose, and that it was its future mission to draw together the east and west, and that the unity of the Church Universal was to be brought about by her instrumentality. He merely expressed his own individual opinions, and they might be designated as those of an enthusiastic Churchman; but he felt deeply upon the subject, and he had a strong opinion with regard to the 524 necessity of giving this action to the Church, in order that she might carry out the great ends of her mission. If it were desired to spread the Church in any way in Europe or elsewhere, their hands were tied by the manner in which the Church was now constituted. We had no Church body to whom we could look for action of any kind. Everything was in the individual. He trusted that in the course of his remarks he had said nothing calculated to excite angry feelings in the mind of any one, or to give the slightest offence to any of their Lordships, however they might differ from him in opinion, or to whatever party in the Church they might belong, for he had studiously avoided doing anything of the kind. He assured their Lordships that he did not wish to be supposed, in what he was doing, as desiring to give the slightest advantage to one party in the Church over another. His anxious desire was to show the country in general the advantages which he believed would result from the course which he proposed; to persuade them of the Weakness of the objections which were brought against it, and to lead them to the conclusion that something must be done in the matter, and that it was absolutely impossible that they could go on much longer without synodical action in the Church. He believed that there was a growing and spreading feeling in the country in favour of this course, and that it would continue to increase until at last it would be impossible to resist it. If that was the case, he trusted that those with whom the decision of the question rested, would not delay yielding to this until their decision became a party triumph to one side of the Church or the other. He was of opinion that there would be peculiar advantages in recommencing the synodical action of the Church at the present time. He believed that the apprehensions which had been excited with respect to the recent movements of the Court of Rome had led a vast number of men who before were too much inclined to take party views of such questions to entertain an ardent desire for united action with a view to the safety and prosperity of the Church; and he believed, likewise, that among many persons who before entertained a deep prejudice against such a course, the opinion was rapidly growing that no satisfactory answer could be given to the demand for synodical action but to grant it. Without this they were asking the Church to fight with every other church 525 with her hands tied. Now this, he maintained, was not a fair position in which to place the Church; and it was because he ardently felt the necessity of a change in her position that he had ventured to call their Lordships' attention to the consideration of the subject. The noble Lord concluded by moving "for a Copy of a Petition from the Clergy and Laity of the Province of Canterbury presented to both Houses of Convocation on the 5th of February, 1851."
The ARCHBISHOP of CANTERBURY
My Lords, no one who is acquainted with the noble Lord, and knows his attachment to the Church of which he is a distinguished member, can doubt the purpose with which he has brought before your Lordships the subject on which we are now engaged. He is sincerely of opinion that the divisions which unhappily exist in the Church can only be closed through the agency of Convocation. He is not singular in that opinion. Many petitions have been addressed to me during the past year, bearing signatures well deserving of attention, urging me to use whatever influence my station gave me to promote the assembling of Convocation. I was obliged to answer the memorialists that, judging from the only grounds of judgment open to me—the experience of former Convocations—I could not agree with their opinion, and therefore could not comply with their petition. I still think the same; and unwilling as I always am to trespass upon your Lordships' attention, and still more unwilling as I am to express sentiments which differ perhaps from those of many, both in this House and out of it, with whom it would be far more satisfactory to me to concur—I believe it is my duty, after the speech of the noble Lord, to state the grounds on which I think that the assembling of Convocation with active powers would tend to increase discord in the Church, and not to produce the harmony which he desires to restore. I believe that there are formal and technical difficulties attending the revival of the powers of Convocation, and the noble Lord has acknowledged that before it can act it must be remodelled. Into these I will not enter. I will suppose that all such technicalities are overcome, all obstacles removed, Her Majesty's advisers satisfied, Her Majesty consenting, Convocation assembled for the despatch of business:—what would follow? Great disappointment, or great 526 excitement. What business is to be despatched? Some would say, "The Liturgy requires revision. Some rubrics are inconsistent, and others unintelligible." If the assembling of Convocation were to end in the reconciliation of some conflicting rubrics, or in supplying the deficiency of others, or even in the change of a few obsolete words or questionable phrases, the result would be little worth the cost of production. It would be justly asked, Quid dignum tanto feret hic promissor hiatu? Thus far, then, you disappoint; go farther, and you excite. If more were attempted, and the doctrine of the Prayer-book were touched, even with the slightest hand, a flame would be lighted up from one end of the country to the other. Where we have now a smothered fire, hotter, perhaps, than is agreeable, but still manageable, we should raise a conflagration which it would require all Her Majesty's prerogative to extinguish. Suppose, then, the Liturgy untouched, and nothing more attempted than what we know to be desired by many members of the Church—the issuing a declaration which should contradict a recent decision of the Privy Council, and defining the effect of baptism more clearly than it is defined in our Articles—would peace follow? Can we suppose that this would prove a healing measure? I cannot so interpret the spirit of the age as to believe that the great body of the Church, laity, or clergy, are prepared to restrict the liberty of opinion in matters hitherto undecided which our forefathers have always enjoyed, and under which the Church has flourished for three hundred years. We may speak here with confidence, for the experiment has been tried. For obvious reasons I avoid all allusion to any events which may have taken place at home. But the experiment has been tried in Australia. A declaration, such as I have alluded to, was drawn up in October last by the bishops of Australia, assembled in synod; and the same ship which brought home the particulars of the synod, brought also the account of the effect which it had produced in one of the cities where it was first promulgated, which, instead of concord, was dissension, where all had been previously peaceful. It had endangered the popularity of a bishop who was universally and deserved esteemed; and the principal laity of the city had met together and unanimously protested against a measure which they treated as an infringement upon their liberty as Churchmen. If I do 527 not fear any such result here, it is because I do not entertain any apprehensions of the issuing of such a declaration. My Lords, the noble Lord has spoken of the Convocation as part of the Constitution. In point of fact, the Convocation was a very uninfluential body for one hundred years after the Reformation. But it is a mistake to suppose that we owe to that assembly the constitution and fabric of our Church. Convocation had little to do with the framing of our first Protestant Services and Articles. The first Protestant Service, which has never been materially changed, was framed by a committee of Bishops and Divines, at the order of King Edward, in the year 1549. It was submitted to Convocation, not to be formed but to be approved. The Articles of the Church, three years afterwards, were drawn up, not in Convocation, but by Cranmer and Ridley, and others who assisted them. They were ratified, not debated, in Convocation. Seven years afterwards, at the accession of Elizabeth, the revision of the Prayer-book was entrusted to ten divines. Their revision was sanctioned by both Houses of Parliament, and no mention is made of Convocation. The first occasion on which Convocation bore an active part, was in the revision of the Articles and Liturgy in 1562. But authority had then great weight, and whoever reads the records of those times will perceive that Convocation was entirely governed by the authority of a few leading persons, and was much more disposed to receive mandates than to issue them. After the Revolution matters were altered. Convocation became a more active, but not a more peaceful body. Its history during the reign of Queen Anne is a history of altercations between the Upper House and the Lower. It soon appeared that a body so constituted was ill suited to the purpose of solemn deliberation or wise legislation. The last disputes were ended, as former disputes had been, by a timely prorogation; and since the year 1717 it has never been deemed expedient by the Government for the time being to advise the Sovereign to issue a licence for the despatch of business in Convocation. Now what can we reason from but from what we know? What grounds have we for believing that more advantage or less injury to the Church would result from the assembling of Convocation now than in the reign of Queen Anne or George I.? But the noble Lord who has brought on this debate has 528 pleaded for Convocation on the ground that every religious body has such meetings; and the argument at first sight seems reasonable. There may, however, be privileges which are not advantages. There are privileges which it is not desirable to claim. Between independent bodies of religionists and the Church of England no parallel can be established. They are not involved in the constitution of the country. They may meet, and deliberate, and resolve, without constituting, that anomaly in government, an imperium in imperio. And, after all, is peace and harmony the result of those meetings? The annual conferences of the Wesleyan body have not prevented divisions and secessions amongst its members. And I doubt whether the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which might be best compared with ours, though different in a very important particular—I doubt whether that is always a scene of peace and harmony. In the diary of the late Dr. Chalmers I find these words:—"May 8. A meeting of Presbytery. I dislike its atmosphere, though it is my duty to enter it, and, if possible, to soften and transform it." And again—"May 9. A most tempestuous day in the Presbytery." Certainly, my Lords, the General Assembly, if it did not contribute to occasion so fatal an event, did not prevent a disruption of the Church in that country, the most serious which has ever occurred in any Church since the Reformation. At all events the benefits which are expected from self-regulation and independent legislation would be dearly purchased if purchased at the cost of confidence on the part of the people. And we must shut our eyes against all experience if we do not foresee this danger—if we do not believe that the debates which will be constantly occurring would not rather tend to foment than to allay dissensions, to multiply rather than to prevent divisions. No one can lament more than I do the existence of such divisions. No one would be more ready to concur in any measure that might seem likely to remove them. But, in spite of those divisions, and notwithstanding its want of independent action, the Church of England enjoys the best of all privileges—the means of extensive usefulness. During the last thirty years she has founded a thousand new parishes at home. She has established twenty new episcopal sees in our Colonies abroad. She is supporting schools—not indeed 529 without assistance, for which we are most grateful, but still as the principal instrument, in every village of the land. She is exerting herself, and successfully exerting herself, to supply the spiritual wants of her increasing population. That she might do more if all her sons were united together in the same mind and in the same judgment, I am not prepared to deny; but I do not believe that the assembling of Convocation would be the maans of promoting such union, and, therefore, I cannot agree with the noble Lord in desiring the assembling of Convocation.
§ LORD LYTTELTON
My Lords, the importance of the subject before the House, and the interest I have long taken in it, make me anxious to address a few remarks to your Lordships. It seems to have been generally reported that my noble Friend (Lord Redesdale) intended to move for an Address to the Queen for the revival of Convocation. I do not believe my noble Friend ever had such an intention. I rejoice that such is not the Motion which has been submitted to the House. We are not prepared for it. What this question requires is ventilation and discussion; and when I say that the subject needs to be discussed, I mean in its most general form, and by that I mean, not the question of a meeting of the clergy alone, or of any merely clerical body whatsoever. It might, indeed, be, that, as a part of a system, the clergy should be empowered to meet for certain purposes with legal effect. And, again, I conceive that no reasonable objection can be made to the voluntary assembling, for mutual counsel and deliberation, of any orders of the clergy in any part of this empire, whether in Australasia or in Exeter. The clergy are a distinct order of men, with momentous duties, and duties in the performance of which they are entrusted with considerable discretion, and nothing can be more reasonable than that they should, in times like these, meet together for discussion and self-regulation, within the limits of their actual legal powers. But I look to the present question as one relating to a great province of our legal and constitutional system; and so regarded, I cannot think of it as less than a question of the meeting, by representation, of the whole body of the Church, clergy as well as laity—communicant laity they ought to be—of that body. Now, that that body ought so to meet, seems to me self-evident, except on the assumption, seldom explicitly avowed, but often, as it 530 seems to me, involved in reasonings on this subject, that the Church is not an organic body at all, but a mere function and creation of the State. My Lords, I shall not attempt to argue against that assumption. It would take too long, even if I were able to do it, and it were suitable to do so. I shall assume that the Church is an organic body, with laws and a constitution of its own, independent in its origin and essence of all other bodies, however it may be, by positive enactment and special compact, connected with, and even subordinated to, the civil power. And, if so, how can it be denied that the Church should have the power of deliberation on its own affairs, and self-regulation on certain conditions? It is acted upon by constantly varying outward circumstances, and how can any part of its system be held to be stereotyped and unalterable for ever? [Cheers.] The noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Lansdowne) said, last year, amidst the loud but not well-considered applause of those behind him, that the system of the English Church had been embodied in certain rules and facts, as he said, at the Reformation, and that nothing more was needed. But how can that be maintained? Nay, it is not maintained seriously by any one. Every one admits that there are hundreds of questions pressing constantly for adjustment in the Church—some of which are not dealt with at all, others are disposed of somehow, in a manner which I shall shortly advert to. One great subject, that of the Canons, Articles, and Formularies of the Church, it seems agreed, ought not to be touched at all. Some time ago there was an apprehension that an attack on the Prayer Book was intended, and it was proposed to form a bond of union on the abstract principle of unalterable adherence to our formularies as they stand. My Lords, I, for one, should decline to be bound by any such engagement. I do not want any alteration; I should of course object to any essential change, as well as to many given changes that might be mentioned; but I should, on principle, object to the Church itself being in the least degree fettered in dealing with any part of these formularies. The question is, by what authority are these things to be done? It is inevitable that some sort of Church regulation should be done somehow. It is done partly, as my noble Friend has said, by the irregular and half-authorised efforts of the several bishops; but, mainly and ultimately, it is done by 531 Parliament, and chiefly, of course, by the House of Commons. What sort of body is the present House of Commons to deal with religious and ecclesiastical matters? What was said the other day, in a speech in the country, by at least an honest and intelligent, and on this subject unprejudiced, member of that assembly (Mr. Cobden)? He had occasion to advert to these matters. He gave a sketch of the present condition of that House, of the various sects and no sects that make it up, and he said, "What sort of a body are we to deal with religious matters?" But, my Lords, this touches on a larger view of this question, on which I must say a few words. It is impossible rightly to consider this question of the organic action of the Church, without considering its connexion with that of the Royal supremacy. It was pointed out last year, in the debate on the Bill of the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) that the surrender, in terms absolute, that was made by the Church to the civil power at the Reformation, of the power to determine doctrine, was not fairly to be construed in this absolute sense, but should be interpreted according to the spirit of the constitution, of the statutes, and even to the clear words of some of those statutes themselves, by which the decision of doctrine should be entrusted, not solely, but chiefly, to the spiritualty of the Church. But it might have been pointed out, even if we assume that those words of surrender were to be interpreted in the literal way which some persons delight to do, with how much more safety, prudence, and propriety such an absolute surrender might have been made then, than it could be made, or than it should be maintained now. What I have said about the altered composition of Parliament is only one part of the great change that has taken place since that time. At that time the State was wholly within the Church; it is now not much more connected, in fact, with the Church than with any other religious body. It is so quite manifestly, and with hardly an exception, in the colonies; and constantly becoming more and more so in Ireland, and even in England. Moreover, it is quite plain that at that time the one great fear which possessed men's minds was fear of the power of the Pope: of which I will only say that if any one now thinks that with regard to the great bulk of this people there can be any real fear of the power of the Pope, I believe it to be the most chimerical idea that ever entered 532 into the brain of man. And it is clear that, against that and any other dangers, the State was in those days the most friendly and the most powerful ally with which the Church could connect itself. Another point is, that the submission then made by the Church was not to an abstract civil power, but to the person of the monarch; and the monarch then exercised a far more real power over the administration of the country than is now the case. What we now call the Royal supremacy, is, in fact, the supremacy of the majority of the House of Commons. Above all, in those days, Convocation was in the habit of meeting, and of course it was contemplated that it should continue to meet, and so be able to watch over the course of events, and judge whether modification was ever needed in its compact with the State. And now that all these great changes have taken place, it ought to be for the Church, as an organised body, to consider what readjustment should be made in the terms of its connexion with the State. I do not mean to hint at anything like a weakening or a dissolution of that connexion, which I do not desire; but I have no hesitation in saying, as my noble Friend (Lord Redesdale) said very plainly last year, though he has not repeated it to night, that a reconsideration and readjustment is required. My Lords, I would illustrate these views by what took place last year before the Judicial Committee, in the case of Mr. Gorham. Some persons seem to think that case is forgotten. My Lords, it is not forgotten. But probably many persons think as I do, that it is a question which should be adjourned. Those who think that a fresh battle should take place about it, may think that there is now no proper battle-field; and that the true field is the Church, in its own meetings as a body. Those, again, who rather think as I do, not that a fresh battle should take place, but that further explanations might tend to more agreement and conciliation, may think that the Church itself is the only body from which such a result can be looked for, and that the present irregular and abnormal attempts at discussion and conciliation never can lead to it. My Lords, I am anxious not to be misunderstood on this matter. I do not desire, as the most rev. Primate has said, a settlement that shall drive out any parties from the Church. It must be remembered what has always been the real grievance felt by those who have objected to that judgment; not so 533 much any thing actually contained in the judgment, as that it wholly failed rightly to represent the meaning of the book it professed to review. That is what was always put forward by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of London) who dissented from the judgment; and it was attributed to the fact that the tribunal which tried the case was not such as was at all in the contemplation of those who, at the Reformation, adjusted these questions, and that the Church itself ought to be heard in the present question of the constitution of that tribunal. As to the judgment itself, much as we might object to several of its parts, I have never felt certain that, in the absence of further authoritative explanation of some of the terms used but not explained in that document, the difference as to essential points in the subjects which it treats of, is really so great between different persons as they themselves suppose, as my noble Friend (Lord Redesdale) has also suggested. On this, therefore as well as the other points, it seems to me that the expression of the voice of the Church is required. My Lords, I will only add a few words on the most obvious and popular objection to the restoration of the action of the Church—that it would not tend to the peace of the Church. My Lords, peace is good; but truth, and life, and freedom are better still. You have had peace. You had peace last century—the peace of a lethargic slumber: a peace during which, as has been said, the Church suffered more in external losses and inward decay and degeneration, than during any other period of her history. Have you got peace now? Have you any chance of peace? You will never have peace till, in some measure, the free action of the Church is restored. Whether you would have peace then, I do not know. I hope and believe, with my noble Friend, that you would. But if we cannot have peace without the loss of life and freedom, I would have war-to my life's end. Would the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll), or the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen), or the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Breadalbane), or the noble Marquess now in India (the Marquess of Dalhousie), or any other active and intelligent Member of the Scotch Kirk, or of the Free Kirk of Scotland—would they give up the free action of their Church from fear of any such disruption as has occurred? Not they. They would feel as I do, that such peace would be too dearly purchased. My Lords, I feel assured 534 that the tendency of events is towards the attainment of this object by the Church. The Church will eventually regain her power of action. But the question is, by what process shall she regain it? It is because I am desirous that it should be restored by friendly, deliberate, and well-considered arrangements between the Church and the other powers of the country, that I am glad that my noble Friend has brought on this question, believing that such discussions tend to promote that result, and that by joining in them we are subserving the cause both of truth and of peace.
The ARCHBISHOP of DUBLIN
said, that he had oftener and longer ago than any other Member of the House called attention to the subject now before it. On that account he hoped he might be permitted to say a few words on this occasion, and they should be only a few words, because his opinions delivered in that House had been printed and published, and it would be more convenient for such of their Lordships as took an interest in them to read them at home than to hear him explain them in a long speech. The question of the propriety of providing a government for the Church, either temporary or permanent—either to meet certain special cases, or for the general regulation of ecclesiastical affairs—was first raised by him in their Lorships' House sixteen years ago, and he had since returned to the subject on various occasions. He had never advocated the restoration of the Convocation as the governing body of the Church, because—besides other objections—he was of opinion that the government of the Church by the clergy could not and should not be tolerated in these days. It had been justly observed that formerly all authorities in the State consisted exclusively of members of the Church, and, however ill qualified the State might have been for the government of the Church in the last century, this at any rate could be said of it—that it was composed of members of the Church. The strange anomaly of the present time was, that if the Church were governed at all, it must be governed by persons not necessarily members of it. The result was seen in this—not so much that the governing powers interfered improperly with the Church, as that, feeling their own disqualification for the office, they refrained from interfering at all. It was hardly necessary to say that he was not an advocate of violent changes; but he wished people to believe that if Church 535 affairs remained unaltered, it was because there was nothing that required change, not because there were no means of effecting it. He did not attach much weight to the objection which some urged to assembling a governing body for the Church—namely, that violent persons would find their way into it. Violent persons were to be met with everywhere, and they usually contrived to make a great stir and noise, quite disproportioned to their numbers. An example of this once occurred in a parish of which he was rector. He was informed that a violent opposition existed in the parish against a proposed alteration of a road, at which he was very much surprised, because the alteration was conducive to public convenience. In order to ascertain the real opinion of the inhabitants of the district, he sent to each house a white and a black bean, with directions that those who were opposed to the alteration should return a black bean, and vice versà. The return was twenty-nine black to three hundred white beans. Yet the twenty-nine black beans called themselves "the parish," and it was hardly necessary to say that they made twice as much noise as the three hundred white beans. He believed, also, that discussion and contests in a regular assembly were not so destructive of peace, as the absence of any such assembly; for they had very strong contests in Parliament, and yet to be without a Parliament would not promote peace. He did not think intolerant exclusion should be the order of the day. He was not for cutting off every limb as soon as it was in pain. He fully concurred with the noble Lord who had opened this debate, in believing that many of those who had been driven to desert the Church, and to take hostile steps, might have been retained, if there had been some legitimate mode of making their wishes and feelings known. The revival of Convocation as it at present existed, or, indeed, any attempt to govern the Church by means of the clergy exclusively, he should think highly inexpedient, and not a little unjust. Still less was he an advocate for any assumption of claims to govern the Church, and to dictate to its members, by any persons who were not regularly appointed for that work of government; and he believed that had a good deal to do with the dissatisfaction that had been expressed, as the most rev. Primate had mentioned, against the proceedings of the bishops of Australia. If 536 some twenty of their Lordships were to assemble, and in their own name to issue a code of laws for the government of this coustry, however just those laws might be in themselves, yet he believed they would be objected to, because that would be an assumption by those parties of the government of the country. Now, those Australian bishops had no more right to dictate as to the mode in which the worship of the Episcopal Church in Australia should be conducted—except in so far as the government of the Church was already placed under their control—than any twenty of their Lordships had to assume the powers of the House of Lords. He did not mean to charge those right rev. Brethren with pretending to assume a control over the consciences of the clergy; but there could be no doubt that their proceedings had been so interpreted, and had consequently given rise to considerable discontent. He would not detain their Lordships further, the rather as his opinions on this subject had been long before the public; but he must say, that while he was in favour of some kind of government being provided for the Church, he had never seen nor expected to see any plan suggested which appeared to him likely to give general and complete satisfaction.
The DUKE of ARGYLL
hoped it would not be esteemed presumption in him if he were to address a few words to their Lordships on this important subject; because even if he had not been personally alluded to by the noble Lord who lately addressed them, even if the Church of which he was a member had not been repeatedly alluded to in the course of the debate, still he felt that the matters which were now before their Lordships, and the principles which were now under discussion, were principles common to the whole Christian world, principles of the most Catholic and general kind, and having reference to every society into which the Christian Church is unfortunately divided. It was a truism to maintain that it was the inherent right of every organised society to be empowered to meet for the regulation of its own affairs; and in whatever respects the Church of Christ, or any branch of that Church, differed from other organised bodies, surely in those respects on which it differed it was not less but more entitled to possess the powers of self-government. There were, however, certain difficulties in the Church of England which had not hitherto existed in the case of other Protestant Churches. He 537 should never listen to any debate in this House in which a comparison was attempted to be drawn between the Convocation of the Church of England and the General Assembly of the Church of which he was a member, without rising to protest against such a monstrous confusion of ideas. It must be apparent to every one who had listened to the discussion of to-night, that they were discussing two separate things; there was on the one hand a revival of the old English Convocation, and on the other hand there was evidently in the minds of most of the speakers the formation of an entirely new governing body. The old Convocation of the Church of England had no more relation to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, than any of the most dissimilar bodies that their Lordships could conceive. The old Convocation of the Church of England was composed entirely of the clergy; and he believed it to be true, as the most rev. Prelate had hinted rather than stated, that the Convocation was first called together, not so much for the regulation of the ecclesiastical or spiritual affairs of the Church, as to give the assent of the clergy to certain taxes or subsidies levied upon them by the civil power. But the Convocation of the Church of England never changed its character—it remained to the end a Convocation of the clergy; and to this he, for one, attributed the loss of its character, the loss of its influence, and eventually the loss of its fitness for those duties which are now again sought to be imposed upon it. He might mention other difficulties in the way of the formation of a new governing body, which not merely consisted in this, that there were no ancient traditions on which they might fall back, but still farther on the part of the opposite opinions which prevailed in the body whom they sought to unite in a representative capacity. He rejoiced to hear from every Member of their Lordships' House who had taken part in this discussion, that the Convocation which was now sought to be revived not only ought to be the old Convocation, but that it would not be a Convocation at all if it did not represent the whole body of the English Church, clergy and laity. But did their Lordships imagine that this would be a unanimous opinion? He feared it would not. So far as his own observation went—and he had long taken a deep interest in these matters, and observed what was passing in England as well as in Scotland with regard to it—his own impression 538 was that the majority of those who sought the revival of Convocation, sought literally and truly for the revival of the old Convocation of the Church of England, though he would not venture to state as a matter of fact—he was not so competent to form an opinion upon that point as some of their Lordships—he could not state how many there were that were seeking for a Convocation that should be perfectly identical with the old Convocation of the Church. He would tell their Lordships on what ground he formed this opinion. The noble Lord who introduced this discussion had alluded to a recent judicial decision which had been given on a point of doctrine in the Church of England; and the most rev. Prelate had referred to the objections which had been taken to that decision. Now a great number of those objections—and he was surprised his noble Friend had not referred to it—were objections to the constitution of the court by whom that decision had been given; and he must say that some of the ablest and most remarkable pamphlets he had seen on that subject rested their objections to the decision on the grounds of the constitution of the court, and complained of the grievance that was laid upon the consciences of the members of the Church of England in a lay tribunal being allowed to decide upon a point of doctrine of the Christian faith. This ground he knew had been taken, and he could not conceal from their Lordships that it had been taken by smoe of the ablest and most learned men who had written upon the subject. It was notorious to all of their Lordships who took an interest in this question, that upon this point they would have to overcome the feelings of the members of their own Church; they would have to overcome the feeling that the decision of these questions belonged of a right to the clergy, and not to the laity. He must say there was great confusion of thought in the pamphlet he had alluded to, because he had observed that no dissatisfaction was expressed with the decision of the Court of Arches, because, by a fiction of law, the Court of Arches represented a spiritual court, while the Privy Council represented a purely lay and civil power. He believed that this distinction arose from a great confusion of thought, because it was notorious to their Lordships that the Judge in the Court of Arches was a layman; that in theory, indeed, he might represent the jurisdiction of the most rev. Prelate, but that, in point of fact, he was as much a 539 layman, and decided the question as much on the principles of law as did the Judges of the Privy Council. Nevertheless, whatever might be the matter of fact, and whatever might be the confusion of mind, he must say that it was a principle much dwelt upon by some members of the Church of England, that questions of this kind mu3t be decided wholly by a Convocation of the clergy. If, as he rejoiced to learn, it was the opinion of the members of the Church of England that a renewal of the representative system of the government of the Church by a purely clerical tribunal, was not desirable, and that it was no longer possible, then he must say that they had before them an arduous and a difficult undertaking. Their Lordships must remember that the institutions of England, both civil and ecclesiastical, were never erected at one time. They had grown up gradually; they were entwined with the affections and associations of the people generally. They were now about to confer upon the Church of England not an institution that had ever had the affections and associations of the people to recommend it—they were about to proceed upon a totally new task; they were about to act as the Americans might have done; they were about to act as the French were about to act for the fourth, or the fifth, or for the dozenth time; they must set about the task of forming a paper constitution—for a paper constitution it would undoubtedly be, whether successful or not. He did not say such a task was impossible; God forbid he should say any such thing! all he said was, that it was a new, a difficult, and an arduous task—a task to which the people of England were not by their history accustomed, and he should say, hardly by their nature and character. Besides the difficulties they would have to encounter in the constitution of the body to whom they proposed to commit anew the government of the Church, they had other difficulties to contend with which existed in the case of no other body. They were difficulties which did not exist in the case of the Church of Scotland; for, from the first origin of that Church, it had been accustomed to have a representative body—a representative body founded so far back in history that at the present moment representatives were sent to the General Assembly by not a few municipal burghs, the members of which were no longer connected with the Church. That body acted under a carefully-defined system, and with 540 long-established rules of government, and no question had arisen in the General Assembly until very recent times which involved any occasion of serious division. Questions of doctrine had hardly ever come before the General Assembly; and he was bound to add that, in the few instances where questions of doctrine affecting some of the most profound and metaphysical points of the Christian faith had come before the General Assembly, his experience led him to say that those were the points which were least successfully, least happily, and, he must add, least worthily dealt with by that body. But questions of discipline were perpetually coming before it. Now, he would appeal to those members of the Church of England who were most anxious for a representative assembly in the case of their own Church, whether they were not struck by the forcible argument that was brought to hear upon this point by the most rev. Prelate, because he must say it appeared to him that while the weight of argument was almost altogether on the side of the abstract right to hold a Convocation, the weight of argument was altogether on the side against a Convocation so far as regarded the practical evils and dangers that were to be expected from it. Were they not conscious that the Church of England included among its members not only persons who differed from each other on points of discipline, but who were diametrically opposed to each other on some of the most important doctrines of Christianity? They had theologians among them whom he affirmed to be—and he believed he was safe in doing so—as high Calvinists as any that existed at the present moment in the most extreme sections of the Lutheran Church. There was another party in the Church whose theology was barely distinguishable from the theology of the Church of Rome. With these elements in the Church of England—while it might be abstractly right to meet in Convocation—were they prepared to take the consequences of such a meeting? He, for one, believed that mere peace was not the first and greatest object that ought to be aimed at. He agreed with his noble Friend that there were times when they were bound to be in a state of warfare—when warfare was their duty. Only he thought the matter was one of so much importance to those who were anxious to see a new representative system in the Church of England, that they ought to weigh well the 541 great difficulties that existed in the Church to such a course. His own firm conviction was, that, in the existing state of religious feeling in the country, if there should he a meeting of Convocation, however that body might be composed, questions would arise in the body which would result sooner or later in a great disruption of the Church of England. He was not prepared to say that that would not be a preferable alternative to the state of matters that now existed. That was for the members of the Church of England themselves to decide; on them must the responsibility lie. Before sitting down, there was one observation of the most rev. Prelate against which he must protest. He had quoted two instances from the life of a great and good man, giving his experience of the action of representative synods. Now, did the most rev. Prelate not suppose that if he had searched the diary of such a man, for instance, as Wilberforce, that he might have found jottings of his experience in times of great excitement, of violent contest, of exasperated feeling; and would the most rev. Prelate have thought it fair to bring forward those fragments as specimens of Mr. Wilberforce's deliberate opinion as to the action of representative government? So monstrous an argument, if it were meant as an argument, he had never before heard adduced on a question of this nature. If it were meant as an illustration, he must take exception to one of the instances which was brought forward by the most rev. Prelate: he meant the instance the most rev. Prelate had adduced from the late disruption in the Church of Scotland. He did not wish to revive the heats and animosities of that controversy, and he could not forget that he was speaking in the presence of a noble Friend of his (the Earl of Aberdeen), who took an active, a prominent, and, he should never cease to think and say, a most unfortunate part in resisting the changes which were then sought; but this he was bound to say in connexion with the argument of the most rev. Prelate, that that disruption would never have taken place if it had not been for, as he believed, the unconstitutional, and, in the highest sense, the unlawful, interposition of an Act of Parliament, which had been passed since the Union, with the free action of the representative system of the Church of Scotland. It was not that the disruption arose out of the free action of that representative system—it arose rather out of 542 the restriction which was most unwisely attempted on the free action of that representative system. He did not wish now to advert more particularly to that statute which caused the disruption—the statute which restored the rights of patronage; but he must state that that statute was always regarded as an interference with the free action of the representative system of the Church of Scotland; and more recently—by the decision of the Courts of Law against the opinions of some of the most learned and eminent of the Judges—a construction was put upon it which still further interfered with the free action of the General Assembly. An appeal was carried to their Lordships' House, and on their decision he did not scruple to think and to say, that feelings and principles derived from the constitution of the Church of England were allowed to influence the decision that was then pronounced; and, rather than submit to this interference with the free action of their representative assemblies, he would not say a majority, but a large proportion, of the members of the Church of Scotland seceded from her communion. There was no connexton between this event and a revival of Convocation in the Church of England; and he, for one, protested against any argument in opposition to free representative assemblies, drawn either from local quarrels, or from the discussion which took place in consequence of an interference with the free action of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
The BISHOP of LONDON
said, it was not his intention to enter at any length into the main argument which had now been brought before them. He had risen mainly to notice what he considered an error in the very able speech of the noble Duke who had just addressed them. He argued, from the dissatisfaction that was evinced at the decision of the Privy Council on a late occasion, and the objections that were taken to the constitution of that body, that there was a wish on the part of the majority of the clergy to place any power that might be exercised by the Convocation in the hands of the clergy alone, and that there was no wish on the part of the great body of the clergy to admit the laity to any share in their deliberations—
The DUKE of ARGYLL
I did not say the great body of the clergy—I expressly guarded against being committed to any number who entertained these opinions.
The BISHOP of LONDON
said, the numbers did not affect his argument. What 543 he wished to direct attention to was, the erroneous inference—that because parties objected to a lay tribunal deciding points of doctrine, therefore the same parties would object to the admission of lay members to decide upon the external matters that related to the Church. Their Lordships would recollect that in the speech which he ventured to address to them in moving his Bill of last year, he stated broadly that in the determination of points of doctrine, it always had been the practice of the Christian Church to entrust their decisions to the Bishops of the Church in their judicial character, or at the very least to give them a veto upon the decisions of other bodies. [See 3 Hansard, cxi. 607.] In the Episcopal Church of America, which they might fairly term the daughter, or at least the sister of the Church of England, the questions of faith and doctrine might be discussed by the representative body of that Church, but no decision could be come to without first allowing a veto to the bishops. He was therefore prepared to assert, for the order to which he belonged, the right of determining judicially for their own Church on all points of faith. It was quite a different matter to admit the laity to a share in the government of the Church in a representative assembly. With respect to the question before their Lordships, there was no one more sensible than he was of the great difficulties which attended it. He felt the full force of the objections which the most rev. Primate had stated as reasons which ought to operate with their Lordships in not giving their sanction to the proposition of his noble Friend. He felt all the difficulties of the case; but he must say they were trifling, compared with those difficulties which must involve the Church, unless their Lordships were prepared to take measures to restore to her her inherent right of deliberation. With respect to the disputes which took place in Convocation during the earlier part of last century, he thought it would be found, if their Lordships would read the history of those times, that the reasons which caused the suppression of Convocation were not that the clergy were too violent in their disputes on religious questions, but that the Lower House of Convocation took notice of the heretical teaching of one of the bishops who had recently been appointed, and that it was political and not religious motives that induced the Minister of the Crown of that day to suppress the Convo- 544 cation. But, if they were to argue from the abuse of an institution against the institution itself, he knew of none, not even that instituted by the Saviour himself, against which that same argument might not be used, to prevent the exercise of its legitimate and inherent powers. If the Church was not qualified so to deliberate on its own affairs, he should like to know what organised body was. That Parliament, as it was now constituted, was qualified to deliberate on the affairs of the Church, was a proposition to which he could not concede. At the same time he must state that he was not satisfied with the present constitution of Convocation; and for this reason—that, putting aside the question as to the admission of the laity, he did not think that the parochial clergy were adequately represented, while the deans and chapters were more than adequately represented in Convocation. Since the last meetings of Convocation, the parochial clergy had greatly increased in numbers, and still more in learning, in intelligence, and in independence, and he did not think that about forty representatives in Convocation was an adequate representation of fifteen or sixteen thousand of the parochial clergy. But, if alterations were to be made, he thought that Convocation itself was the body which ought in the first instance to make these alterations. There were other questions with regard to which concessions might be made. Considering the great prerogative of the Crown, he did not think that much inconvenience need be apprehended from the deliberations of Convocation, where it rested with the Sovereign to suggest the topics of debate, and to put an end to the discussion of those topics if it saw necessary by prorogation. Upon the whole, he could not but come to the conclusion that, great as the difficulties were, the growing difficulties that embarrassed the Church for want of such a representation were still greater. Recent events had made him individually feel strongly the want of such a body. He did not know to whom to have recourse for counsel and advice; and he was satisfied that, unless there was some representative body—combining all classes of the Church—permitted to assemble, the time was not far distant when those who were entrusted with the diocesan government of the Church would not know to what hand to turn for counsel and direction in the coming emergencies. On the whole, there- 545 fore, he could have no hesitation in saying, that there ought to be a representative body of the members of the Church to whom its government should be entrusted.
was sorry that no Member of Her Majesty's Government had thought the question of sufficient importance to take part in this discussion. It appeared to him, as one who was anxious to uphold and continue the relations now existing between Church and State, that it was a most important question. It was true that, before the measures which were adopted in 1828 and 1829, the suppression of Convocation might not be looked upon as so great an attack upon the liberties of the Church; but things had assumed a different aspect since those measures had been passed. He did not mean to say that he was opposed to the passing of the measures he alluded to; but he did say that they were carried, as almost all great measures were unhappily carried in this country, without a sufficient consideration of all the interests affected by the change. Since that time the relations between Church and State had been in a most unsatisfactory position. There were only two modes in which these relations could be adjusted. The first was one that appeared to him to have been all along more or less tried—an attempt to destroy or to keep in the back ground the vitality of the Church. He thought that attempt had failed. If it had not failed it would have had the effect of lessening the influence of the Church over the people of this country, because in proportion as they destroyed the vitality of a religious body, so would they destroy its influence with the people. The right rev. Prelate who had just spoken had referred to the Bill which he brought forward last Session, and that circumstance reminded him that the Bill was again and again postponed in its various stages, that the right rev. Prelate might in some irregular way obtain the opinions of the clergy with respect to it. But the imperfect opinions thus obtained from some few clergymen sitting in their closets would be very different from the opinions of the same parties when they were discussing a measure face to face with their opponents. That argument had often been used by noble Lords opposite. When in the discussions on the Reform Bill they were told of the great dangers that would ensue from the increase of the franchise, they said that the 546 liberty of discussion would allay heats and dissensions. It was well known that demagogues out of the House of Commons speedily found their level when their opinions were confronted and discussed by others on a footing of perfect equality. Now he believed the same process would take place with regard to the clergy; and certainly no body of men required the mellowing process of discussion more than they did, because in the pulpit they were accustomed to state their opinions without fear of contradiction, and thus they insensibly acquired a habit of dogmatism. He, therefore, thought that the only mode of maintaining the relations between Church and State, was by helping forward the spiritual action of the Church, binding her by the ties of gratitude rather than by those of compulsion. Men talked of the dangers that might arise from the assembling of Convocation, but he believed the dangers which at present existed were greater than any that were likely to arise; and the greatest danger of all was any attempt on the part of the Government to blink the importance of this great question. He must say that the events of the last half-year had greatly influenced his opinion on this matter; and when they saw that about one and the same time there were separate and independent movements for synodical action in Australia, in Canada, as well as in the Church at home, he thought they could not disguise from themselves that the question was increasing in interest and force, and he feared that, unless the Government speedily took up the question, they would soon lose the advantages that resulted from the union between Church and State. Did they think they had no use now for the Church? How were they to deal with the uneducated masses, unless by the evangelising power of the Church? At the present time infidelity, though more insidiously, was as much at work as ever; and the Church of Rome had come forward more prominently than before as an antagonist to the Church, much more than to the State. What was required to repel that aggression, was, not penal measures—for penal measures, unless they went back to persecution, could not touch the spiritual action of a Church. The Church of England was ready at hand, at once the greatest bulwark against infidelity and Rome. Let them beware how they cast aside that means which God had given them, if 547 they attempted to destroy the vitality of the Church; if they would not listen to their endeavours to obtain synodical action and freedom, they would be punished by the necessary consequences of the want of those means of defence which the Church so aptly afforded. He could not help quoting a remark which he found the other day in a sermon of Bishop Andrews. He says—There is no people who can better speak as to the value of public assemblies than we. There was nothing that did our ancestors (the Britons) more hurt, nothing that turned them to greater prejudice (saith Tacitus of them) than this one—they met not, they consulted not in common, but every man ran a course of his own head by himself, and this was the greatest advantage the Romans had of them, they were not so wise as to know what good there was in public coventions.This was particularly applicable to the present question. The State thought it necessary to protest against the Romish aggression, but the Church was denied the power from the want of synodical action. She could not as a Church protest against this direct attack upon her. He then showed that the case of Australia, quoted by the Primate, was exactly the other way, and was a proof of the necessity of that regular action which the bishops in synod suggested and prayed for—a scheme in which clergy, laity, and bishops were to take a part. In conclusion, he trusted that the House would deem that there were no impediments to the meeting and action of such a body as that suggested by the noble Lord.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE said
When I consider the method in which this subject has been brought before the House, and the statement of the noble Lord who introduced it, namely, that it was far from his intention to attack any person or body of men in this kingdom—I feel, more especially after the able speech of the right rev. Prelate who has just down, that the House might well dispense with hearing a single word from me; and were it not that it might be supposed that I and every other Member of Her Majesty's Government were indifferent—it might be imputed that we were so by reason of our silence—to the great importance of this subject, and the magnitude of that change—for change it is—in the constitution of this country, which the noble Lord has not proposed, but which he has rather suggested to the consideration of the House, I would not obtrude myself upon your Lordships. I say change in the con- 548 stitution of this country—because I apprehend, the more you look into the history of Convocation in this country, and its connexion with its history, you will find—and indeed the fact has in a great degree been admitted by the noble Lord who introduced the question—that Convocation was not holden for the mere purposes he would now suggest, but that, having been called together for another object, it was made to answer and successfully accomplish the ends which the noble Lord has now in view, namely, by open and continued discussion, to establish a government for the Church, and to determine the doctrines of the Church in this country. Such a body, looking historically at Convocation, would be totally different from that which was composed, in former times, solely of the different ecclesiastical bodies in the provinces of Canterbury and York. It would be differently constituted—naturally so, as it would not have its origin in the same source, or be established for the same purpose. If you have a Convocation, different elements must come into play, and have their due place assigned to them. I refer to the Church of Ireland, and also to that in the Colonies. But not only will a change be necessary in the formation of the representation of the body itself, but the duties devolving upon it would also be different. If you look to the origin of Convocation in this country, you cannot entertain a doubt that the duties you would now impose heretofore, only accidentally devolved upon it. The Clergy were formerly convoked for the performance of certain civil services due by them to the State; and it was not until after the Reformation, and that also emanating and rising out of the authority of the Crown, that they were called upon to pass any opinion upon that great and important event. To such a degree was this principle carried out, that some of the most important Acts, whereby the Establishment was settled and confirmed, were passed without the slightest appeal to Convocation whatsoever. I apprehend, therefore, if your Lordships are to create a body to be entrusted with the constant and perpetual task of deliberating upon the government and doctrines of the Church, that it must be a body essentially different from any body which has been heretofore established in this realm. Now, the question your Lordships have to consider is, whether the time itself, or any accidents 549 arising out of the time, are such as to call on your Lordships or Parliament to advise the creation and infusion of so new an element into the constitution of this country. I am not prepared to say, whatever my opinion of Convocation may be, that if I saw any prospect, by the creation of any such new element, of attaining that unity and peace in the Church which it must be the object of every admirer and member of the Church to attain, that I should not be prepared to embrace any means by which so great and so desirable an object could be obtained. But when I see what has been the history of Convocation, I entertain no belief—and see no foundation for entertaining it—that such results would flow from a re-establishment of Convocation; nor can I see anything which would induce me to be a party to advising the Crown to attempt such a novel and dangerous experiment as to establish a body without being afterwards able to control and govern its proceedings. And when it is said that there is a power in the Crown to control Convocation, I ask whether the exercise of that control itself would contribute to that peace or restore that tranquillity which is so desirable? It is admitted that differences of opinion and violent and passionate discussions may arise; but it is said, when such differences do arise, there may then step in the power of the Crown to prorogue and regulate the assembly. Is it supposed, that in the temper and in the heat of such discussions, such an interference would be desirable; or could it be imagined that the interference of the Crown would at once put an end to the heat of the debate, the heart-burnings and the animosities which would arise from the war of words? My Lords, I say such an interference would be dangerous in the extreme. As far as I can consult the history of assemblies of this nature, I find that they have invariably and signally failed. The noble Lord who introduced the subject alluded to the Council of Trent. If great assiduity, employment of talent, and great length of time devoted to secure the objects desired, would have done so, that Council would have succeeded. We have the history of these transactions recorded in detail by one of the greatest writers of the age, and having the advantage of those records before us, what is the history of the Council of Trent but a series of ineffectual efforts to obtain peace and concord in the Church—efforts which were followed by greater agitation 550 than before? I have no confidence or hope that peace would be the result of such a step as re-establishing the Convocation—I have no hope to justify me in advising the Crown to pursue it. If I saw any better means than those which now exist for eliciting public opinion, I should be glad to embrace them and see them brought to bear on the government of the Church in this country; but not being able to do so, I cannot, for one, and Her Majesty's Government cannot, be parties to the trial of an experiment so novel, so far-fetched, and so perilous as that suggested.
The BISHOP of OXFORD
could not suffer one of the remarks which had just fallen from the noble Marquess to pass without venturing to question its strict accuracy, and endeavouring to show how it might be made correct. The noble Marquess had argued as though it was by the merest accident and chance that the functions for which he and others now wished to see provision made, had ever been discharged in the Church of England, for he had identified the discharge of those functions with the Convocation of the clergy, and then had gone on to say that the very rise and origin of Convocation was an accident; that it was the necessary device resorted to for the purpose of taxing the clergy, and that afterwards it accidentally took cognisance of matters affecting the doctrine and discipline of the Church; but that the Church of England was a stranger to such an institution, and that it was one so novel, so fraught with danger, so uncertain in its effects, that he, in the tranquil, peaceful, united, and undivided state of the Church at present, could not venture to introduce it.
The BISHOP of OXFORD
The noble Marquess stated that it was an institution so novel that he would not venture to introduce it. The other words he had used he had not meant to attribute to the noble Marquess. He (the Bishop of Oxford) meant for himself to glance at the position and state of the Church which the noble Marquess was so fearful of disturbing; and he feared, from the noble Lord's eager denial of them, that he was one of those who laid the flattering unction to their souls that the public administration of matters concerning the Church had been, for the last three or four years, such as to cause peace, harmony, and unity. He was 551 not one of those; and, therefore, when he heard the visionary dangers which might result from Convocation spoken of, he could not help contrasting them with those real and substantial dangers which yawned every day around them. What he did quote from the noble Marquess was, that spiritual synods, which he identified in England with the Convocation, were a novelty—that there was no such thing known in the constitution—that its origin arose out of civil institutions, and questions arising out of land.
The BISHOP of OXFORD
did not wish to misrepresent the noble Marquess; he would be extremely sorry to do so.
The BISHOP of OXFORD
It would have been exceedingly convenient if the noble Marquess had now explained; it would have saved him and their Lordships further trouble. He would be sorry to misrepresent any noble Lord; but he understood the argument of the noble Marquess to be that no such thing was co-natural with the English ecclesiastical system as such a representative synod as that which had to-night been advocated; that the origin of Convocation arose from the necessity for the discharge of certain civil services due by the clergy to the State; and that it then very inconveniently assumed functions to which it was not originally entitled. Had the noble Marquess explained, he should have been thankfully set right upon the matter.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
then rose, and observed that it was extremely irregular in the right rev. Prelate to call for an explanation in the course of a speech. He claimed for himself the right of explanation when the right rev. Prelate had concluded his address.
The BISHOP of OXFORD
said, that there was one thing more irregular than explanation, and that was interruption. He trusted, therefore, that the noble Marquess, as he declined explaining, would, in this respect at least, extend to him his usual courtesy, and abstain from further interruption. But to return: Convocation, 552 as he understood, was described to be a novelty in the Church of England, introduced for the sake of taxing the clergy, and that its discharging those functions of regulating the Church, which they described as being co-natural with the Church, was an after-thought. Now, to a great degree, this was true; but the important point, which the noble Marquess had omitted, was this. Before Convocation existed, and afterwards when it existed merely to tax the clergy, regular provincial and diocesan synods met throughout the land; and it was not till the more proper synod ceased to act, that from dealing with matters of civil service and necessity, Convocation was transformed, inconveniently, into a synod of the Church. Thus, an institution which was called for one purpose, was called on to discharge other functions for which it was inconveniently suited. So much, then, for the argument of novelty. But, in truth, he believed the great and fundamental object tion to granting to the Church of England any synodical action lay far deeper than any objection that found its way to the lips of any speaker who had as yet spoken. He believed that, in too many, it really based itself on an entire want of faith in the divine mission of the Church. He claimed for the English Church, from the Crown of England, the right of assembling when circumstances required it; for the Royal word, which was never broken, had been pledged for the maintenance of that right. But he claimed this right irrespective of the Crown, dating back from the time when the English Crown was not—he claimed it for this Church of England as a true representative in this land of that body which assembled first in apostolic Synod in Jerusalem—when, indeed, the Church, trusting in the presence of her Divine Head, and in his almighty power, met and had confidence in their being guided substantially aright. In confirmation of his view, he begged to call their Lordships' attention to an article written in a paper which was acknowledged to be at least connected with those in authority—if not in some sort their recognised organ—and which, it might therefore be supposed, would not put forth anything very shocking to those with whom it was so likely to be identified. [The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE: What is the name of the paper?] The Globe newspaper.The Church of England, as by law established, is emphatically a creature of this world. 553 It is impossible to affix any intelligible character to her profession or practice, unless we bear steadily in mind that she is essentially a machine for embodying the spiritual element in the changing public opinion of the day, and not a contrivance for transmitting sacraments or defining creeds. On any other theory such a Church as we hare in England is either a contradiction or a living outrage on every pretence of religious independence. Her government by the Prime Minister, her passive immobility, her obstinate silence, the absolute nullity of her censures, the thousands of her professing adherents who laugh outright whenever her ministers outstep the modest sphere of officebearers in a national establishment—these are all incidents and marks of bondage which would be too intolerable for the meanest sect of Jumpers to submit to, which the Roman Church derides and scoffs at from her pride of place, the recognition of which would be degrading beyond belief to a purely spiritual establishment, but which become, we do not say merely intelligible, but suitable and decent, in our department of public worship. These facts cannot be got over; and, however they may jar with the superb tone which the Elizabethan Reformers sometimes assumed in an unwise deference to the prejudices of their day, it is foolish to ignore them, and dishonest to speculate on the faith that the uninstructed rich or poor may do so. It is a great misfortune that the true position of the Church of England was not brought out more clearly, we may say, more offensively, in the sixteenth century. A real Nag's Head consecration would have saved us from a world of our present difficulties.He believed that the spirit which breathed through that article animated, however unconsciously, many of those who objected to the synod which they advocated. Those who believed that the Church was this convenient human instrument, this active useful police to keep down troublesome people, without any presence of God to guide her, without any truth of God for which she and lived, for which it were well, if need be, that she should fall, would refuse, no doubt, to give her a true synodical action. He deeply regretted to hear it asserted, and that from lips which could not mean it, that Convocation did very little in settling the Articles which were agreed upon at the Reformation. They were told that because the words of those Articles had been settled by Committees, and then only ordered by Convocation, that therefore Convocation had very little to do with them. But surely this was a strange argument; for the question was not by whom they were mechanically drawn up, but by what authority were they propounded, and as to that there could be no doubt. The very title to the articles settled the matter, for we read there in our Prayer-books that—"These Articles were drawn up by and agreed to by the Clergy in their Convocation, and assented 554 to by the Monarch." The words were well chosen, and showed the part which Convocation took in the matter. And let no one think that this was a trifling question, or a war of words. Either the Church was in this land the representative of that Christian Church established by Jesus Christ, or she was the mere creature of the State. Let them not deal lightly with the alternative. If they thought that her earthly dignities gave to her her standing and power—if they thought that they might, so long as they maintained these, safely suppress her higher character—they were doing that which would give the Church of Rome more power against them than twenty thousand such Acts of Parliament against aggression, as they would soon see, could cure. But they were told that Convocation would endanger the peace of the Church. And in answer to this it had been said by his noble Friend opposite that he would rather have truth than peace. Would his noble Friend allow him slightly to amend his expression, and he would say, he would have that peace only which was consistent with truth, for that was the only true peace. Peace in error was not peace; it was death instead of peace. He could not forget, when such a peace was praised, the words of Him who said to those who longed for it of old, "Think ye that I am come to send peace on earth? I tell you, nay, but a sword." To find peace only in striving against error was, from the very first, the Church's charter. It was by the contentions of successive Synods which had defined the faith against the errors of successive heresies, that they had themselves received the original deposit of the faith. Each of those Synods was a time of contention; in some concerning doctrine, in others concerning discipline; but out of them all came a time of real peace. As when a wise physician brings to light and cures the secret evils of the body, he does not make the evils which he detects and handles, so the Synods did not cause the evil which for the time they seemed, it may be, to exasperate. They dealt with these evils, and by dealing with them cured them. Synods were the vent for such evils. It was when the pent-up throes of a mighty volcano found no vent at its crater that it shook the earth with its smothered heavings and intestine strivings; and so it was in the Church. Such repressed strifes were not peace, but the causes of a deeper and more dangerous 555 disquietude. So it had been eminently of late years in our own Church. That seeming peace, of which some were so enamoured, had been fertile in the most real division; and though, if they had possessed then true synodical action, outward peace might seem to be endangered by such living action in their Church, they might throughout those seeming strifes have reached a far truer harmony. How, indeed, can there be peace on any other terms than these? For the causes of difference are not light unimportant opinions, but principles which touch the heart and centre of men's being. How can you hope to find unity as to these by stamping an iron silence on men's souls? My Lords, you have seen the fruit of this attempt. You have seen men, for the sake of the convictions they have thus reached, give up the friends, and homes, and associations of a life, and in so doing give up more than life itself; you have seen such men lost to you, who might, I verily believe, have been saved, had the Church possessed the visible life of action, and been able to consider their difficulties, and manifest to them that she did hold that after which they longed. It is only by mutual explanations and definitions, by united acts, by the incidents of a common life, by the self-assertion of possessing spiritual being, that such evils can be warded off. Men of the noblest hearts, and of the strongest intellects, had been led into the deepest error, he believed, mainly from the misfortunes of the times, because their spirits were driven in on themselves, to eat their souls in comfortless despair. But if they had been allowed to discuss these questions in the presence and with the aid of the Blessed Spirit of God to guide them aright, if there be any truth in God's own word, the result must have been most different. But, again, we are told that the assembling of such a Synod would give power to men of extreme and dangerous views. Why should it be so? Who are the persons who obtain the greatest power in lawful Synods? Why, the most learned, the most moderate, and the most judicious persons. When a demagogue went about inflaming men's minds, how often did they not hear it said, "Oh, let him get into Parliament; there he will find his level." And why was this? Because in that lawful assembly, met under due authority, met for strictly practical purposes, the mischievous demagogue became an in- 556 nocent nuisance. And this would be the case in the higher assembly, the restoration of which he advocated. But they were told that it would be a novel experiment—that, in fact, it would be an innovation. He must beg to remind them that we had learned from an authority as old as Lord Bacon that time was the greatest innovator. To attempt, then, to stereotype past observances was a most dangerous innovation, for it brought upon them the tooth of time, with its most virulent effects. Again, it had been said that the introduction of the lay element into the Synod would be a great change—that to frame such a body would be an untried experiment. But was this so? True, they had no such Synod of the Church sitting in London; but their Church had one which met in annual Convention; for across the broad Atlantic, their Church, their own Church planted in America, met annually in such a Synod as he desired to see amongst themselves; and, instead of perishing under its dangers, found in it such strength that it alone, of all the religious bodies into which that great nation was divided, actually gained upon the increase of its multiplying population. To that, then, he pointed as a practical answer to this objection. He had no fears of the influence of the laity of the Church in her decisions. Nay, with him one main reason why he desired to see synodical action restored to the Church was because the laity had now scarcely any legitimate authority or mode of acting in their Church. There was something like clerical acting, but there was no lay acting. Sometimes a meeting was got up in London by persons calling themselves lay members of the Church of England. But that was not the due and legal action of the Church's laity. A layman meant a member of the Church of Christ who was not ordained. Now, so defined, he contended that the laity had scarcely any legitimate power left in the Church, and he deeply regretted it, for that reason amongst others, and wished to see synodical action restored. It was formerly exercised in two ways, through the Crown of England and through the House of Commons. It was exercised originally through the Crown, and it had been said that the Crown was the acknowledged lay element of the Church of England, and was so now. But when noble Lords spoke thus they must be reminded of the change which had passed over the powers of the English Crown. They were drawing these notions from a 557 time when, upon the House of Commons venturing to take in hand the questioning of some matters hearing on religion, they received the reprimand of their somewhat imperious Mistress, and the Member who offended was committed to prison and fined by the Star Chamber. When noble Lords talked of innovation, let them remember that time had so innovated that all the personal control of the Sovereign over the Church was nearly gone; and so it was as to the second seat of lay power within the Church. So long, indeed, as the House of Commons represented the Church of England, the laity of the Church of England had power over the Church. But how was it now? Would any one say that the measures discussed in the House of Commons were discussed by them as representing the laity of the Church of England? No such thing; they entered into such matters, not as sons of the Church, but as members of the commonwealth, and as those dealing with some State establishment which they thought they ought to fashion as they chose. He contended that the laity of the Church of England were now almost wholly unrepresented. There was no way in which that body could act in the administration of her affairs. The next great blot was this: the great body of the clergy had scarcely any power left in the administration of the Church, and all power was thrown into the hands of the governors of the Church spiritual, and that was the most inconvenient, unconstitutional, and unhappy arrangement possible. It drove them to shrink from difficulties, or tyrannically to set up their own will as their rule. It was impossible for them, with dioceses to govern, with an Establishment which was intended to contain the extremes of opinion upon each side so long as the holders of those opinions would agree to sign common Articles and use common Formularies, with one party when in the ascendant, clamouring to have the opposite party excluded, with the other party when in the ascendant clamouring to have their opponents suppressed—with common use often one way, and the rule of authority another—it was almost impossible for men thus situated to discharge their duties satisfactorily. The reproaches cast on the bishops were, in great measure, not the result of the fault of the men, they were the fault of the unnatural circumstances in which they were placed—circumstances in which the Church of Christ never intended to place them, but 558 in which they had been placed by the lapse of time. To meet these great difficulties, and with no want of perception of the dangers of the other side, he desired to see the Church of England duly represented in a lawful synod—the bishops in their true place, the clergy in theirs, and the laity in theirs—to see them all consulting together, for the common welfare of all; he only wished to see them go back to that which was established when the Church was in her cradle, and when the Apostles, and Elders, and Brethren, met together to consult for her welfare, and because they did so meet together, dared to claim the promised general guiding of that God for whose leading they sought. That which was then begun in the Church had since remained in its essential element, and it was that which be desired to see granted to the Church of England. He wished for no priestly domination, no episcopal tyranny. Rather he wished to part with some of the power which had been lodged inconveniently in the ruler's hands. The noble Duke fell into an error from not recognising the difference between a man saying it was the office of those to whom Christ had committed the rule of his Church to decide in matters of doctrine and controversy, and denying that the laity should be allowed to take their full and fair share in deliberation for the welfare of the Church. And even, go one step further, was it not one thing to say there would be nothing contrary to the institutions of the Church in letting the lay members of the Church decide on matters of doctrine, they being of the Church; and was it not another to say that a body linked in no way with the Church—not professing to have its members belonging to it as individuals—some of them known to belong to other bodies, some of them known to be hostile to the peculiar claims of the Church of England—should assume to settle the doctrines of the Church of England? There were many evils connected with the present state of things, and he saw no power to remedy those evils except in the power of internal regulation—a power which every organised party possessed. It was the secret of life that it could hold together discordant elements in operation. Science had taught us that in all living bodies there was the equal balance of contrary powers, held together in their harmonious work by that which we termed the mystery of life. And so it was in the living Church of Christ. It never had been 559 the condition of the Church of Christ to have perfect unity of opinion. The constitution of men's minds made that impossible. The office of the Church of Christ was not to extinguish all difference of opinion, but, like the office of life in the human body, to make it possible that such differences should co-exist together in harmonious co-operation; and, doubtless, it was for this reason amongst others that it was formed by its Divine Founder, and endued with the presence of the Spirit. If they would handle that mysterious thing which had come down to them in this land from the first ages of Christianity, the living Church of Christ—if they would handle that as some mere instrument of human device—if they would attempt, by external regulations, to make it speak language which it had not learned from its Lord, and do acts which it could not justify by His precepts, they might promise themselves peace, but they would find death; they might promise themselves success, but they would find that life had departed from that which would have been their choicest instrument, and left them wholly incompetent, as every anti-Christian nation had been, to deal with the manifest corruptions and unnumbered evils of the body politic which they had to administer.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
stated, in explanation, that what he had said was, that it was by a series of accidents that Convocation had acquired the power, the habit, of discussing and settling doctrines appertaining to the Church, and he apprehended the statement was borne out by history. The translation of the Word of God, which it had been truly said in the course of this discussion it was the characteristic of the Church of England to adhere to, was formally promulgated and enacted without any reference to Convocation. The Common Prayer Book, the most essential element in the Church of England, and that which gathered around her her votaries and followers in one common worship, was compiled without Convocation. Although they passed Convocation, the Articles of the Church did not become law in consequence of having passed Convocation, but were adopted by the Sovereign, and made law by Parliament, both the Sovereign and the Parliament altering those Articles before they made them into law. The most important elements of which the Church of England was composed, and by which she had been subsequently regulated, were laid down 560 without any reference to or sanction by Convocation. These things were a convincing proof that Convocation was not the established mode of promulgating the doctrines and governing the Church of England. It was in that sense that he said it would be a novelty to establish Convocation for that purpose. He did not say it was a novelty unfit to be considered, and he did not say that the Church of England was in that happy state that nothing could be done. He wished some means could be pointed out by which a degree of perfect tranquillity could be introduced; but he did not see his way with sufficient confidence to the establishment of the tribunal now proposed, so as to induce him to say that he was prepared to become a party to advise the Crown to establish what he considered an uncertain, if not a dangerous innovation.
§ LORD REDESDALE
replied, he did not see why a change could not be produced in the same way in which the Articles were agreed to by Convocation. They were not drawn up by the Convocation, one person suggesting a word here and another there, but the matter was entrusted to sober-minded men, who met to devise a plan in the same way that the Government with which the noble Marquess was connected in 1831 advised the alteration of the constitution of the House of Commons. When Convocation sanctioned the Articles and made them binding upon the Church, it did its duty in a desirable and efficient way; and he entertained a hope that the difference which had been anticipated would not take place, if measures were carefully prepared by those in whom the Church had confidence.
§ On Question, agreed to.
§ House adjourned to Monday next.