HL Deb 21 July 1854 vol 135 cc494-6

said, he had once earnestly hoped that the measures of internal improvement would not have been altogether impeded by the outbreak of the war; for, though the time of Her Majesty's Ministers might be engrossed in dealing with that absorbing subject, still the attention of private Members need not have been so occupied, and they might have entered on the task. That hope, however, had now been entirely disappointed, and amongst the measures which had been sacrificed in consequence was a Bill for the removal of the Colonial clergy's disabilities. Since, however, the Bill was introduced into the other House of Parliament, a change had taken place in the office of Secretary of State for the Colonies. Now, he was not speaking altogether from rumour, for the fact was notorious, when he stated that so far as the present Secretary for the Colonies had stated any opinions in reference to the Bill, those opinions were adverse to it. The question, therefore, naturally arose whether the Government as a Government still retained the same opinions on the subject, and whether they meditated future legislation in its regard? He felt perfectly certain that the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Newcastle) had not changed his mind upon the subject, but he should be exceedingly glad to hear the sense of Her Majesty's Government generally. He had, therefore, to ask whether the Government intended at any future time to reintroduce a measure for the removal of the disabilities of the Colonial clergy?


said, that their Lordships would not have forgotten that in three successive Sessions three different Bills, all designed to carry out the same object, had been introduced upon this subject. Three years ago the matter was taken up by his right hon. Friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the other House, but, after great discussion, the measure was not proceeded with. Last year the most rev. Prelate introduced a Bill in a similar form, but framed so as to obviate the objections of those who had opposed the former measure; but that Bill, after passing through their Lordships' House, also met with a good deal of opposition in the other House, and was withdrawn. In the present Session, again, the Bill now in question was introduced, and was met with considerable opposition in the same quarter as before, and although he was not prepared to say that if an opportunity had been given either by a Select Committee or in some other manner, the objections that had been stated might not have been overcome, nevertheless the result unfortunately had been that legislation on the subject this Session had also been suspended. Although he was not aware that his noble Friend was under any misapprehension as to the opinion of his right hon. Friend (Sir George Grey), he had consulted him, and he had his assurance, and was able to give that of the rest of the Government, that the attention of the Government would continue to be devoted to this subject, and, with the assistance of the Church in the Colony, he was not without hopes that at the commencement of the next Session a Bill would be introduced which would meet the objections which had been raised against former measures, which were, he understood, rather objections of form than of substance.

House adjourned to Monday next.