HL Deb 17 July 1856 vol 143 cc948-64

Order of the Day for the House to be put into a Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into a Committee.


I submit to your Lordships whether, before going into Committee, you ought not to have the correspondence between the Bishops of London and Durham and the Government, relating to their retirement, and which has been moved for by a right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Oxford), laid upon the table of the House. The preamble to this Bill states that these right rev. Prelates have represented to Her Majesty's Government their inability to perform their duties, and their desire on that account to vacate their sees. We know nothing—except from the representations of Her Majesty's Government—of the terms upon which that representation has been made. We do not know whether the conditions are such that the Bill cannot be amended without breaking them. We do not know whether consent was given by these right rev. Prelates upon the understanding that there would be a general Bill, or upon the understanding that there would be a measure personal to themselves only, because I must repeat what I said on a former occasion, that upon the latter supposition, this measure is a mode of carrying out a simoniacal contract, and I cannot believe that the right rev. Prelates could, however incautiously, come to agree to a proposition that a separate treaty should be made with them. They may have said that if a general measure were passed, they would willingly avail themselves of it; but I can hardly believe it possible that they would consent to treat in a manner which, if a rector so treated with his patron, would lead to the charge of a simoniacal contract. Under these circumstances, I do think the House ought to have the correspondence to which this Bill relates, and I hope the Government will allow the Committee to be postponed till Monday.


That the House is entitled to the correspondence in question no one can doubt, and there is not the slightest reluctance or hesitation in laying it upon the table; but I trust your Lordships will not make that very natural wish on the part of my right rev. Friend (the Bishop of Oxford) ground for not proceeding with this stage of the Bill. Notice having been given by my right rev. Friend that he would move for the correspondence, I immediately communicated with the First Lord of the Treasury, in whose hands the correspondence rests. Unfortunately, I have not got it yet, but no doubt it will be laid upon the table to-morrow. I can, however, assure your Lordships that the noble Lord is quite mistaken in supposing it relates to a general measure. It distinctly shows that these right rev. Prelates did not suppose they were doing anything simoniacal. The language of the Bishop of London was, if by law it could be done, he was anxious to do it, in consequence of the difficulties he found in discharging the duties of his office. With regard to the Bishop of Durham, I believe the letters also show that he considered the matter related specifically to himself.


I hope your Lordships will well weigh this objection before you go into Committee. The going into Committee implies that you are about to consider the details of this measure, involving the amount of salaries and proposed pensions to these right rev. Prelates; and this your Lordships are about to do without any knowledge whatever, except on the statement of Her Majesty's Government, as to the previous stages of this arrangement. I am bound to say—and though I have no authority to say it, yet from my own knowledge of the cirstances I pledge my truth for it—that what has fallen from the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack does not give the true state of the case. Of course I do not, for a moment, impute to the noble and learned Lord the slightest intention to misrepresent; but, speaking from no slight acquaintance with the circumstances, that is what I believe to be the truth of the case. I believe the Bishop of London heard that Her Majesty's Government had been considering, by some general measure, the means of providing for the work of dioceses, the Bishops of which were worn out, and that within a few days a Bill would be laid upon the table of the House; and, being very anxious to help forward any such general measure, he did communicate to Her Majesty's Government, with a distinct view to that general measure, his readiness to retire. I believe, further, that it was stated to him that it might be found necessary, if not convenient, to deal with the case of the Bishops of London and Durham by a separate Bill; but that it would be a supplementary measure falling in with the general state of the law, as far as that general measure affected it. Mark, my Lords, the different position in which that would have placed my right rev. Friend (the Bishop of London). If a general law, affecting all who held spiritual charges, passed, and if an accompanying measure applied the general principle to any particular case, with the limitations which that particular case required, the right rev. Lord (the Bishop of London) would be altogether free in conscience and appearance from conniving at simony by merely consenting to bring their case under the then existing general law of the clergy. My right rev. Friend has not been acquainted with the objections on the ground of simony. I put it upon a hypothetical case. Suppose my right rev. Friend has not heard of this objection. Suppose that, not having it clearly before his mind, he assented because he expected this arrangement would be a proviso to a general act and altogether free from the general charge of simony. Suppose that in his present state of weakness he is unable to read the public journals, and his anxious friends who are watching round him do not dare to tell him this objection to a private Bill—I will suppose there was no positive stipulation that there should be a general measure. Then, I ask, if such a hypothetical case should turn out to be the truth, are you prepared to proceed, and, taking advantage of an offer under very different supposed circumstances, to make the right rev. Lord guilty in the eyes of the great body of the Church of England of a simonical transaction, for his own convenience, when my right rev. Friend is altogether free from any charge of the kind, and it is only from the mode in which he has been treated that he is exposed to it? A great deal was said the other night of the feelings of my right rev. Friend, and how much was due to him, and the noble Earl said, in almost a pathetic way, would the House refuse the petition of the right rev. Prelate to be released in his old age from duties which he found himself unable to perform? I believe that is an entire perversion of the state of the case; that my right rev. Friend made the offer with a view to helping forward a general Act; and that, so far from promoting his wishes by carrying this Bill, your Lordships would promote them most abundantly by refusing in this way to give these particular privileges; because the more attention I give to it the more I come to the conclusion (and a frightful conclusion it is) that this is nothing more than an Act to exempt the Bishop of London from the pains and penalties of committing simony. I believe that is the real effect of the Bill you are passing, and I can only say, knowing the tender and sensitive conscientiousness of my right rev. Friend, that I tremble to think what the effect will be if, at a future time, on recovering some strength, he should find the way in which he has been treated, and that by the substitution of a particular for a general Act he has been made guilty of a scandal to the Church. I dare not estimate what the effect of such a discovery on his mind may be. I ask your Lordships whether you aught to do this—whether you ought not to require that the correspondence should first be in your hands? I think that is the least measure of justice to my right rev. Friend. I claim it of you as a matter of justice to him, that you should not take any representation of his words from a third party, and I say you ought further to do this—you ought to have an assurance that he knows this private Bill is being carried on, the public Bill being dropped. You ought not to take advantage of any letter he may have written in the simplicity and sincerity of his heart, and bind him down to that letter; but Her Majesty's Government ought to state distinctly that he knows it to be an act of simony that you are going to lead him to do. I ask upon what principle you are going? If an assent to a certain thing be obtained from a man, and afterwards the circumstances under which that assent was given are altogether changed, would not a Court of Chancery itself relieve a man who had so bound himself to a bargain under totally different circumstances? It is the plainest equity in the world, and I say your Lordships ought not to proceed with this Bill, based upon a resignation which I in my conscience believe was given by the right rev. Prelate under quite different circumstances from those which the passing of the Bill must produce. I at least pray your Lordships, at the present stage of this Bill, not to dream of going into Committee to settle the details until you know all the facts upon which the present measure is founded.


I was, indeed, surprised when I heard my right rev. Friend (the Bishop of Oxford) accuse the Government of having introduced a Bill to legalise a simoniacal proceeding—accuse all your Lordships who had supported the measure now before the House of having voted for a Bill to carry out a simoniacal treaty—and, going further—and accuse five of his brother Prelates with having aided by their votes to ratify a simonaical treaty. If any layman had stood up and made such a charge against Archbishops and Bishops of the Church—including the Primates of England and the Primate of Ireland—what would my right rev. Friend have done? Why, he would have instantly stood up in that House as the defender of his order, and have indignantly repudiated such a charge. And has it come to this—et tu Brute?—Do I hear my right rev. Friend stand up and charge five Members of the episcopacy with one of the most serious offences that could be attributed to any ecclesiastic? A more merciless attack was never made. I will tell my right rev. Friend that his charge is not founded in law or in fact. What is simony, and what does this Bill propose to do? Simony is a certain transaction which the law prohibits. One Act of Parliament can nullify a previous Act as perfectly as if the Act nullified had never been on the Statute-book; and I lay it down most solemnly for law, that an agreement to do this Act conditionally upon the sanction of the Legislature being given is not simony. The condition assented to by both the right rev. Prelates was this—they were content to do what certainly is now against the law of the land, but to do it with the consent of the Legislature. If the Legislature assent to this Act, it will pro tanto be the same as if the law had never prohibited it. It is not a private bargain. I should like to see a general law upon the subject. I do see great inconveniences in bargains toties quoties between retiring Bishops and the Government of the day; but I say that, to call an arrangement which is publicly expressed to be conditional upon the consent of the Legislature being obtained, a simonaical proceeding is a mere perversion of terms.


My noble and learned Friend has completely misstated my words. I said if this privilegium did not pass, the compact which had been entered into, whether made publicly through the public journals, or privately by correspondence, will be simony by the law. I said also there were two ways in which the Act could be relieved from the crime of simony—one by altering the general law, and the other by passing a privilegium, a special Act of Parliament, to withhold in these instances the penalties which attach to similar acts done by other persons. What I say is this, if after you pass this Act any rector or vicar does, in the most open manner in the world, and with the most honourable motives in the world, the very same act which you allow the Bishop of London to do, then that rector or vicar will commit simony. Then, I say, this Bill is a privilegium to withdraw, in these instances, the penalties of simony from acts which under the general law will still remain illegal and simoniacal. I do not mean to say that legally the two right rev. Prelates would be guilty of simony if you pass this Bill, but the act they do will remain in other cases illegal.


I say that if this Bill passes—though by a combination between my right rev. Friend and another party it may not pass—then there will be no simony either legal or moral in this matter.


explained the circumstances under which the resignation of the Bishop of London was communicated to him. He had been waited upon by the confidential friend and adviser of the Bishop, Mr. Hodgson, who informed him of the right rev. Prelate's desire, and begged of him to communicate it to the Ecclesiastical Commission. He (the Earl of Chichester) did so, and also immediately communicated it to the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He subsequently had several interviews with Mr. Hodgson and his partner, and took care to inform them, for the information of the Lord Bishop, of what was occurring in respect to the draughting of the Bill; and, in order to save time, he (the Earl of Chichester) himself had a Bill prepared, not exactly similar to that now before the House, but the same in principle, in respect to its being a separate measure. A copy of that Bill was given to the Bishop's confidential adviser, and he was authorized to state that the Bishop saw that Bill, and generally approved it. Not a word was said by the Bishop against its being a separate measure, although, no doubt, he thought there shonld be a general measure, as every one else did.


My Lords, I wish to mention one matter, which appears to me to be well worthy of consideration, in reference to this subject—I mean the actual and prospective state of these great dioceses. I would ask of those who object to this Bill, in what way they intend to carry on the ecclesiastical government of this great town—how they intend during the interregnum to dispose of the patronage of the see? in what way is the correspondence of the see to be carried on, or how are the clergy to be superintended, and generally how is the ecclesiastical government of this diocese to be administered? The diocese of London stands in a peculiar position, different from all other dioceses, and in which it will not itself stand henceforward. It is one of the unregulated bishoprics, and the consequence is, that all the powers formerly exercised by Bishops are vested in the Bishop of London for the time being; and I beg your Lordships to consider what those powers are. The Bishop has the administration of vast territorial revenues, amounting to no less than £22,000 per annum. He retains the powers formerly exercised by Bishops, of levying fines, of granting leases, and of disposing of the property of the Church; he even has the power of anticipating and of making appropriations and assignments beneficial to the receiver, but prejudicial to the Church itself. The right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Exeter spoke the other night of the great convenience of entering upon an interregnum at the present moment, because the great pressure of business to which Bishops are exposed in holding confirmations and consecrations was over, as those ceremonies are not performed in the autumn and winter months. But are those the only duties which a Bishop has to perform? If they be the only duties, shall we not hear very soon repeated that which has been so often said about Bishops—that they received large salaries and did nothing? If I find a great supporter of the episcopate—himself a Bishop—saying that during six months a Bishop has noting to do, I believe he is establishing a stronger argument against the continuance of Bishops than anything which could be urged by the most violent anti-state-church partisan in the country. But is it nothing to have the spiritual charge of more than 2,000,000 people—of a population larger than that of many German duchies, and nearly as large as that of the kingdom of Sardinia? But I must rely on my authority alone. I will read an extract from a letter written by a rev. gentleman, an archdeacon, of great experience, who is far better able than I am to form an opinion as to the consequences which would ensue from the continuance of such an interregnum. It is necessary, I should first explain that it is intended, I believe, to put the diocese into the hands of Commissaries. Writing to me on this subject, my informant says— There can be no doubt that it is a great evil for this metropolitan diocese to be without an active head. Commissaries cannot have the same authority and influence; and the Commissaries of this diocese must henceforward labour under the additional disadvantage of exercising not merely a delegated authority, but an authority which, it is notorious, must soon expire. A new Bishop may reverse all their decisions. At the recent annual meeting of—, a rector expressed a general feeling when he stated that, in his arduous position, with a parish containing nearly 200,000 persons, he felt continually and most painfully the want of the full support of episcopal authority. This is a sentiment shared, I believe, by all the rectors and vicars of large parishes in the metropolis. But the Bishop of London has many other duties to perform besides consecration and confirmations. The writer of the letter I have quoted says— The Bishop of London exercises a customary jurisdiction over all chaplains in foreign parts, or in the colonies and the East Indies, where there is no Anglican Bishop. This is a jurisdiction of a very delicate nature, and of great importance to the credit of this country on the Continent; but having the sanction of the law, it is less easily delegated to a Commissary. It will be seen, therefore, that the Bishop of London stands in a very peculiar position. He cannot delegate his full powers to a Commissary, for he has many functions that do not attach to him by law, and which can be exercised only by himself and on his own responsibility. But we are also not without the benefit of experience on this question. There have heretofore been interregnums in various sees, and most mischievous consequences have ensued. I will not go into the details of some which took place many years ago; but there is one extremely notorious case of the kind to which I will refer, which occurred during the infirmity of the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Hear what is said of this case by a person who knew well what the facts were:— No one knows more practically than the Archbishop of Canterbury—and I wish his Grace was now present to confirm this statement—the jobbing, the confusion, the spiritual destitution which rioted in Bath during the mental incapacity of Bishop Law, and the physical incapacity of Bishop Bagot. The Archbishop might be appealed to with confidence, as able to testify both as to the damage sustained by the temporalities of Bath, and as to the neglect of its spiritual interests. Immense evils arose, as Bishop Stanley felt to his cost, through the long incapacity of Bishop Bathurst in the diocese of Norwich, and during the whole of his episcopacy it required all his energies to bring that diocese again into proper order. To show you the labours of the Bishop of London—how impossible it is that commissaries should discharge those duties, and how necessary it is that there should be one living and active superintendence over that great diocese—let me give you some little description of his ordinary duties. I have been reminded of a passage in one of Sydney Smith's letters about the Church, in which it is said that the Bishop of London devotes eight or tea hours a day to the business of his diocese, and gives labour enough to govern the empire. The Bishop has been used to have one day in the week at London House, and in the height of the season, two days on which clergy and laity could consult him. On these days the whole time—from nine o'clock in the morning till five or six o'clock in the afternoon—was occupied in personal interviews and discussions. All these interviews, of such great service in bringing together the Bishop and his clergy and laity, and in making the business of the diocese work smoothly, must be suspended for an indefinite period in the case of an interregnum. And here let me recur to the difficulties and confusion which arose in the diocese of Bath and Wells, because I received this morning a letter from a layman of great experience, a soli- citor living in that diocese, who was personally cognisant of many of the mischiefs which were occasioned there by the interregnum to which I have alluded. He says— The system pursued in this diocese (Bath and Wells) during the interregnum of Bishop Law's infirmities was to leave the affairs of each archdeaconry in the hands of the rural deans, generally speaking young and inexperienced clergymen, and between whom and their brethren in the ministry constant differences were arising. Unseemly disputes about the Church patronage became the subjects of general scandal, and, although the Church of England in the populous city of Bath and the county of Somerset had been for a long series of years most popular, its popularity would, I believe, have been well nigh lost had such a state of things continued. I am speaking from my own personal observation, but I do feel solemnly that the case of this diocese is a frightful example of what such a state of things as now exists in the dioceses of London and Durham may come to. And sure I am that no real friend of the Church can desire to see a repetition in the metropolis of England of that which I, in common with others, have mourned over in the diocese of Bath. So long as there is one head responsible for the conduct of these affairs they may go on well in London; but when all these facilities for jobbing and misappropriation are given, and there is no responsibility and superintendence on the part of the Bishop, I do gather that the very worst consequences will ensue in the case of any interregnum. My noble Friend the Chairman of Committees (Lord Redesdale)—and anything which falls from him cannot fail to be listened to with great attention—says this state of things has gone on for a very considerable time, and he asks why it might not continue for six months longer? Now, it is very well for certain parties in the State to make use of that argument, but I am astounded that it should be urged in the House of Lords, and by a person of the experience of my noble Friend. If this state of things, my Lords, can go on without mischief for six months, it may go on for six—for sixty years—for an indefinite time—in short, until masses of the people are brought to the conviction that the Bishop of London is a name and not a reality. When, too, I find a right rev. Prelate making use of the same argument—when I hear it urged that the Bishop of Oxford is capable of presiding for the time over the diocese of London—will it not be immediately said that there are evidently too many Bishops by half, and that they might be reduced, without public detriment, to a very limited number? I may, perhaps, be more sensitive on this subject than many of your Lordships, but I am conversant with the opinions expressed by many classes of the community on this subject, and I know it is said that Bishops have nothing whatever to do, that their incomes are too large, and that their numbers might well be diminished. The language employed in this House, by which it seems to be inferred that the Bishop of Oxford could preside over the diocese of London, and the Bishop of Manchester over that of Durham, and that no great and irreparable mischiefs would ensue in consequence, is language which could hardly be expected from those who have always been urging the necessity of extending the episcopate. It is curious enough that whenever the number of Bishops is to be increased we hear exaggerated statements of their duties (though I am one of those who think that they have many and great duties to perform), while, now that such a Bill as the present comes before your Lordships. I find that the labours of the Bishops are made light of, and we are told they consist mainly of consecrations and confirmations. ["No, no!"] No! Why, did not the Bishop of Exeter say that the time for confirmations and consecrations was now nearly over, and that little or no business of any serious importance remained for the Bishop, as a proof of which he said that the right rev. Prelate had been in the habit of taking his vacation and of disporting himself in foreign parts about this time of the year. I am certain that the country will interpret such language in the sense I have mentioned, and if they see a continuance of this state of things, and one Bishop doing the duty of another Bishop, they will argue that one-half the number would be sufficient. Having pointed out what the prospects of the diocese of London are likely to be should any interregnum of this kind occur, I have only in conclusion to express the hope that your Lordships will give your earnest consideration to the welfare of the immense population of the two dioceses thus deprived of their Bishops, and will pass this Bill, nothstanding the charge of its being a simoniacal measure.


My Lords, I do not think that my noble Friend has been exceedingly appropriate in his arguments in relation to the matter in hand, because he has in forcible language— which he, indeed, always uses—asserted that the prolongation of the interregnum in any of those sees is a matter of serious inconvenience and considerable objection. That is a point which, though my noble Friend has laboured much to prove, is one which is admitted upon every side; and the only question to be decided by those who are now discussing this Bill is, whether on the whole we shall not incur the greatest prospective evil by adopting a partial and imperfect measure like the present, which is, I believe, more calculated to impede than to forward subsequent legislation, than by the postponement of the introduction of any Bill on the subject until we have time to deal with the general question, which general measure would materially advance the great object which your Lordships have in view. My noble Friend has, I think, very much exaggerated the effect of the language which fell from the right rev. Prelate the other night. I was present on that occasion, and what the right rev. Prelate did say was, that of all times of the year the inconvenience would be least felt at the present, inasmuch as the active duties—those of confirmation and consecration—are over; and during the remaining portion of the year the Bishops have the less laborious duties to discharge. And I must say that it is a perversion of the obvious meaning of the right rev. Prelate's language to assume that either he or any other noble Lord who has taken part in discussing this question, has maintained that, during the remaining portion of the year the life of a Bishop is an idle one, or that the number of Bishops is greater than is sufficient to perform the duties of that office. For my own part, I frankly say I think that the number of the episcopal bench is not sufficient; but that is not the question now before your Lordships. I am happy to find it acknowledged on both sides of the House that the duties of a Bishop are so important, and that there is so little superfluity of episcopal attendance, it becomes a matter of vital importance that provision should be made for the resignation and retirement of those Bishops who are rendered incapable of the discharge of their duties. I am glad to see that it is so admitted; and the question is by what description of legislation we can best attain that object. The only question raised now is whether we shall go into Committee before we have received the communications made by the right rev, Prelates to the Government which have led to this mutual understanding. It was my intention to have adverted—and I had risen for that purpose—to the misrepresentation of the noble and learned Lord Chief Justice of what had been said by the right rev. Prelate opposite; but as the right rev. Prelate has himself vindicated his own expressions I do not think it necessary to return to that question. The obvious intent and meaning of the right rev. Prelate being this—that the object of the Bill is to legalise that which, if this Bill did not pass, would be simoniacal, and making that legal in the case of these two Bishops, which, if this Bill passed, would exempt them from the operation of the law in respect to pains and penalties, and if such an act had been performed by other parties would, by the general law of the Church, be considered an act of simony. The acumen of the noble and learned Lord, and his long professional experience, might enable him to turn and twist the argument as he pleased—and no person is more capable of doing so in support of his particular views—but it is impossible, with all his ability, to torture the observations of the right rev. Prelate into any other meaning than this—that the contemplated arrangements made by the retiring Prelates without the sanction of this Bill might be construed into an act of simony. In making these observations I am bound to say I have no doubt whatever that those retiring Prelates have consented to those arrangements with the best and the purest intentions. I should like to ask my noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) if he feel so strongly the evils and inconveniences arising from the interregnum in the dioceses of London and Durham, why he does not feel with equal force the evils and inconveniences which are sustained in other dioceses—to which I have no hesitation in referring—I mean the archbishopric of York and the diocese of Norwich? He admits the inconveniences of these arrangements, and I agree with him as to the mischief of these toties quoties arrangements; and therefore it is that I now, as I did upon a former occasion, press upon your Lordships the expediency of dealing with the whole question by a general measure and not by a measure admitting the principle of negotiation between the Minister of the day and the individual concerned. That is a principle involved in this question which in my mind is sufficient to outweigh the serious and grave inconveniences which arise from the continued suspension of the functions of these Prelates. The principle is a bad one in itself, and I can see that grave inconveniences may arise from suspicions engendered as to the motives which may lead to the retirement of a Bishop. The particular circumstances of this case enable your Lordships to afford a retirement to these Bishops, and will enable you to carry those arrangements into effect. The consequence would infallibly be, that when there are not such means of providing for such retirement from the superfluities of the incomes attached to the sees, that then it would be necessary to make some farther special arrangements to meet the difficulties of the case. And, therefore, if you rest this case upon the peculiar circumstance that you are enabled to do it without endangering the common fund, you will virtually negative the possibility of doing that which you admit to be desirable to have done by a general law applicable to all sees. Before I sit down I wish to ask the Government whether they will consent that the annual sum of money which will be saved by the effect of these arrangements shall be held in abeyance until a general measure be passed to form the nucleus of a surplus fund which shall be applicable to the general retirement of Bishops. If Her Majesty's Government are prepared to give this assurance—if they say they do intend to bring forward a general measure at the earliest possible period of the next Session of Parliament, and that they will reserve by those arrangements a fund to meet the requirements of a general measure, they will then, to a certain extent, remove the very serious objections which I entertain towards this particular measure. I hope Her Majesty's Government will be able to give a definite declaration to this effect, because it would remove one of the greatest objections of those who oppose this measure, namely, that you are by this Bill depriving yourselves of the means of effecting a general measure of retirement hereafter. With regard to the question of your Lordships' going into Committee, I am unwilling to throw any obstacles in the way of Her Majesty's Government at this advanced period of the Session; but I think, before this measure is finally carried through this House, it is important that we should be officially and formally in pos- session of the previous understanding which has existed, and of the previous correspondence which has existed on this subject. I trust my noble Friend and the right rev. Prelate will not, under such circumstances persist in their opposition to this Bill going into Committee, and that they will permit the Government to make such Amendments in the Bill as they may think necessary, and that Her Majesty's Government will then afford time and opportunity to your Lordships for the consideration of the effects of the measure, both upon the bringing up of the Report and upon the third reading. I have just ventured to throw out these suggestions because I really do not wish in any way to retard the progress of public business.


wished to explain that he had not intended to represent those who opposed the present Bill, as thinking that a Bishop led a life of idleness. What he intended to say was that, if noble Lords voted for a prolongation of the present state of things in the sees of London and Durham, people out of doors might draw that inference.


said, it appeared that both sides seemed to agree in theory, but what they wanted to do was to go beyond theory to practice. The argument of his noble Friend opposite was, that if they postponed this Bill, there would be a better chance of passing a general measure in a future Session. That might be the case, but with regard to any surplus that might accrue under the proposed arrangement, the only pledge the Government could give was, that it should not be appropriated to any purpose without the sanction and authority of Parliament.

Motion agreed to.

House in Committee, accordingly.

Clause 1,


proposed, as an Amendment, that the pensions under the Bill should not come into operation until the Archbishops had accepted the resignation of the Prelates.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3,


said, that he had intended to move, that the retiring allowance to the Bishop of Durham should be £6,000 a year, the same as that proposed for the Bishop of London; but, as his right rev. Friend had expressed a wish that such a proposition should not be made to their Lordships, he should aban- don his intention of bringing the subject forward.


felt strongly that £6,000 a year was too large an amount for Parliament to grant to a retiring Christian Bishop. The attention of the public at large had been very much directed of late to our Church Establishment, and a great deal of jealousy existed in the minds of a considerable portion of the community with regard to it. Much of that jealousy had, in his opinion, no foundation in reason; and, upon that account, he was the more desirous that Parliament should not pass any measure which would occasion a just cause of complaint, such as he thought would be created if so large a salary as £6,000 a year were to be granted to a retiring Bishop—a sum larger than the full salary enjoyed by many of the right rev. Prelates who were able to perform the duties of their high office. His main ground of objection to the measure, however, was, that it was not of a general character, for he feared that by now sanctioning so large a retiring allowance as £6,000 a year, their Lordships would create an inconvenient precedent which might greatly hamper them in years to come. He was not prepared with a distinct proposition on the subject, but he thought that one-third of the future salary of £10,000 a year would be an ample allowance for the retiring Bishop of London. In making these observations, he desired to add, that he felt the utmost respect and veneration for the right rev. Prelate, to whom this retiring pension was proposed to be given.


said, that he entirely concurred with the noble Earl, in thinking that the retiring allowance in question was not only beyond bounds, but under the circumstances enormous. Independent of the allowance of £6,000 a year, the Bishop of London was to have the palace at Fulham for life; while the Bishop of Durham was to have only £4,500 a year witdout a residence. The apportionment of the allowances was by no means equal. Considering that the income of the future Bishops of London was to be limited to £10,000 a year, and also that the incomes of the other working Bishops had of late years been materially curtailed through the means of the Ecclesiastical Commission, he conceived that a retiring pension of about £3,000 a year would be amply sufficient for the present Bishop of London. It was not right, in his opinion, to make this retiring pension greater in amount by £1,000 or £1,500 a year than the income allotted to many of the working Bishops. He thoroughly and entirely disliked the present Bill, and regarded it as one of the most mischievous measures ever introduced under a plausible pretext. He looked upon it as the more dangerous, because the case was a strong one, though it was not stronger than were the cases at the present moment of the Archbishopric of York and the Bishopric of Norwich. He was at a loss to understand what material evil could have resulted from the Bill being postponed until an early period in next Session. He wished not to be understood as entertaining the slightest disrespect towards the right rev. Prelate, on whose retiring pension he had commented, as he felt for him the utmost veneration. A more essentially useful and thoroughly worthy Prelate never adorned the episcopal bench, and it was matter of deep regret, in reference to the best interests of the Church, that, by the dispensation of Providence, he should be placed in a position which obliged him to relinquish his see.


observed, that a special justification for the amount of the proposed retiring allowance existed in the fact of the splendid and munificent acts of charity for which the Bishop of London was distinguished.


also adverted to the Bishop of London's munificent charity, which, he was understood to say, occasioned to that right rev. Prelate the expenditure of about £15,000 a year; and of the proposed retiring allowance of £6,000 a year, there was no doubt that a large proportion would go in charity.

Clause agreed to.


gave notice that he should, at a future stage, move the introduction of a clause to the effect, that the sums received from time to time by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from the revenues of the sees of London and Durham should be carried to a separate account, until Parliament had decided whether any provision should be made for the retirement from their offices of Bishops unable, through age or infirmity, to discharge their duties.

Report of Amendment to be received To-morrow.

House adjourned till To-morrow.