§ Amendments reported (according to Order).
§ LORD RAVENSWORTH
* My Lords, this Bill, to amend the Acts relating to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, has been sent down to your Lordships by the Select Committee, to whom it was referred, greatly altered and improved. Among several other alterations, three clauses—the 19th, 20th, and 21st—will be found making such provisions in regard to local claims as I am confident will be thought highly satisfactory by the public at large. To myself these provisions are especially satisfactory, embodying as they do a principle for which I have long contended, to carry out which principle I had given notice of a clause which has been placed for some time upon your Lordships' Minutes, but which it is now unnecessary for me to bring forward, since I find the principle of it not only conceded, but recommended to Parliament upon the authority of a Select Committee nominated by your Lordships' House. But there is another subject con- 976 nected with the powers given by statute to the Ecclesiastical Commission upon which the Select Committee's amended Bill is silent. I presume the question of redistribution of episcopal patronage was not brought before the Select Committee. This omission, my Lords, I must endeavour to supply, and with that object I now rise to move the clause of which I have given notice, namely:—That no appointment or exchange of ecclesiastical patronage shall be carried into effect without the consent in writing of the Bishop of the diocese within which such patronage shall be situate.My Lords, the powers to effect such appointment and redistribution of patronage are assumed to be given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by the Act 6 & 7 of Will. IV., c. 77. I conceive, my Lords, that the powers so claimed are greater than we may fairly presume to have been the intention of the framers of this Act. The words of the Act are these:—That such alterations may be made in the apportionment or exchange of ecclesiastical patronage as shall be consistent with the relative magnitude and importance of the respective sees when newly arranged, and shall afford an adequate amount of patronage to the Bishops of the new sees.Now, my Lords, I do not mean to say that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners may not be borne out by the strict letter of the law in any act of spoliation which they may devise or imagine; but I do mean to say that, looking to the period at which this Act was passed, I may reasonably entertain doubts as to whether such an amount of absolute power is consistent with the spirit of the Act or the intentions of its framers. What had taken place shortly previous to the date of this Act? A most important change had been made in the position of the Established Church. The great inequalities of episcopal revenues, the large amount of Church property vested in deans and chapters, and the urgent and rapidly increasing spiritual destitution of the more populous districts of the kingdom had begun to awaken general attention, and greatly disturbed the public mind. Consequently, Sir Robert Peel, during his short tenure of office in 1834, took the bold step of appointing the body still termed the Ecclesiastical Commission, with the view of effecting these reforms in the Church establishment which were loudly called for, and which had, in fact, become absolutely necessary. The groundwork of great changes was speedily laid. Episcopal incomes were gradually 977 equalized; the number of canonries was largely though prospectively diminished, and their incomes equalized; and two new bishoprics were created in the Archiepiscopal province of York—namely, those of Ripon and Manchester, in order to promote a more efficient superintendence over the clergy of those populous districts. Of course when the statutes were framed to regulate the proceedings, and extend the powers of the Ecclesiastical Commission, whose duty it was to provide for this new order of things, it was necessary that very large and undefined powers should be conferred. Naturally, when it was in contemplation to form two new dioceses, by a subdivision of the existing dioceses, the question of patronage was sure to present itself, and prospective arrangements of exchange and redistribution had to be considered. Therefore, the wording of the statute was such as to give a very wide scope to such arrangements; but, nevertheless, I do believe that if at that time such a contingency had been referred to as that which has now arrived, if the possibility of the violent and arbitrary abstraction of one-half of the preferments of one diocese in order to enrich the endowment of a new and distant see had been suggested, I do believe that the Legislature of that day would either have scouted as improbable such a suggestion, or that it would willingly have imposed some limitation or restriction to such a proceeding. These feelings, my Lords, are not confined to myself. What says Bishop Maltby, that venerable Prelate who so long regulated the diocese of Durham, which he benefited by his example, and adorned by his abilities, in his famous letter to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, dated June 21, 1851, to which I shall again have occasion to refer:—Honestly entertaining these opinions," says Bishop Maltby, "and believing that the course entered upon by the acting portion of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is not only unwarranted by law, in the extreme lengths to which they are proceeding, but likely to be very injurious in its effects.This is as strong a testimony as can be given in confirmation of the opinions I have just expressed.
My Lords, it is now time to ask what are the schemes propounded by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the severance of the patronage of the see of Durham. Two distinct schemes have been propounded as follows:—In the first instance I find that 978 the question of episcopal patronage was referred by the Committee selected from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to a subcommittee composed of laymen, who, after due consideration, produced, in 1850, a Report, containing, with regard to the diocese of Durham, a recommendation to this effect— namely, that five livings, of the annual value of £2,600, should be extracted from the patronage of Durham, four of which were to be transferred to the Archbishop of York, and one, situate in Lincoln, to the Bishop of Carlisle. Nor did this sub-committee neglect the directions of the Act to afford an adequate amount of patronage to the new Bishops of Ripon and Manchester. They pointed to unexceptionable quarters for the supply. Observing that the Bishop of Lincoln had in his gift one hundred and seven livings, twenty-eight of which were lying out of his diocese, they recommended ten to be given to Manchester and ten to Ripon. Two livings in the preferment of the Archbishop of Canterbury, nine in that of the Bishop of Chester, and one of Norwich, all situated in Manchester, were assigned to the Bishop of that diocese. In addition to the preferments obtained from Lincoln, Ripon was to receive three benefices from the Archbishop of York, and five from the Bishop of Chester, because they were situated in the diocese of Ripon. And the result of this modification of patronage was to assign sixty-four livings to the see of Manchester, and sixty-eight to that of Ripon. Such, my Lords, was the plan proposed by the lay subcommittee in 1850, to whom was entrusted this delicate duty of a new apportionment of episcopal patronage. To this plan I have not heard any material objections. Why it should not have been carried out I am unable to explain; but I have now to contrast with this a second and widely different plan which is still under the consideration of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. My Lords, the monstrous proposition is now deliberately entertained to despoil the see of Durham of no less than twenty-three livings of the annual value of £16,000, all within the diocese, to be transferred by the arbitrary will and pleasure of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, under the sanction of an Order in Council, to other sees. Against such a scheme as this, my Lords, I do here protest in the strongest terms that can be made use of. Now, my Lords, before I proceed to urge the various objections which I entertain to 979 this proposition, on general grounds, both constitutional and ecclesiastical, not less than on grounds specially referring to the peculiar condition of the diocese of Durham, I know that I may be met, in limine, with this objection. This kingdom is divided ecclesiastically into two Provinces, those of Canterbury and York. It may be said, and it is said, that the question of episcopal patronage in the Province of Canterbury is already settled, and therefore full powers must be granted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to effect a similar settlement for the Province of York. If such an objection be urged against the clause which I am about to propose, I ask in my turn—Why has one Province been dealt with separately? Why have you, the Commissioners, taken a step to restrict yourselves in any future arrangements touching the patronage of two newly-created sees both within the Province of York, by pre-arrangement of the whole episcopal patronage of the southern Province? I don't object, I can't object, to the terms of that arrangement. I presume they have been just and well-considered, simply because no complaints have been made, that I have heard of, from any quarter. Such, my Lords, would not have been the case if any violent and arbitrary act of spoliation of the patronage of one diocese for the endowment of another had been recommended. If half the patronage of Winchester had been transferred to the see of London, or a third of the patronage of Lincoln to the see of Peterborough, the whole amount so transferred lying within the limits of each respective diocese so despoiled, do you suppose that some outcry would not have been raised by the injured parties? That these arrangements have been effected quietly, without remonstrance or complaint, is to me sufficient evidence that they were made in a just and considerate manner. Would that a similar course may be pursued in the northern Province with reference to that diocese whose interests I am bound to regard and to protect in the Legislature. Why have the Ecclesiastical Commissioners departed from the scheme originally recommended by their own sub-committee. Such departure is greatly to be lamented. Had this scheme been adhered to, were it even now adopted, I have little doubt the settlement of the northern Province of York would be effected at once, and this difficult and delicate question of the re-distribution of episcopal patronage settled once and for ever.
980 Dis aliter visum. In spite of the most urgent remonstrances of the venerable Bishop Maltby, we are still threatened with the spoliation of one-half of the patronage of the diocese of Durham. The Commissioners think proper to institute certain comparisons between the relative importance of this and that see. And because they find in Manchester and Ripon a larger amount of population than they find in Durham, together with a smaller amount of episcopal patronage connected with these recently-formed bishoprics, they jump at once to the conclusion that they must rob Peter to pay Paul, and they coolly propose to transfer from the ancient and important bishopric of Durham one-half of the ecclesiastical patronage of its Bishop.
And what do I ask, my Lords, when I entreat you to give me your support in the clause which I propose? I propose not to alter the existing law, nor to deprive the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of any powers which they ought in reason to possess, in order to enable them to complete difficult and delicate arrangements. I ask only in a spirit of the utmost moderation that the consent of the Bishop shall be requisite in every case where a new distribution of patronage is contemplated. If the said distribution be conducted upon just and equitable terms, for the general benefits of the Church, and with due consideration for the existing order of things in the diocese which now owns the patronage about to be dealt with, there is little fear of obtaining such consent. In fact, that consent has already been given to the scheme before alluded to—the scheme of the lay sub-committee of the Ecclesiastical Commission. If other than a just and equitable arrangement be proposed—if a see is to be despoiled and a diocese degraded, the consent of the Bishop will not and ought not to be given, and an act of spoliation will not be suffered to take place.
And now, my Lords, I will address myself to the objections to the scheme itself, the announcement of which has provoked so much opposition. This question, my Lords, is untruly represented to be a mere question concerning the diocese of Durham. There are, indeed, many grave and special reasons to be alleged in defence of the rights of this ancient see. To these I shall come presently—but in the first instance I shall adduce general objections of a constitutional nature, and likewise objections having reference to acknowledged principles of ecclesiastical polity. The constitu- 981 tion of this country, my Lords, is believed to be a security for the continued possession of long-vested rights, whether held by charter, by title deeds, or by prescription. Of course I admit that rights conferred by law may be abrogated by law. Private rights are constantly made to yield before a public necessity. But the case of public necessity must be clearly established before you will consent to take away the rights of the humblest individual, and even then a due compensation is never refused. I believe this position will not be contested by any jurisconsult, or by any constitutional statesman—certainly by none of my noble Friends on this side of your Lordships' House. My Lords, I deny that any case of necessity has been made out to justify so violent and arbitrary a measure as the alienation of twenty-three livings from the patronage of the see of Durham. True, the noble Earl (the Earl of Chichester), the representative of the Ecclesiastical Commission in this House, may urge the deficiency of patronage in the new and important dioceses of Manchester and Ripon. The see of Manchester has been taken off from the extensive diocese of Chester, and that of Ripon from the see of York. What has become of the patronage formerly belonging to these two ancient sees, which is now situate within the limits of the newly constituted bishoprics? The whole of such patronage, according to just principles, ought to undergo the process of re-distribution, and be vested in the new Bishops. Is such the case? I gather from the shake of the head of the noble Earl that it is not? Why is it not? I ask. Why, with all this patronage (be the amount small or great), situate within the limits of the new sees, but still vested in the prelates who formerly administered the ecclesiastical government of these districts —why, I ask, do you fly northwards to the diocese of Durham, still remaining in its integrity, and with spiritual wants daily becoming more notorious and more lamentable, and propose to despoil that diocese of half its patronage? Besides, is there no other source to look to than these already named? I am assured, my Lords, that the Crown possesses the patronage of not fewer than 800 livings, of which the greatest portion is at the disposal of the Lord Chancellor—that within this very diocese of Manchester the Lord Chancellor has eighteen livings, and ten in the diocese of Ripon. The transference of these twenty-eight livings to the respective sees would 982 make no perceptible diminution in the enormous patronage vested in the Lord Chancellor. I dare say that patronage may have been exercised with care and judgment; but, after all, Lord Chancellors are political entities, somewhat ephemeral in their duration, since I can count no fewer than five ex-Chancellors upon the benches of your Lordships' House, who, with my noble and learned friend on the woolsack, make up a round half dozen of such exalted dignitaries. I doubt not that in their exercise of Church patronage these noble functionaries have all been as conscientious as they are noble and learned; but still I cannot believe that the interests of the Church would suffer by the transference of a fractional amount of this extensive patronage to the newly-created prelates, the Bishops of Manchester and Ripon. I may, perhaps, be considered somewhat over bold in thus dealing with the rights of the Crown. A former monarch of this country is reported to have styled the Church patronage of the Crown "the golden link which connected the Crown and the Church." My Lords, a much more solid and substantial link between the Crown and the Church consists in the power of appointing Bishops to their respective sees; and whatever may be the fancied value of these livings, which are now under consideration, so long as the Crown, acting under the direction of those ministers who are the responsible advisers of the Crown, shall appoint proper and fit men to the high post of Bishops of the Established Church, there is little ground for apprehension if certain of the Crown livings should be transferred to the patronage of those Bishops selected by the Crown as the channel through which a portion of this inferior patronage should flow. Her present Most Gracious Majesty has too often evinced her desire to act in every respect for the good of her people, to lead me to doubt her readiness to accede to any arrangements which shall add to the requisite influence of her Bishops among the clergy of their respective sees, even at the sacrifice of a small amount of patronage heretofore vested in the Crown.
My Lords, I have alluded to the admitted and recognized principle of ecclesiastical polity, which would be violated by this threatened act of spoliation. That principle is, that each Bishop should retain the patronage of livings within the limits of his own see. More than that, in my opinion, he should be put into possession of 983 such patronage, even if vested in another quarter. In 1846, a circular letter was directed by the "Select Committee on the Appointment or Exchange of Episcopal Patronage," to be addressed to the several Archbishops and Bishops. I hold in my hand a printed paper, containing extracts from the answers of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, the Bishop of Lincoln, the Bishop of Oxford, the late Bishop of Ripon, and the Bishop of Salisbury, who are all unanimous upon this point. I will content myself with quoting the words of this last prelate, as embodying the principle contended for—It is very desirable," says the Bishop of Salisbury, "that Episcopal Patronage should, as far as possible, be placed in the hands of the Bishop of the Diocese within which the patronage itself is situated, as bringing the Patron into nearer connection with the parishes, strengthening the action of public opinion in the exercise of Episcopal patronage, and making the administration of that patronage more agreeable both to Bishop and Clergy.Can anything, my Lords, be more true, more just, or more reasonable than this language, and can you resist the inference to be drawn from it—the inference which I wish you to draw from it; and will you not join me in your opposition, upon principle, to this meditated abstraction and diversion to other quarters of half the patronage of the see of Durham. And again, my Lords, following up this train of argument, will you permit me to recall to your recollection the fact of those unhappy differences of opinion which notoriously exist in our Church. Without accurately defining these differences, we know what is popularly meant by the terms "High and Low Church." My Lords, you will remark that although it is proposed to divest a Bishop of his patronage, the episcopal jurisdiction of that Bishop will remain unaltered. His cares and responsibilities, so far from being diminished, will be materially augmented by the intrusion of foreign influence within the limits of his diocese. He must exercise due and proper control over the conduct of his own clergy, and yet you propose to delegate to another the selection of these ministers of the Gospel. You will deprive one Bishop of the power to reward the exertions and abilities of his own working clergy, and you give power to another Bishop to appoint these ministers, whose doctrines and practices may be at variance with those of their own diocesan. Can 984 any step be more unfortunate? Can any measure be more likely to create discord and confusion in quarters where all should act in harmony and concord together?
Having thus, my Lord, glanced at the constitutional and ecclesiastical objections to this unhappy scheme, I will now proceed to set forth the special reasons why the diocese of Durham should not be thus plundered.
1.— The Rapid Increase of Population. According to the census of 1851, the increase of population in the county of Durham is most remarkable, being relatively greater than in any other county of England. The decennial rate of increase per cent in the population of Great Britain was 12.5, whereas in the county of Durham it was 27 per cent, being more than double the rate of increase in Great Britain; and in the county of Northumberland, the rate of increase was 14 per cent, or 1.5 per cent above the average of Great Britain. And the rate of increase since 1851, in the county of Durham, is estimated to be even considerably higher than in the ten preceding years, from the great development of the coal and iron fields, and the impetus thereby given to the formation and extension of manufacture and commerce.
2.—The wealth which the diocese has supplied and continues to supply to the purposes of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners merits their gratitude and consideration.
And it is notorious that in the present and subsequent years the Commissioners will receive a very considerable increase to their Income from property in the Diocese.
1837–1855. £. s. d. Receipts from the Diocese, Income Tax deducted 335,309 8 8 Expenditure in the Diocese, Income Tax deducted 72,196 9 1 Receipts over Expenditure, Income Tax deducted £263,112 19 7
3. The antiquity and high rank of the see. Mr. Lefevre thought that some special allowance should be made in favour of Durham on this ground. Though Durham is second in rank after the archiepiscopal sees, it will be reduced to one of the lowest in point of patronage by the alienation of one-half of its livings as to annual value. The late Bishop of Lincoln, one of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, recommended the cases of Lincoln, Durham, and Winchester for consideration, separately from the rest.
985 4. That all the patronage of Durham is situate within the Diocese, except the living of Newton Welds (£470, Lincoln:) the late Bishop having ceded the livings of Craike, Osmotherly, Birkby, and Leake, of the annual value of £1,000 and upwards to the see of Ripon.
5. That the University of Durham, being utterly destitute of that patronage which is possessed by the older universities for the rewarding of their deserving members must at an early period present occasions in continual succession for the fitting exercise of the diocesan's patronage.
6. That a disunion of the Diocese of Durham has been discussed; and, should it eventually take place, a further division of the patronage could not be reasonbly made; and, consequently, any new diocese formed out of the present diocese of Durham would be destitute of patronage.
7. That even among the Commissioners themselves, a difference of opinion existed in respect to the quantity of patronage proposed to be alienated in 1851.
8. Many objections to the scheme, founded on the extent and income of several livings—the description and number of their population are of weight and deserving of serious considerations.
What livings, if any, are to be taken away? The smaller or the greater—the more or less populous—the mining and manufacturing, or the agricultural—the rich or the poor? These are grave questions for the consideration not alone of the clergy, but of the diocese generally.
And lastly. A scheme is not for "the good of the Church," which by its spoliating and degrading character would embitter the minds of the clergy and laity, already rankling under a sense of injustice by the dissipation of Durham property throughout England, without a special recognition of its own local wants. This enumeration, my Lords, of the special reasons for guarding the diocese of Durham against this meditated abstraction of its episcopal patronage, though briefly and succinctly drawn up, will be sufficient to prove the case which I endeavour to establish; but before concluding these remarks I must refer with a little more detail of facts to the first head of the series— namely, the rapid increase of population, and that the true cause of this increase may be made apparent, I shall content myself with stating the single case of the district in the neighbourhood of a place called Shotley Bridge, distant some twelve 986 or fifteen miles from Newcastle, to the west. I make this selection because it is a striking example of similar facts which may be adduced from every part of the great mining dictrict comprised within the see. I hold in my hand a letter of very recent date from a gentleman of the highest respectability, a magistrate and landed proprietor, who has resided for many years near the town of Shotley. My correspondent writes as follows:—The Bishop of Exeter very truly represented the peculiar claims of this Diocese on the funds arising from the property of the Church therein by the sudden introduction of a very large number of miners and other adventurers. Large villages rise up in rapid succession, and are densely crowded by people congregated from all parts of the country, without any feelings in common, out generally the last thing to be thought of is a prevision for their religious instruction. A deplorable instance exists in this neighbouhood. About some sixteen or seventeen years ago, a party commenced to work the minerals, under a lease in the Bishop of Durham, as the Lord of the Manor of Lancaster, which in this short period has grown into the enormous works of the Derwent Iron Company. Formerly this district was occupied by a few farmers; it now possesses a population of upwards of 20,000; and as those people are brought there for the purpose of working and manufacturing the minerals belonging to the see, it might naturally be expected that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would make provision for their religious and moral instruction. This unfortunately is not the case. Bishop Maltby had his attention drawn to the subject, and by the assistance of some other parties the new district of Benfieldside was formed and in the year 1850–51 a new church was erected. But as all the principal landowners were Dissenters, a small amount of assistance was obtained from them, and the requisite funds were obtained with difficulty, and mostly from private sources, the Bishop himself contributing liberally, together with such aid as could be obtained from the different societies; but no assistance was given by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners towards the erection of this church, costing about £3,000 in a district containing a population of 12,000, and entitled to very strong claims upon their favourable consideration. It is true that they granted £150 a year to the incumbent, but part of this stipend he has been obliged to mortgage in order to complete his house. By assistance from other quarters, he has been enabled to pay a curate; but in consequence of the lamentable failure of the District Bank, that assistance has been withdrawn, and the Incumbent has again the whole work thrown upon himself, and it is much to be feared that ere long he will be obliged to relinquish this arduous duty, since neither his health nor his means are adequate to the charge.I need not pursue this painful subject, nor state further details of what has been attempted, or what has been accomplished, or what left undone in this populous district. I have been particular in making the foregoing statement, because by this 987 example the peculiar wants of a multitude of similarly situated parishes may be understood and appreciated. It may be asked what is the bearing of such cases upon the question of episcopal patronage? The answer to this question will bring these remarks to a conclusion.
My Lords, what is the only conceivable remedy for evils such as these in parishes thus situated? Manifestly, the only means of providing religious instruction and pastoral superintendence for these neglected portions of our labouring population is by the subdivision of such parishes into smaller districts with a corresponding increase of the staff of working clergy. But such men who may be appointed to the fulfilment of these arduous duties upon a stipend not exceeding in many cases that which a luxurious and wealthy man allows to his upper servants, have to maintain the decent appearance and character of a clergyman of the Church of England, have to set the example of propriety of demeanour, and in numberless ways are expected to contribute something towards the mitigation of distress and disease, and the relief of destitution. It is unjust and improper that a faithful servant of Christ thus acting during the period of health, and strength, and youth, should be supported by the hope that such exertions should at some future period be rewarded by his diocesan, and that with an increased family, perhaps, but with failing strength to provide for them, he should look with confidence to promotion in his holy calling? The chance of that promotion will be diminished by one-half if the patronage belonging to the Bishop be reduced to the extent proposed. Therefore my Lords, I conjure you to grant the small amount of security which would be given by the adoption of the clause which I now beg leave to propose.
The noble Lord concluded by moving an Amendment.That no appointment or exchange of Ecclesiastical patronage under the provision contained in the Act of 6 & 7 Will. IV. c. 77, shall be carried into effect without the consent in writing of the Bishop of the diocese within which such ecclesiastical patronage so proposed to be appointed or exchanged shall be situate.
§ THE EARL OF CHICHESTER
said, that as representing the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he would endeavour to explain to their Lordships what in his opinion was the state of the law on the subject. The Act 6 and 7 Will. 1V., which created two new sees, also altered the 988 boundaries of every diocese in the kingdom. Some were increased and others decreased; but it appeared to Parliament that it was absolutely necessary, as a consequence of the re-arrangement of the sees, that the patronage should also be rearranged. He believed that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners had made the best arrangements which circumstances has allowed, and that in doing so they had acted not only in conformity to the provisions of the Act, but with a view to what they believed to be for the benefit of the spiritual welfare of the people.
THE BISHOP OF DURHAM
said, as he was in some sort a party concerned, and as the matter had already been gone into at so much length by his noble Friend, he did not intend to go into the question; but he wished to remind their Lordships of the extreme inconvenience that would arise if patronage in one see were transferred to the Bishop of another; and he was the more anxious to call attention to this circumstance in the hope that their Lordships would endeavour to devise some remedy for this serious evil. It must be obvious to every one that such an arrangement would seriously interfere with the due discharge of the discipline of the diocese; and besides, if such a large abstraction of the patronage of livings took place as was proposed from the see of Durham, and they were given to the dioceses of Ripon and Manchester, how would matters stand if that were carried out which had often been contemplated—the separation of Durham into two dioceses of Durham and Northumberland? In that case the patronage of Durham would be considerably below that of Ripon. All he pleaded for was, that further consideration should be given to the subject: that, if possible, the inconvenience of investing a Bishop with patronage in a diocese that was not his own might be avoided.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
reminded their Lordships that this was no arbitrary decision of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but that they were acting under the provisions of an Act of Parliament, passed so long ago as 1836, which empowered the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to recommend schemes for giving to each Bishop an amount of patronage that should be, as near as possible, commensurate with the magnitude and importance of his diocese; which scheme, when so drawn out, was to be sanctioned by an Order in Council. So far as the province of Canterbury was con- 989 cerned this scheme had been sanctioned and carried out long ago; and why the Act should have been allowed to remain so long a dead letter in the province of York it was impossible for him to say. One thing had been obtained, however by the long delay—that none of the Bishops in the province could offer any objection to its operation, as they had all been appointed to their sees subsequent to the passing of the Act, and therefore subject to its provisions. He would not argue in defence of any particular scheme or plan; he would only say that the Commissioners in proposing a scheme at all, were acting under the provisions of an Act passed twenty-two years ago, and passed on good and satisfactory reasons. He certainly concurred in the general principle that it was not desirable, if it could be avoided, to give a Bishop of one diocese patronage in another—that if it could be done, a Bishop's patronage should be confined within his own see. But as comparisons had been drawn between the see of Durham and the sees of Ripon and Manchester, and as much had been said about the growing population of Durham, he would read to their Lordships a paper which he held in his hand, and which would show the relative population and the importance of each. The see of Durham contained a population of 700,000 inhabitants; the see of Ripon a population of 1,033,000; and the see of Manchester a population of 1,400,000 so that their Lordships would see the diocese of Manchester possessed nearly double the population of Durham. Then as to benefices, there were in Durham 247 benefices; in Ripon 373 benefices; and in Manchester 315 benefices; so that in point of benefices, both these dioceses were far a head of the diocese of Durham. But with regard to patronage the position of the sees was very different. The see of Durham possessed the patronage of seventy livings, the aggregate value of which amounted to £39,140; the see of Ripon possessed forty-seven livings, the aggregate value of which was £10,000; and the see of Manchester thirty-six, the aggregate value of which was £9,000 only. It was clear, therefore, that if the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were to carry out the provisions of the Act of 1836 they must abstract somewhat from the patronage of Durham in order to make up for the inadequate patronage assigned to Manchester. He might add that the patronage of Man- 990 chester was almost valueless, consisting for the most part of newly-created parochial districts, with endowments of from £100 to £150 a year, and containing populations of from 2,000 to 6,000 persons. If his noble Friend (Lord Ravensworth) therefore intended to carry out his proposition, he must begin by repealing the Act of 1836, and then introduce the clause which he had brought before the House. But his noble Friend must see that to say a Bishop shall not be deprived of his patronage unless he gave his consent in writing was as much as to say he shall not be deprived of it at all. If the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were to be bound to make no change except with the consent of the individual Bishops, the powers intrusted to them would be almost valueless. And after all, who were these Commissioners? Why, the great body of the Bishops themselves, and by those Bishops all those arrangements were sanctioned. If they, for the sake of convenience, chose to entrust those particular duties to a body of three laymen, it only showed the confidence which those Bishops entertained in their discretion and judgment. He could not assent to the proposition of his noble Friend, as it would defeat the powers of the Commission. But their Lordships must remember that the Commission had only power to frame a scheme; but it could not be carried into effect without an Order in Council. Now, if his noble Friend would be satisfied with this—though he did not think it would make the slightest difference —that no disturbance should take place in the patronage of any Bishop without giving a month's notice, so that the aggrieved Bishop might have an opportunity of carrying his case before the Ecclesiastical Commission, and if he did not give satisfaction he might then appeal to the Queen in Council, without whose santion no new arrangement could be made, he (the Earl of Derby) would agree to that course; but he could not consent to give any one Bishop an absolute hold over the proceedings of the Commissioners, which would completely subvert the operation of the Act.
§ EARL GREY
regretted that no arrangement could be made by which the patronage of each Bishop should be comprised within his own diocese, because he could easily sec that great inconvenience would arise from the patronage of a parish being 991 in the hands of a Bishop of another see, and who had no acquaintance with the wants and the habits of the people.
§ After some remarks from Earl POWIS and the Duke of MARLBOROUGH,
§ On Question, Whether the said clause shall be inserted? their Lordships divided: Contents 12; Not-contents 38: Majority 26.
|Amherst, E.||De Vesci, V.|
|Doncaster, E. (D. of Buccleuch & Queensberry.)||Dungannon, V.|
|Powis, E.||Ravensworth, L.|
|Vane, E.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.) [Teller.]|
|Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Sydney, V.|
|Marlborough, D.||Bangor, Bp.|
|Bath and Well, Bp.|
|Bath, M. [Teller.]||Derry and Raphoe, Bp.|
|Exeter, M.||Lichfield, Bp.|
|Salisbury, M.||London, Bp.|
|Carnarvon, E.||Oxford, Bp.|
|Derby, E.||Ashburton, L.|
|Granville, E.||Belper, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Churchill, L.|
|Harrington, E.||Colchester, L.|
|Sandwich, E.||Cranworth, L.|
|Stanhope, E.||Crewe, L.|
|Clancarty, V. (E. Clancarty.)||Redesdale, L.|
|Eversley, V.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Hardinge, V.||Talbot de Malahide, L.|
|Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore) [Teller.]||Walsingham, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative.
§ THE BISHOP OF OXFORD moved the addition of a clause for the endowment of the chancellorships of the different dioceses out of the common fund of the Ecclesiastical Commission.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
thought the subject required more consideration, especially by the House of Commons, before their Lordships decided upon adopting the step proposed by the right rev. Prelate. He would recommend, as the more convenient course, that the right rev. Prelate should be satisfied for the present with having raised the question, and allow it to rest with the other House of Parliament; and, if that House introduced such a clause into the Bill, he was certain their Lordships would readily give it their sanction. Whatever their Lordships now did in reference to the matter must necessarily be imperfect, though he granted that it was impor- 992 tant and necessary, in some way or other, for Parliament to make provision for the Chancellors.
§ LORD CRANWORTH
said, that for the fees which the Chancellors used to be paid in regard to wills, the present holders of the office were compensated, under the Probate Act, out of the Consolidated Fund.
§ THE EARL OF POWIS
hoped their Lordships would not shrink from giving an opinion as to whether or not the Bishops should be left altogether without the assistance of these important ecclesiastical functionaries.
THE BISHOP OF LONDON
hoped that the award of salaries to the Chancellors would be accompanied with a remission of fees now paid by the poorer clergymen.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, that if the right rev. Prelate were disposed to insert this clause, it would be necessary at the same time to state what amount of salary he proposed to give, the number of the Chancellors, and the duties they had to perform. With this view, he suggested to the right rev. Prelate to withdraw the clause for the present, in order that this information might be obtained.
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD
assented to this proposition, and proposed to bring forward clauses with the object he had in view on the third reading of the Bill.
§ Further Amendments made.
§ Bill to be read 3a on Friday next.