HL Deb 07 May 1858 vol 150 cc247-9

rose to call attention to the present Condition of the English Church in Paris; and to ask Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any Communications have recently been made to him on the subject, and if Her Majesty's Government contemplate adopting any course with respect to the same? The noble Lord said that the state of the English Church at Paris was such, that any one who had the interests of the Church at heart could not but feel deeply concerned about it. The English chapel in the Rue d'Aguesseau had been erected under the auspices of Bishop Luscombe, but he died before his intentions could be fully carried out. There were not less than 8,000 English residents in Paris, and during the summer months of the year this number was greatly increased; and it was most desirable that church accommodation should be provided for this large number of persons. The chapel in the Rue d'Aguesseau had been bought by the Government upon the recommendation of the British Ambassador, with the sanction of the then Secretary for Foreign Affairs; but, in consequence of the other House of Parliament having refused to sanction it, it had been put up for sale again, and he understood that some parties were in treaty for it at the present time for the purpose of converting it into a bazaar. He thought it was due to the honour of England and the cause of her religion that this should be prevented. He wished to know whether the present Government would be disposed to lend any aid towards the purchase? He understood that the suggestion was, that the chapel should be purchased, and that the appointment of the minister should be placed in the hands of the Bishop of London, as the head of the metropolitan diocese, and the Bishops of Ely and Oxford, as being the Bishops of the dioceses in which the Universities are situated. He trusted that he should receive a satisfactory statement from the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) as to the intentions of the Government upon the subject.


My Lords, I need not say that this subject has occupied the Foreign Office now for some years; and, I am sorry to add, that at this moment, although I have had some hope of bringing this matter to a successful issue, I should be entirely deceiving this House and my countrymen residing in Paris if I were to induce them to think that the House of Commons is likely to change its mind respecting the grant of money that is required for the purchase of this chapel. My Lords, I believe that the only course left to us is that which we have now taken; and, I have the honour and pleasure to add, that with the concurrence of the right rev. Prelate behind me (the Bishop of London), and we hope that with the efforts of Lord Cowley and the English residents at Paris, aided by those of the right rev. Prelate and others in this country, we shall be able to procure as large a sum of money as will enable me to place this chapel under the provisions of the Consular Act. It must be recollected that the debt on the chapel amounts to £5,000, and the mortgagee, I am sorry to say, threatens to foreclose, and to foreclose in a very few days; and all that Her Majesty's Government can do is to say that they will endeavour to prevent the immediate foreclosure, and to induce the mortgagee to postpone the time until the effect of Lord Cowley's efforts in Paris, and those made in this country, assisted as they will be by the services of the right rev. Prelate, is ascertained.


thought it would be a very great misfortune if this place of worship, which has been so long connected with the Church of England, should cease to be a Church of England place of worship. Their Lordships were probably aware that there was a large population of English at Paris—as many as 2,000—and it was certainly of great importance that by some means a place of worship should be provided for them. Hitherto there had been no opportunity for these 2,000 persons to worship God according to the Church of their fathers. They were unfortunately living in a foreign country, exposed to foreign influences, and liable to many difficulties and temptations. If the plan to which he understood Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris was favourable could be carried into effect, it was proposed that the whole of the church, with the exception of a very few seats, should be free to poor English. Their Lordships were aware that a great number of English visited the Continent in summer, and that the English population in Paris was thereby very much increased during that part of the year. It was not, he thought, too much to say that the efforts of Lord Cowley in Paris would be seconded by those Englishmen who spent a portion of their years abroad, and increased the English population in Paris to at least 10,000 in the summer months. He believed there was every prospect of raising speedily about £2,000 in Paris itself. There would remain to be raised £3,000, which we might hope would be raised by voluntary subscriptions in this country; and then the church would be opened under the Consular Act, free to the poor English residing in Paris. He was most glad to find that, through the diligence of the noble Earl, the danger of having the mortgage foreclosed was likely to be prevented.