HL Deb 03 July 1863 vol 172 cc146-7

presented a petition from the Incumbent and Clergy of the Rural Deanery of Southwark in the diocese of Winchester, praying for a division of the Diocese on the next avoidance of the Sec. The noble Lord said he did not propose to found any Motion on the document, except the very modest one, that it be laid on the table. Divisions of dioceses might be effected in two ways, either by a general measure, or by dealing with each particular case as it arose. Some years ago, when there was a general Bill before the House, a noble Earl, who took a great interest in the subject expressed an opinion that each case should be dealt with separately. On the other hand, when a memorial was presented to the noble Viscount at the head of the Government, by a deputation from the diocese of Rochester, praying for a division of that diocese, the noble Viscount said, that while he concurred in the object of the memorialists, he thought it better to defer it until a general measure should be introduced. Thus were they driven from the pillar of the noble Earl to the post of the noble Viscount. With regard to the case of Winchester, no doubt it was a strong one, but he did not know that it was stronger than many others. There were dioceses in this country where the population were numbered by millions and the clergy by thousands. He knew there were many persons who did not care whether the diocese contained one million or ten millions, or two thousand or five thousand clergy, provided that the country was divided into thousands of districts, each with a minister at £100 a year, without funds or friends, but left single-handed to do the best be could. That was the modern Utopia. His own impression was that the wealthy inhabitants of London, or Winchester, or Durham, or Exeter, if they wished their respective dioceses to be divided, must themselves put their shoulders to the wheel and subscribe the necessary funds requisite in all cases in which the division of a diocese took place, to form a revenue for the support of the additional ecclesiastical supervision if required. He held in his hand a letter from the Bishop of Winchester, who stated that he was not able to be present in the House that evening, owing to his being engaged in ordination, but who wished him to state that the prayer of the Petition had his hearty concurrence.


said, that two years ago a general Bill had been introduced on the subject by his noble Friend, but it did not meet with much favour from the House; while another noble Lord recommended that each case should be dealt with by Parliament as it arose. It was manifest that there would be considerable difficulty in finding the funds necessary for the purpose. The question, therefore, it would be seen, was one which was surrounded by some difficulties, while it was one which involved very important considerations.

Petition to lie on the table.