HL Deb 14 June 1866 vol 184 cc365-74

(The Earl Russell.)

(Nos. 52, 149.) COMMITTEE.

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


called the attention of their Lordships to the second clause, which proposed to appoint a second Church Estates Commissioner with a salary of £1,000 a year. He saw no reason for any such appointment—it could only have been done with the view of creating a nice place for somebody. Why should the funds in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners be diminished to pay a second Commissioner?

House in Committee.

Clause 1 (Meaning of the word "Commissioners").


in answer to the remark of the Chairman of Committees, said, that it became necessary to have the attention of another paid Commissioner, inasmuch as the funds to be administered by the Ecclesiastical Commission had grown enormously. They originally amounted to only £130,000 a year, but they had increased beyond all expectation till they now reached £500,000.


remarked that if either Italy or Austria had possessed half the wealth of the Ecclesiastical Commission they would have been at war six weeks ago.


said, he thought it a strange proceeding to appoint another Commissioner with a large salary at the moment that a Select Committee of the House of Commons had reported that the constitution of the whole Commission was objectionable. No one of the recommendations of the Select Committee had as yet been carried into effect. He hoped their Lordships would not pass the clause.


said, he was not aware that anything had been stated to show that the business of the Commission required an additional paid Commissioner. There was an analogous case of management of property by a Commission—the Commission of Woods and Forests—the Crown revenue had increased considerably in the course of the last half century, and yet no one had ever proposed to add another paid Commissioner to that body.


stated that the reason why it was proposed to give a salary to the additional Commissioner was that the Bill proposed to effect certain changes in the mode of conducting the business of the Ecclesiastical Commission. These changes, although they appeared to be desirable, were in his opinion, on some grounds open to serious objections, more particularly as regarded the provisions in the 4th clause, which proposed to vest almost all the most important functions now exercised by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the Estates Committee; in which case the Commission would have nothing to do, and would be little better than a caput mortuum. He thought that it would be better to leave these-questions to be disposed of by the general body of the Commissioners, and then the appointment of another paid Commissioner would be wholly unnecessary. Even if this suggestion were not agreed to he trusted that their Lordships would not agree to give a salary to the second Estates Commissioner.


suggested the postponement of Clause 2 until Clause 4 had been disposed of.


defended the Ecclesiastical Commission from the attacks which, he said, had been made upon it, observing that it had in the administration of the Common Fund in its hands effected a great deal of good throughout the country. The result of the wise economy which it had practised in the management of the estates under its control was that instead of having, as the original Commission expected to have, £130,000 a year, he believed it had £400,000, which enabled it to make the most liberal response to local claims, and to contribute largely to Ecclesiastical charities. So long as the Commissioners had these enormous revenues to manage, he trusted they would not shrink from giving them the assistance necessary to administer them properly; and in this view he was of opinion that the additional paid Commissioner was necessary.


explained that at present the general body of the Commissioners referred to the Estates Commissioners many duties which it was optional with them to perform or not; but there would no longer be an option if this Bill passed, and therefore it would be necessary to appoint a second Estates Commissioner with a salary.


believed that there would be great difficulty in finding a person to discharge the duties in question efficiently unless a sufficient salary was attached to his office. A Member of the other House of Parliament, Mr. Bouverie, declined, he understood, to undertake the performance of those duties because the weight of the business was too great.


regretted that he had been unable to attend the Select Committee when the Bill was under its consideration. He believed that the real difficulty in the matter arose not from the amount of work to be done so much as from the fact that under the existing law it was necessary that three Commissioners should be present to constitute a quorum. If that provision were repealed, and two were declared to be a sufficient number to form a quorum, then the business might very well be transacted by two paid Commissioners. The right hon. Gentleman to whom the most rev. Prelate referred (Mr. Bouverie) was one of the unpaid Commissioners, and he very naturally objected merely to go to the Office and take his seat with the view of making a quorum when there was no further need of his services. There was not too much work for two paid Commissioners to do, and no necessary accession of weight or character would be gained by the appointment of another paid Commissioner. He believed that there was no necessity for paying a third Estates Commissioner, and that the case might be met by reducing the quorum of the Estates Committee. The abstraction of another £1,000 a year from the fund for the augmentation of poor livings would be very severely felt, and it should not be done unless it was absolutely necessary. He believed that the business of the Commissioners was likely to decrease rather than to increase, because their business had now been got into good train. Parliament had placed upon the Estates Commissioners the duty of managing the estates only; but the 4th clause of this Bill would impose upon them as a duty the consideration of various questions arising under the Church Building Act. He thought them very objectionable and he trusted their Lordships would reject the clause; and then the new paid Commissioner would be objectionable.


said, he thought the duties had become too great to be performed by two paid Commissioners.


was understood to support the appointment of a third Commissioner as being necessary under the circumstances.

After further discussion, which was imperfectly heard,

Clause postponed.

Clause 3 postponed.

Clause 4 (13 & 14 Vict. c. 94 ss. 8 and 12, to extend to proceedings of Ecclesiastical Commissioners in certain cases).


thought that the Bishop of the diocese was naturally a most competent person to pronounce an opinion on the question as to what parishes needed subdivision and what new district churches were required in his diocese; and the Bishop had the assistance of his right rev. Brethren as a kind of council. But it was now proposed to take away from the Bishops that which so essentially belonged to their duties, and reduce them to a mere nonentity, and to say that a body of laymen sitting in the next room should have these functions handed over to them. The Members of the Episcopal Bench could not be expected to give their assent to a measure so absurd and so extremely injurious. He could conceive of no reason for proposing the change except that a good deal had been said in the House of Commons against so many Bishops being on the Board. But, if the matters dealt with under the Bill did not concern the Bishops, nothing did.

Moved to omit Clause 4.—(The Archbishop of York.)


spoke in favour of retaining the clause, which he declared had been approved by the Bishops.


said, that could not have been so. He had never been consulted upon the matter.


said, he had consented to the introduction of the clause on the ground that it would save much time. It was merely a question whether things should be done once or twice—first, in Committee and afterwards by the general Board.


said, there ought to be some communication between the Estates Committee and the diocesan, and thought the Committee should come to a conclusion under the consciousness that what they decided would be re-considered by the Board.


stated, that he should vote for the rejection of the clause. On Question, "That the said Clause stand Part of the Bill?" their Lordships divided:—Contents 34; Not-Contents 76: Majority 42.

Clause struck out.

Clause 5 (Compensation to Ecclesiastical Corporations for Loss from the restriction of the power of Leasing).

On Motion of The Earl of ELLENBOROUGH, the words— And in case any difference or dispute shall arise as to the amount of such compensation the same shall be referred to arbitration in the usual way,

added to the clause.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 14 (Certain Payments and Conveyances and Assignments to he made by instruments of Commissioners instead of Orders in Council).


observed, that when this system was first established every act of the Commission was submitted for the approval of the Queen in Council. It was very seldom that that assent was refused, but there was one such occasion, because the thing recommended was illegal. It was now proposed to alter this regulation; but the mere knowledge that these subjects were to be submitted to a second tribunal acted as a check upon irresponsibility. He protested against making the power of the Commissioners absolute in the disposition of this mass of property.


said, the object of the clause was to save expense. An Order in Council cost £25.


said, that the matter should not be looked at as a question of money, but as one of security to the public. He questioned whether such a clause would ever pass the House of Commons.


while agreeing with the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) as to the advantage of the check afforded by the Privy Council, thought that the question should depend upon whether or not the power referred to was of a Ministerial or of an Executive character.


said, he quite agreed with the opinion that the supervision of the Queen in Council was of great importance as a check upon the Commissioners, but it was hardly fair to put the Commission to the expense of £25 each time the intervention of the Council was required.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 15 to 25, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 26 (Commissions may assign certain Stipends to be payable out of the Estates of Cathedral Churches, &c).


moved the omission of Clause 26, which he had opposed in the Select Committee which inserted it. He objected to the unlimited power it gave to the Commissioners to augment the incomes of the deans and minor canons of the different chapters.

Moved to omit Clause 26.—(The Earl of Chichester.)


said, he thought the clause was one of the chief objects of the Bill, as it would enable the Commissioners to do justice where justice was necessary. The Ecclesiastical Commission was founded for two purposes—one of which was to provide for the spiritual wants of the country, by which was understood the proper payment of ministers wherever they were needed. So long as minor canons did their duty they ought to be properly remunerated.

On Question, "That the said Clause stand Part of the Bill?" their Lordships divided:—Contents 42; Not-Contents 18: Majority 24.

Clause agreed to.

Canterbury, Archp. Verulam, E.
Cranworth,L.(L. Chancellor.) Hawarden, V.
Lifford, V.
Sidmouth, V.
York, Archp.
Bangor, Bp.
Rutland, D. Oxford, Bp.
Ripon, Bp.
Bath, M. [Teller.] Winchester, Bp.
Salisbury, M.
Boyle, L.(E. Cork and Orrery.)
Amherst, E.
Beauchamp, E. Brodrick, L.(V. Midleton.)
Belmore, E. [Teller.]
Carnarvon, E. Brougham and Vaux, L.
Derby, E. Denman, L.
Devon, E. Kilmaine, L.
Doncaster, E.(D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Lyttelton, L.
Ravensworth, L.
Redesdale, L.
Ellenborough, E. Saltoun, L.
Hardwicke, E. Silchester, L.(E. Longford.)
Nelson, E.
Orkney, E. Southampton, L.
Powis, E. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Romney, E.
Russell, E. Wentworth, L.
Selkirk, E.
Devonshire, D. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Somerset, D.
Dartrey, L. (L. Cremorne.)
Chichester, E. [Teller.]
Fortescue, E. Foley, L.
Granville, E. Granard, L. (E. Granard.)
Harrowby, E.
Overstone, L.
Halifax, V. Ponsonby, L.(E. Bessborough.)
Sydney, V. [Teller.] Saye and Sele, L.
Carlisle, Bp. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Talbot de Malahido, L.
Clandeboye, L. (L.

Clause 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 (Cathedral and Collegiate Chapters may prepare new Codes of Statutes).


opposed the clause on the ground that the subject it dealt with was so important that it ought not to be introduced into a Bill of this kind. It would be pregnant with the most serious consequences to the cathedrals themselves, as it would tend to introduce diversity of practice in different cathedrals.


hoped the Committee would not take the advice of his right rev. Brother. The evils pointed out were what the clause specially guarded against, and there was every conceivable check put in their way. The statutes were to have no effect until the approval of the Visitor, the Archbishop of the Province, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and of Her Majesty in Council had been given. It was desirable that there should be a power given to these bodies to meet difficulties as they arose. Such statutes ought to vary, and unless they varied they would not meet the requirements of the people.


said, he trusted the clause would pass, because it was very desirable the cathedrals should rid themselves of old statutes, many of which were quite unsuited to modern times, and were more honoured in the breach than the observance.


pointed out an old cathedral statute which allowed the Dean to give days of recreation, and this statute was so interpreted as to set at nought the Act of Parliament which required residence.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 29 agreed to.

Clause 30 (The Annual Incomes of Deans and Canons of Cathedral Churches in Wales).


said, he was glad the Welsh Deans were to receive an addition to their incomes. There were other persons, however, who had grievances besides the Welsh Deans, and he should like the consideration which had been shown extended to others.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Clause 2 (Salary to be paid to the Second Church Estates Commissioners. Church Estates Commissioner may sit in the House of Commons).


moved to omit the clause, with the view to substitute a provision making two instead of three Commissioners a quorum, and thus avoiding the necessity for a third and salaried Commissioner. The only objection that could be urged to this was that when only two Members were present they might not agree, but any question on which this happened would stand over till a larger number were present.

Moved to omit Clause 2.—(The Lord Bishop of Oxford.)


thought that, considering the large number of estates now under the control of the Commissioners, the annual produce having increased since 1850 from £100,000 to £400,000, it was only right that an additional person should be appointed, with a sufficient salary, to do what could not be properly done by volunteers.

On Question, That the said clause stand Part of the Bill? their Lordships divided:—Contents 21; Not-Contents 26: Majority 5.

Clause struck out.

Canterbury, Arcbp. London, Bp.
Cranworth, L.(L.Chancellor.) Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)
Brodrick, L.(V. Midleton.)
York, Archp.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Somerset, D. Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Chichester, E. [Teller.]
Granville, E. Foley, L. [Teller.]
Russell, E. Granard, L. (E. Granard.)
Halifax, V. Lyttelton, L.
Sydney, V. Saye and Sele, E.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Bangor, Bp. Wentworth, L.
Rutland, D. Hawarden, V.
Lifford, V.
Bath, M. [Teller.] Sidmouth, V.
Salisbury, M. Carlisle, Bp.
Beauchamp, E. Oxford, Bp.
Belmore, E. [Teller.] Ripon, Bp.
Carnarvon, E. Winchester, Bp.
Derby, E. Colchester, L.
Nelson, E. Denman, L.
Orkney, E. Redesdale, L.
Powis, E. Saltoun, L.
Romney, E. Silchester, L.(E. Longford.)
Selkirk, E.
Verulam, E. Wynford, L.

The Report of the Amendments to be received on Monday next; and Bill to be printed as amended (No. 160.)

House adjourned at Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.