HL Deb 15 August 1867 vol 189 cc1539-44

Commons' Amendments considered (according to Order.)


moved that the Commons' Amendments be agreed to. The first consisted of the introduction of words into the first clause, providing that no scheme for the erection of a new see should take effect till the endowment was subscribed and paid. To that he did not object. The next were words in the fifth clause, proposed by a strong Liberal, who had so tender a regard for the dignity of the Church that he was shocked at the idea of a Bishop without a Chapter; he had therefore proposed that there should be a capitular body, but he had not required any endowment to be provided for them, or he allowed it to be of a merely nominal character. The House of Commons had varied the seventh clause, on the subject of the congé d'élire; but he had received a letter from Sir Roundell Palmer, to the effect that the use of the word "election" twice in the Bill, coupled with the general terms of the Act of Henry VIII., preserved the right so far as regarded future Bishops of the new sees. As to the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, he had the opinion of Sir Roundell Palmer that no part of them could be applied to the purpose of founding new bishoprics; the original Episcopal Fund being applicable only to the purposes of the episcopate as it then existed. The omission of the Rotation clause, coupled with the provision that there should be no increase in the number of Bishops sitting in the House of Lords under the provision of the Bill, would prevent the new prelates from ever becoming Lords of Parliament. For his own part he assented to that arrangement; for he thought that the permanence of the connection between the right rev. Bench and the House of Lords would not be weakened by it. He attached so much importance to the recognition of the principle of an increase of the episcopacy that he trusted their Lordships would not offer any opposition, to Amendments which were not fatal to the principle. The appointment of Suffragan or Assistant Bishops would not, he hoped, be lost sight of, and he trusted that a proposition of that kind would be again brought forward.

Moved, to agree to the Amendments made by the Commons in the said Bill.—(The Lord Lyttelton.)


said, he had given his willing and cordial assent to the principle of the Bill as originally introduced by the noble Lord, because he felt, and still felt, that a moderate increase of the episcopacy was to be urgently desired for the advantage of the Established Church. He would not, however, treat so lightly as the noble Lord the Amendments made by the other House, because they appeared to him to change the whole character of the Bill, and to make it so utterly impracticable, that it would be almost impossible to assent to a measure so much altered, not only in its details, but also in its fundamental principles. At this time of the Session he knew that there would be little hope of passing the Bill if the Amendments of the other House were disagreed to, and that in such an event there would be little hope of obtaining the assent of the House of Commons or of passing the Bill. He did not support the proposition made in their Lordships' House that the minimum salary of these Bishops should be £4,200, because he thought that in fixing so high a minimum an additional difficulty would be placed in the way of obtaining the necessary subscriptions, more especially as their Lordships had decided that no portion of the Common Fund of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners should be applied to the increase of the episcopacy. By the Bill as it now stood the whole question was left in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. ["Lord LYTTELTON: With the consent of Parliament.] Yes, but see how it worked. They desired by private subscriptions to raise funds for providing a new bishopric. But what funds did they require? That point was left entirely in the dark. It was for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to fix what income should be provided, and also whether and what income should be given to the capitular body. A landowner in Cornwall might be very anxious to raise funds for a Bishop for that county; but when he found that the whole question as to the amount of that fund was in the breast of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners he might take a different view of the question. If the Ecclesiastical Commissioners chose to say that the people of Cornwall should not have a Bishop unless they paid him £4,200 a year, and unless they provided him with a Dean and Chapter, he would feel great difficulty even in beginning to collect subscriptions. He could not consent to leave the matter exclusively in the irresponsible hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, subject only to a power in Parliament to object to their scheme; for while Parliament could object to a scheme it could not sanction a new scheme without the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It seemed to him that these provisions raised insuperable difficulties in the way of working the principle of the measure. There was another serious objection and that was—that they were about to constitute an entirely new class of Bishops, and to draw a distinction which had never hitherto been made. He knew there was a general feeling that it would be inconvenient to increase the number of Bishops sitting in that House, and if there were any large number of new Bishops, and the principle of rotation were adopted, they might be kept waiting for seats until the right rev. Bench was filled with Prelates the most advanced in years, and, therefore, the least likely to attend to their laborious duties in Parliament. At present, as there was on the average a vacancy every year, no single Bishop appointed under the Bill would have to wait for more than about four years on an average. That was no extraordinary time to wait, and there would be no great inconvenience from the number kept waiting. Again, it would be very inconvenient that certain dioceses should be singled out for the purpose of never being episcopally represented in that House while there were certain dioceses that never ceased to be represented in the House. The Bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester always had seats in that House; but the other Bishops had not a seat until a vacancy occurred. A noble Lord had objected to the income of the new Bishops being reduced and left to the option of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, because he said he was afraid of what he considered the danger of translation. But if anything would encourage translation more than another, it was the creation of a class of Bishops with less incomes than the other members of the Episcopal Bench, and without the possibility of seats in the House of Lords. That was an objection not merely to the detail, but to the whole principle of the measure. With regard to the appropriation of the Common Fund, he must, of course, bow to the opinion of so learned a person as Sir Roundell Palmer; but he had always understood that, when there was a sufficient surplus from the original Episcopal Fund, it was in the power of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, if they thought fit, and with the consent of Parliament, to apply those funds to any ecclesiastical purpose. Much as he should regret the Bill being lost, he would rather see it lost than consent to Amendments which completely altered its character. He believed that the scheme, as the Bill at present stood, would be impracticable, and he did not believe that a single see would be erected under it. As the noble Lord (Lord Lyttelton) had obtained the sanction of Parliament to the principle of an increase in the episcopate, he hoped he would be content and not press the measure further in the present Session.


said, it was with deep regret that he should oppose the passing of the Bill, but he could not assent to the Amendments introduced by the House of Commons. The noble Earl had clearly pointed out their objectionable character, and for his own part he could not sanction the creation of an inferior order of Bishops, which would be setting a precedent for the exclusion of Bishops from the House altogether. He trusted, therefore, that the noble Lord would proceed no further.


said, that so far from thinking that the Bill, as amended, would facilitate an increase of the Episcopate, he thought that nothing would so much stand in the way of such an increase hereafter as the present measure. He advised his noble Friend to be content with having obtained the sanction of Parliament to the principle of the extension of the episcopate, he should stop there, and not attempt to force what would prove a most unworkable Bill through Parliament this Session.


hoped their Lordships would not disagree to the Amendments in toto, several of them being perfectly free from objection.


suggested that the Amendments should be considered seriatim.


agreed to the course.

Moved, to agree to the Amendment made by the Commons in Clause 1.


objected to this Amendment, on the ground that, recognizing only voluntary subscriptions and bequests, it virtually excluded contributions from the Episcopal or any other fund.

On Question? Resolved in the Negaive.

Moved, to agree to the Amendments made by the Commons omitting Clause 2.

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 24; Not-Contents 12: Majority 12.

Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.) Malmesbury, E.
Romney, E.
Beaufort, D. De Vesci, V.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. Hawarden, V.
Marlborough, D. Bagot, L.
Richmond, D. Clinton, L.
Colville of Culross, L.
Amherst, E. Ebury, L.
Cadogan, E. Lyttelton, L. [Teller.]
Derby, E. Redesdale, L.
Devon, E. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.)
Skelmersdale, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Templemore, L. [Teller.]
Canterbury, Archp. Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Beauchamp, E. [Teller.] London, Bp.
Lichfield, E. Oxford, Bp.
Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.]
Foley, L.
Sydney, V. Mostyn, L.
Vernon, L.
Chester, Bp.

Resolved in the Affirmative.

Some Amendments agreed to; others disagreed to.

Moved to agree to the Amendment made by the Commons in Clause 12.—(The Lord Lyttelton.)

On Question? their Lordships divided:—Contents 7; Not-Contents 29: Majority 22.

Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Chester, Bp.
London, Bp.
Harrowby, E.
Shaftesbury, E. [Teller.] Ebury, L.
Lyttelton, L. [Teller.]
Canterbury, Archp. De Vesci, V.
Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.) Hawarden, V.
Sidmouth, V.
Beaufort, D. Gloucester and Bristol, Bp.
Buckingham and Chandos, D.
Oxford, Bp.
Marlborough, D.
Richmond, D. Bagot, L.
Clinton, L.
Amherst, E. Colville of Culross, L.
Beauchamp, E. [Teller.] Denman, L.
Cadogan, E. Redesdale, L.
Derby, E. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Devon, E.
Leven and Melville, E. Skelmersdale, L.
Lichfield, E. Templemore, L.
Malmesbury, E. Vernon, L.
Romney, E. [Teller.]

Resolved in the Negative.

A Committee appointed to prepare Reasons to be offered to the Commons for the Lords disagreeing to some of the said Amendments.