HL Deb 12 July 1867 vol 188 cc1431-2

, in moving an Address to Her Majesty praying that Her Majesty will give directions to the Queen's Printers, and to the Delegates of the University Press at Oxford, and the Syndics of the University Press at Cambridge, to make a Return to their Lordships of a List of the Alterations from the text of the "Sealed Books" existing in the Book of Common Prayer as now issued, and other particulars, said, that he had put this Motion on the Paper because it was of the greatest moment that there should be the utmost accuracy in the printing of the Book of Common Prayer, and that those who were specially intrusted with the duty should make no alteration of their own in giving the book to the public. The object of the monopoly which had been given was for the purpose of insuring accuracy. At this moment, however, the Prayer Book issued by the three different authorities differed in many points, and therefore the original object was defeated. He thought it very desirable that full information should be obtained in the matter. It had, however, been suggested by the noble Earl at the head of Her Majesty's Government that the object which he had in view could be better attained through the Commission now sitting, and he would not, therefore, ask their Lordships to agree to an Address, reserving to himself the right of opening the matter hereafter if it should seem advisable.

Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to give Directions that Her Majesty's Printers and the Delegates of the University Press at Oxford and the Syndics of the University Press at Cambridge should return to this House:

  1. 1. A List of the Alterations from the Text of the sealed Books existing in the Books of Common Prayer as now issued:
  2. 2. The Dates of such Alterations:
  3. 3. The Authority under which they were severally made.—(The Bishop of Oxford.)


said, that there were some fears on the part of the Delegates of the Press at Oxford that an impression might get abroad that the duty intrusted to them by the Legislature had not been performed with that accuracy with which it ought to be done. He had been therefore instructed by one of the most distinguished of the Delegates, to state that Commissions had been appointed in 1746–7 and again in 1796–7 to inquire into the subject, and to bring back the Prayer Book to the closest conformity to the "Sealed Books"; and from that day to the present time no alterations had been introduced, except the substitution of a comma for a semicolon in one place, and such changes as were made necessary by the Acts of the Legislature.


said, he had not intended to bring a charge against any one, much less against the Delegates of the Oxford Press. But, if, as appeared by the admission of the right rev. Prelates, those gentlemen could so alter the Book of Common Prayer as to make it agree with what they thought was the intention of Parliament, there was a manifest necessity for adopting some such course as he had suggested.

Motion (by Leave of the House) withdrawn.