§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
said: My Lords, it will not be necessary for me to detain your Lordships for more than a very short time on this occasion. The discussion of last year and the Reports of the Commission have very much simplified the question, and, moreover, it is not my intention to ask your Lordships to go further than to give a second reading to the Bill, that its principle may be affirmed; that the Bill may be circulated through the country, and that it may come on for discussion in the next Session of Parliament. A few days ago certain noble Lords, Members of the Commission, and the right rev. Prelate who presides over the See of London, declared this question ripe for legislation. There can be no necessity to wait for the Commissioners' third Report, which is on totally distinct matters from that before us. It cannot directly or indirectly affect this question. Now, my Lords, a year has elapsed since this Commission was appointed, and very nearly a year since it made its first Report, and certainly now another year will elapse before an end can be put to those practices of which the country so strongly complains. Now, I think it would be far more satisfactory, and at the same time much more respectful to the Commissioners, if we did not treat, or apparently treat, their Report as a dead letter, but rather treated it as a document having life and importance, and one which may form the foundation of our Church ceremonial for many years to come. It has also been said that legislation of this nature should be undertaken by Her Majesty's Government. I entirely agree in that proposition; but your Lordships will bear in mind that I submitted this question to Her Majesty's Government, and asked whether they were disposed to legislate on the subject. They declined so to do, and your Lordships will I hardly think that because they gave that answer I, as an individual Member of this House, should be bound not to take any course that I might deem necessary in the 869 exigencies of the case, and that their answer should be considered as a final bar to any Peer who wished to take up the matter. Moreover, I must observe that the Commissioners were pretty nearly or entirely unanimous in their first Report on this question. They all declared that some restraint must be employed for the prevention of the practices complained of, and it is in that spirit that I now bring forward this measure. The Bill of last year dealt only with vestments; the Bill of the present year goes further, and includes lights and incense. This Bill has undergone considerable modifications, which I believe will recommend themselves to your Lordships. I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to keep close to the recommendations of the Commissioners; and if, in any instance, I have diverged from those recommendations, I think I shall be able to give good reasons for it. I find in the first Report of the Commissioners this statement—We find that while these vestments are regarded by some witnesses as symbolical of doctrine, and by others as a distinctive vesture, whereby they desire to do honour to the Holy Communion as the highest act of Christian worship, they are by none regarded as essential and they give offence to many.They continue—We are of opinion that it is expedient to restrain, in the public service of the United Church of England and Ireland, all variations in respect of vesture from that which has long been the established usage of the said United Church, and we think that this may be best secured by providing aggrieved parishioners with an easy and effectual process for complaint and redress.This is the first Report, which was signed by the whole body of the Commissioners. In the second Report, which was signed by only twenty-three out of the whole body, they state—The use of lighted candles at the celebration of the Holy Communion has been introduced into certain churches within a period of about the last twenty-five years. It is true that there have been candlesticks with candles on the Lord's Table during a long period in many Cathedral and Collegiate churches and chapels, and also in the chapels of some Colleges, and of some Royal and Episcopal residences, but the instances that have been adduced to prove that candles have been lighted, as accessories to the Holy Communion, are few and much contested. With regard to parish churches, whatever evidence there may be as to candlesticks with candles being on the Lord's Table, no sufficient evidence has been adduced before us to prove that at any time during the last three centuries lighted candles have been used in any of those churches as accessories to the celebration of the Holy Communion 870 until within about the last twenty-five years. The use of incense in the public services of the Church during the present century is very recent, and the instances of its introduction are very rare; and, so far as we have any evidence before us, it is at variance with the Church's usage for 300 years.They conclude by saying—Under these circumstances, and in conformity with the principles which guided us in our first Report, we are of opinion that it is expedient to restrain in the public services of the Church all variations from established usage in respect of lighted candles and of incense.My Lords, the Bill which I have introduced is an attempt as far as possible to embody these opinions, and perhaps I may be allowed to call your attention to the main clauses. The Preamble recites as closely as possible the opinions of the Commissioners, merely adding that the remedy should be a public and local one. The main provisions in the Bill are contained in the 4th and 5th sections. First, it provides for sundry exceptions in respect of the apparel or vesture of any minister in any Cathedral or Collegiate church, and in other cases, and then it goes on (Clause 5)—''No minister shall in any church, at any time, during the saying the public prayers, use, or allow any other person to use, lighted candles when they are not needed for the purpose of giving light, or use or allow any other person to use incense.By these provisions all such practices will henceforward be interdicted as illegal. It is a question of no importance at the present moment whether they are legal or illegal now; the object of the Bill is to declare them positively illegal, and I believe that will be a proposition accepted by your Lordships generally and by the country at large. Recollect how these practices are spoken of by the Commissioners, who say that they have no material value, that they are by none regarded as essential, yet they give much offence. Down to this point, then, I do not expect much opposition; but, when we come to discuss the machinery, no doubt there will be differences of opinion. In their second Report the Commissioners make a suggestion as to the mode in which aggrieved parishioners shall have a remedy, and they state, and very properly state, that they think a speedy and inexpensive remedy should be provided for that purpose. But the remedy they suggest is directly the reverse of either speedy or inexpensive. Their proposal is that parishioners when 871 aggrieved "may make a formal application to the Bishop in camerô—And the Bishop on such application shall be bound to inquire into the matter of the complaint, and if it shall thereby appear that there has been a variation from established usage, by the introduction of vestments, lights, or incense in the public services of the Church, he shall take order forthwith for the discontinuance of such variation, and be enabled to enforce the same summarily.The Commissioners think that the decision of the Bishop should be subject to appeal to the Archbishop in camerô, "whose decision thereon shall he final;" but in case the decision of the Bishop or Archbishop is questioned on legal grounds, a case may be stated for decision by the Court of the Archbishop, with a right of appeal to the Queen in Council. The Commissioners add that precautions should be taken against frivolous objections, and these precautions I have adopted in the Bill. The Commissioners recommend for that purpose—That the application should be made either by one or more of the church or chapel wardens, or by at least five resident parishioners, who shall be householders, and declare themselves to be members of the United Church, in places where the population exceeds 1,000, and by at least three such persons where the population is less than that number.This is an excellent provision; but in what possible aspect can the remedy which the Commissioners provide be regarded as speedy or inexpensive? Remember what the process is to be. The aggrieved parishioners must appeal to the Bishop, who may live at a considerable distance from them, who may be incapacitated by age, ill health, or infirmity, who may be absent on the duties of his diocese, or may be discharging his duties in London. Here may be a great source of delay. Supposing that the Bishop gave his attention on the instant to the complaint of the aggrieved parishioners, a long time might elapse before they obtained a remedy. Take the case of Exeter. The aggrieved parishioners might live at the Land's End, and in that case must go to Bishopstowe and take all their witnesses. In the case of an appeal they must go up to London with their witnesses, the result being an intolerable expense and great delay. I say upon very high ecclesiastical authority that even when there was no intention to delay great loss of time must ensue; and if there was any desire to protract the proceedings three or four years might elapse before they came to an end. The aggrieved parishioners might be small farmers or shopkeepers, or 872 persons of small means, and how would it be possible for men in that position to obtain redress in the mode suggested by the Commissioners? The thing is manifestly impossible, unless the five parishioners were men of wealth and leisure. This Bill, on the other hand, proposed a far more efficient and speedy and a far cheaper remedy. We propose, in the first place, that a petition should be addressed to the Bishop, who, if he pleases, may hear the case in person, or may issue a commission to the chancellor of his diocese, or to any two beneficed clergymen in his diocese, to hear the case. The Bill provides that the inquiry should be local; and this will not only insure better evidence, but at the same time will save great expense and trouble to the aggrieved parishioners. I think your Lordships will see the great advantage of enabling the Bishop to act by deputy and on the spot, thus securing both cheapness and promptitude. Above all, the Bill insists upon publicity, which is, I believe, the best guarantee we can have that these proceedings shall be properly conducted. I am sure that without publicity there will be little hope of bringing about peace and tranquillity in a parish, and I believe it would be far better for the Bishop himself, because it would exonerate him from any charge of incompetency and partizanship in the matter. With a view to give weight and sanction to the evidence the Bill proposes that it shall be given vivô voce, and on oath, and the Bishop and Commissioners are authorized to administer the same. Clauses 27 and 28 are of considerable importance, for they provide that questions may be raised by consent of the parties, and the judgment of the Bishop may be required thereon without further proceeding; and, again, by consent of the parties, on appeal from the Bishop, the Archbishop may, without hearing the appeal, send it to the Queen in Council. But I must call especial attention to the 29th clause; it is as follows:—If any minister shall, in any church, during the saying the public prayers, offend against this Act, or aid, or assist in, or allow the commission of such offence, the Bishop of the diocese wherein such offence has been committed shall, upon the conviction of such minister, for every such offence I inhibit him from saying the public prayers for the space of three months.In the former Bill an offence might be visited by a process in the Civil Courts; in this case the Civil Courts were excluded. In case of any offence you have an ecclesiastical person to judge, you have an 873 ecclesiastical sentence, and you have an ecclesiastical penalty—in fact, everything is entirely ecclesiastical; and therefore on that ground no objection can be raised. This is a great concession as compared with the first Bill, and shows our desire to come to an amicable conclusion. These are pretty nearly the provisions of the Bill which it has been designed to make as simple as possible consistently with giving effect to the recommendations of the Commissioners. I will call your Lordships' attention to two or three other points. All the protests appended to the Report are worthy of consideration from the character of the persons by whom they are written; but there are only two upon which I will comment. The first is signed by the Bishop of Oxford and the Very Rev. H. Goodwin, Dean of Ely, who say—We are of opinion that continued usage in; ordinary circumstances ought in matters ceremonial to be so far the rule us to protect unwilling parishioners from arbitrary change, even though the change may seem to be within the letter of the law; but we cannot approve any attempt to stereotype by legislation for perpetual observance any use not actually enjoined. Such legislation, even thirty years ago, would have prohibited much which is now generally adopted and all but universally approved.I should lie as much indisposed as the right rev. Prelate to pass any law which should be irrevocable, and which should stereotype by legislation for perpetual observance any use not actually enjoined; but I think it must be manifest that, if at any time, a majority in our Church is determined upon a change in that or any other respect, there is nothing in this Bill which will prevent them making it. Should the mass of Churchmen change their views, and desire to introduce what they thick a higher ceremonial, it would be in the power of the majority so to do. It is not possible you can stereotype by legislation, nor is it desirable you should do it to such an extent as the protest implies. The next protest is signed by Sir John Duke Coleridge and the Very Rev. A. P. Stanley, Dean of Westminster, and they say—The Church of England has always contained within it two parties, one caring much for outward observance and ceremonial, the other careless about, or even hostile to, them; and these two historical parties represent two classes of minds which always have, and probably always will, exist, and proclaim their existence in a free country. If, therefore, the Church of England is to remain the National Establishment of a free country, room for both must be found in it, as far as is consistent with general uniformity in such matters as may be deemed essential.874 I perfectly admit the statement made in the first sentence; and if any large proportion of the members of the Church wish to have a more lofty ceremonial, I can understand an arrangement by which parties strongly animated by the feeling should subscribe among themselves to erect a chapel or chapels in which they might be allowed to enjoy their ceremonial. I do not see any objection to that, provided the persons kept within certain limits, and that they did not give to their places of worship anything of a parochial or district character; but in expressing that opinion I am speaking for myself only, and as I have communicated with no one on the subject, no one can be implicated by what I say. No one can be more ready than I am to admit that many of the Ritualistic party are sincere and conscientious in their convictions that the system which they adopt is the only one that can cope with the exigencies of the time. I must say I think a more grievous error never entered into the minds of men. As far as my experience goes, I find the case to be quite the reverse. If you go to that famous church, St. Albans, you see there the highest ceremonial and the most ornate worship you can well conceive. You will see there a most decent and orderly congregation, consisting manifestly of persons of a superior class in life, many from all parts of London, who attend to gratify their curiosity and see what is going on. You will not see there a great number of poor working people. Go at what hour you like you will never see there more than two or three of that class; and I know this from personal inquiry. If you go 150 yards from that church, to the upper room of the Field Lane School, you will see there on a Sunday morning from 800 to 1,000, and sometimes more, of persons in the most destitute, abject, and miserable condition, who positively enjoy a very humble and simple ministration. Your Lordships may have heard of what are called the Special Theatre Services. Several theatres are thrown open on the Sunday evening, and persons are invited to listen to various preachers. These special services arc attended by from 20,000 to 25,000 persons of the poorest condition in life. While 2,000 or 3,000 attend the simple services in a theatre, the poor are not attracted to the Ritualistic churches by incense, lights, coloured vestments, and everything which can delight the eye and ear. They will not go to them, and in- 875 deed the mass of the poorer working people seem to have an objection to these Ritualistic ceremonies. I do not deny that to many persons of elevated taste there is something very attractive in them; but I soy they do not draw the classes to whom all the energies of the Church must be directed, not only to save the Church, but to save the people. I say it is of no use attempting to attract the people by such modes as these; a few may go to a church where they are attracted from motives of curiosity; but the bulk of them must and will remain outside, preferring to go to no church at all than to be found within the precincts of ft church where these things are carried on. No doubt we have a common enemy whose strength lies in our disunion, and who in the midst of our divisions, will destroy us both. Can your Lordships be astonished at the alarm which prevails on this subject? I will read your Lordships extracts from documents which have been widely circulated, and which have produced serious effects upon the minds of men. Here is a letter by Dr. Littledale, evidently an able and learned man, which appeared in the Guardian of May 20. He had delivered a lecture, in which he drew a parallel between the Reformation and the French Revolution; he published it, and he was rebuked by Dr. Gatty for the comparison he instituted. In replying to Dr. Gatty, Dr. Littledale says—His words convince me that he is not familiar with either 1550 or 1793. It is quite possible for men to take very widely-differing views as to the Reformation itself in its character and results. Some may look on it as a Pentecost. I look on it as a Flood—an act of Divine vengeance, not of Divine grace; a merited chastisement, not a fresh revelation.This is pretty well, but further on Dr. Littledale says—Dr. Gatty cannot know the facts, or he would say as I have done. But I admit my parallel with the Jacobin leaders was somewhat harsh and unjust—to them. Robespierre (who, by-the-by, is counted as a martyr, and celebrated on the 9th Thermidor as a true apostle of Liberty here in London still, as I know), Danton, Marat, &c, betrayed no trust, were not sharers in the particular iniquity they overthrew, crouched to no tyrant, perjured themselves to no man. So far they stand on a higher moral level than the base traitors who were, and deservedly, executed—blunder and folly as that execution was—by Mary I. I should have compared them with Egalité Orleans and St. Huruge, the basest of that bad eighteenth century. These are no hasty sentiments. They have been slowly built up by years of careful reading.876 Here comes another passage even more pungent—I gravely assert it to be absolutely impossible for any just, educated, and religious men, who have read the history of the time in genuine sources, to hold two opinions about the Reformers. They were such utterly unredeemed villains for the most part, that the only parallel I know for the way in which half-educated people speak of them among us is the appearance of Pontius Pilate among the saints of the Abyssinian calendar.I ask your attention, my Lords, to an extract from a paper of authority among the Ritualists—the Church Times—The Reformers were dunces and liars. The active agents of the Reformation were bad men, and the worst among them was Thomas Cranmer.But listen to this which follows; mark the expression used in reference to that innocent and blessed Prince, Edward VI., that gentle and beloved youth for whom, after the interval of 300 years, the people of England feel almost a personal affection—The evil reign of that wretched tiger-cub," [remark the word, that tiger-cub," Edward VI., was ruinous to the Universities; and learning was as actively discouraged by the blessed Reformers as honesty, morality, and almsgiving.Can we wonder that when writings of this kind are diffused and circulated throughout the country disastrous consequences should ensue? Is it a matter of astonishment that such writings have produced a deep and permanent effect on the masses of the people? The enemies of the Church are active enough in diffusing such proofs of our Rome-ward tendency; and will it be wise on the eve of a General Election to reject a measure like the present, which is introduced to repress these practices, and discourage such doctrines? Disaffection is spreading among classes of persons who formerly were really attached to the Church, and who, though not belonging to the Church, had no desire whatever to disturb it. The existence of the present state of things is alienating the general body of Nonconformists. I am speaking now not of the members of the Liberation Society. Many of these are able and earnest men, but they have very decided opinions; and I do not think anything would cause them to deviate from the great object they have in view—the severance of Church and State. But disaffection is spreading among the great body of Wesleyans, who have hitherto been true and earnest friends of the Church of England, which they desire to uphold with 877 the view of securing both civil and religious liberty. They differ in discipline, hut not in feeling, from the Church of England. Now, you are gradually driving away all these men. Many of them, indeed, have lately said that they do not know how they can support a Church which allows in its bosom such practices and such sayings as these, which have a tendency to bring back the people of this country to all the abominations of Popery. Their feelings are such that although they do not take any actual part against the Church—and it will, I believe, be a long time before they do so—yet they exhibit comparative indifference, and will not lend a helping hand to the Church in the hour of her necessity. Then it is impossible not to perceive that you are alienating from the Church many of its members who occupy a good position in life. In all parts of London I hear one and the same thing from members of the Church of England. Vast numbers are being alienated to this extent—that they will not go over to Popery nor to Dissent, but remain within the Church in a state of utter indifference. They have come to the conclusion that the Church of England and the Church of Rome are so nearly identical that it is of little importance to them which gets the upper hand. Now, I cannot conceive anything more threatening than the present state of affairs. It may, perhaps, be said that I have been exaggerating, and I sincerely trust it may prove that I have done so, but I firmly believe that I have been guilty of no exaggeration whatever. When I addressed your Lordships last year on a subject analogous to this my feelings were very strong, but I am bound to say that those feelings have been confirmed and not weakened by what I have learnt and experienced since that time. In pressing this Bill to a second reading I think I may fairly count upon the votes of all those who last year voted for the adjournment of the debate in order that they might have the advantage of seeing the Report of the Royal Commissioners. That Report has now been made, and I cannot understand on what ground they could now oppose themselves to the recommendations which it contains. At all events I may claim the support of all those who voted with me last Session, because they then voted in favour of a much more stringent Bill than the one before us. But, my Lords, whatever may be the result of the vote, and whoever the men who give it, I 878 say that it is the earnest prayer of many a faithful and loving member of our communion that God, who is the author of peace and lover of concord, will restore union and harmony to this trembling and distracted Church.
§ Moved. "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Earl of Shaftesbury.)
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I wish to state the difficulty in which I am placed with reference to the Bill of the noble Earl. And, in the first place, I am very desirous of assuring the House that I am equally anxious with the noble Earl himself to restrain the practices which have given rise to so much complaint. I think my conduct as a Member of the Commission is a sufficient proof of my earnestness in desiring to restrain these practices; but at the same time I feel that, as a Member of the Commission, I am placed in great difficulty on this occasion. The Preamble of the Bill sets forth what the Commissioners have recommended, and then the 4th and 5th sections proceed to lay down a rule which was never sanctioned by the Commissioners. We never went so far as to say that we advised immediate legislation in order to restrain these practices. What we did say in the 10th clause of our Report was this—Our intention in making this recommendation is simply to provide for parishioners aggrieved by the introduction of variations from established usage in respect of vestments, lights, and incense, a special faculty for restraining such variations, without interfering in other respects with the general law of the Church as to ornaments, or the ordinary remedies then in force.Now, my Lords, if the Government of the day were to introduce a Bill, in the framing of which the voice of the Church were heard as well as the voice of the Parliament, 1 should be ready to concur in such a measure. But my great objection to this Bill is that, if passed, it would be simply an act of the Legislature without any reference to the feelings, views, or opinions of the Church—an act which might, perhaps, completely over-ride the action of the clergy. For my own part, I have always been desirous to put effectual restraints on these Ritualistic practices; but I have always laid it down as a principle that we ought to do so in such a way as to avoid producing a convulsion in the Church. Now I firmly believe that if a private individual were to bring in a Bill, and if that Bill were carried without any reference to the wishes and opinions of the 879 clergy, it would effectually lead to disruption. In taking that view of the matter, I am anxious to show your Lordships that I am acting in conformity with an authority which most of you will greatly respect. Dr. Birch, in his Life of Tillotson, relates that—While the Bill of Union (comprehension) was depending in Parliament, Dean Tillotson, as we are informed by Dr. Nicliolls (Apparatus ad Defensionem Eccles. Angl., p. 93) persuaded the King to pursue another method for accomplishing the design of it. He reminded His Majesty of the reproach often cast upon the Reformation by the Papists, that it was founded chiefly upon Parliamentary authority; and that no handle ought for the future to be given for such an objection that the affairs of the Church chiefly belonged to synodical authority; and, if they were passed by the members of the Convocation, they would not only be more acceptable to the body of the clergy, but would be more religiously observed by the laity. He added that lost affairs of this nature, consisting of such a multitude of particulars, might proceed too slowly in so numerous a body, it would be best, as had formerly been done, for His Majesty to authorize by his letters patent several of the most eminent of the clergy to consider of some methods of healing the wounds of the Church, and establishing a durable peace; that so what they should agree upon being laid before a Convocation might first have their sanction and then that of Parliamentary authority. In pursuance of this advice the King summoned a Convocation, and issued out likewise … a Commission to prepare matters to be considered by the Convocation.I think that if the Government of the day, whoever they might be, should hereafter, after very careful consideration, bring in a Bill on the subject, peace might through God's blessings arise from it; but I have no expectation that such a result would follow from precipitate legislation, like that which is now proposed; and, therefore, I could not feel justified in supporting the Bill.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, as the noble Earl who has moved the second reading of this Bill has referred to the answer I gave some weeks ago on behalf of the Government, your Lordships will perhaps allow me, at this early period of the discussion, to make a few observations on the Bill. My Lords, I desire, in the first place, to remind the House what have been the course taken and the suggestions made by the Royal Commission. That Commission, which was appointed in the month of June last year, was composed of twenty-nine members, fourteen of whom were ecclesiastics and fifteen laymen. The names of the Commissioners are sufficiently well-known to your Lordships to make you aware that the Commission was composed 880 of members of the greatest learning, eminence, experience, and ability, who could possibly have been selected to deal with a question of this kind. In their first Report the Commissioners were, as the noble Earl said, unanimous. The whole of the Commissioners signed the Report, though three of them appended a certain amount of qualification to the absolute recommendations of the Report. That Report was made last year, and in regard of vestments it states—We, your Majesty's Commissioners, have, in accordance with the terms of your Majesty's Commission, directed our first attention to the question of the vestments worn by the Ministers of the said United Church at the time of their ministration, and especially to those the use of which has been lately introduced into certain churches. We find that while these vestments are regarded by some witnesses as symbolical of doctrine, and by others as a distinctive vesture whereby they desire to do honour to the Holy Communion as the highest act of Christian worship, they are by none regarded as essential, and they give grave offence to many. we are of opinion that it is expedient to restrain in the public services of the United Church of England and Ireland all variations in respect of vesture from, that which has long been the established usage of the said United Church; and we think that this may be best secured by providing aggrieved parishioners with an easy and effectual process for complaint and redress. We are not yet prepared to recommend to your Majesty the best mode of giving effect to these conclusions, with a view at once to secure the objects proposed and to promote the peace of the Church; but we have thought it our duty, in a matter to which great interest is attached, not to delay the communication to your Majesty of the results at which we have already arrived.A second Report was made in April last, and published in May. It deals with the question of what are called "lights and incense." In this Report the Commissioners were by no means unanimous. Twenty-three out of twenty-nine Commissioners signed it two Commissioners declined to sign any part of it; and of the twenty-three who did sign the Report, eight made certain qualifications or statements dissenting from its recommendations. In the Report to which I am now referring there are these statements—The use of Lighted Candles at the celebration of the Holy Communion has been introduced into certain Churches within a period of about the last twenty-five years. It is true that there have been Candlesticks with Candles on the Lord's Table during a long period in many Cathedral and Collegiate Churches and Chapels, and also in the Chapels of some Colleges, and of some Royal and Episcopal Residences; but the instances that have been adduced to prove that Candles have been lighted as accessories to the Holy Communion are few and much contested. With regard to Parish, 881 Churches, whatever evidence there may be as to Candlesticks with Candles being on the Lord's Table, no sufficient evidence has been adduced before us to prove that at any time during the last three centuries Lighted Candles have been used in any of these Churches as accessories to the celebration of the Holy Communion until within about the last twenty-five years. The use of Incense in the public services of the Church during the present century is very recent, and the instances of I its introduction arc very rare, and so far as we have any evidence before us it is at variance with the Church's usage for 300 years. Under these circumstances, and in conformity with the principles which guided us in our first Report, we are of opinion that it is expedient to restrain in the public services of the Church all variations from established usage in respect of Lighted Candles and of Incense.After those Reports were made I took the liberty on a former occasion to say—and I think that at the time your Lordships were inclined to agree with me—that it would be not only inexpedient, but highly censurable of the Government to propose legislation on this subject until the question how far legislation should go and what shape it should assume had been anxiously and earnestly considered by the Government, and until the Government were able to come to Parliament with some proposal which they might reasonably expect to see either rejected altogether or made the law of the land. Now, that being the pure principle on which the Government have acted, the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury)—as was competent to him to do as an independent Member of your Lordships' House—has introduced the Bill which now comes before your Lordships for a second reading. My Lords, I speak with great submission and deference to the noble Earl; but I do venture to express a doubt whether the course taken by him is an expedient course. The noble Earl, as I understand him, said he had no expectation this Session of carrying the Bill beyond a second reading; but that his object was that it should be printed and should go before the country between this and the next Session of Parliament. Now, my Lords, surely that object would have been fully obtained by the step which the noble Earl naturally and properly pursued in laying the Bill on the table of your Lordships' House. But as the noble Earl proposes that the Bill should now be read a second time, it becomes necessary for your Lordships to consider the course you will take with respect to the Motion for the second reading. I do not propose to go into the details of the Bill; but if I understand the Report of the Royal Com- 882 mission—though the Preamble of the Bill recites the Reports of that Commission the noble Earl has failed to apprehend the spirit of the recommendations made by the Commissioners; and I think that if we had now to consider the provisions of the Bill in detail there would be very serious objections to it. But, of course, if the Bill went into Committee your Lordships would have the power of introducing modifications with the view of removing those objections. My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Earl will go to a division on the second reading; but, inasmuch as the Bill recites in its Preamble the Report of the Commission, I feel that, however grave the reasons against some of the provisions, and however inexpedient it might be to pass such a Bill now, yet if I were to vote against the second reading my doing so might be construed into a proposition which I am not prepared to assume—namely, that at no time and under no circumstances ought legislation to follow the Reports of the Royal Commission, Having said that, I claim for myself, and I. think I am entitled to claim for many of your Lordships who may not be disposed to vote against the second reading, that we hold ourselves free and unfettered as to our action on this question in the next or any subsequent Session of Parliament, My Lords, deploring, as I do, the practices to which the noble Earl has referred—feeling, as I do, entirely adverse to those practices—I have always thought that it devolves upon those who do entertain such strong feelings on the subject to be particularly cautious and forbearing in respect of any propositions for restrictive legislation. The noble Earl read to your Lordships two or three extracts which I was much pained to hear, and 1 think those extracts must have been painful to many of your Lordships; but, with every respect for the noble Earl, I am at a loss to know what the object was for which he read them. Is the Church answerable for those extracts, or any section of the Church? I have no right to speak for the Church; but as one of her Members I do protest against the supposition that the opinions to which expression is given in the extracts read by the noble Earl are opinions entertained by any section of the Church of England. If the noble Earl wanted us to legislate against the publication of such opinions, I could understand his reading them to your Lordships; and legislation on the subject of lights and incense is, 883 after all, only legislation against an outward expression of opinions which we are utterly unable to control. It appears to mo, my Lords, that much benefit would follow from our postponing legislation till next year. The noble Earl proposes, contrary to the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners, to enact that practices to which the Bill refers shall be declared illegal. The Royal Commissioners carefully abstained from any recommendations of the kind, merely proposing that restraints should be applied to any departures from the established practice or usage. Three questions are involved in this Bill, of which two have already become the subject of legal proceedings—namely, the questions of lights and incense. I have been informed, and I believe accurately, that within the last few days the litigation upon these points has been transferred into the Court of highest Appeal in the kingdom; and, according to the natural order of business, in that tribunal the appeal would be tried in November or December this year. Your Lordships, therefore before next Session, will have the benefit of a decision by the final Court of Appeal of this Kingdom with regard to the legality of two of these practices. I own I very much regret that it has not been thought desirable, when a judicial decision was being invoked upon two of these practices, to endeavour to obtain a legal decision also with regard to the question of vestments. I say this, not because I think that the opinion of Parliament ought to be fettered in any way by the decisions of the legal tribunals: it may well be that after a decision declaring one or more of these practices to be perfectly legal, Parliament might, in its wisdom, consider that, for the future, the law ought to be altered, and observances declared to be illegal for the future which had been legal hitherto. But Parliament would in any case have this advantage—that it would know from what point to start. What the law is at this moment upon these different subjects rests, of course, in a state of uncertainty; but there is every reason to believe that before next year an authoritative decision will have been given upon two, at least, of the matters in dispute. I therefore trust the noble Earl will not press this Bill to a division; and I say so with the more freedom because I have already declared that it is a Bill against the second reading of which I should not be disposed to vote. A 884 legal decision will, I hope, be obtained before next year, and your Lordships, in case it should then be necessary, will be in a position to legislate with much better effect.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
It is not often—indeed, it is the only time—that I have heard my noble and learned Friend and have been unable to follow the course of reasoning which has gone on in his mind during the course of his speech. He told us that he strongly disapproved this Bill being pressed to a second reading; he pointed out the defects which lay, not only in the machinery of the Bill, but in its utter disregard of the recommendations of the Royal Commission and of the reasons upon which their Report was founded, and he spoke of the advantages of delay; and then, having told us all this, he said he meant to vote for the second reading of the Bill, merely because its Preamble recites that the Bill proposes to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I will ask my noble Friend whether that is a principle which he proposes to extend and apply to the legislation generally of your Lordships' House—that if in the Preamble of a Bill a proposition is laid down of which you happen to approve, no matter how entirely the clauses may fail to carry out that proposition, you are yet to vote for the second reading of the Bill? If so, we certainly should have passed the second reading of a great many Bills which we are in the habit of throwing out. I believe it is true of almost all Preambles that they are innocent and plausible in their language, and few persons upon that ground merely would desire to oppose them; but I say that to commit your Lordships to support the second reading of measures merely because of the moderation or plausibility of the Preamble would be to introduce an entirely novel principle into our legislation. Nobody will deny that in dealing with questions of the kind upon which the House now is asked to legislate every effort should be made to avoid exciting unnecessary irritation. The subjects are those upon which men's passions are bitterly excited, leading them to misstate the real meaning of words used; and, therefore, the first duty of a prudent Legislature is to avoid all that can increase that irritation. But what are you now going to do? For the first time for 200 years you are going to break the truce which has existed between the two parties in the Church. During those 200 years many very different 885 views have been entertained; various schools have flourished and decayed, all kinds of extravagant opinions have been advanced—but Parliament has never during that time interfered between the conflicting schools in the Church to strike one combatant to the ground. I do not deny that such legislation may be necessary; I do not wish to prejudge the question, which we must consider very carefully next year. But it is very important that your Lordships should pronounce no judgment beforehand which is certain to add to the irritation your legislation is certain to excite. What will be the effect of this proposal? There is not, I believe, any very considerable party in the country attached to the unfortunate practices that have created so much ill-feeling; but you are going to add to that party all the members that will be driven to it by the invigorating process of penal legislation. All those who naturally sympathize with anyone against whom Parliament legislates—all those who naturally take the weaker side, and all who hate the particular school from which this legislation proceeds will be inclined to abandon the former moderation of their opinions, and to lean towards the very extravagant views and practices which it is your object to discourage. You will be adding force, moreover, to the violence of the irritation by passing the second reading of this Bill without any of the precautions habitually taken in matters of such great importance; you will be passing it merely as a matter of form at the fag-end of the Session, without even soliciting the opinion of the Government upon the measure. My feeling with regard to the Bill is that if you wish to make more men like Dr. Littledale you could adopt no more certain method. Dr. Littledale is a gentleman of very extravagant opinions, and probably expresses his own opinions merely; but this Bill, even if it passed, is not the way to discourage those opinions. It certainly would not prevent him from holding or urging them with as much force as before; all that it would do would be to create sympathizers with him who did not exist before. It seems to me that it is of the greatest importance to treat gently the feelings and prejudices of the considerable number of persons who have been very much excited upon this subject, and, with that end in view, that legislation upon these matters should only be undertaken upon the responsibility of the Government, and with a reasonable certainty that a de- 886 cision one way or other would be obtained within a very short period. First of all, Isgislation should not be undertaken in such a manner as to give to those whose dearest feelings and prejudices you are touching the impression that your Lordships regard those as matters of very trivial importance, which may be sacrificed to the feeling or to the convenience of a noble Earl—who is deserving of the highest respect. I am very anxious to guard myself against being supposed to view with anything like sympathy the action which has brought this controversy into its present stage. I think that blame attaches to those who selected for their operations the precise points upon which they knew the feelings of their countrymen to be most irritable, in order, apparently, to make disturbance in the Church. But I ask your Lordships not to allow yourselves to be infected with the imprudence which you are yourselves the first to condemn. Do not allow your own feelings to lead you to depart from that gravity and moderation which you ordinarily exercise upon matters of such importance. I ask you to deal with this matter as one of the first moment, and not to be drawn into a decision opposed in any way to the recommendations of the Commissioners. It is for these reasons that I beg you not to give a second reading to the Bill proposed by the noble Earl.
THE BISHOP OF CARLISLE
said, that the two noble Lords who had last spoken were neither of them Members of their Lordships' House when the noble Earl originally introduced a measure similar to that which was now upon their Lordships' table. The overwhelming amount of evidence and argument then brought forward by the noble Earl showed the imperative necessity for legislation upon this question. And how was his Bill defeated upon that occasion? By a promise given by the Government of the day, speaking through their mouth piece the noble Earl below the Gangway (the Earl of Derby), that a Royal Commission should issue for the purpose of investigating the subject. There was, therefore, an honourable obligation resting upon the Government to do something, because the noble Earl who was then at the head of the Government refused to allow the Bill to be read a second time, upon the ground that a Royal Commission was about to be appointed. The noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) promised on that occasion that that Commission should attend 887 to the subject of vestments, and cognate matters, first, and report thereon with a view to legislation, The Commission did at length make their first Report, and recommend that something should be done to restrain the use of vestments. In a second Report they had pronounced against lights and incense also, and advised that the use of them should be "restrained." It then became the imperative duty of Her Majesty's Government to take up the subject, for there was a vital necessity that something should be done if the Church of England was to be saved. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) having in vain waited for the Government to do something, having in fact been informed by the Lord Privy Seal that the Government were not prepared to move until a third Report was sent in—a Report which had nothing to do with the special subjects under discussion—must be exonerated from all blame in now bringing the subject again before their Lordships. He would not enter into the question whether the Bill might not be improved in Committee. In respect to the legal remedy proposed in the Bill, he thought it better than the recommendation of the Commissioners. But, be this as it might, it would be in his opinion a disastrous thing if this Bill should be pressed to a division, and if a majority of their Lordships should decide against legislation on this subject. He lamented the course taken by the Government, because it would lead to the impression out-of-doors that they were not alive to the greatness of the emergency in which the Church of England was placed. The extracts read by the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) were useful as straws which showed the way of the wind. They certainly showed that, with the party now attracting so much attention, the Protestant Reformation found but little favour. And yet the only standing ground of the Church of England before God and man was as a Protestant Reformed Church. But all this the compact, organized, energetic body of Ritualists wished to undo. The questions of vestments, lights, and incense were of very little importance, except as connected with doctrine. Now, if there were two things more emphatically repudiated by the Church of England at the Reformation than any others, it was the sacrifice of the Mass and the practice of Auricular Confession. The speaking of the Lord's Table as the altar, the lights, the incense, and other Ritualistic practices, were all connected 888 with the revival of the sacrifice of the mass. Concurrently with this was the revival of the claim of the priesthood to exercise judicial functions in the tribunal of the confessional. That he was correct in these assertions, noble Lords might satisfy themselves by perusing the evidence taken before the Ritual Commission, and appended to their first Report. Mr. Bennett of Frome, for example, before the Ritual Commission, acknowledged that he sacrificed and adored the elements, and Mr. Wagner admitted that he practised auricular confession. And these gentlemen were but representatives, in these respects, of the opinions, and too often of the practices, of the clergy known as Ritualistic. Various arguments, however, were urged against any amendment of the law which should put a check upon this process of un-Protestantizing the national Church. It was said, in the first place, that the Church of England was a comprehensive Church. It was comprehensive, no doubt; but it was, to borrow technical words from the science of logic, a comprehension of "contraries" and not of "contradictories." "Contraries" might stand together, but "contradictories" could not. The Church of England contained what was called High-Church and what was called Low-Church. Some members of that Church might call themselves Arminians and others Calvinists. But while all these four parties might be "Contraries" between themselves, Rome was "contradictory" to all. The toleration of Romanism within the Church of England would be fatal to its existence. The noble Marquess said they were going by this Bill to destroy a truce within the Church that had existed for 200 years. He (the Bishop of Carlisle) must assure the noble Marquess that he was mistaken. The truce, as he was pleased to call it, between High-Church and Low-Church was not threatened by this Bill. Were he a High-Churchman he should indignantly repudiate all identification with the innovating party. The object of the Bill was to repel the invasion of a third, a Romanizing party, who, masked as High-Churchmen, were introducing doctrines and practices, of essentially Popish character, and utterly inconsistent with the continuance and healthy existence of that Church. A second argument which had been used on various occasions, though it had not been broached to-day was, that the persons against whom the noble Earl wished to 889 legislate, were the greatest obstacles to perversion to the Church of Rome. So said their predecessors the Tractarians thirty years ago. They claimed to be the greatest opponents of Rome. But their Lordships had not forgotten the hundreds of the laity and the scores of the clergy who had gone over to Rome since that movement began—Archbishop Manning, in a volume of Essays on Religion and Literature (Second Series), edited by him, conclusively disposed of this allegation. In an "inaugural address," prefaced to that volume, the Archbishop said—I do not include in this, as I have already said, these few in number, I believe, who use these things as a stumbling-block to keep back souls from the truth, and imitate the Catholic Church with a formal servility, that they may pass themselves off as Catholics, even to our Catholic poor. For such men we can have no sympathy, and little hope. Every parish priest happily knows how empty and foolish is the boast they make of keeping souls from conversion. The public facts of every day refute it. They may keep back the handful who surround them, and hide the truth from their own hearts; but the steady current of return to the Catholic and Roman Church throughout the whole of England is no more to be affected by them than the rising of the tide by the palms of their hands. Against their will, certainly, and, perhaps, without their knowledge, they are sending on numberless souls into the truth which they probably will never enter. But the number of those whose good faith is doubtful is not great. The multitude of those who arc drawn by a natural and simple reverence to clothe what they sincerely believe with a becoming ritual, and who worship piously and humbly in churches which might almost be mistaken for ours—if it were not for the one great blank, the absence of life, which is like a beautiful countenance without-sight—is very great, and is perhaps continually increasing. They are coming up to the very threshold of the Church. They have learned to lean upon it as the centre of Christendom, from which they sprang, and upon which their own Church is supposed to rest. They use our devotions, our books, our pictures of piety; they are taught to believe the whole Catholic doctrine, and to receive the whole Council of Trent, not indeed in its true meaning, but in a meaning invented by their teachers. This cannot last long. Such teachers are, as Fuller quaintly and truly says, like unskilful horsemen; they so open gates as to shut themselves out, but let others through.So much for the argument that Ritualism was deterrent from Rome. But, in the third place, the noble Marquess and the most rev. Primate argued that if Parliament legislated hastily—"hastily," indeed, when four years had now elapsed since first the subject was broached at Lambeth by the Bishop of Lincoln—there might be a fearful disruption in the Church of England, such as led the Free Church 890 of Scotland to go forth from the Establishment, and such as led the Wesleyans, 100 years ago, to leave the Church of England. But the comparison would not bear examination. These Churches were identical in doctrine with the Churches they left, both of them holding Protestant truth, and agreeing in their abhorrence—he used a word most properly employed by a noble Duke, not now in his place, (the Duke of Argyll) in the late debate—of Popery. But the Ritualists rejected the Thirty-nine Articles, or as they are said to call them—the "forty stripes save one"—and yearned for Rome. The comparison of the Ritualists to the Free Church and the Wesleyans was untenable, moreover, in other respects, for the latter had the people with them, whereas the sympathy of the middle and lower classes was not at all with the innovators in the present case. The noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) was quite right when he said that how much soever such churches as St. Albans might be crowded, the middle and lower classes viewed all that was carried on within their walls with suspicion and dislike. The truth was, that these practices were a check upon Church extension; subscriptions having been withheld on account of the present state of uncertainty as to whether the Church of England would be Protestant and Reformed some years hence. He admitted that, had greater discretion been shown with regard to the Free Church and the Wesleyans, each of the Churches which they quitted would probably have been a gainer, for they would have added life and vigour to its ranks, for the reasons lie had given. But for the very absence, the negation, of the some reasons, if Ritualism were allowed to go on, it would result in the breaking up of the Church of England. The true parallel was between the Ritualists and the Roman Catholic clergy who refused to conform in the reign of Elizabeth, and likewise the Non-jurors who refused to take the Oath of Allegiance in the reign of William and Mary—though here again Archbishop Sancroft, loyal Protestant as he was, would hardly, if alive, endure the comparison. The secession in the former case consisted of 189 clergymen of all ranks, and in the latter of one Archbishop, four Bishops, and 400 clergy. Any secession which might now take place of Ritualistic clergy could not exceed—he did not believe it would come up to half these numbers. The Ritualistic party was forward and loud, and compensated for their 891 numerical paucity and personal insignificance by their organization and the noise they made in every direction. The House should not, therefore, be deterred from legislating—he would not say this—but early next Session, by any fear of committing grievous injury to the Church. They should rather be deterred from further delay by the grievous injury that would accrue if these practices were not checked. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) spoke on a former occasion of a Puritan faction hammering at the doors of Parliament; but prompt legislation was called for, in order that such a contingency might not arise. Delay was giving force and power to a Puritan faction outside the Church, which was making use of the present condition of affairs to assail the ramparts and overthrow the citadel of the Church. And herein he detected a power at work behind the scenes which desired to compass the overthrow of the Church of England as the one stronghold of Protestantism and the Reformation in the world. He did not say that the bulk of the Ritualistic clergy were conscious of the fact. But as a small cog-wheel kept up the connection between the steam power of a vast! manufactory and all the shuttles at work in every direction, so a single point of contact between the Church of Rome and the Ritualists was quite enough to account for all that was going on. If then the House believed that to the blessed Reformation we owed the temporal as well as the spiritual liberties of England—if they believed that the Church of England, in her articles, homilies, and other formularies represented that Reformation—they would permit no temporizing policy, no fears, no threats, to deter them from doing their duty at this solemn crisis. By giving the Bill a second reading, if the noble Earl pressed it, they would emphatically declare their determination at the first convenient opportunity to take effectual measures for staying the plague that was at work among us.
§ EARL STANHOPE
said, that the noble Earl who introduced the Bill (the Earl of Shaftesbury) said, that it was intended to carry out the recommendation of the Royal Commissioners. Now he (Earl Stanhope) was one-of those Commissioners, and had concurred with the large majority in signing the two Reports reprobating vestments, lights, and incense. He earnestly concurred in the recommendations of the Commissioners on those subjects, for he looked 892 upon those practices as innovations, and as calculated to bring evil upon the Church of England; and he was desirous by moderate and temperate means to restrain them. But he could not admit that the noble Earl in this Bill carried out the intentions of the Royal Commissioners. In one material respect the Bill went much beyond those recommendations. They had been told by the most rev. Primate who spoke early in the debate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) that this Bill declared practices to be illegal which the Commissioners, though disapproving of them, had carefully abstained from declaring to be illegal. Therefore, whatever might be the merits of the proposition of the noble Earl, one thing was perfectly clear—that his proposition was not the proposition of the Commissioners—his Bill was not theirs. What object was to be gained by a second reading? Suppose it was assented to, no further step could be taken this Session, nor even in this Parliament. He must, however, express his regret that his noble Friend had introduced this Bill at all without giving the Government time to produce a measure of their own. It was desirable to legislate in a manner that would cause the least offence and irritation. Now, the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) was a distinguished member of one of the two parties into which the Church was divided, and it was impossible to expect such ready acquiescence by the other party in a Bill introduced by him as in one proceeding from a more neutral and less partizan quarter. He entertained a decided opinion that it was most desirable, whatever Government might be in power, it should next Session introduce a Bill on the subject; but, if the Government, whatever it might be, should be unwilling, or unable, after proper deliberation, to bring in a Bill, then would be the time for the noble Earl to do so. Much as he respected the high authority of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, he could not but think that all the arguments of his speech were decidedly antagonistic to the Bill, while his conclusion was in favour of it. For his own part, while yielding to no man in his desire to restore to the Church the peace which had been disturbed by the practices so justly complained of, he wished to avoid unnecessary irritation, and, since the present Bill would not advance the question an inch, but would certainly produce irritation, he felt bound to vote against it.
§ EARL RUSSELL
I must confess I have been rather perplexed by the speeches of the most rev. Primate, the most eminent representative of the Church in this House, and of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, our greatest legal authority, for there was something so uncertain about them that I could not make out whether they intended to vote for the second reading of the Bill or against it.
§ EARL RUSSELL
I am much obliged to the most rev. Primate for his explanation. I think it is desirable that legislation should be postponed to the latest possible period. We have seen very critical and agitating questions debated on the Church; we have seen those questions resolved by the highest tribunal—the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; and those decisions, though adverse to the opinion of a considerable party in the Church, have been received with respect, and have decided the legal view of those questions. Now, the nobleand learned Lord on the Woolsack tells us that about November next two important points which are still in agitation will come by appeal before the Judicial Committee. That, it appears to me, is sufficient reason why this House should pause with respect to legislation, and should wait till we at least know upon the highest authority what the present state of the law is upon I these important points. It also appears to me desirable that whenever we do legislate the Government of the day should propose the measure, and that they should introduce it with the assent of the Prelates who represent the Church in this House; for it is only in that way that I can suppose an Act will pass which will receive the general assent of the country. I see no reason to doubt that, whether by judicial decision or legislative action, if there be a general assent of parties, those at least who think certain practices desirable, though not essential, will bow respectfully to whatever decision shall be come to. On the other hand, if there be a division—I will not say of political parties, but of Church parties—on the subject, I should be very much afraid that there would be further agitation, which would be very mischievous. I do not object to this Bill or to anything contained in it, if we are obliged to come to legislation as a last resort. It is not, therefore, on account of the Bill itself, but on account of the time 894 at which it has been brought forward, that I object to the Motion, and that I shall certainly not go into the Lobby with my noble Friend should he proceed to a division.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I have no intention of entering into the very difficult questions involved in the consideration of this Bill, and I am very glad that I gave way to the noble Earl who has just sat down, because I am happy to think that—as is not always the case—I entirely concur in the view he has taken as to the course that should be pursued with respect to this question. What I feel is this—and it is a point which has been stated by my noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack—that if you come to any decision upon this subject now you will do that which will be liable to be misunderstood. If you vote in favour of this Bill you will hold yourselves tied down to act on the course recommended by the noble Earl, irrespective of the future recommendations which may proceed from the Royal Commission, and irrespective of the information, as to the existing state of the law, which may be derived from the legal proceedings which are likely to occur in November. If, on the other hand, we vote against the Bill, as my noble and learned Friend pointed out, we shall be held up as assenting to those practices of the Ritualists to which I, for one, am entirely opposed, and shall be giving them countenance, which I should be sorry to give by voting apparently in their favour. If, as was supposed by the right rev. Prelate (the Bishop of Carlisle), it be a great object to avoid delay there might be something to say for coming to a decision one way or the other on the question; but the right rev. Prelate knows well, and the noble Earl the Mover of the second reading has himself stated, that he has rib intention to press the Bill to legislation this Session. The question of delay, therefore, does not enter into the consideration of the subject at all. I share very much the opinion expressed by the noble Marquess behind me(the Marquess of Salisbury) and the noble Earl near me (Earl Stanhope) of the great inconvenience of coming to a hasty decision with regard to the Bill before us. I think if we decide one way or the other it will give one party a great and unreasonable amount of encouragement, and will create in the other party a proportionate degree or irritation, which will be constantly working up to the time when 895 legislation will be possible. I also think that a question of this kind ought to be brought forward with all the authority of Government, and of Government informed by all the views of the Royal Commission. I am very unwilling to oppose my noble Friend, for I have the highest respect for his sincerity, and for his zeal in the advocacy of the opinions which he entertains. I do not say that I go along with his opinions; but if I were disposed to go to one extreme or the other I should be inclined to support the views of my noble Friend rather than those of the Ritualists, who are responsible for the agitation which has been excited. But the noble Earl has had the opportunity which he sought of stating his views and calling the attention of the country to this important question. I would suggest, therefore, that it would be the better course to avoid the inconvenience of a division, and to enable that to be done I am disposed to move "the previous Question." ["Hear, hear !"] I beg to move "the previous Question."
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
I hope your Lordships will allow me one or two words in reply to what has fallen from noble Lords in the course of the debate. The object which I have had in view in moving the second reading of this Bill was to obtain the affirmation of its principle, not of its details, so that it might go to the country as a Bill that had been considered and had obtained the assent of your Lordships' House. I understand the most rev. Primate (the Archbishop of Canterbury) to object to the Bill as not having been brought forward with the assent of Convocation. I should like to obtain the approval of Convocation; but I do not think that I am bound, or that any Member of Parliament is bound to wait for the consent of Convocation in any course we may think it our duty to take. Then the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack said he did not see how I connected the extracts which I read with the legislation I propose; but I read the extracts because I saw that the statements had been made with great skill, and circulated through the great mass of the people and had caused great irritation, and I should be sorry if the great mass of the people, knowing and feeling these things, saw that the House of Lords did not reject those practices, which were so repugnant to them. I confess I am greatly astonished at what has fallen from the noble Earl (Earl Russell), for I can assure the House, and my noble 896 Friend himself will recollect, that there was no one who last year urged me more than he did to go on with the Vestment Bill, which was more deficient in ecclesiastical authority and other authority than the Bill now before your Lordships. All I can say is that the noble Earl may be quite right to judge as he pleases, but never as long as I live will I repose any confidence in him again. Nothing puts me to so much pain as to appear to be wanting in respect to the noble Earl opposite, but I fear there is no other course open to me than to put your Lordships to the trouble of a division.
said, that if the Question went to a division (as the noble Earl opposite had decided on attempting to carry the Bill no farther than a second reading) it could amount to nothing more than an abstract Resolution, and he thought it very objectionable to send abroad a decision that would carry no authority with it.
Then a Question being stated, the Question was put, Whether the said Question shall be now put?
§ Resolved in the Negative.