HL Deb 21 June 1869 vol 197 cc352-4

gave notice that, in Committee on this Bill, he should propose to negative the ordinary Motion for postponing the Preamble, and that, if this were agreed to, he should move the omission of the words in lines 11 and 15, "but not for the maintenance of any Church, or clergy, or other ministry, nor for the teaching of religion." He should also propose the omission of that part of the Preamble which affirmed the expediency of appropriating the property "mainly to the relief of unavoidable calamity and suffering." He would take this opportunity of expressing his earnest hope that his noble Friend the Secretary of State would not insist on the ordinary practice of adjourning over Wednesday. The Committee would commence tomorrow week, and it was possible that if the whole week were devoted to it the Bill would be got through within the week; but considerable time would undoubtedly be required, as the subject required the most mature consideration. It was to the interest both of the House and the public that no time should be unnecessarily lost, and it was evident that if the Bill went on the Session could not be brought to a close till very late. It would probably be well into July before the Bill, after being amended, could be read a third time, and it would then, after being re-printed, have to be considered by the other House and perhaps again by this House. It would thus be very late, if discussion should arise on the Amendments, before a settlement could be hoped for. Now the practice of invariably adjourning over Wednesdays was of recent date, for he remembered the time when the House habitually met on Wednesday; but there grew up an understanding that important business should not be taken on that day, and this was afterwards extended to an adjournment from Tuesday to Thursday. For many years, however, it was never the custom to interrupt important business for the convenience of noble Lords having engagements on Wednesday; and throughout the discussions on the Catholic Relief Bill in 1829, and the Reform Bill in 1831, neither adjourned debates nor Committees were suspended on that day. The adjournment was for the general convenience, when there was no pressing business, and four sittings a week were ample for transacting the ordinary business; but, on a question of such importance as the Irish Church Bill, the interruption was extremely injurious, and it was not decorous or proper that business should be delayed for the sake of private engagements. He hoped his noble Friend (Earl Granville) would accede to the arrangement he had suggested.


, in the first place, had to thank his noble Friend for having been the first to respond to the appeal he made on Friday—that, for the convenience both of the Government and of the House, all Amendments which it was desired to propose should be placed as early as possible on the Paper. With regard to Wednesday he wished to conduct the Bill in the manner most agreeable to their Lordships. He had not yet had an opportunity of ascertaining their wishes on this point, but personally he was inclined to favour his noble Friend's suggestion. Last week, indeed, he himself suggested a similar course with regard to the debate to the noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Cairns), who, however, did not think it desirable to depart from the usual arrangement. It was worthy of consideration whether, in the event of a Wednesday Sitting, the House should not meet in the morning, as no appeals were usually heard on that day.


said, that nobody could desire more than himself that there should be no loss of time in discussing the future stages of the Bill, and when, on Friday, the noble Earl (Earl Granville) did him the honour of consulting him as to the date of the Committee, he expressed himself willing to concur in an earlier day than Tuesday week. The noble Earl, however, found that that day would meet the general convenience of their Lordships. The proposal to sit on Wednesday was a very novel and unusual one; and, though there might in some cases be good reason for departing from the usual custom, he doubted whether any sufficient reason had been shown for doing so in this case. Many Members had probably made private engagements, which it would be inconvenient to alter, and a single day could not make much difference in expediting the matter, while a day's interval would afford an opportunity of review and consideration.


said, that the long-established practice of not sitting on Wednesday had led persons with numerous demands on their time to make engagements for that day. A sudden change would either throw other engagements into confusion or would necessitate absence from the House; and he believed that instead of expedition it would rather tend to delay, since a day's interval often did much to get over difficulties, and thus, in the end, to promote despatch.


said, that the Select Committee on the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill was accustomed to meet on Wednesdays, it being the only day when noble and learned Lords could attend. He thought it undesirable therefore to depart from the usual practice.