§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, its object was not to provide for the creation of a new Bishopric, but for the restoration of an old one, by disconnecting the Sees of Gloucester and Bristol, which were joined together as late as the year 1836. From the Reformation until just half-a-century ago, Bristol was a Bishopric in itself; but at that period the See was united to that of Gloucester, though, in order to satisfy the objections of the people of Bristol, it was arranged that the Bishop should reside in that city alternately with Gloucester. This condition had, owing to circumstances, been unfulfilled. There had been plenty of evidence of the desirability of restoring the two Sees to their ancient integrity. There would be something like 400,000 persons included in the Bishopric of Bristol, a larger population than that of some other dioceses, and so thoroughly in earnest was Bristol in its desire for its object that £50,000 had been expended in the rebuilding of the nave of the Cathedral. Within a period of three weeks 10 sums of £1,000 each were subscribed to the endowment of the See, and a total sum of £20,000 had been raised for the same object. Application having been made to the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol to take steps to sanction £500 a-year being deducted from the income of his Bishopric in the future, his reply was that as soon as the money was raised for the endowment of the Bishopric of Bristol, which that £500 a-year would supplement, he would desire to pay that sum over in his lifetime. Bristol was willing to contribute the whole sum necessary (£80,000) for that purpose, and not a penny would come from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. Beyond that, it already had, in addition to its own Cathedral, preserved all the organization and jurisdiction requisite for the establishment of a Bishopric. It came then to 891 this—that Bristol asked, at its own expense, to have its ancient Bishopric restored on the lines of Sir R. Assheton Cross's Cathedrals Act of 1877, which had been found so useful and so practical.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.)
THE BISHOP OF GLOUCESTER AND BRISTOL
said, he heartily approved of the Bill. After the lucid statement of his most rev. Friend (the Archbishop of Canterbury) it would not be necessary for him to detain their Lordships at length. He, therefore, deemed it only necessary to add that it was not an exact restoration of the old See of Bristol, but was an annexation of a portion of Wiltshire to Bristol and its neighbourhood, which now, from the circumstances of railway and other communication, was especially desirable. Dorsetshire was formerly connected with Bristol. Now it was proposed to form a diocese for Bristol by annexing to the old Deanery of Bristol a portion of Wiltshire, in which was the populous and rapidly increasing town of Swindon. This portion of his present diocese was not readily approached from Gloucester, but was in very easy communication with Bristol. He entirely concurred in the principle of the Bill for two broad reasons which had weighed considerably with him. First, that a wrong done to the ancient City of Bristol, 50 years ago, would now be removed; and, secondly, that two men could always do in the same area more than one. For these reasons he wished to give the Bill his heartiest support.
§ THE EARL OF REDESDALE (CHAIRMAN of COMMITTEES)
said, he thought that some of the patronage of the Crown might be given to some of the new Sees, as the Church had already, in the most generous manner, provided for the endowment of a number of new Sees. He asked whether the endowment fund for the See of Bristol had already been provided as there were seven new Bishoprics already to which the patronage of the Crown ought to go?
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
, in reply, said, that £20,000 had been collected out of the total of £80,000 required; and they wished the Bill to pass, in order that they might go on with the matter.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Ten o'clock.