§ "The Ecclesiastical Commissioners may, if they think fit, repay the costs incurred by any bishop in proceedings under the Clergy Discipline Act, 1892, or in a court constituted under this Act, and any costs which he may be compelled to pay to any other party in any such proceedings, and shall defray them in like manner as if they had been incurred by those commissioners in legal proceedings to which they were parties."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
THE PREMIER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The observations just made by the most reverend prelate rather lead to the clause which I have ventured to put upon the Paper. It is not entirely my own idea, I have met noble Lords in other parts of the House who feel very strongly that 20 some means of relieving the difficulty which attaches to the working of this Bill, on account of the fact that there is no fund for carrying it out, is an evil that we ought to meet. Unless the bishops have sufficient power to carry out the authority reposed in their hands, that authority will be of little use. All law is very costly, and it is increasingly costly day by day; and ecclesiastical law is more costly than any other. I quoted instances the other day, and other instances will occur to every man's mind, of the enormous sacrifice which is imposed upon any bishop who wishes to exercise the powers that are reposed in him for the purpose of purifying and regulating the great and useful body that acts under his command. My Lords, you cannot expect that when the costs run to such figures as I have named—I mentioned one case where £1,600 was the penalty imposed upon the bishop for exercising his disciplinary powers—that the bishops will exercise their authority with that vigour and energy which is undoubtedly to be found in any public authority, if they were able to do so without inflicting upon themselves so enormous a private burden. I repeat that the Church of England is the only authority of a public kind where the superiors can only exercise discipline on their inferiors at their own most serious and grievous cost, and I am sure that the efficiency of the law must be affected by such a want. Unfortunately there is no other fund, as far as I know, excepting that to which I shall draw your attention, from which the costs of the bishop can be obtained. In all secular matters the State would pay the cost in every instance. I saw the other day that even the Incorporated Law Society, in order to maintain due discipline amongst the solicitors, received £5,000 a year from the Treasury in order to pay its expenses. There is no probability of any such liberality being exercised towards the bishops, and therefore I have suggested to the House the Ecclesiastical Common Fund. I am not proposing thereby the alienation of any properties from their ancient purposes or the abandonment of any ancient practice. Within our own lifetime Bishop Blomfield and Sir Robert Peel took the property belonging to the bishops and the cathedrals and used it for a most excellent purpose—for 21 the purpose of multiplying incumbencies in the Church. I do not for a moment depreciate the great value of the work which they then did; but when it comes to be a question whether you shall suppress scandals in the Church or whether you shall multiply incumbencies I am unable to say that the multiplication of incumbencies is in itself so superior an object that I should be content to pass the other by. I do not believe that the burden on the Common Fund would be great, but I think it would be quite as germane to the object for which these properties were anciently acquired and endowed as the object of creating new incumbencies in other parts of the country. I put it in that way merely out of consideration for the fact that there is really no other fund from which we could set this Bill in machinery at all. There is no other fund from which we could pay the expenses of the judge or the expenses of the court, or all the numerous expenses of machinery which the erection of a new court, of a new tribunal, and of a new system of jurisprudence must necessarily involve. There is no other means of getting the machinery into work, there is no other fund to support it; and if you refuse access to this fund I have no doubt that your new tribunal and your new jurisprudence will be a dead letter. Of course some doubt as to details has necessarily arisen. I have proposed that the determination as to whether the money shall be advanced or not in each case shall rest with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners themselves, but I gathered that such a provision would be distasteful to the Commissioners, and that in the minds of some persons it would perhaps be giving suggestion for invidious comment if a body so largely consisting of bishops as the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were to determine in each case whether a bishop was to be assisted. Without acknowledging the entire justice of such comments, I feel that perhaps it might be tending more to the acceptance of this proposal if another arrangement were made. I think I should prefer to make the application of the common fund, in paying the costs of the bishop, dependent in each case on a certificate from the judge that the proceedings were such that it was the duty of the bishop to undertake. If the 22 judge is willing to give that certificate, I think the common fund would be saved from any extravagant expenditure or from any action of a litigious bishop. On the other hand, you would give sufficient support to the action of the bishop as to ensure that our new legislation should not be entirely without effect. I do not of course deny that I would much rather not obtain it from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners if I could get it from any other source; but there is positively no other source. It seems to me a most unwise proceeding to allow the maintenance of the discipline of the Church of England and its purification from such rare blots as occasionally occur to depend upon the willingness of the bishop to pay enormous sums out of his own private income. That does not seem to be wise; and, as I have said before, there is no other alternative left but to take this money from the common fund. I do not believe you are alienating it from any purpose to which it was originally destined, and I believe that with the precautions which I have suggested you may avoid any serious diminution of activity which has hitherto been shown in the most beneficent application of its authority.
*THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I am very sorry that it appears to me to be my duty to deprecate very much the insertion of this clause, although there is so much to be said for it on the ground of logic. I do not dispute that the funds in the possession of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners are derived from such a source that it would be quite consistent with the original purpose for which the money and the property were given to assign a part of the income of that property to the purpose which the noble Marquess proposes to assign it to. But we have to consider, I think, what is actually done with the money which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners now have at their disposal. The purposes for which that money is used now are three. In the first place, the Act of Parliament requires that the money shall be used in the places where it is raised to provide those places with sufficient ministration, and those are called "local claims"; and those local claims are very far from being exhausted. We still have a very 23 considerable number, and we still find that there are a good many cases that we simply have to pass over because we have not funds as yet to deal with them. The work to be done there is to raise the income of benefices of very small value up to £300 a year. All these benefices are very small, and they have become very much smaller in consequence of the depreciation of the tithe-rent charge, and of the rents of the glebe lands. Now, here the Commissioners are acting under a very clear Act of Parliament and they are using this money as fast as they can use it for the purpose which the Act which governs their proceedings distinctly appointed. In the course of 1896 129 such applications were made; 51 cases received grants, 78 were declined for lack of funds. In 1897, 111 applications were made; 36 received grants, and 75 were declined for lack of funds. In 1898, 115 applications have been made; 44 have been granted, and 71 have not been granted for lack of funds. You will see, my Lords, how this works upon the poor clergy. That is one of the purposes for which the money is used. The second purpose is that of the augmenting; of small livings, for the augmentation of which benefactions have been made. There are a great many small livings where the landowners in the neighbourhood or other benevolent persons who know something about the parishes are ready to contribute considerable sums towards raising their incomes, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners meet these as far as they can. One hundred and fifty-two applications were made in 1896, and 102 were granted; 154 applications were made in 1897, and 96 were granted; 180 were made in this present year, and 103 were granted. In all of these cases the clergy were poor, and the grants were for the purpose of increasing their incomes. The third purpose for which the money is used is to provide ministration for large populations. For that purpose a number of new districts possessing a population of 4,000 and upwards have been endowed, and in the last three years there have been 50 cases of such endowment. They are dealt with in chronological order of application. There are only eight or nine which it is possible to deal with each year, because we have not funds to deal with more. Now, my 24 Lords, it certainly is by no means desirable that the bishops should have their expenses paid out of a fund which is being used to alleviate in some degree the great distress which has fallen upon a very large number of the incumbents of parishes. It may be that you may say the large parishes can wait; and the noble Marquess may possibly consider that it is better worth while to provide for the discipline of the Church under this Bill, than to provide for new churches and for new clergy for the growing populations of its country; but I cannot even agree with that—though it is really a different thing. But when you come to think of all these poor clergy who are now getting slow but real assistance year after year, considering how much they suffer and how heavily the blow has fallen upon them, considering all these things, it does not seem to me to be wise to relieve the bishops at the cost of prolonging the sufferings that these poor clergy have to bear. We are everywhere calling out upon the country to assist these poor clergy; and the bishops know better than anyone else can know how very seriously the clergy are suffering. They are men who from their position are naturally exceedingly unwilling to make their privations known to the public at large, and the bishop, as a rule, only knows them by learning incidentally what they are giving up. To give up the education of their children, sometimes to give up necessary recreation, sometimes to give up the maintenance of any servant at all, and all the time still to be maintaining the position which an English clergyman ought to maintain before his people, are indeed evidences of privations; and, knowing of the existence of these privations, it is very hard indeed that one of the funds which is now being used for the purpose of alleviating them is to be taken away, and taken away in order to take off the burden of this discipline from the bishops. It must be borne in mind that whilst the clergy generally have suffered so very severely from the depression in agriculture in both its forms—both rent of glebe and tithe-rent charge—the bishops have not suffered anything. Their incomes remain the same. You cannot wonder, my Lords, under these circumstances, that we should deprecate most earnestly anything being done at 25 such a time as this to relieve the bishops, in order to work this Bill at the cost of so many of these poor men. I cannot help hoping that even if it be said that you ought to provide for the mere machinery such as the cost of the judge and the cost of the room where he holds his court—even if you provide for those things and call upon the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to pay for them, it would come to no great charge; but to go on and say that the bishop himself is to be relieved out of such a source as this, I cannot in conscience bear even considering, although it is true that the expenses are heavy and that a bishop often finds himself severely pressed in consequence of those expenses. I do not deny it. I have suffered it myself, and I know perfectly well what it is, and I also know perfectly well that it is a real burden; but I would rather, far rather, bear the burden twice over than be relieved by anything which would diminish the means that are now used for the alleviation of the sufferings of our poor brethren in the ministry, and for that reason I deprecate the insertion of the clause; and if the noble Marquess still thinks there ought to be some sort of provision made for the mere machinery, that is, for such expenses as he mentions—the payment of the judge, the judge's travelling expenses, payment for the room, for the light, and for clerks—they would be necessary expenses, they would not be a very great amount, and I should not object to see them charged upon the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. But I very earnestly hope that if the noble Marquess would take these matters into his consideration he will withdraw this clause now and consider still further what had better be done, and bring the matter up again upon the report stage.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
Everybody, I think, must sympathise with the feelings which have dictated the speech which the most reverend prelate has just made. Undoubtedly from time to time complaints have been made of the burden which falls upon the bishops by reason of the necessity of their being called upon to enforce discipline and to punish offenders against the existing law; and the noble Marquess has endeavoured, in consequence of these complaints which have 26 been heard from time to time, to meet them in the manner provided for by this clause. Undoubtedly the principle of the burden of enforcing discipline falling entirely upon the bishop whose duty it is to enforce it is an unsound one. There can be no doubt about that. I do not for a moment suggest that any bishop would conscientiously refrain from enforcing the law for fear that he might cause a pecuniary burden to fall upon himself; but at the same time one cannot shut one's eyes to the fact that it is impossible to doubt that at times there may be a tendency, perfectly unconsciously, to be less vigilant in seeing what is wrong and in endeavouring to put it right, when it means really that in putting it right a pecuniary burden is cast upon the bishop, and perhaps this would not be the case if the burden did not fall upon him personally. My Lords, I do not think that that can be doubted, and therefore it cannot be questioned that the existing law as it is fails and has a mischievous tendency in relation to the discipline which we all desire to see enforced for the purpose of preventing scandals occurring in the Church. The most reverend prelate objects to this particular source from which the expenditure is proposed to be derived on the ground that there exists only so much money, and that so far as it is taken for this purpose some of the poor clergy will be deprived of that assistance which they would otherwise receive. The most reverend prelate's objection does not go beyond that. There is no contention that they have a vested right to participate in these funds. I think the most reverend prelate has admitted that it would be perfectly allowable to use them in what seems to be the best interests of the Church. No doubt it is true that at the present time many of the clergy are hardly pressed. I think myself that that is largely the fault of the laity. If the clergy are so hard pressed in a Church consisting of laity possessed of such great wealth as the laity of the Church of England possess, it is a shame upon the laity that there should be no means of relieving the necessities of that depression, except by relying upon a fund which it is suggested might be usefully used for other Church purposes. Let the laity come forward and provide the means that are wanting for preventing the clergy from 27 starving. Nobody can be more conscious than I am of the immense distress to which some of the clergy are put, because I do not suppose any patron has such a number of miserable livings—you can hardly call them livings at all—to give away as the Lord Chancellor. The last time I was Lord Chancellor I had at my disposal ten livings, the best of which was £180 a year, and from that sum they reached down to £90, and therefore I am personally conscious of the bad lot of many of the clergy. No doubt, as far as I am concerned, it would seem impossible to press a proposal for the relief of the bishop, when the bishops would themselves gallantly rather bear the burden than see this fund drawn upon for such a purpose. I would venture to suggest whether, if that is the view of the right reverend bench, something might not be done in another way. The total amount of this burden is not a very great one. Of course, upon any individual question and during a particular year it might press very hardly indeed; but could not something be done in the way of a provision of a common fund out of which expenses of this description might be met. One can imagine that with an individual contribution from the several members of the right reverend bench to that fund you would create a fund of such dimensions that the burden would be fairly distributed and would prevent it falling with disastrous effect upon a particular individual in a particular year—in short, to create a mutual insurance fund. I would very respectfully suggest that to the consideration of the right reverend bench, if the matter is to remain upon their shoulders rather than to be thrown upon this common fund. "With regard to the expenses, however, it is obvious that unless they are provided for somehow, the provisions of this Bill are a dead letter. They must come out of some Church fund or other, and no Church fund has been suggested from which these expenses could be drawn, excepting it be that to which allusion has been made, and therefore, so far as these necessary expenses are concerned, I understand that the most reverend prelate admits that if these provisions are to have practical application, painful as it may be, there is no alternative but to draw from that fund.
THE PREMIEK AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
I am very sorry to hear of the view taken by the most reverend prelate. I think that the sentiments which he expressed were sentiments with which everyone of us deeply sympathises, but I do not think they were connected logically with the argument which he was supporting. If I understood him aright, there are three purposes to which the common fund is now devoted, but the whole weight of his deprecatory argument reposes upon that part of the fund which is given for the relief of the poor clergy.
THE PREMIER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Then let the third purpose bear the burden of this Bill. I agree with him most earnestly in not desiring to increase the burden which now rests upon the poor clergy, or to take from them any relief which they can hope for from the common fund; but the mere multiplication of incumbencies, though a very desirable object, does not raise the considerations upon which the most reverend prelate dwelt with so much feeling, and it does not seem to me to be in itself a matter of such supreme importance as the proper execution of the disciplinary parts of this Bill. What I should suggest, however, as there are points upon which we agree with the most reverend prelate, and as there are some differences of opinion also, is that at a further stage of the Bill power should be given to the rule-making body in words, which would have to be very carefully considered, what expenses for the carrying out of the Bill and for the relief of the bishops should be charged upon the common fund, and inserting most distinctly that no part of the common fund is to be devoted to paying those expenses which would otherwise be given to increasing the incomes of the impoverished clergy. I think these things should be inserted in clause 9, which is the rule clause; and we may at least get some assistance towards the carrying out of this Bill from that common fund. I certainly think that if that assistance is refused the disciplinary part of the Bill would be of no service whatever.
§ Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 4, line 8, omit 'of.'
Page 4, line 9, omit '(a) the period,' and insert 'in the case of the first and second presentation by the patron in respect of the same vacancy of the period.
Page 4, lines 10 and 11, omit 'or (b),' and insert 'or of.'"—(The Earl of Selborne.)
*THE EARL OF SELBOBNE
I have an Amendment, which is not on 'the Paper, to come in at line 7. This clause as it stands at present effects a very important change in the laws in the matter of lapsing. I believe the present state of the law is this: that if a patron presents on a vacancy, and the bishop refuses to institute, and the patron then seeks for a remedy at law known as quart impedit, if the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench is given in the patron's favour, of course the patron holds, and if it is given in favour of the bishop all that period goes towards that lapse of six months at the end of which time the bishop may himself present. There is an exception to this, and that is if the bishop can be shown to have been negligent in taking proper steps for examining the presentee, and performing his duties, as it were, to have rather obstructed the presentation in order to obtain the advantage of the lapse, then that period is not allowed to count towards the lapse. But in ordinary cases—in the case of a quare impedit—if it were given in favour of the bishop after an interval of six months, the presentation would have lapsed to the bishop. That, I believe, is, generally speaking, the present state of the law. Clause 5 of this Bill makes very great and important changes in that respect. You lordships will notice that under it the whole period between a presentation by the patron and the decision of the court on the appeal against the refusal of the bishop to institute is no longer to count for lapse. Allow me to give an illustration under the present law. If a benefice became vacant on the 1st of January, and the patron was to present on the 10th of January, and the bishop refused to institute, and the patron were then to have recourse to quare impedit, if the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench were given in favour of the bishop on the 1st of July the presentation would then have lapsed to the bishop. We 30 will now take an illustration of what is proposed by this Bill. We will suppose again that the benefice became vacant on the 1st of January, and that the patron presented on the 10th, and that the court constituted under this Bill gave its decision in favour of the bishop on the 1st of July, none of that six months excepting the first 10 days of January would count towards the lapse. That you will see, my Lords, at once is a very great change of the law in the patron's favour. But it is conceivable that this sort of thing might occur twice, and, the same history of the case being repeated at the end of the year, the benefice might still be vacant and only 20 days would be possible to be counted towards lapse. I admit that it is almost inconceivable that there should be a patron who should have a list of incumbents whom he would present one after another and whom the bishop would in duty bound refuse to institute, and whom the court would also consider unfit persons to hold an incumbency; but it is just conceivable that a man might be so perverse that he would make no attempt to find a suitable man for the living; rather on the contrary: or the patron—and there are many thousands of them—migh the really incompetent to make a proper choice; and therefore I think, as the noble and learned Lord opposite pointed out upon the Second Reading, some provision is necessary to prevent a series of presentations ad infinitum with only a few days counting in each case towards lapse. The Amendments I am proposing are to this effect: that the provisions in favour of the patron which are now in this Bill should hold good as in this Bill for the first two presentations to any given vacancy, but after two presentations have been made and the refusal of the bishop to institute has been upheld, these special provisions against lapse should not continue, and that the present law should be allowed to have its way. Your Lordships will observe that still the advantage to the patrons under the present state of the law is very considerable. The first Amendment that I have to move is—Page 4, line 8, omit 'of.'Page 4, line 9, omit '(a) the period,' and insert 'in the case of the first and the second 31 presentation by the patron in respect of the same vacancy of the period.'The clause would then run—In reckoning the date for lapse, no account shall be taken in the case of the first and second presentation by the patron in respect of the same vacancy of the period between a presentation by the patron and the refusal by the bishop to institute or admit the presentee.'If your Lordships consent to that Amendment I shall propose—Lines 10 and 11, to omit 'or (b),' and insert 'or of.'Line 13, omit '(c),' and insert 'nor.'The whole clause would then run—In reckoning the date for lapse, no account shall be taken in the case of the first and second presentation by a patron in respect of the same vacancy of the period between a presentation by the patron and the refusal by the bishop to institute or admit the presentee; or of the period between the refusal of the bishop to institute or admit and the decision of the court upon such refusal; nor in case of a bishop having a right to collate to a benefice the period between the provisions of this Act and the expiration of a month from the said service.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I think I can give my opinion upon this Amendment of the noble Earl's, that is, so far as I could gather what it meant from what he said, and I do not think it is an unreasonable one. The noble Earl has alluded to the alteration made in the rights of patrons as regards lapses, and to the advantage derived by patrons by means of the present Bill. I think it is quite right that there should be an alteration in that direction, because it must be remembered that previously there were only two or three causes for which the bishop could refuse to institute, and they were causes in which the patron could have no doubt that he was presenting someone who ought not to be presented. In the present case a considerable discretion is left to the bishop, and, obviously, therefore, a patron acting in good faith may send someone whom the Bishop might, on consideration, properly refuse to institute under the powers given to him in this Bill. That being so, it is perfectly proper that you should not count the period for the purposes of lapses in the same way as you do under the existing law, 32 but, at the same time, if you allow a patron to present twice to the same vacancy and you give him the benefit of this clause you have done probably quite as much as you can reasonably be called upon to do. I do not think, however, that there would hardly ever be a case where a patron acting in good faith and reasonably would really present more than twice to the same vacancy, and after two refusals confirmed on appeal it seems to me not unreasonable that from that time you should begin to count for lapse as you do now under the existing law. Therefore, personally, I think without, any prolonged consideration I do not at present see any objection to the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ Amendment carried.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I have an Amendment down on the Paper to meet a point of mine which I raised on the Second Reading with reference to the repeated presentation of a presentee; but I see that the noble Earl has proposed an Amendment much to the same purpose. It meets the same point in another way, and as I have no particular love for my own way I am quite content that the noble Earl's Amendment should be adopted in preference to my own.Provided that a patron may not present again a person who has been refused by the bishop in respect of the same vacancy, and any such second presentation shall be void."—(The Earl of Selborne.)
§ *THE EARL OF SELBORNE
I think, with the permission of your Lordships, I will move this Amendment to follow the next clause.
Question put, and agreed to—
That clause 5, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
Page 4, line 20, leave out 'though,' and insert 'if.' "—(The. Archbishop of York.)
*THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
This Amendment is only an Amendment of drafting. I am not very familiar with 33 the English used by draftsmen, but the proper expression seems to be "if he were a lay patron," and not "though he were a lay patron."
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I should like to know what the most reverend prelate supposes the distinction to be.
*THE ARCHBLSIIOP OF YORK
There is, I believe, a distinction, but the noble and learned Lord must know.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *THE EARL OF SELBORNE
I beg now to move the Amendment which I had intended to move to follow line 16 of clause 5, only, instead of beginning, as it is on the Paper, "Provided that a patron," I beg to move it in the following form—A patron may not present again a person who has been refused by the Bishop in respect of the same vacancy, and any such second presentation shall be void.That Amendment, my Lords, is to meet the case that the noble and learned Lord put to you on the Second Reading, to prevent a man going on presenting a young clergyman till he had attained an age which would prevent the Bishop from any longer denying him institution.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
I would suggest that that had better be the first subsection, because if it comes in after the clerical patron it might be thought only to apply to clerical patrons. If it were the first sub-section it would be perfectly clear; besides, it is more logical to do it in that way when you are going to put the presentee of a clerical patron in the same position as the presentee of a lay patron.
§ Question put.
§ Amendment agreed to.34
Question put, and agreed to—
That clause 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
After clause 6 insert the following new clause—
(7) So much of the Statutes 3 and 4, James I., cap. 5, sect. 13, and I. William and Mary, cap 26, sect. 2, is hereby repealed as prevents the chancellors and scholars of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge from presenting or nominating to the benefices and livings there mentioned persons already holding any benefice with cure of souls, provided that nothing be done in contravention of the other Acts regulating the holding of benefices in plurality. And, further, the said Universities shall be permitted to elect to such benefices, and to exercise any other rights, that they may possess in respect to them in any way that they may hereafter, by statute or ordinance of the University, made in the ordinary manner from time to time determine to be expedient."—(The Bishop of Salisbury.)
*THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY
I hope I may ask your Lordships' indulgence to this clause, for although it takes up a certain number of lines on the Paper, it is an exceedingly simple one, and it raises no question of principle or controversy whatever. It is simply administrative, to enable the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to have, in the first place, the same rights as other patrons have for nominating to a certain class of benefices, which rights are now denied them under ancient Statutes made when there was reason for making them, but which reason has now passed away. The second part of the clause allows them to do what, I think, I heard your Lordships assent to the other night as the right thing to do when there is a very large elective body of some thousands of people, to elect by means of a committee instead of giving everyone who has the franchise power to exercise his vote. Let me explain what happens. These benefices, which are here touched, are benefices in the hands of Roman Catholic patrons, which they do not think it worth while to put in trust or to deal with otherwise. They are generally very small benefices as regards income—a sort of derelict benefices of which I have three or four in the diocese over which I am called to preside. Directly these become vacant I am in the greatest possible anxiety as to what is going to happen, judging by what has happened 35 in the past. I do not wish to say anything unkind of the class of men who have attained these benefices, but I cannot honestly say that it is one to which any small body of patrons or trustees would naturally look. They are men who do not mind standing the test of a contested election, and who, not having generally held any benefice, may be considered unlikely to be very useful. No man who holds a benefice can offer himself for election to one of these benefices unless he is willing to resign it. I will not say anything about the second part. That does not take away from the Convocation of Oxford and the Senate of Cambridge any privileges, but leaves them free to regulate their right to election in their own way. This clause does not in any way touch the interests of the Roman Catholic patrons at all. It is neither for nor against them; it merely enables the Universities to exercise the powers which Parliament has thought fit to give them in a better way, and I very sincerely hope that Her Majesty's Government will be good enough to allow this clause to pass, because I can honestly say that, as a bishop trying to exercise discipline—very imperfectly, no doubt, but still honestly trying to exercise it—I have found it exceedingly difficult to work the present system.
§ *THE EARL OF SELBORNE
It is rather a technical matter that is contained in the clause brought forward by the most reverend prelate. I understand that there are two cases to be met—the case where the universities are debarred from presenting the holder of a present benefice, and the fact that there is no real provision for a university to establish machinery to exercise its patronage. The Government have no objection to the clause.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
So far as the second part of this clause is concerned, I quite approve of it, because the present mode of election by universities to benefices is both inconvenient and undesirable, and it is better that the universities should determine how their rights should be exercised, but I do not understand the first part. The Plurality Acts provide against a person holding more than one living, except under certain circum- 36 stances. Is this to allow a person to hold any number of livings?
*THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY
So much of the Statutes," and so on, "is hereby repealed as prevents the chancellor and scholars of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge from presenting or nominating to the benefices and livings there mentioned persons already holding any benefice with cure of souls, provided that nothing be done in contravention of the other Acts regulating the holding of benefices in plurality.I may say that I have had two neighbouring benefices in my diocese recently vacant. One is worth £30, and the other is worth £200, and it is most desirable that these two should be held together; but under the present law that could not be done, except through the fact that owing to an accident the university was able to elect first to the Roman Catholic benefice, and then the patron was able to present to the second. If it had been the other way, these two little benefices, which ought to be joined together on every ground, could not possibly have been held together.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
I do not at all understand this clause. There is a general law against pluralities, and I understand that it is very inconvenient in certain cases of small livings, to which the universities present, that that law should prevail.
*THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY
The universities are under a disability which has never been repealed through an accident. As your Lordships are aware, no Act of Parliament is repealed excepting in distinct terms, and this was overlooked by accident when the Pluralities Acts were amended.
THE PREMIER AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
By the Act of William and Mary, the universities cannot present a person actually in the occupation of any living. I do not imagine that if you pass this clause a man will be able to go on holding the two livings, but he will be capable of being presented; he must then resign the other, of course, unless it is within the limits of distance allowed by the Act.
That the new clause stand part of the Bill.
§ Agreed to.